The Clarion, March 2024

Volume 5, Issue 3              March  2024



It’s hard to believe that it is March and March has the right name, because it seems that that  is what we are doing. We are marching our way to Spring. We have our eyes set on those green leaves, flowers and of course, the birds returning and singing. With more and more daylight those winter blues seem to lessen. March is a windy month and it seems that the wind blows our cares away. Here is a sandiegram just for March.

The Wings Of The Wind

Lord, let me ride on the wings of the wind
as I soar to Thee.
Along the way,
let me sit on a cloud
as I look in wonderment
at the beauty of the sky.
Look down upon me
and bless me
as I lift up my praises to Thee.
As I ride on the wings of the wind,
fill my heart with joy
as the excitement swells within my soul
as I reach Thee.

The Robin copyright 2010

You can see all the sandiegrams on our website.

Egypt: Moses like God Part 9

Last month we read that Moses was sent to Pharoah, but instead of things getting better, things only got worse. Now we will start at Exodus 7:1-5, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.  You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.  But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply My signs and wonders in Egypt,  he will not listen to you. Then I will lay My hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out My divisions, My people the Israelites.  And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out My hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

Moses now will show Pharaoh who God is. Yeshua tells Philip this in John 14:9, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father.” So shall it be with Moses. As God spoke and it was, so shall it be with Moses. After a few signs Pharaoh was not impressed because his magicians could do the same.  Pharaoh was not impressed by the staff turning to a snake, nor the water turning to blood, nor the frogs that were everywhere in the land. Pharaoh was getting bored by it all. Exodus 8:16-19 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”  They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats.  But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere,  the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.”

Well, if the gnats did not get to him, try flies, but this time it will not plague the land of Goshen.

Exodus 8:  20-23 says,  “ Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.  If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where My people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land.  I will make a distinction between My people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’” Now you may think that God was slipping a little. He is so powerful, why should He have had to go through all of this. He could have just spoken, and it would have come about..Israel free!  Well, as usual, God had His reasons. With every plague, Pharaoh was softening, and yet he was not giving in. This was definitely a spiritual battle. This is definitely the same struggle we go through when we must let go of our sins. We, like the Israelites, are in bondage to our sins. Yeshua answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin,” John 8:34. Pharaoh had the choice, and he made the choice to harden his heart. Is this not like us?  Hebrews 3: 12-13 says, “Take care, brothers and sisters, that there will not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.  But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called “today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Once again the Lord said to Moses in Exodus 9: 1-4, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let My people go, so that they may worship Me.  If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back,  the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats.  But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’” And again in Exodus 9:10-12, He sent boils, and once again, in Exodus 9:13-19,25-26 but God’s judgment only increases and yet in God’s mercy He warns the people to bring in their livestock and for them to take shelter.  “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me,  or this time I will send the full force of My plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.  For by now I could have stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.  But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you My power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.  You still set yourself against My people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.  Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’” “Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree.  The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.” Verse 31-32 tells of the result of this plague. “The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom.  The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.”

Moses was showing Pharaoh who God was. If we look back at the Joseph story we see that Joseph sold the Egyptians their portion of the grain back to them, and when their money ran out, the people sold their livestock, and then their homes, and finally put themselves into slavery. We spoke about the miracle of multiplication of the grain that went unnoticed by the Egyptians, and now we see once again that the Egyptians are not recognizing the God of Moses. But this time God is not multiplying but subtracting. The Egyptians once again have lost their livestock, and everything that was growing in their fields. Still, no recognition of the one true God, so God brings in the locust and now destroys every tree and plant.

Exodus 10:14-15, “The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled in all the territory of Egypt; they were very numerous. There had never been so many locusts, nor would there be so many again.  For they covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Therefore nothing green was left on the tree or plant of the field throughout the land of Egypt.” It was famine that brought Israel to Egypt, and now it looks like famine was once again in the land. But the next  plague speaks more about the condition of Egypt because they still would not receive the one true God. Exodus 10: 22-23, “ So Moses reached out with his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days.  They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.”  John 3:20-21 says it all,  “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”  Egypt was in darkness and Israel was in the light. So now God could do nothing less than to show Pharoah that Israel was His people, and not his.  Exodus 11: 4-10 goes on to say,  “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt,  and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  So there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again.  But not even a dog will threaten any of the sons of Israel, nor anything from person to animal, so that you may learn how the Lord distinguishes between Egypt and Israel.’  And all these servants of yours will come down to me and bow themselves before me, saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out.” And he left Pharaoh in the heat of anger. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”  So Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.”  Once again God will multiply His wonders. Next month Israel will be free…join us!     The Pain of Depression

