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Posts tagged ‘Israelite’

Remember to Remember!


I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands.
Psalm 143:5

Recommended Reading
Numbers 15:39-40 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2015:39-40&version=NKJV )

Part of aging is memory loss — sometimes it is significant, and other times it is subtle. So we exercise, eat right, lay off the sugar, read, do the crosswords, juggle, play Ping-Pong, and brush our teeth with our opposite hand — all proven to strengthen the brain. But the Israelites had a different memory tool: tassels. They wore tassels on their garments so they could “look upon [ them ] and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them” (Numbers 15:37-40). Something as simple as a tassel can remind us of God, His Word, and His faithfulness.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

You may not want to sew tassels on the hem of your garments, but there are plenty of other ways to remind yourself of what God has done in your life. The most permanent reminder is a written record — a diary, a journal, 3″ x 5″ cards, or notes you type on your computer. If Moses had to remind the Israelites to remember their rescue from Egypt (Exodus 13:3), how much more should we be writing down the less dramatic but equally memorable ways God has been faithful to us?

Are you keeping a record? In the challenging days of life, you will be encouraged to look back and remember how God met your needs and answered your prayers.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Philippians 1-4

By David Jeremiah.

Advent: Waiting for Jesus.


Worship Advent

What are you doing to prepare your congregation for Advent? (Lightstock)

There is a time in the liturgical Christian calendar called “ordinary time”—it is that time between Pentecost and the first Sunday of Advent and the few short weeks between New Year‘s and Ash Wednesday. The rest of the calendar is peppered with events. Each of these events is surrounded with tradition.

Tradition is important. We set up traditions to help us remember, to mark the passage of time and to tighten our sense of community. Like any event with three purposes, it is easy to lose focus.

Advent is about anticipation. What are you doing to help the people in your congregation anticipate Jesus this Christmas season?

How do you anticipate Christ’s arrival? Merriam Webster’s dictionary tells us that to anticipate is to “expect or look ahead to [something] with pleasure.”

There are times when life just seems hard. It can be in those seasons where we see lots of death or in the stretching seasons, when opposition comes from every direction. In those times, we are tempted to pull into ourselves and search for support from family and community. We might even look to the past, remembering “wins,” hoping that one will come again soon.

The Christmas season’s most powerful lesson is the anticipation of Christ (Advent). The people of Israel heard nothing from the prophets for roughly 400 years. Their faith seemed like a ritual, and God far away. Yet many continued to faithfully attend to worship and anticipate the Messiah.

Can you imagine a desire so consuming that you create the provision in your mind? The Israelites anticipated a military Messiah—instant freedom from their captors and validation. When Jesus showed up, even those who believed in Him waited for Him to reveal His military agenda.

When you are buried by bills, pressure and bad attitudes, how do you anticipate Christ’s arrival?

1. Practice thankfulness. Thankfulness is the foundation for true joy. Thankfulness is not gritting your teeth and choosing thankfulness. Instead, thankfulness looks for God’s presence and celebrates it.

2. Expect the unexpected. Jesus didn’t arrive as a victor but as a babe. He didn’t heal Lazarus but came when all hope was lost with a much greater prize in mind. He let the disciples row all night and then terrified them, walking on the water like a ghost.

3. Look for the signs. The wise men knew to look for Christ’s arrival. They saw His arrival indirectly, as the stars announced it. When Christ shows up, we can see the results often before we sense His presence.

4. Worship. The only way to be where you need to be when you need to be there is to keep the lines of communication with God open. We open ourselves to hear His voice best when we worship.

How will your practice of Advent help you anticipate Christ during the difficult times in the year ahead?.

Written by Kim Martinez

Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at deepimprints.com. She writes a regular column for ministrytodaymag.com.

 

Why Year-End Giving Is a Good Thing.


Money and Bible

Last week, a development leader of a $100-million-a-year ministry shared with me that 60 percent of their annual budget would be received in the last three months of the year, and much of that in December!

Some say it’s a shame Christian giving is influenced by the year-end tax calendar. In my opinion, this is not all bad. Our lives orbit around dates on the calendar. But what if God is actually OK with it?

We push hard Monday through Friday, and then we get a weekend rest and earn occasional breaks (Memorial Day, July 4, etc.). As we round out the year, we have more extended breaks—Thanksgiving, then Christmas.

The year-end holidays are favorites. For many families they bring extra days to hang out, feast on an abundance of food, watch some football and play corny board games with the kids.

And yes, people think about giving too. Before it’s all over and we toast into the New Year, we make sure we give our gifts.

Some church and ministry leaders are mindful to make sure the office is open on Dec. 31. They know this is the day some givers might be driving around to get their last-minute giving on the books.

Gift Calendar

One of the first things God did for the Israelites (while working out a jailbreak from Egypt) was to give them a calendar. He filled it with three special holidays, each with periods of feasting—and giving.

The Passover kicked off the beginning of the year with a nice seven-day vacation. It was early spring, when all the new momma sheep had birthed their lambs. The Israelites were careful to set aside the firstborn for sacrifice, along with every 10th sheep for the tithes. And as daddy was thumbing through the files (or knife notches on the barn stalls), he would note any vows they committed during the winter and set aside those gifts as well.

After gathering the gifts, the children strapped their portable video players to the camel humps, and the family set off for their pilgrimage to the temple to feast, celebrate, give thanks—and give gifts too.

Seven weeks later, Pentecost arrived. This was when the early crop began to show in the fields, when it was their chance to gather a firstfruits offering and thank God for the coming fall harvest.

And in the fall, landowners would bring in the full harvest, taking inventory along the way. After shutting down their fields for winter, they gathered their gifts and set off for the year’s final festival, the Feast of Tabernacles. This one lasted 21 days! (Enough time to capture each of the 35 bowl games on TV.)

God staggered the Israelite calendar with gift seasons, each in sync with the livestock and harvest seasons. Folks worked hard during the year with periodic breaks to pause, assess God’s blessings, set aside gifts—and offer them to God.

Holidays Are for You

Just as Jesus reminded us the Sabbath was for us and not the other way around, remember the holiday calendar is for you. It’s your opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, count your blessings from God—and give your gifts.

Year-end giving can be a beautiful part of our life rhythm. God enjoys giving us these breaks, celebrations and seasons of gifts. As you approach the year-end holidays, take the time to:

  • Assess your harvest. Look over your wage statements and other incomes sources. And while you’re at it, take note of your non-financial blessings as well.
  • Thank God for your blessings. He enjoys knowing you recognize these things are from Him.
  • Review your gifts throughout the year. Life gets busy. Sometimes we lose track.
  • Pray about how God would have you finish out your gift year.

And if you find yourself driving across town on Dec. 31 to drop off a check or getting online just before midnight to process one final gift transaction—don’t feel bad.

Instead, look up to the heavens, close your eyes, smile … and then click.

Written by Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson has worked with churches for nearly two decades, as elder in his own church, as vice president of generosity initiatives with Crown Financial Ministries and currently as leader of AcceptableGift.org.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

How to Confuse the Enemy.


So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets…. And the people shouted with a great shout, [ and ] the wall [ of Jericho ] fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Joshua 6:20

Recommended Reading
Judges 7:15-23 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%207:15-23&version=NKJV )

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, Paul says the people of God do not “war according to the flesh.” Our weapons are “mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” A classic example of fighting differently was when the “stronghold” of Jericho was taken by the Israelites (Joshua 6).

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

The world is not used to seeing God’s people act unexpectedly. So when the armies of Israel marched around Jericho for six days, and on the seventh day blew their celebratory trumpets and gave a shout of victory, they likely didn’t know what to think. Israel rushed over the collapsed walls and took the city. The same thing happened when Gideon used torches, pitchers, and trumpets to completely confuse his enemies (Judges 7). The armies were thrown into confusion and fled the scene.

Satan is the author of fear. When God’s people are courageous instead of fearful, their enemies — spiritual or human — are confused. Trumpets and shouts of praise are signs of victory by faith!

We should be always wearing the garment of praise, not just waving a palm branch now and then.
Andrew Bonar

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Acts 24-26

By David Jeremiah.

Do Not Be Afraid: Overcoming Memories.


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Recommended Reading
Numbers 13:26-14:9 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2013:26-14:9&version=NKJV )

When Joshua was preparing to take the Israelites into the Promised Land, God gave him a promise: “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It wasn’t just the task that had Joshua worried. It was also a thirty-eight-year-old memory.

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Two years after the exodus from Egypt, the nation arrived at Kadesh where Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan. After forty days, the spies returned burdened with the fruit of the land — and burdened about the warlike nature of the inhabitants. Ten of the spies warned Moses not to try to take the land because the giants that lived there would surely defeat them. To their credit, Joshua and Caleb disagreed, saying God would give them victory. For rebelling against God at Kadesh, the nation wandered in the wilderness thirty-eight years until that generation died off. Now Joshua would lead the second generation of Israelites against the next generation of Canaanite giants and their iron chariots.

Memories are powerful things. If God is calling you to do something, don’t let a bad memory stand in your way — “for the Lord your God is with you.”

Take courage. We walk in the wilderness today and in the Promised Land tomorrow.
Dwight L. Moody

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Matthew 27-Mark 3

By David Jeremiah.

The Trinity in Genesis?.


God‘s great and incommunicable name Jehovah is always in the singular and is never used plurally; the reason of which is because it is expressive of his essence, which is but one. It is the same with “I AM that I AM.” But the first name of God we meet with in Scripture, and that in the first verse of it, is plural; “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), and therefore must design more than one, at least two, and yet not precisely two, or two only; then it would have been dual. But it is plural, and cannot design fewer than three.

Now Moses might have made use of other names of God in his account of the creation; as his name Jehovah, by which he made himself known to Moses and to the people of Israel; or Eloah, the singular of Elohim, which is used by him (Deut. 32:15, 16) and in the book of Job frequently. So, it was not a lack of singular names of God, nor the barrenness of the Hebrew language, which obliged him to use a plural word. It was no doubt of choice and with design; and which will be more evident when it is observed that one end of the writings of Moses is to root out the polytheism of the heathens and to prevent the people of Israel from going into it. Therefore, it may seem strange that he should begin his history with a plural name of God. He must have some design in it, which could not be to inculcate a plurality of gods, for that would be directly contrary to what he had in view in writing and to what he asserts (Deut. 6:4).

 

And then the historian goes on to make mention of the Persons of the Trinity, who, besides the Father, included in this name, are the Spirit of God, that moved upon the face of the waters, and the Word of God (Gen. 1:2), which said, “Let there be light, and there was light”; and which spoke that, and all things, out of nothing; see (John 1:1-3). And it may be further observed, that this plural wordElohim is, in this passage, in construction with a singular verb, bara, rendered “created”; which some have thought is designed to point out a plurality of persons and the unity of the divine essence: but if this is not judged sufficient to build it upon, let it be further observed, that the word Elohim is sometimes in construction with a plural verb, as in Gen. 20:13; Gen. 35:7; 2 Sam. 7:23, where Elohim is said to cause Abraham to wander from his father’s house; to appear to Jacob; and to go forth to redeem Israel – all which are personal actions.

Adapted from A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 1, Chapter 27, by John Gill.

John Gill

The Tabernacle,


The Tabernacle

Rendering of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Photo: Getty Images

Overview of the Tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting.

The tabernacle was a portable place of worship God commanded the Israelites to build after he rescued them from slavery in Egypt. It was used from a year after they crossed the Red Sea until King Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem, a period of 400 years.Tabernacle means “place of meeting” or “tent of meeting,” since it was the place where God dwelt among his people on earth.While on Mount Sinai, Moses received minutely detailed instructions from God on how the tabernacle and all its elements were to be constructed. The people gladly donated the various materials from spoils they had received from the Egyptians.

The entire 75 by 150 foot tabernacle compound was enclosed by a court fence of linen curtains attached to poles and fastened to the ground with ropes and stakes. At the front was a 30 foot wide gate of the court, made of purple and scarlet yarn woven into twined linen.

Once inside the courtyard, a worshiper would see a bronze altar, or altar of burnt offering, where offerings of animal sacrifices were presented. Not far from that was a bronze laver or basin, where the priests performed ceremonial purification washings of their hands and feet.

Toward the rear of the compound was the tabernacle tent itself, a 15 by 45 foot structure made of an acacia wood skeleton overlaid with gold, then covered with layers made of goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and goat skins. Translators disagree on the top covering: badger skins(KJV), sea cow skins (NIV), dolphin or porpoise skins (AMP). Entry to the tent was made through a screen of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn woven into fine twined linen. The door always faced east.

The front 15 by 30 foot chamber, or holy place, contained a table with showbread, also called shewbread or bread of the presence. Across from it was a lampstand or menorah, fashioned after an almond tree. Its seven arms were hammered from a solid piece of gold. At the end of that room was an altar of incense.

The rear 15 by 15 foot chamber was the most holy place, or holy of holies, where only the high priest could go, once a year on the Day of Atonement. Separating the two chambers was a veil made with blue, purple and scarlet yarns and fine linen. Embroidered on that curtain were images of cherubim, or angels. In that sacred chamber was only one object, the ark of the covenant.

The ark was a wooden box overlaid with gold, with statues of two cherubim on top facing each other, their wings touching. The lid, or mercy seat, was where God met with his people. Inside the ark were the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna, and Aaron‘s almond wood staff.

The entire tabernacle took seven months to complete, and when it was finished, the cloud of the presence of God descended on it.

When the Israelites camped in the desert, the tabernacle was situated in the very center of camp, with the 12 tribes encamped around it. During its use, the tabernacle was moved many times. Everything could be packed into oxcarts when the people left, but the ark of the covenant was hand-carried by Levites. The tabernacle’s journey began at Sinai, then it stood for 35 years at Kadesh. After Joshua and the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the tabernacle stood at Gilgal for seven years. Its next home was Shiloh, where it remained until the time of the Judges. It was later set up in Nob and Gibeon. King David erected the tabernacle at Jerusalem and had the ark brought from Perez-uzzah and set in it.

The tabernacle and all its components had symbolic meanings. Overall, the tabernacle was a foreshadowing of the perfect tabernacle, Jesus Christ. The Bible constantly points to the coming Messiah, who fulfilled God’s loving plan for the salvation of the world:

We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”

But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. (Hebrews 8:1-6, NLT)

Today, God continues to dwell among his people but in an even more intimate way. After Jesus’ ascension into heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to live inside every Christian.

Pronunciation:

TAB ur nak ul

Bible References:

Exodus chapters 25-27, 35-40; Leviticus 8:10, 17:4; Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9-10, 16:9, 19:13, 31:30, 31:47; Joshua 22; 1 Chronicles 6:32, 6:48, 16:39, 21:29, 23:36; 2 Chronicles 1:5;Psalms 27:5-6; 78:60; Acts 7:44-45; Hebrews 8:2, 8:5, 9:2, 9:8, 9:11, 9:21, 13:10; Revelation 15:5.

Also Known As:

Tabernacle of the congregation, wilderness tabernacle, tabernacle of witness, tent of witness, tabernacle of Moses.

Example:

The tabernacle was where God lived among his chosen people.(Sources: gotquestions.orgSmith’s Bible Dictionary, William Smith; Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Trent C. Butler, General Editor; The New Complete Bible Dictionary, T. Alton Bryant, Editor; and The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, R.K. Harrison, Editor)

From 

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.

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