Friday, July 31, 2015

Why Doesn't God Just Show Up!

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!  Luke 13:13

I've heard a few people ask the question, "Why doesn't God just show himself to the world? Then people would believe in him" 

Well, he did show himself, many times, but we weren't interested. It didn't work. 
When the first murder on earth happened, God Himself did show up and try to reason with the killer.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" And he said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9

God gave Cain a chance to confess and tell God he was sorry he did it. That isn't what happened; God allowed Cain to move far away and build his own city.

Just seeing God personally and talking with him doesn't change people. Being sure there is a God who made the world and is righteous, doesn't change people. Even seeing someone rise up from a grave, awake from the dead, doesn't change people.

"But he (Jesus) said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"  Luke 16:31

God knows what we are like. He knows when it will help to reveal himself and when it won't. That is where our faith comes in; we can believe he knows what he is doing.

Almost everyone knows the story of the Exodus and all the miracles God performed through Moses. Did this change the Egyptian King's heart? No. But the world heard the story and many did come to God; however the nearby nations did not leave their idols and neither did the Egyptians.

The king of Babylon set up a golden image and commanded everyone to bow down and worship it or be thrown into a fiery furnace. He called all the important people of his realm.

"Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up."

Three men from Jerusalem refused to bow and were thrown into the fire. But God was with them in the furnace and didn't allow them to die. The king called them out. Here was proof in the living God.

"The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king's high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king's command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God."
Daniel Chapter 3.

Still, the king did not give his life to God until he became ill, and then he finally did. The known world at the time knew the whole story and did they become believers? We don't know. Probably some did, but the worship of the Jew's God did not take over the world.

Finally, God sent his Son into the world. God Himself was with us. He went about doing good, as the Bible says. He worked many miracles and even the voice of his Father was heard. Did this persuade the majority of people? No, instead the leaders plotted and killed God. He showed himself and we killed him. 

Evidence alone will not persuade anyone to follow God. There must be a longing in the heart for something better; for something beautiful. We can't find that beautiful thing here. Yes, nature is beautiful and people can be beautiful; but they can't satisfy that emptiness and longing inside of us to belong somewhere perfectly and to be loved perfectly. God can satisfy that longing.

The reason we don't feel at home here on earth is that we were made for something better, something perfect and full of beauty. We were made for God and a life with him in heaven. Jesus calls to our hearts to come to him and find that life. We have all heard him; we may try to quiet him, but he is there.

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."  Revelation 3:20

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."  John 17:3

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Lift up your eyes round about and see; They all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, And your daughters will be carried in the arms.
Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you."  Isaiah 60:4,5

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Favorite Church #2 - Death is A Sleep Until Jesus Returns.

"For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 9:6,7

Most Christian churches believe we never die. They think our spirits either go to heaven or hell. Seventh-Day-Adventists do not believe this. They believe our spirit (the breath of life) does go to God who will reunite our spirits with our bodies when Jesus returns. But our souls are unconscious, as if in a deep sleep.

Jesus, when speaking of Jairus' daughter said, "And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.”

After saying these things, he (Jesus) said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”  John 11:11

An angel said to Daniel, "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."  Daniel 12:2

David wrote, "As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake."  Psalm 17:15

"The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence."  Psalm 115:17

"When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath (spirit), they die and return to their dust."  Psalm 104:29

Peter said, "For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit in the place of honor at my right hand."  Acts 2:34

Paul wrote, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first."  1 Thessalonians 4:16  So, the dead rise when Jesus returns the second time.

If our soul (who we are) is in heaven, why would Jesus have to bring up our decayed bodies to unite with our souls? It doesn't make sense. Human beings are not immortal, as so many think. God alone is immortal.

"For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen." 
1 Timothy 6:16

We know that some people have risen to live in heaven before the second coming of Jesus. 

Moses: Jesus raised his "body" not just his spirit or soul.

