Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 6) (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, Hebrews 4:11-16, Luke 4:1-13)

"Get outta My Way" 
Corel Painter X3, Digital Painting
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

My last post got me thinking.  Entering God's rest isn't death (although Heaven will be an awesome place!).  It's being able to sleep through a hurricane.  It's being able to find words to say when my mind goes blank and someone needs encouragement.  It's being able to change chaos into peace by simply praying and asking for the Holy Spirit's help.   It's seeing people get healed.  It's about finding courage when I'm scared.  I have experienced all of these.  But that's God's way isn't it?  He uses those who are weak, and not the perfect.  That's me!  I have all sorts of strengths and abilities, but being perfect is just not going to happen : )  Shew!  We don't have to worry about that one.  God included true stories in the Bible, about Moses, Jonah and others so we could have hope.  

27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NKJV)

Hebrews 4:11-16
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
The Bible is our sword in this crazy world.   To me it's a sanctuary when I've been hurt.  It's a strong tower that raises me up to greater thoughts and higher actions.  I like to quote scriptures when I need help and pray.

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin

This always catches my attention.  Jesus, the Son of God and man, actually chose to endure all the temptations we deal with on a daily basis.  It's a jungle out there!  Here's what Jesus endured:
1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
When we get hungry we lose physical strength.  Our brains can't think clearly.  Pain is exaggerated.  Jesus endured 40 days of fasting.  He was very hungry.
3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
The first temptation was to end His physical suffering.  The devil taunted him to turn a rock into bread. I might fail at this one.  I hate to be hungry.
4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
Jesus' would not steal a miracle for His stomach.  Sometimes, as humans we let our stomachs take God's place.  Food becomes like a god to us, our source of happiness, and devotion, but it's deceptive.  We are never full. The more we eat the more our bodies demand.  In the wrong spirit, food can kill us with obesity. Guess it would be best to put God's Word and our faith above food. Memorizing verses is a good plan.

5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. ’”
Jesus quoted the first of the ten commandments.  His mission wasn't to become an earthly king for a generation.  It was to save mankind for eternity.  Besides all the kingdoms are really His already.

9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’
11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone. ’”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “ It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God. ’
I believe Jesus' temptations were written to understand our weakness and also to illustrate some things not to do. As little kids we learn about gravity and how much it hurts to fall down.  We are not to do things against the laws of nature.  He has given us a warning light inside.  It's the little tingle I feel when it's dark out and there are strangers standing around.  We are not to test God. But sometimes use the plain old common sense we were born with.

13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
So satan gave up tempting Jesus for now.  But he was scheming behind the scenes.
(Luke 4:1-13 NKJV)

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Because of His great love, sacrifice, and compassion for our weaknesses, He actually walked in our shoes.  Can you imagine? We can go to God freely.  He created us to have fellowship with Him.  To find rest in our faith in Him.  He has always answered, "No." When I ask for the wrong things.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Entering His rest (Hebrews story 5) (Hebrews 11:1, Genesis 2:2, Hebrews 4:1-10, Psalms 95:7-11, Exodus 20:3)

"Don't know flowers just seem restful : )
Beauty in being still"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

Hebrews 4

1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

After God created the world, He saw that it was good and rested from His work.  We were actually created to rest.  Hard to believe isn't it?  Today's world is incredibly busy.  But not just take a nap, be a part of His rest.  As I write this I see how our faith has an impact on our ability to rest.  When I listen to the News, I think, "We're doomed."  I don't really know that do I?  So why would I dwell on that?
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
(Genesis 2:2 NKJV)
God knew his work was finished and He rested.  He didn't pick at it, and try to improve it.  He knew He was done.  What a wonderful gift He's given us to know the work is done, so rest. We've added lots of noise in our world.
4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
It wasn't that God denied rest, it was that the people wandering in the wilderness refused to have faith.  There was always something wrong, they got tired of mana from Heaven.  So God sent them quail.  They got tired of waiting for Moses, so they created and worshiped a bronze calf. 

First of the 10 commandments:
“You shall have no other gods before Me."
(Exodus 20:3 NKJV)

They broke this one before Moses could come down the mountain with the 10 commandments.  Moses got so mad, he threw the tablets on the ground and they broke.  Moses definitely had the very worst job in the Bible.

