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Friday, January 14, 2011

What is the Ark of the covenant? (part 4) The power connection!
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“Strange is our situation here upon earth.

Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.

Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” 
 
Albert Einstein

 
There is no stranger connection with people than occurred about 3500years ago in the desert, in a half building/half tent called the tabernacle, in what should have been a dark cube of a room about 15ft in dimension. 

This room was held in such high respect by the millions of people living around that area, that they only went in once a year. I say “they” but it was one man that went in representing all the Hebrew tribes of the day!
 

The whole calendar and the year was focused on this time, as was the tabernacle construction. The rituals and feasts built to this one event in a way that very little in modern production could ever master. Let’s look as just some of the events…
 

Consider the feasts of the year, they followed a pattern…
               
Passover    1st month, 14th dayLev 23:4
Unleavened Bread1st month, 15th day for 7 daysLev 23:6
First fruits   1st month, 1st day after regular sabbath in feast of unleaven Lev 23:10,11Bread 
Weeks (Pentecost)50 days after first fruitsLev 23:17
Ingathering2 to 7th month (time planting and harvest)Lev 23:22
Trumpets (Rapture?)7th Month, 1st dayLev 23:24
Atonement (Judgement?)7th Month, 10th dayLev 23:28
Tabernacles7th month, 15th day for 7 daysLev 23:34
 

The Passover aligns with Jesus death on the cross in modern Christianity, celebrated getting away from the evil of Egypt and God’s saving of their nation.
 

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a thank offering for the Manna God provided in the Desert bringing life in a place of Death, and can be considered as equivalent to the  life Jesus brings to us.
 

The fact that it was unleavened was to point out we must eradicate all evil from our lives, a step in moving towards the deepest spiritual experiences.
 

Then the feast of first fruits gave thanks for God’s provision of the food of the harvest, in modern Christian terms we need to be thankful for what God provides for us and remember Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
 

The Feast of weeks, was where a wave offering of bread was made to God. The bread had yeast in it, symbolizing the sin of people being brought to God. Sinful people are brought in front of God by the high priest and God accepts them and pours out his love toward them.

This in Christian terms corresponds to the feast of Pentecost when Holy Spirit was poured out onto believers everywhere and is why we can live with Holy Spirit guiding our lives.
 

The ingathering months were where people sowed and harvested food.

Then in the seventh month on the first day the feast of trumpets occurs. The trumpet call was a call to action! This is a time still to come in the Christian existence, it is when Jesus will activate the plan to rid this earth of Evil and will call all his own to heaven. This is the last feast before the feast of atonement, when the High Priest would go into the Most Holy Place.
 

On the Feast of atonement, before the High priest went in, he switched from his fine clothes to simple while linen cloths. We take no finery with us when we go to God. In fact, once he came out those white linen clothes were never seen by the people again. They were buried in a secret place. Jesus our high priest removes his finery as God to respresent us as man!
 

The high Priest takes two goats, he sacrifices one and sets the scapegoat free representing how the sins of the people have been removed from the center of their lives.
 

The High Priest on this day goes into the Most Holy Place to reconcile the people with God. The most holy place should have been dark. It was a room that was covered with four coverings to exclude light and had a curtain in front of it to separate it from the lesser Holy place.
 

Instead when the priest went in there was a light that shined between the cherubim above the atonement cover. This light provided the light to perform the rituals and was the glory of God revealed in light to men.
 

In Christian terms, this focuses us to the Judgement day when God will reconcile himself with men.

Some will be rewarded, and some will face eternal death in Hell!

Each group will be aware they are judged justly and will fully agree with the judgement and all believers everywhere will be a part of that judgement.
 

This is the point of contraction of human history, where everything comes down to one point in time and place. They say our galaxy is part of a universe that came from one point in time and space, and most people are unaware it will return to one time and one place where our eternal future is decided!
 

Above the Ark in the Most holy place was the symbolic place for ancient Hebrews, in heaven in front of what we symbolically call the throne of God is the actual event.
 

I pray I will be found worthy in this critical instant, and know that only Jesus can decide this for me based on my love of him.
 

How about you? Want to switch into God's power cuircuit?
Fri, January 14, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, January 13, 2011

“Evil events” prove God doesn’t exist don’t they?
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Let us start by looking at what an evil event is!

One complicated definition of an evil event is…
 

An event may be categorized as evil if it involves any of the following:
 

  
a.    some harm (whether it be minor or great) being done to the physical and/or psychological well-being of a sentient creature;
 
  
b.    the unjust treatment of some sentient creature;
 
  
c.    loss of opportunity resulting from premature death;
 
  
d.    anything that prevents an individual from leading a fulfilling and virtuous life;
 
  
e.    a person doing that which is morally wrong; 

   f.     the “privation of good.”
 

by Nick Trakakis quoted from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article “The Evidential Problem of Evil”
 

I am less fancy with my definition of evil events
, my rather simple definition is
 

“An evil event is selfish, ignorant, nasty, and stupid things both we and others do, that damages others, our world, and upsets our relationship with the God of the universe!”
 

