Going Around the Mountain

Biblical image – the Isrealites on the first march of the exodus

“Does it feel like you are stuck in a rut? Break out of that rut and come to this restaurant, or go to that vacation place. Or buy this. Or try this.”  Advertisers know that we want to change, but then we don’t want to change.

The rut feels comfortable. We don’t have to think about what to do if we just keep doing the same thing we’ve always done. The rut is easy. We can just slide along in life, day by day, living each day just like the last. The rut is normal. Everybody’s doing it. It’s acceptable to the crowd.

The Israelites got in a rut, going around the same mountain, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. God had delivered them out of Egypt, where they were slaves, but like one preacher said, Egypt was still in them. They had the “slave” mentality. They rebelled against God, almost as soon as they got out of town, so they were doomed to wander around in the desert, going around and around the same mountain for forty years until the rebels all died.

Even so, the children of Israel had it pretty good, even in the desert. God opened the waters of the Red Sea so they could cross over. He provided quail for meat and manna for daily food. If they were running out of water, God provided it out of the rock. If the water was poisoned, God gave them a tree to toss into the water to neutralize it and make it drinkable. For all the 40 years they walked around in the desert, their sandals didn’t wear out and their clothes were just like new.

How long have you been going around the same mountain? It’s time for some changes in your life, maybe uncomfortable changes, but it will be good for you. God has a great plan for you, just like He had a great plan for the Israelites.

The Lord spoke to them one day and said, “You have skirted this mountain long enough. Turn northward.” Deuteronomy 2:3 NKJV.  It was time for things to change.

God is telling you today, “It’s been long enough! Change directions. It’s time for things to change.”

Housekeeping

Some jobs just never seem to get done–like cleaning the top of the refrigerator or the top of the range vent hood.

Nearly every time I cook, I stand looking at the dust and grime on top of the range hood and think, Next time I do the dishes, and wipe down the stove, I’ll scrub that hood.” I suppose you know how that turns out. The next time I cook supper I see it again, but I can’t clean it then because the cleaner would fall into the food I have cooking on the stove.

Keeping a clean house requires constant work. Just ask any mother.

When my first child was 6 weeks old and I had to go back to work, I decided if I could walk across my kitchen floor without my shoes sticking to it, it was clean enough. When my son started crawling, I had to revise my cleaning standards and keep the floor cleaner, so I let the upper level dusting go. As long as you couldn’t write your name in the dust, it was okay by me.

After I had my second child, I was involved in church and school activities, and worked out of town, so something had to slide. As long as we had clean clothes to wear, clean dishes to eat out of, and the main living areas were company-ready, I considered the house clean.

Now that the kids are grown, I’m still busy, and I do pretty well at keeping things clean. The house is still cluttered, mostly with books & other reading material, my table is always cluttered, and I don’t do very well at dusting, but the public area of my home is mostly presentable.

Now that I’m older, I try to encourage the younger women and brag on them for their nice houses.

“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things– That they may admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, . . ..that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5NKJV

What a privilege to teach others the lessons we have learned.

Redefining Yourself

It’s Rodeo week in Vinita, Oklahoma. I hardly ever miss the rodeo parade, but I missed this one. I always mentally compare the current rodeo parade to the one in some distant yesteryear, when there were so many more horses and riders that they began to blur together. The floats were better, the bands had more students, and there were more bands. The parade in my memory was always better in every way.

Years ago, after the parade, we always went to South Park for Old Settlers’ Reunion. The fiddlers, dressed in their best overalls and cowboy hats, poured their hearts into their music. People sat around on park benches cooling themselves with cardboard fans from the funeral home and drinking lemonade. We were hot and sweaty, but so was everyone else.

Recently the Old Settlers’ Reunion was moved into air-conditioned facilities, and the name changed to All Settlers. People still sit around and visit with old friends while the fiddlers and singers still pour their hearts into their music.

Vinita has been defined in the past to the rest of the U.S. as an Old West horse and cattle country town with the Will Rogers Rodeo, large haying operations, multi-acre farm all part of our heritage.

Now we are busy redefining ourselves as a historical town and as a Route 66 town, with the well-known Clanton’s Café on the well-known cross-country highway.

