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Dr Paul R. Friesen Animals of the Bible Table of Contents A is for Ants ……………………………. B is for Bees …………………………… C is for Camels ………………………… D is for Dovetailing …………………….. E is for Eagle …………………………… F is for Frog ……………………………. G is for Goat ……………………………. H is for Hornets ………………………… I is for Insects …………………………… J is for Jackal …………………………… K is for Kine …………………………….. L is for Lamb ……………………………. M is for Mouse ………………………….. N is for Night Owl ………………………. O is for Ostrich ………………………….. P is for Partridge ………………………… Q is for Quail …………………………….. R is for Ram ……………………………... S is for Serpent or Servant …………….. T is for Turtle …………………………….. U is for Unicorn ………………………….. V is for Vulture …………………………… W is for Worm ……………………………. X is for Xenarthra (Xtinct) ………………. YZ is for YZ men ………………………..
Introduction These sermons were given over a period of weeks in 2005/06 the response to them was so much that I have put them into a reflective devotional. Each day has a thought of the day. In the morning read this to focus on God for the day. Each day has the sermon about one animal and its character. We can see their character in our life. Remember it was God who designed them as well. Read this in the evening as you reflect on the day’s stress. Each day has a prayer. After you have spent some time reflecting on your day pray it. You can read it or memorize it. But pray it. God listens to our hearts. If you have any comments please write me at email@example.com. Dr. Paul R. Friesen
Thought for the day When we focus on what God wants us to do we can have energy like the ant.
Dear God, As I start this journey open my eyes to who I am. Open my eyes to who You are in the world of animals, and who you are to me. Open my heart to Your still small voice. Change me into a better image of You and Your purpose for my life. In Jesus Name Amen
A is for Ants
Proverbs 6:6-11 30:24-28 Have you ever had ant in your pants? We use the phrase in English “ants in our pants” for the children who can’t sit still. Because, if you have ants in your pants you wiggle and can’t stand still. Many years ago when I was in boarding school in Guinea we used to look at the ants marching along. There were big ones and small ones, red, yellow, black, and brown ones. We had names for some of them. The army ants were the most fun. They would march in a line and we would step on the line to confuse them. They would always find the line and continue. Did you know they leave a scent or smell for the others to follow? Then there were the “sloppy joe” ants. We called them that because they were like a bunch of hamburger. They always went in a group and when we stepped on them they would smell like hamburger meat with sauce. There were the sugar ants and the water ants. The fruit trees were full of sugar ants. Of course you didn’t climb those trees. The water ants could always find water and they were very small. The large ant hills have millions of ants and can be as tall as 4 meters. There is always something that all ants have in common. They do what they are born to do. They don’t complain. They don’t try to so someone else’s job. They don’t even get greedy. Army ants will give their life so that the others will be able to continue.
If you watch ants in their home they have many storage places for food. They do the same thing all day long. They don’t need to be told what to do. They serve only the queen. There is nothing too big to bring back to the house for food. If it is too big they get together and conquer it. This is what the book of Proverbs says about the ant. “Ant” is mentioned only twice in the Bible. The first mention is about being lazy versus the ant. I know you aren’t lazy, but sometimes you are in your homework or in English. The second is about wisdom and strength. The ant is not strong but it is wise in its planning for the future. How can we learn from the ant? First we learn that the ant does not go fast or slow. They just do their job. Many times we are lazy in our spiritual life. We pray and read the Bible every day. We go to Church on Sunday and Friday and Wednesday. But are we getting stronger. When we memorize scripture we store up spiritual strength for the times when we need it. When we develop a disciplined life we don’t get tired and stressed out. When our plan gets stepped on we focus on getting on track. When we find ourselves with a load too big to carry we find support from other Christians. We also have a special job. The water ant is very small and can squeeze through the tiniest crack to find water. The sugar ant eats the sugar found in fruit. The army ant just follows the leader sacrificing their life so that others can succeed. We need to question ourselves about our job. We need to question ourselves about our discipline as good disciples. We need to ask ourselves questions about why we get stressed. Perhaps we have lost our way because someone has stepped on the line.
We need to get back into the habits that have promised the power of Christ in our lives. We need to do the job that God has chosen for us and do our best not worrying about the others. Are we doing it? Are we becoming lazy like the man in chapter 6 or are we considered wise like proverbs 30. We do not need to be the biggest but known as wise. What is your goal in your life? Are you “ant” wise?
Dear God, My life is so full of activity that makes me tired. I lose my focus on the job you have given to me. I get so proud of myself. Forgive me Lord. I set my purpose on You, who loved me from the beginning. Help me to keep my goals clear so I can better serve You. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the day The time to capture is short. Am I making honey or busy doing nonproductive things.
B is for Bees
Psalm 118 Do you like Bees? Like ants there are many kinds of bees. There is the African bee which can kill you when it bites you. This is found in America too. It swarms and the poison will kill you. They get angry easily but almost always fight in a group. Then there is the water bee. We used to pump water to the roof in Africa. We had to fill the reservoir first and then pump the water up. We always had a screen over the water so that the dead bees would not be so many on top of the water. These bees are not dangerous and there only desire is to drink the water. Then there is the bumble bee. It is yellow and black striped and really doesn’t get angry very often. He flies from flower to lower drinking the sweetness. His legs are hairy and they carry the pollen from one flower to another. That is how many trees get their fruit. By the pollen carried by these bees. Then there are the honey bees. Do you like honey? I like honey. I used to watch the honey farmer put the beehive in the tree and then they would smoke the bees out to get the honey later. Even our neighbor in Canada was a bee farmer. He set his boxes of hives out in the field every spring. There are worker bees and there are honey finding bees. The worker prepares the queens eggs while the other bees find the honey. The worker then seals the egg with wax. That is called beeswax.
In English we say, “That’s just a bunch of beeswax”. What do we mean by that? I’m sure that we don’t carry around a bunch of bees wax. Bees wax is very good for making things slide smoothly. Bees are very amazing. These bees never get lost. They dance to give directions. What can we learn from these bees? First the African killer bees. African killer bees get angry easily. They always go in swarms, or thousands at a time. They attack people when they get upset and they kill with their sting. We can do the same. I know we like to be peaceful but sometimes we get upset easily. We gossip to others and kill the person through our gossip. This happened to me in the first pastorate I had. One lady who had come from another part of Canada thought I was doing strange things in my study. She just had a feeling. She told an Elders wife who believed her and they told other people. Finally they told me and found that the feeling was wrong. But they had caused me a lot of stress. They had almost killed me. Second, there is the water bee. He is so determined to drink the water that he gets caught and dies in the water. He won’t hurt anybody. But he wont get any work done either. He just drinks the water. This is like a person who prays everyday and goes to Church all the time. Yet, their spiritual life is not getting deeper. Then there is the bumble bee. He is the cutest of them all. So colorful and chubby. He goes about his business while blessing all those he touches.
He is like the person who lives their Christian life simply. The stress in their life is from not doing what God has called them to do. Then there is the honey bee. We like this bee because he gives us the sweetness. But he doesn’t do it alone. ALL honeybees serve the queen. And they have different jobs. They don’t worry about changing to be better than the others. They just do their job. But the honey bees make wax. The wax is not only important to make things slide easily it is also used for putting in your ear. It blocks out the sound. It can block out the whispers of the gossip. To get the honey they need very hot heat and filtered. To be pure like Jesus we need to cleanout the garbage in our lives. We can be sweet but not attractive is we have garbage in our lives. Imagine if they didn’t do their job. You wouldn’t have any honey. If the bumblebee didn’t do his job there would not be much fruit. If the water bee didn’t do his job nobody would care. But the bees don’t live through the winter. They die. If a bee stings you it will die. God has given each of us a job to do. If we get angry easily and gossip we damage relationships. If we just drink from the Spirit but never do anything else we don’t benefit anybody but ourselves. We can make an impact on people. Not by preaching at them. Just by living out our Christian life. That is why we need to know Christ in a relationship, not just some theory. This is the bumblebee. We can group together and attack all that is not understood. We can be too sensitive. In killing others we hurt ourselves. We listen to gossip and make judgments without knowledge.
The Bible says that we should test things for the truth. We should NOT listen to gossip but look for the truth. We need to fill our ears with bees wax so that we listen to God’s still small voice and not the gossip of those around us. We need to filter out the impurities through God’s life changing relationship. Are we just a busy-bee, a killing bee, a bumbling bee, or a honey bee?
