Nylse Esahc

Thumbs and Toes

When we were children, one form of fun and entertainment for us was playing board games. One year my oldest brother brought home a Bible Trivia game called The Gold Talent.

To this day, I remember my brother with his handsome smile, asking, "Who was the king who had his thumbs and big toes cut off?" As a teenager, in all of my reading of the Bible, I'd never found anything like this. Back then, we didn't have cell phones or even a computer at home. We had encyclopedias, but this information would not be in them, and if it was, it would take too long to find.

So we were stumped, and we said, "Who?" He said, "Adoni-Bezek." Adoni be who??? I had never heard of him; perhaps you hadn't either.

Adoni-Bezek's story is found in Judges 1:1-7. Adoni-Bezek was a Canaanite king of Bezek, captured by two brothers, Judah and Simeon. Judah and Simeon were heads of their tribes, they sought the Lord, and they had victory in claiming the land allotted to them. When they captured the king, they cut off his thumbs and big toes. Their punishment of Adoni-Bezek may seem cruel, yet we see that it was merely justice in its truest sense. God did not command the disfigurement of Adoni-Bezek, but the king confessed that what was done to him was justified. "As I have done, so God has requited me." Then they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died.

There are no random stories or mere coincidences in the Bible; everything is there for a reason and serves a purpose.

Initially, we don't know why Judah and Simeon chose to inflict this punishment on Adoni-Bezek, but as we continue reading, we realize there was a method to the madness; this was a practice Adoni-Bezek had employed regularly. As he did to the kings he captured the same was done to him. This form of punishment reduced dexterity. Cutting off the thumbs made working difficult; removal of the big toes made walking difficult. Those captured kings gathered crumbs from under Adoni-Bezek's table. They were totally humiliated!

Sometimes God in his providence, makes punishment the answer for the sin.

So be careful about cutting off the toes and thumbs of others; the same punishment may be inflicted on you. Unlike Adoni-Bezek, if you have the chance to right a wrong, do so before the wrong comes right back to you.

Adoni-Bezek said, "I once had seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off, eating scraps from under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them." They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there. (Judges1:7 NLT)

Dear Lord, it seems that so many of us have had our dexterity limited by the wicked kings of this world. For those that are hurt, give us wisdom, courage, and strength. For those in a position to right a wrong, give them your heart even in difficult situations. Thank you, Lord, for the truths within your Word. Amen.


What do you need to make right today? What does the church need to make right today? What does the country need to make right today?

nylse-headshotNylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.



Your Stimulus Check

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV

A lot of folks are excited because they received an extra $1200 in their accounts. One thousand two hundred dollars, is a gift, regardless of your situation. For some, it's a lifeline, and for others, it feels like a bonus. The more prudent among us may decide to save all or most of it (if they can) for another rainy day.

A stimulus check is a check sent to a taxpayer by the U.S. government. Stimulus checks are intended to stimulate the economy by providing consumers with some spending money. When taxpayers spend this money, it will boost consumption and drive revenues at retailers and manufacturers and, thus, spur the economy (source: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/stimulus-check.asp).

Ironically the timing of this check is not the best time to stimulate the economy. With stay-at-home orders in place and most shopping establishments closed, it's hard to shop. Also, shopping right now for me feels frivolous! (Confession: I have made a few online purchases, questioning my sanity right up until I hit checkout).

The bottom line is the stimulus check is free money; you didn't earn it. Whether it does what it was intended to do remains to be seen.

Like a stimulus check, you can't earn God's love, and it's right on time. Unlike a stimulus check, God's love does precisely what it was intended to do. He loves you so much that He sacrificed Himself for you (John 3:16). God's love is what stimulates us to be better people; God's love humbles us; God's love changes us. Love is the driver for a better, more satisfying life, but God's love satisfies in ways you can't imagine. So though times are bleak, you can be at peace because of his great love.

What will we do with his love check for you? I urge you to accept his love; to recognize your worth in Him. Because of his great love for us, we can live. God's love is the best stimulus.

Prayer - Dear Lord, may we all feel your love in tangible ways. For those searching for peace, draw their hearts to you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Reflection - Are you reaping the benefits of God's great love? If you're unsure of how to do so, please let me know in the comments.

nylse-headshotNylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.



A Prayer for Gripping Times

Dear Lord;
Lord, right now, it seems as if we are living in gripping times. We are bombarded on every side by news cycles providing information couched in dire circumstances - a virus running rampant, living longer than anyone anticipated, and a mounting death toll. I think sometimes we don't know what to do with all of this information, and we are overwhelmed.

But your Word reminds us that when we are overwhelmed, as we call out to You, You will lead us to the Rock that is higher than us (Psalm 62:1). A rock that is sturdy and secure in these changing times. A Rock that is You.



Often we forget that we are passing through; that this world is not our own. We focus so much on things that are seen; we forget the unseen things. Your Word reminds us that the things that are seen are temporary, and those that are unseen are eternal. Lord, even in this time you are recalibrating our eyesight so that we're focusing more on You - the unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Lord, you made us, and you promised us that you have prepared a place for us in your Father's house (John 14:2,3). So at some point, you've made it clear that we will meet again. In eternity. This is what our hearts long for. Thus Lord, even in this time of the pandemic, you are making things beautiful in your time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know there can be beauty in a storm as it removes all the detritus.

We are passing through this valley, but you are with us. And because you are with us, we need not fear because you are comforting us through your Holy Spirit. You have not left us comfortless (John 14:17), for you knew we would need you. So we know You are protecting us, but you are also correcting us. May we be open to both your protection and correction.

As we rely on you, we see the reality of your promises. We can have peace, we can have wisdom, we can love. So Lord, quiet our souls (Psalms 46:10) during turbulence as only You can. May this time restore our confidence in you, and out of that confident assurance, may we be a balm to this hurting world.

Sometimes we may not know how to help our fellow man. But give us willing hearts of empathy; keep us ready to share and to bear each others burdens; help us to speak your Word boldly. As we do all these things, it will be an active demonstration of faith in You. Just you, Lord, only you, Lord.  This time is in your hands. We need not fear for you are with us. We don't know how long it will last, but it didn't catch You by surprise, only us.

In gripping times we covet your protection, correction, grace, mercy, wisdom, and love. Lord, you are our strength both now and forever (Psalm 105:4). In your name, we pray, Amen.

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Like others, I am experiencing a range of emotions at this time. The only way I know to settle myself is to stop and pray and then to remain prayerful, often. I hope this prayer comforts you as we work out our new reality.

nylse-headshotNylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


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