Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, January 7, 2011
What is the Ark of the covenant? [part one]
Fri, January 7, 2011 | link
The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create
a reality of the same intensity.
- Alberto Giacometti
We as people feel!
That is what makes us alive and appreciate it!
Lacking sensory input leads to illness
and it is important that we understand important things not only at the thinking logical level, but
that it grips our heart and emotions, pulling our very essence towards the aspect that invigorates our lives.
That God built up the tabernacle to unveil subsequent layers of intimate knowledge of himself and heaven.
The fact that God engineered them to be a sensory feast of taste, touch, sound, smell and sight
is to be expected!
The lives of the people had to be focused so intensely on God that their faith would resonate
over 3500 years through to today!
In the center of the most holy place was the ark of the covenant!
It was the most holy part of the artefacts the Hebrews carried around with them. It was placed
inside a 15x15 foot cube that had no daylight.
A priest went into the most holy place once a year,
only after many rituals ensured that he and everyone else knew was qualified to enter. Even then he wore a robe with bells
attached and had a cord around his ankle that led to outside the cube so that he could be recovered without going in if he
died while inside!
The inside of the cube was given light by the glory of God and
this apparently shone from above the ark of the covenant.
So what did this thing look like?
It’s really hard to tell, the bible explains it’s construction
“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long,
a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding
around it. Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.
Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry
it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant
law, which I will give you.
an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of
hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of
one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with
them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark
the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark
of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites. – Exodus 25 (NIV 2011 version)
Okay let’s take this description a step at a time.
them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high
Acacia is a type of thorn tree wood (the name derives
from the word for thorn). This is interesting! I always find myself thinking of another peace of writing from new testament
times when I read this…
John 19:2 (NIV 2011 version)The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.
was the wood that was wound into the crown that punctured Jesus’ skin before he was led to his death! It’s
just an interesting coincidence isn’t it. [or is it a coincidence?]
A cubit was the distance
from the tip of a middle finger to the elbow. Basically the length of someone’s forearm (an easy measure for
a person without a ruler). So in rough terms, it was about 21 inches giving the approx size of the ark as 4ft 4inches long,
about 2ft 7inches wide and the same deep. [in metric terms this is 1.3m x .79m x.79m]
the ark was not that large, a little bigger than the average coffee table size!
Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it.
overlaying it with gold sounds like a hugely expensive undertaking!
Well my own opinion is the
gold was not very thick and I have reasons for saying so.
I am a qualified metallurgist and have
had exposure to gold bars and the nature of gold. It is fun watching grown men struggling to carry a little
It’s an interesting metal in that it is fairly rare, never corrodes and is precious, which is what
makes it valuable.
The characteristics that are important here are that it can be beaten into
a very thin layer and it is a heavy material almost twice the weight of lead for the same
amount (it’s actually 1.7times the weight of lead)!
Since people carried this ark long distances in the hot sun,
I suggest that the people who made this were intelligent enough to beat that gold into a thin layer. Otherwise they
were just making plenty work for themselves!
Okay, then it says…
four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.
So let’s understand it had feet. Maybe like a coffee table? Most depictions like the one
below never take this into account! What is right, the artists impression or the biblical words?
This is probably an incorrect picture!Then the rings
were attached to the feet! I guess people decided that heavy weight should be supported in the middle of the structure(like
the image above), but that is not what the bible says. It says the poles got inserted to rings on the feet.
Well it says…
Then make poles of
acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it.
The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed.
More wood poles, two of them.
As side issue...I can think of two wooden poles used to carry the weight of someone
in the new testament (again a coincidence but it’s fun to think of right?)
To get back to reality, the
poles were put through at the feet because it was carried in front of the people to lead them. It had to be carried
If the poles were through the area around the feet the whole structure would be above
the heads of the porters and therefore easily seen.
Well, I don’t want to absorb
all your time today, so I will continue with this in the next blog.
Before I break off though, I would like to
return to the statement and quote that started this blog. The ark was not created to be an ark, but to represent
an alternative reality.
