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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WHAT CAN CHASE, REPLACE & ERASE-REHAB'S STORY

Welcome!  We've solved the riddle, "What can chase, replace and erase?"  If you missed last weeks, click
 God reveals His grace in marvelous ways.
Last week we learned how Grace Chased Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, and how He chases us away from people and situations to protect us.

I was in despair over the tragic choices I made. An abusive childhood left me reeling, with no direction in life.  The pain manifested in unhealthy behavior. I felt hopeless.

Scripture paints a beautiful picture of how grace can consume, sin, aimlessness, and anguish- replacing it with hope and a new destination.

GRACE REPLACED-

The Biblical account of Joshua conquering Jericho reveals a woman who was an outcast of society, used by men and needed a way out. 

God wanted the Israelites to possess the land. Joshua, their leader, sent two spies to the city of Jericho to investigate.
They entered the home of Rahab, a prostitute.
Imagine her reaction when two men of God approached her.
I wonder if she felt shame.

 After the spies had entered Rahab's home, located in the city walls, the King of the city sent men to retrieve the spies. She hid the spies on her roof.  She lied and told the men that the spies left.  We continue the story right after the Kings men left to pursue the spies.

Joshua 2:8-21
 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof  and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you... When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.“Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign  that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who

belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.  She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us  unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down...”“Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”
So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

The skin on my neck and arms tingled, and my heart skipped a beat as I studied the original word for cord. 
Only God can give us such a gem.

The word for cord in the original language is used often in the Old Testament: 

chebel:   lace, bracelet, wire, twist, cord


The book of Joshua is the only place chebel  is replaced with the word
tiqvah, which means hope.
I  stop and praise God every time I think of this. 

The Rope of Hope.
The chord was a promise of freedom for her and her family, a fresh start to a new way of life.
The spy's return trip took, at least, three weeks plus a week of marching around the city.
The bible does not mention this, and I am careful not to add to scripture or fill in areas where God is silent.  I do believe that while the spies were gone Rahab looked out her window as she waited for the men to return, she fixated on the red chord;  the promise of a new life.  
When she sees Joshua and his men march toward the city, her excitement builds.  She grips the cord, knowing that hope will not disappoint.
Joshua and his army take Jericho, just as God promised.
Rahab and her family are rescued.
They live with the Israelites.
Rahab marries  Salmon.
This prostitute never imagined that she was part of history in the making...
and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,  and Jesse the father of David the king. Matthew 1:5-6

Jesus is an offspring of David.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel -2 timothy 2:8

Rahab, the prostitute, is in the lineage of Jesus.
That gives me joy and hope.
God can use anyone, even a sinner like me.
She is recognized, along with Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets for her faith

 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. Hebrews 11:31

Oh, the riches of God's grace.


God took this pitiful sinner out of a dark dungeon of sin, now I live in the light of His glory and grace.

I would love to hear how God has bestowed His grace on you. Has God replaced your destination?

Monday, April 17, 2017

WHAT CAN CHASE, REPLACE, AND ERASE?

I love a good riddle.  The funnier the better.  I also love puns and word association games.  But the answer to our question is no laughing matter.
What can chase, replace, and erase?
(Drum roll, please)
If you didn't guess, the answer is Grace.
For the next three weeks, I desire to share with you these life-changing truths I gleaned from my study of the Word. I desperately needed God's grace in the midst of my bad decision. Have you every made a bad decision?
Then join me on this journey through Scripture as we look at people from three Biblical accounts.  
These people experienced Gods grace in a personal and poignant way, and we can too!

What is grace?  Blue Letter Bible defines it:
Greek word: charis:
divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude,  benefit, favor.
Others have defined it as unmerited favor.
 I like acrostics and acronyms so I appreciate this definition
G-Gods
R-Riches
A-At
C-Christs
E-Expense
However we chose to define Grace, one fact we can't deny,
 we are lost without God's Grace (tweet this)
Jesus gave His life so that we many experience the full grace of God.
God's Grace saved us and keeps us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 ESV


who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 2 Timothy 1:9 ESV


My prayer is that we learn more about God's unmerited favor toward us as we see His grace manifested in these three stories. 



Grace Chased Adam & Eve out of the garden of eden- week 1

Grace Replaced the destination of Rahab- week 2

God Erased feelings of guilt for the woman at the well- week 3

GRACE CHASED
Adam & Eve out of paradise.
God's creation sinned against Him.  How could this be when they had the perfect relationship with God.  You can get the background of the story Here
I first thought God chased them out of the garden as a discipline.
Then this verse captured my attention.

Genesis 3: 22-24
 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


God Chased them out of the garden because of His grace.  He wanted to protect them from being separated from Him forever.  If they ate of the fruit from the Tree of Life there would be no remedy for sin. All mankind would eternally live in separation from their loving Creator.
I thank God that He chased them out of the Garden.