Pain, injustice, limiting abilities, bad choices, “immoral acts” are all lumped into this category of evil aren’t they?
 

Then we tend to divide evil into things that are naturally evil (which are things that do evil as a result of some force of nature such as a tsunami) and things that aren’t naturally evil so by some peoples definition are called "morally" evil.
 

The shooting in Tucson is case in point of something we would call an evil event. It is an example of an event that some people would say points out there is no God.

If there was a God, wouldn’t he intervene to stop such senseless and horrendous violence?
 

Another case in point is the Holocaust! Surely a loving God, that is all powerful, and all capable would stop such a horrible thing from happening?
 

I guess in simple terms this huge argument is best explained in simple terms that are easy to understand.
 

Most of us know what it is to be loved in some way! We love others, for example our parents or children or someone significant in our lives.

We desire their love don’t we?
 

What if we found out they had no ability to make up their mind, and all they could do is follow instructions?

What if we found out they were merely following instructions and that underneath this apparent love was no emotion, only pre-programmed responses.

How would we feel?

Then add to that, what if we could change those pre-programmed instructions to cause them to do exactly what we wanted without any rebellion from them?
 

How long do you think we would enjoy that type of relationship?

I suggest it would be shallow and fairly short lived!
 

To really have someone love us, or for us to love someone, they have to be able to rebel and chose against our will based on their own free will, don’t they?
 

It is the choice of others not to rebel against us that makes true love possible isn't it?


If that is the case, an all powerful, all knowing God, who wants eternal relationships (and that’s for a long time) of love, would have to establish the ability to choose in any person or creature with which a loving relationship was to be established. Right?

In other words, evil needs to be allowed in order for true free will and love to be established!
 

This imperfect world is the cost of true love!

What about the pain of evil?

God cannot intervene with the existence of evil and can only enable us, once we have chosen the loving relationship (and not before), to limit the ability of the evil that is in existance to further damage us!
 


God provides a way to endure the evil and overcome it, turning some of the most evil events for ultimate good!


That’s what God did in Jesus!
 

So unfortunately we have to deal with evil in the form of pain, injustice, limiting abilities, bad choices, and “immoral acts” in this life, but we also have love, caring, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, loyalty, respect and many other attributes to counter the evil!
 

My heart goes out to the people hurt and loosing loved ones in that Tucson massacre, and similarly for the victims, survivors and those lost in the holocaust, but my prayer is that we as decision makers will continue to try and choose good over evil more effectively each day, making this place a better place to be!
 

That is my free choice today! Want to join me in improving our world?
Thu, January 13, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ark of the Covenant – part 3 – Reconciliation?
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Reconciliation requires changes of heart and spirit, as well as social and economic change. It requires symbolic as well as practical action.
Malcolm Fraser


 
Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace it shouldn't be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice.
Corazon Aquino 
 

Our nature is that no matter how much we want to get on with someone or how much we love them, we tend to do something at some point to hurt them, right?
 



There are days when we get up grumpy and not feeling so well, when the very act of getting out of bed seems to drag on us. That is probably the day we are most likely to commit this "unjust" activity and regret it moments later.

I have sure had days like that, and guess perhaps you have as well!

Those days when we just screw up our relationships with people important to us!

 

Making amends for actions like that is not easy, but very necessary.

We have to approach the other person and depending on the temperament they have, this can be difficult. 

They will put out protective behaviours
and we will have to show submission and love to get through and communicate our sorrow by asking forgiveness.

Not an easy activity, but a necessary one f we are to maintain healthy relationships.
 

In ancient times the Hebrew nation and God had set up a specific ritual that enabled this forgiveness process to occur between the people and God.

God does not make errors, and so never needs to say sorry, and that perhaps makes it even more difficult for us mere humans to come back to God and apologies.

To reconcile with God required primarily a change of heart and spirit, and because there was a covenant agreement (see previous blog on this subject), it also made it necessary that blood be spilt.
 
So, some animal was sacrificed (this cost was paid by the person saying sorry), and then cleanliness was necessary, and humble submission, as well as prayers needed to be said.

Once a year a high priest was allowed into the most holy place and inside he saw the ark. He went inside this Most Holy Place to reconcile the people to God!

On top of the ark box in the Most Holy Place was the “reconciliation” or “Amends making” cover. The actual name given was the "atonement cover".
 

It was made as follows…
 

Make 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.
 

