Crystal Writes A Blog

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A Balanced Meal


New York Steak and Rice by Flickr User Cliff Hutson aka The Marmot, CC License = Attribution

New York Steak and Rice by Flickr User Cliff Hutson aka The Marmot, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Has anyone here tried quinoa? I’ve been contemplating giving it a shot because I like rice so much, and I’ve heard that quinoa is a grain that is also a complete protein, yet it absorbs other food flavor and has a texture like rice. If things slow down, I want to try a Tupperware party where we use the new metal-infused steamer to cook chicken on one level and quinoa on the next to simmer in the chicken juices. I’m intrigued with the idea but a little afraid to try something so new to me.

In today’s reading from Numbers 15:8 through Numbers 15:16, we’ll read about a balanced meal request from Yahveh when people offer him a meat offering. He wants all bulls, rams, male lambs, and kids offered with a partnering of a grain offering of flour and a meat offering of wine. I don’t know if rice grows (or grew) in the area where they were dwelling, but if so, the fine flour God requested could just as well have been rice flour as wheat or some other grain. Who knows, maybe they even had quinoa in that desert place.

The reading goes on to tell Israel to apply the formula of meat offering to grain offering to drink offering for every sacrifice they make, regardless of how many animals are offered. He also says this is to apply to every citizen and foreigner throughout all their generations as a permanent regulation. He then reminds them that the same Torah and standard of judgment is to apply to both citizens and foreigners living with them.

Way back then, there wasn’t the division of Jewish and Christian believers like we have now, but there was a division between those who served the God of Israel and the many false gods people created over the years. But regardless of the God or god a person was raised with, in the House of Israel, the God was The God of Israel, and His laws reigned supreme. It didn’t matter if the land they dwelt in was formerly a place where other gods were worshiped, when Yahveh Almighty came on the scene, He became what mattered most because even those that did not follow Him knew of His power and authority.

In our current world and culture, we try so hard to create balance in giving others what we expect them to give us that we often put the authority and power of Our God in the back seat. Our government–one that was supposed to have been built on the blessing of Yahveh and His Word–tries to make us allow people to come into our homes and businesses and conduct themselves as they choose rather than as we choose, and it’s as out of balance as an offering given in a different way than what God requested.

It’s not easy to stand for only our One God while refusing to bow to the gods of others, so some people try to create balance by creating things like “Chrislam” (a unification of Christianity and Islam) and saying we all serve the same god but by different names. But the fact is, if we do not adhere to the same foundations and laws, and if we do not abide by the same Word of God, we are not to be unified. If we serve the God of the Torah, and if we believe we have been grafted into the root of Israel, then we should be abiding by the laws of Yahveh in our hearts by keeping a lawful heart toward Our Creator.

Imagine the difference in just the United States of America if we applied all laws the same to all people. But we don’t. Instead, we make excuses for foreigners who “just don’t understand.” We give liberties to foreign leaders by allowing them to skate around personal responsibility while claiming “diplomatic immunity.” And, we pardon those who have skirted the laws we set for citizenship because we feel for whatever situation they are running from. We don’t have to boot them out, but we don’t have to let people just get away with everything either. God set the example even down to the details of how to present an offering that would be acceptable to Him.

We may not be able to change the laws ourselves, but we can govern our own homes, and we can vote in ways that bring spiritual balance to our country. We can stand for and support those businesses that have chosen to represent God in all their dealings both personal and business, and we can refuse to bring those that don’t under our roofs. For example, we may want to consider refusing to watch HGTV because of how they treated the Benham brothers simply because they stood for Biblical values. If we don’t bring balance according to God’s will and God’s plan, we will bring a false balance and a false peace that will end in sudden destruction.

June 4, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Chuck Wagon Gang


I have a lot of old gospel favorite songs and a few favorite groups, but the one that covers both is called “The Chuck Wagon Gang.” I grew up listening to their album titled “Hallelujah” with songs such as “If We Never Meet Again,” “Happy and Free,” “Give Me That Old Time Religion,” and–the one I sang most with my sister and my mom–“I’m Bound for the Land of Canaan.” The history of this group can be found here, at their official website, and it spans over 75 years.

