Sunday, February 17, 2013

"My Lamb" - ‎02/17/13 - Leviticus 4:1-6:30

“The priest makes atonement for him on account of his sin and he’s forgiven."

Nine times in these verses.

Nine times.

God tells us nine times that there is atonement. 

The atonement we need is the reversal of the alienation caused when we sin, restoring us to oneness with God and His forgiveness.  Over and over again in these verses we read of the different sacrifices, preformed by the priests, needed for the different types of sins.  Sacrifices that would need repeated, continually throughout the years, until the Death and Resurrection of our Savior. 

The Last Sacrifice.

Christ is our High Priest.  The meaning of High Priest is Bridge Builder. 

Our High Priest is the bridge to our Father.  A bridge that is needed because of our sins.  Sins that God can not be a part of because He is Holy. 

The sacrifice of our Savior brings us an atonement that is forever.  He was the sacrifice for our sins that we have, do, and will commit.  Regardless of the type, the intentions, the mindset - forgiven.  If we confess and repent.  If our hearts turn and run from the sin, striving to live our life for Him. 

If - we enter into His Covenant. 

We have been hearing sermons on being aliens in this world.  As I sit and listen, I see so many examples in my life where I am "different".  Realization that His measuring stick is different than the world's. 

How it has caused division. 

Seeing that persons of the world are unable to forgive me for sins I have confessed and asked forgiveness for, used to cause me to think I was doing something wrong.  Or not doing enough.  His Word has caused me to realize that He is who I need to focus on for forgiveness.  He is who matters.  My going to persons and confessing is an act of worship to Him.  Regardless of how they respond - I still have to be Christlike. 

The Lord's Prayer tells us to "forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us."

He is helping me to see that after I confess, ask for forgiveness and repent, even then if I never receive the forgiveness from others, it doesn't matter.  It is about my relationship with Him.  It is about being Christlike for Him.  They aren't God.  They aren't who determines my salvation.  They aren't who deems if I am forgiven or not.

And in that equation is also myself.  Forgiving me for sinning against "us".  When I sin, it affects Him.  His whole Body and I have to let it go.  Stop doubting if I did enough.  If I am acting, talking, being the right way, measuring up to their way, in order to gain their forgiveness.  I have to forgive me as God has and does.  If not, I am putting myself in His place, deciding that the sacrifice of Christ wasn't enough.   

My Savior is enough.  My Savior is "The priest". 

My Priest.

“The priest makes atonement for me on account of my sin and I am forgiven."

"Salt" - ‎2/16/13 - Numbers 8:1-9:14, Leviticus 1:1-3:17

Present all your offerings with salt. (Leviticus 2:13) 

"The role of salt in the Bible is relevant to understanding Hebrew society during Old and New Testament periods.  Salt is a necessity of life and was a mineral that was used since ancient times in many cultures as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange.  The Bible contains numerous references to salt.  In various contexts, it is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification."

I love the Message translation of Jesus speaking about salt - it is right to the point.

 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." (Matthew 5:13)

I tie this in with the verse from today and think about how each day I place myself on the alter as an offering to Him and wonder "how is the salt"?  Have I resisted the world and self coming to Him as a pleasing flavor?  Or have I been contaminated and unsuccessful at being an effective disciple?  And it isn't about offering some of myself, but all of myself. 

Lot's wife was unable to totally give up what she desired and was focusing back.  Her eyes left His face and she became a pillar of salt.  I desire to be the salt He needs me to be.  I don't want my legacy to be a "pillar of salt", but a perfectly seasoned life with a pleasing aroma to Him.  

"Present all your offerings with salt" -  just sort of slipped in there and got me to wondering why. 

What is it about salt that is so important as part of the sacrifice.  In Mark 9:49-50 He speaks about salting of the condemned, which is a rhetorical device indicating the severity of the punishment.   "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."  The salt here refers to the goodwill that "seasons" positive friendships and compassion.  Colossians 4:6 uses the metaphor of salt seasoning in speaking with intelligence and consideration. 

During ancient Palestine salt was variably and widely used as a symbol and sacred sign.  It was used as a covenant of friendship, sometimes the eating of it was required.  Salt land is a metaphorical name for a desolate no man's land.  Defeated cities were sometimes salted to consecrate them and curse their re-population.  Bishop K.C. Pillai, from India, testifies that the salt covenant is much more than a covenant of friendship.  it is an irrevocable pledge and promise of fidelity.  Those who have taken salt together would rather die before they would break their covenant. He further states that the penalty for violating such a covenant is death.

Sound familiar? 

Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we are now offered the New Covenant.  God is holding it out to us for the taking.  All we have to do is offer up ourselves.  He will not pull away or break this covenant when we accept it.  Only we are able to break it, by turning away. 

How many of us are in the place that we would rather die than break it?  How many of us are seasoned with just the right amount of salt?  How many of us are a pleasing aroma to Him? 

How many of us -when breaking the covenant or not accepting it - know that the penalty is death? 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

‎"My Family" - 02/15/13 - Numbers 7:1-89

"they had to carry the holy things for which they were responsible on their shoulders." (7:9)

My Family in Him. 

We are all different in this family of ours.  Some have broader shoulders, some have stronger arms and legs.  Some have the energy of youth and some enjoy sitting and watching others in action.  Some have the crown of wisdom adorning their head in the lovely shade of gray.  Some are just learning the art of hair coloring.  There are some that are the life of the party and some who have just as much fun observing the goings on. 

We are all different, yet related because we are of the same blood - His.

Each created in His image

Through our Savior we are all made Holy.

In His family, we are responsible for each other.  And at different times, each of us is to carry the other - as sometimes we will be carried.

When His family is obeying His commands, following His Christlike example - His family works. 

