Only a Little Sin

Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. Some might think it was only a little sin – why cast them out for one sin?

Well, the sin was deciding they wanted to be like God, knowing good and evil, for wanting to decide for themselves where the plumbline should be.

Where does God draw the line on sin? Certainly not where we would decide to draw the line.

And, if God did not cast them out for “one little sin,” how could there ever be a perfect place to live for eternity? Do we really want Heaven to be a place where we can decide for ourselves what is good and evil?

I say NO; we already are living in that place, and it certainly is not Heaven.

With this “wisdom” we have, we make ourselves the judge and jury of all we see. That’s one concern with the media. Every wrong is displayed for everyone to see, and everyone has their own opinion on how the issue should be addressed. Everyone decides for themselves what is good and evil. We can easily see how this causes division.

“One little sin” leads to another – it’s a slippery slope. Look how quickly that sin in the garden turned into murder with Cain and Abel.

We absolutely must recognize that only God has the true plumbline, and that He has the power, the love, and the right to rule over His creation and decide the rules for holiness and righteousness.

May we bow before God’s wisdom, authority, majesty, power, glory, honor, and love.

Revelation 4.11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Recipe Friday: Funfetti Chocolate Bars

Just so we understand one another, this recipe has no nutritional value and is, in fact, pretty much a negative nutritional value. It has a lot of sugar, and sugar snags your immune system for up to six hours, while it processes the garbage out of your body.

That said, they are delicious, quick, and easy. These are good for church potlucks.

We had these at an assisted living lunch, and they were so good I looked up a few recipes online, and patched this one together.

For variety, you can substitute for the milk chocolate bars:

  • Chocolate almond bars
  • Krispy chocolate bars
  • Rolo caramel pieces
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Heath candy bars, or sprinkle Heath bits
  • Hershey kisses
  • Chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Any combination of these

These could be frosted, but it would really be overkill, I think.

Yield: 1 9×13 pan

Ingredients:

1 boxed Funfetti cake mix

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted

3 eggs

6 Hershey milk chocolate candy bars, full \ regular size, unwrapped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix together the dry cake mix, melted butter, and eggs.
Press half the dough into a greased 9×13 baking pan.
Arrange the 6 unwrapped, whole candy bars atop the dough (If needed, break the bars so they fit the pan).
Working carefully, smooth out remaining dough on top of the candy bars.
NOTE: wet hands work well for spreading and smoothing dough.
Bake at 350° 13 – 16 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool. Cut into bars.

Firstborn Son

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Luke 2.7a And she brought forth her firstborn son

Mary was a virgin when the Holy Ghost came upon her and she conceived. She knew beforehand that she would bear a son, and that His name would be called Jesus. This was her firstborn.

As I read this in Luke Chapter 2, I thought of the firstborn of the human race. Adam and Eve were created, but not born of a woman.

Genesis 4.1, 2 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 

Cain was Eve’s firstborn, the firstborn of the entire human race. His younger brother, Abel was born next (we don’t know if they were twins, since the verse doesn’t indicate that Eve conceived again after Cain).

But the firstborn of the human race killed his younger brother. This is a manifestation of Jeremiah 17.9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Every human ever born of man and woman has a desperately wicked heart. We are a race steering ourselves to death.

And then there’s Mary. We don’t know much about Mary prior to the conception and delivery, and again not much afterward. Did God pick her because she was so good? Mary had the same deceitful and desperately wicked heart that everyone else has. But she was a virgin, we know that (Luke 1.27); she humbly accepted all that her Almighty God told her through the angel Gabriel (Luke 1.28 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her); and sang a praise to God her Savior (Luke 1.46 – 56).

Luke 2.7a And she brought forth her firstborn son

Jesus was God’s firstborn (and only!) Son, too: John 3.16 (my emphasis) For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God offered salvation for the human race by offering His only and beloved Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice. God loves us just as much as He loves His Son. God cannot love anyone less, because He is perfect, and He has only perfect love.

Jesus remains the only perfect example of human flesh submitting to the complete authority of God, every moment of every second of every day that He lived on Earth. He had no sin (1 John 3.5 And ye know that he (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.)