God has chased me away from people and situations. He had to pry my fingers away from a toxic relationship, I did not have the strength to leave when I knew God wanted me to.  The process was painful. In hindsight, I see how He rescued me from
 continual heartbreak.



I may not always understand why God chases me away from situations and people, but I know He loves me and has my best in mind. His grace is sufficient.
Ler's join together and thank Him for Grace.



Has God ever chased you away from a person or situation?
Please share.



Next week we discuss how Grace replaced Rahab's destination.
Will you to continue on this grace study with me?




Monday, April 10, 2017

WHY I DON'T SAY, "HAPPY EASTER"

I've said things out of habit. 
God has convicted me to consider every word I speak.
Now, I won't say, Happy Easter.  
Some say I am nit picky.
Others say, "People know what you mean."
I didn't. 
So why don't I say Happy Easter? 

It began about 20 years ago.  I  researched the origin of Easter. 
I love this holiday.  Without the resurrection of Jesus, I would be lost forever.
I desired to know all about the event that radically transformed my life.
To my shock and horror, Easter has it's root in paganism.  Easter is derived from the name of a fertility goddess. 
Her name, ISHTAR.
Ishtar was frequently worshiped as the goddess of fertility, a sort of Mother Nature, goddess of Spring,  sexual love, and birth. 
Ishtar was considered a mediator between God and man.(Yikes)
 She was called, Queen of Heaven. Sexual orgies and temple prostitutes were often used in her worship, in an attempt to gain her favor.
As I studied, my hair stood on end.
She is mentioned in Jeremiah 7:18

The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.

The Lord stated in the previous verse not to pray for these people who worship her. 


As Christians, we know God hates idol worship.
His Scripture states,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV 
Goddess Ishtar

You shall have no other gods before me Exodus 20:3 ESV

These verses echoed in my head, along with other scriptures.


Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God  Leviticus 19:4


For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus  1 Timothy 6:5 ESV



I hope you understand why I am sick to my stomach at the thought of wishing someone a Happy Easter. (tweet this)

Some say that Easter is the celebration of Spring, so why not say Happy Spring?

As believers, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is the one who created the earth and everything in it (including eggs and bunnies).
Without Him, Spring would not exist.  

I am not trying to convince you to change your vocabulary. This is my conviction.
However, I do feel compelled to share with you why I don't say Happy Easter. 
Now, my greeting is Happy Resurrection Day. 
On Resurrection Sunday, I say,  He has Risen!

Let's rejoice knowing that Jesus died, was buried and rose again on the third day to give us life.

When someone says Happy Easter to me, I don't give them a sermon, I politely say  Happy Resurrection Day!
Have you ever been convicted to change your words?

Join the conversation.








Thursday, April 6, 2017

ARE YOU BEING FOLLOWED?



"Cherrilynn, I'm scared, this guy is getting too close to us."
My Navy friend and I  enjoyed dinner and a late movie downtown. The bus stop was two blocks from the cinema.
"Just don't act scared, he may leave." I tried to reassure my friend.
We picked up our pace.
The stranger's footsteps grew louder and fasters.
"He's getting closer!" she whispered
"Don't panic!"
"Cherrilynn, I'm scared,"
With military precision, I did an about-face, looked the man in the eyes,
"YOU ARE SCARING MY FRIEND BACK OFF NOW!"
The man could not see my knees shake, I felt sick to my stomach.
His eyes widened, as he felt my breath on his face.
"Sorry, I didn't realize I was so close." he said.
"Yeah, Right! Pay attention next time, now leave!" I said trying to hold my weak legs in place, in awe of my sudden boldness (or stupidity).
The man turned around and walked in the opposite direction.
My friend and I ran to the bus stop. We vowed to bring the guys with us next time for protection.

Have you been followed?




Don't be scared, it's not a stranger but something so amazing- Gods goodness and mercy.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, Psalm 23:6 ESV

Psalm 23 depicts a glorious picture. In front of us, leading us, is Jesus, the good Shepherd. He protects us and provides for our every need as we follow Him.
Securing our safety and security in the rear-God's goodness and mercy

Charles Surgeon-a pastor and theologian describes this verse:
"These twin guardian angels will always be with me at my back and my beck. Just as when great princes go abroad they must not go unattended, so it is with the believer." (Spurgeon)

What follows you? Bad memories, sin, a painful past? God's goodness and mercy will protect you. 

*Goodness- Tovebeautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease
*Mercy-Checed-favour, good deed, beauty, kindness

A believer who follows Jesus closely is guarded by God's best, we have favor all around us. 


Let's relax and follow the Shephard of our souls as His goodness and mercy follows us.
Are you being followed?
Join the conversation.

*definitions from www.blueletterbible.com