DAY 36

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“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I learned this fact today and it grieved my heart:

“Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every night.”

This is a statistical FACT. However, for most of us stats are just numbers. Numbers used to quantify or classify a situation. Sadly, we DON”T pay attention to statistics. Today this statistic became real to me, as it took on human form. I had a conversation with someone today, that made me realize how much I take for granted, and how little I have to complain about. I, like many people, have had financial issues. But I have never had to take a drill and extract my own tooth…I have dental insurance. I have been hungry, but I have never had to rummage through garbage cans to find food…I have a Walmart card. I complain when my AC doesn’t work, but I have never had to sleep on the streets…I have NOTHING to complain about.

Food for thought. We have many more blessings than we think. Let’s stop looking at what we don’t have. Instead, let us be grateful for what we already have. Here’s a thought…instead of always getting, why not try giving?

So what am I thankful for today? I am thankful that someone (whom the world sees as a statistic) taught me that stats are NOT just numbers.

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 9. “There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people” (Verses 1-2). A choice and handsome son. I want you to remember this. Saul looked like a king, he was handsome and stately. He was every Disney prince come to life. This is the only character trait that is mentioned about Saul. He was good looking. Why of all the verses did this one stand out to me? Because many times our decisions are based on appearances. God allows Israel to have the king they wanted, not necessarily the king they needed (he comes later and God uses a very different set of standards to choose him… hint, hint).  Israel accepted Saul, because he LOOKED like a king. But as they learned, looks can be deceiving. I stand on the threshold of making a decision about a job. One job looks great because it is what I now what I understand, but there is a very steep price attached to it. The other job is not all that appealing because I am not use to the work I would be doing, it is outside my comfort zone. But it offers a lot of growth and change. One looks great, but comes with a price. The other looks scary, but comes with growth and change. Don’t equate physical appeal with good. One does not equal the other. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 8. “And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’ So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, ‘This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.  He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day'” (Verses 7, 10-18). Ever read the side affects of a prescription? Often times it makes you wonder if it isn’t better to just stay sick and let your body heal itself. These verses read to me like medicinal side affects. Israel cries out for a king, which seems silly since God was their ruler. Why would you forsake the maker of the earth, of you, for someone as limited as yourself? God surmises, that they had rejected Him. God relents, but then tells Samuel let the people know exactly what they are signing up for. He tells them this: basically the king will take the best of their things for himself, and not really give them anything on return. Uhmmm… that doesn’t sound like a fair exchange. Your are leaving, God, that gives you everything freely, for an earthly king that will take everything? Here’s the thing with medicinal products the side affects happens to less than one percent of the population that use the product, therefore the benefits outweigh the risks. However, when Samuel informed the people about the ways of the king, the behavior was not a one percent change, it was a FACT. The king WOULD do everything God prophesied. Here the risks outweighed the benefits by A LOT. Be careful what you ask for, anything over God is just not worth it. The side affect: “The Lord will NOT hear you.”

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 7. “And Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.’  So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’ And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah. Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.  So the children of Israel said to Samuel, ‘Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines'” (Verses 5-8). These verses are filled with lessons. The children of Israel realize that they have broken God’s heart. They put away false idols and gather at Mizpah to ask God to forgive them. They pray the fast, they listen as Samuel judges their sins. They confess and leave their hearts contrite before God. The Philistines (whom we know are NOT very bright), decide that this would be a good time to attack Israel (yes, let’s attack while they are spending time with God, you know, the One who all about destroyed us). Really guys? Have your learned nothing from you short stint with the Ark? Israel is nervous, but instead of giving in to their fears, they pray, they ask Samuel to pray. They take their requests to GOD. This week I have been worried about much, but these verses remind us, worry won’t help. Fear can’t solve problems, only God can. Take our requests, our problems, our fears to the only One that can fix what’s wrong. GOD. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 6. “‘Then take the ark of the Lord and set it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a trespass offering in a chest by its side. Then send it away, and let it go. And watch: if it goes up the road to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that struck us—it happened to us by chance.’ Then the men did so; they took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. And they set the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the chest with the gold rats and the images of their tumors. Then the cows headed straight for the road to Beth Shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left. And the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh” (verses 8-12). Just so there was no misunderstanding. Just so the Philistines would understand, there is only ONE TRUE GOD. The Philistines are at their wits end, people are being stricken with plagues, they are dying… but they still are unsure if it the God of Israel or just a fluke (seriously?!). So they devise a plan they set the Ark on a donkey and send it on its way. If it goes towards its home, they know it was God, but if it wanders in a different direction it wasn’t. Yup, you guessed it. the Ark goes in the direction of home. God leaves no misunderstanding. When He works, when He moves, even if we try to deny it we ALWAYS know it was/is Him. The Philistines knew, but they wanted to act as though they didn’t. Don’t be fooled, God is not mocked… a man will always reap what he sows. Disobedience leads to destruction… ALWAYS. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 5. “Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon.  And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again.  And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day” (Verses 1-5). I know I shouldn’t laugh, but there is just a great satisfaction in watching God, be GOD (of all). The Philistines mistook the victory against Israel as something they had accomplished on their own. It never once dawned on them that God may have been teaching His people a lesson. Okay, fine they are human I can understand why they misunderstood. But why, why would you put the God you know to have parted the waters, the God you know to have destroyed nations, next to your god who had done none of that? They next morning their god is on the ground, prostrate before the God of all. They take their little idol up and once again place him above God, who just moments before he was prostrate before… Philistines are not very bright. are they? The next morning not only is their god once again prostrate before the Lord of ALL, but he is broken, arms, head severed from torso. Get the point Philistines, no god above the ONE true, GOD. Here’s the thing, everyday society places all forms of “gods” above the One True GOD. We look at the state of the world and shake our fists at Him asking why He allows this, never once stopping to consider that maybe He is teaching us a lesson, maybe this is the consequences of our disobedience. No “god” above the God of ALL. PERIOD. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 4. “So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died” (Verses 10-11). Here’s something to think about disobedience can make God look weak to others. Right about now you are thinking, “What did she just write?!” Let me explain, in the verse prior to this Israel goes against the Philistines and are badly defeated. So they get a “bright” idea, “Let bring the Ark of God…” Yeah, uhmmm, bad plan. Why? God had a specific place for the Ark to be. and very specific rules about how His dwelling place should be handled. Israel ignored ALL the rules. The Ark comes, Israel starts rejoicing (they assume victory, because God is in their midst). The Philistines hear the rejoicing, they have heard of God’s miracles, they know He is mighty. He has stopped waters, and brought plagues. They are afraid, but they go to battle against Israel anyway… and they WIN. Now, let’s take a step back and answer this very honest question, if you were a Philistine in that battle what would your view of Israel’s God be after such a victory? Israel did not seek God, they did what they wanted without ever asking God what they should do. They disobeyed His laws, and statutes and still expected victory. Their defeat sent one message to Israel, but it sent a very different message to the Philistines. Their disobedience made God look small in front of the enemy (no worries He fixes that in the next Chapter… read ahead). Our actions paint a picture of God to the world at large: It either shows them that He is GOD of all or it shows them He is god of none. What picture does your Christian life paint?