The first people to inhabit Petra were Nomads called the Nebataeans. When they first found the rock Fortress they used it as a stronghold for their families and their merchandise. Later they gained control of the central incense and spice trade; and then, due to necessity, began using Petra as a Market Hub because it was located conveniently between Asia and Arabia. We know about these people and what they did and how they lived because of detailed, yet sometimes hard to decipher, wall “journals”. Scribes had etched into the stone walls a history of the nomads who first inhabited here. When and how these people were driven out, or simply chose to leave, is vague. Later in the Kingdom years, the city belonged to the Edomites who we know from their battles with Saul and David. It has been suggested by Scholars that the Fortress / Safe Haven of Petra fell to ruin because Edom gave aid to Nebuchadnezzar when he destroyed Jerusalem. It is believed that in Jeremiah 49:16,
You have been deceived by the fear you inspire in others and by your own pride. You live in a rock fortress and control the mountain heights. But even if you make your nest among the peaks with the eagles, I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord .
Jeremiah 49:16 NLT
God is speaking of Petra or Sela. Now the once-vibrant city lies as a reminder of what happens to those who harm God’s people. This city makes me think of Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings. Helms Deep was assumed to be a fortress where you could hide in times of attack; a place to keep your goods and your valuables so they wouldn’t be stolen by Raiders, and yet it wasn’t powerful enough to protect the people. In the end it was just a stone building waiting to crumble. Petra was seen as a fortress not only by the nomads who discovered it but also by the Edomites who conquered it later. But the stone Fortress was turned into nothing but a reminder of the devastation of God’s hand. He claimed he would make Edom like Sodom and Gomorrah. And he did. All Edom did was aid Babylon, but they aided Babylon when Babylon was besieging God’s holy city and God’s people and that was a mistake. God will never leave your battles unfinished, you may never even see it happen, but someday the stronghold your enemies hid in as they attacked you will lay empty as a sign of what God has done for you.
American Natural History Museum
Got questions- answers to Bible questions
God was walking through His Church one day and decided to ask people about their favorite Bible verses and why they liked them. It wasn’t that He didn’t already know the answer, just that He wanted to have His people tell Him themselves. God smiled as He spoke with different people and saw the mix of emotions on their faces as they explained why their favorite verse was their favorite. Out of the corner of God’s eye He spotted a man that He knew was simply there to put in his necessary hour of Church before going on with his week. God smiled sadly and went over to the man.
“Hello my child,” God said as He approached. The man bristled and nodded a greeting. God tried again, “how have you been? I’ve not heard from you lately.”
The man shrugged and mumbled that he was fine.
God smiled, “tell me, what is your favorite scripture?” God knew, but wanted an opening to discuss it with the man.
Irritated the man looked at God, “I can do all things. That’s my favorite verse.”
God tilted His head, “go on.”
“What?” The man growled.
“Go on and finish the verse.”
“That is the verse.”
God shook His head, “you’re missing part of it.”
“No I’m not! That’s how it’s written!”
The argument began to draw attention, embarrassed, the man walked away and left the building.
Back in his own house the man sat with his arms crossed, still angry about earlier. Suddenly his couch dipped down as another body sat on it. The man looked to see God sitting next to him. Startled, the man exclaimed, “what are you doing here! Don’t you have a Church to lead?”
God smiled, “but you are here.”
“So what? I’m just one person.”
God nodded, “but you are the one who needs me most right now.”
The man scowled, “why was I wrong about the scripture earlier? I quoted it right.”
“Yes, but you left out the most important part.
‘I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength- Phillipians 4:13.
You left me out of the verse, just as you’ve left me out of your life.”
The man un-crossed his arms and looked at his shoes, “I was wrong God. I can’t do all things on my own.”
God put both arms around the man and drew him into a deep hug, “but you have me my son. You never need to do things on your own. Just trust me.”
The flames will only make me stronger-Zeno
People often call the testing of God, “going through fire.”
Actually bad things in general are often called tests of fire too.
Right now it feels like the whole world is burning, being tested by fire.
One of my absolute favorite novel characters ends up in a burning building. You guessed it. Even though he is not the main hero he ends up having to save everyone from the collapsing, burning building. When the others argue about leaving him behind to be engulfed by fire he responds with: “don’t worry. The flames will only make me stronger.”
For those who are wondering, no, he does not die. Though badly burned, he makes it out alive.
Do we live like that? Do we see our “flames” as something that only makes us stronger?
I know that I don’t. Though the power and beauty of fire is nice at a distance, walking through that fire is not something to be called, “enjoyable”. But just because you hate it, and just because it hurts doesn’t mean that God isn’t making you stronger through it.
During these difficult times I challenge you to read through the story of the three Hebrew boys, pick the verse that most speaks to you, and put it up someplace in your home to remind you that the flames will make you stronger.
Jesus ascended to the Father before returning to see His friends. Recall, He told the women not to hold to Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father.
Imagine the party, the shouts of joy, the resonating songs, the moment Jesus’ feet touched Heaven once again. There you see God running to His boy and thrusting His arms around Him. There you see Father and Son weeping outloud, and laughing as they hold each other. It had been so very long and now they are together again. Watch the angels hoist Jesus onto their shoulders and cary Him to the party as the hosts and the guests of Heaven cheer and shout. The hero had returned. What a party for the hero who had been gone so long. How will we party when Jesus returns physically to us again?