Today’s reading from Numbers 7:72 through Numbers 7:89 (the end of the chapter) brings a close to our week and the portion. It covers the last two days of offerings which were brought in by the leaders of the tribes of Asher and Naphtali. After twelve days of offerings, there were wagons and wagons of gifts for the priests to use in the tabernacle and for their own living. (It’s the reference to covered wagons at the beginning of the description of the caravan that led me to share my favorite group because of the name.)

The reading gives a breakdown of the total items offered if you want to read it yourself. In summary, there were silver vessels, gold vessels, bulls, rams, lambs, and goats. All this was given as offering in dedication of the altar after it had been anointed.

The reading concludes with what could almost be an introduction to the next chapter as God calls Moses into The Holy of Holies to speak with Him. The voice of Yahveh spoke from above the ark cover over the Ark of the Covenant from between the two angels.

Since there’s not much more to say on this subject with it being the third day of it, I will close now and bid Shabbat Shalom to all my readers. Blessings to you, and I hope you enjoy the music. I have been unable to find a good video of “Canaan Land,” but here are a few other Chuck Wagon Gang song videos I really like…

Jesus Hold My Hand

Looking for a City (Live Recording)

Church in the Wildwood

And here’s a 38 minute video with a variety of songs

I’ll keep looking for a link to somewhere you can hear “I’m Bound for the Land of Canaan.”

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Welcome Wagon


Ghost Ranch Welcome Wagon by Flickr User Angi English, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial

Ghost Ranch Welcome Wagon by Flickr User Angi English, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

What a marvelous array of images you get when doing an image search for the words “welcome wagon” on Flickr. I was torn between the one above, one that showed a wagon that said “Needles, California” on it (because I’ve been there, and I can tell you stories), and the one with the words “Welcome to Calaveres County” because of the tie into a famous writer. I decided on the one that actually said “welcome wagon” in the description, plus it’s a beautiful image.

In today’s reading from Numbers 7:1 through Numbers 7:41, we will read about all kinds of welcome wagons. Knowing that the term actually means “a wagon full of necessities for new residents to make them feel welcome” makes the details in the reading just that much better.

We begin with Moses as he finishes putting up the tabernacle. He consecrates and anoints all the furnishings and articles used in tabernacle service and is greeted by the leaders of the clans of Israel bringing him an offering. They brought him six covered wagons (a wagon for every two leaders) and twelve oxen. Moses receives the offerings and then directs them to be given to the appropriate Levites. He divides up the wagons to the clans based on their tabernacle service, so he gives 2 wagons and 4 oxen to Gershon, 4 wagons and 8 oxen to Merari, and no wagons or oxen to K’hat because their service only uses the holy things of the tabernacle.

The rest of the reading details the gifts received by five of the twelve tribes, and it appears they each present their gifts on a different day. The next two days of reading will details the gifts from the rest of the tribes. You can read the Scriptures for yourself if you want to see exactly what each tribe gave, and I will add notes if anything about their gifts speaks to me somehow. I do recommend that visitors click the links I provide for Bible reading because you can do so without leaving my blog, and the readings may speak to you in ways it does not speak to me.

I do find it amazing how the whole community of Israel pulled together with offerings to make sure the operations of the tabernacle were fully provided for. Of course, unlike our churches and fellowships now, the tabernacle represented their place of salvation, so it was important to keep it operational to keep the people free from sin. The tabernacle was a place where representatives met with the presence of Yahveh to keep Him from being angry with the community, so it was also necessary for going forward with day to day life.

