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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

NUMBERS 8: Nothing less than total obedience

Good afternoon, girls! I hope you are able to enjoy the beautiful weather we are having at the minute, even if it is just by looking out the window at the bright sunshine. We are certainly having better weather than in the summer, don't you think?

I was thinking especially about the words in verses 3, 20 and 22 today and about the total obedience demonstrated by Moses and Aaron to the will and purpose of God. 


Do you have any children? Or a dog? Or even both? As you look after them and teach them, what do you expect from them? If you're anything like me, two of the most important things I expected from my children as they were growing up, were to tell the truth and to be obedient. I also remember as I was growing up, one of my mum's favourite sayings to me was "Tell the truth and shame the devil"! Now, my daughter and I are so tuned into telling the truth at all times, that we even own up and tell on ourselves!! I always said to my own two children that I would rather they told the truth, no matter how bad, than sit and tell me a pack of lies, because how would I know when I could trust them in the future. I also said if they told the truth, they wouldn't get punished (don't know how wise that was!).

But the other very important characteristic that I tried to encourage in my children was obedience. Sometimes children don't like being told to do something and they may rebel and disobey and this is very disappointing, especially when they don't know as much as they think they do. The Lord Jesus Christ talked in the Bible about two sons who were told by their father to go and work for him. You can read about it in Matthew 21:28-31. When he asked the first one to go, the son replied that he wouldn't do it, but later, on reflection, he changed his mind and did it. The second son agreed to do it the minute he was asked, but in the end failed to do as asked. Christ was making the point that it was the one who rebelled first and then repented who was the obedient one, not the one who said he would and didn't. Sometimes people need a bit of time to adjust, because their heart is rebellious and stubborn and they know they have to change their will to be in alignment with God's, but they really need to do it. When the Lord calls you in mercy to salvation by faith in His Son, you may, like Saul on the road to Damascus, kick against His leading and prodding at first but then submit your stubborn will to His perfect will. If you are not saved though, it is advisable not to delay in yielding yourself to God's call to salvation because He may not call again. Ask the Lord to give you a soft and responsive heart to His call and come straightaway, like the Ethiopian eunuch.

And what about those of us who are saved but are being stubborn in heart to something the Lord is calling us to do? Is He calling you to give your testimony at a meeting and you are making excuses? Is He asking you to forgive someone for an injustice and you are refusing to let it go? Is He saying that He wants you to wait where you are for the foreseeable future but you want to change and move on ahead with your own plans? Listen to His speaking voice, and submit your heart and mind to His will for you. Be obedient to God. He knows what's best for you!


Hugs, Karen x

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Numbers 7: Special in God's eyes

Good evening, girls! Today we are reading Numbers 7, and wow, it's a long chapter, isn't it!!

When I first read it through I wondered, 'what's the reason behind giving all these details about the princes of each tribe coming with their individual offerings...especially when every single one of the twelve offerings is identical?' The only difference in the description of these offerings is the name of the person who brought them. Then it struck me - it's because every single, individual work done for God is highly important to Him, even if it is the same job that someone else is doing! God could easily have had Moses write down that
"Nahshon, Nethaneel, Eliab, Elizur (and so on) offered..."
But each person and what they did for Him is important to God and He doesn't just clump them all together in His description of what they did. No, He mentions each one of them by name and what they brought to Him as if they were the only person to do this task.

Image result for sunday school teacher

Are you a Sunday School teacher or a children's worker? You probably see yourself ONLY as one member of a big team, and indeed that is true. It's good to have teams of workers who are all of the same mind and focus. But when the Lord looks down on a Sunday morning or a Friday evening or whenever your meeting is held, as you work with the little ones, He sees one individual important part of the team who is serving Him with all of their heart. If God was to write about your offering (of service) He would probably write something like this:
"Mrs Johnston offered her time and talents to prepare to speak to this little group of children; she took time to pray for them and to teach them about their Saviour; she loves them and cares for them and seeks to reach them in My name.
Mrs Watson offered her time and talents to prepare to speak to this little group of children; she took time to pray for them and to teach them about their Saviour; she loves them and cares for them and seeks to reach them in My name.
Mr Thompson offered his time and talents to prepare to speak to this little group of children; he took time to pray for them and to teach them about their Saviour; he loves them and cares for them and seeks to reach them in My name."
All these people are doing the same work; but in their own individual way, God values them highly as an important part of His service, and as such He takes note of your labours for Him.

