The Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree – Day 1 – The Creation

Look at God’s Work!

In the beginning, there was nothing but water and God.

Then, God said, let there be light.  He knew the light meant nothing without darkness.  So he created that, too.  He separated the two and called them day and night, evening and morning.  The first day.

On the second day, God separated the water.  Some on the earth and some in the sky. He also determined there to be dry ground and separated it from the water.  Now, we have land and sea.  A place ready for the next day of work.

Here we are at the morning of the third day.  God tells the land to produce plants and trees that bear seeds and fruit.  And so it is.

God, on the fourth day, puts the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens and sets them in motion.  He knows the plants will need sunshine to produce as He intended.

Now, He creates birds and fish, in the sea and on the land.  He looks out over it all and says, “It is good!”  It’s the end of day 5.

Day 6 is going to be a busy one.  It’s all about creating livestock and animals that move along the ground.  Then He creates mankind.  Man and woman.  He makes them look just like Him.  He tells them to rule and subdue the earth.  He tells them what they can eat.  He looks around and says,  “It is good.”

Then God rests.

The Jesse Tree is all about knowing the genealogy of Jesus.  The people God put in place to point to the birth of the one who would save us all.  Adam and Eve were the first with many more to follow.

The Jesse Tree is a set of posts for the Days of Advent.  I am writing them for the Write 31 Days Challenge.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Listen! Concentrate! Pay Attention!

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Listen!  Can you hear Me?  Do you know the sound of My voice?  Hey you!  Paying total attention to someone requires all of everything we have focused on the One who is speaking.  Eyes on theirs.  Ears hearing every nuance of the words.  Mind totally focused on the subject.  It’s hard but it’s worth it!

Solomon was giving some fatherly advice in Proverbs 4:20-22 when he said:

Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice.  Keep My message in plain view at all times.  Concentrate!  Learn it by heart!  Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.                                                                               (The Message)

Do you know the voice of God?  Adam and Eve did.  When He called to them in the garden they knew right away that it was Him. (Genesis 3:8-9)  We know certain people’s voices even when we’re not looking at them, at a distance, in a crowded room, anywhere.  God wants us to know His voice in every place and circumstance.  How do we hear His voice?  By knowing His Word.  Yes, memorizing it!  Thinking about it!  Reading it!

So, what do we get out of it?  A body and soul that’s healthy, really healthy.  The roadmap to living.  Not just breathing in and out but a life that is fully aware of all that is going on around us and answers to the hard questions.  It’s all there.  All in the Bible.  All we have to do is open the book and start reading and memorizing.

Father, You and You alone are all that matter.  Your Word is my life guide, my way to knowing You.  Open my heart and mind to every word.  You have breathed every single word so I can know You and what You want of Your child.  Thank YOU!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Here’s another post on the same subject: Calming The Restless Mind

You can also find this post on the Pondering and Prayer page.

Red and Green

The Holly and the Ivy - Olde English Carole

The Holly and the Ivy – Olde English Carole

It is not entirely happenstance that Red and Green are the colors of Christmas. They are often mentioned in the Bible.  Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).

Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).

Red and scarlet most often symbolize sin.  For instance, check out Isaiah 1:18 and Joshua 2:18. Notice that in both of these scriptures the use of red also points to grace.  In Isaiah sin will be washed whiter than snow and in Joshua the red cord keeps Rahab and her family safe, forgiven of her sin.  Exodus 12:7 tells us that God told the Israelites to spread the blood of a lamb on the doorpost so that when the Angel of Death came by they would safe.

In the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, the blood was a large part of the ceremony.  Offering the blood of the animal stood in the place of the sins of the person.  This was a temporary solution to the sin problem.  Jesus’ blood (life) was required for the final sacrifice.  At that point in time, the sacrificial system was no longer needed.  Red now is a symbol for life through the blood of the Lamb.

Green often describes life and rest.  Psalm 23:2  tells us He gives us rest in green pastures.   Psalm 52:8 says, “But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”

Green trees often refer to nations. “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” Ezek 17:24.  All nations and peoples will recognize God.

A green tree is also used in Jeremiah 17:8 to describe a righteous man.  “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out roots by the river, and is withered by heat or draught.” 

Green as it is first used in Genesis, is the Hebrew word ‘yer eq’ and is used in verse 30.  God is telling us that He provides all that we need for life by giving us the food we need.

