Joshua 1:9     Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 55:22     Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Jeremiah 17:7-8     But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sens out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries ina year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

Luke 12:25     Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?

John 14:27      Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Philippians 4:6   Do not be anxious about , but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

Before I had a relationship with God, I thought I was in charge, and burdened myself with thoughts on responsibility, duty, keeping all the balls in the air as though they were uncooked eggs.  Nothing could fall to the ground, everything had to be handled.  And of course, I worried about “what if…”  And the spins my mind could whirl and twirl around were horrific.  Sleeping was intermittent, as negative dreams would spur me into wakefulness, and the worries would trip over themselves like a running stream. 

And of course, NOW I know that not one of those worries helped me; IN fact, I think they were detrimental to me and to my family.  I’m sure I was cross, preoccupied with anxiety, fear, and really….”what if…?”   

Yes, that devil Satan was alive and well in my mind, consistently showing me my flaws, my failings, my mistakes, and my LACK.

I certainly didn’t totally know God.  I knew Him in a nebulous, cloudy way;  I certainly did not have a relationship, did not expect answers to questions, and am fairly sure my prayers beside my bed each night were recited as rote.  They were not heartfelt, they were dutiful…although I really believed that “Now I lay me down to sleep…” was wrapping me in His protection.

I tried to control outcomes all the time; I certainly had to keep the eggs in the air.  Smashed raw eggs are such a slimy mess to clean! 

But then I learned more about Jesus, and in all honesty it took a long while for me to grow in a relationship.  I had trust issues, worth issues, control issues, and was frequently frustrated seeking an answer and WAITING.   Did He answer and I missed it?  Is this not important enough for Him to guide me?  Am I being foolish with this so He is not going to help?  Am I not good enough and He really does not care about me?  Maybe I am one of those that He just cannot endure.  He is SO busy taking care of everyone in the world, and I am so bad…He must just be disappointed in me all the time.  And on and on and round and round my worries circled.

Gradually, I learned more, grew in the knowledge He is not dismissive and one to hold a grudge, or not forgive.  But it was a slow process for me to develop the trust needed to believe Him, believe that He is Truth and Light.  And how could I give up control for this being I couldn’t see, and trust that He truly cared about me and my life and choices.  So I tried to stubbornly cling to the things I did know, and of course the process stalled with me pulling all my doubts and “what if…” over and over.   How can anyone have so many of those?  They are catastrophic scenarios, and they drain the energy away.  I felt that I was being drained and stressed, but I did not see another way then.

But then I realized how many wonderful things I have—eyesight to enjoy beautiful birds, flowers, the many blues of a sky, the varied colors of the ocean, the mountains, the autumn colors especially up north, the smile of pleasure and surprise on a face of someone important to me.  But wait, that’s not all… I can hear those pretty birds, they also sing and praise God daily, the ocean has a quiet splashing to a mighty, strong and vicious roar, there’s a babbling brook, the sound of leaves falling to the ground and then the swish as you walk through them, and with that pleasure and surprised look on a precious face, there is an exclamation of joy, pleasure, and maybe thankfulness.

Satan loves to lie, to fill us with fear, anxiety, and worry.  His goal is to fill us with upset, unease, and negative thoughts.  “He comes to steal, kill, and destroy…”   John 10:10.  Steal your joy, kill you from eternal life, and destroy your peace and harmony and prosperity.   The goal is our death—no eternal life, no forgiveness, no peace, no freedom and no confidence that one day you will see Jesus face to face!

How could I spend time worrying about catastrophic scenarios that MIGHT happen, when I have so much to be thankful for, to enjoy, and realize the abundance of gifts I have been granted.  I know that no one is worthy and we are each forgiven and given eternal life by grace, by a GIFT, if we accept Jesus as our Savior. 