The Lord appreciates those who labour for Him, no matter what the task is. Just remember how special and important you are to Him! You are an individual who pleases the Lord when you serve Him. Keep up the good work!

Hugs, Karen x

Monday, 28 September 2015

NUMBERS 6: THE BLESSING OF GOD

Good evening, girls. I hope you are all well today. Today marks the last few days of September and then we are straight into a new month, heading towards autumn. My favourite things about autumn are the beautiful colours of the leaves as they turn to reds and gold and also the warmth and coziness of getting the fire lit!

The verses that really jumped out at me from today's chapter are verses 24 - 26. When the LORD blesses, He doesn't do it by halves! He gives and gives and then gives some more, even though we are so undeserving of His blessing. Here is something you could print off and keep in your Bible as a reminder of His great goodness to you in your life.


I love these words! Especially the final words, that He gives us peace. When your heart and mind are in turmoil and distress, ask the Lord for peace. He is the only one who can give it to you, long lasting peace not something that will come and go. These words prove that He is our ALL in ALL. Only our mighty God can:
  • bless us
  • keep us - we could never keep our own salvation, only He can do that; He also keeps us above water when we think we are going to drown
  • make His face to shine upon us with pleasure and joy
  • show such graciousness to sinful people
  • take the time to show us His favour by looking upon us, in all our sin and unrighteousness, and still love us
  • give us the peace that we long for to get us through our journey to heaven and home
What a blessed and privileged people we are this day! We have a God who knows us and still loves us and blesses us in every way possible. Praise Him for His goodness to you today!

Hugs, Karen x


Monday, 21 September 2015

ACTS 6


Good morning, girls! Here we are, into our third week of studies already - one week of Acts and one of Numbers. Today, and for the rest of this week, we are back into Acts.

Here is your reading plan for the month of September.

So far, in the book, there has been something of a revival. Thousands of souls have been saved, the Gospel is being preached fearlessly and powerfully and Christians from all nations are living in accord and unity. But, oh dear, something has gone wrong. The devil is up to his usual tricks and is getting the victory over some of God's people. In verse 1 we read that, where there was once harmony, the order of the day is now complaints, bad feeling and discord among some of the Christians. Isn't that just what happens? The Lord blesses His people, they live well for Him and there is much blessing. But then, sinfulness steps in, selfishness rears its ugly head and there is discord in the ranks. There is murmuring, whispering under their breath to each other, someone is stirring things up by their complaining talk and all of a sudden the old man takes over from the new creatures in Christ. We are sinners saved by grace, which does not make us perfect, but it should make us more aware of our proneness to sin and our absolute need to keep our sinful nature under control and under the blood of Christ. God does not bless when there is fighting and bickering among His people. Let's make sure we are not the ones who are causing division by complaining and trying to get others on board. Life is hard enough at times when other people try to bring us down and Christians need to be supportive of each other, not causing splits between each other. The devil and his followers will do all in their power to cause discord in the church. Let's pray that they will have no entrance into our heart, life and church and let's keep close to each other in God's strength and love.


For further thoughts on Church Unity, you could look at this article from Got Questions

Hugs, Karen x

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Numbers 3

Good afternoon, girls! How is going with the book of Numbers? I'm actually enjoying it, in spite of all the NUMBERS!!!

As I was reading, I wrote down the numbers of all the families of the Levites and added them up, getting 22,300 instead of just 22,000 as stated in verse 39. I know and believe completely that God never makes a mistake so I checked out the reasons for this difference. Check out this website, BIBLE HUB, for some insight into the various reasons for yourselves.

