Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, November 19, 2010
Why do we put ourselves in Jail?
Fri, November 19, 2010 | link
Why do we put ourselves in Jail?
We so often want to know what heaven is like…here is a modern form of a
very old story…
An owner of a number of banks wanted to get a large amount of his
money out of the banks. He wanted the bankers to settle his accounts.
he called them in, a banker owing him five billion dollars was brought to him.
The banker was unable to pay due
to the miserably poor economic decisions he had made, and the owner told him he would be placed into a situation where 80%
of his families wages would be garnished for the rest of his life to pay back just a tiny part of the original debt!
This meant he wouldn’t be able to even get money together for his children’s
The man fell to his knees and begged to be forgiven. “be patient with me” he said, “I will work for you and pay
back everything”. The owner took pity on him and agreed to the man’s suggestion.
The banker went back to his bank.
He immediately called in a single mother who had defaulted on her mortgage in the last month and angrily demanded she pay
up, or lose her home and indicated he would have the debt collection agencies sent in, to sell her possessions to pay the
She fell to her knees “be patient with me” she said,
“I will work and pay you back everything!”
and had her home taken away from her, and debt collectors sent in to recover the lost money.
Others who had mortgages with the bank heard of this, they were angry and went to the banks owner to tell him what
Then the owner called the banker in. “You evil man,”
he said, “I cancelled your debt because you begged me. Why didn’t you do the same for the woman?”
In anger he went to court and took everything the man had, and then had the banker
investigated and found guilty of illegal business activities resulting in a life sentence in jail. Even then his family still
had the debt to repay.
This is a modern form of an ancient story found in Matthew 18 and was told as a result of a question to Jesus that went like this…
Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?
Up to seven times?”
“I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (This signified
an unlimited number of times)
We need to understand that forgiving others is the key to having a good
existence on this earth! In the prayer Jesus taught us to say, it says
“Forgive us our sins, just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.”
It seems to be very important as he also says
this directly afterwards in explanation. . .
“"Forgive people when
they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people
their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
We as Christians are held
to a high accountability of forgiveness. We are not given the option to forgive or not.
WE are to
I continually hear of people who fail to forgive.
Some examples of the behaviours:
- Elders who fail to forgive pastors for human failings and yet gossip themselves,
- Teens who are bullied and ostracised at school who in unforgiveness, start horrible behaviours such
as anorexia or bulimia,
- Businessmen who loose
in deals and start vendetta’s,
- Chairpersons and board members who loose their positions of power and take to slandering those who voted them out,
- Mothers who hate fathers who have left them in the lurch so badly, they can never have good relationship
with a man again,
- Fathers so badly hurt in divorces, that they
never want to deal with their kids or wife again, because of the hurt and pain it causes.
- Abused people, who can never have correct relationships because they cannot forgive the horrible behaviour
I am sure you can add others to this list!
Unforgiveness is everywhere,
and it steals the experience of heaven from those who have it.
Christians the story told above has a strange twist. We think of our God
as a loving and forgiving God. In fact if we told the story, we would have had that owner call the banker in, explain what
he did wrong, give him corrective training, and tell him to forgive the woman’s debt.
is NOT how Jesus ended that parable when he told it! The twist in the tale
was to re-enforce we end up in jail if we do not forgive!
The problem today is that the unforgiveness
is the bars to the jail. So many people I know cannot go on with their
lives due to their unforgiveness! They lock themselves in, and then stand on the key and scream to be let out!
do we do this to ourselves? We need to forgive and open the door to the
jail. It’s in our power to do!
Who do we need to forgive today? Let’s do it!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
A touch of Tomorrow
Thu, November 18, 2010 | link
A touch of Tomorrow What do we want to know? How much is it necessary to know where we will be going tomorrow, or why we need
to go there?
When life hits us in full force its hard to accommodate the reality of living in a way that enables
us to love God the right way.