Satan was certainly alive and well and chatting away to me reminding me how terrible I am, how unworthy, and on and on.  And because his voice was familiar, it was easy to agree with him.  It took a long time to convince myself he was lying—it had to be a repetitive mantra until it finally sank in, and I was able to face his lies and tell him to move on out of my life.  And it happened often, because he would try to weasel his way back into my mind.

Such a waste of time I committed worrying about things that could happen, and feeling how unforgiveable I am, and being anxious because of it all.  Certainly, I am so relieved and thankful I finally believe He loves me, He has taken my place, and I am awarded eternal life and He has prepared a special place for me.  John 14:2,3.

How different and smoother, easier and more pleasurable life feels now.  Worry is not something I have dealt with in a long time.  I have confidence that nothing can mess me so badly that God will not be there to help me deal with it.  It is so freeing to not worry, to not feel burdened, and there seems to be even more things in my life to be thankful for.  I am blessed and freed and saved!

Lord, I am so thankful that You saved me from all the torment I spun and helped me realize that your love is true and sure.  Thank You for all you have done and given to my and ‘mybellaviews.’

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 6:5-9     Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 11:16-21     Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.  Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain, and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land of the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Proverbs 7:3     Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.  Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Psalm 40:8     I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

Psalms 119:11     I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Jeremiah 31:33     “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.  “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.

Hebrews 8:10     For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

Before the 1900’s electricity was not in every household, and when darkness of evenings came, folks depended on candles and kerosene lamps, and the family would gather around to listen to one of their members read the living word of God.  Without the outer distractions of television, electricity, music from all sorts of devices, folks tended to spend time as a family, gathered in the living room or family room, and reading, perhaps while the females worked on craft projects of needlepoint, crocheting or knitting, or repairing a piece of clothing for the family.  Reading was common and enjoyed.  And much of the reading was from the bible; not always, there were certainly a few novels available, but they were commonly thought too “abrasive” for female ears.  So many families had the bible read each evening, or most evenings, by a male member of the family.

I think many of the things which we are dependent on for the most part, have hindered our involvement in reading His Word; the Way, the Truth and the Life (and the Light), and something we all need to know, to seek, and to develop.  Without it, becoming familiar with the passages, and coming to know who God truly is and what He wants from us, I believe our society suffers.  We spend more time playing on devices to try to entertain our minds, which don’t like being totally idle.  So instead of reaching for a book—maybe THE book—the bible, perhaps a novel, a research book, we reach for something else.  Perhaps it is an action movie, an animated romance, a puzzle or a game, or listening to music and filling our minds with tunes, but we are not seeking His word, and getting familiar with the bible.

We have shortchanged our learning how to get to know God by filling our minds with distraction—electronic gadgets, social media, gossips, games, and almost anything can be found on our devices.  We are NOT engaging our minds with the things God commanded us to know, remember, and imprint on our minds.

This is not His plan, and I believe we are gravely hurting ourselves being distracted with gadgets and games, and not learning who God is, and how to develop a relationship with Him.  And we have hurt ourselves as a society and as a country because we choose alternatives to reading the bible. “The curse of this age is over-stimulation of the senses, which blocks out awareness of the unseen world.”  Sarah Young Jesus Calling published by Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2013, pg 174, June 15 devotion.  We spend so little time conversing with each other, and not seeking Him, and choose to play with gadgets.  In a few years I wonder if anyone will have a relationship, a true relationship of knowing another, let alone recognizing the need to know God.

My pastor quoted a speaker he had heard a couple years ago.  The first gentleman had said, “I feel less concern about the weapons of mass destruction at this point, but I have grave concerns about the weapons of mass distraction.”  And there are many things to distract us.  And certainly I can easily have my mind temporarily sucked away from my prayer time, my time with my Creator.  I am convinced that Satan is tempting us with tv, radio, news programs, phone chirping, text messages beeping, and all trying to pull us away from our time with Him.  And it is not just electronics—at least it is not in my case.  The dog urges to be let out, the cats are encouraging the dog to race and chase, and I might hear the birds bump onto the window feeder and the sound has me looking up.