There are two main thoughts that I got from this chapter. They are quite simple really, but that's OK. It doesn't always have to be complicated. Sometimes I think we feel we have to find something very deep and meaningful to apply to our lives, but it's just as important to find something simple and meaningful!

Firstly, I was impressed with how Moses responded every time God gave him a command to follow. Look at verses 16, 39, 42 and 51. Moses may not have understood why he was asked to do these things but he went ahead and did exactly as he was asked anyway. He may have thought, 'What's the point in doing that?' but, regardless of any negative thoughts he may have had, he did it anyway. He may not have agreed with what God was asking him to do, but he obeyed anyway. When the Lord gives you a job to do, big or small, do you obey Him without question or do you say 'Why, Lord?'. Do you do it immediately or do you put it off again and again until you end up not doing it at all? Moses obviously trusted the Lord completely and knew that He always had a reason for everything He did or asked His people to do. For Moses, obedience was the only response.

Secondly, I noticed that God had a specific task for each group of people. The Gershonites were given the responsibility of taking care of the tabernacle itself, the tent covering, the hangings and the curtains. They had to maintain them and make sure they were always clean and presentable. When the Lord told the Israelites to pack up camp and move elsewhere, it was the Gershonites who had to dismantle the whole structure, pack it away, bring it safe to the next place and reassmble it. No easy task.

(You might like to print the diagram below and stick it into your Bible to give you a better idea of what's being talked about here).

click to view

The Kohathites had the task of looking after the sanctuary and everything that was in it. The Merarites were responsible for the boards, bars, pillars and vessels of the tabernacle. All very different jobs but all were very important in their different way. The Gershonites couldn't have reassembled the tabernacle if the Merarites hadn't put up the pillars to support it. If the Kohathites didn't do their specialized job, there would be nowhere for the Levites to carry out their sacrifices to God and the whole thing would be useless.
We all have different but equally important jobs to do in our service for God. Some women are brilliant at making tea, traybakes and cakes, while others are excellent at welcoming people in the pews who sit beside them. Some can sing for the Lord while others can speak a word at a meeting. Some are wonderful at encouraging others with texts, emails, cards and other small tokens of kindness. You'll know what you do best and you'll find your special place in the Lord's work. Just don't feel that you have to be involved in every single thing. Be a specialist! Be the very best you can be doing what the Lord has blessed you with. When our individualized, specialist jobs are done with a full heart for the Lord and His work, it will all come together and should work like clockwork for his glory!

Hugs, Karen x

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Numbers 2

Good morning, girls! So how did you feel about Numbers chapter 1? It's more interesting than you would think, isn't it?

Chapter 2 is also interesting in that God has designed and laid out an exact plan for where the tribes of Israel are to encamp in relation to the tabernacle. Everything God does is orderly and on purpose. God gave Noah exact measurements and instructions for the ark and it was a perfect means of safety for him and his family. God gave exact instructions for the building of the tabernacle, the only acceptable way to meet with God. Similarly, God has given exact instructions for salvation. We must accept our own sin, see that Jesus Christ is the only one who is able to save us from our sin, and that we must come to God through Christ in repentance and faith.

Here is a visual picture of the layout of the camp.

Click here for a link to a more in depth study of why the tribes were placed where they were
Nothing is haphazard with the Lord. This is such a simple truth but it means so much to you and me as His children. We can live our lives knowing that absolutely NOTHING happens by chance. As Christians we don't believe in 'luck'. Luck is something people believe in when things, good or bad, happen by chance or accidentally. I'm so glad I trust in a God who arranges all things in order and providentially with a plan. God's plan for the lives of His children is that we all glorify His name and enjoy His goodness and mercy day by day. Isn't it wonderful to know that when something happens in your life, whether good or bad, it has happened for a reason, a reason that will ultimately be for God's glory and our own good. Do you remember when Joseph was thrown into the pit by his brothers and then bought by the Ishmaelites who sold him as a slave into Egypt? This might have seemed to some people as plain old bad luck. But not to those who love the Lord and know His plans are always good for His people. Even Jacob felt hard done by and was sure that all things were working out against him in the loss of Jacob and then maybe Benjamin also. But we can't see the big picture as God can, which is why we have to trust in His wisdom. God was using Joseph's situation to save him and his family from starvation, along with many others. The next time you find yourself in an awful situation (or what you think is awful) try to bear in mind that further up the road God has great blessings to shower on you. You just can't see it now but as your story unfolds and as you look back on your journey you will see God's hand as He led and guided you in the best path for your life. Sometimes it's just a matter of lying low and waiting for the storm to pass, which it most certainly will with God in control. Be encouraged today, friends, whatever the trial is that you're facing just now; God WILL bring you through.

