Psalm 16 Utmost confidence in my Safe Place!

Where do you find confidence?  When everything around is in turmoil, when life gets, overwhelmingly, loud and there is a constant demand for your attention where can you find some peace?

Do you have a safe place?   This is a question those who are on the spectrum need to have an answer to.  They need a safe place to regain confidence when melt down is imminent.  A safe place to go when the stims of life have turned an otherwise healthy environment toxic.  But they surely aren’t the only ones who need to know where their safe place is.  Even King David the writer of this Psalm spoke of his safe place.  The place where he turned and found renewed confidence and inner peace to carry on.

This Psalm of David has no specific point in history for us to look up.  No heroic battles won, or near death escapes for the King of Israel.  It is simply a declaration of what David knew to be true.  So, if you have your Bible or app along you might want to turn there and follow along.  Each version has its nuances so follow along in which ever version you prefer.  We’ll look at each verse this morning out of the NIV and the NLT and see if we too have discovered David’s safe place.

Psalm 16 (NLT)

David begins,(1)   Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.”   You and I know that God is a person not a place.  So clearly David isn’t suggesting otherwise here?  Yet repeatedly David has taken refuge in His God.  Psalm 7:1, “O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me…” (NIV).   Psalm 11:1, “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain” (Psalm 11:1 (NIV).  David’s confidence was clearly in the Lord, he rejected the idea that refuge was to be found elsewhere.

As I wrote that, I suddenly found myself thinking of the refugees out in Summerland that Sylvia and Renee mentioned a while ago.  If you remember, after escaping war-torn Syria, enduring horrendous living conditions, they sought refugee status in Canada.  And like winning the lottery they were granted visas and sponsored by caring Canadians.  Then they traveled to the other side of the earth, looking for a safe place to raise their family. Looking for a refuge.

And as they settled in Summerland it surely looked like safe refuge for them.  But then, as we have often seen as of late; when the vacancy rate of rental properties dips below 1%, and prices of those few remaining rentals increase with demand, these refugees had the house sold from under them.  At the point S&R asked us to pray for them, they had two months to move and it was causing great inner turmoil for them.

They thought they had found refuge in a house but it was sadly temporary.  Yet David clearly expressed much confidence in his Refuge, his safe place.  A confidence that seemed unmoved by circumstances.  David, “(2) …said to the LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.”   David’s Refuge was found in the same place that S&R asked us to pray for those refugees.  In fact, God was the source of everything good in David’s life.  Can we pray for better refuge than that for them?

In verse 3 David thanks God for that which God has blessed him with.  (3) The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!”

The Godly ones!  Did you notice that?  Psalm 84:10 says, A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked” (NLT)

The day I began to write this message Rika went home to her Refuge.  She had lived a long and sometimes difficult life but in the end, there was no doubt how godly she had grown.  Like some versions of your bibles, the word godly and saint were interchangeable.  Rika was a delight to be around even though she was feisty at 97, there was no doubt that Jesus was her Refuge!

David delighted in the saints because of Who their refuge was.  He didn’t worship them, but he sure admired them.  Called them heroes!  They were the people he enjoyed being around the most.

I hear sad things at times out of the mouths of people who call themselves Christians.  Like when they say they prefer the company of the ungodly.  In fact, they’d rather be out with the ungodly than be with the godly at church.   I just shake my head.

How is that possible I wonder?  How is it that a professing Christian finds more in common with the people who find nothing in common with the one whom they profess to be their Refuge?  What does this really say?  Are they truly whom they claim to be?  Or have they never actually met those “godly people” …David’s “true heroes”?

Seriously if you would rather keep the company of the ungodly that says more about you than you think.  I know you will likely come back with “but Jesus hung around with “tax collectors and sinners”, “prostitutes” and shady characters”.  “And He was God in the flesh. If it was good enough for Him it is good enough for me”

But really?  Did he hang out and party, cursing and carrying on like them?  Enjoying what they enjoyed and doing what they did?  Worshipping what they worshipped?   And did those people carry on doing the ungodly things they had always done once they had been with Jesus for a time?    His record is spotless how about yours?

Delitzsch writes, “The expression of his abhorrence attains its climax: even their names… he shuns taking upon his lips” (1:224: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.)

David said, Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods” (Psalm 16:4 (NLT).   Basically, he said, “I’m not with them, I’m with the godly ones.” He taken a stand.  Which doesn’t mean he thought he was perfect like you and me!   Clearly there is a line that you and I ought not cross even as we try to bring the ungodly folks that come into our lives to further a relationship with our Lord.  But it does mean he’s all in.

 “LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine” Psalm 16:5 (NLT) David has things that are dear to him.  He’s not some ascetic monk living in the wilderness.  The truth is God has given that once shepherd boy a kingdom full of things that his heart desired.  Fancy clothes, horses and chariots and clubs and swords….  Gold and silver and precious stones, even land!   “The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!” (Psalm 16:6 (NLT).  He possesses much but it doesn’t possess him.  He doesn’t worry about leaving it to go and do what God is calling him to because he knows that God gave it to him and will keep what he needs for him.

How does he know this?  Well, David gives us a clue in verse 7.   “I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me” (Psalm 16:7 (NLT).  That’s a personal relationship with the almighty that David is getting at.  A relationship that he clearly cherishes.  His counselor is the creator of everything and he acknowledges his reliance on the God who guides.

I don’t know about you but I know I have times when my days are hectic and so full that time to think things through just doesn’t happen.  And Like David I have experienced those times when I finally go to sleep and sure enough in the middle of the night the answer suddenly comes.  I try to get up and write it down.  Or I’ll make a note beside my bed on the tablet.  Cause sure enough I’ll forget it by morning.

Now I can ask other Pastors, and talk with smart people, even Google answers when I need to know something but trusting God as your counsellor – is the safest place to go to and the safest to listen to.

