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Nations Descended from Noah

Canaan became the father of Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterwards the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the descendants of Ham, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations. To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born. The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Arpachshad became the father of Shelah; and Shelah became the father of Eber. To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan. Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the descendants of Joktan. The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar, the hill country of the east. These are the descendants of Shem, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations.  These are the families of Noah’s sons, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. (Genesis 10:15-32, NRSV)

These are the generations of Noah and where they spread to. And remember why all of this is important.

Because God wanted you to have something that could help you to fall asleep so we have the begat chapters in the Bible. No, not really.

It is our story. This is where we came from? Remember that all life came from Adam and Eve and then when the flood came, Noah and his family were all that survived so we trace back to Noah. So the lineage of Noah is your family tree.

This story is your story.

Share your story with the world and help them to connect with all of their story.

 

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River of life

170324Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5, NRSV)

Can you imagine what heaven will be like?

Just reading the description of what John saw in his vision of heaven from Revelation it is going to be a beautiful place where we walk on gold and see precious stones as gates and walls!

Because the most precious thing there is God, and we will always be in His presence.

And yet we still have the tree of life with its 12 kinds of fruits! The tree of the knowledge of good and evil only had one fruit, but the tree of life has many, one for each month!

And we can eat from it all we want!

 

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Remember to make the most of Advent

As I was thinking about what to write for my newsletter article I did a little internet search and found this. I thought it was very appropriate to share at this time of year and is a good reminder to us all. Let us let this Advent season be one that points us to the real meaning for the season, the baby coming to us in the manger.

THE ADVENT SEASON, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, are perhaps the busiest, most hectic times of the year. In the breathless rush to make the most of the season, it is easy to forget that this sacred season is less about “holiday cheer” and more about a “holy child.” Advent is our opportunity to re-orient ourselves to receive the gift of Jesus. Here, in descending order, are the Top 10 things not to do during Advent.

  1. Do not forget your rituals:

Be careful not to treat Advent as just another busy time of the year. When we enter the Advent season, life is supposed to be different. Rituals in your personal and/or family life, can help you slow down and prayerfully ponder the gift of the Incarnation, the Son of God made flesh. Take time daily to relax, meditate or pray.

  1. Do not add to the frenzy:

If you are a parent, try not to add to the craziness of this season by being frantic yourself about last minute shopping, entertaining or decorating.

  1. Do not forget your Bibles:

What Bible passages point to Advent themes of preparation, promise, hope, expectancy, God’s enduring faithfulness, the time when God’s kingdom will be fulfilled? Advent is an excellent time of the year to familiarize yourself again with the Bible’s stories that lead up to the birth of Jesus.

  1. Do not try to be perfect for the Holidays:

Believe it or not, it’s not the end of the world if the Christmas tree has a bare spot on one side, if a bulb in one of the window candles is burnt out, or if you cannot find just the perfect gift for Uncle Bob. The holiday season can be stressful enough without allowing the drive for perfection to overwhelm you.

  1. Do not over do your schedule:

Learn to say “no” to some of the demands or events that may beg for your presence, however enjoyable or good they may be. Know your limits. As the saying goes, “Too much of a good thing is still too much.”

  1. Do not overdo gifts:

I recently heard of a study that indicates children on average receive 60% more for Christmas than they expect. Very good news for parents, right? But it also indicates that while parents need to be very clear with their children about expectations, ever more important is that they themselves need to be consistent with these expectations in their own gift giving. Remember, the focus is Jesus, God’s supreme gift to us, not our gifts to others.

  1. Do not go into additional debt:

Perhaps this is easier said than done. However, it is important to remember that the gift-giving of Christmas is supposed to spring from and be a sign of our gratitude to God for his gift-giving of Jesus. Rather than large grandiose, expensive gifts, consider giving smaller, more thoughtful items.

  1. Do not expect the culture to follow your lead:

A truly Christian approach to the month of December will inevitably be counter-cultural. If you embrace much of this list, have faith in what you are doing. Christmas is not about Martha Stewart-quality centerpiece, the gourmet Christmas feast, or getting the “hot toy of the year.” Our spiritual health depends on our resisting the cultural message that we need to get out and “shop till we drop.” Jesus came into the world to die for a different reason.

