The Old Violin–The Touch of the Masters Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

“And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.

The Prophetess Deborah-A Strong Woman of God

THE PROPHETESS DEBORAH – A STRONG WOMAN OF GOD

Reblogged from: http://beginningandend.com/the-prophetess-deborah-a-strong-woman-of-god/

October 12, 2012 By

Prophetess Deborah Judges | Women of the Bible

The Book of Judges Chapters 4 and 5 record the history of the nation of Israel in the time of the prophetess Deborah. During this period the Israelites, now in the Promised Land after  the military conquests of Joshua, went through a constant cycle of falling into sin, being punished by God via an attack by enemy invaders, crying out to the Lord in repentance and a Judge being raised up to lead the nation back towards God and deliver them from their troubles. Deborah was one of the 12 judges and in her account in  Joshua Chapters 4 and 5 we see the faith, strength and leadership of a  faithful woman of God.

God instructed the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites completely from the land of Israel but they failed in doing so. As a result, their enemies would routinely regroup and try to attack the Israelites once more to reclaim the Promised land for themselves. During the time of Deborah’s term as judge, the King of Canaan saw an opportunity for attack:

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel. And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. – Judges 4:1-7.

King Jabin sent Sisera, the captain of his army to lead their chariots and soldiers against the Israelites. The chariot at this time in history was one of the most devastating weapons in warfare. It gave the Canaanites a decided advantage in battle to destroy the nation of Israel. In the conflict detailed in this short passage there are several valuable spiritual principles:

— The Israelites cried out to God — The impending attack of the Canaanites came as a result of the sins Israel committed. Once their former Judge, Ehud, passed away, the national fell into sinful rebellion against The Lord. Judges 5 tells us that “they chose new gods” — once again falling into the sin of idolatry by worshiping demons and fallen angels. But what is most important is that once their suffering commenced, the Israelites cried out to the Lord. The same principle applies during the Christian life. While a Christian can never lose their salvation in Jesus Christ, they can certainly be punished on Earth for sins before God. If you are a Christian and you are in sin, expect God to chastise you. In fact, being disciplined by God is confirmation of His love for you:

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? – Hebrews 12:7-9.

Even when you know you are in sin, do not let your guilt keep you from confessing your sins to God and getting right with The Lord. As the passage states, we take correction from our earthly parents, employers, teachers and other authority figures in our lives and respect it. We should give even more respect to The Lord after being punished for our sin. And if you have suffered some hardship for it, rejoice and know that God indeed loves you as His child.

— God Always Leaves a Faithful  Remnant – Even when it feels like an entire nation is fallen into sin, The Lord will still have His people who worship Him and have faith in Him, remaining as well. Deborah was waiting for the Israelites when they sought her Godly counsel. They only needed to seek her out. It is no different today. If you are in distress, seek Godly wisdom from a believer who you trust. Or maybe you will be the remnant for someone else who is going through a trial.

— Solve Earthly Problems with Godly Solutions – Rather than figuring out a battle plan against the King of Jabin or putting together a delegation to go negotiate a peace treaty, the Israelites sought the prophetess Deborah to hear the Word of God. This was yet another sign that they were getting back on track spiritually with The Lord. The Israelites were in a serious crisis. Death was literally knocking on their door in the form of a massive army. And rather than rely on their own “knowledge” and strength, they turned to God for a solution. This is so important for Christians today to take heed of. When you face a crisis, tragedy or are terribly afraid, look to God. Turn to the Word or a Godly leadership for biblical advice.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. – James 1:2-5.

We will have times of trial in this life to test, prove and strengthen our faith in God. They are inevitable as long as a Christian still lives in this cursed, sinful world. The temptation to think of a solution on your own and then pray for God to fulfill it is strong. Many times we think “if I just have ______, I will be out of this problem!” But as the passage from James indicates above, first and foremost a believer should just ask for wisdom to see God’s perspective on the problem you are facing. Pray for God’s wisdom in any crisis and as the Bible says, God will give it “liberally.”

Deborah Inspires The Nation

Deborah and Barak | Women of the Bible

-A true Prophet of God only preaches God’s Word – Since the Bible was not yet complete at this time, it was the prophets, who were chosen by The Lord to receive His Word and deliver it to the people. The Prophetess Deborah sent for Barak and told him only what God said. This is the the New Testament guideline for Pastors today – to preach God’s Word. Deborah did not add her own opinions, ideas or suggestions to God’s Word. She preached only what “The Lord hath commanded.” How forgotten is this among pastor’s today? Many have twisted scripture, focused on person-centered sermons, self-help advice or just preached against the Bible altogether. Even as the world is moving to water down the Scriptures and apostate churches are following suit, seek a church led by Godly pastors who are not willing to compromise Biblical truths for their own ideas and imaginations.

The passage continues:

And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.

 

And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. – Judges 4:8-16.