I love the times that my family in Him has surrounded me in love when attacked from the world. Standing together as His Warriors in this spiritual warfare. How He has blessed me when  siblings were there for me or when I was there for them .  For the joy that is shared amongst us when we celebrate life events that are of Him.  In encouraging each other in the hardships, trials and tribulations.  The accountability that is there during temptations and valleys.  To help each other along in our journey of intimacy in Him.  To lift each other up in prayer, to lean on each others shoulders, and at times to even cry upon them.  The reassuring hug, the pat on the back, the twinkle in the glad eyes when seeing each other.  Delighting in each others company.  Exchanging words or sometimes just sharing a space.  These are just some of the acts of love.

The thankfulness I have that He opened my eyes to see what a treasury of family He has blessed me with.  That we are not holy things, but His holy children.  Precious to Him and to each other. 

My family in Him.

Friday, February 15, 2013

‎"Simon Says" - 02/14/13 - Exodus 39:32-40:38, Numbers 9:15-23

"They stayed in camp, obedient to God’s command, as long as the Cloud was over The Dwelling, but the moment God issued orders they marched. If the Cloud stayed only from sunset to daybreak and then lifted at daybreak, they marched. Night or day, it made no difference—when the Cloud lifted, they marched. It made no difference whether the Cloud hovered over The Dwelling for two days or a month or a year, as long as the Cloud was there, they were there. And when the Cloud went up, they got up and marched. They camped at God’s command and they marched at God’s command. They lived obediently by God’s orders as delivered by Moses." (Numbers 9:20-23)

Remember the game of "Simon Says"?  Only if putting "Simon Says" at the end of the command were you to move. Otherwise, if you did move, you were out of the game.  Sometimes, "Simon" would cheat and claim he did or didn't say "Simon Says".  Then it became a  game of confusion and dissolved into arguing, hurt feelings - division. 

In  "living" there are so many things that come up that do not seem fair.  Causing drama - hurt feelings - division.  These are the times I need to focus on His face in trust and faith that He is the one in control.  satan is trying to bully his way into the leadership role so we will follow his instructions.  he doesn't want any winners for God.  To him it is a game and his whole goal is destruction. 

To satan - we are just pawns.  To him - this "game" is really between him and God.  We are only tools that he is using to hurt God in the way he knows hurts Him the most.  Because God loves us that much.  Think about all the times that satan inflects his evil on us, it is usually where it hurts the most.  When he hurts us - it hurts God even more so. 

Because God loves us that much.

The people were to stay or march at God's command and they obeyed.  Their eyes were focused on His cloud.  They were always at the ready - "it made no difference—when the Cloud lifted, they marched." 

How at the ready am I to march?  Do I become so comfortable when He has me stay that I lose focus and am not "at the ready".  Is my heart so in tune in Him that I am seeing every opportunity He places before me to be a disciple?  While I am "staying", am I preparing to march?  Or am I just sitting back and enjoying my comfort zone.  I need to be fortifying myself at all times in His Word.  The times when I go through the trials and tribulations of life, I need to remember that I am hopeless in myself.  That always I am able to lay hold of my Daddy who is mighty and whose faithfulness surrounds Him.  Knowing, without doubt, that He is working out His purpose, a far greater purpose than I can conceive, if I will only keep my focus on Him and not myself, I will see His glory in all situations. 

Regardless of if I am staying or marching, I know my life is not a game to Him; it has an eternal purpose He is working out for my good and His glory.

I am so thankful that I serve a Daddy who doesn't play games.  Who doesn't lie, or cheat, or play favorites with His children.  That He wants all of us to be winners. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

‎"Made of the Best Materials" - 02/13/13 - Exodus 37:1- 39:31

Throughout the verses today, it describes the materials involved when constructing The Tabernacle.  Acacia Wood is commanded to be used in the building of so many things. It is prized for its extreme durability and the grains' "flame-like" appearance. When different light is shone on it - it can change color. It can be cleaned with water - so dense it won't permeate it. Untreated it can last up to 40 years. Not prone to scraping, holds up to hard use, doesn't need coddled. Resistant to fungus - which causes rot. Extract is used to help endurance of other cheaper woods.

Most of the Acacia wood was then to be covered with a veneer of gold. Pure gold is very soft. It is one of the few pure metals that is yellow. Chemically unaffected by air, moisture, corrosion. Most malleable and ductile of all metals. One single gram can be beaten to a sheet of 1 sq. meter. An ounce can be beaten into 3000 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten so thin it is translucent, which appears greenish blue because it strongly reflects yellow and red. It is used as an infrared shield. Readily creates alloys with many other metals,, which then modify it to be utilized in different ways. Gold has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history. Gold standards have been the most common basis for monetary policies throughout human history.

Acacia wood. He knew this was the best wood to withstand the travel, the weather conditions, take down/put up, the journey. Just like with us.

Our foundation must be made of "Acacia wood".

Only He can make us extremely durable through His Word, the Holy Spirit within us, Sabbath time with Him. Only by giving up "self" and becoming one with Him do I become "the most durable" for my life's journey. It has to be His "Acacia Wood". All the qualities it holds, can be mine too. The durability, the beauty, originality - so many things that are found only in this type of wood. Such beauty in His inner works.

And then to cover it in gold. It amazes me that they were able to construct all of this in the middle of the desert, in a tent city. To be able to obtain materials needed - no local lumberyard! The gold - another miracle. From the Egyptians. As early as 2600 BC Egyptian hieroglyphs claimed gold was "more plentiful as dirt". It is first mentioned in Gen 2:11. He provided all the resources needed to build this sanctuary - in the desert - in a tent city.

And it brings to mind how He provided the resources which transformed my "tent" into Acacia Wood - His sanctuary. How He has covered my "Acacia Wood" in His gold. Valuable and highly sought after by Him. Precious. His Gold standards I strive to live by.

How in my sacrificing of self, my King of Kings has turned me into His Golden princess.

