and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Go West Young Man

       In 1988 a handsome man placed a wedding band on my finger, and we became man and wife.  The ring is symbolic of several things, two being the unbroken circle (for the timelessness of marriage) and being made with gold or other valuable and precious metals (like your marriage is valuable and precious).  We can make parallels between many things in life, and man makes items that hold symbolic meaning.  God does the same in the Bible as there are many symbols, types and parallels* in there to help us understand God’s truths.

       The Tabernacle of Moses was highly symbolic and considered to be a type of Christ in every piece and layout.  I do not want to take away from any of that, but I was thinking this morning that often times God uses things on multiple levels that our human minds do not always catch.  Here are my thoughts on a different parallel with the Tabernacle.  Below is a picture of the layout.

       From what I read (there are conflicting views on this) the Jews would bring their sacrifices into the outer court to the priests.  The priests would kill the sacrifices, burning them on the brazen altar.  The priests used the brazen laver to wash their feet and hands (keeping themselves clean).  Priests would also tend to duties in the Holy Place that held the lamp stand, the table of showbread and the altar of incense.  Only the High priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies once a year. 

       Here are my thoughts.  What if the tabernacle also parallels Christianity?  We all come into the outer courts when we give our lives to the Lord and are born again.  There at the brazen altar we accept the sacrifice of our Lamb Jesus for our sins.  The Bible indicates that believers are, “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1Pt. 2:9) so we become priests (Rev. 1:6); then we can use the brazen laver to wash our hands and feet- the parts that get dirty by our work in the earth.  The thing was, the laver’s base was made with mirror (Ex. 38:8) and first showed us our dirt/ sin.

       So then, we can amble around the outer court for a very long time once forgiven, and maybe go by the laver on days we are willing enough to see our sin and wash it off (ask forgiveness).  Perhaps this is our comfort level, staying on the outskirts of God’s presence. 

       Perhaps we want more and we go (washed clean) west, into the holy place.  There our lives are illuminated with the lamp stand/ Light of the world- Jesus (Jh. 8:12) and we partake in the bread/ sufferings of Christ^, picking up our cross daily (Lk. 9:23) and always praying (1Th. 5:17) to Almighty God for His mercy, grace and forgiveness (Ps. 141:2) as we get closer to Him by the altar of incense, relying on Jesus our Intercessor (Heb. 7:25).  We can amble around this place for the rest of our earthly journey if we want.  Yet if we want more of God, we can venture further west.

       Almost every Christian is aware that the veil of the temple (built similar to the Tabernacle) was torn from top to bottom- indicating by God’s hand not man’s- when Jesus died on the cross (Mt. 27:51; Mr. 15:38; Lk. 23:45), so we now have access directly to God’s presence by passing by the altar of incense and into the Holy of Holies- at one time only available to the High Priest.  But our High Priest Jesus (Heb. 4:14) entered in for us first and now we can follow Him (Lk. 9:23). 

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  Heb. 10:19,20 RV (Mt. 27:51)

        So going further west, into the Holy of Holies of God’s where God talked to His people (Ex. 25:22), we enter into the direct presence (Ex. 40:38) of Almighty God.  If you are not satisfied with being on the outskirts of the presence of God, and still not contented to stay an arms length away, get closer.  Consider entering into His presence where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forever (Ps. 16:11), and staying there as long as possible.  That’s where I want to be and I hope you’ll be there with me.  One last comment before I stop writing…

Go west young man, go west!

*drawing parallels- comparing two things/ people/ events together that connect somehow.
symbolism- the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities (ex. thorns are cares of this life Mr. 4:18,19)
types- to be characteristic or representative of something in the future. (ex. brazen serpent typified Christ Nm. 21:8; Jh. 3:14)
^and giving thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you… 1Cor. 11:24

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Power Outage

       My daughter and I drove home in a snow storm on Sunday evening.  It was a very nerve- racking drive, not because of the snow, but because of the speed inconsistent drivers who loved to throw on their brakes for no apparent reason.  By the time I got to the last couple miles I was finally relaxing enough to become unobservant about the houses around me.  They were in the dark.  It was after I turned the corner on the last quarter mile that the absence of street lights
                                                                        alerted me to the fact there was a power outage.

       Yuck!  Who wants to be home without electricity?  No electronics and no lights to read by.  Fortunately for us we live in the age of led lighting which our house has plenty of in the form of flashlights and hanging/ standing lamps.  As long as you have batteries- all is good- and led lighting is easy on the batteries.