My mind’s calendar will jump up to interrupt my communication with the thought of some appointment—and immediately I have to do a check—at least a mental check as to the day, and if the appointment is actually then or the next day, and if today, what time do I have to leave.  But point is, DISTRACTION.  This interrupts my concentrated time with Him.   Even my own mind can cheat and run out on me at times.  Yes, after a moment or so, I can pull it back and return to my prayer time—but now somewhat distracted, not on the same plane as I had been.  And although I don’t actually hear this, I swear I know Satan is chuckling his raspy, evil giggle.

“Google, Wiki. E-books. Prints and paperbacks. Facebook, Podcasts. YouTube.  The billions and billions of pages on the Internet.  Our world will make more information available in the next decade than has been discovered in all human history….We live in a very noisy world–full of external voices.  Who knows how many voices–helpful or not–we have in our heads?   With all these voices (pardon the graphic illustration), be sure you are regularly removing the wax from your spiritual ears, so you can accurately hear God’s voice.”   Christine Caine   Unshakable  Zondervan Publishing, 2017, Devotional June 26, pg 187.

As much as I appreciate much of the modern conveniences, I know they have caused a huge breach in seeking God.  We are so busy searching for this and that, playing games on our devices, listening to music, stories, or anything but we are falling right into Satan’s hands and giving him success in distracting us from the true purpose we should all have of seeking God.  This is evidenced in my own family.  They are all too busy to go to church, most do not routinely read the Word, although may open a devotional and get a daily word on the computer.  But there is no time spent recognizing that He is the most important thing in life.  They are busy with their own entertainment on weekends, taking children to each of their organized sports events then must go home and complete homework.  There’s too much time spent on other events and not on the important things of life.  And they seem to all believe they are in charge of their own destiny.   The idea that any are so busy they can afford to seek Him and will die never knowing God and having a relationship with the only One who can give everlasting life, breaks my heart.  

My prayers are that when something vital interrupts their “busyness” they will each turn to the God who created them and blessed them with all they have—children and so much more.  For some reason, many in this country believe the goal is the latest toy, the finest of whatever, and although they work hard, the competition at times feels real to them. 

I think often that God is trying to pull our attention back to Him with many newsworthy events occurring.  There are an increase in gun events, murder is just a shrug and shake of one’s head, there seem to be many more natural disasters—multiple fires burning acres and acres of land in different states, increase in tornadoes and hurricanes, outbreak of a world virus that brought much of the commerce and normal living to a standstill worldwide, COVID19—causing people to be out of work, many small businesses closed, restaurants and bars severely damaged, while liquor stores thrived—too much time people drinking by themselves at home.  And this vicious circle increased the stress and hardship of families, children were not allowed in school, more social isolation, finances were stressed, folks were scared and mistrustful, and all sorts of violence increased.  I firmly believe God wants repentance, wants the world to turn to Him, as He is the ONLY God as He has repeated throughout the bible, and is sending events in the hopes we will find the Truth, the Way and the Light and repent and reach for Him.   

As His history shows, He only tolerates sin so long before He stops it; and punishment is given.  It may be invasion, in maybe the imprisonment and isolation and annihilation of a peoples/culture/or country one does not want in the way any longer.   We need to remind folks that God is alive, well, and in charge.  And those who refuse to believe in Him and believe within their heart He is the Savior and repent of their sins and let Him oversee their lives.  Troubles don’t disappear but life is easier recognizing He is in charge and handing over some of my issues and asking for guidance and getting to know Him and listen to Him.  He is alive and well, in charge, and only wants each to choose Him.  Repentance and following Him, loving Him and the reward is forgiveness, reassurance, and grace, and eternity in heaven, not hell.

One of my daily prayers is that my family members will reach for Him and have a relationship with Him.  He is not distant and nebulous, He is patient, waiting, and wants a sincere heart.