Another interesting thing to note about the tribes in their camps is that they each had their own standard, a sign that showed which tribe and family they belonged to. Each was different from the other. As Christians, we carry a banner, that signifies whose family we belong to. We are of the family of the Lord Jesus Christ and as such, we are to be different from those around us. This can be seen in how we speak, the language we choose to use, what we read, where we go, etc. Can people say of you that you are a true Christian, one who stands up for what they believe in? I know we let the Lord down every day we live, because even though we are saved we are not perfect, and won't be until we reach heaven, but in the meantime, while we are on our journey to our eternal home, we should be trying to live the best we can, not for ourselves, but for the Lord's sake.

Hugs, Karen x

Monday, 14 September 2015

Numbers 1

Good morning, girls! I hope today is a good day for you all whatever lies ahead. If it's not so good, I pray that the Lord will be with you and give you the grace and strength to face it. Remember, whatever challenges are in store for you and me, God's grace is "sufficient" to carry you through.

HERE is where you can access the bookmark for the month of September.
Today we are in the book of Numbers and the first chapter. Of course, I presumed this chapter (and probably most of the book as well) would be dry and difficult. How could I possibly think this about any of God's Word? How wrong that is! God's Word is sweet and precious and every single word is important and for our benefit. I just came at it with the wrong attitude. If this is you too, ask the Lord to help you approach His Word with eagerness and anticipation, expecting to learn wonderful and new things from it that you can apply to your life as you seek to live more and more in a way that pleases Him.


I think part of my problem is that I suffer from NUMEROPHOBIA! Really, I'm not joking! Apparently there is such a thing...a fear of numbers. I hate numbers. As soon as I see numbers, my brain goes into freeze mode and I just cannot think straight. I love English and other languages but numbers is just not my thing. So maybe that's why I thought this would be a dry and difficult book, because it is full of...well, numbers!!! And just look at chapter 1! There are numbers in thousands all needing added up. God told Moses it was time to add up all the numbers of the people of Israel. Well, not all of them, in this case it was just to be the males aged twenty and over who were fit and able to be in an army. This was a massive task for Moses accompanied by his brother Aaron but what I learned here was that God asked them to do this on a certain day and they got started immediately and had it completed on the same day. Do you ever procrastinate? I do sometimes, especially with jobs that don't appeal to me that much. But I've been learning recently and putting into practice more often the fact that when I have a job to do, I should do it straightaway. It's not going to get any easier by putting it off. There is a huge sense of relief when the job has been done, isn't there? When it comes to the Lord, we should always try and do whatever job He asks us to do immediately. Anything we have to do, should always be done with His glory in mind. No matter how unappealing it may be or how hard, the sooner we do it the better. Verse 54 at the end of this first chapter says that
...the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they.
 Notice the word 'ALL'. Not just some things, or the bits that they were happy to do, but all of it. What is the Lord asking you to do today or this week? Will you do it quickly and immediately and with all of your heart?

Have a good day.

Hugs, Karen x

Friday, 11 September 2015

Acts 1-5: Are you continuing with determination?

Good evening girls! How have you been getting along this week with the first five chapters of Acts? I have to admit I'm a bit behind myself because this has been a very busy and difficult week, but that's the joy of having the two weekend days to catch up! I know I said I'd be here on Wednesday and I apologize for not popping in; I'll try harder next time not to let you down!!