What a victory! Against great odds, the Israelites defeated King Jabin and the Canaanites. And there are more lessons in this passage:

— Deborah respected God’s Order for men and women – As prophetess over Israel, Deborah clearly commanded the respect of the people. As judge and prophetess she was the law-giver to the people and the source of God’s Word. However, she did not rule the nation. Many articles and commentaries on this portion of the Bible call Deborah “ruler of Israel” or a “warrior princess” but this was not the case. The Hebrew word for “judge” in the Book of Judges is shaphat which means “law-giver; one who executes judgment; to decide controversy.”  This is further confirmed in Judges Chapter 8 after the Judge Gideon won a mighty victory for the Israelites over their enemies in Midian. The people, impressed and awed by Gideon wanted to make him their king:

 

 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you. — Judges 8:22-23.

So it should be clear that Deborah was not a ruler over Israel (in fact there was no human ruler over the Israelites until King Saul). Similarly, she did not lead the army into battle. Barak, whom God had chosen to lead, was in charge of the armies. Even when Barak was apparently too scared to even go into battle without Deborah accompanying him, she agreed to join him on the trip but stayed back at mount Tabor to let Barak lead and the armies “went after him.”
Rather than usurp Barak, she encouraged him to obey God. This should be an example for a Godly woman. God has ordered the male to lead in certain areas of life and under the Mosaic law, only men over the age of 20 were to go into battle (Numbers 1:1-3). And in other chapters, some of the male judges did indeed take on the role of “deliverer” and fought in battles (Deborah is never given that title in Scripture).

Rather than seeking her own glory or saying “I’m the one who speaks directly to God, I’m in charge here!”, Deborah humbly submitted to God’s plan and wisdom over her own. This was not an example of a woman “doing the job because a man would not step up.” Rather, it was a Godly woman called by Lord, sharing God’s Word in the manner and order God had clearly outlined. Yet today, in the age of apostasy, many women have taken on the role of pastor despite the Bible saying the Pastor should be the “husband of one wife.”  Ironically, many of these women defend their disobedience to Scripture on the grounds that they have “the anointing” or that they were “called of the The Lord.”  Are they following Deborah’s example of faithful obedience or their own agenda?

In the end, God has his own plan for Barak. As the Scriptures detail, God determined that while Barak would be victorious in battle, the death of the wicked Canaanite captain Sisera would be accomplished by a woman. So God dealt with Barak’s indecision the way He saw fit.

— God Provided the victory – As Deborah had preached from the beginning, it was God who provided the victory for the Israelites. God literally went and defeated the armies of Sisera. Webster’s 1828 dictionary (which was based on the language of the King James Bible) defines the word ‘discomfited’ as “Routed; defeated; overthrown.” This of course is a picture of a Christian’s salvation. It is not through any work, plan or action of our own that a person is saved. It is only through the work of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. The duty of the person is to believe in it. Jesus Christ fought the battle against sin and death by taking on the sins of humanity and dying as a sacrifice to receive God’s wrath and provide freedom from sin and eternal life for all who believe.

Similarly Barak was able to achieve the victory just by having faith in God’s Word and leading the men into battle. By the time they showed up, God had already won the battle and the armies of Israel only needed to chase down the last of the fleeing Canaanite soldiers. And as Jesus is described in Ephesians leading the souls of the righteous to Heaven, so too did Barak “lead thy captivity captive”

Deborah Gives God The Glory

Prophetess Deborah Judges |   Godly Women Bible Study

Judges chapter 5 is a song of praise and worship the Deborah sings to The Lord:

 

Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel. – Judges 5:1-5.

 

— Giving God credit for all – Rather than throw themselves a victory parade, Deborah and Barak sang praises to The Lord for their victory.

 

– Deborah embraces her role – In verse 7, Deborah calls herself a “mother of Israel.”  While not a Queen or military leader, she took her role of mother over her people very seriously and faithfully. She followed God and led her children, the Israelites to put their faith in The Lord to deliver them from their enemies. In this she is a fine example and role model for Christian women (and men) today.  In her song, you can hear her compassion for the people of Israel, her rejoicing over God’s defense of her nation and her desire for righteous judgment of the enemies of God.  Her strength came through her reliance on God and she was blessed with helping to save her nation from destruction and bringing peace to her land. The close of her song typifies Deborah’s faith and the Christian life, ever looking to glorify God and trusting in His promises to glorify us in eternity:

So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years. – Judges 5:31.

Soon To Come- Next of God’s Women, Ruth & Naomi!

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There will be changes as times go by.  Some issues need to fixed which were not noticed until going live.