We often twist and turn and try everything to avoid the reality of a relationship
Unknown to us, our loving father in heaven knows all that we are about to do,
plan, or even think! So why do we have to be concerned?
Isn’t God really the one in control
of our lives?
We don’t have the faintest idea of where we are to go, or what we are to do outside from the
divine purpose of our lives.
We can plan and struggle with our purpose or we can submit to being led by a precious and blessed Father who loves us, and all that we do, under his direction.
Daily we get faced with decisions! Some are easy and good, others
less easy and difficult. The way we address these enables our ultimate purpose or not. Right?
Take for instance a young baby that is in diapers.
We don’t think of this baby as having
to make decisions do we, but even the decision to cry or not impacts their life.
A baby that cries continually
wears down the parents and causes them to fail in the tasks of their life.
If they have huge responsibilities
this young cry could impact the parents and this could in turn impact a far greater aspect of our world through them.
So can we blame the young baby for crying excessively? No, that
is a very normal part of baby life and babies are selfish.
The parents response however is one
that can be modified as they have a greater life experience.
Whether they allow the young child to influence their life negatively or not is their decision!
Sometimes it’s not easy to make the right decision and it takes energy and pain to keep to it, but that is why we are
given the ability to go against our own desires for pleasure.
We are here to do more than
just please ourselves! We are here to fulfill our ultimate purpose as designed by a loving God.
I ask you today, will you fulfill your purpose?
have the courage to go against that most difficult of adversaries, “ourselves”?
have the courage to make life a better place for all?
We all have a ultimate purpose tomorrow!
Getting there today is the challenge and with God’s guidance it’s possible, if not always easy!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Coverings for the tabernacle(and cherubim). Why were they made that way?
Wed, November 17, 2010 | link
Coverings for the tabernacle(and cherubim). Why were they made that way?
In Exodus 26 (NIRV) it says there are four layers to the tabernacle tent
The First : “Ten curtains out
of finely twisted linen for the holy tent. Make them with blue, purple and bright red yarn. Have a skilled worker sew cherubim into the pattern.”
The Second: “Make a total of 11 curtains out of goat hair to put over the holy tent”
The Third: “Make a covering
for the tent. Make it out of ram skins that are
“Put a covering of the hides of sea cows over that.”
So there are four layers all different. The first I mentioned was the innermost seen
inside, and the last, the one seen from the outside.
The Hebrews having come from Egypt probably
learnt their craft from the Egyptians as slaves. It is of some interest that Egyptians used twisted yarn to make things, so
these Hebrew freed slaves were probably well versed in producing beautiful things.
This first inner part of the tent was in blue, purple and red. (See my blog on colors
Colors in a Christian world have meaning! ) These colors had special meaning to the people.
What’s a cherubim?
It’s an angel,
there were two main types mentioned, the Seraphim and Cherubim. Seraphim protect God’s throne, and Cherubim are also
protective in their purpose. This inner layer of linen reflected the holiness of God, protected by images of the angels closest
to the presence of God’s name.
Cherubim are not those pretty cupid like images we think of when
we think of angels. They had four faces, that of an ox, vulture or lion
as well as that of man.
See Ezekiel 10, “Their whole bodies were completely
covered with eyes. That included their backs, hands and wings,” and
“Each of the cherubim had four faces. One face was the face of a cherub. The second was a man's face.
The third was the face of a lion. And the fourth was an eagle's face,” as well as “I
saw what looked like a man's hands. They were under the wings of the cherubim.”
I also know it said a face of an cherub but in Revelations 4 (NIRV) it says
“In the inner
circle, around the throne, were four living creatures. They were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first creature
looked like a lion. The second looked like an ox. The third had a man's face. The fourth looked like a flying eagle. Each
of the four living creatures had six wings. Each creature was covered all over with eyes, even under the wings. Day and night,
they never stop saying,
"Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God who rules over all.
He was, and he is, and he will come."