There’s quite a difference between the firstborn of the human race and the firstborn of God through the human race. Jesus had a human heart, but that heart was in perfect submission to His Heavenly Father. Because of that, He had perfect peace always; He was in perfect communion with God always

We can strive to have the same peace of Jesus: God gives us a new heart when we acknowledge Him as rightful Lord and Savior, when we bow humbly before Him and confess our sin. God made us a new creature (2 Corinthians 5.17), with the mind of Christ (2 Corinthians 2.16).

We can humbly acknowledge that the throne of the universe (and my heart) belongs to God, and that He is right and just. How often do we give God His place, vs how often do we imagine ourselves on that throne?

Even though we are born of the human race with deceitful and desperately wicked hearts, God, in His love, has made a way, through His firstborn, for us to not only be with Him forever in Heaven, but to live here on Earth with Him in perfect peace (Isaiah 26.3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee).

* Image from TheTorah.com

Recipe Friday: Chili Cheeseburger Stew

I made this on a day when I didn’t have anything planned for dinner, or anything in mind. I started with a pound of burger and some onions, and kept throwing stuff in. Turned out pretty good; and it’s all in one pot.
I’ve been trying to use up a “government cheese” block someone gave us that we’ve had for a long time. It’s like Velveeta, I guess: rather a soft, yellow cheese-like substance. I don’t know if it’s real cheese or not. You can use whatever cheese you like in this recipe; cheddar, mexican, monterey jack, colby – all, I think, would go well.
I used part of a bag of frozen corn, but the amount was about a can’s worth.
This went really well with corn bread. In fact, you could put this in a casserole dish, spread corn bread dough on top, and bake in the oven at 350° for about 20 minutes. What we did was put some baked cornbread in the bowl with the stew.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef or whatever kind of ground meat you have

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 8.3 ounce can baked beans (I used Bush’s Original)

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 (14.5-ounce) can corn, drained

5 ounces choice of cheese, cubed

Directions:

In a medium-size pot, brown the burger and onion. Add the garlic; cook and stir one minute.
Add the baked beans, stir.
Add the green chilies, chili powder, and corn; stir. Heat to bubbling.
Stir in the cheese. Cook, and stir occasionally, until the cheese is melted.
Serve hot.

The Light We See, The Light We Shine

Sometimes what we see of God is not so light and bright. Is it because God has shadows, or is it our own perspective?

1 John 1.5b God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

God is light. He has no darkness whatsoever. If we are not seeing His full lightness and brightness, it is because our vision is clouded, jaded, askew. We allow, or set, or run into, issues that stand between us and God, so we do not see Him as He is.

Be sure to read God’s Word to learn Who He really is. God is Light, God is Love; pure and unadulterated. He has no darkness, no sin, no ill-will. He is patient and kind, and He is always good to us. He is truth. Pray the Holy Spirit will shine understanding in you as you read Scripture.

As Christians, we have God’s Holy Spirit within us. That means we have His Light.

Matthew 5.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Do others see God’s Light in you? If not, what is the issue? Are you shining His Light? This light is not your own light. It is the Light of the Spirit of God. You have your own flesh warring with this Spirit, but if we put our flesh to death daily, then we can shine God’s pure light.

The issues with shining God’s light, then, are 1) our own sin casting shadows along with God’s Light; 2) others’ perception as they look upon what we cast.

Sometimes our light is cast via actions, daily activities, and getting out and about. Sometimes it’s through conversations, our speech. These are ways other people get to know us.

Sometimes we allow our light to be filtered through fear because of 2), above: we don’t know how someone is going to perceive what God wants to deliver through us.

1 John 4.18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

If you allow God to have full reign in your mortal body, then you will begin to understand this amazing love that God has, not only for you, but for everyone with whom you come into contact. If you allow God’s Spirit to work unfettered, then you will have that peace of mind that comes with obedience to God Almighty. Granted, people will not always respond kindly to what God has to say to them through you. Look at the apostle Paul. He endured much suffering when he preached Jesus Christ. Look at the suffering of Jesus, Himself.

If you want the quiet, unassuming, get-along-with-everyone kind of life, try to get over it. God does not call us to such a life. He calls us to obedience, and He calls us to go out and tell the world about Jesus Christ, our Savior. We are to speak His truth in love (Ephesians 4.15).

Other’s response is between them and God. Your obedience is between you and God. Let the Holy Spirit in you so shine that others will glorify your Father in Heaven.

