Posted in Travel Tuesday

Maracas, Trinidad (part deux): postcardesque!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Two of my favorite snapshots from my Maracas trip! I think they’re very postcardesque! 

Pretty soon, I’ll post about the entire trip so stay tuned! 😀

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Posted in Bible Study

Genesis XXVII: Israel dwells in Goshen

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide 

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Joseph presents his brothers 

Scripture in focus: Genesis 47

47:1-4 > After his family arrives in Goshen, Joseph introduced five of his brothers to Pharaoh so the King can ask them what questions he sees fit.

47:5-6 > Pharaoh gives them the best of the land. Also from his statement about wanting able-bodied rulers over his livestock, we can see that the Pharaoh had flocks, herds, and perhaps shepherds. Foreign shepherds who lived on plunder and up to no good were perhaps, an abomination to the Egyptians.

47:7 > After the introduction of his brothers and the granting of Goshen, Joseph presents his father Jacob who then blessed the Pharaoh. 

47:8-10 > Pharaoh enquires of Jacob’s age to which the reply was 130 years old. He also acknowledged that he was on pilgrimage for this world was not his real home. He then blessed the Pharaoh – perhaps wishing him happiness and thanks – and left the King’s presence.

47:11-12 > Joseph became his family’s only source of provision and supply after settling them down in Goshen (also referred to as the Land of Rameses in verse 11 although the first Rameses dynasty didn’t reign until 1319 B.C. Before the city was called Rameses, it was known as Tanis and before that, Avaris. In Psalm 78:12, 43, the region is referred to as Zoan).

47:13-14 > The famine was severe and the inhabitants of both Egypt and Canaan didn’t know what to do. During the earlier years of the famine, money was poured into the treasury of Egypt given that it was the only place to purchase food. Joseph took the money to Pharaoh for it belonged to him. It was with Pharaoh’s money, storehouses were built, corn was brought and men were employed to look after the corn and sell them.

47:15-17 > Due to the severity of the famine, Egypt and Canaan were bankrupted. With no more money to purchase provisions, the Egyptians approach Joseph for bread. A barter system was put in place: animals for grain.

47:18-20 > In time of national crisis, the government benefits the most. In what appears to be the 7th and final year of the famine, the people came yet again to Joseph, this time offering their land and bodies (as servants to the Pharaoh) in order to eat. Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh making him the sole proprietor. Now that the land belonged to the Pharaoh, the people would now pay rent as directed by law.

47:21 > Those that probably dwelled in towns and villages were moved to cities and those that dwelled in cities, Joseph moved them to provinces. The Egyptians were strangers in their own land. They were alive, yes, but they did not own anything in their name for everything now belonged to the wealthier Pharaoh.

47:22 > Priests in Egypt are sacred. They had to be pure in order to serve the gods and the King always provided their needs including food and land, so the priests did not have to sell their land.

Image result for gif yugioh priest

In Egypt, the Pharaoh was believed to be the mediator between the gods and mankind. And since he couldn’t perform ceremonies at all the temples, he appointed priests to carry out the rituals at each temple. 

47:23-24 > Joseph addresses the Egyptians concerning the land. A generous proposal was made in which the Pharaoh receives 20% from the produce of the land annually. This is the first record in Scripture of a national income tax.

47:25-26 > The Egyptians are grateful to Joseph and they agree with the new law regarding the land. Only the priests did not have to worry about paying anything since the Pharaoh assigns land (the first parts) to them so they were free of tax and tribute.

47:27 > The family of Israel grows rich and numerous.

47:28-31 > Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt and was now 147 years old. He saw the fulfillment of God’s promise of the Israel nation multiplying and now, the time of his death was at hand. He sends for Joseph and made him promise that he’ll be buried in Canaan and not Egypt. After Joseph promises to adhere to his wishes, Jacob bowed on the bed head to give God thanks. 

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Joseph brings his sons to Jacob

Scripture in focus: Genesis 48

48:1-2 > Sometime after Joseph conversed with his father and promised to bury him in Canaan, he gets word that Jacob is sick. Joseph takes his two sons to see their grandfather to hear his dying words and to also receive his blessing. When Jacob got word that his favorite son was coming to visit, his spirits revived and he sat upon the bed with the help of his staff (Hebrews 11:21). 