So perhaps the true face of a cherub
is that of an ox?
Anyhow, these images in bright colours covered the inside of the Holy place and
holy of holies of the tabernacle. As we can see this is an image or metaphor of the reality to be found in heaven! They guard
the holiness of God. They keep sin from God’s glory!
so the second was goats hair. This would
have been white or black cloth. Probably black since the Palestinian goat was probably black. If you think
this is rather crude and not very nice, just remember that those cashmere sweaters we desire as the best of warm wear are
made of goat’s hair! I think this is rather a fancy and special covering which represents the selfish, nasty and ignorant
things we do. It is kept away from God’s holiness by the previous layer.
It is interesting that
the couplings of the curtains of the previous layer and this one were done in such a way as to make sure they didn’t
overlap. There was no way for one to penetrate from the outside into the
inside through the curtain couplings. Protecting the inside from outside influences and view. Again holiness being preserved.
Goat’s hair was less precious than linen so
we see that as we move away from the holy area, the cost of the coverings decreases.
This second covering can be considered as a warning that outside God’s presence darkness rules unless we have
Jesus. It represents keeping sin away from God’s glory.
The third covering is a red rams skins. This is a representation of sin’s
In Christian terms this could be representing
the paying the price for sin by Jesus, enabling only those us purified by belief in Jesus to view the holiness
of God when Jesus uncovers it. (That’s why those who don’t believe Jesus is the son of God cannot understand the
secret and special things of God. They are covered from people perceptions until Christ removes the covering and exposes God’s
Jesus covers our sins completely by his sacrifice as the Ram’s skins covered the goat hair
cloth completely making sure it would never be seen!
fourth covering was a dull brown sea cow skin. These sea cows are not longer around, it is believed they were originally something called a dugong, probably found
in the Nile delta region. Similar to the Manatees of today.
This is interesting
because this covering represented the horrible side of life. It was dirty
looking, and even the covering chosen was one that was detestable. In Leviticus 11:12 it warns the Hebrew to “Be sure to avoid everything that lives in the water that does not have fins and scales.”
This means that it was made of skins of beasts they would avoid. This describes the nature of a world contaminated by sin and the world of humans without God’s intervention.
Jesus represented by the Red Ram’s skin enables this horrible side of the world to come into contact with God’s
heavenly places, but only by resting on Jesus.
it fascinating how God planned the symbology of the tabernacle before we came to understand it?
God is amazing and we need to respect that, right?
That’s my objective today! What’s yours?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Prince William wants to marry Kate, fairytale or just fair tale?
The news reports at http://www.tmz.com/2010/11/16/prince-william-engaged-to-kate-middleton-prince-charles-royal-wedding/After living together, breaking up, living
together, breaking up, Prince William has decided to tie the knot with Kate Middleton.
Tue, November 16, 2010 | link
So here is an example that people will look up to! Look at what the first words of the report are, not "happy
couple is to get married", or "Congratulation Prince William", but instead After
living together, breaking up, living together, breaking up...
Notice how quick the
world is to point out SIN? I would love to have had a chance to look into the reporters family circumstances. Are they perhaps
from a hurt relationship, or have they lived in a family where this occured.
As christians we should be quick to
forgive! We can never say that peoples selfish, ignorant and nasty actions are okay, but we can be quick to forgive when they
look for it.
Perhaps being a royal couple we should expect them to be "more" perfect but the
truth is they are young people dealing with an increasingly complex world and exposed to abnormal stresses.
Will their marriage last? Maybe not! Statistics show huge increases in divorces and the UK is fourth worst country in the
world. Behind the USA, Puerto Rico and Russia who top the statistics!
Got me thinking about God's view of marriage
Specifically William is doing th right thing because it says:
[ Social Responsibility ] “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married
and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.
to go William!...at least you know God agrees with you!
he would have felt better if you had listened to...
1 Corinthians 7:36
If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to,
and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning.