"But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"  Jude 1:9

Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven before they died.

Some people were raised at the death of Jesus. "The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many."  Matthew 27:53

We don't know who these people are, but I'm sure happy for them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why Do I Do What I Don't Want to Do?

"For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." Galatians 5:17

"For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." 

Romans 7:22 - 8:2 

This is what I want to do: Be just like Jesus. Love everyone, no matter what they do or say. Never say the wrong thing. Never hurt anyone. Love God with all my mind and heart. I'm afraid my actual life is far from these ideals.

The other day, my husband started talking about a man we had known many years ago. We had found out he had molested his daughter and beat his wife. My husband remembered the good times we had had with this family and said, "I wonder where he is now?"  I said, "Well, I hope he is dead."

Hmm, then I laughed and said, "You know, I worry about people who are lost and I pray for them, but when it comes to someone I know personally who did something horrible, I want them to be lost and dead as a door nail."  I've forgiven my father for molesting me, yet I hate this other guy who did the same thing.

I'm with Paul. "Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me..."  

From time to time, (actually, lots of times) when I think I'm doing pretty good, the Lord will show me my true self - the hateful, unforgiving, selfish self that I am. But thank God, I know he loves me anyway. He just doesn't want me to think I can be or do anything truly good without him. He wants me to see I am still a sinful creature who falls and will stay down unless he lifts me up. 

I used to be afraid of God when I would do something wrong, but I have learned he still loves me. My sins don't surprise him like they do me!

"I love you, LORD; you are my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."   
Psalm 18:1

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Favorite Church.

In my last post, I wrote that I had studied different religions and that I had left my church, which was the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church. I still believe in the teachings of the SDA Church. I believe they follow the teachings of the Bible more closely than any other church.

The reason I left was because the church I was going to was... well, it was a very personal reason and perhaps wouldn't be nice of me to write about here. It was not because of what they believe.

I thought it would be nice to cite a few of the main differences between the SDA Church and other churches.

1. They do not believe in a hell that goes on forever and ever.  Jesus said those who have done little evil will receive few "stripes" but those who caused great evil will suffer many "stripes."  Some people will suffer longer than others, but their suffering will stop. God is not a monster who makes people suffer forever and ever.

In the Old Testament God said,
"For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head."  He will punish people according to what they have done to others.  Obadiah 1:15

"The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy."  Psalm 145:20  Destroy means obliterate.

"And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts." Malachi 4:3

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire." Rev. 20:13,14

"The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41,42

"Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.  John 5:28,29

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21:8

"And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them."  Revelation 20:9  If people are alive in hell, they are not devoured.

"For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 9:5,6

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."  1Thessalonians 4:16,17  The dead in Christ are in their graves now and so are the wicked. There will be two resurrections.

If you want to study this or any other belief of the Seventh-Day-Adventists, you can go to  Click on Bible Study and then Bible Study Guides.  I'll write about some other different beliefs next time.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What is Your Truth?

"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  John 8:32

The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences were written by Martin Luther in 1517 and are widely regarded as the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially nepotismsimonyusurypluralism, and the sale of indulgences. It is believed that, according to university custom, on 31 October 1517, Luther posted the ninety-five theses, which he had composed in Latin, on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg. However, the fact that the theses themselves were posted on the church door is disputed.[1]

I was reading on a blog the other day that many Christians think they know the "truth" about God and go around telling people what they believe that truth is. The blogger was against this.

I understand what he means. I belonged to a church that said the had the "truth" and then went to a different church for a year. They said the same thing. "We have the truth."  Well, they couldn't both have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because they believed different things.

So, what I have always done is search the Bible myself for truth, praying for guidance. When my sister was thinking of becoming a Buddhist I read up on their beliefs. I told her, "If there were no Jesus or Christianity, I would become a Buddhist. I admire a lot in that religion.