Dear God, I am like a bee. Being busy keeps me from looking at my sin. Too often I am like the killer bee with my tongue. Forgive me and help me to become like the honey bee. Directing people to You, who can make even the worst into the sweetest honey. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the day Carrying everybody’s burdens over wasteland is not meant for just anyone. It is only for the very thick lipped. Only one person can do this effectively, that is Jesus Christ. Try putting your burdens on His back when you are in the desert of life. He will leady you to the oasis.
C is for Camel
Jeremiah 2: 20-25 Have you ever seen a Camel? They have them in Zoos and they can even be found in Cheju do. There is a “camel” brand cigarette. It was a sign of a certain character. The western man who wanted to be a little stubborn. There are two kinds of real animal camels. The one hump and the two hump. One is called a dromedary. One is common to Asia, the two hump. The other is common in Africa the one hump, or dromedary. The camel is an interesting animal. It has very thick lips and eye lids. The lips are so thick they can eat thorns. The eye lids are so thick they can protect the eyes from sand in a sand storm. But they are also very smelly and stubborn. What does the Bible say about the camel? In the Old Testament there are couple of references to the character of the camel. Leviticus is a book of the Law. It gave directions on what to eat. The camel was an animal that God told them they didn’t like. (Lev 11:4) In Jeremiah, the camel is referred to the stubborn people who broke the rope to be free. So they have a strong sense of independence. Let’s read it together. Jer 2:20 For long ago you broke your yoke and tore up your bonds. And you said, I will not transgress, when on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down like a harlot.
Jer 2:21 Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly a true seed. How then have you turned into the deviant shoots of an alien vine to Me? Jer 2:22 Though you wash yourself with potash, and multiply soap for yourself, your iniquity is stained before Me, declares the Lord Jehovah. Jer 2:23 How can you say, I am not defiled; I have not gone after Baals? See your way in the valley; know what you have done! You are a swift camel criss-crossing her ways; Jer 2:24 a wild ass used to the wilderness. In the passion of her desire she snuffs up the wind in her time. Who can turn her away? All those who seek her will not tire themselves; in her month they will find her. Jer 2:25 Withhold your foot from being bare and your throat from thirst. But you said, It is hopeless! For I love strangers, and after them I will go. Israel had promised God to not continue in the habit of SIN. They wanted to change. So they broke the ropes of the bad habits. God planted a tree that was pure and holy. How had they become so sinful? They had tried to wash the sin off. They thought that if they kept the outside clean the inside would be ok. They didn’t worship the idols of the other people. But they didn’t tear them down either. They were like a camel who would not become tired crisscrossing the valleys. Did you know the hump is where the camel keeps his extra water? He can walk for days without drinking water. The Islam people say that there are 100 names for God. We can know 99 and the camel knows the 100th name only. So the camel is not only stubborn but he is very smart. He can avoid doing what other people do because of his water storage. In the end the passion and desire of the camel will get him into trouble. Many people want to catch him and chase him tirelessly. In the end they will find it.
But is this what God desires? Jeremiah says in verse 25 that the people chose to run after strangers. They chose the way of the camel instead of God’s way. In the New Testament we find three Gospels that tell us the same thing. If we find the same thing in three different books I think it is important. Three places say that it is easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than the rich man to get into heaven. This sounds funny and easy. The eye of a needle is very small and the camel is very large. So it is impossible. What does this mean? Does it mean that rich people can’t get into heaven? OF COURSE NOT!! It does tell us about the character of both. First, we know that the camel is stubborn. The camel can go a long distance without drinking. It can protect itself from the many dangers in a desert. Second, we know that often rich people do not depend on God for their riches. But we cannot look only to this one verse we must look farther. The people in Luke asked Jesus, ”Who can be saved?” Jesus said, Luk 18:27 But He said, The things impossible with men are possible with God. This is the comparison between Old and New Testament. In Jeremiah the camel is like someone who is careful about what he does. He is very determined and stubborn. People want to follow them because they seem to be going the right way. But they never clean anything.
Therefore to God the camel is like somebody who avoids things. They never clean things out which is what God wants us to do. God doesn’t want us to avoid things. Rather he wants a clean life and mind so He can fill them with blessings. In the New Testament the camel is like someone trying to do the impossible with their own strength. They can be stubborn but they cannot do the impossible. Only God can do the impossible. That is to give you life forever. Are you like the camel today? Chasing after something which seems impossible? Something like peace of heart and mind? Something like power to change your life direction. God can do the impossible, and with God we can have all these things and more.
Dear God, I feel like I am in a dry desert in my life. The things I carry are precious to me. I need to let things go. Give me guidance to know what is important. Take my burden so I can again be refreshed. I am so thirsty and tired. Thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the day It is not what your gift is but the attitude with which you give it.
D is for Dovetailing
Dovetailing in English is what we say when we want to blend things together smoothly. It is used in carpentry many times and when things need to fit tightly together. I find the dove interesting. You can hear them in the morning cooing to each other. These are called morning doves. In the Bible doves were used for sacrifice of the poor people. It was the bird God chose to accept as a sacrifice. Dove also is used for the Holy Spirit. We see so many of these on Christian stickers and think of the Spirit. But the Bible says things about the dove that we see in ourselves. They are the opposite of the donkey. The donkey is hard headed and stubborn. The dove is soft and gentle. Which would you like to be like? In this Psalm we find that David wants to escape as easily as the dove. The dove is seen as a sense of freedom. Have you ever felt that way? Just wanting to escape form the pressure of life. To escape from the English tests and hokwons. Sometimes I feel that way. To be as free as a dove to fly away and escape quickly and easily. But the word dove is also used for gentleness. A soft emotional person. We find this in the Song of Solomon. It is very romantic.
Dove in Jeremiah talks about the nests of the dove. Jeremiah says that the people should move out and live like the dove. Making nests where they do, in the crevasses and sides of cliffs. There will no longer be protection of the large walls of the city. They will be exposed to the enemy. In Hosea we find the dove as a fragile and easily deceived person. A person who is naïve or simple minded and without understanding. The dove is also portrayed as a person who is trembling with fear. They are scared because of the larger enemies around them. The Old Testament talks about the Dove as God’s people. The New Testament talks about the dove as The Holy Spirit. It is interesting to look at the dove as ourselves. We are the people of God. The dove is never written different than that. The dove in the Psalms l0oks at the protection of God on a defenseless bird. It is God who is the Protector of His people. In Jeremiah we find that God knows where we are even if we have to run away from our problems. In the Song of Solomon we find the dove as the gentleness that God wants to see in us. The Song of Solomon is a love song. God loves us so much. God the gentle lover of our soul. In Hosea we find the dove as the person who believes everything everybody says. They follow easily. They are easily led astray. The Dove is not a bird of prey. It is a bird of beauty not strength. A bird of purity not of dirty. The dove is not a fighting bird but a peaceful bird.
This all means that if we are like the dove we will depend on God for everything. God will be our protector when we have some trouble in our lives. God will be there when there seems to be no security in our lives. When God is the center of our lives we will demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s attitude to the world around us. We must be careful not to be like the dove who follows easily to everything. The attitude and personality of the dove in 0ur lives is the sign of the Holy Spirit within us. When we are like the lion we have our own power. When we are like the dove. We like the Psalmist want to escape but God is our power even when we sleep. Do you have a dove personality or a lion personality?
Dear God I don’t have much to give you. My sacrifice seems so inadequate, so little. I become like a lion in my frustration. Change me O God into a dove. Accept my life as a sacrifice to you and your purpose. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought of the day When can soar on the wind of cultural trends we lose our sharpness
E is for Eagle
Isaiah 40:27-31 In English we often say someone has “Eagle Eyes”. Eagles are birds that are very different than other birds. But they are not the only ones that have sharp eyes. The eagle however is one of the highest flying birds you can find. In Scripture we find that the eagle is the animal used to escape. It can soar high above all the problems that other animals face on the ground. The eagle’s wings are almost the longest. The Bible talks about the Eagle as a bird of speed and long distance. So what does the eagle have to do with the New Year? The personality of the eagle is perfect for this special day. In the New Year we look forward. We plan our goals and ideas around what we want to do. These plans should include a spiritual goal to fly higher and see clearer through God’s eyes. This is where we need to have long and wide wings. These wings which are like the Holy Spirit. Give us the strength to soar above our circumstances. We call them Spirit Wings. To “soar like and eagle” means that we don’t worry about what goes on below. We can enjoy our life without fear. But there is another thing that eagles have to take care of.