David was that confident.  He was so confident in his safe place that he wrote, I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me”
Psalm 16:8 (NLT).   Put your confidence in man, and even the most loyal one will eventually fail you or not be there when you need him.  Trust in technology and you’ll find out quickly when the power fades how poor a safe place that is.  But when you have a friend who sticks closer than a brother, now you’re in your safe zone.   Now your confidence has a resting place.

I think David surprised himself with his declaration in verse 7 because in verse 8 he writes, “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety”
Psalm 16:9 (NLT).   With God, right beside you, what have you to fear?  Yet I find, as I wander at times, that the assurance the David proclaims doesn’t hit home.  And in those times, I don’t sleep so well.  I may toss and turn all night long…ever been there?  David is doing more than instructing us and giving God praise in these verses.  These things he writes are for instructing his own heart, telling it what the truth is.  Not accepting the counsel of the wicked, or giving into fear and superstition. He reminds himself where His refuge is found and he instructs his heart to go to his Safe place when even death threatens to rob him of his peace.

He thanks God that,God will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave” Psalm 16:10 (NLT).     David didn’t want death to be the end of it all.  And now he knows that the best is yet to come! But at the time he wrote this do you think he understood the resurrection?

I’m aware that the Apostle Peter used these very verses in Acts 2:23-25 as he spoke of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, our Safe Place confirmed according to Paul.  Peter looking back confirms what David spoke in faith, looking ahead.

He was told by the prophet Nathaniel; the account is found in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, that David’s legacy would live on through his children.  But was it more than a spiritual resurrection as they call that?

Nathaniel said to him, “(12) When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, (euphemism for dying or death.  David did know that like his fathers he would die.)  Nathaniel goes on to say, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, (this would be a physical, blood line descendant) and I will establish his kingdom.  (And we know that Solomon, David’s son did carry on as King of Israel).  Nathaniel goes on to say, (13) “He shall build a house for My name,  (Still speaking of Solomon.   Solomon’s Temple is a historical, traceable fact of history…you can read all about it.  It happened as the prophet predicted.) Nathaniel predicted, “He shall build a house for My name,  and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever”. (David was told about a throne that will last longer than a man lives.  Forever. One of David’s descendants’, Jesus Christ, His Kingdom would last forever.   Jesus – the son of David, the Son of God whose body never saw decay nor did it stay in the ground!  Because on the tird day He rose from the dead in accordance to the scriptures.  Jesus would literally live forever! )   But wait for it…).     Nathaniel speaking for God goes on to say, (14)  “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, (15)  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you”
2 Samuel 7:12-15 (NASB).   This king would suffer taking on the sins of the world, being corrected by man’s devices, beaten and hung on a cross to die, but unlike Saul who went to the grave, whose body did decay this son of David would continue to reign under God’s protection and refuge and history confirms this too.  But wait for it… Nathaniel then says, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever’2 Samuel 7:16 (NASB).  Jesus rose bodily from the dead, “did not see decay” ascended to the right hand of God, the place of absolute authority and reigns forever.

So when David said confidently, For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.  You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever (Psalm 16:10-11 (NLT).  If this was written after Nathaniel’s prophecy, David already understood that he was of the lineage of the coming Messiah and spoke of the joy of being in God’s presence with his son forever.   Is that cool or what!  No wonder he had such confidence!

Romans 8:10-11 says, “(10)  And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. (11)  The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:10-11 (NLT).

Make this your safe place and you can never be shaken!  Amen?

Mark 1:40-45 The Least of These?

To see all of today’s study questions, click here.

That passage in Matthew has always caused me great concern.  I’ve wrestled with it for years now.  Especially every time I walk by a street person or drunk out begging or get accosted by the guy who stands at the corner of Channel Parkway and Eckhardt Avenue.  Lately though I’ve wondered are these the least of these that Jesus is speaking of?

So tell me.  Are people like the ones pictured here the ones that Christ was talking about in Matthew 25? Why or why not?  Are these the least of these?  What do you think?

(Zach wrote down the answers on the screen.   See the video above if interested in how we grappled with this question.)

Slide1
As I came to this morning’s passage I chewed on this story in Mark for more than a week before sitting down to write out my thoughts. And as I did my mind would keep coming back to that passage in Matthew 25, back to “in as much as you have done it to the least of these you have done it unto me” (40).   Are these stories intertwined?  Do they complement or antagonize each other as it seems.

I looked at all my commentaries and many different versions of the Bible itself to see if I could better grasp why this story is included and what practical applications I can draw from it.  But every time I started to write I kept coming back to just a few questions.

  1. Are there people you find particularly uncomfortable to be around?

I don’t know about you but I find those who are physically disfigured be it through disease or accident at least somewhat uncomfortable to be around.    Now I’m not exactly sure why.  But I think it may stems from my morbid curiosity.

I find I want to really take a good look and examine what has happened that caused this disfigurement.  I want to look at  them from different angles and get right up close.  In fact I find some things fascinating that way.  But I also know, that more often than not, that starring would make the person really uncomfortable to be around me.  So for the main part I restrain my curiosity at least until I can get to know the person and hear their story.

Slide2I found that getting to know part particularly difficult when I was in Kenya though.  Since I did not know the native tongue it was often hard to even begin a relationship.  Never mind getting to know someone well enough to ask those awkward questions that would allow me to satisfy that curiosity.

And there were a few totally cool looking people that I would have been interested in finding out what happened.   I so wanted to hear their story.  Like my friend Pastor Wyjonji the bigger man pictured here.  His head and hands were truly amazing to see.  As I talked with him I found out that it was some sort of heart defect that caused some hormonal imbalance which in turn caused this wavy growth on his head and unusually big hands and body size.

When I first met him in 2011 I wasn’t sure I’d get to see him again as the heart issue seemed of major concern to him and those around him.  We prayed together and God saw fit to keep him around and a part of every visit to Fafarol since.   He is a truly amazing man, gentle and very loving!

The man next to him, pictured here, is a stock photo I got of what leprosy looks like according to some info I found.   I’ve never met him but again I’d love to hear his story.  I can’t begin to imagine what life has been like for him, can you?