When I read books and the authors make claims about what they believe, I look the subject up in the Bible. I don't feel offended when people share their beliefs with me. Actually, I'm really interested. I have laughed inside sometimes at what some religions teach - like aliens coming here etc. However, these people are free to believe what they want and I've never laughed at them openly.

Anyway, this subject brought Martin Luther into my mind. He was the Catholic monk who some say started the Protestant Reformation. He saw the church doing things that were contrary to the Bible. He saw how this was hurting the common people, so he protested. He had no thought of starting his own church. He wanted reform from within, but it didn't happen so he had to leave. He wrote books and pamphlets about what he believed and how the church was wrong.

If God is being misrepresented by someone, then the truth about God needs to be told. Not many will receive the truth, it isn't popular to go against something that has been taught for centuries. But that's okay. Those who are searching and open-minded will study and see for themselves.

Never just believe what someone tells you about God. Search for yourself, pray for guidance and God will lead you. I have studied with Mormans and Jehovah Witnesses and Mennonites besides the church I used to belong to. (Seventh-Day-Adventist)  I have no fear of other's beliefs and I want to hear them. Lay their beliefs alongside the Bible and you will know what is truth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sometimes I Get Cranky.

Have you ever been going through rough times and you hear someone complaining about how their dinner at some restaurant wasn't cooked well? Or maybe they are upset because they couldn't get their nails done when they wanted them done. Whatever. Meanwhile, you are hanging onto life by your fingernails; you are in so much mental pain you can't think straight. But you can think straight enough to wonder what the hell they have to complain about. They should try your life out for a few minutes and they would never complain about small things again. (Of course you never share these thoughts with them. No, not nice.)

I sometimes wonder if Jesus felt frustrated like that at his followers.

"For He (Jesus) was teaching His disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.  But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.

They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, 'What were you discussing on the way?'

But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest."

Mark 9:31-34

So, Jesus is telling them once again that soon he would be killed and what do they talk about? Which one would have the best job in the new kingdom. Who was going to sit next to Jesus ruling Israel. That's what they were interested in. I imagine them thinking, "Jesus is always saying strange, incomprehensible things, so just forget what he said and lets discuss something that really matters."

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is when Jesus said, "And Jesus answered and said, 'You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.' "  Matthew 17:17  If anything shows Jesus' humanity, this is it. It also shows it isn't a sin to get exasperated with people. Jesus was always kind, so I'm sure he said this in a nice way. Maybe.

Well, In the Old Testament, God got good and mad at people too and I don't blame him. Sometimes I say to him, "I must drive you crazy, because I drive my own self crazy."   We are sure fortunate that God is patient. Super patient. I mean just look at the disciples; they were incredibly dumb. I'm glad, because then I don't have to feel so bad about myself. It's like I sometimes think (this is embarrassing), "David committed adultery and then murdered her husband. Well, I've never done anything close to that so I'm golden."  (I know we are saved by grace, but old habits die hard.)

Anyway, I'm with Jesus. Get me outta here. Get me to heaven where I can relax and I don't have to hear about stupid first-world problems.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Why Do We Waste Our Time?

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.  Isaiah 55:2,3

Donald Miller, in his book, "Through Painted Deserts," writes about working for that which does not satisfy...
"I remember driving down I-45 a few months ago and suddenly realizing the number of signs that were screaming at me to watch girls take off their clothes, signs wanting me to eat Mexican food, to eat barbeque, backlit, scrolling signs wanting me to come to church, to join this gym, to see this movie, to finance a car, even if I have no money. And it hit me that, amid the screaming noise, amid the messages that said buy this product and I will be made complete, I could hardly know the life that life was meant to be."

"Houston makes you feel that life is about the panic and the resolution of the panic, and nothing more. Nobody stops to question whether they actually need the house and the car and the better job. And because of this, there doesn't seem to be any peace; there isn't any serenity. We can't see the stars in Houston any more, we can't go to the beach without stepping on a Coke bottle, we can't hike in the woods, because there aren't any more woods. We can only panic about the clothes we wear, panic about the car we drive, sit stuck in traffic and panic about whether or not the guy who cut us off respects us."