Recipe Friday: Shrimp Alfredo with Asparagus

My husband got a deal on a two-pound bag of frozen shrimp, so I started looking for ideas for a meal. I found an easy alfredo recipe and the rest came together.

This is a really filling meal: shrimp is, itself, filling, then there’s the cream cheese and all the butter. The pictures look like skimpy servings, but it was really all we could do to eat it, with a side salad.

Filling as it is, this is a pretty healthy meal. Butter (even though it gets a bad rap in too many cooking and health articles) is one of the best types of cooking oils you can find, especially if you use the expensive, organic kind.

I used an eclectic mix of pasta: some spinach, some gluten-free (rice), and some semolina (regular kind). They were all spaghetti noodles. You could go fancy and use linguini pasta.

The alfredo sauce is so simple, just four ingredients. If it’s too thick, go ahead and add more milk – either while you’re cooking the sauce, or after you mix it into the pasta, shrimp, and asparagus.

Steamed broccoli florets would be a nice swap for the roasted asparagus.

This recipe makes four servings, give or take, depending on everyone’s appetite. A side salad and some garlic bread would go great with it.

Shrimp Alfredo with Asparagus

Servings: 4

Time: 45 minutes from start to serve

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh asparagus, washed clean, dry ends cut off

6 ounces dry spaghetti or linguine noodles (3 or 4 servings)

1 pound shrimp, pre-cooked or raw, but peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

Extra olive oil and extra 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Cut the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Oil a baking pan, and spread the asparagus in it. Drizzle with more oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake in a hot oven (375°), stirring once, 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly roasted.

Boil pasta according to package directions.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the cream cheese and butter. Whisk together until melted and creamy. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, then the milk. Stir and heat until smooth. Turn off the heat.

In a medium-size frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Drain the shrimp, and sauté in the butter. When shrimp are 1 minute away from being done, stir in 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Cook and stir one minute, then remove from heat.

Drain the pasta, return to low heat. Pour in the cooked shrimp and garlic, along with all the cooking liquid and butter. Stir.

Add the roasted asparagus; stir.

Add the alfredo sauce. Stir well. Add more milk, if needed.

Serve in small portions.

Teenage Angst

When I was 19, I had a waitressing job at a bar.  One night at work, a group of friends brought up the subject of my upcoming birthday.  I was lamenting the fact that, during my teenage years, I had never had the opportunity to go parking, and that my chances of ever experiencing this teenage tradition were narrowing with my looming birthday.

One of the friends, Ed, a local radio DJ, was in on the conversation.  Ed was a lanky, gentle guy, standing about 6’4”.  He told me he would be happy to help me solve my dilemma, and what was I doing after work?  I cocked my head at him, smiled, and said, “Done!”

After work, in the wee hours of the morning, we climbed into his VW bug and headed to the woods.  The next day, I crossed that teen requisite off my mental list and wrote a poem to commemorate the event, which I sent to him.  We remained friends.

The poem went as follows:

Parking

The car was too small,

or he was too tall.

But the long and the short of it

was nothing at all.

PS That was fun. Thanks, Ed.

Turns out, parking with a friend in a tiny car is an excellent opportunity for a really good talk.

Recipe Friday: Tea

Because ’tis the season, we have viruses and bugs and germs and cold etc., I am reposting this from a year ago:

RecipeFridayTea

Oh, how comforting is a cup of tea! Tea is one of my favorite things to do each day. I was introduced to hot tea by an English woman when I was in high school. She served it to me with 4 lumps of sugar and some cream. So delicious as all those sugars and carbs zipped straight to the pleasure centers of my brain! I was hooked on it as warm, comforting, and satisfying. I have since learned to curb my sweet tooth propensity and look more toward healthy options. I was doing well to make herbal teas with a bit of natural organic honey added until my friend was visiting and I noticed she didn’t put any honey in hers. “Oh,” I thought, “I guess tea doesn’t HAVE TO have sweetener in it at all!” This was a revelation to me. Well, we’re all still learning.

Of course, “a cuppa tea” in casual conversation may refer to a number of hot drinks: infusions, decoctions, herbal teas, green/black/oolong tea, etc. To get that out of the way, I first offer a glossary:

“Tea” technically refers to Camellia sinensis, the leaves of which may be made into  white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea, and black tea, depending on how the leaves are processed.