Leprosy is a disease mentioned often in the bible.  In fact leprosy would from a biblical sense actually describes both of these men.  It was  used to describe many skin ailments from severe rashes to unusual deformities.  So it was not limited the same definition as Leprosy today is.

Today’s leprosy has much fewer strains and scientists now believe it all started in East Africa and spread throughout the centuries and across the continents following trade routes.

The characteristic loss of fingers and toes, facial deformity and even blindness is due to the nerve damage that the disease inflicts on its victims.  Since the nerves no longer send pain impulses to the brain, those with leprosy often don’t know that they burned or cut a finger or toe which eventually becomes infected and if left untreated falls off or requires amputation.  And though leprosy was fairly common in Biblical times this disease is still very active in our world today.  In fact in the last year or so 121 countries reported new instances of this terrible disease which is caused by a germ, or bacteria, called Mycobacterium leprae.

Even in Canada 2-10 new cases are found each year.  It is treated quite effectively today with multi-drug-therapy that takes from six months to a year to complete.  But once started this therapy quickly makes the person no longer contagious.  So Isolation is no longer necessary as it was practiced Biblically and especially practiced throughout the middle ages until about 1960.

Slide4This Island was once connected to Crete but according to historians it was dug around and eventually fortified in the 1500’s.  Being well fortified and separated from the peninsula  made this the perfect place to put people, to isolate them from the rest of the population.  And in the early 1900s to 1953 the island was used as a leper colony having housed many people with leprosy at times.

In Biblical times often the leper was simply put out of the camp, town or city and forced to live away from family and friends.  In fact it wasn’t unusual for these poor souls to lose all human physical contact if the disease was not cured.

Once the priest pronounced the person unclean, according to Leviticus 13:45-46, “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.” 

So not only was the deformity debilitating but depression must have been rampant for these social outcasts.

Which makes our Bible story today all the more miraculous and touching once you realize what this poor man had been going through.

So if you have a Bible with you open it to Mark 1:40-45 and let’s look at this passage together this morning.

 “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.  Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:  “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”  Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere” (Mark 1:40-45 (NIV).

 “If you are willing you can make me clean!” – As this man comes and kneels before the Lord the one thing that is not said by him is “I’m not sure if you can help me but give it a go”.

Slide6There was no doubt that Jesus had within him the power to heal this deadly, deforming, disease, called leprosy!

Where did this man get such faith?  How did he know that Jesus could heal?  Had he heard about all the people outside of Peter’s house that found that Jesus not only heals the sick but casts out demons?  We can only assume he did because his earnest plea was full of faith!  you can make me clean” (40).

And yet having been subjected to isolation for who knows how long, and having not had the simple pleasure of a hug in ages this dejected man did express some doubt.  Didn’t he?

It appears from what he said that he wasn’t so sure that Jesus would chose to help him.  That’s what this “if” is about.  Why is it that,  It is sometimes easier to believe in God’s power than in his mercy ?(Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 630) 

Have you found yourself there?   You believe that God can do what you need Him to do but you just aren’t sure He’ll do it for you?

Why is it that we can believe in His power but not His mercy and grace?

Slide7Somehow this man had faith that healing was in the realms of possibility.  And he certainly knew there was nothing he himself could do to get rid of leprosy.  But I believe he also knew that emotional sting along with the stench of this disease.  The sting of isolation had created doubt.  And that isolation caused him to doubt that anyone cared enough to help him at all.  But that doubt was short lived.

You got to love our Saviour’s response!  And His compassion even at a time when Jesus was trying to avoid the crowds… it speaks volumes about our wonderful saviour.

If you look back just a couple of verses (Mark 1:30-39) you’ll see that Jesus had tried to escape the growing crowds of people wanting miraculous healings.  He even snuck out under cloak of darkness to a secluded place so he could have a talk with His father uninterrupted (cf. Mark 1:36).   And when the disciples finally found him and told him everyone is looking for you he said “let’s go somewhere else!” (Mark 1:38)  But when this poor dejected man knelt before Him compassion welled up inside of Jesus.

And then He did the remarkable.  He did what no one else had done since the day the man was sent away from that town.  Jesus actually reached out …and touched the man!  That’s the miracle here.  He reached beyond his comfort zone, beyond the cultural taboos and touched a disease ridden man.

 

Now, scientists today are pretty sure that leprosy spreads through contact.  Particularly through sneezing and coughing because of direct bodily fluid contact like most infectious diseases.   And I’m sure when Moses, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, set forth the laws concerning leprosy, God already knew it spread by contact.  So there was good reason for social isolation.  So when Jesus reached out and touched this man it was not the thing to do humanly speaking.   It was the beginning of a miracle!

The fact is most of us might even find being in this man’s presence uncomfortable, never mind actually reaching beyond that discomfort and touching him.  Even though today we know that the chances of actually getting leprosy from casual limited contact are slim indeed.   And yet the stigma is still there big time.

But can you imagine for a moment the eyes of the disciples?  Of Peter, James and John as they watched what Jesus just did?  It would have been priceless to see their expressions as Jesus hand actually made contact.  Since anyone who touches something unclean becomes unclean until evening at minimum according to the laws of Moses they would have been aghast!  The Law which guided their thoughts and at convenient times even their actions was in them from childhood.   They knew that no one was to touch a leprous man!

Yet that didn’t stop Jesus, he not only reached out, touched the man but answered that man’s question, “I am willing!  Be clean!” (41).

Slide8Alexander MacLaren writes,  “People tell us that to believe in sudden conversion is fanatical. This is not the place to argue that question.” (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture – St. Mark 1-8, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1906), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 48).

Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured!(42)  It was over in an instant!  A few words of instruction and the Master was on his way.  It has taken me much longer this morning to speak about this event then the event itself took!

But do you think, even for a moment, that this man, once the leprosy was gone, wanted to do what Jesus asked of him next?

We read in verses 43-44, “Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:  “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them” Mark 1:43-44 (NIV).