They are little birds. They like to tease and peck at the eagle. They bother the eagle if it flies too low. The eagle doesn’t waste energy chasing its food. It is very precise and careful. In this Psalm we find the eagle as God. What is God like then in this Psalm? He is forgiving He is the healer He is the Redeemer He is the One who crowns us with mercy He is the One who can satisfy all of our desires. In this New Year we need to look at our goals. Look at where we want to go in this fresh new year. The Indians use eagle feathers in their war bonnets to give them strength. Christians use Spirit wings to keep us above the problems around us. We as Christians should desire to be more dependent on the Spirit who will lift us above our circumstances. We need to have eagle eyes in this new year. Eyes that can see the future as God sees it. We need to pray for eyes which are clear to see where we need to change to become more like Jesus.
Dear God I follow the trends and become careless in my spiritual life. Though I often feel free I am a slave to my image. Help me to use my energy more wisely so I am less tired. Help me to set better personal goals. Goals based on who You are. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought of the Day Change is inevitable. It is when we ignore this change that we get into trouble.
F is for frog
1 John 4: 1-10
I wanted to go with fish. Fish are an important part of our Christian life. In fact fish are a symbol of Christians. But the frog is also an interesting creature. It is different than a toad. A toad lives on the land while the frog in the water. That is not all true. Frogs live in trees and other places. Toads are found hiding. They like to hide. But so do we. We like to hide from the truth sometimes. Frogs are found in the Bible in only two places. But the second one refers to the first one. It was a plague of Egypt. When the people of Israel wanted to escape from Egypt. But when God brought the frogs to Egypt the fortune tellers and Shaman did the same. In the plagues of Egypt the magicians of Egypt copied the miracles of Moses. Except for the last one. Do you know what it was? Do you remember? It was life and death. Only God could save them and choose to take the first of everything from Egypt. But frogs do something we all do sometimes. Let me tell you what it is. Frogs like to be comfortable. Yes they enjoy the rain and they enjoy the fun of sitting on a lily pad. They can survive most things because they can live on land and in water. But they die because they become too comfortable.
Let me explain what I mean. If you put a frog in a pail of water he will be very comfortable. He will swim and then wait. Then you slowly warm up the water. As the water warms up the frog continues to wait. Very patiently. Then the water gets hotter and hotter. Finally the frog is boiled and dies. We do the same in the winter. When it is really cold our bodies get numb, or not feeling. As we feel less we think that everything is ok. Later we find that the feet and hands and ears are frozen too much and we lose them to frostbite. So what can we learn from the frog. First we can learn that God’s miracles can be duplicated by Satan. Magic is not a miracle but they look the same. How can you tell the difference? Whose frogs are from God? The Bible tells us to test the spirits. 1Jo 4:1 Dear friends, stop believing every spirit. Instead, test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1Jo 4:2 This is how you can recognize God's Spirit: Every spirit who acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. 1Jo 4:3 But every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard that he is coming, and now he is already in the world. Second we find that when we become too comfortable we don’t grow in our faith. Faith is something that grows. Growing faith means that it is changing. If we become too comfortable the changes are never noticed and we die spiritually.
In John’s world false teachers came into the Church. The people were like the frog in the pail of water. The false teachers slowly turned the heads of some of the people. They didn’t see the change and their spiritual life died. We face the same thing in our culture. We don’t like change because we have fear of it. We don’t like change because we don’t like to challenge things. This year we need to make goals to grow spiritually. To know more about what the Bible says about the doctrines. This year we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so we can change to be more like Him. We need to become more confident so we can test what we see and hear and have courage to keep the truth of God first. Today we need to ask ourselves if we can determine whose frog is it anyway. Is it magic or a miracle? Today we have things like Harry Potter. These are movies that are popular. They warm our water slowly and slowly we accept them into our Christian circles. This is when we need to jump out and say, NO!!! They do not help us grow spiritually. They are against Christ. Today let us make a goal to test and challenge those things that we desire so that we can be ready for harder challenges to our spiritual life.
Dear God, I am like the frog. I have become insensitive to how the culture has changed me. I desire to be more sensitive so I will live in your power. Let me live in your freshness and not the lukewarmness that surrounds me. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the day Being stubborn is not always bad. It is when our stubbornness makes us blind to the truth that we hurt ourselves.
G is for goat
Reading Matthew 25:32- 46 Have you ever seen a goat? What is a baby goat called? A kid! So kids what do you think about that? Goats in the Bible are used most of the time as an opposite to Sheep. Sheep were animals that were used for a saving sacrifice. It was the blood of the lamb that was important. Lamb was also a type of Christ. In other words Lamb and Christ in the Bible are the same thing. But in English we use the word SCAPEGOAT for the opposite of the Lamb. It is a person who gets blamed for something when we really don’t want to be responsible. Another new English phrase is “fall Guy”. The person who takes the blame. Goats and people have a lot in common. The goat is an animal that is very stubborn. Are you stubborn? What do you do when you are stubborn? Do you pout, yell, hit, or run away. But stubborn is not always bad. As we look to scripture being stubborn is good when we have to make a choice for God. The Bible says a lot about goats and sheep. In these verses we find that God likes sheep and not goats. How are sheep different than goats? First they follow easier than goats. If you get one sheep going in the right direction the others follow.
The goat likes to do their own thing. I am like this a lot. Second the offering of a lamb or kid was acceptable to God if it was a perfect one. Third the goat here is separated. The New Testament is very specific about the goat and sheep when it comes to God’s judgment In this passage we find the sheep are on the right hand and the goats the left. The right hand was the most important hand. It was the clean hand. The left being the dirty hand. The hand that you cursed people with. The sheep on the right had paid attention to who Jesus was. They had served Christ by helping those people who were down and out. The goats, which were on the left said they had also done the same. So why were they on the left? They had experienced the same people. They had seen the same problems. But they had not responded. They were greedy and stubborn. So what does Christ look like? In these verses we find many ways to see Christ. Christ is not always seen as a power monger. Rather He looks for the sensitive sheepness that we should be like. Goats are every independent. They like to be the king of the hill. They are arrogant and insensitive to others. We need to be strong but dependent on God’s strength not our own. We need to be sensitive to the needs of others outside of our little circle.
Sheep need to be cared for a lot. Goats like to get into trouble. They ignore others needs focusing on themselves. Today when we look at ourselves. Are we like the goat or the sheep? If God was to choose today, would He say you are a sheep or a goat? Could you say you were strong and independent on your pay check and your strength of mind? Or are you dependent on your God to follow Him?
Dear God, I am stubborn. Sometimes I’m too stubborn to see my own sin. I am like the goat when I want to be like a sheep. Help me be a better follower. You promised peace beside still waters to Your sheep. I want this peace. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the Day When we protect ourselves we feel more confident to sting others. We need to be willing to move on so we can have victory in our life.
H is for Hornets
Joshua 24:2-15 Hornets, Bees and Wasps are almost the same. But the bees and the wasps are different. Bees look for sweet flowers. They can make wax and honey and they are soft. Wasps and Hornets are the same family. Their mouth is small so they eat different things. Hornets have a body covered in special protection. They are also the largest of the wasp family. They make the loudest noise. When a bee stings they die because their stinger is left behind. The hornet can use its mouth to bite and their stinger has some poison in it. We used to call the hornet a yellow jacket because of its color. Its body is yellow and it looks for meat (your arm) to eat. We also have the horse fly. But this is not in the Bible. The horse fly can bite as well. It is like a monster fly that they make science fiction movies with. But the hornet has an interesting place in the Bible. God used it in Exodus and in Deuteronomy and Joshua God makes a reference to this occasion. The lesson today is about hornets. God used the hornet for a special purpose. What was that? Do you know? There were many people outside of Egypt that didn’t like Israel. God had promised to give a special land to His people Israel.
Do you think that those people wanted 1 million people to move next door? They didn’t even speak the same language. But God had promised and God always keeps His promise. So how did God move these people? Maybe he sent them a letter. Or, maybe He sent them an email. Maybe He yelled at them. NO!NO!NO!NO! He sent hornets. Let us look at this story. It is very important because it shows a lot about us. Joshua is speaking to the people. He outlines all the times when they cried to God and God came to the rescue. When they obeyed there was victory in their life. There is a spiritual principle here that is important. When you cry to God he hears you. ALL THE TIME When He sends you He will take care of all the problems. This is the most important. God had told the people to go into a land full of people who didn’t want them. They had to make a choice. Obey and go or look at the problems and wander in the desert. Sometimes they obeyed and many times they wandered in the desert. When they found a problem like people who wanted to fight and not move He used HORNETS. Israel didn’t have to fight. They had only to obey. This principle is found all the way through the Bible. God doesn’t always use hornets. He used many animals to teach people. When you are stubborn and don’t do what God wants He may use a bad situation to move us. He may use hornets but we don’t find many in Korea. But, often God helps us or others through our circumstances. He doesn’t always use miracles. He uses things around us to move us encourage us to do His will.