As you ponder these words in your heart I wish you love, joy, and peace during this beautiful, meaningful season.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

 

A Promise Kept

Do you believe that God’s Promises are real?  That He can do what He says He can do?  It’s so easy, in a world of broken promises, to get a very jaded attitude about this subject.  Promises are made and broken with such regularity it’s what we expect to happen.  In the story of Abram and Sarai we are given a glimpse into a Promise Kept.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I’m sure you know the story…God told Abram to pick up his family, flocks and possessions and move from Ur to where ever He told him to stop.  God’s promise was that Abram’s offspring would number more than the stars in the sky and the sand on the beach.  So Abram said sure, I can do that and he began walking.  He got side-tracked a bit when they stopped in Haran to visit his father.  During the lengthy visit his father died and he remembered what God had promised so off he went again.

Abram and Sarai seemed to like doing things themselves rather than waiting on God.  (How much like us is that?)  During their journey Abram passed off Sarai as his sister to protect themselves.  (BTW she really was his half-sister.  It was very common to marry within the family at that time because there weren’t a lot of options.)  Sarai got tired of waiting for this promised heir, so she gave Abram Hagar to have a child with.   The child was conceived, born and caused no end of envy in Sarai’s heart.  Abraham got so tired of her constant nagging that he told her to do whatever she wanted with Hagar.  That nearly cost Hagar and Ismael their lives, but God intervened and promised a great heritage to them, also.  We are still seeing the impact of Sarai’s misguided decision today–Isaacs descendants are, of course, the Israelites and Ishmail’s are the Arabs…need I say more on that?

Abraham and the Three Angels  by  J.Tissot

Abraham and the Three Angels by J.Tissot

There is another part to this story that tells us Sarai had pretty much given up on the Promise.  When the three men came to visit Abram in Shechem (the fulfillment of the land part of the Promise) they told Abram they would visit again in a year and at that time he would have a son.  Sarai, who was standing in the tent listening, thought to herself–Yeah!  Right! Not gonna happen. I’m to old.  Ha! Ha!  When asked why she laughed she said I didn’t.  The man said, yes, you did!  Genesis 18 verses 1 and 2 tell us who these visitors were.  Abram addresses Him as LORD (It’s capitalized in every  translation I read which means a direct reference to Yahwah!)  Sarai’s denial of laughter makes sense when we realize that God was the One who ‘heard’ her.

God followed through and Isaac was born.  Not only Isaac but three more sons and two daughters.  When Isaac was 37 years old Sarah went to her reward.  In her lifetime she learned a very important concept…God keeps His promises.

Heavenly Father, Lord of all,  help me realize and recognize Your Promises.  I give You thanks for all You’ve given me!  I ask that You make me constantly aware of You and Your blessings.  I lift this prayer in the Precious Name of Jesus.  Make it so!

The story of Abraham and Sarah can be found in the following scripture:

Genesis 11 – 21

I Needed The Quiet

I NEEDED THE QUIET

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God says on the seventh day He rested from His work(Genesis 2:2) and since we are created in His image we need rest too.  In the 23rd Psalm David said, “He makes me lie down…”  Job’s friend Jophar gives him a crumb of reassurance saying, “You will lie down without fear…” (Job 11:19).  With great wisdom Solomon wrote these words, “…when you lie down your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24b).  Jesus recognized the need for quiet rest when he said to the disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

In my career as a teacher and principal I learned just how important rest was.  Long hours and a great deal of stress do not help anyone’s health.  Burning the candle at both ends, ends up with nothing when the flames have consumed all the wax.  I finally came to my senses and retired early.  The job was consuming me and I heard the Spirit clearly say this is NOT what I want for you.  You see, even though I prayed every morning that I would keep Him close all day, when I walked through the school doors I quit focusing on Him and started focusing on kids, teachers, parents and all the issues and stress a high poverty, inner city, school brings.  I ended up quite ill from lack of rest, poor diet, and high stress.  When my awesome husband was hospitalized and in a chemically induced coma for 20 days from a Traumatic Brain Injury I had much time to pray, think, and reflect. The conclusion–my career was killing me.  Once the decision was made, a calmness came over me that I had not known before.  I knew without question this was exactly what God wanted.  I needed adequate rest and He already knew this was the only way I was going to get it.  Praise God! I listened! and rested!

Heavenly Father, thank You! for making me aware.  You deserve my total, rested attention.  I want to do that.  Make my life more and more about You.  In Jesus Name make it so!

He Is Head Over Heals In Love With Us

I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to God’s love for us.  It must be something He wants me to do because I’ve seen books, reading articles, and listening to other Christians expound on the subject.  Why do I (we) think He can’t possibly mean me (us), even though He assures me (us) repeatedly in His Word.
In Genesis 1:27 we are told that we are created in His image.  Men and women look like God.  Think about it.  Don’t we all sometimes want to look like someone else?  Well, how about God.  Rather than comparing ourselves to others how about comparing ourselves to the One who loved us so much He gave His Son for us.

