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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tabernacle

Blue

Threads of remembrance

visual reminders

sewn in fringes,

outermost curtains.

Blue edged, hemmed

woven in corners

encompassed color.

Precursor to

understanding

Advocate’s explanations.

Creation blue

seamlessly stretched

breathed counsel.

Numbers 15:38, “speak to the Israelites and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and to put blue cord on the fringe of each corner.”

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tabernacle

Ark of the Covenant

Contained treasure

storehouse of riches

silent memories

speaking divine

echoes cascading

through time

covenant.

Manna fresh

each morning

faithful priest

mercy soaked

moral truth

heaven’s food

engraved.

Word spoken

deity cloaked

with humility’s

frame. Christ Himself

calling appeal

reconciliation

gold.

Colossians 2:9, “For in him, the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tabernacle

Altar of Incense

Able to understand each

fear—pain—hope

with experience.

Advocate of compassion

extending courage

with comprehension.

Always standing at altar

faithful mediator

with sanctuary.

Exodus 30:1, “an altar on which to offer incense, made of acacia wood.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tabernacle

Altar of Brass


Perfectly designed altar

exact measurements

to meet holy precepts.


Poured out of the heart

of High Priest

as sacrifice.


Decaying wood overlaid by defense

deliberately endured humiliation

defiled for our redemption

death now sanctified.


Perfectly prepared life

exact qualifications

to pass over sin.


Hebrews 13: 10-13, ..sacrifice for sin..”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tabernacle

Tabernacle Introduction

Emmanuel—God with us! Words that we hold with joy and praise, especially in this season as we prepare to come to receive God’s story anew.

It continues to amaze me how our God always goes before us preparing our way even when we don’t see and possibly never recognize His words or His images. Sometimes they come in whispers or metaphors, songs and parables, and we are moving too fast to pause and listen. Yet He writes them into our lives just as He wrote His word into the tabernacle for Israel. His house of worship filled with symbols and word pictures to prepare His people for the day when the sanctuary would live within hearts.

John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt [or tabernacled] among us”

So for a while we’ll ponder the Tabernacle, then and now, to listen for new insights. I hope you’ll share yours with me.


Tabernacle

Copy of the true

meticulously prepared

in exact replication.

Mediating in between,

waiting redemption

shadow sanctuary.

Symbolic tabernacle

made on earth.


Christ completes

merciful reconciliation

in exact requirement.

Messiah present,

wounded Word

sanctifies holy will.

Substantial temple

molded in heaven.


“For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24 NRSV

Monday, December 13, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 40: 38, For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.

In sight of all the house of Israel. All of the house of Israel. God’s Presence to all His people. Throughout all their journeys. At the place of worship. At the tabernacle.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” Jesus said. The Spirit of truth whom the world cannot know but He abides in Jesus’ disciples to teach and comfort and guide.

Forever. For all. For the journey.

Lord, You did not leave or forsake Israel through the long, delayed journey despite their disobedience, their ignorance, the obstacles, the setbacks. You offer Yourself again to this stubborn generation as a constant companion.

Visible to Israel, invisible to us; yet real, tangible, trustworthy to both.

May I walk in faithfulness, in honesty, in worship, with a grateful heart, throughout all the journeys ahead. Secure in Your promises. Safe in Your Presence. Thank you Lord.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 89:15

How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!

O Lord, they walk in the light of Thy countenance.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus: 40:33, Thus Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

When all was complete as the Lord requested, the cloud covered the tent. God Himself filled the tabernacle. He sat on a material throne, an earthly abode, to be with His people.

“It is finished!” Jesus returned to His Father. Restored to His glory He had set aside for earth’s residence. Clothed in royal robes, He sits on His heavenly throne, interceding for us. Waiting.

When the time is come there will be a new heaven and a new earth. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them.” He will draw His people to His abode.

I ask, Lord, that until that time, I may abide in You. Fill my heart with Your love and prepare me for the day I may see You face to face. To You, Lord, be the glory.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 89:14

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne;

Lovingkindness and truth go before Thee.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 40:15, “….that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing shall qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”

Special anointing qualifying Aaron and his family for the priesthood. A special designation by God for a tribe. Without this consecration they could not serve the Lord. This special blessing passed through the generations, not because of the worth of the men so charged, but the value of the ministry they performed. A consecrated tribe. Serving as God’s representatives to a new born nation.

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifest grace of God.”