Mr. Miller is a wonderful author. For me, his thoughts go deep inside my heart and lay there quietly while I examine them. I'm reading another book of his right now, "Searching for God Knows What."  It is so funny and interesting.

When I think of what people in our culture believe is important, it makes me sad. We are attracted to and distracted by garbage when there is a bright diamond hanging right in front of our face. The diamond is free. The diamond is beautiful. The diamond is God.

Near the end of his book, Donald writes:

"Relationships between men and women indicate something of the nature of God - that he is relational, that he feels love and loss. It's all metaphor, and the story is about us; it's about all of us who God made, and God Himself, just enjoying each other. It strikes me how far the commercials are from this reality, how deadly they are, perhaps. Months ago I would have told you life was about doing, about jumping through religious hoops, about impressing other people, and my actions would have told you this is done by buying possessions or keeping a good image or going to church. I don't believe that any more. I think we are supposed to stand in deserts and marvel at how the sun rises. I think we are supposed to sleep in meadows and watch stars dart across space and time. I think we are supposed to love our friends and introduce people to the story, to the peaceful, calming why of life. I think life is spirituality."

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”   Isaiah 55

Friday, July 10, 2015

Beautiful Dreams from God.

Photo by:
cropped photo

Well, in my last post I wrote about nightmares. I thought I'd even things out by sharing the lovely dreams God has given me through the years. I had my first dream from him when I was 19, and the last one was a couple of years ago. I'm now 65 years old. I think God sent me these dreams because I had such trouble believing he loved me and I would ultimately be saved. I have a lot of self-hatred, and when I get discouraged at my conduct I remember these dreams and they help me hold on to God.

1. I was not a Christian when I had this dream.

I was walking up a steep hill, like those in San Francisco. I was with a few friends and we were laughing and joking. All of a sudden there was a noise. I turned around and the sky turned jet black. Next a huge rainbow arched across the sky. I thought, "Jesus is returning!" I felt terrified. I woke up.

2. I started reading the Bible and when I went to an evangelistic meeting I gave my life to God. I was baptized. I had a dream immediately after the baptism.

I was standing in front of my parent's house holding my little girl's hand. I saw a cloud coming down out of the sky and I knew it was Jesus returning. I felt very happy.

3. I had been in therapy for years, mainly about my father who had abused me.

I was in church and my father was there. He looked at me meanly. I shouted. "You can't hurt me any more. God's angels are all around me protecting me." I walked out of the church and I now saw the angels all around me. We walked, and as we walked we sang. We came to a grassy place and sat down and sang a beautiful song. I looked and saw three crosses on a hill in front of us. The middle cross was suddenly covered in pink roses. Then I saw Jesus coming up over the hill with his arms wide open. I ran to him and he held me. I cried and cried but felt comforted.

4. Jesus and I were riding two black horses. We were laughing and looking at each other and having so much fun. All of a sudden the horses grew wings and we were flying up and up and I knew we were headed for heaven.

5. My grandson died four years ago. I had this dream.

I was at a hospital. My grandson was sick and I had to see him. I was holding a baby in my arms and also lots of papers. The elevator wouldn't work, so I had to use the stairs. It was very hard because of the weight of the baby and the papers kept falling out of my hands.

Jesus came up behind me. "Would you like some help?' he asked. "Yes," I said. He took the baby and we left the papers behind. He started walking down. "The elevator doesn't work," I told him. We got to the elevator and the doors of it were now gold. "Push the button," Jesus said. I pushed it and the door opened. I looked inside and there was heaven. Green grass, lots of people, and it was gorgeous. I looked at Jesus and we both smiled.