48:3-4 > Luz is another name for Beth-el. God had done MANY things for Jacob where it concerns both spiritual and temporal worldly blessings.

48:5-6 > Jacob adopts Joseph’s two sons as his. They were his despite having Egyptian blood. In a way, they were replacements for Reuben and Simeon, who lost the right to leadership and any form of status in Israel’s family because of their sin (34:25; 35:22). Ephraim and Manasseh would be two tribes for they would receive Rueben and Simeon’s birthright.

48:7 > Here, Jacob concludes his testimony.

48:8-10 > Jacob then turns his attention to his grandsons. He could not see plainly. He saw Joseph’s sons, but he couldn’t discern who they were clearly. He brought them nearer to him so he could have a better sight of them and bless them.

48:11-12 > Jacob had never hoped to see Joseph again – given that he thought his beloved son was dead – much less his beloved son’s offsprings. After reuniting with Joseph, he lived 17 more years. We’ll be with God for eternity!

48:13-14 > Given that Manasseh was the eldest by birthright, Joseph was placing him in front of Jacob’s right hand to receive the preferential blessing. Ephraim, being younger, was to receive the lesser blessing of the left hand. However, Jacob intentionally crossed his hands giving the preferential blessing to the younger for Ephraim would become a substitute name for Israel. Both tribes were blessed, but Ephraim was greater as a tribe and in Isaiah 7:8, 7:17, and Hosea 4:17, Ephraim became equal to the name Israel.

48:15-16 > Jacob then blessed Joseph. In v. 16, we get the first mention of God as Redeemer/Deliverer/Savior (“the Angel which redeemed me”). Also in v. 15, we get the first mention in the Bible of God as a shepherd to His people: “the God who had fed me” is literally “the God who has shepherded me” (blueletterbible.org).

Image result for gif the lord is my shepherd

48:17-20 > It displeased Joseph to see the youngest receiving the superior blessing, but Jacob knew what he was doing because of the spirit of prophecy. Sometimes, the last shall be first and the first last (Matthew 20:16).

48:21-22 > The passing of the torch from Jacob to Joseph. I love how strong the recognition of God in Jacob’s life was: God was with him (28:15), He expected young Jacob to trust Him no matter the situation (31:3) and Jacob was able to give a beautiful testimony of God’s presence in his life (31:5). Now, Jacob was able to encourage others with the promise of God’s presence (48:21). 

Up next: The death of Jacob and Joseph

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Chapter 47 reminds me that we were bought with a prize. Thank You, Jesus! 💙

^ The right hand has always been the favored position in the Bible. The right hand signifies strength and skill. The right hand of God is a place of salvation and protection (Psalm 16:8) and God’s strength (Exodus 15:6). The bride of a King sat at his right hand (Psalm 45:9). Jesus Christ is always described as sitting at the right hand of God (Mark 14:62; 16:19). He sits at God’s right hand where He intercedes as a Priest for believers (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:1).

^ In 48:13-16, we see another example of the firstborn’s blessings given to the younger brother instead of the eldest. However, in this instance, there is no scheming or bitterness (Proverbs 10:22), as we read of in chapter 27.

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

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Thank You

Posted in Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

The Blood Pheasant

I have a confession: I forgot all about this challenge! 😔

Before I continue, I want to thank my sister Denisia for helping me with this project. She found the majority of photos – including the one I’m about to do – for she was excited to help. Thank you, sis! I really appreciate it. 💙 This bird is truly a beauty!

The Blood Pheasant from the Himalayas. The males have vivid red coloring on the feathers of the breast, throat, forehead and tail.

🐦 There are 15 different subspecies of the Blood Pheasant. This species is so named from the fact that the males have a vivid red coloring on the feathers of the breast, throat, and forehead. Females tend to have duller shades of reddish-brown, but both males and females have a ring of bare skin around the eye that is crimson-colored and red feet. 