It takes my breath away knowing that when He looks at me - He only sees beauty. He is so proud of me. He is so in love with me. He desires to be with me. All the things I see, think when I look at our sons - He feels so many times over for me.

I so love that I am the daughter of The King.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"SUSB......but don't forget to pray" - 02/12/13 - Exodus 35:1-36:38

 "every one whose heart was roused, whose spirit was freely responsive, bringing offerings to God." (35:21)

The word "roused" jumped out at me and stuck right into my heart.  I looked it up, "to come out of a state of sleep, unconsciousness, inactivity, apathy, depression, etc.". All through the day it has continued to run through my veins. 

I started to think about all the times I have become "roused" and then what happens.  I begin with such energy, such determination, such conviction, putting my all into it, consumed, obsessed. 

And then.............I lose interest. 

My whole being shifts into another gear and there I am - in neutral.

Before you know it, I am surrounded by unfinished projects.  Then I become overwhelmed and my engine shuts off.

Curt has always been so good about coming up behind me and finishing projects or pushing me to finish.  In the last few years, I have promised him that I would finish before starting something else.

Since then, I haven't really done alot.

This is how I have been in my role as a Christian at times.  I would jump in with my everything, expecting everyone around me to be as fired up about God, and find they weren't. 

In particular - my Curt.

He just wasn't growing in his relationship with God as quickly as I thought he should be.  He wasn't reading His Word every day, as he should be.  Praying enough.  And yet, he was going to church every Sunday, sometimes even during the week, but not leading - as he should be.  Not being the Spiritual leader of our home and family - like Scripture says - no! commands -  he should. 

I was totally "roused" in growing my relationship with God and also trying to take the reins for Curt's relationship too.  What I thought was my spirit being "totally responsive" - wasn't.  It was being manipulative, controlling, shaming, and shoulding.  I was trying to be god.  It was about my time, my way.  I was "bringing offerings to God" with strings attached. 

All the while - I could hear Him say, "Hush, child.  Curt is mine.  It is a relationship between us two." 

And all the while - I kept ignoring and kept talking. 

Actually, I think nagging, badgering are better terms. 

One day about two years ago, as I was praying for Curt to grow into a deeper, intimate relationship with God (like I thought he should be), I heard Him as plain as day. 

"Deby!  Shut up and step back ......but don't forget to pray"

My spirit became "totally responsive" - immediately!

It has become my mantra.  I had to do this in total trust and faith. 

In doing this, I was bringing the offering of myself to God. 

I look back now and realize if I hadn't of become "totally responsive" at that moment, God had a roll of duct tape in His hands!

In living by my new mantra, "my Curt" has grown leaps and bounds in his relationship with God.  All the things I would should, nag, manipulate him about - have happened. 

It happened in God's time.  God's way. 

During the time that I did as He commanded.

"Shut up and step back."

"And pray."

Monday, February 11, 2013

‎"In Plain Sight" - 02/11/13 - Exodus 32:1-34:35

"When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?”  So Aaron told them, “Take off the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me.” They all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an engraving tool.  The people responded with enthusiasm: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from Egypt!”  Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the calf.
Aaron then announced, “Tomorrow is a feast day to God!” (32:1-5)

Isn't this the same group of people who just a few days ago were shaking in their sandals at the bottom the mountain.  

"All the people, experiencing the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the smoking mountain, were afraid—they pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “ You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.”  Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.”  The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was." (20:1-21)

Blatantly sinning, right there in plain sight of Him.  Could they not see the cloud of God anymore?  Or were they choosing to ignore it?

Much like I do when I make the choice to sin. 

Right there, in plain sight of God. 

Rather bold, aren't I.  Or just plain stupid.

The thing is, when I am focused on His face, everywhere I look - I see Him.  In His nature, His people, even the things He has enabled man to create. 

My mind is always running from one thought to another.  While baking a cake, I am astounded at all the different recipes that are created from the same basic ingredients.  And whoever thought to put these mixtures together.  Working outside I think about the people who walked before me.  How the landscape has changed.  Wondering what things they saw and experienced.  What caused them to come to this place or to leave.  I think about the people He has caused my paths to cross with and wonder who my ancestors paths crossed to help make me who I am today from ideas, prayers, thoughts handed down.  I marvel about Him.  I am amazed over and over that before He created the world - He knew. 

He. knew.

Everything there is to know about me.  Where, who, when. 

Every. single. thing.

Inside and out.

And then,  my focus is caught up by self or the world.  I turn from marveling about Him to complaining.  It becomes more about my time, my way - about me.  

It is like when I exit from the shower, wipe the mirror with my towel, and see only ugly in the reflection.  I don't marvel in the creation of me.  I only cut it down, believe the lies of the world of what I "should" look like - I begin the process of tearing me apart - one sinful thought at a time. 

I am guilty of worshiping "the golden calf" - the lies of self and satan. 

Right there in front of Him. 

I sometimes forget in my sinning, He is everywhere.  Always. 

I have moved my focus from Him. 

And then I hear His voice - "For you are fearfully and wonderfully made, my child".  I begin to hear His other promises, His truths, and I again focus on His face. 

My thoughts go forth in thinking of how He created such a miracle in the human body.  The precise way that everything fits and works in perfect harmony.  How all the parts are needed to complete the cycle of living.  He even designed us with a touch of His humor.  Look at the little toes, the belly button, and why did He make toenails??? 

All it takes to get me refocused on Him is His Word. 

His Word is my God in the thick cloud covering the mountain top.  High above, so I am able to see Him everywhere I go.  How He changes my vision to see His beauty in all His creation. 

Even when looking in the mirror. 

"A Gift for Him" - ‎02/10/13 - Exodus 29:1-31:18

"Consecrate them so they’ll be soaked in holiness, (30:29)


     1.  to make or declare sacred or Holy; sanctify.
     2.  to dedicate (one's life, time, etc) to a specific purpose.
     3.  to ordain (a bishop)
     4.  to cause, to be respected or revered; venerate:  time has consecrated this

Throughout the reading for today, it occurred to me how He fills our senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. Just as the commands fill His senses. Reminding me once again we are made in His image.

We learn what the acts of consecrating Aaron, his sons, and future generations to be priests were. So much blood. Wondering as I read,  if they washed the blood off their garments. The amount of stench and flies from all the slaughter. The ugliness that was happening while sacrifice was prepared.  More than once it speaks about something that deals with the sense of smell.

 "Then take them from their hands and burn them on the Altar with the Whole-Burnt-Offering—a pleasing fragrance before God, a gift to God." (29:25)

God spoke to Moses: “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha, galbanum—and add pure frankincense. Mix the spices in equal proportions to make an aromatic incense, the art of a perfumer, salted and pure—holy. Now crush some of it into powder and place some of it before The Testimony in the Tent of Meeting where I will meet with you; it will be for you the holiest of holy places. When you make this incense, you are not to copy the mixture for your own use. It’s holy to God; keep it that way. Whoever copies it for personal use will be excommunicated.” (30:34-38)

I don't know if it was to help cover up the smells of slaughtering or to take our minds to another place, away from the smell of sin.  Rereading the commands, visualizing, knowing they haven't running water, they are in a temporary set up, all the blood and waste, there isn't a way that the smell could be covered up. 

The more I ponder on these verses, I really think it is to remind us of the sweet Holy smell of Him.  To remember that on the other side of the Cross, is our Savior. 

He has something for all of our senses, even smell, for the worship of Him.

"Whoever copies it for personal use will be excommunicated.” (38)  Such a strong punishment.  But then, He commands strong punishment for disobedience.  He has His reasons.  They aren't for us to understand, defy, or question.   Because He is Holy.  He is God.

He has commanded The Way to Him - it is only through Christ our Savior.  Only in Christ are we consecrated, made and declared sacred, holy, sanctified.  Throughout time we humans have taken His ways, His Commands, and added our own twist.  We have added to or taken away from His Word to "tickle our ears".  To try and cover up the stench of sin. 

Looking at myself, I wonder how often I have taken His perfume and copied it for my own personal use - "consecrated" my "self"?  How often have I believed I am my own savior, that my ways are right and that I am god? 

Every single time I chose to serve "self" instead of Him.  Just as the world continues in doing this,  with my sinning, I am just as guilty.  It is only through and because of Christ that I am consecrated - to be soaked in Holiness. 

I have to put all of my sins, all of my "self" upon the alter of Christ, my ultimate sacrifice. 

To rid myself of the ugliness of sin and death. 
Becoming "a pleasing fragrance before God, a gift to God".         


Saturday, February 09, 2013

‎"Our Supplier - no matter where" - 02/09/13 - Exodus 25:1-28:43

Tabernacle model in the wildernessAt Timna Park, 20 miles (32 km) north of Eilat in the Arabah, a life-size replica of the biblical tabernacle has been constructed. While no original materials (e.g., gold, silver, bronze) have been used, the model is accurate in every other way based upon the biblical description.

"over that a covering of dolphin skins" (26:14)

Throughout the years, this part of materials commanded has always caught my eye. 

Dolphin skins - in the desert? 

So - today I dug a little into these verses.  Here is what I have discovered:

The Israelites had just come out of slavery - not a position that attained much wealth - certainly not the amount God called for to build the Tabernacle.  Here is just a few - Gold - 2800 lbs (not ounces, but pounds) -  “Use a seventy-five-pound brick of pure gold to make the Lamp stand and its accessories."  Silver - 9600 lbs, Bronze - 6700 lbs. 

The Israelites would have carried a lot of the materials for the Tabernacle out with them from Egypt.  Not an easy task I would think.  We know that Moses had asked the people of Israel to ask the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelery and for clothing. These were given to the Israelites in large enough quantities for the Exodus record to state that they plundered the Egyptians. 

"The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.  And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians." (Ex 12:35-36)

The covering was made from either badger or seal/dolphin skin (there is some uncertainty as to the correct translation from Hebrew). But there is no uncertainty as to its function: this covering formed a thick, protective, weatherproof layer over the Tabernacle. No amount of baking heat from the sun or wind-driven sand-storms or rain could disturb the treasure contained within the Tabernacle, thanks to this covering.

So whether all these goods were brought from Egypt or whether some things were gathered along the way, we cannot really tell.  If the covering was porpoises, I found that they were very common at that time in the Mediterranean sea and actually swam up the Nile river quite a ways. They were harvested by the Egyptians and their skins used quite extensively for shoes and other leather garments. They say that it is a very soft supple skin similar to eel skin. From what I read about it they were considered a rather luxurious item, but were still fairly common in Egypt.

Also, even though the people of Israel were in the wilderness, if you check a map of possible routes, they were often not far away from the Red Sea, especially if Mt Sinai/Horeb was east of the gulf of Aquaba.  Here is an interesting comment from Easton's Bible Dictionary:

"The dugong, very plentiful in the shallow waters on the shores of the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long, something between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water, but very easily caught."

The Israelites could conceivably have sent hunting parties out to get the porpoise/dugong/sea cow skins, although nothing is mentioned about it, these items for the Tabernacle were donated by those with a willing heart. 

"And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord's contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments.  So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.  And every one who possessed blue or purple or scarlet yarns or fine linen or goats' hair or tanned ram's skins or goatskins brought them" (Ex 35:21-23)

How awesome is that.  He provided them with all these riches and those with willing hearts, brought it back to Him.  To use for His glory.  The way it's supposed to be - even today.

He supplied what was needed for the Tabernacle in the middle of the desert.  As He also supplies what is needed, as we walk in the desert here on our way Home.

