Thursday, February 20, 2014

Great Hall of Faith 2 (Hebrews 11:8-19)

I heard some good news on TV.  People are beginning to realize that when children were spanked in school, they didn't shoot each other.  So, they are seeking to bring discipline back into the school systems.  I spent some time in a Progressive school and it wasn't fun.  We were taught that the world was over-populated so we shouldn't have kids.  A lot of us, in my generation, just had one child.  Or like me, none at all.  Sadly, there isn't enough money for our politicians today because of it : )  I'd love the schools to just be places to learn to read, write, do math, art and play musical instruments.  A place for kids to learn what they do best and how to make a career of it.  If someone excels in running, then help them out with it. Not sure how school became a political playground.

Then another man was saying he's working on helping people get jobs in manual labor.  I have no idea how this happened but someone decided to "succeed" in America, you had to get a Bachelor's degree and work in business.  So... we have lots of business people who can't fix cars or find work now.  Just glad I learned to write, do stitchery, take photos and paint in schools that weren't progressive.  Even Walmart is working toward selling only American made products : )  We still have some great people here.

When I went to a High School in Utah, there was a machine shop, so guys could learn how to work on their own cars.   My favorite was, "Art class" where I learned to paint.  I actually sold my first painting in Utah.  Home-economics taught cooking and some other things for taking care of a house.  Useful skills.

The funniest experience was when the band came into the lunch room with trombones and played the theme song of the movie, "Jaws" over our soup. "Jaws" was an old movie from the 70's that was about a giant shark.  Some of us still have nightmares about it hahaha.  The soup wasn't very tasty...   Clearly the kids had enough self-esteem to do a wonderful joke that had us all laughing.  I long for kids to be able to have fun in school again.

A long time ago this was written:

24 He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
(Proverbs 13:24 NKJV)

(This verse came to mind today, 2-21-14)
"...aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands."
(1 Thessalonians 4:11 NKJV)

Though hairstyles and clothes change, kids are the same.  Even the Bible encourages us, as adults, to work with our own hands. May the Holy Spirit guide us to our individual calling.

Back to the Great Hall of Faith:

Hebrews 11:8-19 NIV
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
Sarah actually gave up on God and decided she'd fix things instead. Boy does that sound familiar!  She told Abraham to sleep with her servant, "Hagar," so that God's promise could be fulfilled.  Hagar did have a son.  The story is in Genesis 16.  God loved them all.  But, yeah Sarah got in trouble...   It's believed that this is where Muslims came from.  They claim to be Abraham's descendants today.  When Hagar became pregnant, Sarah realized she'd made a mistake and was harsh with her.  So Hagar ran away.  As women, we are complicated aren't we?  What she saw as a problem was seen by God, and He was not pleased.
9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her:
“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man's hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."
(Genesis 16:9-12 NKJV)
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me."
(Genesis 16:13 NIV) 
I've always loved this verse because historically women were always treated as lesser than men.  I'm sure that apple Eve just had to try, had something to do with it.  But in Genesis 16:13 Hagar is deeply touched by God's compassion.  God saw her and for the first time in her life, she had no reason to fear or hide.  The God who sees and understands.  And of course God forgave Sarah and Abraham.  They had many adventures.  Maybe I'll work on that soon.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 
I've never noticed this before.  They actually chose the path to the unknown rather than returning home.  This must've been used in The Hobbit , by JRR Tolkien.  It's a Christian story about our faith and the paths we must take.

16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
This sounds familiar.  We are waiting for the second coming of Jesus now.  We haven't seen all that will happen but we know from scripture that it will be magnificent.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Abraham did offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God.  But God saw his devotion and sent a lamb instead.

Thanks to those who prayed for our Church.  We had a wonderful Pastor last Sunday.  The leaders are working on bringing in an interim Pastor.  It will take time I'm sure.

Here's an encouraging song from Tenth Avenue North, Hold my Heart (link) .

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