In Psalms 139:14 the writer is giving praise because he is aware of God’s love through being ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.  He is in awe of the One who cares more about our well-being than anything else.God protects and sustains us from the time we are born until we have many gray hairs.  It’s truly something He wants to do. Don’t we want to protect and sustain those we love?  Of course we do.  It’s God’s love for us showing through us. (Isaiah 46:4)

Siescape-fetus

Siescape-fetus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s look at the book of Hosea.  The cycle is repeated over and over.  Hosea marries Gomer, they have a child, she cheats on him and has two more, he continues to forgive her and take her back.  So like God’s love for us; we sin, He saves us, we sin, He forgives, and the cycle goes on and on and on…

The Painting entitled "Jesus Blessing the...

The Painting entitled “Jesus Blessing the Children” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John 1:12 says when we receive Him, believe in Him, and trust Him because of His name He makes us His children.  Don’t we make the choice from the moment of conception to love our children even when they are sometimes unlovable?  God does too.We are God’s chosen and dearly loved.  Like all who love others He has expectations for us.  We are to show compassion, kindness, and forgiveness (see Colossians 3:12-14 for the list).  Over all we are to wear a cloak of love.  A Japanese translation says it like this, “Love binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
He wants to love us.  Let Him!
Ah, Lord God, my King, my Shelter, my One and Only I do not deserve to be loved by You, yet You do!  You see my insides and my ‘out-sides’, You know my strongholds, my sins, my every part, yet You still love me.  Oh, Lord, help me to be loving to others, help me to love like You do, with compassion, kindness, and without thought to what it will ‘cost’ me.  What a Mighty God You are.     Make it so!

Words and Wants

That darn snake!  Too often he gets into our minds and uses what he finds there to cause us problems.  It happened to Eve and has continued through history to us.  He is like a roaring lion that travels miles to find something to devour.  (1 Peter 5:8)  In the first part of that verse we are told to be self-controlled and alert.  Alert to what?  Perhaps our lack of self-control. Read Eve’s story in Genesis 3.  She had some self-control issues that we still deal with today.  First, how about the fact that we, and Eve, let our words get us into trouble.  If she hadn’t spent so much time talking with the snake she wouldn’t have determined that she was perhaps missing something.  God didn’t create us with two ears and one mouth for no reason.  He wants us listening carefully, He wants us being careful about what we listen too, and He wants us to simply close our mouths to unnecessary conversation.

It also seems that we, and Eve, have a really big problem with coveting that which belongs to another.  There is a commandment about that.  We really aren’t supposed to get ourselves wrapped up in what others around us have.  Jesus tells us plainly that the Father provides what we need and we need to be careful that we are not wanting more than He thinks we should have.

Lastly, we eat to much.  This is both a physical and figurative statement.  We certainly need real food, in appropriate proportions to nourish the body and keep us healthy.  We also need to be ravenous for the food that is provided in a daily diet of God’s Word.  He will feed our hunger for the answers to life’s questions if we take the time to learn what he wants for us.

Awesome and mighty Heavenly Father, You alone are worthy of my praise.  Father control me.  Control my words, my wants and make me ravenous for Your Word.  Make it so!

Thoughts on Eve

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That darn snake! Too often he gets into our minds and uses what he finds there to cause us problems. It happened to Eve and has continued through history to us. He is like a roaring lion that travels miles to find something to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) In the first part of that verse we are told to be self-controlled and alert. Alert to what? Perhaps our lack of self-control.

Read Eve’s story in Genesis 3. She had some self-control issues that we still deal with today. How about the fact that we, and Eve, let our words get us into trouble?  If she hadn’t spent so much time talking with the snake she wouldn’t have determined that she was perhaps missing something. God didn’t create us with two ears and one mouth for no reason. He wants us listening carefully, He wants us being careful about what we listen too, and He wants us to simply close our mouths to becoming involved in unnecessary conversation.

It also seems that we, and Eve, have a really big problem with coveting that which belongs to another. There is a commandment about that. We really aren’t supposed to get ourselves wrapped up in what others around us have. Jesus tells us plainly that the Father provides what we need and we need to be careful that we are not wanting more than He thinks we should have.

Lastly, we eat too much. This is both a physical and figurative statement. We certainly need real food, in appropriate proportions to nourish the body and keep us healthy. We also need to be ravenous for the food that is provided in a daily diet of God’s Word. He will feed our hunger for the answers to life’s questions if we take the time to learn what he wants for us.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie