Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sometimes it's easy to miss the obvious...continued

The other day I shared how while I was studying the ground beneath my deer stand with a pair of binoculars, looking for tracks, a deer stepped into my field of view out of no where.  I had almost missed the obvious.

My attention was focused on a tiny patch of soil and because it was, the deer were able to move in from another direction and surprise me.  Is it possible we imagine God to be in the big stuff and so miss his presence in the little things?  Is it possible that we look for Him to sweep in and rescue us from difficulty when all along He is above us, sheltering us with His wings to see us THROUGH the storm?

The unescapable reality is that God is so much bigger than we could ever imagine and his love for us so perfect and complete that we cannot begin to fathom it's depths.

If God is in all things...and He is, then we do not have to study a patch of ground through binoculars to look for him.  We need to expect and confess that He is indeed there.  If we do not see Him it is our vision that is flawed and not His presence that is missing.  We need to learn to look through eyes of faith instead of binoculars.

If God loves us...and He does,  God's love for us is perfect, it is guided by His perfect wisdom.  We do not need to be anxious for what tomorrow holds.  Smooth sailing or rough seas, God is shaping us to be the person He can use.  God had not stopped loving Jonah while he was in the belly of the whale.

Don't miss the obvious.  God is within reach and He loves you with an EVERLASTING love.  We just need to look through eyes of faith to see Him and rest secure in His love no matter life's circumstances.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sometimes it's easy to miss the obvious...

I was hunting this morning, I hunt most mornings during deer season, even if only for an hour.  I've seen plenty of deer this year but have not harvested any game yet.  It's not always about taking a shot.  I love the time in the woods, God's creation, the time to think and pray.  From my tree stand I can usually see deer coming from quite a ways off, I pride myself in knowing what to look for, a horizontal line in a forest of vertical, a flicker of white, the slightest movement.  I love being able to watch the deer without them ever knowing I'm there.

After the sun had been up for a while I decided to study a sandy spot just beneath my stand.  Tracks there will give a good indication as to the number, size and direction of the deer.  It had rained pretty good the day before so I knew any tracks would be fresh.  After taking a careful 360 degree look all around to make sure there wasn't anything coming, I turned my attention on the sandy area.  I couldn't see anything with the my naked eye so I decided to take a closer look using some binoculars.  As I studied the dirt just 15 yards away I was shocked to see a leg step into my field of view!  I slowly lowered the binoculars and sure enough there was a BIG doe and a yearling not 10 yards away from my tree.  How did that happen?

Sometimes the obvious can sneak up on us...or we can miss something altogether because we are to focused on something else.

I wonder if that is how Israel missed the Messiah they had been looking for.  Did tunnel vision and a preconceived notion of what He SHOULD look like blind them to his presence?  And before we get all high and mighty and imagine that we would never ever make the same mistake, is it possible we miss God sometimes for the same reason?  Check back to discover what God is teaching me about watching for him.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Learned an important lesson today...

Sue and I went to our first Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, see post from September 7, 2011) celebration.  There were about 80 Russian speaking Jews in attendance.  Good food, russian folk music and dancing AND they decorated a sukkot, booth.

The celebration culminated in one of the men waving the lulav and etrog while reciting the customary blessing.  Before blessing the sukkot he gave a detailed explanation in both english and russian as to the meaning of the booth.  I will confess, I found myself wondering why he was explaining everything in such detail to "Russian Jews"?  They were Jewish after all, didn't they already know about the booth, the Lulav and Etrog?  Didn't they understand this important celebration of God's provision for His people during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness?

As he finished I found a coworker and asked, "Why explain to them what they most certainly already know?" and the answer, "They don't have a clue.  They are Russian and they are Jewish (in nationalistic heritage) but they are also atheists.  Who would have thought you would have to explain a very Jewish ceremony to a bunch of Jewish folks?

Which brings me to the "important lesson".  Never, never ever assume what the other person knows or doesn't know.  How many "good" people go to the grave without Christ because we just assumed?  They went to church, they talked the talk and walked the walk.  They carried a Bible, bowed their head before meals, never swore, lived a seemingly moral life...but without knowing Jesus.

Eternity is to important to leave to chance.  Unless they tell you they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ...assume they don't and respond accordingly.  Share the Good News someone once shared with you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I do not understand why...

I do not understand why,
     You are so willing to listen to me, when I so seldom listen for you.

I do not understand why,
     You take the time to speak to me, when I almost never make time to visit with you.

I do not understand why,
     You would want to come to me, when I am so reluctant to come to you.

I do not understand why,
     You are so patient with me, when I am in such a hurry when spending time with you.

I do not understand why, 
     You were so quick to love me, when I have been so slow to respond to that love.

I do not understand why,
     You so consistently forgive me, when I am so quick to disobey you.

I do not understand why, 
     You choose to use me in your plan, when apart from you I am so useless.

I do not understand why,
     You are so anxious to lift me up, when I am so quick to tear you down.

I do not understand why, 
     You were willing to die for me, when I have been so resistant to live for you.

I do not understand why,
     You would call me son, but I am thankful to be able to call you Father.

I do not understand why,
     You saved me from my sin, but I am grateful for your unending mercy.

I do not understand why,
     You have blessed me so abundantly, but I am grateful for your unmerited grace.

     If you think of others...feel free to post them as a comment...but don't look for an answer from me, cause I just don't really know all that much.  I'm sure there is MUCH more that I do not understand, but I am grateful that I belong to One who has ALL the answers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I don't understand...

     Some say the beginning of wisdom is knowing what you don't know.  I like that, mostly because I think it means I am on the verge of becoming very wise.  Let me explain. 
     In elementary school, somewhere about 1st or 2nd grade, you realize how much "stuff" there is out there that you don't know and so you begin learning.  High school and teen years come along and you figure you've learned everything worth knowing and adults are just stupid for keeping track of so much "worthless" information.  Eventually, somewhere in your 20's, you hit a happy medium of feeling adequately intelligent coupled with the reality that there are things in this world that you don't know.
     However, as you get into your senior years, and self examination sets in, you realize just how much there is, that's important, that you don't have a clue about.  I've crossed into that life stage now.  I have significantly more questions than I do answers.  Oh, I still remember my times tables and I think I can go all the way to 12x12 in less than 3 minutes.  I know that WWII came AFTER WWI and I know who we were fighting.  It's the bigger less obvious stuff that has got me wondering now.

     Last night I gathered with almost 30 adults from our church to pray for our church.  It was an incredible time of blessing, brokeness, repentence, and claiming God's promises for His church.  We sat in a circle and went around the room.  I was about 20th in line to pray and while I tried to listen to what others were praying the Holy Spirit was speaking to me and I could not help but listen.

     What He kept saying, over and over again was, "You really don't know very much at all, do you?  BUT I do, so trust me."  Tomorrow I will share with you what the Holy Spirit told me I didn't know, be sure to check back to find out just how clueless I am...

Friday, October 7, 2011

And Now, for the rest of the story...

If you will recall the other day, I asked the question, "Why is it so hard to accept a gift?"  If you didn't see that post, scroll down and catch up before you proceed.

Here is how the rest of the conversation between myself and Mr. Levine went: 
     Mr. Levine:  Wait (now reaching for the basket and card) maybe it was meant for me...Levine is my    
          name and we do know Mr. & Mrs. John Doe. (significantly more likeable at this point)
     Me: Yes sir.
     Mr. Levine: Well that's really nice, to get a New Year gift. (hint of a smile now)
     Me:  Yes sir, and you didn't even have to have surgery to get it.  (handing over the basket and the card)
     Mr. Levine:  Yeah, no surgery. (big smile)
     Me:  Have a sweet and happy new year Mr. Levine, shalom...(walking away)
     Mr. Levine: (still standing staring at the basket and card) Yeah, thank you.

So why did he make it so hard, why did he almost give up the gift?  Two things come to mind.  Mr. Levine didn't understand the purpose of the gift or the motive of the giver.  Let's consider the gift first.

He wasn't expecting anything.  He was sure his neighbor was.  She had a greater need (recovery).  He imagined, "my need is not as great."  So, because he misunderstood the gift he almost missed it.  Secondly he misunderstood the motive of the giver.

I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that part of Mr. Levine's reluctance was because he imagined that he was gonna owe someone something for this gift that wasn't even his.  Nobody gives anything away was the message I got from him.  Now for the application.

I wonder how many people reject the cross because they either don't understand the gift or the motive of the giver...or both?

Be assured of this, the cross has no greater purpose than to make you "right" or innocent before a Holy God.  Jesus died in your place that you might be redeemed, purchased, from slavery to sin, to freedom in Him.

Be assured of this as well, the giver, God Himself, is motivated by His great love for you.  There is no hidden agenda, no trick.  You don't have to be good enough, have the right last name or belong to a certain church.  His goal is an eternal, personal love relationship with you...His child.

The choice is yours and it is simple.  Accept WHAT has been done for you and WHY He did it for you or reject it and in so doing commit to an eternity apart from the one who loves you more than any other.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why is it so hard?

Why do we find it so hard to accept a gift, especially a gift with no strings attached?  I was delivering Shalom Baskets, baskets filled with goodies and a wish for a sweet and happy Jewish New Year, in Atlanta last month.  The baskets are purchased through the Light of Messiah website for the purchasers Jewish friends.  Volunteers deliver them just before Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year.  All of my baskets were delivered without a hitch until the last one.  Mr. & Mrs. Doe had purchased a basket for their friends Mr. & Mrs. Levine (names have been changed to protect their privacy).  Here is how the meeting went after I rang the doorbell.

     Mr. Levine:  You've got the wrong house. (straight face, no emotion)
     Me: Are you Mr. John Levine?
     Mr. Levine:  Yes, but you've still got the wrong house. (slight bit of frustration in his voice)
     Me: Do you know a Mr. and Mrs. John Doe?
     Mr. Levine:  Yes, but I am sure you have the wrong house. (getting more frustrated, with me I assume)
     Me: Mr. Levine I am very sorry to have disturbed you, I was just going by...(trying to calm him down)
     Mr. Levine:  The lady next door had surgery yesterday, I am sure that is where you mean to be.
     Me: Actually this basket is not a get well basket, it was meant to wish someone, I thought you, a sweet and 
          happy new year, Rosh Hashana is right around the corner.  I am very sorry to have disturbed you, have a      
          good day...(turning to walk away)
Why was Mr. Levine so reluctant to accept a free gift?  I had his name right, I had his friends name right, I showed him the card with the correct address, HIS address on it.  So why didn't he want to accept it?

Check back to see how the story ends and my thoughts on his reluctance.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

They ran the wrong way...

There is no image more overwhelming in my memory of 9/11 then that of thousands of people running FROM the towers and handfuls of firemen and policemen running TO the unfolding disaster.  I have asked it hundreds of times, where do such men and women come from?  Even after the first tower fell and it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before the second collapsed, rescuers ran INTO the danger...

My pastor asked the question this morning, "Do you think the rescuers went in looking only for a certain skin color, believing one race more worthy of a second chance than another?  Did they look for Christians who needed help over Muslims?  Did they push toward the upper floors because that was where all the 6 figure income folks were?"  Or...did they rescue indiscriminately?  The question is absurd, it was meant to be, the answer obvious.

I wonder...

The lost are dying all around us.  Oh, they walk and talk or even laugh...but they are dying.  They are dying without Christ and at least some...maybe even many, are dying without Christ because no one has ever bothered to share with them God's unconditional love manifested in His Son Jesus Christ.  Is it possible they've not heard because we are reluctant to share with those who are different than we, or we imagine them to be not quite so worthy as someone else?

I pray it will be said of me one day that I ran in while others ran out.  I pray that the church, the Bride of Christ will be known for "indiscriminate rescues"  I pray we are running the "wrong way".  Toward the dead and dying no matter their race, beliefs or financial status.  I pray we will be found worthy.  May we be driven to action by the example of unselfish sacrifice of New York's finest 10 years ago today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Feast of Booths or Tabernacles

It has been quite a journey.  Seven annual festivals or holidays, each one, by way of it's rehearsal, meant to remind Israel of a significant event in their relationship with Yahweh, the God of Israel.

The Spring Festivals:
     Passover or Pesach - Angel of Death passed over Israel because of the lamb's blood
     Unleavened Bread or HagHaMatzot - No leaven in the bread as it represents sin
     First Fruits or Yom HaBikkurim - Bringing in as offering, the first part of a harvest
     Pentecost or Shavuot - The giving of the Law to Moses and Israel
The Fall Festivals
     Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah - New Year, time of repentance and the start of God's judgment
     Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur - The completion of God's judgment, sealing Man's fate
and finally:
     Feast of Booths/Tabernacles or Sukkot...

A booth or tabernacle is just another name for a tent.  A sukkot was a four walled temporary shelter covered with flora.  The Feast of Booths was to remind Israel of their 40 years of wondering in the desert, of God's sheltering hand as they moved closer and closer to the Promised Land.  Still today, religious Jews construct a small shelter and take their meals and even sleep there during the Feast of Booths.

In the course of our discussion on the seven annual holidays we've learned that each festival also had a FUTURE significance for Israel, for ALL men.  Passover, the shed blood of Jesus.  Unleavened Bread, the sinless broken body of Jesus. First Fruits, His resurrection, the first of many.  Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Each of these Spring Festivals have already been fulfilled in Jesus, while the Fall Festivals have yet to be fulfilled.  Festival of Trumpets, His return for the believer.  Day of Atonement, His judgment of all men.  Finally, the Feast of Booths, Sukkot, a future time when Jesus shall rule from Jerusalem and we shall find rest in His shelter.  Zechariah 14:16-19 makes clear that there is a day coming when ALL nations, not just Israel, will celebrate the Feast of Booths, as they find perfect rest, perfect shelter in the Lord of Hosts and King of Kings!

There is only one way to be assured a place of rest in His care on that day, have you been covered by the blood of The Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Only two to go!

Looking back we started this journey in Leviticus chapter 23 and discovered that God had given the infant nation of Israel holidays that they were to celebrate or "rehearse" before the nations that God might be revealed to all men.  The King James called these "holy convocations".  The first was the Sabbath, a weekly remembrance but the other seven were annual festivals or feasts.

We have already looked at Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost, the four Spring Festivals.  We noted that while each pointed back and reminded Israel of something God had already done, each also was a picture of what the coming Messiah WOULD do and now has done.

Several days ago we looked at Rosh HaShanah, the first of the three fall festivals.  Also called the Festival of Trumpets, Rosh HaShanah was a call to individual and national repentance.  The Festival was announced with the blowing of the shofar horn and initiated a period of 10 days of seeking forgiveness, both from God and man.  This 10 day period is known as Yamin Norim or Days of Awe.  The last day of Yamin Norim ushers in Yom Kippur.

It is believed that on Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, God considers the repentance that has been made during Yamin Norim and makes final judgment on a man's life for the coming year.  His name will either be sealed in the "Book of Life" or the "Book of Death" until a new Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur the following year.

Just as Rosh HaShana or Festival of Trumpets is a picture of the time when Christ will return for his believers "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet..." Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement points forward to that time that we shall be judged, and that judgment will determine our eternity.  Fortunately, for the believer that judgment is not based on our sin, but instead on Christ's blood.  Our sin has been atoned for.  Our repentance and acceptance of Christ's death on the cross for our sins has made us righteous before a Holy God, and thus our eternity with Him is secured in Christ.

The Festival of Trumpets points forward to Christ's return for his church.  The Day of Atonement foreshadows our being judged...innocent by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ.  The seventh and final festival is the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles.  Now what do you suppose that is all about?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9/11 Ten years later...

Below is the White House press release which tells Americans how we ought to remember the events and players of September 11, 2001.

“A chief goal of our communications is to present a positive, forward-looking narrative,” 

“As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world. We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London.”

Just a few random thoughts:

1.  Al Qaeda and Muslims fueled by hate are empowered by "peaceful" Muslims worldwide who do not take a stand against attacks like this.  We need to wise up and acknowledge once and for all, Islam is NOT a peaceful religion.  The Qur'an is filled with hate and the Muslims of 9/11 were simply following it's teachings.

2.  Al Qaeda and Muslim extremists, empowered by the silent Muslim masses, where not aiming at the "citizens of over 90 countries".  They were aiming at Americans and ONLY Americans.  Now they got a whole lot more than that, but they were only after us. 

3.  "Perished"...that seems so sterile doesn't it?  They were and then they were not, all just kinda peaceful.  Let's be certain of this, some, in the jets, once they figured out what was happening, died terrified.  Some died by a horrific explosion and fire...some instantly, many slowly.  Many, with no way out, died on impact with the ground after a 700 foot or higher terror filled plunge.  Some died a slow excruciating death under tons of rubble.  I'm sorry, "perished" just doesn't cut it for me.

4.  "Resilient"...I wonder if the thousands who lost a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother or good friend would describe themselves as resilient?  I'll bet there are a hundred other words they would use first.  heartbroken, grieved, lonely, sorrow filled, unconsolable, empty, distraught, angry, confused, lost...shall I go on?

It seems the whole plan is that we all just be happy friends with the world and forget what happened and move on.  Do not miss my point, we do need to move on, but we should never, NEVER forget or we will be doomed to fall prey to hate filled evil again and again.  The truth is there are those out there who will do ANYTHING to attack and destroy our way of life...if we forget that...they may succeed.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trumpets, Atonement and Booths...

The Jewish Spring Festivals set forth in Leviticus 23 are Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost.  Each was a reminder of God's dealing with the nation of Israel as He led them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.  Those sacred rehearsals ALSO foreshadowed the coming Messiah's earthly ministry.  Passover His shed blood, Unleavened Bread His sinless sacrifice, First Fruits His resurrection and Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit.

With the Spring Festivals complete we are left with the three Fall festivals that are recorded for us in Leviticus 23.  If the Spring festivals completed the picture of Jesus' earthly ministry with the giving of the Holy Spirit, what of the Fall festivals?  Maybe they highlight some FUTURE ministry of Jesus, yet to be realized.  The first festival is The Feast of Trumpets, it is the beginning of the Jewish civil New Year also known as Rosh HaShanah.  It is the first of the seventh month, Tishri, in the Jewish religious calendar but it marks the beginning of a new year of accountability for Israel.

Rosh HaShanah or Festival of Trumpets is heralded in with the blowing of the Shofar horn.  The Shofar horn itself is a reminder to Israel that God honored Abraham's obedience in his willingness to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice by providing a ram instead, caught by his horn in a thicket.  Rosh HaShanah is a call to individual and national repentance.  But could the trumpet have some future significance?  "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed."  1 Corinthians 15:52 ESV

Jesus physically left this world that He might go to prepare a place for those who love Him.  We are told that when he returns for His own it will be "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." Do not be mislead into thinking that Jesus' ministry was complete with His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  He is coming again for all those, Jew and Gentile, who have placed their hope in His shed blood on Calvary's Cross, and the promise of the empty tomb.

The Feast of Trumpets is a call to repentance BECAUSE Jesus is coming again.  Will you be ready when the Shofar horn is blown on that great day?

Monday, August 29, 2011

A tale of two pictures...

Two pictures from Face Book over the last couple of days.  One a picture of some shoreline (on the left) with a terrible storm (on the right) rolling in.  The second, a single sentry guarding the Tomb of the Unknown.

The tale of the first.  Saw this one a bunch of times, it seemed to pop up everywhere.  At least one version said it was hurricane Irene preparing to come ashore in North Carolina and gives credit to WILX News.  There is just soooo much wrong here.  1. WILX is in Lansing Michigan, I know that cause I used to live there and I googled it.  Now that does not mean the picture is not theirs, but it starts to raise doubt.  2.  That is NOT North Carolina.  I did a little research and saw it listed as Pensacola, Florida.  Googled images for "pensacola beach" and got this website:   It is the same shoreline from the "North Carolina" Irene photo.  3.  I am not a meteorologist, but even I know that is no hurricane.  There is no rotation and hurricanes are ALL about rotation.  That is a sharply defined front more closely associated with a thunderstorm.  And that apparently is a shelf cloud...NOT associated with hurricanes.  I am just an idiot, but even I knew this was a fake, so why did it get so much mileage.

The tale of the second.  An unnamed (and he probably wants it that way) soldier of the Old Guard, assigned to the Tomb of the Unknown, guarding the unidentified remains, of soldiers long since dead, in the midst of a terrible storm (Irene or otherwise), against the possibility of...who knows what, with a rifle that will take several hours to dry and clean and a uniform that will require days of attention after being soaked........seen on only a few pages thus far.

Just two questions.  Why the disparity in reposting thus far?  Where do such men come from?

Enough said.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wrapping up the Spring festivals...

Leviticus 23 challenges Israel to rehearse God's appointed times on an annual basis.  The goal is that God would be revealed to the rest of the world by what He had done and that additionally the promised Messiah would be foreshadowed in the celebrations.

The Sabbath or Shabbat was the only WEEKLY convocation or rehearsal and reminded Israel and thus the world that God created for six days and rested the seventh, we should take a break once in awhile as well.  The next seven festivals were to be celebrated annually and the first four were in the Spring.  Passover/Pesach reminded Israel of the lambs blood that marked their door posts but it also foreshadowed the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread/HagHaMatzot was celebrated one day later and was a reminder of the flat bread that the Israelites carried with them as they left Egypt.  It also pointed forward to the bread of life, Jesus Christ, whose body was broken in our place.  First Fruits/Yom HaBikkurim was the third day of Passover.  It was an opportunity for Israelites to bring to God the first part of their harvest in the Promised Land but it also promised that Jesus' resurrection form the dead would be the first of many.  Those who trust in His atoning death cannot be held by the grave.  Which brings us to the fourth festival, the last of the Spring Festivals.

Shavuot or Pentecost was a commemoration of God's giving the Torah to the people of Israel.  Shavuot was to be celebrated 50 days after Passover, Pentecost means "fiftieth day".  Passover marked Israel's release from Egypt.  Pentecost or Shavuot, 7 weeks later, marked the receiving of the Torah and becoming a nation committed to serving God.  Shavuot marked the end to the Passover season.  Is it coincidence that seven weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to indwell His own...on the day of Pentecost?  Certainly not.

Four Spring festivals or sacred rehearsals, Passover - the blood, Unleavened Bread - sinless, First Fruits - resurrection, Pentecost - indwelling.  Four rehearsals, four events in the ministry of Jesus Christ.  Three fall festivals yet to look at, three events in the ministry of Jesus Christ yet to be fulfilled...stay tuned.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Well this just ticks me off!

Fox news is reporting that first responders, fireman, policeman, paramedics and rescue teams have NOT been invited to the Ground Zero 9/11 10th anniversary ceremony.  Ironic that so many died there that day running into what was almost certain death would not be invited.  Maybe Mayor Bloomberg didn't invite them because he didn't think there were any left alive...though I doubt it.

THEN, as if to throw gas on the fire, Bloomberg has decided that there is no place for religion during the ceremonies and thus no clergy have been invited. WHAT!  Apparently there is room for a mosque at ground zero, A MOSQUE, a house of worship for those whose religion incites hatred toward ALL non muslims...but no room for clergy at the ceremony.  Well, at least no room for living ones, most will remember the picture of FDNY Chaplain Mychal Judge being carried from the rubble, his lifeless body gently borne by fellow fire fighters.  I guess the Mayor does not want people to remember that Christians were there ministering with love and compassion where muslims fueled by the Qur'an's hatred had just made so many widows, widowers and orphans.

It just doesn't get any STUPIDER than this.  I promise to get back to the "Holy Rehearsals" tomorrow, but I just needed to blow off some steam.

Thanks for reading/following.  Please consider joining this blog by becoming a member.  Just click the "join this site" button to the right so I'll know you're out there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We take a break from our regular postings for this breaking news...

The Obama administration has just confirmed that the DC earthquake occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line, apparently known as "Bush's Fault". Obama also announced that the Secret Service and Maxine Waters will continue their investigation of the quake's suspicious ties to the Tea Party. More on this story as additional innuendo and baseless claims become available...stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And now for Yom HaBikkurim...huh?

Leviticus 23 is God's divinely directed calendar.  God tells Moses and the nation of Israel to celebrate His appointed "holy convocations" or sacred rehearsals to proclaim Him among the nations.  The first is the Sabbath or Shabbat, a weekly reminder of rest.  The remaining 7 feasts are annual.

The first of the annual festivals is Pesach or Passover, a remembrance of how the angel of death spared the Israelites who obediently covered their doorposts with the blood of a lamb.  However, it also pointed forward to a NEW passover lamb, Jesus Christ whose shed blood would redeem all who accepted it back into fellowship with God.  The second annual feast is HagHaMatzot or the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This was celebrated the day after Passover began and was a reminder of the unleavened bread that the Israelites took with them as they escaped Egypt, unleavened because there was no time to let it rise.  It also looked to the future, to the Bread of Life, to the one who was sinless (no leaven), whose body would be broken, just as the bread was, to provide for our salvation.

Which brings us to the third of the annual festivals, the Feast of Firstfruits or Yom HaBikkurim.  Pesach began on the 14th of Nisan, the 15th of Nisan was HagHaMatzot and on the 16th, the 3rd day of Passover Israel was told to celebrate Firstfruits.  They were to celebrate the first part of the harvest in the Promised Land, the land God promised them.  Firstfruits was also meant to be the future celebration of the Messiah's resurrection.  Jesus blood was shed on the first day of Passover, His sinless body, the bread, was broken and in the grave on the second day of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Then, against all odds Jesus is resurrected on Firstfruits, the third day of Passover.  Three festivals, holy rehearsals that God had ordained centuries before suddenly given new life.  Jesus was the first of the resurrected, the first of many, a firstfruit.

These three plus one more are Spring festivals and then there are 3 Fall festivals.  What could these remaining 4 point forward to?  Wasn't Jesus' earthly ministry completed in His resurrection?  Check back to find out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And now for another Holy Rehearsal...

Leviticus 23 challenges Israel to rehearse God given holidays or festivals as a way of proclaiming Him to the rest of the world.  That rehearsal can look back, forward or both.  The first festival was the Sabbath or Shabbat, a weekly reminder that God created in six days and rested the seventh and so should we.  The remaining seven festivals are annual and the first was Passover or Pesach.

Pesach was a reminder for Israel to look back and remember how God "passed over" Jewish homes, marked with the blood of a lamb, as he brought judgment on Egypt.  It was also a rehearsal for what was to come, a passover lamb, Jesus, that came to die once for all.

The second annual festival that God ordained in Leviticus 23:6 was the Feast of Unleavened Bread or HagHaMatzot.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th day of Nisan, just 24 hours after Passover.  It is a reminder that there was no time to allow bread dough to rise as they escaped Egypt after the angel of death destroyed Egypt's first born.

The leaven that was left out of the bread was a picture of sin, just as a little leaven will cause a lump of dough to become puffed up, so to just a little sin causes us to become puffed up and prideful in our own eyes.  So the leaven (sin) was purged from the home and the bread they took with them was flat.

A reminder for the escaping Jews that God directed that they be sustained with a bread without leaven AND a promise that one day he would provide a sinless sacrifice, Jesus, whose body would be broken just as the flat bread was broken to feed the entire family.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to Leviticus...

The opening verses of Leviticus 23 tell us that " Holy Convocation" in the original Hebrew is kodesh mikraw, a sacred rehearsal.  God is telling Israel to celebrate or rehearse these Holy holidays to proclaim or reveal Him to the world.

The first was the weekly Sabbath or Shabbat.  God created in six days and rested on the seventh...and so should we.

The remaining seven feasts or holidays are annual and the first is Passover or Pesach.  Verse 5 tells Israel that on the 14th day of the first month at twilight they are to rehearse the Lord's Passover.  The first month in the Jewish calendar is Nisan.  The timing was to commemorate Israel's exodus from Egypt.

The Israelites were to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that death would passover them.  Remember now, rehearsal can mean a look back, a look forward or both.  While the obedient Jew was to use Passover or Pesach as an opportunity to look back at what the Lord did, it was also meant to be a look forward at what the Lord WOULD do, send a NEW passover lamb, whose shed blood would cover their sin, our sin and cause death to passover.  Are you covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb?

Friday, August 19, 2011

And now for something...completely ridiculous...

O.k.  On camera presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry responds to a little boy's coached question, "Evolution is a theory that's out there, it has some gas in it" meaning it is one of many and has some credibility, then continues, "in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution because I believe you're smart enough to figure out which one is right." Great response right?  Answers the young boy's question honestly and accurately.  In fact the boy seems satisfied as he listens intently nodding his head.  That's when the boy's evolutionist mom prompts her son to ask Gov. Perry, "why don't you believe in science?"

I wonder is she is talking about the science of the NASA scientists?  You know the ones who Obama added to the ranks of the unemployed...except for the ones who came up with this:

NASA Study: Global Warming May Prompt Alien Attack, Commentary Magazine.

Yeah Gov. Perry, why dont you believe in the science of these kinda scientists?  By the way, I use that term scientist EVER so loosely.  More on this later I am sure...unless either Jesus comes back or the aliens attack.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And now for something different...

Just a momentary break from the serious stuff for a minute.

Rick Santorum finished 4th in the Iowa straw poll on Saturday behind Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty and then had this to say, "I feel we're positioned EXACTLY (emphasis added) were we want to be."

Now there is a lot I like about the guy.  I haven't decided who I am going to vote for yet, though I am sure it will NOT be Obama, but I was considering Santorum along with the other runners...until now.

Seriously, being FOURTH is "exactly" were you want to be?  You didn't mean it's "acceptable" or "o.k." or "we'll live with it" or "we can do better" or "we're still in it"?  Do you get the picture?  Fourth is EXACTLY were he wants to be.  I'm sorry but I need a candidate with a better strategy than that. Because come November 2012, fourth is third loser, 4th doesn't pay at the track, there is no medal for fourth in the olympics.  Fourth means there were TWO losers who did BETTER than you.

I would even be disappointed to here Michele Bachmann, after getting 30 something percent of the vote say this is EXACTLY were we want to be at.  I would hope that 100% of the vote is EXACTLY were you want to be at.  That may be impossible or improbable, but it would be accurate.  Being EXACTLY someplace, ANYPLACE, means no where left to go, no room for improvement.

So, I've written Santorum off, sorry Rick.  I will be looking for the candidate who will be satisfied with nothing less than first place through the primary season and nothing short of the White House come November 2012.  Otherwise, we as Americans better get used to saying of our countries economy, strength, military might, and general overall standing in the world, "Fourth is exactly were we wanted to be...because from here fifth is very achievable."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Rehearse is one of those words that can go either way, it all depends on the context in which it was used.  You can rehearse a past event or story so as to celebrate or commemorate what DID happen.  But you can also rehearse so as to prepare or practice for some future event that WILL happen.  Or, I suppose, it is entirely possible that it could be both, looking back and looking forward.

For instance, in Leviticus 23:3 God institutes the Sabbath, or in Hebrew, Shabbat, which means to cease.  It certainly looks back to creation, six days of creating and a day of rest.  It's very celebration can be a reminder, rehearsal, that God worked six days and then took a break.  But it can also be a rehearsal for us to take a break once in a while...every seventh day, this week, next month, next year.

Verses 1 & 2 make it clear that the reason we are to "rehearse" the Sabbath or Shabbat is to proclaim it, show the world, set the example by rehearsing what was and what is to be.

Stand by, there are 7 more feasts or holidays Israel was to rehearse so as to proclaim...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Testament Awesome...

Leviticus 23:1-2 says, The Lord spoke to Moses , saying "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations, they are my appointed feasts."

A Holy Convocation, the original Hebrew is kodesh mikraw.  Kodesh is translated to holy, sacred, set apart, solem.  Whatever this "convocation" is it must be important because it is set apart, not common, very important.  Mikraw is translated to called out, public meeting, rehearsal.  Rehearsal?  A sacred rehearsal?

God appointed some holidays and they are to be a sacred rehearsal...what do you suppose that's all about?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And now for something spiritual...

I heard many years ago that the entire Bible could be summed up in two short passages.  The first is Genesis 22:7 when Isaac says to his father Abraham, "where is the lamb?"  Indeed, where is the lamb, the sacrifice, that thing that will make us right before a Holy God?  The Old Testament, at it's heart, is there to show us that we have a need and we can't meet it.  The second passage is John 1:29 when John the Baptist says of Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God."  The perfect sacrifice.  God provided Abraham with a ram to offer in place of Isaac.  God commanded Aaron to offer a goat to atone for Israel's sin.  The atonement for sin had to be made over and over again.  It was what God commanded but it was not perfect.  It wasn't supposed to be perfect.  In fact it was supposed to be imperfect, lacking, insufficient so that Israel would be watching for the promised Messiah who would make the perfect sacrifice once for all.  The Old Testament shows our need, the New Testament shows God's perfect provision.

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"  John 1:29

Thursday, August 11, 2011

They meant well...

Todays Rant & Rave in the Valdosta Daily Times has this entry: Thank you to Starbucks on St. Augustine! I somehow (stupidly) walked out of the house without my wallet on Friday and they gave me my order on the house!  It is nice to see some Southern hospitality!

Now, I think that was awesome, kind, good business...just plain good PR.  The world needs more people like that barista (coffee server).  However, I think the world is primarily full of people who will now show up next week...also having mysteriously forgotten THEIR wallet or purse.  My question for many people will walk away with a free one before Starbucks says enough is enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Presenting this Sunday at 1st Baptist Quitman...

I will be sharing "Jesus in the Tabernacle" and "Jesus in the Fall Festivals" this Sunday at 1st Baptist of Quitman Georgia at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Light of Messiah Ministries is an outreach to the Jewish community in the Greater Atlanta area, Georgia, and throughout the South East.  The ministry is two fold.  1.  We spend our time helping the God's chosen people to come to know His Son, Jesus as Messiah and Saviour.  2.  We also spend our time in the local church helping Gentile believers gain a deeper understanding of the rich Jewish heritage of our faith AND bring them to a point where they have a greater burden for the Jewish people who gave us Jesus.  Check us out at:

Mmmm, just coincidence?

Obama makes a BIG speech revealing that his plan is simply to blame the tea party who LOST the debt debate and the result was: the market crashed.  Jump forward just one day.  The White House is silent, Congress is on vacation and the result was: the market soars.  I'll decide.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

File this under stupid...

Fox News is reporting on a guy who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and Medicaid is refusing him coverage...because he is a male.  HUH!?!  Apparently it is Medicaid's position that because he is male his breasts are not susceptible to cancer.  It will probably take a woman getting testicular cancer before they wise up and cover a breast NO MATTER WHO IT IS ON!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Imagine this for a moment...

You hire a servant, for $10 a month.  Out of that $10 he/she is supposed to take care of certain necessities around the house and keep a little for themselves to live on.  At the end of the 1st month they point out to you that they have spent the $10 and obligated you to an additional $5.  Home security, green energy and their wages were all a bit more than anticipated.  You make a $100 a month, the house is secure, the lights on and they seem to be doing a good job so you give them $15, you still have $85, that seems fair and sufficient.  Halfway thru the 2nd month your hired servant tells you they are gonna need a total of $20 for the month.  You're not real keen on this because there are some things missing from the house, the lights flicker...and they, the servant, are getting kinda arrogant.  Two days into month 3 you are informed that costs have doubled for feeding the people from across the street who visit your home to look at what's left of YOUR stuff.  Green energy is so wonderful it requires you to underwrite it's further development so that energy companies don't have to spend their profits and the servant has increased their own salary AND retirement package.  You start month 4 by giving your servant $30, you have figured out how this works. While you have never been bothered by the neighborhood across town, they now own the mortgage on your home, the folks across the street have robbed you blind while you have fed them, you are spending a lot on candles and your servant is now ALLOWING you to keep almost half of what you earn.........It's time to get a new servant.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And So It Begins...

     Well, I have felt for sometime that I needed to start blogging.  I'm not sure why, I just thought I should.  I must confess that I am torn between 2 themes.  Do I write about spiritual matters, which are always swirling around in my brain?  Or, and I realize this is a HUGE leap, write about stupid things which are always trying to distract me from spiritual things?

     I suppose there is nothing wrong with doing both, besides, quite often the lines between the two are blurred.  Who knows, it may float off in other directions but at least this gives me a place to start...and so I shall, start that is.........