Spirit anointed gifts bestowed on each newborn believer. For the common good. For the building of the body of Christ. For spreading the gospel.

So many of us stumble along in ministry not even aware of our blessings. We lean on our talents, (also God given) on our experience, on our education, on need. And we misuse the counsel of the Holy Spirit. We focus on ways and means, instead of prayers and leads.

As the Spirit leads. If we open our hearts and minds, we can participate in anointed ministry. By making ourselves available, we may experience the excitement of using a Spirit given gift once, or for a lifetime. As the Spirit moves.

Anoint me I pray, Lord, to serve at Your call. I ask to be a clean vessel for Your Holy Spirit’s use, perpetually.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 92:10

But Thou hast exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;

I have been anointed with fresh oil.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 40:2, “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.”

First day of the first month. Start with worship. Start with the Lord in the tent of meeting. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

Instead many of us begin backwards. We work and plan and strive and negotiate our lives until the waves threaten to drown us; and then we call to God for help. From shattered dreams and broken relationships and hurting hearts. We wonder where God is and why He let it all happen, when we forgot Him in the first place.

Israel repeatedly forgot God’s covenant, forgot His commandments, forgot His cautions. They mixed with the land, made treaties with foreign countries, met with false gods. And wondered why wars and wickedness and wrath filled their days, months, years.

“For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Lord, I pray to start all my moments, days, plans, in Your kingdom. Start me walking in Your ways, on Your path, first. That I may be able to keep Your first commandment to love You with all my heart and soul and mind.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 32:6

Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found;

Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus: 39:43, And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the Lord had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.

And God.

Blessed creation when complete,

living creatures of land, sky and water.

Blessed He male and female,

created in His image.

Blessed the seventh day,

sanctified day of rest.

Blessed Noah and his sons,

gave covenant rainbow at flood’s end.

Blessed Obededom when he

sheltered the ark in his home.

Blessed the generous man,

giver of food to the poor.

Blessed those who hunger and

thirst and seek His kingdom.

Blessed the bread and multiplied it,

feeding first five, then four thousand.

Blessed the bread and the wine

of the new covenant.

Blessed the church and then gave

peace in Judea, Galilee and Samaria.

Blessed the word of God,

and it grew.

Blessed the persecuted

and the reviled and the slandered.

Blessed is the Lord

upon the throne.

And may God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of people.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 118:26

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;

We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 39:1, Moreover, from the blue and purple and scarlet material, they made finely woven garments for ministering in the holy place, as well as the holy garments which were for Aaron, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Vivid robes. Holy robes. Priestly robes. Visible garments splashed against the desert background. Clear roles and rules established. To put on the priestly clothes set Aaron and his sons to special tasks. Seen by the entire camp. A visual reminder of the sanctity of worship. A visual reminder of purpose.

Actors wear apparel to depict the time, place, and occupation of the characters they represent. Their costumes assist the audience to make the mental and emotional connections to the historical and fictional stories. We hear the clanking armor as the soldiers arrive on stage. We smell the hay in the wagon. Every piece of material contributes to the set.

“Ask what I shall do for you,” said Elijah, and Elisha replied, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” And Elisha received Elijah’s mantle, put it on, and continued to minister, wearing the priest’s garment.

Veil Your church with Your Holy Spirit, Lord, that we together might “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Cover each of us in Your garments that we may be visual reminders of Your victorious love.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 132:9

Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness;

And let Thy godly ones sing for joy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus: 38:8, Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

Before the priests could perform the sacrifices, they had to wash in the bronze laver. To remove the dust of the desert, before they came to God’s altar. Before the priests entered the holy place to serve God, they had to wash in the bronze laver. To cleanse themselves before coming to God in prayer.

Mirrors of bronze formed the base. Common materials given by the women who served in the doorway. When the water was clear, the priests could see themselves reflected in the liquid. But with daily dirt the water would become clouded.

Before Jesus’ Passover sacrifice, He poured water in a basin and washed the disciples feet.

Model My example, Jesus exhorted, wash one another’s feet. “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” Serve God. Serve one another in love.

Before You entered my life, Lord, there was no cleanliness in me. Thank you for scrubbing out the grime. Please continue to wash me from the daily dust that clouds my relationship with You, blurring Your words.

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 26:6

I shall wash my hands in innocence,

And I will go about Thine altar, O Lord.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 36:6-7, Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.

Restrained from offering. Israel overflowed with generosity for the Lord’s tabernacle. Freely they gave. Filled to the brim. There was enough for all the work, to perform it. More than enough.