I pray this country learns the danger of distractions.  We need to be spending time in prayer, communication with our Creator, paying attention to what He tells us while in prayer, and reading His word that although written over several hundreds of years, is still pertinent to us today.  It is the Living Word of God.  Repent and return to Him–He has the only true and lasting gift—eternity.

Lord, I pray for revival and for all to come to seek and find You.  I thank You for all Your blessings for me and ‘mybellaviews.’

Deuteronomy 31:8    The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Psalm 32:8   I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Isaiah 40:31    but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 41:10    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, then, to God.

Jeremiah 29:11   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

James 4:7    Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 John 1:9     If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

John 3:36    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

 

I have been reading a book by Mark Batterson called “Draw the Circle” which refers to drawing a circle around one of God’s promises and praying it, while reminding God of His promise.  Mark Batterson is the lead pastor in Washington DC of the National Community Church, and I believe there are 8 campuses.  He also felt led to purchase an older building a few years ago, which was decrepit and had been used as a crack house.  He wanted to buy it and turn it into a coffeehouse where folks could stop in, grab a coffee and a table, and listen to someone of the workers talk about the love of our Savior, our Lord. 

I truly enjoyed his writing and the premise, and then pulled up a few Youtube vids of his sermons.  But he pointed out to me more promises than I was aware of.  As often as I have gone through the bible, I find things I missed the first few times through; so it is with all these promises, or many of them.  But I liked the idea of drawing a circle around something you were praying for.  I have a couple of issues within my family I am concerned about and have decided to try this philosophy.  I asked a couple of my prayer warrior friends to also pray for these things, but now I see what it looks like with the issue surrounded within a circle of God’s promise .  .   . The answers to the issues have not totally been answered, but there is improvement for one of them, and because it is an illness, it’s great to see the person improving.   

I also want to challenge myself to find different things to praise Him for daily.  Easy to praise some things—good health, have a home, great family, good friends, although I can complain about eyesight when there are no readers nearby, I am grateful for my eye health, thankful I live here and can enjoy the views here.   But there is so much more, and I think it’s important for me to let Him know these other things—maybe my history, past experiences, travels, memories, my ancestors….there’s a myriad of things for me to be grateful for, and I think I don’t dig deep enough to thank Him, and be more sincere.  If I am not praising Him for at least two events that occur throughout my day, then I think that means I am sliding into complacency.  I don’t want that.  He is worthy of all of me and all my praise; I want to dig deeper to thank Him for all the times He saved me from troubles of my own making, and gave me good, strong family and friends who could supply much of the human hugs and shoulders I might have needed at different times. 

I am blessed and thankful, and I am going to look for more promises and if fitting, circle them in my prayers, and I am going to dig deeper for praise and the many reasons I have to thank Him.  Glad this book also opened my eyes to more of You.

WOW!   I printed a BUNCH of promises above.  Betting you can find more, and make them specific to your needs.  Feel free to let me know.  Let me know if you like the circle the promise idea for something you specifically need fulfilled.

Praise for all You have done for me and ‘mybellaviews.’

Apologies I missed putting out a blog.  I had re-read and edited one, thought it good, and decided to give one more read before scheduling and did not get to it, except in my head!  They are supposed to come out each Thursday….

Genesis 1:26, 28     Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”.. creature that moves on the ground.”. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living.

Genesis 3:21   The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.  

Exodus 22:21-24     “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.  Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.  If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.  My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.   

Leviticus 6:6-7     And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the Lord, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value.  In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the Lord, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.      

Proverbs 20:7     The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them. 

Isaiah 10:1-4     Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.  What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?  To whom will you run for help?  Where will you leave your riches?  Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain.

 

I think so much of this world is an awesome place.  It amazes me how God has made each area unique.  When I was a child, we lived in New England, and I was awed and impressed with the Fall colors while traveling to Vermont and New Hampshire.  Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to travel much in the central part of our country or in the west.  What a large land we live in.  I’ve not been to Canada or even most of the states, maybe about 20% of our great states have I seen.