If you don’t have peace inside your heart and mind today ask yourself What is God trying to tell me? Do I need hornets to bite me to make me move? God wants us only to obey. Not to fight battles and get tired and stressed. When we obey the hornets go ahead of us to help not against us.
Dear God, I like to go my own way. I like to do my own thing. I like to be comfortable and lazy. I need you to move me from my comfort zone. Help me to obey you so I don’t find myself in bad situations so much. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the Day
Often we miss the small things God wants us to do because we are too busy doing out own business. We see only the now and not what God can do. Ponder how God uses our circumstances to communicate with us.
I is for insects
Scripture Deuteronomy 28: 38-52
There are many kinds of insects mentioned in the Bible. The word insects can be found in some versions in Leviticus. In these verses the mention of “locusts” and “worms” are insects. Insects are interesting. Some people hate them. Some people love them. Insects are really good sometimes. Imagine if there were no caterpillars there would be no butterflies.If there were no insects many birds would have no food. Imagine a robin not finding the worm. Insects are also a part of God’s plan. Have you ever wondered how God talks to us? God used hornets to move the nations so Israel could go forward. God used a donkey to talk to the prophet. God used a fish to pay the taxes of the disciples. But, insects also damage things. The farmer uses poison to keep them from eating his fruit, rice, etc. Insects get into something and ruin it. They get into a tree and slowly destroy it. It becomes dead and then becomes useless to anything. Insects carry disease like mosquitoes. So what can we learn about the Bible, insects, and us. First the Bible says that God controls everything. Even the insects. In these verse we find that God sends them His people because they didn’t obey the command of God. Second we find that insects are for both good and bad. This is like most of the things that happen in our life. We choose our
friends, good or bad. We choose to study or not to study. We choose to obey our parents or not. We choose to listen to God or not. There are many things clear in the Bible. We are sometimes sick because our bodies are not perfect. But these verses are very clear about one thing. Sometimes what we do, the choices we make don’t work. We pray but our situation gets worse. This is when we know that God has sent some insects. Our life slowly gets worse and worse. We get more frustrated and angry every day and week. This is what happened to me. I knew what God wanted me to do. That is to preach and teach. But I was going a different direction. Now God has given me His blessing because I am now obeying His command. The key to insects is to use them for the glory of God. We can do this obeying the Word of God. Or our life will slowly get more frustrating. God always gives us choices. Our choice is to obey His still small voice. This will make us confident and strong. Or We can do it our way and let the insects into our lives to make us frustrated and our prayers empty. What are you doing with your insects today? Are you using them for the glory of God? Or are you letting them take your power and confidence away?
Dear God, I like to protect myself. I don’t like to move into new situations easily. Please help me to move without any extra stings. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day We all have the same dragon within. We must be careful that it does not burn us with its fire. We have God as a protection if we want Him.
J is for Jackal
Reading Psalm 63 Well my trip was exciting. It was also tiring. The trip back was also tiring. (The summer camping trip) God did great things. I told everyone how great God was. The weather was great and God had prepared the hearts before me. Even the car broke down at the hotel door. Today we want to look at the jackal. In the Hebrew jackal is translated to English as “dragon”. We find this in Nehemiah. In this psalm we find the jackal translated as “fox”. The jackal is like a fox we find in Korea or Canada. What are the traits of a jackal? The jackal is a very patient animal. It will wait for what it wants. It is cunning and deceptive. It is also very quick to catch its prey. It is a thief. They like to hunt alone and in the wilderness. So what can we find in this Psalm to understand the jackal? In this Psalm we find that the wilderness is the place we often find ourselves in our daily life. It is here that the jackal lives and where we find our desire for God the most. It is here that we find the shadow of God as protection from the cunning jackal. It is here that we must make choices to follow God, praise God, worship God, or just meditate on God. The trip to Canada was like this for me. I went to Canada worrying about how the Directors would understand the vision we have.
I was in the wilderness wandering what was coming. The prayer I made was to keep focused on the things that were more important. That was to keep focused on God’s vision, meeting God’s people and not my own emotion. All the other years the weather was terrible. It was cold and windy when I came. This year it was wonderful. The other years there were complaints and this year I met so many people who encouraged me. Other years the Directors were not open and this year they were ready to accept the ideas. Satan is often written about in the Bible as a cunning person. He is like the jackal waiting patiently for us to fall and become weak. Then he will attack us with lies and gossip. The jackal waits for the animal to focus on something else. Then he jumps on them and eats them. This Psalm mentions the jackal as what happens when someone tries to harm you the child of God. The wilderness is a dry place. I grew up on the edge of the desert. There is not always water you can drink. No water bottles with cold water ready. It is a place where God made Israel wander when they disobeyed Him. It was also where they made the decision to follow God’s command and have victory in their lives. The wilderness in our life is the place where we make the choice to worship God or to become weak. The psalmist didn’t have a church or a tabernacle tent. But, he knew that worship was what he had to do. When we are in the shadow of the Lord the heat of the wilderness is not so hot. The dryness not so dry. And the jackals waiting for us get bored and go away.
Today some of you are worried about the lies and the gossip that goes around. There is only one solution to this problem. We find it in this Psalm. Worship God in our dry wilderness. When I cam to Korea in 1999 there was lots of gossip around. But after 3 years and a renewed focus on God and who He was this was all changed. My sister told me, “All the things that were said people have found out the truth. The people that said them have lost their credibility. They became food for the jackals. What are you doing in your wilderness today? Are you worshiping God? Or, are you worrying about the gossip which makes you weak and food for the jackal?
Dear God, I am weak and in wilderness. I long for your protection from the jackals of life. Take my life and lead me to the safety of your bosom. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day Using others can be fun for a time. It can also get us ahead. But in gaining the world we must be careful not to lose our respect.
K is for Kine
Amos 4:1-5 What kind of kine are you? What is a kine? In the bible we find kine is the buffalo. Not the western buffalo we see in western movies. Rather it is the water buffalo you would see in Asia or Africa to help the farmer. The other word that is associated with the kine is yoke. To make the buffalo work you put a yoke on it. Yoke is a great biblical concept. Jesus said Mat 11:30 for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' When you are married you become yoked together. But there are two kinds of buffalo in the Bible. There are lean ones and fat ones. Let’s look at some of the personality traits of the buffalo. The buffalo is a large animal. It is a powerful anima. So when the Bible uses buffalo it is often uses to demonstrate the power person, or people in power positions. When the buffalo is not in a yoke it can be very dangerous. It has a long memory. It remembers those who did wrong to it. In Joseph’s dream the skinny ones ate the fat ones. In this passage the personality of the fat buffalo was compared to the buffalo of the nation of Bashan. They were fat but they didn’t like to stay in their own pasture. They wanted more even though they had enough. They had become fat by abusing others.
But they wanted so much to have the blessing of God. They cam and sacrificed to their gods in front of the True GOD. They thought that they would be able to do as they wish and be blessed. They looked blessed because of their fatness but really they fooled themselves. Their blessing came because of their power and freedom to break the fences of others land. Today we find the same thing. It is easy to look at another’s money or power and desire it. We get clouds in our mind which hide the blessings of God. When laws and discipline are put around our neck we break them to have freedom. Then our desire becomes the drive in our life. God’s desire becomes dimmer and dimmer. Finally we have success only to desire more and more and more. In the end we have everything but happiness and fulfillment. Jesus says, Mat 11:30 ,” for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' This means that the fences He puts on is, the Law He demands us to do, is really not so heavy. When we keep our focus on God’s desire. When we let God do His job for us. When we let Him work ahead of us and not us running ahead of Him. Then we find we are satisfied. We don’t need power. We don’t need to break other peoples fences just to get fatter. All we need is to carry His yoke, go in His direction for our life, celebrating the freedom of Christ to our neighbors who carry the yoke of the world. What kind of Kine are you? One who desires to be fat with power, lost in your own desires? Or, the kind of Kine who is yoked to Christ and His purpose for you’re your life as the guiding power in your life? If your yoke is heavy maybe you are carrying Christ’s burden and not yours. If your yoke is too heavy ask the pastors or
elders to pray with you so Jesus yoke can be one you are carrying. It is light and freeing.