  1. Do not forget the less fortunate:

Remember that the real Christmas story is not set in a warm and cozy house, tastefully decorated and filled with more gifts than can fit under the tree, however wonderful that all may be. The real Christmas story is set amidst those who know enduring poverty and danger. What more loving witness could you offer than to seek out some holiday opportunity to identify with the poor and downtrodden as God does?

  1. Do not wait until Christmas Eve to come to Church!

Avoid the holiday rush and join us for worship in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Worship in the church is beautiful this time of year, with beautiful and powerful Advent hymns. Join us for Advent worship and allow it to bring you back to a sense of expectancy and alertness for the coming of God into our world, into your very life.

 

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In mass…

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5, NRSV)

The river of life flows and on either side of the river is the tree of life!

The tree that we were removed from in the Garden of Eden has returned and not just as 1 tree, but in mass quantities!

Growing and thriving with its 12 kind of fruit!

Everything that is evil has been removed and only God and His children will live forever in the New Jerusalem!

So worry not, we will see the Tree of Life!

 

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Which tree?

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:14-24, NRSV)

Because the serpent did this, it is cursed among animals, and crawls on its belly…

Because the woman did this, child-birth is painful…

Because the man did this he will toil and live by the sweat of his brow…

That is what we see when we read this. Who is to blame…

But isn’t there more to this?

How many trees were there in the Garden of Eden?

Ok trick question there were a lot of trees in the garden. But how many “special” trees were there?

1?

2?

There was the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, which is the tree Adam and Eve were told not to eat from, and they did.

But they are removed from the garden, which is the death they were told would happen, when they are removed from the presence of God, so they may not eat of the Tree of Life.

There were at least 2 special trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.

Adam and Eve were removed from the garden after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil so they might not eat from the Tree of Life and become just like God.

They were never told not to eat from the Tree of Life…

So take from the Tree of Life, and let Jesus be your guide and light. Live in the grace that God gives us.

 
 

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Proud

In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: Mortal, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes: Whom are you like in your greatness?  Consider Assyria, a cedar of Lebanon, with fair branches and forest shade, and of great height, its top among the clouds. The waters nourished it, the deep made it grow tall, making its rivers flow around the place it was planted, sending forth its streams to all the trees of the field. So it towered high above all the trees of the field; its boughs grew large and its branches long, from abundant water in its shoots. All the birds of the air made their nests in its boughs; under its branches all the animals of the field gave birth to their young; and in its shade all great nations lived. It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its roots went down to abundant water. The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor the fir trees equal its boughs; the plane trees were as nothing compared with its branches; no tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty. I made it beautiful with its mass of branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden that were in the garden of God. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, I gave it into the hand of the prince of the nations; he has dealt with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. Foreigners from the most terrible of the nations have cut it down and left it. On the mountains and in all the valleys its branches have fallen, and its boughs lie broken in all the watercourses of the land; and all the peoples of the earth went away from its shade and left it. On its fallen trunk settle all the birds of the air, and among its boughs lodge all the wild animals. All this is in order that no trees by the waters may grow to lofty height or set their tops among the clouds, and that no trees that drink water may reach up to them in height. For all of them are handed over to death, to the world below; along with all mortals, with those who go down to the Pit. (Ezekiel 31:1-14, NRSV)

The trees towered into the clouds and was proud in its heart of its height.

It put its trust in itself.

What more did that tree need?

It was tall. Taller than any other tree.

It was the biggest and the best.

And it knew it. and it flaunted it.

So trust not in your own achievements, but rest in the hope we have in God. For if we are proud of ourselves in our hearts, what is to stop God from taking us down like this tree?

So trust in God, not yourself!

 

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good tree

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20, NRSV)

You will know a tree by its fruit.

And yes you can tell an apple tree because it will only produce apples. And a pear tree will only produce pears.

You won’t see oranges growing on a banana tree.

But are all of our actions good?

We as Lutherans believe we are both saint and sinner. We do both good and bad things.

So is it easy to tell the wolf in sheep’s clothing human?

Now it is true that you can tell a lot about a person from their actions. More how do you act the 167 hours you are not in worship? Do you act the same in the congregational building as you do outside of it?

Your nature shines through, and if you let Jesus in, He will help you produce good fruit.

 

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