What verses spoke most to you out of these chapters so far?
I was struck by the words of Acts 2:42,
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Do you ever get weary? Weary with the trials of life? Weary with praying? Weary with keeping on top of things? Weary with trying to be a good Christian? I'd be very surprised if anyone said an emphatic "No!" to these questions. Sometimes life is just plain hard! It sometimes feels as though it's three steps forward and then two back. Up one day and down the next. Does this sound familiar? I think that sometimes the events and trials of life become the only things we see and the salvation, grace and mercy of God fade into the background, simply because we aren't really trying to focus on Him. Instead we focus on what or who is bothering us...it could be just one thing or indeed one person, but it's enough to throw us off track and we stumble and often fall in our Christian life. What's the first thing you do when you are having a problem? Who do you turn to? Of course, it is completely acceptable to go to your family or best friend to have a talk about how you are feeling, if they are someone you can trust. But do you consider going to talk it over with the Lord at any time? Usually, when we talk about our worries and concerns with family or friends they will offer a supportive shoulder to cry on and then, if they're saved, will offer to pray for us. And that is all very good. But think about it...they are going to talk to God about your problems and intercede on your behalf, and maybe you yourself don't even mention it to the Lord. I know I've done this at times. Someone has said, "I'll remember you in prayer", but you keep carrying the burden yourself and don't tell God about it. Christian friend, don't you know that the Lord wants to hear your prayers for help? When you feel that no one else can help or understand, you're right! No one knows or cares about you the way the Lord does. But even better than this, He is the only one who can do anything about it for you. Your friends and family love and care for you and they'll do what they can to help, but at the end of the day it is only our loving heavenly Father who can actually work things out according to his will. He may perhaps change your situation but often, as he did with Paul when he asked three times for the thorn to be removed from him, God simply replied "My grace is sufficient for you." In Acts 2:42, these believers were determined to keep going on in their Christian life, by listening to and learning from good sound doctrine, having fellowship with other saved believers, taking communion and spending time in prayer. They would have been at risk of great personal persecution because of their faith in those days and they could easily have gotten weary and downcast, but they 'continued stedfastly'. When the trials and annoyances of circumstances and life try to push away our view of Christ, that's when we need to focus on Him even more. If you've recently had, or are on your way into, a difficult situation, remember to keep looking to the Saviour. Spend much time talking to Him about it in prayer. he alone can see you through it and give you the grace you need to keep you above board. Focus on Him!

FAITH:

Have a great weekend and hopefully, DV, we'll be in the first five chapters of Numbers next week. Here is the reading plan for the month of September.

Hugs, Karen x

Monday, 7 September 2015

Welcome back to a new 'double' study!

Good morning girls! How are you doing today? I hope you all had a good summer break, and maybe even got away for a few days. As most of my followers know, my son got married in the summer and he and his lovely new wife bought us a surprise trip to Krakow. Hubby and I have talked for a long time about how we would love to go to see the concentration camps over there but had never got round to organising a trip like this, so you can imagine how pleased we were with this thoughtful gift! Auschwitz and Berkenau were the two camps we visited. Very, very sad and distressing to think human beings did this to other humans, things we couldn't even imagine in our worst nightmares. But it did happen and it reminded us of the many, many blessings each and every one of us enjoys today. If you ever get the chance to go over to Poland, I would definitely recommend a trip to Krakow.

Anyway, back to our Bible study. Courtney has suggested that we will be studying the book of ACTS followed by the book of NUMBERS. I have decided that, to keep things fresh and interesting, we will do alternate weeks in Acts and Numbers. So instead of studying just the book of Acts for the first 6 weeks and then going into Numbers for the next 7 weeks, we will do it week about. Hope that makes sense. I have attached a PDF of the reading list for the month of September HERE.

I hope you enjoy these studies and are able to follow along on a regular basis.
I'll be back on Wednesday with a few thoughts on what I've learned on the previous days.

Lots of hugs, Karen x