I keep going back to the dolphin skins.  I think about their purpose - "to protect treasure contained within the Tabernacle from the elements".  If it were to rain, the water would run right off.  During sand storms, it didn't get torn apart, it was a solid shield.  The heat would have been reflected off.  The skins would have saved what it covered.

Dolphin skins - Protecting treasure contained within the Tabernacle. 

The Holy Spirit.  Christ Blood.  His Word.  My Daddy.  Protecting - treasure/me - contained within the  - Tabernacle/Him.

Even dolphin skins go back to Him. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

‎"Black, Gray, Invisible" - 02/08/13 - Exodus 22:16-24:18

 “Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.” (23:32-33)

Playing with fire.  How we have seen through the scriptures since Genesis the ripples of living with sin, any sin, and its consequences.  The damning consequences.  Our world today.  My walk.

Earlier I was talking with Curt about what we read in His Word and what verses applied to our lives.  He is reading Jeremiah and how God has told them because of their sins, He is taking down the protective barrier and allowing the enemies in to overtake their land.  The consequences of their sins have led them back into slavery.

God shoots straight from the hip.  There are some things in scripture that we don't understand or make sense of - and that is okay.  He didn't instruct us to know all the why"s.  He commands, "Beware. That’s a huge danger”, which is plain, simple, and straight forward.  We are not to entertain any sin - at all. 

At.  All.

A good word picture would be if you have been diagnosed with a malignant cancer.  Although it is in its early stages, it has been proven without a doubt that it is spreading, either at a quick or slow pace hasn't been yet determined, throughout your body.  The diagnosis is that it is still small, contained, treatable, curable, but will completely consume your body if left alone. Your doctor then tells you that there will be no treatment.  That it will be left alone to run its course and that it will either show signs of aggressiveness or just sit for awhile and fester before finishing you off.

That is what sin is.  It is the cancer of our soul and how often do we choose to be the doctor that says, "let it alone". 

We do look at sin through rose tinted glasses and think it is harmless.  Thinking about the images we are able to watch on TV today.  Fifty years ago you wouldn't be able to see even a married couple sharing the same bed.  They were filmed in separate beds, even if it portrayed them as married with children.  Today, it is nothing to see same sex couples, in the same bed, doing more than just lying there.  Commercials.  I can remember how scared I was at Jaws because my mind wasn't numbed to horror through seeing it every day.  Or how persons are being numbed to the blatant sell of sex through all the daily images we take in. 

We have taken to looking at sin from black, to gray, to invisible.

Invisible, but still there and active. 

Much like natural gas which contains one of the most deadly elements - carbon monoxide.  It is non-toxic, tasteless, colorless and odorless.  It will overcome you and make you feel sleepy.  Not alarmed, not afraid, no panic.  And it will be a sleep you won't wake up from.  For safety reasons Mercaptan is added to it which has a rotten egg odor.  So that we will know when it is surrounding us.

How thankful I am that God has put that "rotten egg" odor to sin.  The times that my hair goes up on the back of my neck, that is a warning.  The sick feeling I have in the core of my being when I have participated in sin.  The sadness that overcomes me when I have failed Him, not being able to shake it off and blame it on hormones. 

Then we go so far as to act the "great Christian".  Using "prayer requests" as an excuse to pray about the coworker that is having an affair?  To be the "good neighbor" to get into someones life and share their home life with others?  Or when we are a whore with the world and the virgin in church on Sundays?   We are tolerating and entertaining  the "little sins" thinking they won't amount to anything.

When you are in a home that has a carbon dioxide leak, you evacuate immediately. You go to a safe place. When you find you have a treatable cancer, you get it removed and out of your body. Why is it that we don't do that with sin?

Take heed from His Words, “Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.”

Breath the rotten egg smell and evacuate.

Get to your safe place. 


Sin isn't pretty.  Sin is a poison.  It comes in all sizes, wrapped up as a beautiful package. Beneath the exterior - there is nothing but blackness.  Solid blackness of evil.   Please listen - It is THE cancer that WILL eat away at your soul until it is consumed. 

There is only one gift that is what it is.  He came plainly wrapped, in a manager, with a bow of a star.  Upon opening, pushing back the tissue papers of our sins, His blood, death on the cross, resurrection, we take out His treasure.  His only Son.  His Pure, Holy, sweet smelling, gift of eternal life. 

For us. 

Thursday, February 07, 2013

‎"On the Job" - 02/07/13 - Exodus 20:1-22:15

“In all cases of stolen goods, whether oxen, donkeys, sheep, clothing, anything in fact missing of which someone says, ‘That’s mine,’ both parties must come before the judges. The one the judges pronounce guilty must pay double to the other."  (22:9)

It was 1981.  All my belongings were packed up in boxes, lined up by my front door.  Everything -  except my 35mm Minolta camera.  I had left it sitting on top of the boxes, to one day develop another part in the journey of life.

Opening the door after work, I was excited to get started with my move.  Something seemed out of sorts. 

The air in the apartment seemed "disturbed".   The door had been locked, nothing was moved, boxes weren't opened -  I couldn't place my finger on what was wrong.  And then it clicked.

My camera was gone. 

After going through everything, including my car, I determined it was the only thing missing.  When the policeman came, took in the situation, and sat down to write out the report, he told me that it looked like someone I knew had stolen it.  Whoever had come in knew my schedule, some facts about my lock, and that I would be moving out that day.  He also said that in every case - 9 times out of 10 - it is someone you know.  Someone you trust.  Someone you wouldn't suspect.  Someone who is involved in your life.  He asked me if anyone came to mind that would take it.