If you have read my blog on Cherubim and Seraphim, you know these are dangerous and weird looking creatures that protect God. Six wings, four heads, eyes everywhere and hands under the wings. They move with the speed of lightening and are extremely powerful.

The cover had symbols of these creatures on it facing each other! 
 

They symbolized God’s ability to protect his holiness, and that we need to be very careful how we approach God after we have messed up!
 

The reconciliation cover separated the law, the manna and Aarons rod from God.

These items all showed us how mankind needed God and yet failed to do the right things God provided to bless us.

God places the cover between himself and our failings to show that once he accepts our humble request for forgiveness, they are no longer viewed by him and are out of sight regarding how he evaluates us.
 

The Cherubs show that approaching God with the wrong attitude is impossible!


In those days the High priest had to be sinless, clean, representing the society, and everyone had to have made the right sacrifices before he went inside. Screw up’s in this area resulted in death of the High Priest.
 

Today however, God himself takes on the high priest role, and Jesus is also the one who pays for the selfish, nasty and ignorant things we do, he is the Sacrifice.

Not only that, Jesus stands between our human failings and God and shields us from God’s anger at sin (Selfish nasty and ignorant things we do).
 

So God does everything through Jesus!

Then when we read Jesus' life story we see how Jesus healed sick, wanted the poor and widows fed, wanted people to love each other, and helped every sincere person who approached him!
 

So to be reconciled with God, we have to trust and come to Jesus! We need to be like Jesus!
 
Simple to attempt, but the problem actually as difficult to me as approaching a person I have wronged terribly!

I have to come to God in humble submission and ask for forgiveness and accept it is given.

It’s no use asking for forgiveness, and then carrying on the same way as before is there? In human terms we are asking to make things worse! In heavenly terms it is far worse!


 
I find the ark is an amazing symbol that reflects heaven, enabling me to see how to approach God with actions that while are symbolic, are practical and help me change my heart and spirit, as well as address social and economic imbalances in the world around me.  


I thank God for the ark and for Jesus!

How about you?

Oh, and if we have wronged someone, I guess we know that humility, sacrifice, right attitude and actually talking to them accepting blame goes along way to setting things right!

Have a great day!

Wed, January 12, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pain can be good! Sometimes!
Pain can be good! Sometimes!

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                         "We cannot learn without pain."  
                                        Aristotle   

                              
"Pain is inevitable.
                              Suffering is optional." 
 
                                     Anonymous
  
  

Having just finished a climbing competition, where I was the oldest competitor by far, I have numerous sore muscles that I never knew existed!  

This morning as I lifted the spoon to take cereal from my bowl to my mouth, my forearm muscles ached, clear evidence that my fingers had overworked clutching rocks to stop my (slightly overweight) frame from coming off that rock wall and hitting the floor.

Unfortunately, that happened more often than I liked, but it was not sufficient to stop me and many others from getting up and trying all over again!
 

Those of us that do rock climbing as a sport are very aware that “No pain, no gain!” is a silent creed we all have to live by to improve. 

For climbers its obvious that grabbing at rocks often removes skin from fingers! Muscles throughout the torso are used, particularly when we get to those "stick to the ceiling" type rock challenges that strain every finger, every toe, legs, arms and stomach muscles. Everything gets worked to the extreme and beyond!

Even our neck muscles get worked out, straining to see what is going on and where our next hand or foot hold is, while hanging like a bat under some overhang!
  

Only by working through that pain can we succeed!
 

But do we suffer? 

No!

We do this activity with joy,
the challenge of living to the full, the adrenaline rush of achievement, and the camaraderie of others calling out encouragement and shouting support all go to build this into an enjoyable experience like no other!

 This is how we as Christians take on life as well. 

Living is not easy and has challenges. Many are painful, and to get to the next level of our lives we have to stick to the correct route despite wanting to give up.

The comradarie of other people who love Jesus support us and we have the internal power of Holy Spirit giving us the ability to go on when it appears we cannot.

The challenges of life are set by God at the exact level for us to achieve because he says…
 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

 Jesus doesn’t say there is no burden, only that we will find it less difficult if we walk with him! We can enjoy our life challenge as a Christian and it doesn’t crush us! We just have to do it with him! 

Now that’s a great way to live today isn’t it? 
Tue, January 11, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, January 10, 2011

What is the Ark of the covenant? (Part 2)
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 To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams.-Giorgio de Chirico

 
Can art take us into the eternal?

 
Friday I discussed the initial descriptions of the ark of the covenant that was carried through the desert by those ancient Hebrews and which resided in the most holy place on earth from their perspective.