7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you will hear His voice:
8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways. ’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.'"
(Psalms 95:7-11 NKJV)
They wandered for forty years... I can't even imagine.

6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:
Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”

Just realized we usually think of Sunday as our "worship" day or day to rest.  God said that today is a good day.  When I put aside my fears and trust in God, it's a real faith lift.

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

(Joshua was the one who took Moses' place in the Exodus after Moses died.)   And yeah we still need to wash dishes and do laundry... sigh.

*Note:  The flowers in the photo are from my garden this year.  We had high humidity that day and it created a nice soft photograph.

Monday, October 14, 2013

God's compassion... (Hebrews 4) (Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 3:1-19, Numbers 20:7-13, Matt 17:1-3, 1Cor. 2:9)

"Poor Moses"
Corel Painter X3, digital cartoon
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Ok so I'm a really happy artist today!  Corel released a new version of Painter and it's working really well : )  So now I'll be able to do more cartoons again.  Yay!  Hopefully you are happy too...  Guess I better watch what I say,  they named the last tropical storm after me.  Good old Tropical Storm Karen but she fizzled, shew.

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
(Hebrews 4:15 NKJV)
Hebrews 3

1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Moses had a really tough job.  He made a really big mistake.  If you only read the Old Testament story, you miss the good news.  In the end, he was considered the faithful one in the Exodus.

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways. ’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest. ’”
This is a sad story.  Moses led Israel out of Egypt for 40 years.  It quit being fun after they crossed the red sea and entered the desert.   At one point they ran out of water.  And became angry.    So Aaron and Moses went to talk to God about how to get the water they needed.  God told Moses to speak to a rock and water would come out.  Here's what really happened:
 7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” 9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.(Numbers 20:7-11 NKJV)
(oops... hate when that happens.)  I imagine Moses looking around at people, thinking,"Did I do that?"  Then hopelessly searching for a rewind button so he could do it over.  He didn't get to go into the promised land.
12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
(Numbers 20:12-13 NKJV)
I know how it is.  I get angry because of something someone said or did, and fuss, and fume.  I forget all the good things God has taught me.  Finally, when I am most miserable and want to feel better:  I turn back to God, confess what I did, and ask for healing from what the other person did.  I feel much better.  This story humbles me and makes me feel so sad for Moses.  Yet because I know God, I've always known He would have something extra special for Moses. But wait. There's more!
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
(Matthew 17:1-3 NKJV)
Moses got to come back from the dead, and speak to Jesus when He was transfigured.  We should never give up.  God knows our weakness and our intentions.  So glad this story is in the Bible.  This should be an encouragement to anyone who's messed up in ministry and felt like it was the end for them.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV)

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
We really need to focus on our todays.  I do for sure.

16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
I believe this is referring to those who wandered in the wilderness, following the glory of God and yet focused on themselves.  They were just going along, without really paying attention to all God had done for them.  Sounds very familiar to me.  He understood what Moses went through.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Come boldly! (Hebrews 3) (Hebrews 2:9-18, Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 9:27-28)

"God is available 24x7"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
We could use a song first today : ) Our God is an Awesome God! (link)

America is still struggling.  We have some really strong personalities in the white house. Good to know God knows more about it than we do.  Here's my prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
You know all and see all.  You see how we've lost jobs and income.  How our debt is unimaginably high.  Most of us have had to make sacrifices in how we spend money and learn to save.  We wait for our president to join with us in saving more money than we spend.  I pray that all sides will see each other clearly.  Help our leaders to understand how big trillions of dollars of debt really is before it's too late.  Guide them to lower our debt and listen to what our people really need and want.  We are speaking, help them listen.
In Jesus Name,

Back to Hebrews...

Hebrews 2

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
When God became a man, being born of a virgin, He made Himself lower than the angels like we are.  As I think about this, it reminds me of the innocence in being a newborn baby and the temptations as we grow older.  But Jesus was able to endure all of this.  He has true compassion for what we are going through.  I don't think Jesus would ever say, "Now that's just weird."  Maybe, but He knows all about us and loves us anyway. 