Blood Pheasant - Adult female (Ithaginis cruentus tibetanus) | Thrumsing La, Bhutan

Image: Female Blood Pheasant

🐦 They originated from the Himalayas and can be found in the mountains of Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Tibet, northern Burma, and northwest areas of China.

🐦 The Blood Pheasant is the state bird of the Indian state of Sikkim. This is off-topic, but Sikkim is GORGEOUS!! 

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🐦 They are good runners, but poor fliers. 

🐦 These birds prefer green natural habitat such as mixed forests and scrub areas right at the snowline. Depending on the season, they can be found at a higher elevation. 

Tibetan Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus tibetanus) - Adult male;Thrumshingla National Park, Bhutan

Other birds with the letter ‘B’ I considered were the Bald Eagle, Bahama Mockingbird, Bamboo Scrub-Warbler and the Barn Owl. I leave you with a video of the Blood Pheasant in its natural habitat.

Images: Pinterest; Condé Nast Traveler

Reference/s: beautyofbirds.com; thewebsiteofeverything.com; YouTube

Flowers Floral Roses - Free image on Pixabay

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The Anhinga

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Posted in Travel Tuesday

Maracas Lookout, Trinidad

Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

John 1:3

For both locals and visitors, the lookout before heading down the north coast road is a popular stop. The view is magnificent on either side of the lookout. I even managed to capture this beauty…

…it was a late evening and the sun was just right, I assure you that I did not tamper with the photo in any form for God’s splendid creation needs no filter. In a future upcoming Travel Tuesday episode, I’ll share more photos from this trip.

Posted in Song Sunday 🎶🎷🎺🎻

My heart can’t contain the weight of Your name! 💙

Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

At His feet is where we belong, praising, praying and worshipping Him while we still have breath. At His feet is where we should feel the happiest to dwell.

Here at Your feet, I can
See the unseen, truly
One look at You and I’m undone

His love is perfect and embraces us like a warm, soft, squishy blanket.

Grace upon grace, all my
Fear falls away, only
Your perfect love for me remains

We should never be afraid to approach the glorious Throne Room!

I run to the throne room
Before You the only One
Before You I’m overcome

For in the Throne Room, we have a mighty Counselor, a wonderful High Priest by the name of Jesus Christ to plead on our behalf. Angels rejoice when the lost and broken return home and we can join in with them to sing of God’s magnificent holiness. 

And I fall on my face
With angels and saints 

My heart can’t contain the weight of His Name for He’s so good to me that all I can do is sing His praises and share His sweet mercies. 

My heart can’t contain
The weight of Your name

Angels sing of His holiness continuously without getting weary.  HOLY ARE YOU, LORD! HOLY ARE YOU ETERNALLY!!

And all I can say is
Holy, holy, holy are You

I’m not a fan of Kim or Jesus Culture for that matter, but this song is special to me. It is powerful because it is God-centered and not generic for it directly references THE Creator. This is how you honor God. This is how you praise and worship Him!

I also love both versions of the music video. In the lyric video, God is revealed in the landscapes.  

In the official music video, people of different ages and backgrounds run to God. 

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There is no HIGHER place than heaven and God’s throne is a place of majesty (Hebrews 12:2), a place of grace (Hebrews 4:16), a place of holiness (Psalm 47:8), a place of justice (Psalm 89:14), a place of power (2 Chronicles 18:18), a place of praise (Revelation 14:3) and a place of eternity (Revelation 22:1). And the day is coming when creation will bow to the majesty that is God’s throne (Philippians 2:9-11) for HE ALONE IS WORTHY (Revelation 4:10-11).

In His throne room regardless of who you are, regardless of age, regardless of what you’re going through, you experience His love, grace, mercy, protection, and forgiveness, so come to Him today AS YOU ARE and cry Abba Father! 

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Posted in Bible Study

Genesis XXVI: Jacob learns that Joseph is alive.

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide 

Image result for gif james 4:7

Joseph makes himself known

Scripture in focus: Genesis 45 

45:1-3 > Emotionally charged, Joseph breaks down in front of everyone. He orders the Egyptians away from his presence and reveals to his brothers who he truly was. His brethren were sent into a state of shock that they were not able to say anything for a while. They were terrified for he was supposed to be dead years ago! They were probably anticipating the punishment to come thinking Joseph was after revenge. 