They returned to God from the bounty He had given them.

Resources unlimited.

“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;” an inheritance beyond our understanding. More than enough for all the work he asks us to do. Sufficient supply.

Replicated offerings. As Jesus fed the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, with leftovers twelve baskets full. If we just offer, You will provide.

Reveal to me Lord the stinginess in me. Forgive me my miserly attitude toward time and talent and tithe. Replace it with a giving heart that Your Spirit may pour through and expand my meager mites into bounty. All that I have is Your gift to me, just as You gave to Israel. All that You ask me to do, to give, You will multiply from Your storehouse.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 96:8

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name;

Bring an offering, and come into His courts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 34:12, Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, lest it become a snare in your midst.

When we drive to the ocean, we have two choices. They begin at the same point and, for approximately two miles, they parallel each other separated by just a few blocks. Gradually each road begins to curve away and when we reach the ocean, they are separated by an hour’s distance. One beach is barren, rocky, narrow, bitterly cold on a windy day. The other is sandy, wide, sheltered by grass tufted dunes, warm crannies. At the beginning point there are no distinctive differences between the two routes.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

Wrappings on boxes hide their contents. Worldly values often conceal themselves behind attractive packages, alluring advertisements. Shared goals, common concerns, mutual motives begin at a similar point but can curve in opposite directions. One is the path of the land; one is the path of God.

Warn me Lord, I pray, when I approach the snares. Keep me from barren destinations.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 124:7

Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper;

The snare is broken and we have escaped.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 34:35, “the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.”

Our faces blush. Turn crimson with anger. Purple with rage. The hotter the emotion the darker the tone.

Our faces pale. Faded by fatigue. Blue by illness. Gray by disease. The colder the emotion, the more colorless the shade.

Moses’ face shone. A glow so bright he had to dim it under a veil. A brilliance he could only share in communion with God.

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

Transformed into Christ’s likeness. We are invited to share Moses’ experience. We are invited to enter the Lord’s glow.

What would it mean, Lord, for Your people today to shine so brightly? What witness would we be? Multiplied beams of light, love, and laughter, bearers of Your Spirit?

How Lord, can I radiate You in my life today?

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 119:135

Make Thy face shine upon Thy servant,

And teach me Thy statutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus: 33:13, Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight.”

Moses knew the Egyptian ways were not God’s ways. Israel’s ways were not God’s ways. Amalek’s ways were not God’s ways.

“And your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Moses asked to know God’s way that he might walk it for life.

A way that blended inner character with outward commitment. God’s way meant living in His will, obeying His commandments, acting as His emissary.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

A designation for early Christians was as people of “The Way”. Often it was spoken in contempt for their living style by non-believers, but Christians wore the name with pride. The derision from others meant they were viewed as Christ’s followers. A badge of joy to them to be so identified with Christ. A path of service, mercy and outreach. Imitators of Christ walking in love.

May I so know Your ways, Lord, that I can live them from the inside out. Not in the futility of my mind but in the unity of Your Spirit. Not on self-designated paths, but in Your commissioned ways.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 103:7

He made known His ways to Moses,

His acts to the sons of Israel.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 33:11b, When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Joshua hungered too, to know You Lord. To hear Your voice, to fellowship, to grow in knowledge of You. He waited. Joshua would not depart.

Relationships take time. Trust needs to grow. Insight develops slowly. The demands of the day clamor for attention, and I hurry through scripture and prayer. Then wonder why my search for You is so broken. Joshua would not depart.

Just a little while longer, Lord. Show me how to balance my life so that I can stay in Your tabernacle, learning of You before rushing into my responsibilities. Jesus said His sheep knew His voice. Lord, I desire to be close enough to have my ears rubbed, as one of Your sheep. Joshua would not depart.

Reach out Lord and pull me into Your quiet. Rest me in Your peace and raise me in knowledge of You. Lord, I long, like Joshua to not depart from Your tent, until You say go.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 63:1

O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly;

My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee,

In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus: 33:11a, Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.

There is a part of me, Lord, that yearns with envy at this meeting. To speak to You fully as a friend; to share, to laugh, to cry, to listen. To know Your word, Your counsel, Your wisdom with such detail, that in any given situation, I would know instinctively what You would say. To be a part of Your plans, to be trusted to know Your intentions, Your inner most thoughts.