I told him about the husband of a good friend who I worked with.  This man was involved with reenactments of the civil war and wanted to borrow it to take pictures during a "battle" that was coming up. I had said no.  It was an expensive camera that I used often and I didn't want anything to happen to it.  The friend that I worked with also was one of the few that knew about my front lock.  It could be opened with a credit card and there had been a couple of occasions that I had borrowed her card to get in, as I had forgotten my keys. The policeman agreed that because the man had an interest in my camera, he knew my schedule, the lock, and that my camera was the only thing missing - he probably was the one who took it.  Unfortunately, there wasn't any physical proof.

He also said the truth will come out - eventually.  I may or may not witness it, but it does come out. 

To this day - I still haven't proof of what happened to my camera.

I don't know if my camera will come into play at judgment.  It isn't about the stuff.  It's about Him.  It's about how I have used my gifts and talents for Him.  My sins have been covered by the blood of Christ.  He is my defense lawyer and when my time comes for being judged - He has already claimed me - covered me - written my name in the Book of Life.  Written it in His blood.

Without a doubt the Bible is very clear that everybody, believer and unbeliever alike, will someday stand before Christ to be judged. But the good news for the believer is that our judgment will not be to determine if we are cast into the lake of fire, because that was settled once we believed the gospel and became “children of God.” Those that are truly saved have benefited from the great exchange in which our sins are accounted to Christ and His righteousness is imputed to us. So, while our salvation is secure in Christ we will “still give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12), and should strive to do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

I reflect back on my life before I accepted Him as my Savior and can only pray that someone in His family came along and witnessed to the many in my path that I failed to be a witness for Him.  In all those "stolen moments".  How I rejoice knowing that because of Him the "old me" is no longer. 

The way I am to live my life out for Him is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27). My job is "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

So, how many times of being "on the job" have I "stolen" from Him? How many persons has He placed in my life that I didn't do my job for Him? 

The "new me" in Him  - one He has entrusted with the knowledge, drew me into an intimate relationship with Him, one who He is involved with, one who He calls "friend", "my child" - one who is now being totally honest - I still have stolen moments from Him to serve my "self".  The command He gave me in Matthew is "as I go", "as I live" - there is not such a thing as being "off the clock".  The Holy Spirit is my Helper.  I look upon Him in training me to do this job to the best of my abilities.  Abilities which often fall short.  I rely on Him to step in and lift me up, encourage me, develop me to do this job.  This job that I can not do on my own.  I stand in faith that He will always be there for me to work along side of.  My supervisor who is molding and training me for what is best.  Not only for my "Boss", the "job", but also for me. 

He has so transformed my heart since I first took on "this job".  I used to worry about how I looked in my performance, my product, all about me.  And now - it is becoming, more and more, all about His glory.  It is about when I get to that Judgment Day and getting to hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".  Not for my glory, not to please me - to please Him.  For His glory.  To bring joy to His heart because of all the joy He has brought to me. 

In Revelation 4:9-11 there is such a dramatic image: twenty-four enthroned elders, robed in white and wearing crowns of gold, sit in a circle around the great throne of God. Giving glory and honor and thanks to the One who sits on the throne, they worship him and cast down their crowns before him. This scriptural image can be seen as a wonderful metaphor for the whole concept of servant-leaders: ones who, although wearing the crowns of elders, cast them down in service, love, honor, and praise of the One who is their reason for being, their center, their heart, their Home.

Living with no more "stolen moments".


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

‎"Manna" - 02/06/13 - Exodus 16:1-19:25

 "They gathered it every morning, each person according to need. Then the sun heated up and it melted." (16:21-22)

Time with Him before the world heats up and melts me.  Or my "self" gets it's two cents in and I find myself focusing on, believing in the lies that surround me - attack me. 

Kind of like butter in a hot skillet.  If you don't watch the heat, it can pop, burn, becoming useless except for the space it fills up in the trash.  

I don't want to "burn up" the days He has blessed me with.  I don't want to look back at my day as I lay my head on the pillow, letting things run through my mind like the small stream in His woods out back, and see that my "pad of butter" wasn't used for His glory.  That I neglected to spread it out thin over the souls He invited into my day. 

His day that He blessed me with.

He has convicted me that I have been guilty of the sin of slander.  It wasn't by chance that He has led me to the writings of others on this subject and read what a sin it is. There isn't such a thing as chance or coincidence.  The many scriptures that talk about it, how He abhors it. How destructive it is. How He has brought me to my knees.  Because of  His conviction, I have confessed and asked for forgiveness to those I slandered about and to.  Thinking about the damage this sin caused, leaves within me, in the down, buried, deep place in my soul - those feelings of shame.  Of embarrassment.  Of sorrow. Of disappointment with myself. 

I failed Him. 

I continually pray that others won't see me when they look at me - that they will see only Him.  My sin has caused others to doubt that I am His follower.  That I am striving to be like Him.  My sin has caused others to struggle in their walk with the gift of forgiveness. 

Including forgiving myself. 

The manna He gave the Israelites was to be harvested the first thing for six mornings.  It supplied their need for food - His food from Heaven.  Just like He supplies my need for His food - His Word - His food from Heaven. 

There aren't many mornings that I miss out on climbing up into His lap and reading His Word together.  I love our time that He reads to me, points out a verse He needs me to pick up for my nourishment.  Loves me to Him. 

I love starting my day out with Him. 

It prepares me for the steps ahead as I journey through the next hours that make up my day.  It gives me tools to center my focus on Him, truth to fight back with.  His Word promises me that even if others don't forgive me, He has.  First John 1:9 makes this promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  He knows my heart, my desire is to please Him.  He knows that I grieve over my sins because it makes Him weep.  His Word is teaching me to forgive myself and move on.  To learn from my choice to sin.  His reminds me of the gift of His continual grace and mercy. 

It's my "pad of butter". 

His Word is my manna.  "The breakfast of champions".  It is what I feed my mind, my heart.  It is what I am becoming.  He has given me this "pad of butter" each and every day to do with it what I want.  It is up to me to apply His "cooking instructions"  so that it is prepared properly in order that it may be used for His glory. 