The choice of materials, the workmanship, where it was located, the access
to it, and even the way it was carried were part of this projection.
Today we so lightly
consider God! We have lost the emotive power of these symbols and often we fail to allow
the new central symbol of God’s love to move us emotionally and fill our senses.
Jesus is meant
to fulfill this role for us today! We are more complex than those ancient Hebrews, so we have a more complex interaction with
We must never loose the projected reality that to fully comprehend God takes more than looking
at physical reality, that’s why we speak of faith!
transports us past the poor quality of the physical reality, past the “ark” to the vision and experience
We need to hold that high up as
we follow God into our life experiences!
Let’s think about that today!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
What are “Jesus followers” doing inside the internet of the future?
Thu, January 6, 2011 | link
What are “Jesus followers” doing inside the internet of the future?
Where are we going? People ask!
are we going? Traditionalists ask!
When are we going? Youth ask!
One thing we all know is that over time changes happen! The
one thing older people (not all but some) seem to do resist is change, and the thing all young people want,
Balance of this change is located on the pivoting point of knowledge and respect. Traditionally and historically, since knowledge resided with our elders, that
is where respect was demanded and received!
was even demanded of the youth in a rather authoritarian and autocratic way! Sometimes in a way that was excessively paternalistic
and maternalistic…”I know what is best for you, you don’t”…in nature!
yesteryear, what could the younger generation do but accept this!
Today, knowledge is moving more into the hands of the younger person, the elders still consider themselves as reservoirs of knowledge but youth KNOW
the internet is!
I have watched as older people pontificate on a subject about which they appear to know
a lot, while on their phone browser a young person is quietly checking up and finding out that the elder
is providing a slanted view.
the balance of how we deal with life is changing, isn’t it? If this is the case, what is a potential projection of the future
Jesus following community online?
Today, people find it hard to take time to have to travel to church
on Sundays, and young people point out “living life” is church (not attending Sundays) and getting together (fellowship)
can be obtained by me texting my friend, and getting an answer back right now!
How does this change the future?
- Why wait till Sunday?
- Can I get answers today, right now?
will help me now rather than at the next church get together?
- Does the pastor even know the answers,
after all does he know the intricacies of the subject context from which I am asking the question?
Is the future perhaps an online community area where people who love Jesus get together and share experiences, discoveries and friendships?
Is it perhaps a place where I text a question expressing my
deepest need, to have an answer giving some guidelines about where I can
find out how to fulfill these needs and perhaps giving contact information of one or two people who have had similar question
and have indicated they have found a resolution?
Is it perhaps a place where teaching can be captured and provided
7x24 to people when they need it, and not just on Sundays or Wednesday
Is it perhaps a place where people can join each other on webcam groups, discussing
the intricacies of understanding God’s word and it’s application,
and where any or all of them can point others to information they are researching and gleaning from the internet resource
base as they are discussing it?
Is it perhaps a place where we will be equal in our walk, without
superiority and submission complexes getting in the way of teaching?
Is it perhaps a place where
we can connect directly with missionaries daily needs as part of our daily
“church” activities? Where we can be shown today, the impact of the $10 we sent out yesterday?
the bandages I paid for in a third world country are rewarded by a the face of the child who received them smiling back at
me the next day?
Is it perhaps a place where people of different countries using technology that translates
can together discuss subjects although they speak different languages and
live thousands of miles apart?
Is it perhaps a place where a young person, desperately sad and depressed can go
at 2am in the morning and connect with ten or twenty other young people
around the world, who have overcome this sadness and can explain and love in a way that counters those suicide thoughts?
Is it perhaps a place where we can add dreams of
loving our neighbour in a close intimate way across distance, language and culture, the way
Jesus would want us to?
don’t know, but I hope so.
I want to help build such a place don’t you?
Isn’t the great commission…“All
authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely
I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I do believe a Christians we need to start to make this happen in the internet world.