For us now, we have The Holy Spirit (called The Ruach HaKodesh in Hebrew) dwelling within us and willing to walk with us through our daily lives. We no longer have to gather around a building or bring offerings to a priesthood in order to be free of our sins because Yeshua became our High Priest and allows us to bring our confessions and sacrifices directly to Him. That is why we can now come boldly before His throne–to GIVE Him our repentance and offerings to show we are serious about it. It actually hurts me to hear preaching that tells people to come boldly to GET something from God because I know the people are missing out by having a “taking” spirit instead of a giving one. God’s “welcome wagon” has always worked on a “give and it shall be given” basis, and if we give Him our hearts, He will give us more than we can conceive.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Follow Your Sins to Hell


Goat on Desert Mountain by Flickr User S. F. Pitman, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Goat on Desert Mountain by Flickr User S. F. Pitman, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Do you realize that Hell was not actually made for people? According to Matthew 25:41, it was made for the adversary and the fallen angels. Personally, I don’t believe God has ever desired for any of those He created to suffer an eternity of torment, but the enemy chose to try and exalt himself above God and it’s unforgivable to know God and not recognize Him as God. But He has always wanted mankind to walk with Him as a friend. Someone even pointed out to me recently that when Adam and Eve were in the garden, they already had knowledge of good, so the reason God told them to stay away from the tree was to protect them from the painful knowledge of evil. But unfortunately, now that we have the knowledge, we often choose evil regardless of the end result.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 16:18 through Leviticus 16:24, we read of more instructions for Aaron to atone for the uncleanness in the camp of Israel. Because God wants to dwell with His people, He must find ways to bring cleansing to His altar and His people. Aaron will sprinkle blood on the altar to atone for it, and then he will change clothes and offer the sacrifices that will atone for the people.

We touched lightly on the 2nd goat yesterday, but today there’s a bit more detail on what is often called “the scapegoat.” Aaron must place his hands on the head of the 2nd goat, and he must confess all the transgressions, crimes, and sins of the people of Israel over the head of the goat. After that is done, he will send the goat away to the desert with a man appointed for that purpose. The goat will then bear away the transgressions of the people to an isolated place in the desert.

I may have mentioned this before, but when my nephews were little, I told them the story of sin using helium balloons. (It is my intention to put the story into an illustrated children’s book someday.) The balloons represented sins and things God does not want in our lives. I told them that if they didn’t let go of the balloons, they could be carried away by those sins. The blood of Christ gives us the ability to let go of our sins and let them be sent to Hell without us like the goat was sent to the desert without the people following. But if we choose to hang on to our sins instead of putting them under the blood, then when God sends the sins to Hell, we will go where they go.

As I said at the beginning, sending people that He created to a place of eternal torment has never been God’s perfect will. His word says in 2nd Peter 3:9 (and I love the way this reads in The Names of God Bible)…

The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.

So, when we are given the opportunity to repent and let go of our sins, let’s do it, so that we don’t follow them to a destination intended only for them and not for those God loves.

 

April 6, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Presents to Present before God’s Presence


Come Boldy by Flickr User Dr Michael D Evans, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Come Boldly by Flickr User Dr Michael D Evans, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Now isn’t that title just a mouthful? Of course, I love words, and I have a thing for words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They call them homophones, and the list includes many words that often get misspelled like there, their, and they’re; hear and here; to, too, and two, your and you’re; etc. I have challenged myself many times through the years to see how big a list of these I can make. I currently have over 400 sets and well over 800 words total, especially since so many of them have three to a set.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 16:1 through Leviticus 16:17, we begin a new portion for a new week, Parashah 29: Hebrew Acharei Mot meaning “After the Death.” This portion focuses on the requirements of Aaron before he is able to enter the Holy of Holies to meet with the presence of God. It begins by focusing on what not to do that got the sons of Aaron killed, and it explains that the rules apply because God’s presence is actually there in the Holy Place.

We’ve read the laws in previous portions but to summarize, there will need to be gifts from the community of Israel who will provide a bull, a ram, and two goats. Aaron will put on the priestly vestments, and then he will give a sin offering and a burnt offering, and he will cast lots over the goats to determine which will be for The Lord, and which will be for Az’azel. (Note: KJV translates this word as “scapegoat” but many are unsure what the word actually means.) After the blood sacrifices, Aaron will perform the other cleansing and praise rituals with the incense and the sprinkling of blood.