“Herbal tea,” or tisane, refers to using the roots, leaves, seeds, bark, or flowers of plants to make a hot drink (stems don’t generally have much medicinal value).

Preparation of plant parts may be divided into

  • Infusion: herbs macerated and steeped in water
    • Quick infusion = 5 minutes in hot water: good for small amounts of herbs. These herbs do well in a quick infusion:
      • Chamomile
      • Sage
      • Peppermint
      • Thyme
      • Tulsi
      • Rosemary
      • Lemon verbena
    • Nourishing herbal infusions are steeped for longer periods, good for pulling out nutrients. Pour hot water over the herb, cover, and let sit for 8 hours or overnight. Some herbs good for nourishing herbal infusions:
      • Linden
      • Hawthorn
      • Plantain
      • Violet
      • Stinging nettle (the most famous nourishing herbal infusion)
      • Mullein
      • Oats
      • Red clover
    • Cold infusion: herbs are infused in cold water for 4 to 8 hours, often placed in a sunny window, can also be placed in the refrigerator
  • Decoction: simmering plant parts for a length of time (20 – 60 minutes)
  • Any of these may be gently re-warmed before you drink.

Cautions:

  • Always know your tea source. Choose organic brands. You do not want to drink teas made from chemically-laden plants.
  • Do not use aluminum pots or pans for preparing tea.
  • Avoid plastics.
  • Drink tea in moderation. Too much of anything is not healthy.
  • Some people are allergic to some plants. Avoid teas made from known allergens (although, some people are able to overcome allergies by ingesting small amounts at a time).

I use the term, “tea” to refer to hot drinks I make from plant parts.

I prefer loose tea, as it is easier to buy and store in bulk. I use mason / glass jars of varying sizes. It is best to store herbs in a cool, dark place. Label your herbs with the name(s) and date. I say name(s) because sometimes I mix herbs together in a big jar to avoid having to mix them every time I want to use them. Tea bags, however, are a convenient and clean way to make tea.

While I buy most of my herbs for teas, I grow a few. Each summer I grow peppermint in a pot; at the end of summer, I dry the leaves, crush, and store them. (I also grow stevia in the summer, and dry and grind the leaves to use as a sweetener.) We have four linden trees in our yard. I discovered them shortly after we moved into the house, and I was following my nose to the source of the rich, flowery scent. I was delighted to find that the flowers and leaves of the linden were not just for show, but were also medicinal. When it came time to prune the branches, we hung them in the garden shed until they dried, then I stripped the leaves and flowers, and stored them in a gallon glass jar.

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To make tea:

  • Use filtered water. Your water should be as pure as possible.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then let it cool only slightly.
  • Pour the hot water over the herbs into a cup or teapot. (How much herb? Whatever tickles your fancy at the time. Herbal teas are food, and it would be well nigh impossible to overdose. That said: Please drink responsibly.)
  • Cover the cup or teapot to contain the nutritive oils.
  • A hot pad underneath and a tea cozy atop will help keep everything at the right temperature.
  • After steeping, press the herbs to extract all the benefits you can from the plant parts.
  • Some teas lend themselves to mixing with other teas. Nettle, for instance, while extremely nutritious, tastes pretty “green.” Adding a bit of peppermint or lemon in with the nettle improves the experience.
  • Most people like to add a bit of sweetener to their tea. Honey is the favored choice, and it’s a good one (if you use natural, raw, organic honey) because you add more nutrition (and some say it’s a good way to prevent against seasonal allergies). Please don’t ruin your tea with off-the-shelf sugar. Sugar is like an anti-nutrient, and it grabs all your immune system’s attention for the duration of the digestion and processing of it out of your system. There are other, preferable, sweeteners available, like maple syrup, sucanat, and stevia. (See my post, https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2019/10/11/recipe-friday-treat-time-chocolate-mug-cake/ , for a discussion of sweeteners.)

Enjoy drinking your tea. Tea is soothing and nourishing: let it be so.