       My neighbour reminded me today that some people are not so good without electricity.  Her hubby was very antsy and frustrated.  Luckily she had an e-book device he could read.  Thinking about the situation made me wonder what will happen if the electricity is gone (for good) and all our devices stop working.  We are so used to cordless phones, tvs,  cell phones, computers, ipods and tablets, mp3s, game systems, ebooks and many other devices that keep us amused, in communication, etc that we don’t know what to do with ourselves when they are not available.  One day we may just find out, and what then?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Light Pierced Darkness

       In my dream this morning it was dark- so dark I couldn’t see anything at all.  Suddenly light pierced through the darkness and illuminated a young girl just standing there.  She walked toward me but instead of finding out what she was doing, I woke up.  In my heart I knew I had learned a lesson.  Jesus did what happened in my dream; He shone His light into this dark world and illuminated my life.  It went from loneliness and misery to joy and peace (okay, that took a few years… decades really… but still J )

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  1Jh. 1:5
The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death.  Mt. 4:16
(Jesus said)I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  Jh. 8:12
And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.  Jh. 3:19

       We, the world, live in darkness- in the region and shadow of death- and as such we can’t see what is really going on around us.  We accept things at ‘face value’ from what we are told by other people who themselves are in the darkness and can’t see any better than us!  It is into human lives that Jesus was sent as the Light and Life of God (Jh. 1:4).  It is by His light that we can see even when all around us is completely dark.

       As followers of Jesus Christ, we follow His Light and therefore can see our way through the darkness of this world.  It can not hold power over us- unless we allow it to.  Our eyes were opened, the Light came in, we became sons of God and so we are no longer ‘of the darkness’ but are sons of light; and in His Light we shine in the world (Mt. 5:14). 

(Jesus to Paul) in order to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, so that they may receive remission of sins  Ac. 26:18
(the Father) For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son;  Col 1:13
You are all the sons of light and the sons of the day. We are not of the night, or of darkness.  1Th. 5:5
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  1Pt. 2:9

       The world wants to live in the darkness where they can’t feel guilty of their own sin and they don’t want to see the truth and be accountable to it.  They think they can hide their sin in the darkness and so continue without consequences.  The church (called out ones) have been called out of the darkness into the light given to us by God.  And He has given us this light so we stop walking in the darkness, begin and continue to walk in His light (1Jh. 1:6,7).  Walking in the light of the Lord can be a truly amazing journey.

Come, let us walk together in His light! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Waiting for Praise

       There was a lot of negative history with my mom and I’m not going to get into it right now, but suffice it to say I’m still waiting to hear her say one positive thing about me to my face.  If she ever said one in the past, I don’t remember, and though I know she loves me in the only way she knows how, I am still waiting.  Really, I didn’t even think about it until today, but there is a part of me still waiting for her to praise me in some way.

       Why do we want to be praised by man?  What is it inside of us that ‘calls’ for recognition, admiration, an exalted reputation for wisdom, spirituality, loving behaviour or a million other things?  Does what others think of us really matter?  Usually- if we are honest.  I don’t think it is necessarily bad to want praise, but it is wrong to behave certain ways to get that praise.  In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were a group known for following the laws of God to the letter, fastidious prayer, strict holiness and such, but Jesus said they were hypocrites (Mt. 23:13) more than once.  He also said:

       For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.  Jh. 12:43 KJV
                        (praise, glory, dignity, honour)

       The Pharisees cared more about what man thought of them than what God thought of them.  On the outside they looked clean, but on their insides they were corrupt.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also appear righteous to men outwardly, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Mt. 23:27,28)  That’s pretty harsh if you ask me, but I guess they deserve it for being so hypocritical…

Oh, wait…  I’m that way sometimes too L

       We can all focus too much on acting the right ways, but miss out on the point of the Word God gave us- a relationship with Him; so we go to church, pray our half an hour, read so long, volunteer this many hours, etc, but we don’t ask what He wants us to do or listen to what He wants to say to us.  We become so consumed with His rules we miss the relationship.  We replace His love with His law.  Ultimately, we end up missing God Himself.  If we are honest, are we not like the Pharisees, more concerned for the praises of man than wondering what God thinks of our hearts and lives?

I wonder…

          Just what does God think of me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The colour of love

       What’s your favorite colour?  Mine is blue- it has always been blue.  Some people change their favorite over the years, but not me.  In reality, I really like most bright colours (no pastels or soft shades), and lately, I’ve even started liking lime green again (long story involving the house I grew up in), but blue is still my favorite.  Forget pink for my baby daughter, I dressed her in blue whenever I could!

       Occasionally my hubby has bought me blue flowers- just because he loves me, but the very first flower (a rose) he bought me was for our first date and it was a deep orange/ red.  God told him to buy that colour, so with great effort he did only to find out it was and still is my favorite colour rose.  In the world there are a large variety of colours, both natural and manmade.  Even God puts rainbows in the sky as a remembrance of His promise to man (Gen. 9:13).  Of course God made all the colours (Gen. 1), probably for pleasure and so we could learn to reproduce them in creative ways.

        But when I think of love, what colour do I see?  The heart shape we use to symbolize love is a beautiful bright red seen especially around Valentine’s Day, but the colour of love to me is a far deeper red, that which was poured out at the cross by Jesus...

for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.
Mt. 26:28 ASV
and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb. 9:22
No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Jh. 15:13
This is how we have come to know love: the Messiah gave his life for us
1Jh. 3:16 ISV
(of the Messiah)He has poured out His soul to death
Is. 52:12
But God demonstrates his love for us by the fact that the Messiah died for us
while we were still sinners.
Rom. 5:8 ISV