Dear God My yoke is so heavy today. How can I lighten it? It is hard to go on. Lighten my load so I can have the joy, peace, and power I desire. Take my yoke and replace it with yours. Guide me to the still waters and green pastures. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the Day To have the mind of a child doesn’t make you childish. To be dependent on Jesus makes you the strongest person in the crowd.
L is for Lamb
Isaiah 43:21-28 Lamb is an important animal in our Christian faith. It was also a key part of the sacrifice of the people of Israel. What is it about the Lamb that is so important. Why not a chicken or a dog? Let’s look at the character of a lamb. A lamb is innocent and young. It follows so easily the care of its mother or father. Compared to the kid which is a baby goat it is very gentle. The kid likes to be the king of the hill. It likes to be first. It is always fighting or in English,. “butting heads” with others. Christ was called the “Lamb of God”. John 1:29 The Lamb was the first choice for sacrifice. It was preferred to any other. It had to be perfect in the Old Testament to be accepted. It had to be the first baby of the mother. The character of the Lamb in the Bible is one of gentleness and ready for sacrifice. In this scripture we find Israel in captivity. God defends His decision to allow this to come to Israel. Israel didn’t have to sacrifice for some things outside of their land. But they had just got tired of doing their duty as chosen people of God.
They had got tired of all the Laws that they thought they had to do. Do you get tired of the things you have to do as a Christian? All the Bible reading and praying and not having fun? That is what a lot of people think. They think that the Christian life is all about rules. In real life being a Christian is about being a lamb. A pure lamb which is ready to be used of God. In these verses we find that the people obeyed all the rules. But they were not ready to be used of God. God says that He gave them everything they wanted. He even forgave ALL their sin. He didn’t even enforce the rules when they were in captivity. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. He was the PERFECT LAMB. It was His blood that gives you and me the freedom in Christ. But even with all the things God gave Israel they continued to not see what God really wanted. Instead of serving God they wanted God to serve them by continuing to sin. We do this sometimes. Maybe we don’t continue to sin but we demand from God in our prayers. We think we can do good works on the outside and get God to answer with blessings. But all was not lost. God pleads with Israel to do things to cause Him to remember… Remember what? Remember their sin? Or remember that He had chosen and made the nation of Israel? God wants to remember why He created a nation as great as Israel was and could be. He is was and will always be ready to forgive. He is always ready to restore His power to your life. All He asks is for us to take a sum of our life. From this we can see if there is anything that would make us justified to live without penalty.
So today we want to ask ourselves questions about our life. Questions like, “Are we tired of all the rules that Christians have to do?” Are we serious about our Christian life? What does this mean? It means that we are not only doing good things to please others, but that we have an attitude of service to God and not being served by God. Like Israel we need a pure Lamb to sacrifice. We need a first born Lamb to shed blood to cover our sin. That Lamb is Jesus Christ. He died so that that we can live a life of peace and happiness. Jesus the Lamb wants us to use Him so that we can be justified. So that we do not have to become tired of the Christian life, but enjoy the power that He promises. If you have tried to work for your salvation you need to come to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. IT is His blood that will secure your relationship and open the blessings. Maybe you pray every day. But do you pray as a servant to God? Or do you want God to server You? Today only you can answer these questions. I urge you to take an account of your life. Are you a servant of God through the blood of the Lamb?
Dear God, Thank you for being the sacrifice lamb for me. Without You I would have to bear the burden of my sin alone. May I have a lamb’s simplicity to enjoy your complexity. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the Day It was the straw that broke the camels back. It was the mouse that set the lion free. It is the small things that make and break us, not the big things. Let’s take care of the small
things in life and the big things will come.
M is for Mouse
Isaiah 66:15-24 Do you remember the story about the mouse and the lion? The lion gets caught in a net and the mouse helps him by chewing the net open. The mouse is very small but can be very dangerous. In America and Canada many farmers die of the hanta virus which is found in a small field mouse dung. Most of the time we find our minds thinks of mouse as Stewart little, or Mickey mouse. These are the most fun ones. Or there is one that eats the cheese or the peanut butter. The one that eats a hole in the bag of rice, or our favorite socks. But in the Bible mouse is very serious. So serious that God told the people they should not eat them. The Philistines, a nation that Israel struggled with all the time, made small statues of them. They were eaten like Koreans like Dog meat. The mouse is small but it destroys so many things. What can we discover about the mouse in the Bible that reflects on us?
First we find that the mouse was not to be eaten. This was commanded because the Nations against God did this. For us, this means that we need to be separate from the world around us. This is very important. In fact it is a major theme in the Bible. The key to power in our lives is often linked to this separation. In 1 Samuel the story is about the Philistines sending the ark of the Covenant back to Israel. Guess what they sent along? Some bags of mice idols. They wanted their idols to protect the Ark on its way home. Imagine sending to God’s people idols which God had demanded not to eat. In English we say, “Quiet as a Church mouse”. This shows us another thing about a mouse. It is very quiet. It wanders around along the edges of the room hoping never to be seen. The mouse problem is what Israel had and what we have. Israel was tempted to do the things of the world around them. This took the power away from the nation. It made them weak. If there was no war they didn’t notice how weak they were. What can we learn form the mouse? A mouse made the net of the lion weak slowly. Israel became weak slowly. Often we don’t think there is anything wrong with the little things. A little lie, a little idol, a little a little a little ………………. Then we are faced with a challenge. As we try to find the strength to fight we find that we are weak. What can we do? In these verses we find Isa 66:20 And they have brought all your brethren out of all the nations, A present to Jehovah, On horses, and on chariot, and on litters, And on mules, and on dromedaries, Unto My holy mountain Jerusalem, said Jehovah, As the
sons of Israel bring the present in a clean vessel, Into the house of Jehovah. The key is to present ourselves a clean vessel to God. How do we do this? We do this by confession of sin all the time. Making new habits, This means that we need to look at our life and ask if we have little things that take our focus away from God. Jesus is coming soon. He cannot let sinful people into His perfect kingdom. He is the perfect JUDGE of all our life, thoughts, and, heart. It is His blood that makes us clean. If we are to have power to live our life we need to have a pure life. We need to throw out our idols, we need to catch the mice that make us weak. What mice do you have in your life? Are you ready of Jesus if He came for you today?
Dear God, I know the small things are problems. I need your blood to wash over me and cleanse me. Only then can I experience Your power in my life. In Jesus Name, Amen
Thought for the day God has given us everything we need for a good life. If we are disillusioned by the lights around us we become fooled into a false security.
N is for Night Hawk
In Africa we used to have night hawks. You could see their red eyes in the headlights of your car. It is sometimes called a night jar. Maybe because of the shape and size. It is called in some translations an “owl”. What does the Bible say about this bird? Really very little except you shouldn’t eat it. But if you consider it a hawk then you can find several things. In Job, which we have read today, we find God challenges Job. The challenge is to consider everything Job can do in his own power. Many birds go south for the winter. They don’t have a map. They just know where to go. The night hawk hunts at night. This is the same as Satan. Satan hates the light. Satan likes it when there is darkness in our life. He has good night eyes and we get lost very easily.
The night is when we feel blue or depressed. When we feel like Job that everything has fallen apart. The night hawk in the Hebrew means to scratch or tear the face. I remember when I was younger. I got into a lot of fights. Some of them were with older guys. They were bigger and stronger than I. The older ones sometimes lost because they were vulnerable to the scratching I did to their face and eyes. Eyes are important. Imagine if you had no eyes from today. What would you do? Eyes are also an important part of scripture. Eyes are a weakness for us. It is through the eyes we sin. We see things which make us covet. We see things that make us unhappy. Satan wants to scratch and face so that we are unhappy with who we are. He wants us to be unhappy with the way God created us. With the problems that He lets us have. This is where we find Job in these verses. In reality He lights the way. Night hawks can do nothing in the light. They cannot hunt or fly or anything. They become the prey. Today we can find the same things in our lives. When our relationship with Jesus Christ is not right, we become dark and gloomy inside. Satan attacks us so we can’t see where God’s light is. But all is not lost because of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the healer of all those scratches. He is the restorer of the sight lost when we sinned. Today we need to look at our life and see God’s light.
If you don’t see the light, pray. It is only through prayer that we communicate with God. It is only through prayer that we have a relationship with God. Don’t be afraid of the night hawk. Accept Jesus as Lord of Your life. Let Him heal you from the inside out so you can see again the beauty of God.