Then a part of me shrinks in awe that Moses could stand before You with such confidence, listening to Your voice, committed to Your requests, in the presence of Your glory. Once You walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, before their disobedience, and spoke with them. They listened for Your voice and experienced the warmth of conversation with You. When they still knew no sin. And when sin entered, they hid from Your voice. There is sin hidden so deep in me I cannot recognize it, so how could I hear You speak to me as a friend? Like a startled rabbit, I would run askew, searching for my own hiding place.

“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” Jesus speaks to each of us as a friend, face to face. Inviting us into His plans, inviting us into dialogue.

O Lord, please give me the courage to come to You and listen to Your voice.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 9:10

And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee;

For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 33:7,….And it came about, that everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.

Tent of meeting. Open to all who sought the Lord. Not just Moses or the leaders or the priests. Everyone. Even with the residue of idolatry and sin still clinging to Israel.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.”

Outside the camp. God waited there. For His people to come. To seek fellowship. To seek reconciliation. He had done everything else for them; freed them, fed them, forgave them. Only requirement now was to walk those few steps outside the camp, into the tent of meeting.

Timid thoughts flutter through my mind. Am I ready to leave the safety and security of the camp? I suspect that entering the tent could transform me, thrust me into new truths. Am I willing to expose my need, to search for God with everyone watching? There is a stretch of open space between the camp and the tent. Will I be walking it alone or will others come too?

Offering Himself, Christ carried His cross outside the camp to the place called Golgotha, to be crucified, to cross over to God. To hold out His hand to us. To walk us across with His love.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 27:8

When Thou didst say, “seek My face,” my heart said to Thee,

“Thy face , O Lord, I shall seek.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 33:6, So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from Mount Horeb onward.

Stripped. Their outer ornaments that signified their position, their wealth, their status. Whether they wore their ornaments as a right, or to command respect and admiration, now they were ready to wear nothing. To be seen simply as God’s people.

How comfortable am I/are we to have all our outer props removed? Race, color, social status, family credentials, education and finances. To simply be known for myself/ourselves. Do I even know who I am apart from my props?

Scripture puts us on equal footing: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ.”

Help me, Lord, to be stripped of anything that takes precedence over my following you. Remove any pretentiousness in me. Clear my sight also to look at each person in my life as Your child, a fellow traveler, a potential friend.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but Thee?

And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:33, And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”


Cain cried, O Lord it is too harsh a punishment to be driven from Your Presence.

O the terror Lord to be returned to the darkness without You!

O Lord, as I learn to walk with You in Your path to redemption, I overflow with gratitude at Your mercy and Your love. And I conveniently forget Your judgment. But in Your love, You do not Lord, and You call me to be accountable for my thoughts and my actions.

Out of Your love, too You provide for my restoration. Christ on the cross, dying for all our sins, dying that we might live. Paying my penalty.

O Lord, forgive me I pray, and restore me to live to righteousness. Turn me from sin and let me walk again with You.

Cover me Lord, I pray, that there is no part of my life where You are not present. O the peace, Lord, to walk in the countenance of Your light.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 51:4

Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,

And done what is evil in Thy sight,

So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,

And blameless when Thou dost judge.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:25, Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control-for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies-…

Once a witness. Now a derision. Once proclaimers of God’s power. Now a subject for mockery.

Whether by choice, by accident, by coercion; our actions reflect upon ourselves, our families, our countries and our God. Emissaries of excess or emissaries of the Spirit.

“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles,” Paul said, “Flee immorality.”

Out of control. Flaunting moral laws for self-indulgence. “We can’t help it. It’s in our nature,” we say disassociating ourselves from responsibility. Natural inclinations are not an excuse. Even the world of nature follows a code of rules.

Witnesses or comic material. We have the opportunity in our world today to be salt and light. To offer moral alternatives in an age of license.

Investigate my heart and mind, Lord, to weed out any immorality I harbor. I ask not to act in any way that causes an affront to Your name, in thought or in deed.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 25:20

Guard my soul and deliver me;

Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:16, And the tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

Written creation. Majestic life. Teeming oceans, teeming insects, teeming cities, teeming stars. Flowers and grasses and shrubs and trees. Cactus to redwoods. Kittens to giraffes, worms to elephants. Parrots, crocodiles, penguins. Sand dunes, rain forests, ice caps. Mountains of lava, mountains of rock, mountains of snow. Streams tricking, rivers raging; wave tossed lakes, mud soaked ponds. Life in nature and universe declaring the work of God’s hands.