To not let it burn from the fire of my sins. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

"All man" - ‎02/05/13 - Exodus 13:1-15:27

"Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived." (14:27-28)

There was a party going on with the Israelites after they made it through the Red Sea.  After they walked through on dry land, walls of water on both sides, 600,000 men on foot besides women and children (Exodus 12:37), they turned and saw the Egyptians - dead - washed up on the shore. 

All of them were dead.  No survivors.

And the party began.

The Israelites were in awe of God.  Raising their voices up in a song of praise.  Moving their feet and bodies in a dance of worship. 

And what about God. 
"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26)

This didn't apply to just Adam and Eve. He made all of man "in Our image" - In His image.

We worship a God of love.  A God that is pure and holy.  A God that created each and every one of us. 

Including the Egyptians.

They were ones He desired to be called His own.  They too were created because He desired them to be with Him.  Eternally. 

God didn't create any of us - not one - to perish. 

But, because of free choice - many have and will. 

How many times do I get caught up in being a survivor and not remembering the lost? How often do I not see those who are out to sea, drowning?  And if I do see them - "desire" to help them to Him? How often do I look at the lost as not being in His image and write them off - dehumanize them...... 

I think about how God used the Egyptians for His glory and how that had to have ripped His heart out.  Knowing that when they drowned, with their last breath, there also went their last chance to turn to Him. 

It is because of how He has shared Himself with us through His Word that I can picture how torn He was.  That He was rejoicing with the Israelites in their worship of Him. 

And at the same time He wept over those that lay dead on the seashore.

"Free choice" - ‎02/04/13 - Exodus 10:1-12:51

"God said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s not going to listen to a thing you say so that the signs of my presence and work are going to multiply in the land of Egypt."   Moses and Aaron had performed all these signs in Pharaoh’s presence, but God turned Pharaoh more stubborn than ever—yet again he refused to release the Israelites from his land." (11:9-10)

God gave us free choice from the very beginning.

Adam and Eve - free choice..........Can you say, "apples"..........

Ever wonder if anyone really thinks about how horrible it would be to have a heart that God would harden even more for His glory.  To be in a place where you have totally taken your free choice and decided that God isn't for you.  To shut the door and throw away the key.

He knew Pharaoh's heart, better than even Pharaoh did.  He knew that Pharaoh was never going to come to him - think about all the plagues he went through and still did not submit to God. 

His heart was of evil.  He was of no good. 

He made his free choice.

Today, we see so many persons running rampant in the world spreading evil.  At times we may wonder where God is, why is this happening. 

We may even begin to doubt.

Doubt that He is in total control. 

But, we have to live with the consequences of our, and others, free choice.  And sometimes, it isn't pretty. 

I think about the persons in the Bible who were of an evil heart.  Pharaoh.  Judas.  Jezebel.  Quite a few actually.  But, the most important thing about those with an evil heart - as long as they were breathing - they could make the free choice and repent.

Turn to Him and God would take them. 

That is what God is all about.  He doesn't want puppets or robots.  He wants us as He created us - in His image.  He wants us to make the choice to love Him.  He desires us.  Not just wants, but "desires" with everything He is.

It is also our free choice to what kind of heart He will be using for His glory. 

A heart that is in Him or out of Him. 

It is black and white - not gray.  There isn't any "sitting on the fence". 

It is our free choice.

It is my free choice.

Where is your heart? 

"Missing out" - ‎02/02/13 - Exodus 4:18-7:13

 “I am God. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God.

"But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions." (6:6-9)

Isn't it sad that we become so self absorbed - we miss Him in action. 

Thinking back on all the moments when I would pray - and pray - for a situation to become better - I missed the little moments because I was so wrapped up in self.  Self pity, my time, my way. 

Thinking about all the years these people, mentioned in these verses, went through before they saw the "end of the rainbow".  And I will complain, lose patience, because God has the audacity to do things His way, His time.  My focus isn't on Him - only on the present circumstances I am.  Or I am so concentrated on the unfairness, mistreatment - that I am only looking backwards and miss the train going forward. 

How often I miss out on what He is doing all around me.  That He is in the process of putting all the pieces - or persons - together for His glory.   His time is perfect for all of us.  His time is what works.  He isn't leaving anyone out, behind, or pushing them ahead before they are ready.  Only He knows everything that is going on. 

Much like being in a tornado and focusing on the destruction that is left behind.  To miss the miracle where half a home is virtually untouched and the other half gone.  Or how a person is thrown about coming to land without a scratch. 

The Israelites were missing His promise of rescue - of their new life and new home - because they could only focus on self and their misery.  They allowed their situation to beat their spirit down. 

How often do I do that?  Forget the times He tells me, "I AM GOD".  The times my faith and trust are not in Him, but in myself.  That I allow life, situations, and self talk keep me a slave? 

Whenever I think about all the sinful choices I have/do make, I am overwhelmed at how much I have/do fall short of being Christlike.  And in my self absorption, I don't focus on the fact that I am forgiven.  For all my sins - past, present, and future.  It is then that satan will step in to try and put his foot upon my head.  Kick me when I am down. 

That is where we become a slave to living a life without Christ.  satan doesn't want us to believe that He is going to deliver us.  satan wants us to believe his lies that we will never the one that God will take to His promised land. 

I love then how His Living Word comes in and trumps over satan.  How His living Word leans down and picks me up.  How His Living Word reminds me of all the progress I have made in and with Him. 

His Living Word reminds me of the half of home that is untouched. 

His Living Word changes my focus back to Him.