Dear God Like the owl need to use my eyes wisely. I need your eyes to see into the darkness, because when there is light Satan cannot have power over me. Heal my hurts that I have gotten. They take away my focus from you. Thank you for your healing and your light.
In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day When we stick our neck out the risk is great. When we bury it in the sand we can’t see the danger when it comes. By holding our
head high we can see danger far away and avoid it.
O is for Ostrich
Job 39: 13-18 An ostrich is a strange creature. Its long neck with no feathers and long legs make it look different. Sometimes in the movies the kids will ride them like horses. So they are very strong and very fast. They even used the feathers for ladies hats many years ago. The ostriches I have found in Korea would not make good hat feathers. They are dirty and not pretty. There is also something about ostriches we can find if we ask a few questions to the farmer. Did you know that if you pick a feather off the wing and chose the wrong one it would die? Only one feather. In this passage we find that the ostrich lays its egg and then goes away. It leaves it unprotected in the sand. Imagine. What a foolish bird. The ostrich is also known to bury its head in the sand when there is danger. This is not very safe. The bird that forgets .Now I forget some things. But maybe that is because I am just an old guy.
But the ostrich has faith in the shell. The ostrich egg has a very thick shell. Most animals can’t break it. We are the same in many ways. We put our faith in our job or our family. Maybe our Church! We have some money saved for our retirement. We can escape from trouble because we are fast. We can see danger coming because we have a long neck. But we forget. What do we forget? What did Israel always forget? They forgot how good God was to them. They forgot their egg and went after other things. They got distracted. In the New Testament they also got distracted. They got distracted by the traditions. But we do the same. Don’t we? Jesus taught that He would come again. He encouraged His disciples to look forward to this moment. It was to be the focus of their life when things got bad. When things go wrong what do we do? We often go looking for answers in all the wrong places. When things don’t go right we stick our head in the sand hoping things will just work themselves out. Like the ostrich we put our heads in the sand. What do we forget? We forget the promises that God has given us. Promises that He will come again to Judge the world. We remember that there is heaven but forget that there is also a hell. We forget that Satan’s goal is to draw us away from God’s power. Like the ostrich that goes away and leaves the egg for others to steal or destroy so easily. So we have to ask ourselves today, “How easy is it to leave the promises of God behind?”
What draws us away from God? How easy is it to ignore the fact that Jesus is coming soon? Are we ready or do we just cover our head? Jesus is coming soon. We need to be ready to meet Him. Are You?
Dear God Too often I am drawn away from you. The pressures of my job and friends make me less aware of the danger around me. I often hide my head and hope all things will pass me by. I forget the promises You have given me. Help me to hold my head high so I can see the danger. When I see the danger help me to claim victory as You have promised in Your Word the Bible.
In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day Having the master key is great only if you use it to unlock the door. Too often we break the door or pout and complain outside it.
P is for Partridge.
Jeremiah 17:7-14 Do you know what season we sing about a partridge? Christmas! We sing the 12 days of Christmas song and there is a partridge in a pear tree. What is it doing in the pear tree? Have you ever chased a partridge? You can do it. In bible times they would chase it and then they would hit it with sticks. The partridge is a funny bird. It does funny things. IT won’t fly unless it has to. It will run as fast as it can and only fly if surprised. A missionary did catch one in real life. In Jeremiah God condemns those who rely on man for things. Or those who have got rich through using others. We also find a great verse to memorize. Jeremiah 17:11 The partridge does something that may sound really silly. They sit on eggs that aren’t theirs and they don’t hatch. This is the same as the riches of those who used others.
The partridge that really are useless. The one makes it easy to catch, the other he spends his time waiting for something that will never happen. That is to have little partridges. We do the same things sometimes. We depend on others to bring happiness and peace to our hearts. We try hard to get salvation. We wait for something to happen in our life. God says that He brought the Israelites into captivity because they had other gods and idols. They had worshipped other gods hoping to get victory as a nation. But they like the partridge waited for nothing. We also like to run away when we have some trouble. Where do we run when we have trouble? Maybe we run to our parents and our parents run to their family and on and on. Maybe we run to the pastor who can offer a prayer for us. Maybe we run to our friends or to the bank. When we run we find ourselves with too much stress and frustration. We find we have a lot of anger and in the end too tired to fight. What do we wait for? We wait for blessings in our life. We wait for direction and get lost. We sit on our eggs for nothing. God has offered us an answer. Run first to God. He is the first person we pray for and then we run around trying to do it our way. Run first to God. Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man who has trusted in Jehovah. .. He will be like the tree planted by the river. Peaceful and strong. Run to God and relax.
I don’t always go to God first. I pray a lot and I am sometimes impatient. I run when I should let God protect me. But if we run to God first, if we let God do His job, we find ourselves in victory. Where do you run first? What are you waiting for?
Dear God, Too often I depend on my wallet and my plan to get me through. I get stressed because I don’t depend on you. Help me to run to You first and then my understanding. Help me to not wait but run to You before trouble comes to my door. In Jesus Name
Thought for the Day There are more people who die of overweight diseases than starving. Complaining is more often not our lack of things but lack of equality with our neighbor.
Q is for Quail
Exodus 16:11-18 Numbers 11:1-15 Read This one If you could have one food for a month what would it be? Only one food every day. You get it in the morning and if you take too much it goes rotten. This is where Israel found itself. Quail is found in two places in the Bible. In this passage and in Numbers 11. We find that the people complained about what God had given them. They were in the desert. They complained that they didn’t have enough. In Numbers we find the people doing the same thing. In Exodus they were in the wilderness of Sin. In Numbers they were in the place called Graves of Lust. Now the quail is a normal bird. It migrates with the season. But when God sent them to Israel they came every day. There were so many you could easily catch them. In Korea you eat quail eggs. Just another small chicken egg. But to God quail was sent to do two things.
The first was to satisfy the people’s hunger. The second was to demonstrate the terrible sin of complaining. The first was soon after the miracle of escaping Egypt. The people had given up all their good food and hard work to eat manna. They had their freedom and were going to the promised land. But they didn’t like the road there. The second was to give them THEIR desire and then Then when they had eaten all they could eat it became a disease to them. What can we learn from the quail? Well first of all we learn that Israel got quail because God cared for them. He knew the road to the promised land would be hard and dry sometimes. In Numbers 11 we find that God was tired of His people complaining and gave them so much they got sick. In both places Sin and Graves of Lust. Aren’t they both sin? Have you ever had too much of a good thing? Sometimes we have so many blessings that we complain. God gives us everything but we are not satisfied.
What would it take to satisfy you? What can God give you to make you happy? When we are in the wilderness we look at other people around us. Their success and their bank account. We forget about the goodness of God. About the promised land that we are going to.
Are you wandering around the wilderness? Complaining that God doesn’t give you enough or do enough? God wants to give you the desires of your heart. Psa 37:4 And delight yourself in Jehovah, that He may give you your heart's desire. Let’s stop complaining let’s enjoy what God has brought us looking at the Promised Land. The promise of Easter.
Dear God I complain too much. I don’t see your blessing in what you have given me. I give my desire to You so that I can enjoy the blessing You want to give me. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day We like to be tough. It is our way of protecting ourselves. When we are Ram tough we let God take care of us and not hurt those around us.
R is for RAM
Genesis 22: 1-13 Ram is the father of Lamb. Do you remember what was important about LAMB? Lamb was a reference to Christ, the “LAMB of God” who takes away the sin of the world”. Ram is so different. Have you ever tried to wrestle with a Lamb? It can be difficult but you can usually win. A Ram on the other hand is much more mature. It is a symbol of strength. Dodge, the American Truck Company likes to put it on their trucks, to show how tough they are. Rams were different than many other sacrifices. It is also important that God provided a Ram not a Lamb for Abraham. It is important because for Abraham the Ram was a sacrifice of consecration. That is a big word. Consecration means that there is a commitment to something. A promise to be pure and holy. Not only for a day or two but for the rest of your life.