45:4-8 > Joseph gives his testimony about God’s divine intervention in his life. He did not hold a grudge or seek revenge for overtime (all the years he spent in Egypt) he realized that he was part of God’s plan to get the children of Israel into Egypt (via the famine) for 400 years. This was the fulfillment of that prophecy. v. 5, 7 & 8: “And God sent me” Joseph acknowledges that God was in control of his life and every situation and because of this, all things worked together for good.

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45:9-15 > Joseph tells his brothers to go home and to bring their father to Egypt to seek protection from the famine. In v. 9, he attributes his worldly grandeur, power and wealth to God and not Pharaoh and rightly so. V. 10: the land of Goshen was suitable for cattle, but it was loathed by the Egyptians. It was an Egyptian region not far from the court at Memphis, around the Wadi Tumilat, a valley that was about 40 miles long.

45:16-24 > Pharaoh blessed the sons of Jacob for Joseph’s sake. He was delighted that Joseph’s brothers had come and it had made Joseph so happy. I guess it’s safe to say that the news made the Egyptians happy for they were grateful to Joseph for his plan to keep them alive during the famine. 

45:25 > The boys arrive home safely and I can imagine Jacob’s joy at seeing them.

45:26 > They relate everything to their father and Jacob was speechless at the good news of Joseph being alive for he had been declared dead 22 years ago!

45:27-28 > The band of brothers told Jacob of Joseph’s achievements in Egypt and when he saw the magnificent wagons sent to carry him and his household to Egypt, Jacob’s countenance became cheerful for the son he was depressed over for so long was yet alive and well.  

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Jacob and family journeys to Egypt

Scripture in focus: Genesis 46

46:1 > Jacob stopped at Beer-sheba to honor God with sacrifices. Both Abraham (21:33) and Isaac (26:25) had erected altars there.

46:2-3 > God spoke to Jacob regarding the journey to Egypt bringing him assurance through a dream just as He did when Jacob was about to leave the Promised Land (28:12-17). God promised to make a great nation of Jacob in Egypt. Also, Jacob knew about the prophecy given to Abraham telling of the Israelites’ 400 years servitude in Egypt (15:13).

46:4 > “I will go down with thee into Egypt” this promise was enough to silence any fears Jacob might have harbored. After all, God is not limited to one place, He is EVERYWHERE! “I will surely bring thee up again This will be fulfilled after Jacob’s death since God is referring to the nation of Israel and not a person (Jacob). Egypt was never meant to be a permanent home for Israel. “and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes” A promise of his beloved son caring for him until his dying day.

46:5 > Being encouraged by the beautiful promises of God, Jacob proceeds with his journey. 

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46:6-7 > They arrived in Egypt safe and well. Biblical historians put the date at ca. 1877 B.C.; the Israelites stayed in Egypt for 430 years until the Exodus in 1445 B.C.

46:8-27 > A genealogical register of Jacob’s lineage in Egypt. 70 people grew to be millions at the exodus. It only takes a little for God to work with. In Acts 7:14, it is recorded as 75 people entering Egypt. It is not wrong if you add 5 more sons or grandsons of Joseph born in Egypt according to Bible scholars.

46:28 > Judah, of the Messianic line, was sent ahead to inform Joseph of his father’s arrival and to direct him a meeting place in Goshen for Jacob needed directions to find the area.

46:29 > Father and son are emotionally reunited after over 20 years! Joseph held onto his father for a good while as he wept with joy.

46:30 > After seeing and touching the apple of his eyes, Jacob could now be content to die. But he lived after this emotional reunion 17 more years (47:28).

46:31-34 > Joseph informs his family about his plans to ask Pharaoh for the area of Goshen, a place separate from the mainstream of Egyptian society. Also, Joseph’s father and brethren are shepherds and he is not embarrassed by their occupation. Goshen was abandoned with good pasture. God has already provided the perfect place for His children to dwell in this foreign land. Goshen was also the nearest part of the land to Canaan and perhaps nearer to Joseph who might have dwelled at Heliopolis or On. 