Those fabulous last words that you place at the end of a story. After struggling, working hard and emptying the drug store of it’s caffeine content, you finally have the right amount of pages, the perfect centering, every title centered and highlighted, every art peice’s name placed on where they are to be inserted onto the page. Now you write. The End. And you take one final breath before sending it off.
The end. Jesus said it more eloquently when He stated, ‘it is finished.’ After all His struggles, all His suffering, all His hard work, now everything perfect to the writer as He closes the book and states. “It is finished.”
It is finished. There is no longer a curtain, no more need for a high priest to pray for us, no more need for sacrifices. It is finished. We have Jesus fully. We have God. We are in dwelled by the Holy Spirit. Heaven is now our prize too. It is finished.
`Warning? Warning against what? ‘ said Boromir sharply.
‘Against delay. Against the way that seems easier. Against refusal of the burden that is laid on me. Against-well, if it must be said, against trust in the strength and truth of Men.’
The breaking of the fellowship, LOTR
Hard times come; some of which we can choose whether or not to accept. If we hold back from God’s will because we know the road will be hard, isn’t that wrong?
Tonight I heard my mom praying for the courage of Paul, it filled my heart. Paul’s courage was challenged and tested and yet still he fought on because he knew Jesus. He knew there was a greater reward. Never once did Paul hesitate to do God’s will and never once did he trust in the truth or strength of men. Now he is one of the most well known and debated upon authors in the Bible. Why? Because he refused the voice of the devil when he called him away from God. Paul had spent enough time doing the devil’s work that he knew it held no reward. Paul trusted in the God who saved him, Paul did not delay or deny God’s task. Paul went forth in courage because his faith was in God.
Oh, the things we can learn from God’s disciples.
Day of tears
‘Today is my day to sorrow’, thought the tiny flower growing beside a rock. ‘Last night a great trouble came over me as a man, or something more than a man, sat by my side and wept. His tears were so great that when they splashed upon me I felt sick and my roots were weakened. I tried to reach out to the man, but I am just a flower and cannot draw attention to myself like a bird can with her song. He cried and screamed and begged and pleaded, but no peace came to this man. I hoped that He would look at me and I could make Him smile. He left and then returned, even sadder when He came back. All I could do was sit with Him. Then I sensed a resolve in His being and He went to stand once more. He stumbled and His hands landed near me. I tried to be radiant to bring Him comfort, finally He saw me, He smiled very gently, then He rose to His feet. “Thank you my radiant flower.” He said, then He left.
I feel that something great and tragic happened that night. Today I feel as though a friend is calling out for mercy. Today I feel sad. But being a flower, I know that tomorrow will bring new joy and hope.’
Do we sometimes forget that Jesus is coming back?
As we go through our days it can feel like this world is forever spinning and never ending. It’s easy to forget that there is a greater purpose than this. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day that our minds completely lose focus on the fact that tomorrow, the next day, tonight, right now Jesus could be coming back. Jesus himself said that He did not know the hour that He would return. As the world and it’s forever spinning seems to be forever spinning off its axle I see people starting to fill with fear, that or they were full of fear already, because the world is a mess. I’m sorry but it is. Yes, it’s partly our fault, but we don’t need to look at this world with the fear that we will be here forever till it ends. When the world is finally burned up there will not be a single Christian on it. No matter if you are pre tribulation, mid tribulation, or post tribulation in the end when the world dies we will not be here. Let me repeat that we will not be here. Jesus is coming back. If you knew nothing else in your entire life except that one fact you would know the most important thing you need to know to survive. If there is no Jesus, there is no point. But we know there is a Jesus, our Jesus, and He is coming for His people.
Your ways are higher than my ways. Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.
Isiah 55: 8-9
People were never meant to stay on the ground. We always have a need in us to climb higher, build taller and touch above the clouds. Why? Well, the Aztecs believed that the taller they built and the higher up they were the closer they were to god. Or at least that is what I have read. Now. I don’t believe we need to fight to get higher in altitude to be closer to our God, but perhaps deep down we all have a similar feeling. Isn’t that why we reach our hands up when we worship. We are reaching to God. Maybe, just maybe that is why we feel a need to go higher. In truth, we all (even non-Christians) want to get closer to God. It is built into us, that’s why so many people claim to be searching for something. That something is Jesus; and He can be found right here where we are right now.
Thank you Jesus for the blessing of who you are. Thank you that we don’t have to climb to you because you are here with us. Amen
Blind, but still alive.
Are we waiting on Jesus for the things we don’t yet see?
As I often quote some of my Stormie Omartan readings in these posts I am sure I have mentioned her book, ‘just enough light for the step I am on.’
Sometimes it feels like I am completely blind to what is in front of me and all I can see is where I am right now. In these moments it’s easy to give up on looking to the future and simply living in a day to day existence. I always loved being a dreamer when I was a kid. People would tell me that my goals were too big or didn’t jive and they were probably right. As I got older I somehow slipped from ‘dreamer’ to ‘realist’ and that sucks. Living in a world of reality. Boring. Because our reality isn’t God’s. He sees far into the future and has thoughts and ideas we can’t even begin to comprehend. Even when you can only see your year as dates on a calendar Jesus sees far beyond that to a glimmering dream world beyond what you can fathom.
That’s what Jesus does. He gives us dreams that are a size too big so we can grow into them- Max Lucado
It may seem pointless to keep on dreaming beyond where you are and onto where you want to be but Jesus makes it feasable. Your impossible dreams have an amazing God who makes the impossible possible. You may be blind to what is coming, but you are still alive, so live and dream without fear.