My favorite go-to tea is a mix of peppermint and stinging nettle. Stinging nettle is a fabulous source of magnesium (along with other nutrients), and many health-conscious writers advocate drinking it daily. [Rosalee de la Foret (at https://learningherbs.com/ and https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/ ) claims that stinging nettle remains an unsung champion for improving health in many powerful ways. She advocates drinking a nettle infusion daily for general health, as it contains an amazing amount of nutrients that can support your energy level as well as the health of your bones, hair, and teeth.] Peppermint is great for the digestive system. We have our main meal at noon, and I usually have my peppermint/nettle tea afterward. Peppermint is best steeped quickly, and nettle is best steeped in a long infusion. I compromise both. I prepare my peppermint tea bag and my scoopful of nettle in a cup with simmering water, cover it with a small saucer, then put my tea cozy over the whole thing. I let it steep for about 20 minutes (sometimes much longer, if I forget about it).

Another tea I use often is a mixture of elderberry, hawthorn berry, mullein, peppermint, calendula, and stinging nettle. This is a good tea for hot/moist colds, but also good for boosting your immune system. Elderberry prevents viruses from replicating; hawthorn provides Vitamin C; peppermint is antimicrobial and antiviral; mullein protects mucous membranes from inflammation, thereby decreasing mucous secretions; calendula is antimicrobial and assists the lymphatic system; elderberry, hawthorn berry, and peppermint are immune-boosting. I either add the herb mixture to simmering water and continue to simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes; or prepare it as I do the peppermint and nettle.

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SO MANY herbs make well into teas (I have most of these at home). I culled the Internet for information, and found most of it at Dr Josh Axe’s site, draxe.com :

  • Green teas are made from leaves that have not been fermented, so they have higher levels of antioxidants.
  • Milk thistle: detoxifying, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, promotes liver and gallbladder health, good for digestion, soothes mucous membranes throughout the body, increases breast milk production
  • Burdock root: cleanses the blood (detoxifier), lymphatic system strengthener, skin healer, natural diuretic
  • Chamomile: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, promotes tranquility, resolves digestive issues, treats insomnia, relieves mild pain
  • Jasmine green tea: just inhaling the beguiling fragrance is good for my soul. Jasmine improves mood, overcomes stress, and balances hormones.
  • Dandelion leaves: enhances heart health, boosts weight loss, supports liver function (besides making tea, dandelion leaves are a powerhouse of nutrition and are good for consuming, either fresh in a salad, chopped into a pesto, or sautéed with onions)
  • Dandelion root (quite tasty when the root is roasted): promotes good digestion, liver-healthy, benefits cholesterol, good antioxidant, antimicrobial
  • Yarrow: reduces inflammation (especially in the digestive tract), sedative to relieve anxiety or insomnia, stimulates blood flow, helpful for high blood pressure and asthma
  • Turmeric: powerful anti-inflammatory, relieves joint pain, enhances immune function, regulates blood sugar, helps manage cholesterol levels (drinking turmeric tea with pepper, honey, lemon, ghee, or coconut milk can enhance its properties)
  • Barley: cleanses the kidneys, treats kidney stones, flushes out toxins, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidants to safeguard the body against cell damage, stomach pain relief, reduces sleep disturbances, reduces constipation
  • Red clover: benefits for menopause, bone and heart health, balances hormones
  • Moringa: anti-inflammatory; treats thyroid disorders, kidney stones, bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections; high in protein, Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin C; antioxidant; balances hormones; helps improve digestive health; boosts liver function, helps detoxify the body; protects and nourishes the skin; mood stabilizer; protects brain health
  • Licorice root: adaptogenic herb (helps balance, restore and protect the body, helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological functions), leaky gut remedy, anti-inflammatory, enhances the effects of other herbs to be more beneficial, helps with heartburn and acid reflux, helps with adrenal fatigue, boosts immunity, effective expectorant and soothing demulcent (helps with colds)
  • Matcha green tea: may help prevent cancer, promotes weight loss, speeds up muscle recovery in athletes, high in disease-fighting chatechins (a group of antioxidants), boosts energy, aids in reducing damage from UVB radiation
  • Hibiscus flower: tart, very high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, lowers blood pressure, supports healthy cholesterol and triglycerides, natural antidepressant
  • Ginger: soothes the stomach, enhances immunity, protects brain health, eases pain, increases weight loss, promotes blood sugar control
  • Echinacea: eases pain, functions as a laxative to help loosen the bowels, anti-inflammatory (especially helpful for rheumatoid arthritis), relieves upper respiratory issues, immune-boosting (helps relieve the flu, asthma, common cold, croup, strep throat, whooping cough), fights infection
  • Yerba mate: promotes energy, mental alertness, fights cancer and inflammatory diseases, high antioxidant count, anti-inflammatory, stimulates the immune system, kills colon cancer cells, contains a host of beneficial vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting compounds, reduces cholesterol levels, promotes weight loss
  • Linden: potent sedative, calming, relieves high blood pressure, soothes digestion