 
There is a prophecy regarding the ark that goes like this… 

Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. – Jeremiah 3:14-17 (NIV 2010)


 
This says that the Ark of the covenant will pass out of the limelight of our interest and there will not be another made like it. The next time we will see it is in heaven… 

Revelation 11:19

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.
 

The temple in heaven will contain the ark of the covenant!
 
 

So what is this object?
 

We have seen it is a box of thorn tree wood,  with feet, covered in pure gold, with rings on the feet into which poles again covered with gold are inserted to carry it. It was about the size of a coffee table and stood about as high as a table.


 
What was put inside this container?  

God said “Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.”

So the ten commandments on two stone tablets were inside.
 

Moses also got told by God “So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come.”
 

“As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved.”
Exodus 25 (NIV 2011 version)
 

This means at some point of time it had a jar of Manna in it as well!
 
Then we are also told…

Numbers 17:10

The LORD said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.”


 
and

 

Hebrews 9:4

which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.


 
Which means Aaron’s staff was also inside the ark at times!

 
Three objects!
Three projections from reality to the eternal!

Three Agreements!

 

We need to look at what these meant to the people at the time, and what it means now!

 

The Manna was the bread of life that fell from the sky daily and kept them alive! If it stopped, then they would die! So this bread symbolized and agreement between God and the people he would sustain them.


 
The covenant promise is fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is the bread of life from heaven (he gave himself that nickname when he walked around on earth). Through him we are sustained and keep alive in God daily. Without him being in our lives daily we die spiritually! 

So what about this staff of Aaron. (This is the name for an old stick people use to lean on). Well it got into the ark as part of a dispute between the Hebrew people and their leadership. They were saying the priest chosen by God was not good enough! So god got the different tribes to take sticks, put their names on them and put them in front of the ark. The stick that budded was the one of the tribe chosen to serve God on behalf of the people. Aarons stick budded showing the tribe of Levi would be the priests. Jesus was of that line.


 
It was a reminder that God is in control even when we rebel! He promises to guide us through our rebellion if we accept his guidance! 

To us today, it also speaks of a tree that was of dead wood that they hoisted a man up onto to kill him. But out of that death can resurrected life and huge power that fills eternity!
 

Lastly there was the Law!

People wanted to be told what to do so God put together the guidelines and they agreed to follow them. In fact each person of the ancient tribe would be part of a huge gathering of people who would stand before the high priest and God and say


 
Exodus 19:8 All of the people answered together. They said, "We will do everything the Lord has said." 

But they didn’t, and we don’t do what God asks us either. In fact, but failing they were calling down a dark curse put together in an earlier time, in Genesis 15 it explains the setting of the covenant (covenant is a fancy word for agreement). It says…
 

So the Lord said to him, "Bring me a young cow. Also bring a goat and a ram. All of them must be three years old. Bring a dove and a young pigeon along with them."
 

 
Abram brought all of them to the Lord. Abram cut them in two. He placed the halves opposite each other. But he didn't cut the birds in half. Then large birds came down to eat the dead bodies of the animals and birds. But Abram chased the large birds away.
 

 
As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. A thick and terrible darkness covered him.
 

 
Then the Lord said to him, "You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. Your children who live after you will be strangers in a country that does not belong to them. They will become slaves. They will be treated badly for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with all kinds of valuable things
.


 
This is what had happened already so now they looked to the next part of what happened.

 
The sun set and darkness fell. Then a burning torch and a fire pot filled with smoke appeared. They passed between the pieces of the animals.

 
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. He said, "I am giving this land to your children after you.

 
Okay, so what was happening? We don’t do this anymore so it seems weird and out of a witches manual.

 
In those days if you made an agreement with another powerful person you split a few animals and put the two parts on either side. Then both parties stepped into the middle and agreed that if they broke the agreement their Gods and associates could do to them what they had done to the animals. They would be killed and their blood spilt if they broke the agreement. A real gory vivid example of what could happen!

 
So basically God had an agreement with the Hebrews to make them a special people and give them a special spot in history, if they kept the covenant.

 
They didn’t keep the agreement so they deserved to die horribly! Instead, God allowed them to offer animals death in place of their own at the entrance to the most holy place. They even screwed up on this! 

Now the interesting thing is that the only person who made the agreement was God. He symbolically passed between the pieces, not Abraham. God the Father took both Man's side and God's side of the agreement!

When Jesus became man (although he was God), God paid the price for failing that covenant as Jesus died horribly!

This was done so that no animals needed to ever be sacrificed again and so that we simply by acknowledging Jesus is God, could be included in the agreement and it’s resolution.
 

The law shows us we fail, but God’s grace in Jesus shows us love conquers fear and death and sin!
 

Now that’s a good thing to start the day with, right?
Mon, January 10, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

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Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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  • Published: September, 2010
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