Our Creator designed our world for all of us.  He developed man to be its caretaker, in charge of animals, fish, birds.  We are to respect all creatures, and yes, use for food—not abuse.  We are not supposed to kill for the sake of a picture or a trophy such as impressive antlers, a hide, or ivory from the tusks of an animal.   That is abuse, pure and simple, and definitely not the way God charged us to be in care and “govern” the animals.  They were to be a supply of food for the needs of people and other animals.  His wish was that we would be respectful and honored to care for all He entrusted to us.  We are not always.

Many humans have become cruel, and feel righteous and entitled to be abusive, in control, making others–animals or humans do their bidding, complete whatever their desires might be.  There is little regard to the right and gift of life, and we are all born with that right in God’s eyes.  But for many people, there seems to be no regard to the taking of life, to abusing, to bullying, to invading other countries, property, etc.  Definitely not what God intended.

As a child, my father taught my brother and I how to shoot and care for guns.  Our target practices consisted of shooting at bottle caps, cardboard containers of half gallon milk, or the aluminum cans that held the concentrate for Tropicana or Lemonade.  We would begin with calling whatever we were aiming at, and then seeing how close we were to the target, and then make adjustments as needed.   As we got more proficient, we would pretend we were after a “moving target.”  And of course, we were the movement–starting from a fixed position, we would turn until we got to the target and shoot.  But we were warned to NEVER take the life of an animal.  That was ONLY in case of starvation and needing that to live on.  There was a price to pay for killing an innocent just to kill, just for the thrill of ‘if you could.’

But my point is, my father insisted we NOT ever take a gun and just aim and shoot and indiscriminately kill an animal.  If we did, we would be expected to cook and eat it.  As an early teen, my brother and a friend decided to do that.  A total of three squirrels were killed.  My brother, who is an honorable person even then, went home with the squirrel, confessed to killing it, and had to clean it and boil it, then eat it.  He was unable to eat more than a bite maybe two, and he never killed another animal.    

Why do many have no regard to life?  Why does history show us that countries, kings, political leaders think it okay to invade and take over another country?  Yes, for sure, Ukraine and the Russian war crimes are uppermost in my mind; but this is NOT new.  For all time there have been wars and invasions and annihilations of others.  Life is PRECIOUS.  It is NOT something that should be taken as mundane and easy to kill.  God confronted Cain and told him He could hear the voice of the blood crying out to Him.  He does NOT take killing lightly.

But as a people, there are some who sometimes feel they have the right to hurt, overtake, even annihilate.  We have killed elephants and rhinos and hippos just for the ivory God blessed them with.  It was the white man who came and slaughtered hundreds of buffalo.  This was food for the Indian nations–and they killed for food–NOT FOR SPORT, not to just get an adrenaline rush.  

I am not so naïve as to think there have not been violent people who get kicks out of hurting others throughout time; rape, possession mentalities of ‘my wife’, my slave’, my child’, my right to abuse….

But how did God’s highest creation get to the point of believing and committing heinous acts against others–animals or humans?  This was NOT God’s intent.  How did our arrogance get us to believe by many, NOT ALL, but many that this is OK?  It is NOT according to what my God says.  Yes, burnt sacrifices of animals were okay for different sacrificial means.  However, that was to impress on the people how deep, how poignant to destroy an innocent animal for THEIR sins.  God used this killing of the animals as sacrifices, to show the sinners the destructiveness of their sin; to show that innocents are paying for THEIR sins.

Initially, I didn’t get this.  I was appalled and very sad that God thought animals insignificant enough to be killed with neck slit and burnt on an altar.   Much later I learned that this was God’s plan for US to realize the COST of sin.  So many, many, many animals were offered as sacrifices, until the final sacrifice of the innocent, loving man–God Jesus willingly sacrificed his life for us–for our sins, for our disobedience, because of what we had done or FAILED to do, we CAUSED the innocent death of an animal.  Those standing at the foot of the cross did not fully understand THEN, but later…?  Wow.