Today in schools kids are bullied and laughed at  and excluded from being part of  the group. Rejection and humiliation causes loneliness, isolation and anxiety, and this causes depression. Depression causes pain. When we think of pain, we think of the pain that comes after a surgery, or the pain of breaking one’s arm, but did you know that people who suffer from depression feel pain? “Yes,” real pain. It is not their imagination.  There is a pain that cuts to the heart of a person who has depression. It tears at their soul, it causes fatigue and the stress that brings about illness. When we say things to hurt people, we are doing more than hurting their feelings, those words are bringing illness to that person’s mind, soul and body. Proverbs 12:18 tells us this, “Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal.”     There is a song by Kaitlyn Marie Oliveveira called “Words Can Hurt.” There is a part of the song that says,  “I know how it feels, how it feels to hurt inside. I know how it makes you feel like your nothing and I know what it makes you think and I know what it makes you do, but just know that from the start you are someone special to me, so keep your head up high, you’re strong enough to try to fight and to defeat. Yea, I know it’s hard to not give up because words, words, words can hurt.” There was a saying back when I was a kid, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.” But this saying is not so, because words and names can harm us more than a stone or a stick thrown at us. Yes, we are supposed to forgive one another, but it is very hard to forget, because the pain that is in that person’s  heart, never goes away. Today if you’re not in the right group, then you are a nobody and nobodies are laughed at and mocked and harassed. But the person with depression can only go so far, take so much and then they contemplate things like suicide. Now I ask you, “Do you want this on your conscience, that you caused someone to kill themselves? Could you live with that pain for the rest of your life? Today, reach out to people at school who are bullied or humiliated because the truth is, they are not any different than you are. We, in so many ways, are all different and yet, we are all still the same…human! There is a song by the Newsboys United  called “Love One Another” and it goes like this – “Yeah we don’t always live what we believe. Yeah we don’t always share a common source. Here we are, now shouting ‘til we’re hoarse. Jesus taught us a different kind of discourse. Don’t talk about it, talk about it.  Just do it. Love one another sister and brother. Don’t hurt each other, yeah. Lines drawn in the sand. Complicate our new command. Love one another. Yeah.”       Just do it! Love one another!

Hebrew Corner:        Martyrs, The Emperor  Nero

We want to look at the life and persecutions of Emperor Nero.  In 66, there was a Jewish revolt in Judea stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension. In 67, Nero dispatched Vespasian to restore order. These revolts were eventually put down in 70,  when the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple of Jerusalem, but this was  after the death of Nero. By the age of thirty Nero committed suicide but in his short five year reign of Rome he was very destructive. He had a terrible temper and he was very barbaric in nature. Nero killed his own mother because she objected to an affair he was having. It is said that he kicked his wife Poppaea to death and then gave her a magnificent burial. Nero married a young boy named Sporus. It is said that he resembled Poppaea.  Nero had him castrated and married him with all the usual ceremonies, including a dowry and a bridal veil. It is believed that he did this out of regret for his killing of Poppaea. Nero loved music and chariot races. He sang and played the lyre. According to wikipedia, in AD 67 Nero participated in the Olympics. He had bribed organizers to postpone the games for a year so he could participate, and artistic competitions were added to the athletic events. Nero won every contest in which he was a competitor. During the games Nero sang and played his lyre on stage, acted in tragedies and raced chariots. He won a 10-horse chariot race, despite being thrown from the chariot and leaving the race. He was crowned on the basis that he would have won if he had completed the race. After he died a year later, his name was removed from the list of winners. Champlin writes that though Nero’s participation “effectively stifled true competition, [Nero] seems to have been oblivious of reality.” Nero established the Neronian games in AD 60. Modeled on Greek style games, these games included musical, gymnastic, and equestrian contests. According to Suetonius the gymnastic contests were held in the Saepta area of the Campus Martius. We know Nero best as the one who ordered that the city of Rome burn and while it burned, he went up to the tower of Maecenas and played upon his harp, singing the song of the burning of Troy. He declared that ‘he wished the ruins of all things before his death.’ Nero was blamed for the fire, but he denied it all and put the blame upon the Chrisitans. And so the persecutions began in Rome. Nero in his merciless ways in which no one could conceive had Chrisitans sewed up in animal skins and attacked by dogs. Others were fixed to trees and set on fire to illuminate his gardens.  We know that the Apostle Peter and Paul were put to death by Nero and this is what we will look at next.

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