Written commandments. Moral law. Simple statements. Staggering commitment. Boundaries for community. Boundaries for conscience. Boundaries of wisdom and righteousness. Boundaries of judgement. “For there is no partiality with God. Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”

Written Christ. Manifest love. Ensconced in mortal flesh. Word of truth, word of grace, word of salvation. God Himself given as a gift to mankind.

Written covenant. Ministry letters. Ambassadors of love’s new commandment. “Being manifest that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”

Written by God’s own hand.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 102:18

This will be written for the generation to come;

That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:1, Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

Moses delayed. The people of Israel demanded. Make us a god they insisted, to go before us. Impatient, indignant at the long wait, they chose a man-made substitute. A molten calf.

Chronos time. Set here and now. Structured, scheduled, streamlined. Straight historical time, ticking clock time. Man’s time.

Kairos time. Set in eternity. Spacious, substantial, sufficient. Searching time, expectant time. God’s time.

Some patriarchs lived in both. Moving through history they waited upon God’s promises. Joseph sat in prison waiting for God’s release. Noah waited in the ark. Abraham waited for an heir. And yet Jacob grasped at this inheritance too soon, Abraham begot Ishmael. And both suffered years of additional waiting as a result.

How can we keep our faith, Lord, from sliding into our solutions? How can we keep our eyes fixed on Your time instead of ours? The temptation is so strong, so enticing, to speed up answers, to solve situations our way. Like Israel.

Keep me, Lord from melting substitutes when Your answer delays. Keep me in Kairos time.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;

Be strong, and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for the Lord.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 31:6, And Behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

Appointed for a task. Equipped with talent, with knowledge, with skill. God appointed skills. Placed in hearts for a purpose. God knew by name and by assignment those equipped with necessary craftsmanship.

Created to create. What a joy to know our gifts and talents are God given in our hearts. Heart skill. Crafted into our makeup. “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

Apply our hearts to nurture, to practice, to use our skills diligently Lord. To be ready at Your call. To serve You in our crafts. To joy in creation. To be faithful. To respond.

Lord, assist me to live creatively, seeking to serve You through Your gifts in my heart.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 37:23

The steps of a man are established by the Lord;

And He delights in his way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture Exodus 30:37, And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportion for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the Lord.

Fragrant incense. For worship. For Aaron to burn every morning and every twilight. Fashioned separate. Fashioned holy.

Spices blended, spices beaten. Spice bold smoke. Saturating their senses, sanctifying their prayers.

Faith formed day. Structured around worship, prayers, labor. Another ceaseless offering. Beginning and ending with God. “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

Spoken prayers, silent prayers, searching prayers. Do I offer them to You with a holy awe, with a heart of worship? Do I invite You to begin and end my day and influence all the situations in between, or do I keep You at a distance? Separate compartments for worship and work?

Bathe my senses in Your Spirit, Lord. Anoint my prayers with Your spices that they may be acceptable.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 141:2

May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee;

The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 28:3, And you shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me.

Service for the Lord starts with the Spirit of the Lord. Endowed skills. Endowed wisdom.

Aaron required consecrated garments to serve God and to serve his people. Accomplished craftsmen responded in ministry. They prepared their high priest, who, in turn, would act for them. A concert of abilities, gifts of the spirit of wisdom, selflessly given.

Spirit guided that their work would meet God’s standards. Spirit filled that God would be honored. “Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.”

Anchor my work in Your Spirit that it does not become self-seeking. May I faithfully serve whatever work You assign me, and do it unto You. Make my life, Lord, an offering of service to You.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 116:12

What shall I render to the Lord

For all His benefits toward me?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 25:31, “Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered works; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it.”

This lampstand for the tabernacle is all of one piece, made up of different parts and functions. Whole. One purpose. Paul describes believers as belonging to one Lord, Christ the Head, to which all the parts are to grow, fitted and joined together, supplying joints, “according to the proper working of each individual part.” One body.

The lampstand is pure. The lampstand is hammered work. Jesus, who knew no sin, emptied, Himself, became a bondservant of mankind, to identify with us; knows our temptations, knows our limitations, know our frame.

The lampstand lightens the holy place, the place of prayer, projecting light in different angles. Cast out shadows. Uncovers corners. Makes clear the center, “because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.”

The lampstand burns continually as a perpetual statute throughout the generations. A beacon. To guide. To direct. “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Jesus stands waiting for His people to come home.

