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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.

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