Go Among This Stiffnecked People

In Exodus 19 – 32, Moses went up to Mount Sinai to commune with God. He was gone so long that the Israelites became restless. They were without their shepherd and they strayed. Aaron commanded them to give him their gold, and he made the golden calf. Moses was infuriated: He threw down the tablets from God, he burned the golden calf, forced the people to drink the ashes in water, and commanded the sons of Levi (who stood with the Lord) to slay every man his brother and every man his companion and every man his neighbor (about 3,000 men) (Exodus 32.27). The next day, Moses appealed to God, asking Him to forgive their sin, and if not, to blot him out of the Book. God assured Moses that whosoever has sinned against Him, him will He blot out of His book (Exodus 32.33).

The Israelites marched to Mount Horeb, where they witnessed God speaking directly to Moses, face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend (33.11).

God and Moses went back and forth about the Israelites several times: sometimes it was Moses railing against the people, wringing his hands and agonizing what to do about them; God called for mercy. Sometimes God was full of wrath against His people; Moses begged for mercy.

In Numbers 12.3, God states that the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. (I can only imagine Moses wrestling with writing that down, and God making sure that Moses understood that it certainly would be written down.)

In Exodus 34, Moses hewed two more tablets of stone and again went up unto Mount Sinai. There, the LORD passed by before Moses and proclaimed, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…”

Moses bowed himself to the ground and worshiped, and said, “If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance.”

I tried to imagine what it might have been like for Moses to hear the Voice of God, to hear God proclaim His Holy Name in his very ears. Then I gave myself a dope slap: Moses had the Voice of The LORD God Almighty in his ears; I have The Spirit of the LORD God Almighty in my very being. I hear the Holy Spirit in the Words of His Scripture and in the counsel of Godly people and in prayers.

Christians, we have the Very Presence of God Almighty in us and around us. (Psalms 139.5 You hem me in behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. And Isaiah 30.21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.)

May we fall on our knees before the Living God:

Praise Him

Psalms 113.4 – 6

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,

His glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God,

the One enthroned on high?

6 He humbles Himself to behold

the heavens and the earth.

Confess we are sinners

Jeremiah 10.23, 24 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. 24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

Beg for His mercy and forgiveness

Psalms 86, 1 – 7

 Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.

2 Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.

3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.

4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.

7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

And humble ourselves and pray as Moses did: If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance

“Forgive and Forget” or “We Need to Talk”

Matthew 18.21, 22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

In our everyday lives, we have occasion to cross paths with many other people. Sometimes those paths are smooth, sometimes not so much. Forgiveness is in order.

Someone cut you off on the road? Forgive. Your husband/wife sounded disrespectful? Forgive. Your sister forgot your birthday? Forgive.

Do we simply forgive each and every time, and go about our business as if nothing happened? Sometimes that is the wise route to take.

The Bible also says, Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18.15-17

So sometimes we are to sit down and discuss things with others. If there is a relational problem, we must seek to solve the matter. Whether it be friend-to-friend, husband-wife, parent-child, siblings, co-workers, church relations, or others; if we have continuous relations with someone, we need to work things out.

God is a God of relations. We are to relate to each other in a Christian sort of way. If we are angry, we must be certain to discuss in love. If that’s not possible due to emotions, then set a time and place when all parties are able to set emotions aside.

We are to be accountable to one another. If one person is running roughshod over another (and perhaps does not even realize it), s/he should be held accountable. Again, Matthew 18.15 tells us to go and tell him his/her fault. But be sure to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4.14, 15 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.)

And keep all things in prayer. The Holy Spirit will guide you in all things: timing, setting, spirit, words, and body language. Pray with the person you need to confront, or pray with a trusted friend. If needed, have a trusted friend sitting by as you have your discussion; the friend will provide accountability.

Matthew 19.19, 20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Proverbs 27.17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Sometimes a third party is needed. Godly counseling is also indicated: Proverbs 15.22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established. Proverbs 19.20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 1.5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.

Pray God for wisdom and discernment. Read God’s Word, learn of Him.

Proverbs 1.1 – 7

1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.