Funny isn’t it?  He told that man, don’t tell a soul!  And the man immediately told everyone he came in contact with.  Warren Wiersbe so eloquently puts it,

“Jesus told this man to keep quiet, and yet he told everybody. Jesus commands us to tell everybody—and we keep quiet! (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2001), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 114).

Jesus specially said to you and I, “… as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give…Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you until the end of the age…(Mat. 10:8, 28:19)…

But know this!  “…whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”(Matthew 12:50). 

Those who go and tell the Good News, who make disciples…those are Jesus’s brother’s, and sisters…  You mean like some poor leprous man who was healed but couldn’t follow the Master’s immediate orders?

But wait, doesn’t that make him one of the least of these?  As well as one of Jesus brothers? Hmmm?

Slide9

Why do you suppose Jesus said, “don’t tell anyone” to this once leprous man?  Especially if He knew that the man wasn’t capable of keeping this secret between them?   Why was that included in this passage?

Well some say that Jesus was using reverse psychology on him.  You know, if you tell someone they can’t touch something they will likely prove you wrong quite quickly.

But other scholars seem to think it was because Jesus didn’t want that kind of publicity.  He wasn’t looking to become the best magic show in town.  Jesus had come to bring salvation from God, to restore wholeness to broken humanity not just heal disease, but something far more important.

But to this man who was isolated and hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually, the sudden release from the prison he was in was overwhelming good news!  There was no keeping that a secret!

That kind of good news is just too much to keep inside!   So that man “went out and began to talk freely, spreading the good news.

There were consequences to his actions though!  It’s right there in the text.  Verse 45.

As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere”  Mark 1:45 (NIV).   

“Surely you can see how Jesus took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows …” Isaiah 53:4 (NIV)?

Slide10Did you notice?  Did you notice Who was then the one on the outside looking in?  Did you notice Who was now in a sense the outcast, the one in forced isolation?

Mark says,  “Jesus could no longer enter a town openly…he had to stay outside in lonely places!”  Could that be why He asked the man to keep it to himself?  To do as Moses commanded, and give glory to God the old fashioned way?

And yet that’s our Saviour!  He was willing to trade places so that the very illness that separated us from God could be remove once for all.  And it cost Him His very life on the cross.  And that was only the beginning as we saw last week.  He has risen!

Jesus still answers our prayers of desperation with those words that brought healing and comfort to that leprous man.  “I am willing, Be Clean!” (41).

And that kind of takes us full circle to where we started today.  Back to Matthew 25.  Back to the least of these.  Who are the least of these?  Is it the poor, the imprisoned, the outcasts?  Well, actually the answer is right there in what Jesus said.

Slide11I don’t know how I missed it for so long.  It’s not talking about those who are goats, who Christ said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ …they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:46 (NIV).  They are the ones who mocked the Master and persecuted His brothers, and sisters and even His mother!    These goats are NOT “the least of these”.

The least of these are you and I and everyone who, having been set free by the master and having gone out and, talked freely, spreading the good news, even if it meant we went hungry, thirsty, or naked!  And trust me there are plenty in foreign lands who fit those descriptions.   Many who are forced into isolation or imprisoned or beaten and murdered because of Christ’s name on their lips.   Jesus says to them as well as you and I:

 “… ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

They are the ones that Christ said is our brothers and sisters to whom we had the privilege of feeding and clothing, visiting and even giving a cup of water in His name!  AMEN?


 

Read Mark 1:40-45 in several versions. Then read Matthew 25:31-46 and begin the lesson.
1.  Are there people you find uncomfortable to be around? Why is that? What makes you or them uncomfortable to be around?
2.  Who is Jesus referring to in the Matthew 25 passage as “the least of these”?
3.  What do we immediately find out about the man in Mark 1:40?
4.  What do you know about his infirmity?
5.  How would you define his disease Biblically? What does the Bible say about it?(see also Lev. 13:1-46; Num 12:10-15; Deut 24:8-9; 2 Samuel 3:29; 2 Kings 5:27; 2 Kings 7:3-4; 2 Kings 15:5; Luke 17:12-19)
6.  Do people today still suffer from that disease? (Ask mr. google for statistics, you may be surprised!)
7.  What did the man do when he met Jesus? (Mark 1:40) Why is it easier for us to believe in God’s power than in His mercy and Grace?
8.  How did Jesus respond to the man’s faith and doubt? (see also Mark 6:34; Luke 7:12-13; Heb 1:3; Heb 4:15; Ps. 33:9)
9.  There was more than one miracle mentioned in verses 41 and 42 what were they?
10.  Why did Jesus strongly warn the man in verse 43? (Mark 7:36; Matthew 9:30; Luke 8:56)
11.  What did Jesus tell the man to do? (Mark 1:44; see also Lev. 14:2-32)
12.  What did the man actually do? (Mark 1:45) What is so funny about that? (See comment in my notes)
13.  Who actually are “the least of these” according to Matthew 25:40?
14.   Is there a person that makes you uncomfortable that you need to help this week? Who should you see in them?

Exodus 4:10-17 Reach Beyond Your Comfort Zone! He did!

To see all of today’s study questions, click here.

Slide1I like this picture!  The cross is empty!  The tomb vacated! He has Risen! He has Risen indeed!  It is such Good News.  Especially when you know the risen Lord.   And know the power of His word to heal the broken hearted and set captives free from the power of sin and of death itself!  If only the good news would reach beyond the faithful on Sunday mornings it would so impact the society we live in and make it even a better place to live.

But being Christ’s hands and feet and especially giving voice to the Gospel message seems like a daunting task even as Harold’s video put it.  It’s hard enough to do it in our own neighborhood and to the people we love and care for but to reach beyond to the places where people have never heard the good news takes special determination and even the occasional miracle.

Yet the message of the resurrection and the hope it brings is needed throughout our world more today than when the good news first went forth.  In so many ways this message has been lost in the myriad of competing voices we are constantly bombarded with.  That’s why God still calls and send out His messengers to reach beyond the noise and deception.