The important things in these behaviors are in Aaron doing whatever it takes to gain atonement for himself, for his household, and for the community of Israel, before he enters into the presence of God. The incense is to create a cloud over the Ark of the Covenant because God’s presence dwells there, and the smoke will keep Aaron from dying. Even though we now have the blood of Christ for our atonement, so we can come boldly before the throne of grace and mercy, I think heartfelt and sincere praise as we enter into the holy Presence of Yahveh Almighty is a valuable offering. I guess it’s like greeting someone you love with a kiss before you start making demands on them. 🙂

The verse that stood out to me today is verse 16 which reads…

He will make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleannesses of the people of Isra’el and because of their transgressions — all their sins; and he is to do the same for the tent of meeting which is there with them right in the middle of their uncleannesses.

Mostly, I noticed the fact that the tabernacle, which represents God and His presence, was right in the middle of the sins and unclean behaviors of God’s people. It makes me think of Psalm 40:2 (CEB)

He lifted me out of the pit of death,
    out of the mud and filth,
    and set my feet on solid rock.
        He steadied my legs.

I know God’s presence can stand right in the middle of sins and uncleanness now just as it did then. Because the blood of Christ covers our sin, even those in sin can now come boldly before the throne of grace. When we come into His presence bearing presents (fruits of repentance), God will reach into the pit of miry clay and pull us to safety. I’m watching Him perform a miracle right now in the life of my nephew that overdosed three weeks ago, and I’m believing that He will pull him out of that pit and raise him to new and clean places in His holy presence. And that’s worth any thank-you gift (any presents) I can give to Him.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Brothers Weep


Sorrow by Flickr User Daniel Waters, Co. Sligo, Ireland, CC License = Attribution

Sorrow by Flickr User Daniel Waters, Co. Sligo, Ireland, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Sadness and sorrow are strong emotions that can change moments, days, weeks, and longer parts of our lives. When the sorrow is generated by a painful situation involving someone we care about, it can affect everything from appetite to moving forward in our daily routines.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 10:16 through Leviticus 10:20 (the end of the chapter), we read about the effects of sorrow on Aaron and his remaining sons after two of his sons were killed for offering strange fire on God’s holy altar. I found it just a little harder to understand from the Complete Jewish Bible, so I recommend also reading from another version as well. Here’s a link to read today’s portion from The Amplified BibleLeviticus 10:16-20.

So Moses is checking up on the rituals he has trained the new priests to perform, and he is concerned that he cannot find the meat from the sacrificial goat. The priests were supposed to eat the meat in a holy place as their portion of the sacrifice, but Moses discovers that they have burnt it up as waste instead. He asks them why they did things their own way instead of God’s way, and why the blood was not brought into the holy place as Moses commanded.

The response from Aaron is basically something along the lines of, “After what happened to the other two members of our family, we were all depressed and had no appetite.” And then he asks Moses if God would have been pleased with them if they had gone ahead and eaten in spite of what they had just been through. Upon seeing that perspective, Moses is pacified and understands the sorrow of the men.

I understand the pain of these brothers and father too. When I see a perspective that shows me the sorrow of others, I have to fight feeling sorrow myself–even for something as far back as a story in the Old Testament. I cry so easily that I wept when I thought of my kitties going under anesthesia for being fixed and not having anyone there who could explain in kitty cat language what was happening to them. Today, when I heard the family members weeping for their relatives who were passengers on the lost Malaysian Airlines jet, I immediately felt their pain and began to cry. I am highly sensitive to the emotions of others, and that can be both a good and bad thing at times.