Lord, please dispel all the darkness in me. May my center be so filled with You that I reflect Your light from the inside out.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 18:28

For Thou dost light my lamp;

The Lord my God illumines my darkness.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 25:3, And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them:

Matched ministry. The tabernacle required specific contributions for construction. Moses had to follow a detailed plan, God’s blueprint. But all the people were included, invited to participate. They invested a personal stake, their own offerings in accord to request.

Not what each person felt like giving. Not out of duty or duress. Not as a bribe to be a worker. An act of worship. An act of obedience. An act of promise. God led-Israel followed. What an excitement to watch the tabernacle built!

Mission in reply to God’s leading. An invitation to participate in God’s work; God’s way. How often do I ask what God would like me to give? Whether time or talent or money.

Nourish in me Lord, a giving spirit, available always to contribute to Your work, at Your invitation.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 73:28

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;

I have made the Lord my refuge,

That I may tell of all Thy works.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 24:7, Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”

Covenant from God. Words of life streaming through generations. Choice to accept, obey, reject, rebel. Israel chose all His words, promised to comply in full.

Generations later people of Israel gathered before Ezra the scribe, returned exiles again, ready to hear God’s covenant. Ezra brought the law to “the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding,…from early morning until midday; they answered ‘Amen, Amen!’” and worshipped. Then the law was explained to them so that they could understand the reading.

Eager for fellowship, eager to obey I too say amen before I even understand. As expectations and realities of my commitment become clear I backpedal fast, reneging on my pledge, claiming mis-information. Like Israel I keep falling away, and graciously God speaks His words once more, explaining, encouraging, exhorting.

Speak Your words deep in my heart Lord that I perceive and obey with Your power to perform. Otherwise I am like the soil that accepts Your seed, springs immediately with no depth and withers away. Give me deeper roots I pray.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 105:8

He has remembered His covenant forever,

The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 23:20, Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

Angel of the Lord

sent before us

serving us,

companied by invisible

glory

we walk not alone.

Emissaries sent to guard

us. As a circle

in our midst.

Repel all dangers,

we can rest.

Along the route

prepared beforehand

we follow all the way.

Keeping watch, placing footsteps

on marked ground.

we travel.

Expectant destination.

Place to witness,

place to expand.

Like a dream beckons goals

we stretch.

Anchor promises,

generosity anticipated

by love.

Fashioned by His wisdom

seeking best

we come.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 34:7

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,

And rescues them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 23:12, Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor…

Cease from labor for the purpose of rest. Rest for the animals, the servants, the strangers. Rest for the fields, the vineyards, the olive groves on the seventh year. Cycle for replenishment, cycle for rejuvenation.

Lie fallow. Our restless natures rebel. Idleness nurtures sluggards and boredom; we reply, “Times a wasting.”

Labor taxes our strength, depletes our resources. Without restoration eventually we run dry. The rest God calls for allows for continued supply. A dormant state where seed can stretch deep roots. A solitude where energy re-charges.

Cadence of silence. Can we hear it beneath the busyness of our lives, the noise of our leisure, the fear of quiet?

Even when I rest physically my mind retains a cacophony, unable to dis-engage. Lord I ask for Your quiet to settle into all parts of me; to cease labor, to be still before You. Remove my fear of silence. Replace the uneasy stillness with soundless communion with You, deepening my roots in Your word and Your Spirit.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 116:7

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 22:21, And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

World news, national news, local news shout war, disease, violence. We close our ears, cushion our activities, cocoon our families. Where is a safe place? Who can we trust?

Tighter and tighter we draw our circle of acquaintances, acceptable arenas, attitudes. No admission signs go up in our hearts and homes.

We feel safer in our comfort zones.

We close out others in need.

To whom do the lonely turn? To whom do the strangers turn? To whom do the seeking turn?

Who were we Lord until You opened Your arms to us? Outcasts lost in sin and darkness. Obstacles of unbelief to Your children. Oppressors of the poor and weak. Until Your love and grace showed us a new land.

Lord, I need Your help to become less judgmental, less critical and more loving. I’ve let the fear of the world freeze concern for others. Remind me when I too was a stranger and You took me in.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 146:9

The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow;

Monday, September 6, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 20:25, And if you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.

An altar of uncut stones, taken from the earth, God’s own creation, is the place of sacrifice God requested. An altar untarnished by man. An altar unsupplemented.