Have you ever noticed that God has always used a partnership model with humanity when it comes to sharing the Good News?  Seriously, He invites us to come and join with Him in spreading the good news that there is freedom in Christ.  And God enables those who answer the call to step out in faith and to do things they never thought possible.

For 2016 we have been doing a survey of the Bible that shows how Christ is found from Genesis to Revelations.  Each week we look at one story found either in the New Testament or the Old and it’s been quite a journey.  Today’s Bible Lesson from HIStory comes from a time when a messenger was reluctant to deliver the message and shows us how far God’s grace reaches out to enable Moses to fulfill his destiny.

If you have a Bible along turn with me to Exodus 4:10-17.

“Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”  The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”  Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you.  You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.  He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.  But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it.”  Exodus 4:10-17 (NIV)

Slide3Rented lips…that’s what I call them.  Those times when you are nervous and you know what you’d like to say but the words just come out in the wrong order or too jumbled up to make any sense.

It’s sooooo frustrating at times.  I can empathize fully the words of Paul as he writes, “For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” (2 Cor. 10:10).

No one ever said that about Jesus!  He spoke with such amazing authority and words that would cut to the heart of the matter and yet were so full of grace.  He is a natural communicator!  But I know what Paul’s talking about here.  Rented lips!

That’s not to say I don’t try hard to speak in a way that rightly conveys the gospel message, I just often suffer from rented lips.  These things get in my way!

I know good preaching when I hear it and aspire to be a good communicator but after preaching close to a thousand times…when compared to those silver tongued preachers we all have heard on radio and TV, I still suck at it!

Slide4As Paul said in 2 Cor. 11:6, “But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge…”  And like Timothy I do my best to, “Be diligent to present myself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).  And so should we all for that matter for the stakes are higher than we may think.

So if Moses was nervous about being called out to bring God’s message I think I could understand his hesitation on those grounds alone.

“Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (10).  Can you hear the reluctance?   And yet doesn’t he express it so eloquently?  I’m not sure where that apprehension is coming from or who it was that he compared himself to but knowing his past something had to have set it off.  Did it stem from being heckled or mocked? I’ve experienced that enough to know it has effect on future performance.  But I don’t see anywhere in the Scriptures before Exodus 4 that tells of a time when Moses was public speaking and it embarrassed him or got him into trouble.

Slide5Some scholars say he may have had a speech impediment or some sort of a disability that caused him some grief when speaking.  But again there is no proof of that in the Bible.  In fact just the opposite!

From Acts 7:22 we learn that,  “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.  Mighty in words!  In fact he was a diplomat in Pharaoh’s court so he would have dealt with citizens and foreigners and likely in more than one language.  Sure that was more than forty years prior to our passage today but true all the same.  And even in the forty years outside of Egypt Moses would have had to learn and speak the language of the Midianites in this his new homeland.   He was one smart cookie — very knowledgeable!

Perhaps his reluctance to speak stems from being not so fluent in his mother tongue?  I read one Rabbi who said it was because Moses was not fluent in Egyptian language.  Though I find that a little hard to comprehend since that would have been his mother tongue as an adopted Egyptian.  But either way having to speak and lead a people in a language that no longer flowed from your lips would certainly cause some anxiety.

Remember he was taken as a baby into Pharaoh’s court and though he was still nursed and looked after by a Hebrew slave the time eventually came for him to be schooled.  And that schooling would have all been in the written and spoken languages of the Egyptians.  In fact for the first almost forty years of his life pretty well all he knew was Egyptian culture, customs and language.

Slide6So Moses might have felt like the current Syrian refugees feel here in Canada.  Many of them know a bit of English and may even read it but almost everything has to be filtered through their mother tongue and many dialects.   It’s like a big fence to break through.  And that truly causes one to be slow of speech for quite some time.  Don’t expect them to be here a year and be fully conversant nor even understanding of our ways.  It just not likely to happen.

Just ask my father-in-law!  Peter does very well now but when he first moved to Canada he would have agreed with Moses about being slow of speech and tongue.  German still comes easier for him even after 50 plus years in Canada!  But English took real determination and lots of frustration before he felt comfortable speaking in public.  I suspect Moses and my father-in-law had much in common that way.

But did God buy Moses excuse or his reluctance to obey?  Sure doesn’t seem like God’s about to let Moses of the hook does it? Just look at verses 11-12.   “The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12 (NIV)

Nope Moses had to make a choice not an excuse.  Just like we’ll need to reach beyond those language barriers to show Christian hospitality to refugees in our land if the Gospel is going to continue to impact them.

God was reminding Moses that for Him language is never an issue.  Moses would simply have to obey and trust that the God who made him knows what it will take to accomplish His purpose.  And God made him a marvelous promise:  “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (12).

Moses wouldn’t have to rely on his own rather amazing intellect to see him through, as God would be with him.

Jesus promised pretty much the same for you and I, “…do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12).

Remember the same power that was able to raise Christ from the dead is the one that can teach you to do exceedingly abundantly more than you can ever imagine or hope.  But it still takes guts!  You actually have to step out of your comfort zone and start in the direction He gives you.

Just reach beyond your comfort zone…just like Moses did, right?Slide9

God said, “go!”

“But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Ex. 4:13 (NIV).  Moses said, “NO!”  Now that took guts!  Did he forget to Whom he had been speaking?  Was he nuts?!

I’ve seen what God can do.  A little smack down from God comes with thunder and shakes the whole earth!

And yet Moses says, “…please send someone else” (13). A little gutzy, don’t you agree?  Moses came up with:

EXCUSES!  

Truth be known I’ve been there too.  Overwhelmed and lacking in confidence I’ve declined God’s direction on more than one occasion.   And even when I think I can do the job, I’ve been known to plead with him to send someone else.  Haven’t you?

And you know what?  It doesn’t even take Him by surprise but according to what comes next in this story it may just rise His anger a bit!