‎"Doing the Pharaoh" - 02/03/13 - Exodus 7:14-9:35

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. He said, “I’ve sinned for sure this time—God is in the right and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to God. We’ve had enough of God’s thunder and hail. I’ll let you go. The sooner you’re out of here the better.   Moses said, “As soon as I’m out of the city, I’ll stretch out my arms to God. The thunder will stop and the hail end so you’ll know that the land is God’s land. Still, I know that you and your servants have no respect for God.” (9:27-30)


Does it ever cease to amaze you how persons, who don't believe or have an intimate relationship with God, usually are bullies?  How they carry an air of entitlement, arrogance, and self righteousness about them? 

After all the plagues that God had rained down on Pharaoh and his people through Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh wasn't intimidated at all.  More like he was tired of the inconvenience.  He "summoned" them, he tried to manipulate them with his confession of sinning, but the next words uttered out of his mouth - was an order.  He told Moses and Aaron to "pray to God".  And then he dictated to them what to say to God.  His blindness to God and His power is so obvious - he said he  "would let them go."  Like he was in control.

My favorite part in all of this though is Moses.  He walked so close to God, focused so totally on Him, that Pharaoh didn't "pull the wool over his eyes".  He wasn't able to dupe Moses.  To Pharaoh it must have seemed like Moses was intimidated enough by him to do as ordered.  Moses made it clear that he would do as ordered, but only for God's glory.  He was doing it so they would know it was God's land - that God was in complete control.  Moses did it regardless to the disrespect they all held towards God.  He did it because He knew.  He made this all about God.

The questions I can hear Him ask me, "You have an intimate relationship with me, yet how often are you the "entitled, arrogant, self righteous bully"?  How often are you more concerned with making yourself look better, hiding your sins under the rug?  How often do you have the nerve to compare to others when it is only Christ you need to be comparing yourself to and strive to be like.  Where did you ever get the idea that your "prayers", words that are really dictating to me what to do, have any more power than Pharaoh?  Where and when did you decide that you are god?"

And I am guilty as charged.  Even prayers I lift up that seem to be good and pure.  For those I love, "Please keep them safe from harm".  What is the alternative if they aren't?  They are in Christ, they will be home when they die.  My selfishness wants them here with me.   When praying "that others will know you intimately".  Am I waiting on His time, His way or thinking my time, my way is best? 

It is so easy to see the speck in Pharaoh or others eye, and miss the board in my own.  To think that I am above others just because I have that intimate relationship with Him. 

Our Father loves all.


As we are to love all. 


When I think about my prayers - what are my words?  How is my heart when I am praying?  Am I completely submitting to His way?  His time?  Him? 

Do I pray like my Savior?  Making time each day to go before my Father, my Daddy, my Abba.  Away to an alone place, focused totally on Him.  Humbling myself, bearing my heart, soul, and mind totally to Him.  Submitting to His will.  Listening, hearing, and heeding His voice.

Or do I do "The Pharaoh".

Friday, February 01, 2013

‎"Holy Ground" - 02/01/13 - Exodus 1:1-4:17, I Chronicles 6:1-3

"God saw that he had stopped to look."        

Notice that "God saw that he had stopped to look".  God didn't go over and turn his head - making him look.  He didn't put the bush right in his path to stop him.  He didn't go over and yank him to the bush.  He was there.  He was ready.  He  watched.  He waited.  He "saw that he had stopped to look". 
Ever wonder how often you walk right by "the burning bush" that God placed for you?  How you become so immune to God, taking Him for granted, that you don't see, hear, feel Him?  How we become so wrapped up in self, the things of this world, that we don't see the gifts He is handing out to us?  Or to be in such denial that He is "I AM" , that we don't hear or accept His accountability, His discipline?

Used to be that I would be so wrapped up in "self",  in such a "pity party" or so consumed with anger, bitterness, thoughts of revenge - I missed His numerous blessings - in all situations.  Too numerous to count and I wonder how is it that I missed them.  Didn't acknowledge them.  Much less enjoy them. 

That I didn't see the "silver lining in the clouds". 

Or His Hand at work when I thought all was out of control or against me.

Until now. 

It is because I have made it a priority to be in His Word each and every day.  To do more than skim the verses, as an act of habit, but to consume them and chew on them.  To blog about His Words that He has spoken through to me.  And during this new way of life - He has come in and transformed my heart, my mind, my vision - me.

I love the story of forgiveness here with Moses for killing the Egyptian.  It didn't come from his own people - his family - or from the Pharaoh.  So he ran.  He ran into the wilderness and there God gave him a new family and a new life.  He gave Him the gift of forgiveness from Him at the burning bush.  He allowed Moses to stand on His Holy Ground.  In order to do so, Moses had to remove his sandals.  To accept God's terms to be able to move closer and stand before Him. 

Up to this point, I wonder if Moses ever thought about if God forgave him?  If the sin he had committed, was it too big for God to forgive.   Did he become so consumed with his new life that he "forgot" or buried it deep, pretending all was okay?  How often have I done that?  In the past it was the only way I knew how "to survive" - it was my "self preservation".  And then He showed me through His Word, His family, His love - that what I was doing wasn't burying - or surviving.  It was hiding me - the me who He created me to be.  I was so often like Moses, using some excuse or believing the lies,  that I couldn't be a vessel for Him because of my flaws.  I had not confessed them, repented from them, forgave myself of them.  In doing so, I still was wearing my sandals of sin.   Putting myself before God.  Believing that His gift of forgiveness through Christ wasn't enough.  Even after confessing and repenting - if I couldn't forgive me - then how could He. 

I love how God took the excuse that Moses gave about his lack of elegant speech and told him like it was.  There isn't anything bigger than God!  There isn't anything that He can not overcome and use for His glory. 

Including my sins.  One of those being that I hadn't forgiven me. 

UNTIL.   UNTIL.  His Word, His Godly Wisdom,  transformed my heart so that now I see and love myself as He does. 

"He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good."  (Proverbs 19:8)
As He did with Moses. 

But first, I had to do as Moses -  I had to remove the sandals of sin to accept the gift of Him.