So, along with all the nightmares, I had glimpses of heaven and Jesus' smiling face. I do need to know Jesus smiles at me. I used to think God would kill me if I sinned in any way at all. I was wrong. He loves me just the way I am.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Nightmares of the Past.

Backgarden of a dream" , by Erik Pevernagie, oil on canvas, 88 x 66 cm

"They" say that if a person has bottled up all kinds of pain in their hearts and never dealt with it that person will have a crisis when they are in their forties. That happened to me. I started having terrible nightmares. Nightmares that took me back to my childhood when my father had abused me physically and sexually.

I started going to therapy, and the nightmares helped me understand what was going on in my mind. I would write them down and share them with my therapist. But there was a big problem along with the nightmares and that was my attitude towards them. Instead of seeing them as a tool to help me, I saw them as a form of torture. I would wake up screaming or crying. I would feel depressed all day after having one. I would be afraid to go to bed at night. I got angry at God.

Recently, after being all done dealing with my father, some new nightmares came visiting. They were about another member of my family. I was in therapy at the time and my therapist had asked me, "Do you think you have really forgiven your father?" I said I did think so. But, I told her there was one family member I may not have forgiven.

I told her that when I knew this person was coming over I would feel upset. My thoughts were not always kind towards them. I said, "I think I need to talk this over with God. I thought I had forgiven this person."

Then the dreams started. No, I had not forgiven. One dream was so terrible I was beside myself when I woke up. I said to God, "Why do I have to go through this?" So, I started praying each day about it and suddenly one day this person didn't bother me any more! I loved having them over to my house.

I don't understand why I can't just be magically healed of the past, like making the blind see. Why can't it be that easy when your mind is broken?  I guess it just can't. I finally feel thankful for all the awful dreams because they have pushed me along the road to healing. God knows what he is doing; and even if something is painful for awhile, he will use it to bring true healing.

I know war veterans have nightmares, and I am so sorry for that. I hope they will go to a therapist about it because I doubt I would have gotten better without someone to talk to about my nightmares, pain and feelings. "They" say dreams are about things in our lives we have never resolved that need resolving.
Now, when I see my father in my dreams he does not harm me. He makes a sort of 'cameo' appearance. Lol  "Oh yeah, there's Dad. Why is he here? I thought he was dead." He doesn't scare me any more. Maybe, now that I have truly forgiven the other person in the family, maybe I am done. Maybe I am actually free of the past.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Lions of Samaria.

I found a great site online. Brian Hardin reads from the Bible every day. It is so relaxing to put on the earphones and listen as he reads. His site is called Daily Audio Bible:

The other day, Brian was reading from 2 Kings 17. The king of Assyria had captured Israel and taken the people away. Then he filled the land of Samaria with other people:

"The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns. When they first lived there, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people. It was reported to the king of Assyria: “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.”
Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord." 2 Kings 17:24-28

All this seemed strange to me until I thought about it. In ancient times people thought each land had a god they had to respect. God used this custom to bring his teachings to these people who had come from many different lands. 

"They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought." verse 33.

All through the years Samaritans did this. They worshiped God and also idols. But they had the books of Moses with them to study. One day, about 700 years later, Jesus walked into a town of Samaria. He met a woman there who had studied the books of Moses and she said to him, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” John 4:25

Jesus answered her, "I, the one speaking to you, I am he." verse 26.

Jesus knew this woman was ready to accept him. She had already accepted his Father.

How many Samaritans over the years had learned about and worshiped God because he made sure they heard of him? Perhaps thousands. I am always struck how God tried to take his message to all the nations of the world in the Old Testament. Sometimes his ways seem harsh: letting lions kill people. But, salvation is a matter of life and death and the King of Assyria probably wouldn't have listened to anything less than that.

I am just amazed by God's humility and how he will do so much to save us from ourselves and evil. He will even be worshiped alongside other idols, if the people don't know any better, and will teach those people and send the Holy Spirit to those people. I thank God he loves us all so much.