Slide10I know it’s Easter and we should be talking about the loving God who when told He would have to lay down his life, said, “not my will but thy!”  And then Jesus actually went and laid down his life!  But Moses is only a type of deliverer, a foreshadowing of Jesus.

Jesus loves you so much that he’s willing to take your sins and toss them in the deepest ocean and not let you go fish for them.  His grace is so great that there is only one sin that stops Him from saving you from your stupidity and stubbornness.  But I think that sometimes even Jesus gets angry!  He still loves us but shows that love through disciplining us when we need it.

Slide11I know this because God is the same yesterday today and forever.  And verse 14 says, “Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you” (Exodus 4:14 (NIV).

Moses knew God’s anger.  Which, by the way, is why I believe that Moses didn’t have a disability or impairment of speech.  I don’t think that God would get angry at someone for having a speech impediment and being worried about stumbling over his words as a result of the impediment.  But God was clearly angry at Moses.

Remember this part of HIStory was written by Moses himself.  So when he says, “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses”,  you know he’s really saying he felt the Lord’s anger that day.

But Moses also learned something else about God in that moment.  Though God’s anger burned against Moses, this did not become a lightning bolt education for him.  In fact there is much grace to be found in this passage.

GRACE & MERCY!

God had already arranged that Moses brother, whom we presume he has not seen in forty years, was on his way for a family reunion.  And God having given every man his speech, knew that Moses would pull the slow to speech card and say “send someone else”.   So Aaron…his brother, who also was clearly hearing from God, set out to be with Moses.  Is that not grace and mercy?  Is that not cool!

Aaron unlike Moses had grown up with the Hebrew slaves and was likely still one at the time, so he would have been fluent in the Hebrew culture and language of the day.

So why not simply send Aaron and leave old reluctant Moses on the top of the mountain talking to bushes?  After all God already knew Aaron could speak well.  And clearly Aaron was not only ready to follow God but was already going where directed.  Why not just take His burning anger out on Moses and make him a little pile of ashes on the mountaintop?

Because God is slow to anger, compassionate and merciful, abounding in love he does not treat us as our sin deserves, He does not want us to perish in our sins (cf. Exodus 34:6, 2 Peter 3:9).

The Bible says, “Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:3-5 (NIV).

But does that mean we can tell God where to go without feeling His anger?  I don’t think that would be wise to try that!  Our passage shows us that God in His great mercy taught Moses about thinking he knew better than God.

God said to Moses, “You shall speak to him (Aaron) and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.  He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him” Exodus 4:15-16 (NIV).

Slide13Men, anybody here got brothers?  Ladies, do you have sisters?  How well do you get along with them?  Do they already think you act as if you were God to them?   How’s that work for you?

I’ve got two older brothers and I can assure you it would take a miracle to have them speak for me and I can also assure you they wouldn’t treat me as if I was God to them.  Maybe the other way around… they certainly have at times Lorded over me.

The moral of that part of the story is be careful what you ask God for….in fact its likely better to listen and just go where he sends you!

Moses got what he asked for.  God would send someone else to speak for him.  But God certainly wasn’t letting him off the hook.  God tells him, “… take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it.” (Exodus 4:17 (NIV)).

The EBC says,  “There is a risk in declining the call of God; it may be a forfeiture of divine blessing even though there is grace and mercy for the obstinate (so Bush, Exodus 1:60)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Aaron’s family would receive the Priesthood.  And Moses would back Aaron’s words with God’s provision through that staff.  It was the power he needed to reach beyond his comfort zone and do far beyond what he thought he would be capable of.   And it was also a promise that God, can and, would do miracles to set His people free.

Fortunately for us Christ rose from the dead and is seated with the Almighty in heavenly realms.  Where He constantly intercedes on our behalf.

Hebrews 6:18-20 says, “God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.  It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God  where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…” (Hebrews 6:18-20 (MSG).

Slide14And Jesus gave us the Great Commission, to go and tell people that there is deliverance and freedom to be found in His name.  And instead of a stick He has sent us the Holy Spirit to do miracles through us.

And Jesus even knows that our natural inclination may be to ask Him to send someone else to go in our place.  So Christ has brought brothers and sisters like the Goerzens and sent them to go and be His voice and hands and enable us to Reach Beyond our fears and help those who need to be set free.

In this next video we get a glimpse of how the risen Lord continues to perform miracles and transform lives when some modern day Disciples of Christ set out to inspire a new generation through music and lyrics.  After the video Harold & Linda will come and share more stories of how Christ continues to use their organization called Reach Beyond to touches lives around the World.

 



Read: Exodus 4:10-17 in several versions.

  1. When was the last time you shared your faith with someone?
  2. Do you tend to make excuses or do you boldly share your faith?
  3. Where was Moses when this dialog took place? (Ex. 3:1-4)
  4. Who was Moses talking to? (Exodus 4:10; Exodus 3:4)
  5. What was asked of Moses? (Exodus 3:10; 4:12)
  6. What reason did Moses give for not wanting to go? (Ex. 3:11; Exodus 4:10; see also 1 Cor. 2:1-4; 2 Cor. 10:10; 2 Cor. 11:6)
  7.  Was it a genuine reason or simply an excuse?  Why do you say that?  What Bible verses can you point to to defend your answer?  (See also Acts 7:22)
  8.  What was God’s response to Moses reluctance?  (Exodus 4:11;  Gen. 18:14;  Psalm 51:15; Psalm 146:8;  Isa 6:7; Isa 42:7; Jer. 1:9; Eze. 3:27; Eze 33:22)
  9. How does God show much Grace and mercy to Moses?  (Exodus 4:12; Psalm 25:4-5; Psalm 32:9;  Psalm 143:10; Isa 50:4; )
  10. How does Christ help believers share the good news? (Matt 10:19-20; Luke 11:1;  Luke 21:14-15; Jn. 14:26; Eph. 6:19)
  11. Who is God prompting you to share your faith with this week?