While the brothers and father in our Bible story were experiencing common mourning, what I have described about myself is a bit less common. There is a great article (lens) on “Squidoo” that describes it perfectly. It’s called The Empath Within–Are You A Highly Sensitive Person, and it explains what it means to be empathic rather than just empathetic. It helped me to understand why something like a trip to Walmart can make me feel so emotionally drained, and it has to do with the sensations I feel from the huge mix of emotions there. I highly recommend the article.

So, why am I tying the sorrow of today’s story to my own empathic spirit? Because it’s a great segue to explain to my readers why the world sometimes feels like too much for you to bear. If you’re like me, when there’s a lot of pain around you, it makes it hard to complete even basic tasks. You’ll understand if you click on the article above, and you’ll even get a bit of a better understanding of me as a person.

Of course, the hardest thing of all is feeling stuff the rest of the world either doesn’t feel or won’t admit to, or maybe feeling things differently than the rest of the world thinks I should feel them. For example, while I am hurting over my nephew who is still not waking up, I feel more sadness for some of my Facebook friends who are battling cancer because I know they did not bring it onto themselves. Yes, I want Joshua to be healed, but if I had to choose only one person to receive a miracle, I would hand it to my friend, Judy Sliger, who is at the end of anything doctors can do in her battle with ovarian cancer. That brings its own kind of pain because I want to take on everything for everyone, but no one other than Our Savior was ever built for that task, so I’m left with fighting guilt.

I will ask you, my lovely readers, to continue to pray for my nephew. I ask above all else that you pray for God’s most perfect will to be done, and that you pray for God to be glorified in the situation. I would love to know that God is somewhere with him in that comatose state, and that he will wake up as a servant of God who is ready to tell the whole world about it. And I also ask you to pray for the many on my heart for the cancers and sicknesses and pains they are going through.

I will end today’s post with this: Judy is one I have known and met as we worked together to plan the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference some years back. She has written a book about her struggle with cancer. So, if you want to support her, or if you know anyone else who is fighting a terminal condition, I encourage you to consider purchasing her book. You can visit by clicking on this title… Take Heart: Prayers for the Terminally Ill. (This is a direct link to the paperback with no affiliate link embedded.) Thank you, and may your days ahead be blessed with more positive emotions than negative ones, and more and more of God’s presence as you continuously draw nearer to Him.

March 19, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Do As I Say AND As I Do


Sharing by Flickr User Ryan Roberts, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial

Sharing by Flickr User Ryan Roberts, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Why didn’t the clam want to share his lunch? Because, he was a little shellfish. I have never read anything that would make selfishness sound like a pretty thing, but there are plenty of pictures (like the one above), and stories, that demonstrate the beauty of sharing. I think we have a built-in desire to share, which is why the stories touch us so deeply. And I think it is that natural desire to share that makes social media so profitable because we can share without a monetary cost to ourselves. We don’t only share for what we can get back, but I think most of us find it easier to share with givers than with those who do nothing but take, take, take. As Scripture says in Luke 6:38 (New Living Testament)…

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 10:12 through Leviticus 10:15, we read of God’s example of sharing. Moses tells Aaron and his sons to eat the especially holy part of the grain offering by the altar, and he explains that it is the priests share. He then tells them to eat their share of the wave offering in a clean place. He says that offering is also to be shared with their Aaron’s daughters, and with the rest of the family. He goes on to explain that these portions of the offerings are to be their shared portions perpetually.

See, these were offerings given to God, but He made sure a portion of them was given back. He set the example of only taking to give, just as He set that example in nature with the way it regenerates. And I believe He is the one who put it into our hearts to give something back whenever we receive something–even if it is only our gift of thanks to the giver. He gave us His word that we can do as He says, and He gave us His example that we can do as he does. That’s why we play Follow the Leader and not Follow the Dictator. Let us lead by example as He led by example that the whole world may know the beauty of Our Awesome Creator.

I’ve shared a picture with part of this writing from Ellen G White before, but it seems appropriate again, so enjoy this beautiful portion of a chapter from her book The Desire of Ages

          Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.