The problem is this…
Young people know how to make it happen, and have the courage to get in and do it, but don’t
have the resources or structure to enable it!
Older people have the resources and
structures, but fear change, fear technology, and fear social structures
of which they have little appreciation! Elders basically fail to TRUST that the younger generation knows what they
We no longer have Pharisees and Sadducees, instead we have yesteryear promoters and traditional stuck
in the mud’s!
Let’s get out of the
rut! They love Jesus, they just don’t want to be bored by our antiquated traditional
constructions we call church.
Let’s help young people get the tools to move into the new future!
I want to help them succeed!
What about you?
PS: If you agree with this blog and have further ideas on this, please let
me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am currently trying to get support to get tools put together to facilitate this future!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Improve the day, take a checkpoint…
Wed, January 5, 2011 | link
Checkpoints are normally considered
as places where vehicles are stopped and checked for quality and capability to do the activities needed for the rest of the
day. I have discovered a way to improve my day that I think may help others. It’s by taking a personal
Let me explain… You know those days that we seem to have too many things
to do and when intrusive events that are unpleasant hit us broadside when we least expect
Normally as the day goes on, we feel less and less like
The reason is we like to focus on the now and how
we have experienced life in the last few minutes flavours the next hour.
What is worse if the last event is lousy, even if it was only
for a few minutes, it can cause despondent or down feelings!
I will explain by way of example…this morning when I woke up, I rolled
over in bed and my wife cuddled up to me and told me she loved me. CHECKPOINT!
This is where the checkpoint comes in!
She then loving said that she hoped the rest of my day would be happy.
It already was!
At that checkpoint, I locked into my mind the wonderful experience of that moment!
It was my first checkpoint of the day.
I want to get five of them, one for each finger on one
than an hour later at an attorneys office I get told by my attorney that they screwed up and I needed to sign I had
since it was my case! Not good, the emotions were negative!
So, what did I do,
as soon as I got out the situation I mentally went back to my checkpoint, relived the wonder of that moment in my
memory and considered how much I love my wife. The
result, the next hour was great!
I have other checkpoints that are life checkpoints... A deep experience with God’s help
and immense experiences of God’s love!
See how it works!
If we find checkpoints and
actively use them our day is going to be better!
These are powerful checkpoints to revert to if the start of the day is not so good or if other checkpoints
Well, I have four more checkpoints
to find today!
What about you?
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Justice, humilty and compassion
Tue, January 4, 2011 | link
Justice, humilty and compassion
What does God want us to do...
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly
with your God
We need to live in such a way as to reduce inequality in this world! We need to live free of arrogance,
Today if we ask people today what
God wants, we would get the answer that we need to believe something!
The bible addresses greed, poverty, and responsibility to those who have less as a high priority Greed is
the second most mentioned sin. Idolatry is first. Greed is hording more than you need when there are those who have less than
Greed is the main reason God gets upset
with people. It is a topic central to God's heart.
priorities of the modern western Christian should shock us! For people that love the bible they should share the values of
the bible, but American Christians are wealthy, very wealthy, and yet we spend 90% of the money on ourselves.
Do we get bothered by this topic? Do we question our own lifestyle?
We should! We need to ask how God should want us to change?
Instead often as Christians we deflect this and instead get all
upset about things like homosexuality. We need to get our priorities right! There a few verses on homosexuality one sin, and
thousands of verses on greed and taking care of the poor! In fact at Sodom, the bible points out they were arrogant, overfed
and unconcerned, haughty and only as a last point says they did detestable things. So they were punished mainly for being
arrogant, overfed and unconcerned, haughty!
care about the needy and poor upsets God! God was focusing on the sin in Sodom, a sin that we also are probably guilty of
as well! Many of us are arrogant, overfed and unconcerned, haughty and do things God detests.
Let's focus on humility!
is critical, because if we don't do this, it will keep us from living justly and having compassion.
Judgment is an addiction to the tree of good and evil.
Judgment of the affluent towards the poor is one main form of judgment. The
affluent are those that had their needs met, poor don't have their needs met.