 

The Job of Saints and YOU! A study in Psalm 145:1-12

  1. What things do you usually talk about with your friends when you meet?

  2. Are spiritual issues difficult to talk about with your friends?

  3.  How does it make you feel when you’ve shared what God has done for you?

Let’s look at the first part of Psalm 145 and see what advice David brings us. Read Psalm 145:1-12  then read and answer the following questions.  Remember to look up the verses that follow the questions before you answer them.  

  1.  What does it mean to extol or exalt? – Ps 30:1, Ps 68:4;Ps 71:14-24; Ps 103:1,2;Dan 4:37;

  2.  Who was the object of David’s exaltation? Ps 145:1 Rev 19:16;

  3. Is it reasonable to believe we can praise the Lord everyday? Ps 119:164; Rev. 7:15; Eph 6:18 ;1Thes 5:18

  4. Do you understand God more today than you did 40 years ago? Job 5:9-10;Job 11:7-9; Job 26:14; Isa 40:28; Rom 11:33; Ps 139:6

  5. What does David mean commend your works (4). Ps 44:1-2 ; Ps 40:10; Ps 71:117-19; Ps 78:3-7; Ex 12:26-27; Ex 13:14-15; Dt 6:7; Jos 4:21-24; Isa 38:19 ; Mt. 12:34-35; Php 3:7-9

  6.  Many of these verses mentions fathers passing on the faith, what about mothers? 2 Tim 1:15

  7. How does showing generosity reflect god’s character? (Ps 145:8) Ps 86:5;103:8; Nu 14:18 2 Cor 9:11-12; 1 Pet 2:10

  8. Is God good to all or just those whom call on the name of the Lord and are saved? (Ps 145:9 ) Ps 65:9-13 ; Ps 104:27; Na 1:7; Mt 5:45; Act 14:17

  9. Who are the saints of today? (Ps 145:10) Eph 1:1, 1 Cor 1:2; Phil 1:1

  10. What’s the job of the Saints? (Psalm 145:10-12) Ps 30:4; Ps 32:11; PS 97:12; Ps 135:19-21; Isa 43:21; Heb 13:15; 1Pe 2:5,9 ; Rev 7:9-12; Rev 19:5-6

  11. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!

Be Blessed!

Pastor Blake

Pastor Gail’s Hawaii photo journals.

Hello to all!

this is the first note from Travels 2013 as we head to Maui in the morning.  If you received this email and do not wish to be included, please do let me know and I will adjust ;-).

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Weatherman had been pessimistic, but this day is a beauty! and we wandered Stanley Park for a couple of hours, and even dropped into Queen Elizabeth park on the way.

WHALES SOON!!!!

shalom

gail, mike and G’ma Shirley

 

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Aloha
fair winds are blowing and in a few minutes we will be heading 50 feet to our beachfront for a little wakeboarding and our beginning snorkling. We participated in the great annual whale count this morning and while it was not a photo op, there was adventure for sure as we watched a competition pod (many males chasing one female) and even a DOUBLE breech!! monday afternoon is whale watching boat and hopefully there will be photos then.

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Thursday and friday were very rainy, even dangerous on parts of the north east shore…the trade winds dump rain there and leave Kihei almost a desert in the rainshadow of the mountain. we toured a bit and saw big vistas and strange ancient lava formations eroded and beaten by the sea… they are called the Dragons teeth, and the photos show why!! After the storm a lovely sunset.

Sunday morning at the local Baptist Church. Perhaps next week at the local Hawaiian congregation, tho the locals tell me they encourage and welcome visitors the service is in the Hawaiian language!

bye for now
gail mike and g’ma shirley

Aloha! for all you keeners out there with questions….here is the information that our whale count volunteer leader sent to us!
enjoy!

gail mike and g’ma shirley

ps
we were in the group that saw both the competition pod (males chasing one female) and also the double breech!!!

________________________________________
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 09:10:45 -1000
Subject: Great Whale Count Results!
Aloha Great Whale Count volunteers,

Thank you all for volunteering your time to make the Great Whale Count possible this year. It was a successful Count, and the afternoon gathering seemed to be a fantastic way to sum up the event. For all those volunteers unable to attend the gathering (or for those that did attend but want more information), you will find a link to the results

Mahalo!!!

 

Aloha once again!  we have successfully ended our first week on Maui and all are well, and no sunburns!  When we arrived the trade winds were howling most of the day and intense in the late afternoon…every day now it is softer and gentler and in the calm sea we have watched whales every day.   Often the whales can been seen just in the bay close at hand as the mothers and calves like to rest and nurse in the shallows,  but most of the activity is a few miles offshore in the deeper water trench between the islands.  Last night after supper we sat on the lanai, binoculars glued to eyeballs, and watched as a mother and calf traveled south across our line of site.  Together those two put on a continual show of breaching, tail flipping and flipper waving!

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Tuesday we travelled the infamous road to Hana and i must say the road is everything it is reputed to be! windy  w i n d y WINDY and did i mention the 1700 corners and who knows how many one lane bridges??? I will try to post a video, i know how to do that for facebook, but not too sure how to send it on email, but i will try, just to give you an idea!  We stayed overnight in Hana and wandered leisurely back the next day stopping often to view waterfalls, jungle, bamboo groves and majestic sea vistas.

 

Tuesday afternoon was the much anticipated sail plane over Haleakala, and again, what a delight!!!   Hans is knowlegable, learned to fly at age 14 in Holland, and is semi retired and still loving it!  His skill was needed as those pesky trade winds made it a rather challenging ride near the mountain, and he was most careful not to make me air sick (i was fine).  Hans curled around in large lazy loops just like an eagle, gaining 500 to 900 feel altitude with every spiral….up and well over the top of the volcano, and at first it appeared the mountain was socked in with cloud, but it turned out to be only a halo ring of white mist, and the crater was open for a spectacular view!!!!  believe it or not i forgot to take photos in a few places cause I was too busy watching!   The vessel is a sail plane, which means a motor and propellor and we powered up and up, but it is a sail plane, so the engine was turned off and we softly floated over the top and down the backside of the ridge into the Hana airport!