          The angels of glory find their joy in giving,–giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Blessings Ready You for God’s Presence


Above the Earth by Flickr User thoughtquotient.com, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Above the Earth by Flickr User thoughtquotient.com, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

A seed doesn’t grow just because you plant it. It must be planted in ready soil. And, if the seed is to grow to maturity, the soil must be maintained for growth. Maintenance may come in the form of watering, weeding, and/or nutrients, but rarely does something left to itself grow to the best it can be. This is only part of the law of the harvest, and since we are made from earth, it’s important that we understand the part the harvest plays in us.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 9:17 through Leviticus 9:23, we continue the events of the eighth day from the beginning of the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests for Yahveh. They offer a grain offering, and a portion of it goes up in smoke on the altar. Then they bring peace offerings and wave offerings as Moses directs them. And then Aaron comes down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, and he blesses the people. After he blesses the people, Moses and Aaron go back into the Tent of Meeting, come out again, and bless the people once more. AND THEN (my emphasis), God’s glory appeared to all the people.

If God planned to show His glory to the people anyway, why didn’t He just meet them as soon as they had all gathered? If it was because of sin, then why didn’t He meet them as soon as the offerings were completed? I believe this all comes back to the law of the harvest. Just because soil looks ready, doesn’t mean it is. Only those who work with soil for a living would know if it is actually ready for the specific seed to be planted. God knew the order of things that would make His people ready to receive His glory. He knew which offerings should be completed, and which blessings should be spoken over the people, to prepare them for God’s holy presence.

These days, we have preachers who just bless people because that’s what the people want to hear. There are many who never go into a holy place with God to consult Him before dishing out blessings, and they don’t give the blessings for the purpose of God’s presence as much as for the thanks of the people. In what way does telling someone that God is about to bless them with a big house and a new car prepare them to commune with God? I imagine what they called blessings in these Scriptures were something more along the lines of, “The sacrifice has been accepted, and you are purified to receive God.” And after Moses and Aaron came out from meeting with God, they might have said something like, “God has looked upon your hearts and sees your desires for Him, so now He will meet with you.” I mean, truly, can you think of a better blessing than that?

Even under the blood of Christ, there is a plan and a pattern. If there was not one, then we would not even need the written word beyond the story of crucifixion and redemption. The blood of Our Savior is the sin offering, but where are we in the other offerings and sacrifices? I believe WE are to give ourselves as an offering to God to allow Him to prepare us for His presence. We bring sacrifices of confession, humility, repentance, and accountability. We may offer a sacrifice of praise as our wave offering. And in all the sacrifices and praise we give, and in all the blessings we receive, we should strive for those that are holy and acceptable to Yahveh, and for those that prepare us for God’s holy presence in every moment of our lives.

March 16, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clean or Just Covered Up


Air Freshener Warning by Flickr User Environmental Illness Network, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Air Freshener Warning by Flickr User Environmental Illness Network, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image (with a link about air freshener ingredients) and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I have an old Bible message on cassette that talks about the difference in being clean and in just covering something up with deodorant. It’s like the air freshener ad that says it doesn’t just mask odors, but it actually cleans the air you breathe. Given the choice, I’m certain we all would rather breathe clean air than dirty air that is just sprayed with perfume. The preaching tape goes on to compare real prayer from a sincere heart to shallow praise, and it says the latter is like spraying perfume in stinky shoes. But God looks on the heart, and in the heart, so while people may be fooled by a good dose of deodorant in the form of praise, worship, good works, etc., God will not.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 7:11 through Leviticus 7:38 (the end of the chapter), we learn about the law for sacrificing peace offerings to Yahveh. If a peace offering is given to also give thanks to God, it is to be combined with a thanksgiving offering. For this type of offering, one part of each thing offered is to be given as a gift to The Lord. The meat that goes with this offering is to be eaten on the same day, unless it is for a vow or from a voluntary offering, and then the left over meat can be eaten the next day as well. This part tells me that some peace offerings are compelled, and some are free-will, so maybe that’s the difference in praise that we offer because we’re truly thankful for something and praise that feels more like a sacrifice.