And now?  Thank You.  I read why, but Your sacrifice for ME is just awesome, and stunning and so, so humbling.   The Gift and the Grace totally undeserved and yet freely Given.

Thank You, Lord for Your Gift of my eternal life by Your Grace, freely Given by You accepting the painful and humbling abuse You endured…for me.  Oh my Lord, thank You for all You have given and done for me and ‘mybellaviews.’

Hebrews 8:8,10    Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. . . .  this is the covenant I will establish with the people Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them in their hearts.

Hebrews 10:16     “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.

Jeremiah 31:33    “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people

Isaiah 59: 21     “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them; My Spirit, who is upon you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants–from this time on and forever,” says the Lord 

 

When the Israelites first were led out of Egypt, they grumbled and complained, wished for the certainty of what they had known even though the conditions they had lived under were not wonderful; they knew what those were.  But now they were getting frightened for what they could not see… they could not see where they were going, they feared the travel and the unknown, they had no idea where food would come from, and what about water?   How like us.  It is easier for us to reach for what we do know, even if we grumbled about not having enough—’we knew what we had and it was familiar—albeit safe.’  Sound familiar?   It is sometimes so difficult to go forward when you can’t see clearly–maybe there seems to be no light, you felt alone in some darkness, and of course, we are unsure we are making the correct decisions–especially if we have a family depending on us to make the right ones.

We often feel fearful and unsure when we cannot see where we are going.  Trust.  Faith.  Hard to o]hold onto sometimes.  Yet, for me to read and see what the Israelites saw, I find it shocking to see how they ran to idols for gods.  They say His miracles–for them.

While in Egypt, the Israelites witnessed the miracles of the plagues God sent on Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  There were very few Israelites who suffered the boils that the Egyptians suffered, and many of the other damaging things that struck the Egyptian people.  Most were free or about protected from any of these plagues. They saw this.  They saw how they were protected from the loss of their firstborn–animals as well as children.  The Israelite slaves were protected from these punishments. 

They were told to sprinkle blood over their doorpost with hyssop, kill a perfect lamb and feed as many as they could while —leaving nothing behind, and to stay in their homes while death raged over the Egyptians, and all homes which did not have the mark of the lamb’s blood.  They then heard the crying, wailing, and utter bereavement of the Egyptians who had lost their firstborn.  Yet they were alive, spared the wrath of God’s death pronouncement.  They had witnessed miracles.

God, through Moses led them all, a few million people into the desert, away from Egypt, and then lifted the sides of the Red Sea so they could ALL traverse across the expanse, away from the Egyptians who had now decided to pursue, and they all made it to the other side.  Remember several MILLION persons—young and old, and how many animals?  I can not fathom seeing that many people at one time, never mind trying to see all of them hustle across a river with its sides held up as a wall of water on each side to allow them all to pass.  THESE WERE BIG MIRACLES, AWESOME, SAVING MIRACLES!

I wonder what God was doing to stall the Egyptians further so they could not overtake them—they had chariots and horses and were now in hot pursuit, and only a few days had passed—yet, again God defeated them.  He stalled their progress long enough for all Israelites to travel across the dry Red Sea (not a pond or creek—a Sea!), and reach the other side.  And then He turned the Egyptians into the amazing wall of water—‘oh, yes! How awesome, let us scramble across and we will have them!  We will capture them and bring them all back!  And probably kill Moses and his sound piece while we capture them.’   Ah, not so, says God.  And He turned the walls of water upon them, killing all.

The Israelites were leaving what they knew, unsure of where they were going, but they DID know why—their grumbling had been answered, and He had sent a leader to lead them from Egypt—and they were being fed, saved from the Egyptian army when Pharaoh had a change of heart, they were intact as a HUGE group of people and livestock.   And yet they grumbled and doubted and feared.