What are you known for? Are you happy with the way you are being defined? Are you the stay-at-home mom whose kids are now grown? Are you the career woman recently retired? Are you still wearing the same hairdo you wore in the 60s?

And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV.

God’s Word has the ability within it to transform you into the image of Jesus. Like a mirror, the Word of God reveals us not only as we are, but as God wants us to become.

Times change, seasons change. Maybe it is time to redefine who you are. It is time to pray, “Lord, change me by Your Word. I want to be just like Jesus.”

The Right Information

 I’ve always believed that, given the right information and material, I could do anything.  Even years ago when I was in college, I worked on my own typewriters and sewing machines. If I could look it up in a reference book, read it and see it, I could do it.

We Baby Boomer generation were raised by parents in a booming economy just out of World War II, excited about the future with the chance to make a good living. They worked hard, built homes, bought cars, saved their money, and planned for their children to graduate high school and go to college, because most of them hadn’t been able to do so.

These parents made their children believe that the sky was the limit, the world was theirs, they could be president, if they worked hard enough.

We the Baby Boomer generation graduated and raced out to change the world. We used the manuals that were there and wrote manuals for the things that didn’t have them. We invented new things and wrote the guidelines to go with them. We developed new ideas for using old things and gave the world the information in written form.

This generation has been the Information Technology generation. We were the ones who made the shift from industry to information, because we were taught that if you had the right information, you could do anything.

The world is full of people who are living their whole lives based on the wrong information. They believe you can work your way into heaven.  If you work hard, treat everyone well, do good deeds, and give to charity, then when you get to the Pearly Gates, Peter will pull out the balance scales and if your good deeds outweigh your sins, you will get into heaven.

However God’s Manual the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV

There is only one way to have everlasting life, to enter into heaven when you die, and that is to believe in Jesus, God’s only Son.

Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Crazy Friends

Don’t you just love that story in the Bible about the men who carried their crippled friend up on the rooftop? Then they tore off the roof and let him down on his bed to where Jesus was.

What were they thinking? Were they crazy to pull a stunt like that? Where did they ever come up with that idea? I wouldn’t have thought about doing it that way, would you? What if they had dropped him? He could have died or been crippled even worse. But there was a crowd around Jesus and there was no other way to get him in.

“And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:20, 24-26.

Yes, it was strange to see. Jesus saw the faith of the man’s friends. They had faith that told them if they could just get this man to Jesus, he would be healed. Faith causes people to go out of their way to do something unheard of or in this case, never thought of before, unprecedented. Faith
says, if we can just get him to Jesus, all will be well.

Are you a friend like that? Do you love your friend so much that you will go to all that trouble to get him to Jesus? Are you willing to lay down your life for your friend by spending time in prayer for her?

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.

Everyone needs a few crazy friends like that, don’t they?

Family Redemption

Rahab was the woman of the house, a house of ill repute. When Joshua sent two men into the city of Jericho to scout it out, they were hid by Rahab, who saved their lives. In exchange, she asked for them to “show kindness to my father’s house and save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all that they have and deliver us from death.” Joshua 2:12-13. She believed that their God is the God of heaven above and earth beneath.

So the scouts said, “Our lives for yours!” She should gather all her family and all they had into her house and hang a scarlet rope from the window as a sign.

Rahab said, “According to your words, so it is.” Joshua 2:21. Then, when the city was attacked, Rahab’s family was saved and she was accepted into the Israelites as one of them. According to the genealogy of Jesus, (Matthew 1) she was the mother of Boaz who married Ruth who was the grandmother of David the king of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus.

Redemption for the whole family! A woman obtained the salvation of her whole family, mother, father, brothers, sisters, and all that belong to them, including their children.

Rahab pleaded with the men of God for her family, just like many mothers and grandmothers have pleaded with God for the salvation of her children and grandchildren.

Just as God’s representatives pledged their lives to save Rahab’s family, Jesus has given us the promise that our families will be saved.

Paul and Silas were in jail, and the Lord sent an earthquake to open the prison doors. The jailer fell before Paul and Silas and said, “What must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Are you believing God for the salvation of your family? Here are two examples from the Bible where whole families were saved. Don’t give up. Take God at His word just like Rahab did.

Say to the Lord, “According to your words, so it is.”