Abel brought before God a sacrifice that pleased Him. Cain brought first fruits that God rejected. Cain reacted in anger. Why, God asked. Beware. Sin crouches at your door.

Abraham withheld not his only son, Isaac. In faith he prepared the altar and God stayed his hand, substituting a ram. “The Lord will provide” Abraham declared. And God blessed him.

And now Moses is given detailed instructions for sacrifice, that he not in error profane worship or produce a man-made version of acceptable offerings.

Am I bringing to Your altar, Lord, my own definition of worship? Only You know what I need to lay before You. Only You can see what I need to place there to free my heart to serve wholly.

Keep me from rejecting Your true altar. Keep me from profaning worship, devotion and service by insisting on my choice instead of Yours. May I come to Your altar in obedience.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 43:4

Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy;

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 20:20, And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”

When the people of Israel saw the mountain smoke and perceived the thunder and lightening, they trembled.

Trembled in fear, in awe, in anxiety.

They remembered Egypt’s end. What if they could not keep these commandments? They drew back, begging Moses to speak for them.

He comes that you may not sin, Moses explains. He comes to set a spirit of watchfulness. He comes to designate His path.

How many loving parents prepare stern voices and serious faces when explaining fire to young children? How to explain harsh consequences to a child who knows only care and nurture? How to protect against hurt?

Therefore we strike a match a fear, protective fear.

Witness this message, witness these commandments, witness this memory; that you may not sin, not forget, not know.

Thank you Lord for words of warning. Thank you for love that instills prevention. Thank you for Your paths through hot lava.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;

His praise endures forever.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 19:10, The Lord also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments.”

Consecrate them. Prepare them. Warn them.

If they touch even the border of the mountain, they will perish, including the animals. Israel readied themselves for God’s own Presence; a holiness so pure, boundaries needed to be set for protection.

Covered by Christ’s blood, sin cleansed, curtain opened into the inner chamber of communion with God. We are invited by love to personal access, private prayer in God’s Presence.

Inspiring, awesome holiness. A place to be refined. His touch burns dross, buries, self, beautifies character. His fire flares through our souls.

Consume the casual, hasty manner in me, Lord, that I might enter Your Presence with respect. Forgive my off-hand attitude and forgetfulness at the price of this gift. May I reflect on Your words with consideration, with obedience, with commitment.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 63:2

Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary,

To see Thy power and Thy glory.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 19:8, And all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!”

Excitement and enthusiasm in a crowd can be contagious; a mob can be dangerous. And they both may be made up of the same attendees. World sport events witness to the carnage of towns and property when a team loses. The party turns to plunder.

What induces citizens to participate? Why mass dis-order? A sense of anonymity, fear of rejection, peer pressure? When the purpose is ugly, devastation follows. But what of a generous purpose? Then does mob mentality produce positive results?

All the people-all Israel-accepted and agreed to God’s invitation. All spoke together. All chose obedience. All chose God. Good decisions-good intentions.

How many individuals prayed through, reflected through, planned through, God’s invitation to life and health and ministry? Positive steps towards God’s call and His character; for Israel and for us.

But if I accept God’s gift in the throes of excitement, what do I do when His reality doesn’t match my expectations? Do I turn away, reject Him, blame Him? Turn angry and destructive?

Lord, may I examine my motives each time I burn effervescent, especially in a group. Prayerfully lead me through the cost before the commitment, so I will have staying power, and not crumple in a defensive tirade against You. Speak Your words deep within me, so that my walk is grounded in You, in honest obedience, not fickle feelings.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 37:5

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him and He will do it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 19:6, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus said to His first disciples. Throughout His ministry He continued the charge. The kingdom of God is at hand.

Did the disciples truly comprehend? Dreams of Messiah, dreams of dominion, dreams of peace danced through their beliefs. Dedicated to God.

Foxes have holes, birds have nests; the Son of God has nowhere to lay His head.

Follow in My covenant and become a kingdom of priests, God told Israel. My own possession, My own people, a holy nation.

Did Israel truly understand? Experiences in Egypt, exposure of false gods, exodus echoed through their memories. Extol God.

Forget not My teaching, but let your heart keep My commandments.

Follow in His steps, His example left, you have been called for this purpose.

Do I truly grasp the implications? Submissive servant, scripture nourished, holy priesthood, spiritual seed seep through my soul. A living stone.

Feed My sheep.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 107:22

Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,

And tell of His works with joyful singing.

 
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