God appeared to them in a cloud by day and a fire by night.  He was present!  Always!  He supplied food, water, safety, guidance, and leadership.  But these people still grumbled and moaned, wondering about this, and complaining about that.  They experienced and saw, and yet still DOUBTED!  No wonder Jesus proclaimed, “How blessed are they who have not seen, yet believe.”  (John 20:29).

God gave a bunch of commands and rules and laws—what they could and could not eat, when they were considered clean and unclean, what was considered good, and what was considered not worthwhile.  He also gave them the Ten Commandments—and while writing them, the Israelites decided they wanted to have a “god” they could see and worship, something visible to worship.  It had only taken a few days for them to mistrust God, and obviously Moses, and they were quick to leave God behind, even after He had delivered water from a rock, parted the Red Sea and ensured their safety while crossing and then ensuring the Egyptians all died as the waters flowed over them.   They had experienced all sorts of miracles; yet they chose to run to something THEY constructed, nothing that was a miracle, nothing that would help and feed or supply them with anything.  

Although they saw how God helped to ensure they were released from the Egyptians and were promised a land of milk and honey, I wonder how they could so easily be swayed away from God. 

I do know that sometimes there are worldly allures that pull us away from God, and temptations which reach out to us.  But I do find it hard to think these people could so easily beg Aaron for a visible “god” and then they formed one, threw gold into a pot and formed a molten calf.  Aaron had been beside Moses throughout all of this—ten plagues, parting of the Red Sea, seeing water delivered from a rock and so forth.  How was it so easy for Aaron to turn aside from his brother and all he had seen?   How could he be so easily led away from God and the miracles he had seen and experienced?  He was the priest, the religious leader of these people, and yet, he walked away from the true God, within days as his brother was gone for a total of forty days.  At the pressure and complaints of the people, he was easily swayed.

How often do we give up waiting, losing patience with God’s promises, and reverting to something to assuage our feelings of loss, frustration, impatience, and try to take matters into our own hands?  Certainly, I have railed against waiting, and waiting, and….

Yet, Abraham waited for forty years to have his own son with his wife.  He believed and held onto God’s promises.  And when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, he willing packed up the supplies, and carried the youngster to the mountain where he’d been told to sacrifice the boy.  He trusted God would provide the sacrifice.  He waited, expectantly, all the while doing exactly as God commanded

Sara became impatient and encouraged her husband to have a child with her slave.  And again, serious issues developed because she had taken matters into her hands;  what does it take for us to believe and wait on Him with trust?   Right, patience….and I don’t have much.

There’s an entire book written that encourages us to wait on His promises, that tells us He alone is the ONLY GOD; He alone is with us always; He alone tells us to not fear, not grow weary of trusting in Him.  Yet, often, we drift as though on an air mattress tossed into the ocean and without anchor, we doze off, then waking find ourselves much further away from shore than is safe and healthy. 

Story after story tells of the need to wait.  A savior would be provided; a star would shine in the town to announce the birth; He would be borne of a virgin…. The Israelites waited hundreds of years for a savior.  There is always waiting throughout the bible; because that is life.  We wait for His promises. 

I pray I lose no more patience –waiting, and in truth, it has become easier to wait.  I believe His timing is perfect.  It may still not be my timing preference, but still, I have seen time and again, that He comes and answers.  So I’ve learned to hand over my impatience; sometimes, annoyingly it pops back into my head.  So, while thinking of it, I pretend it is in my hands, then raise it to God to take away, so I can no longer actually think of it.   It’s in His hands; no longer mine to keep as a “god” to worry and therefore, worship over.

So many times over the years I have rebelled against waiting, yet now, as You have been faithful, even when I was not, I am willing to wait, trusting, because You have proved your steadiness, love, and forgiveness over and over.  Lord, I am so sorry I have been impatient, at times mistrusting, and very bratty; I pray I continue to grow trusting You and deepen my relationship with you.

Thank You for your patience and guidance during all these years of You giving to me and ‘mybellaviews.’

 

 

 

 

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