The affluent may say "If the poor were just not so lazy they would not be poor", or "if
they didn't do crimes and drugs they would help them get out of poverty", or "if they didn't have kids out of marriage
they would be better able to cope".
somehow an attitude among the wealthy that the poor by prioritizing better can improve themselves.
This has an underlying convenience for the wealthy, because it gets us off
the hook to do anything! They are there because it's "their fault!". Nonsense, the best we can say is that it's
due to sin being in this world, and then we better look at ourselves for being part of the problem of keeping it in this world.
Alternatively we as wealthy try to go
about fixing the problem, but although our heart is in the right place, we do it from a place of superiority! Without
humility we make the wrong assumptions and people don't respond correctly. Then we tend to say they are ungrateful! No way!
Because a person is poor doesn't mean they don't want respect!
need to start with "We do not know!", we need to learn, get into the inside of their lives and understand their
We need a realistic understanding of
why people cannot get out of poverty. Sometimes the system is stacked to favor some and be against others. If we
think this is untrue, is it perhaps because we are privileged?
of the privileges of the privileged is to be able to call ourselves normal.
It is important to be with the poor, not fix them. We need to learn from the poor to enable us! We
need to have our lives enriched by the poo,r and learn, and listen.
But the poor can judge the affluent! This is called class envy. In this case we look at others that have stuff
and we want it.
So the poor need to also have humility!
Some poor people can be so proud it is difficult for them to accept love and compassion from others. Perhaps they have been
so hurt by others in the past.
Let's find a way of countering
our own pride and loving others correctly. I want to respect others today! What about you?
Monday, January 3, 2011
New Years resolutions, don’t have one? Here’s a good one!
“The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king
of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.
Mon, January 3, 2011 | link
two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions
and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.”
Quoted from http://ezinearticles.com/?The-History-of-New-Years-Resolutions&id=245213
So it’s that time of year again and we get introspective, consider
ourselves our world and our intentions (at least some of us do J )
There are so many things we could look to doing, but this year I have
a single focus, one that perhaps is a bit unusual, but one that hopefully will do a lot for a lot of people, and a little
for myself as well!
Isn’t that how we should craft a resolution, in a way that others gain from
it, but that changes us for the better at the same time!
There are those weight loosing resolutions (I
have one of those as well but it’s a general one), but those don’t really do much for others, they are more for
My resolution is tied into others! I find those resolutions help everyone and I gain the most when
I help others!
Many years ago on a mountainside a guy sat talking to a crowd and said "If you do not judge others, then you will not be judged. If you do not find others guilty, then
you will not be found guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good amount will be
poured into your lap. It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The same amount you give will be measured
out to you."
The piece I will be focusing on this year is being aware that I must
not judge others!
We say we don’t judge, but so often our cultures, traditions, and
environments cause us to consider others lesser in relation to ourselves, puffing up our pride and letting us know
we are better than others.
So often when this happens we are blind to it, aren’t we?
Pride is that horrible attitude that by it’s nature blinds the person who has it, to the fact that they do have it.
I am sad to say, this illness of pride catches me at times as well!
If I catch
myself in this rather horrible mode I immediately ask myself if Jesus loves the person who I have just put down in my estimation.
We all know Jesus loves everyone, not just
us, so it’s fairly easy for me to acknowledge this. Then I ask myself if he would like my attitude towards
That does it for me! I know he doesn’t want me thinking I am better than anyone!
That’s where my judging stops in it’s tracks and a small germ of love starts to grow.
I fan into a fire and soon I am wanting to be with, understanding and listening to the person.
Amazingly, I often find out they teach me more than I thought possible about life, our wonderful God, and the joy of real
power filled living! Sometimes directly sometimes indirectly!
So, that’s my resolution!
Love people and try desperately to love not judge them!
Join me in this?
Whatever you decide I do pray you will have a wonderful 2011 year!
If you want to see a short blog describing a perspective on what I believe click here
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May you be blessed today!