G’ma was most excited to see me back on the ground! and then it was Mikes turn and we 2 ladies headed over to the black sand beach for lunch, where we discovered a nest of mongoose playing peak a boo in and out of the lava rock wall.

 

The mongoose were introduced to the island years ago to deal with the rat problem that the early sailing ships had brought into port and left on shore.  Bad move. The rats are nocturnal and the mongoose are day runners, so now they are the pests on the island and the rats have nothing to fear!  pests they may be, but awfully cute for inquisitive tourists!

 

Flowers abound, some i can name, others i have no idea!  but when i can i will label the photo so you can know which is which.

 

Son Craig and family arrive saturday, kayak adventures await, thanks Scott for the flippers!!!!!!!!  and most likely tomorrow we will head for a 2 hour drive up the flanks of Haleakala for the sunset and maybe a few star shots if we do not freeze!  temperature in Kihei is about 82F and at the top of the mountain is about 30F!!

Aloha for now

gail mike and G’ma shirley

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good sunny morning to you!!

warm, lots of whales and still windy……windy  ( blowing wind) and windy (twissssssty roads)  is spelled the same and are fast becoming the descriptive words for this vacation!

Come along for a drive in the country….


Aloha everyone

Another lovely day in Maui, the kids arrived last night, and the little ones from Calgary are definately jet lagged, but so very happy to be here in this lovely space with us. Thot you might enjoy a little view around some of the sumptuous condo we have been resting in…ground level, walk out to the lanai (porch) for breakfast lunch and dinner if we wish to. 3 bedroom 2 bathroom and a lovely equipped kitchen for us cooks to play in…. coconut prawns and salad tonight for dinner! Large gas BBQ’s at the end of the lawn beside the warm fresh water pool and a few more BBQ’s on the roof if we feel like the big view! The end wall in the living room is totally glass with 3 enormous roller shades to temper the blazing late afternoon sunshine.

All of these photos are taken in on or around the property just to give you a taste.

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A special little treat for me this noontime as i was walking knee deep in the menehune….all around me literally 100’s of little fish began to jump out of the water in repeated attempts to escape…. escape the eel that was chasing them for dinner!!
(no, no camera at the time)

The prevailling wind is up again and quite a swell is on the bay, but hopefully tomorrow morning will be calm as we go whale watching!!

aloha

gail mike and g’ma shirley

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03-06-2013 Goodmorning all!

Frankolins woke me up again this morning squawking at the rising sun….tho there are plenty of chickens and roosters on this island, it is the chubby little brown frankolins who seem to be the morning activists!  Mom and I started off down the beach, promptly spotting turtles grazing at the algae along the menehune wall, and sandpipers snapping up their breakfast at the waters edge.  There is some type of a night crawling crab who live in burrows at the beach edge just above the waterline.  their tracks are ranging from a little  1 inch to a B I G 10 inches across, but they are long asleep in their nests before we go beach combing.  perhaps i will stake out at midnight on the beach to spot a few!

 

Soon we will be off up island for the day in and around Lahaina.

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The flower photos (and a few critters) are a collection from over the past 10 days from various places on the island, some are named,  others i have no idea what they are called, but they are still pretty!  The best plumeria i have found so far was in the church yard where we worshipped on sunday,  the 1790 church foundations are still visible, and the community has simply installed a concrete floor, fiberglass benches, and church service is in the open air under the palm trees next to the flowers and smells and bird calls of the tropical morning air.

Tomorrow morning we will be up and away early on a Molokini snorkle adventure!

ALOHA

gail, mike and g’ma shirley

 

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Getting to Know Jesus – A Ten Day Biblical Journey of Faith and Discovery

Getting to Know Jesus – a ten day biblical journey of faith and discovery.

Getting to Know Jesus is a ten day biblical journey of faith and discovery, it was developed by Brian Bird a now retired Anglican priest living in South Africa.

Our life today is dependant on relationships and what better relationship to develop and nurture, than one with God, our Creator. This booklet can be used to gain an insightful perspective on what this relationship means to us and also used by more mature Christians, to refocus our relationships and priorities.

We have Brian’s permission to publish this on the site to extend Christ’s Kingdom.  So we present it here for your use…… be Blessed!”

Kisarean – Church under a tree

This was my second visit to this wonderful and joyful congregation under a tree. They have such big hearts! Five large Maasai families have come together to form this vibrant church. Pastor Jackson Kierie leads this group who are building a church/preschool a ways over the hill. You can check out the videos here after we land back in Canada. The people walk from all over the valley and even several vallies around to be with us this day.


The road on the way in is full of potholes and much of it has been washed out in the heavy rains. The rains are a mixed blessing. After three years of drought the area is finally green again and able to sustain the livestock that provides their living wages.
Our service focused on Psalm 133 and of course L.I.F.E. forevermore. We encouraged the group that their faithfulness with building was showing. And we left a seed to help them continue to build. They of course treated us to lamb and chapaties before excusing our hasty departure. We could see the rains approaching and desired to spare them the added expense of putting up our team for the night. God was gracious and held back the rain until we had safely climbed back out of the valley. And then the clouds burst and the valley was engulfed in one of those huge storms.
This was truly spectacular scenery including the incoming storms.
We made an unscheduled stop at pastor Jackson’s home on our way back up out of the valley our van got stuck in the muck while the rest of us walked up the hill to see the Pastor’s humble dwelling. And the main purpose for this stop was to pray for the pastor’s kids who were sick.
We made it a very brief stop passing up chai as the storm was chasing us back to Nairobi.

As we got in by 6 we decided to have a quick trip to the Maasai market for some souveniers and some high pressure haggling. Catherine at one point fed up with the persistent salesmen screamed, threw her arms in the air and left hastily. The salesman followed her out of the store and quickly accepted her final offer. She’s a great negotiator! Everyone found shopping at Nakumart much more relaxing.