Of course we cannot keep our promise. But in the old testament it was the Ram that was significant. A symbol of power. The bull sacrifice was for sin. The Ram was a sacrifice of purity. Now imagine the word Ram as power. When Abraham was putting Isaac on the altar, there may have been many questions he had. He had the power to control Isaac’s behavior. He could have had pride that he did what God had told him to do. But to Abraham and Israel as a nation the Ram was a symbol of man’s power. Man’s will to become obedient to God. This is why the sacrifice of a Ram was so important. In the Old Testament the Ram was to have the priest’s hands put on his head. A sign of acceptance by God. The priest would look at the animal and see if it ok. Then there would be the sacrifice and a commitment to be obedient. As we look at the Bible we find this theme over and over again. The Ram fights for his territory, but otherwise he is a gentle guy. The Lamb didn’t fight at all. He was silent. We are like the Ram very often. We fight for our rights. We fight because we know best. We fight because we are proud. We are stubborn. We like the power of the Ram. In Daniel we also find a Ram. The Ram was talking about a proud nation. But this nation would fall in the end. In today’s world we find countries that are Rams. We find ourselves being like Rams. But there is one thing that we find hard to do. When we pray we find it hard to put the ram on the altar. We like to put the bull of sin offering on the altar. Confession our sin is a great thing. It is cleansing.
But the Ram is hard. It is the consecration sacrifice. A commitment to set ourselves apart form the world and be totally obedient to GOD. It is this sacrifice that we must work on. When we pray it is a key to power. With purity we find blessing for sure. With consecration we find total victory and protection. Today I want to ask you and myself the same question. Are we a consecrated people, or do we focus just on the sin offering? Is our commitment to Jesus 100% all the time. or do we say it half heartedly?
Dear God I give my tithe every month. I like to keep some for myself. I know that is selfish. I want to give You ALL that I have so that you can multiply it and bring glory to Yourself through me.
In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day Each bad thing in our life comes from an egg. The life cycle of the egg is
determined by us. We must determine the nature of the egg before we nurture it.
Serpent or Servant
Psalm 91:1-14 Snakes and serpents are always a little creepy. They are dangerous and scary. In the bible we find the serpent as Satan the fallen angel. The deceiver in Genesis and Revelation. But they are not always dangerous. Remember when Israel was in the desert and they complained about the food. We heard that story last Sunday. Well God sent serpents to bite the people. But when they cried for help and forgiveness God told Moses to put up a serpent which had the healing power for them. What can we know about snakes from the Bible? First that they are poisonous and dangerous. This we find in Numbers and in Acts when Paul was bit by one.
Second that they deceive people. This is what happened to Eve. But she was not the only one. The whole world was deceived. In John we find that the Serpent was a symbol of the Servant Jesus Christ. Let’s read it together. The servant serpent overcame the deceiver serpent. John 3:14 And even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, I like this Psalm. (Psalm 91) The Book of Psalms is such a great book to read and memorize. This Psalm is all about the Serpent and the Servant. God’s protection of those who dwell in His shelter. Imagine not having anything happen to you as your friends struggle. Nobody would want this to happen but it does. Many times we look for martyrs for our faith. We want to sacrifice everything. Easter season is about this sacrifice. It is about the deceiver serpent who wanted to destroy the creation of God from the beginning and about Jesus being in the shelter of His Father God. We look so often at only the sacrifice and forget about the blessing of the shelter of God. We look at the serpent who deceives and not the servant who heals. Let’s look at what the psalmist says about how powerful we are when we focus on the servant not the serpent People will fall around us and we won’t get hurt. We will see the wicked suffer. We don’t have to be scared at night or when we can’t see any light on our path. He will command His angels to protect you. You will tread on the Lion and the Cobra. Job thought that too. But in the end God doubled what Satan had taken away. Today the question for us is what are we looking at?
Are we scared we are going to be bitten by the snake? Deceived by the serpent? The Apostle Paul was worried for the Christians. He knew that many of them were weak. He knew many of them would be tempted to go other directions. It is so easy to follow the serpent. It is so easy to complain. But it is only when we are in the shelter of the Almighty God that we are powerful. It is only when we are focusing on the servant that we are healed. Let us look at the Servant this year. Let us become powerful in our lives because we live in the shadow and protection of God.
Dear God, I am wrong so often in the eggs I keep because I can not see inside. I complain too easily. I want to be a SERVANT for You, not a SERPENT to those around me. I give my life to You. Protect me form the
Serpent who wants to take Your joy and power from me. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day The guide in our life will bring us to power. If we choose to follow fashion it will bring us attention for
a moment. If we choose the Holy Spirit we will live a life of honor and power forever. It is our choice.
T is for Turtle Dove
Luke 2: 21-35 There are so many kinds of doves. But they are not always nice. In the big city they can make your car dirty. They get under your feet when you want to walk across the park where everybody feeds them. But they were one of the two birds that were allowed to be sacrificed. But what is it about the dove that is so important? The dove is gentle and soft. Have you ever held one in your hand? They also make a soft noise in the morning. We used to call them mourning doves because of their sound. Do you know who is like a Dove? Think for a moment. There was a speaking dove in the Bible. We use the dove to represent the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at this idea for a moment.
The Holy Spirit is a dove. What is Jesus? Jesus is the Lamb! What is God then? God is the King of Kings. But each animal has its place. The role of the Holy Spirit is to let us know when we are doing something bad. We often think that the Spirit is just about sin and conviction of sin. But really He does other things. HE makes us feel uncomfortable if we are approaching danger to sin. He makes us feel bad if we are going in the wrong direction when we want to go in the right direction. So the Holy Spirit is our spiritual guide. How does He guide us? First He guides us with gentleness. His job is not to force us to do something. Rather He is a gentle guide. If we don’t listen to Him we get lost. When we get lost we don’t lose Him but His gentleness. We find ourselves with short term happiness and emptiness. We pray for help but refuse to listen. We ignore His gentleness Doves represent Peace in our world today. It is the Peace that we all want in life, the inner peace . So how can we apply turtle dove to our life today. Remember how we love to be Ram tough? Well, in our spiritual life we need to be like a turtle dove. When we are like a turtle dove we let the Holy Spirit control our life. We allow the Lamb of God to keep us clean through His blood which He shed for us. When our friends get stressed we have PEACE. So why are you not a turtle dove? Is there any good reason?
Dear God I am slow to change. I know that You want to make me a better image of who You are to the world. Change me into the image of Your power and grace.
In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day God made me different so He could communicate with me. I am special to Him. He
gave me the Holy Spirit so I would never be alone.
U is for Unicorn
Psalm 22:12-25 Most of the time when we think of Unicorn we think of the horse with the horn. It is from the myths of Greek. In real life we find the unicorn as a narwhale. But in Bible times the unicorn (as translated in the King James Version) is the same as a wild bull. A unicorn is a good animal for us. In the myth of Greek the Horse with the horn and wings is so beautiful. The narwhale is really an odd fish. In this Psalm we find a lot of things which are similar to those found at the crucifixion of Christ. What happened at this important time in the life of Jesus? Now this Psalm is written many years before Jesus came to this world. But it is like a prophecy of this special time.
Sometimes people wonder if Jesus feels like we feel. He was perfect and we are not. But the struggle from the beginning is the same. That is obedience in the face of trouble. Jesus has to face this problem from Satan when He first started Ministry. When He was crucified He also struggled. This Psalm shows us the feelings of this obedient act. People accused Him. People Spat at Him. People made fun of Him. People wanted Him to rescue Himself. It was like nobody understood His problem or struggle. Have you ever felt this way? I have many times. But in this Psalm we find something very fantastic. The Psalm writer writes “My praise shall be of You”. The confidence that being obedient gives you. But not only for me, it is also for other people. Our obedience in the face of struggle gives us confidence in the power of our Salvation. We are strong headed. We are stubborn as the wild ox. We want to do our own thing like the Unicorn. But when we cut off the horn and submit to Jesus we find that obedience will affect not only us but all those around us. We can change our world ONLY by being obedient to Jesus. He sacrificed His life for you.
Dear God Nobody really knows my heart. I hide it from the world. I know only You know it. . I am unique because You made me different than all the rest. Search my heart an cleanse me from all my sin
In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day
For every mistake there is someone to take advantage of it. For every triumph there are even more complainers. To rise above these we need to grasp life with our heart and soul, of
those who take advantage are waiting for weakness to show without any protection. God promises to care for us but not to do the work for us all the time.
V is for Vulture
Isaiah 34:8:17 Have you ever seen a vulture? We used to see turkey vultures in Africa. They are the ugliest birds I think. In the encyclopedia you will find “vulture” has an old meaning or a new meaning. The old meaning is a general term for eagles and other birds. The new term is for the ugly ones only. In this chapter we have the word vulture. It is a chapter of judgment against the nation of Edom and those who support it. Vultures are a very important bird. But, there is something different about such a big bird. First it can’t kill anything. Such a big bird but it cant kill.
Second of all it is such a big bird it can’t move its wings fast enough to get off the ground by itself. Yet it flies very high. It uses the heat waves to fly, but vultures are like us many times? Does that mean that fat people are like vultures? No! Rather the vultures nature is to look for weak or dead animals. This is what we often do. We look for the weak and then tease and taunt them. We look at the weak relationships and when they are dead we swoop down and tear them apart. Vultures in this chapter grow in numbers. They will wait until there is something to eat. Many people believe that this chapter is about when Jesus comes again. Some people are waiting and doing everything the same. Some people are working hard to make sure all people have a chance to go to heaven. Vultures are waiting because when the last battle comes and Jesus wins there will be lots of food for them. Are you ready to be a part of the victory? Are you sure you are a Christian today? If you are not absolutely sure ask. It is simple but it will change your life. Are you ready to live for Christ? Or are you ready to be vulture food?
Dear God I am weak and the Vultures wait for me. Everywhere I turn I see them. Their shadows haunt me. Put Your
protection around me so that I can rest and renew my strength. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day Worms can be delicious if you are hungry. They can offer nutrition in a poor diet. They can destroy something good. Look at
your diet in life. Look at the destruction one sin can do in your life and diet. To get rid of the worm we lose half the apple. Let God take care of the worm and gain a second apple.
W is for Worm
Mark 9:40-48 reading where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched." Isa. 66:24 Do you like worms? Especially worms in your apple or pear? Last Saturday during baseball there was a caterpillar on the ground. A little girl got very excited about it. She tried to kill it but only cut it in half. I pushed it over the edge of the step and into the water. But it just wouldn’t die. Worms are good insects, and worms are bad insects.
The good is that worms give oxygen to plants. They make fertilizer for the soil. The caterpillar is nice too. From the caterpillar comes the butterfly and the moth. The grub is good for food. But not all caterpillars are good. The tent caterpillar makes a tent which kills the leaves of the trees and then the tree because the tree can’t breath. The cutworms that eat the roots of the crops that the farmer plants ruining the field. There is even wormwood. The worm in the Bible is not referred to as a positive. Worms are slow to move. They like to eat dead things a lot. Or like the apple they eat good things and make them bad. Let us look at the scripture today. Worm is mentioned in the same context of hell. Hell a place where there is no death just hell. Do you think of heaven and hell much? Probably not. Hell is not something any person likes to think about. Some people don’t believe there is one. But let’s look at the worm and how easy it is to kill it. If you look at a plant and you get worms you can poison them but it kills the plants. You can use some old methods but its hard to destroy them without hurting other things. You can cut the worm out of the apple but then you don’t want to eat the apple. We find the worm is referred to as you and I. We feel like worms sometimes.
Ps 22: 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
Worms don’t get respect. As Christians we sometimes feel like God doesn’t listen to us. We find our friends laughing at us because we do things different. We trust in the Lord but we still don’t do well on the test or our business. Worms in Hell never die. Worms which go to heaven become butterflies. We do trust in God for everything as Christians. We feel like worms sometimes. But God wants to make us butterflies. The most beautiful peaceful, powerful, and confidence. What kind of worm are you?
Dear God I have a worm in my life. It is eating at my heart and my soul. It is destroying my life. Please take this worm and make it into a life
of beauty. Restore what has been destroyed for Your glory. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day We cherish old things because of sentiment. We worry about the things around us but not those things inside of us. When
the fire is out we think they are extinct, only to be rekindled. God makes our sin extinct NEVER to be remembered. Ask Him to do this for you today.
X is for Xenarthra
Family of Xenarthra This includes the sloth. X is also for extinct. Now the work Xenarthra is not in the Bible. It is a family name for the sloth and the anteater. Now there is something that is interesting about the alphabet. Can you guess what it is? Let me tell you what I have noticed. I noticed that the letters a and B etc. are all about hard working animals. The letters at the end of the alphabet are about the lazy and negative things. Isn’t this interesting?
X is all about lazy people. In the bible we find the word “slothful”, not “sloth”. But really they are the same root I think. Now we haven’t been in the New Testament much but in the Gospels we find Jesus tells a lot of stories. These stories are called “Parables”. In this parable the story is about some servants that the master had given some money. Each servant was given different amounts. When the master was gone they were to see how much could they increase what they were given. This sounds easy. Doesn’t it? Well for some of them it went well. They doubled the money of the master and He was very happy. Some even had 10 times as much. But there was one who just couldn’t make up his mind what to do. He went to many hokwons to discover how to increase his money. He listened to many good speakers. Still the choices were so hard to make. Finally he just put it in a secret place in his bedroom. At least nobody would steal it. When the Master came back He asked them all how much money they had made for Him. The last servant had the smallest amount given to him. He had tried hard to find out what to do. But, it was such a small amount compared with the others that he just couldn’t be equal. When asked what he had done he answered,” Master you are always very angry and hard to your servants. I was scared so I didn’t do anything.” This is what the sloth does. The sloth animal hangs on to tree branches and eats all day or curls up and sleeps all day. He only has two or three toes. Not the same as other creatures his size. So why should he work? He was too big for much, He wasn’t an ant or a bee which could move fast. He didn’t have the tool to do things. so he just became lazy.
The slothful man in the story tried hard but it wasn’t fair that he had so little while another got so much. In God’s eyes we are all equal. If we have a little we are responsible for little. If we have lots we are responsible for lots. This can be applied to every part of our life. Some can learn English easily some can’t. Some are rich and some are poor. Some are healthy some struggle every day. God sees the heart. God sees us differently than other people. He knows what He can do in our life. All He wants is for us not to be slothful. He wants us to use what we have and He will give us more. Even the smallest amount. What are you doing with what God has given you? IS Jesus going to say to you, ”My good and faithful servant“, when He comes back? Or will He be angry and take it all away?
Dear God I keep things in the attic of my mind. Many things die but they keep coming back. Please cleanse my heart and life. Make my sin extinct
so that I never worry about them coming back. Buy them where no one can find them even Satan. Set me free from this bondage. In Jesus Name Amen
Thought for the Day Animals are great things. They are created by God for His glory.
I am given the power to rule over them but not other people. I need to take this responsibility seriously. To take it too lightly makes my life harder and full of stress. To give God control of my life makes it easy and light.
Ecclesiastes 7:19 - 24 Now this is not a word in any language maybe. But the pronunciation is. It is not an animal either but it fits the end of the alphabet. It also has the y and the z.
Through the alphabet we have seen ourselves in every animal. God made the animals and He made us. But He made us in His own image. In the New Testament we find wise men. They were educated people who tried to find the truth about a star. A star that caught their curiosity. Then there were the wise men of Egypt. They were powerful and magical. But Moses and his God proved to be better. There were the wise men of Babylon whom Daniel had to face. The ones who tried to have him and his friends killed. When Jesus was here many people thought He was strange. He had disobeyed His parents at 12. He had done things against all the culture He knew. He was a wise man. But He was different. He chose only 12 guys. He ate with sinful people. He threw people out of their church. So there are many wise men. But the question “Y” is always there. Why did He do what He did? Why didn’t He escape and be the King when He was the King of Kings. The question why is what we all ask. They never seem to stop. Especially children. Now some of us today are children. Some of us are children because of our age. Others of us are children in our spiritual life. It is nice to be a child. But it is better to be YZ (wise). Wise is maturity. The wisdom of maturity to obey when we can’t see the future. Wisdom to tell what is right from wrong.
The road to be wise can be hard. You can experience failure and depression. Look at Christ. His chosen disciples left Him. He felt like God had taken all His energy away. He was tempted to disobey, but He showed His wisdom by obeying God Hid father, Today we can review the animals and see how wise they are because God made them. Today we can look at ourselves and see how childish we are. Today we can see that having the faith of a child is good but having the attitude of a YZ person. If we are not YZ we know that God is ALL YZ. When we are like a child we can depend on His wisdom and obey. If we are childish we depend on OUR wisdom and become frightened. When you pray ask for His wisdom not yours. When there are tough times, low grades, and disappointments, we know that God’s wisdom comes from maturity and maturity comes from trials. Are you a YZ child of God or just childish?
I want to be wise but am so dumb. I am selfish and proud. Animals seem to be so wise. Make me a wise child of the King of Kings. A child that is free from slavery to my sin. A child, who brings glory to their Father. In Jesus Name Amen
Final Letter What have you learned form the animals? Did you find yourself
closer to God or did you find questions to be answered? God is great. He wants so much to give you life. A life free of slavery to things. Free to have peace inside, power outside, and confidence in where you are going. Will you take this free gift? Will you let Him reset your life today? Think on these things to live forever. Dr. Paul R. Friesen
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