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God and The Harlot

Joshua 2: (MSG)
1  Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out from Shittim two men as spies: “Go. Look over the land. Check out Jericho.” They left and arrived at the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there.
2  The king of Jericho was told, “We’ve just learned that men arrived tonight to spy out the land. They’re from the People of Israel.”
3  The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you to stay the night in your house. They’re spies; they’ve come to spy out the whole country.”
4  The woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, two men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they’d come from.
5  At dark, when the gate was about to be shut, the men left. But I have no idea where they went. Hurry up! Chase them—you can still catch them!”
6  (She had actually taken them up on the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax that were spread out for her on the roof.)
7  So the men set chase down the Jordan road toward the fords. As soon as they were gone, the gate was shut.
8  Before the spies were down for the night, the woman came up to them on the roof
9  and said, “I know that GOD has given you the land. We’re all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless.
10  We heard how GOD dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed.
11  We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and GOD, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below.
12  “Now promise me by GOD. I showed you mercy; now show my family mercy. And give me some tangible proof, a guarantee
13  of life for my father and mother, my brothers and sisters—everyone connected with my family. Save our souls from death!”
14  “Our lives for yours!” said the men. “But don’t tell anyone our business. When GOD turns this land over to us, we’ll do right by you in loyal mercy.”
15  She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside.
16  She told them, “Run for the hills so your pursuers won’t find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way.”
17  The men told her, “In order to keep this oath you made us swear,
18  here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house—father, mother, brothers, and sisters.
19  Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it’s his own fault—we aren’t responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it’s our fault.
20  But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is cancelled—we’re no longer responsible.”
21  She said, “If that’s what you say, that’s the way it is,” and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.
22  They headed for the hills and stayed there for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had looked high and low but found nothing.

If I were to choose someone to be my messenger for God I doubt I would pick the harlot, Rahab.  Definitely not a model citizen of the community.  Not a person you would hold up to your children as someone to be like when they grow up.  Rahab probably was looked down upon.  Someone who was involved in what has been called, ‘the oldest profession in the world’.

Jericho is about to fall to the children of Israel.  Joshua though decides to have some spies go into the city, to learn its secrets of their defence systems.  The key areas that would have the weakest points that would allow an enemy to enter through.

Somehow the leadership of Jericho learns about the spies in their city and the word is given to hunt down these men and brought to justice.

The two spies are looking to hide, not knowing the city or its inhabitants, they arrive at the house of Rahab.  She lets them in the army not far behind start knocking at her door.  They enter the house looking for the spies, but before they arrive Rahab hides the spies on one condition, that when the children of Israel overtake Jericho that her house would be spared.  Rahab takes them up on the roof and hides them between the layers of the rooftop.

The spies did agree to the condition that Rahab had asked for but they tell her that she cannot tell one single person.

Long story short, when Jericho falls the house of Rahab is spared.

I cannot state why God would pick an imperfect person to use to fulfill His purpose, but I do know there is not one perfect person on earth.  The one perfect vessel was the only the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am one who can say that I do have my flaws, I am not perfect nor claim to be.  Yet, I do have a heart that wants God’s perfect will for my life.  I battle every day with my imperfections in my life.

I have met many men and women over the past forty years of my fifty-five year old life.  All of those when you dug beneath the surface of their character were also flawed.  Somehow though, God used them to bring glory to Himself.

Please find courage in knowing that God is not looking for perfection, but rather, a life that is willing to submit to  fulfill His will in their life.

God does not want you to wait until you are perfect, He just wants you as even with all your flaws and imperfections.

Gods Women

I am now starting to write a series of posts bringing to attention of Gods women throughout Scripture and history.

The generation before me thought that women had no place in leadership of a local congregation.  Not in the pulpit or the boardroom.  Yet, they could teach Sunday School.  When asked why they all would use the Scripture about ‘women keep quiet’.  I believe this thought is incorrect.  When the Apostle wrote this they were still following Jewish tradition where the men were separate from the women.  So if the women had a question yelling across the tabernacle would cause disruption.

We’ve come a long way since those days.  Yes, there are still orthodox congregations around the world where old traditions are still adhered to.

In this series I want to show how God used women to get a job done.  From saving spies to the whole nation of Israel from slavery.

I believe in women and their purpose that God has entrusted them with.  Strong women of faith can move the hand of God and change an entire nation.

I have had the joy of the influence of two strong Godly women in my life.  They were my mother and my maternal grandmother.  Both were women of faith, yet very different in their approach how they used their faith in God to inspire others.

My maternal grandmother was a women of prayer.  When it came time for prayer requests in our home church it was her who was asked to take the requests in prayer.  She raised seven children and all of them serve the Lord.  I am not implying that they never slipped because they did.  My grandmother just kept praying for them believing God would work in her children’s lives.

My mother raised five children.  She was not a stay at home mom she worked outside of the home to help my father give us what we needed.  She was unique in that she allowed us when we started to mature to express our own opinion, but do it in a respectful way.  She passed away way too early at the age of fifty-seven.  Although she was my mother during the latter years we would talk like best friends.  It’s been seventeen years since her passing and still I miss those days of talking with her when I am facing a problem or a battle.

I know there are many who may not have close relationship of a women of  God in their home, but, they might have a women of God in their lives whether it might be a school teacher, a neighbour, or just a Sunday school teacher.

Every one needs a woman of God in their life.  It is my prayer that everyone will have a woman of God cross their path.

In the next several posts I will go through the Scriptures highlighting the women of God both in the Old and New Testaments.

In my next post I want to highlight how God used a harlot to save Gods spies.