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.(NKJV)
There is no reason for us to be afraid to confess our sins to God.  He already knows what we've done.  What He wants from us is honesty.  He's not a God of deception.  He can't tolerate it.

Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (NKJV)
He's coming back!  He has made the final sacrifice for our sin.  In our honesty and sincerity, we will find forgiveness and peace.
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
Jesus is the captain of our salvation, made perfect through suffering.  That is so amazing!  I wouldn't last a day trying to be perfect, for Jesus it was natural.  The Son of God and Son of man.  Again, the wording in Hebrews is beautiful.  Just reading this book in the Bible lifts me up to higher thoughts.  I imagine crystal thrones and radiant light reflecting through the assembly of angels.  When Jesus prays it must be wonderful like music and whispers at the same time.  Not like my simple prayers (which He loves because they're from us).

13 And again:
“I will put My trust in Him.” And again:
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

These are the words of Jesus about us.  The description of what He did.  He became flesh like us.  He did this so He could save us.  If He didn't understand why we mess up, He wouldn't understand how to help us.
(Hebrews 2:9-18 NKJV)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We've seen better days (Matthew 22:17-21, 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, Eccles. 3:1-8)

Yesterday was the first day of Obamacare.  I am always a little cautious with people who name things after themselves.  The web site is still not working.  As a former programmer, I'm wondering what happened to the testing?  My husband and I had a pillow fight to vent our frustrations.  

As Christians, we've had some real challenges in our country.  We're not supposed to cuss.  God wants us to show compassion and honor Jesus.  Yet Obama has decided to cut "Meals on wheels" to feed the elderly who are home bound.  The reason is to prove how terrible John Boehner is...  Mmmkkk there are lots of other things to cut. Guess the buck only stops there when it's convenient.

As for our representatives, it would be difficult to respect someone who would rather do a TV commercial than sit and discuss viable options to a problem.  Imagine your boss walking out every time you have a suggestion to broadcast how terrible you are on TV.  This really doesn't inspire trust.  Most of us don't like commercials.  Maybe someone should've told our President this before he took office.  Good leaders are key to successful problem solving.  Objectivity and free thinking are critical.

The House and Senate seem to be in a stalemate, like in Chess.  I think part of the reason is there is no retirement.  Some of the speakers seem a little out of touch.  I don't believe we have a recall option for representatives who just don't play fair. This may be something that needs to be considered.  If your state representative is not representing you, shouldn't you be able to say, "Times up!"  like in Twister? And send in someone else.  We'd all participate more.

I've been struggling with this a lot.  When I was a little girl my parents were Democrats supporting the working class.  My Mom counted ballets on election days.  We shook Ted Kennedy's hand, and my Mom said, "I'll never wash my hand again."

I tried to imagine how dirty her hand would become over time.  So what happened to the democrats?  This seems like a new party to me, it's not making any sense.  I'm an Independent now closer to Republican.  The tea party was wiped out by the IRS so that can't be the problem.  Obama maybe needs to watch the news more.  Point one finger at someone else and you point 3 at yourself...  

So I sat this morning and prayed, asking God to inspire me with words to say.  Here's what came to mind.

God doesn't want us to be living for money.  It's like dust to Him, here today, gone tomorrow.  We shouldn't be obsessing over taxes.  Although it is hard.  We have the highest property taxes in the USA.  Yet, we always have enough.  The Pharisees challenged Jesus about money.  Here's how it went:
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “ Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”
So they brought Him a denarius.
20 And He said to them, “ Whose image and inscription is this?”
21 They said to Him, “Caesar's.”

And He said to them, “ Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's
(Matthew 22:17-21 NKJV)

We are human : )  Relax.  This is confusing and illogical.  It isn't making sense.  It's not just you.  Hard to believe all the Obamacare trouble is for 15% of Americans without insurance.  Sort of like using a Jackhammer on a lug nut.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard- pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body
(2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NKJV)

Jesus paid the debt for our sin by His sacrifice.  Now we share in a new life and hope.  We have tons of Bibles!  Hallelujah!  And I must remember Obama is as human as I am.  No one's perfect.

Then these verses came to mind:
1 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV)

This is a season in the United States.  We are learning a lot about our government in today's world.  Changes need to come.  Our basic foundations as a nation (constitution) and faith must remain.

May God bless America!