They should get married.
We see God's best way is not for this on and off relationship!
God wants to have the beauty of marriage preserved and maintained. He has in fact likened his relationship with the people
who love him to a marriage (the pure kind that has and will never have a breakup).
In Revelation the bride
is refered to in this way (i.e. bride = true christians) when God says
Then I heard
what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean,
given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts
of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
This is the
most royal of royal weddings! Jesus taking those who love him, and try their best to live the right way out of love
(not duty), to himself! Wow! The amazing part of this is that those of us who are Christian are part of that amazing wedding
as the Bride!
Wow! Since it`s heaven, we know the spendour and majesty will be greater than anything here
on Earth. Something to remember as we watch the celebrations around this marriage between William and Kate!
Today let`s realise we are in God`s presence and are engaged to the living God! Let`s live that
way being true to our lover and doing the little things our lover likes.
That`s the true way of love,
Monday, November 15, 2010
Why use incense?
Mon, November 15, 2010 | link
Why use incense?
Incense when burnt produces a fragrant smoke that is used in aromatherapy, meditation, various religious ceremonies
and to mask bad odours.
There are many different smells around us and incense is the term we give
to those we like a lot and that are created by burning or smoldering substances! (Today, tobacco smoke is appreciated
by some people, incense sticks by others, and then we have the modern perfume producing heating elements that introduce nice
smells into our homes)
In the ancient times, there were a few things that were
considered to be the most fragrant incenses of all time. Something called Frankincense was top of that list.
Frankincense is found today in places like Yemen and Somalia, and is made
from the resin of a Boswellia tree. This is done by slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to
bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. When allowed to smolder they produce this penetrating fragrance
which was so wanted in the ancient times. It was and still is very expensive.
told Moses how to make a special fragrant incense for himself using Frankincense. Here is how. . .
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, "Get some sweet-smelling spices.
Get some gum resin, onycha and galbanum. Also get some pure frankincense.
Make sure everything is in equal amounts. "Have a person who makes perfume mix it all up into a sweet-smelling incense. It must have salt in it. It will
be pure and sacred. Grind some of it into powder. Place it in front of the tablets of the covenant in the Tent of Meeting.
There I will meet with you. The incense will be very holy to you.
"Do not make any incense for yourselves in the same way. Think of it as holy to me. Anyone who makes
incense in the same way to enjoy its sweet smell must be cut off from his people."
other three components (other than the salt) are no longer really known today. There are different ideas and some
people think they know, but certainty is missing.
Notice God says “The
incense will be very holy to you” which implies that it has a purpose for us that exceeds that
which God has for it.
It is perhaps that God understood the people of the time
needed to have these fragrances so they could connect themselves spiritually with Him? Perhaps man kinds development
was at that stage where we needed something to help us get into the right mindset to connect with God.
Often I think we say that because something is psychological it is not spiritual as well. Is this really
true. Things are psychological because we are human beings! Since we are human and spiritual, we can use psychological
helps to bring us to spiritual cross points in our lives.
What is wrong
with that? So in ancient times
people placed coals of burning temple incense on the altar of incense.
This created a fragrant aroma
that filled the Holy place and holy of holies. It wafted out into the courtyard to promise a pleasant fragrant interior to
Incense in the new testament times is linked to the birth
of Jesus and also to the conception of John the Baptist. These are two really important events that symbolically
show God’s great planning for humankind.
Today, we produce
incense in a different way.
This is shown in revelations 5:8 (NIRV) “the four
living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden
bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.”
Our prayers are the new incense. They are fragrant to God!
reinforces this aspect as it says
angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the
prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together
with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”
Perhaps this is why they no longer have the recipe for the temple incense, perhaps
God wants a new incense, our prayers! Today let’s go before God in prayer.
Think about it, we are in this universes dimension and also in heaven simultaneously as we offer prayers to God.
Quite a privilege!
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May you be blessed today!