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Up next: Joseph meets with Pharaoh and brings his sons to Jacob. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The famine lasted for 7 years. When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in chapter 45, only 2 of the 7 years had come to pass thus far (45:11). These 7 years of famine is like the 7 years of tribulation about to come on earth, and like Joseph, we must be prepared.

^ Go back again to 45:18. Dwell on it. Can you see a type and shadow here in what Joseph was promising his brothers and what Jesus promises His own? Jesus is preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3) and He’ll see to our every need. There will be a river of crystal clear water and a tree that bears fruit every month of the year (Revelation 22:1-2). How can we not want this? Also, reread 45:20. When Joseph’s brethren were told not to use their material things as an excuse to stay in Canaan, I see this as God telling us to leave our earthly things behind if we want to begin a new (and eternal) life with Him. In 45:22, the change of clothes shadows that when we leave this earth, we will put on our white robes of righteousness (Revelation 19:7-8). In v. 24, Joseph warns his brothers to keep a strait path (cross-reference Matthew 7:14). In other words, do not make things of this temporal world cause you to stray.

^ Overall, Chapter 45 is a shadow of beautiful promising things to come!

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

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Posted in #amwriting 💙, Ray & Marcus da Díxon 💙

The Promise of a Rainbow🌈

Short Story #28

“Papa!”

“Papa, come quick!”

At the urgency in the voices of his twin toddlers, Ray immediately stopped icing the black coffee vanilla cupcakes and rushed over to them in the playpen that was positioned by the window. They were directing his gaze outside of the window with frantic pointing and worried chubby faces.

“Something wrong with the sky!” the twins echo in unison as they point out the window. “Look, Papa!”

Ray looked and smiled. “Nothing’s wrong with the sky, mes amours. It’s only a rainbow.”

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The twins scrunched their adorable little faces at their ever-patient father.

Ray heartily laughs.

Marcus playfully nudged his sister-in-law. “I bet you a box of the finest Belgian chocolates that he’s going to give the babies a scientific explanation. Ça te dit?

Diana looked at Marcus and then at her husband who was gathering the twins in his arms. “He’s going to tell them a story, but you’re on!”

“A rainbow is a multicolored arc in the sky. It’s one of creation’s most splendid masterpieces all thanks to God.” Ray explained to the babies. “See, people were very wicked and refused to obey God; it displeased Him. However, one man found grace in God’s eyes: Noah. Had it not been for him, the world probably wouldn’t have existed today.”

Ashley tilts her head sideways to look at her father. “Vraiment?”

“Vraiment,” Ray clarifies. “After Noah followed God’s instructions in building an ark, a great flood came and cleansed the earth removing evil-minded mankind. After Noah and family left the ark, a multi-colored curved bow appeared in the sky symbolizing God’s covenant He made with Noah as He promised to never destroy the world in such a way again.

“It’s a beautiful promise. How many colors do you see?”

As Ray occupied the babies, Diana turns to a smiling Marcus. “I know you got lost in the story, but you owe me a box of the finest Belgian chocolate known to man.”

The smile quickly morphed into a sourish scowl. “Ray, couldn’t you have given the babies a scientific explanation and leave it at that?” Marcus picks up one of his twin’s signature cupcake and starts walking away. “Now I owe your wife chocolates! Chocolates, Ray! C’est ouf!”

Ray’s infectious laughter fill the room causing his wife to join in.

French terms used:

* mes amours – my loves

* Ça te dit – up for it?

* vraiment – really

* C’est ouf – it’s crazy

All grammatical errors are mine.

Inspired scripture: 

Three places to study the meaning of a rainbow or what some of the colors may symbolize are found in Genesis, Ezekiel, and Revelation.

On another note, I’ll be sharing more stories, trains of thoughts, ideas, really short stories, etc. in the near future. I may post a lot of stories on Tuesdays. Most, if not all of the stories are Biblically-based and I want to start incorporating French in many of them.

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