Now, this next part is pretty common sense to me. It says any of the meat left for the third day will be disgusting and should be completely burned up. It also says that, regardless of the type of offering, no meat should be eaten on the third day, or the person who eats it will bear the consequences of doing so. Me; if I don’t have refrigeration, I don’t even want to eat meat later in the evening, let alone meat that is three days old. And I imagine the consequences here would be in the form of digestive troubles.

As for the days when eating the meat of the sacrifice is okay, I think this next part is very important. It says that any clean person may eat of the sacrifice. It also says that neither the person making the offering, nor the offering itself, should touch any unclean thing. I relate this to what I said above about being clean and not just deodorized, and I believe it is saying that God wants a pure sacrifice from a pure heart. I think it’s a perfect type and shadow of our need to lift up holy hands to God. We should approach God with a clean heart and clean hands, so that our sacrifice of praise will be completely acceptable to Him. We can be sure He will be able to smell if we have a sweet-smelling aroma, or if we’re just trying to cover things up with a strong dose of perfume.

March 10, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Pigeons to Pancakes


Pancake Face by Flickr User Kevin Severud, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike

Pancake Face by Flickr User Kevin Severud, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I had planned to go to Salem, Indiana, today for the last day of the Maple Syrup Festival, but we had the beginnings of an ice storm, so hubby and I stayed in. I wonder, though, if the griddle cakes Israel prepared in the desert–both for meals and for offerings–were the catalyst for what we now call pancakes or griddle cakes. Of course, I doubt anyone brought their offering with a happy face on the offering itself, but hopefully, they had a happy smile on their own face in thankfulness for God’s mercy.

Today’s reading from Leviticus 1:14 through Leviticus 2:6 begins with information for those who would make an offering of birds. The birds are to be either dove or pigeon, and this time, the priests do most of the work in giving the offering. I am thankful that God provided ways for everyone to be able to give an offering even if they didn’t own a flock or a herd to choose an animal from. God made it possible for all to come to Him to receive mercy and grace.

Most of us have probably heard or read the story of Yahshua turning the tables over in the temple in Matthew 12:12-14. And I’ve heard a lot of people use that Scripture to explain why nothing should be sold in a church. But some years ago, I had an interesting fact pointed out to me about this Scripture. In verse 14, after the famous statement about turning the temple of God into a den of thieves, Scripture says that the blind and lame came up to Yahshua, and He cured them. Apparently, those who were both sick and poor were being kept away from the priests and the chance to receive prayer. If they couldn’t provide their own offerings, and if they couldn’t afford to buy from the sellers, they were restricted to the courtyard. This is the scene The Savior walked in on, and–I believe–THIS is why He called them thieves, They were stealing the grace and mercy of God away from those THEY felt did not deserve it because of their financial situations. Scary huh?

Our reading continues with God providing yet another way for anyone to bring an offering to God. I think there may be specific reasons for grain offerings as well, but I believe they were also provided for those who had nothing to offer but what they could glean from the grain harvest. I found it interesting that God said they could bring fine flour mixed with olive oil and frankincense, or they could bring flour cakes or matzah baked in the oven or cooked on a griddle. All of it had to be unleavened, so I’m thinking that since matzah is like a cracker, the cakes are probably like our pancakes.

The important part was that which went up to God as a sweet aroma. I think He is greatly blessed to see us separated from our sins, however briefly. His word says, in Galatians 5:1 (GW), “Christ has freed us so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. Therefore, be firm in this freedom, and don’t become slaves again.” He desires that we would have both freedom and joy. As He says in John 15:10-11, He wants us to have His joy that our joy will be complete.

Speaking of joy–well laughter really, I was thinking about the fact that the priests got to eat part of that offering. Do you suppose they only put the frankincense on the parts they knew they wouldn’t eat? Or do you think there’s a recipe out there for potpourri pancakes that tastes better than it sounds. LOL

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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