Still Learning Pt 1

image from messianic-revolution.com, text from King James Version

I get lots of questions swirling through my head as I read the Bible, or as I contemplate events in light of God’s Word.

I’ve been reading through Exodus of late, and I’m in the middle of constructing the tabernacle and all its furnishings and implements and tools and curtains and robes and ephods…

And I wondered: Why was God so explicit with so many intricate details in fashioning each aspect of His holy worship? I mean, I get it that He gave detailed instructions to Moses to give to the workers – they needed exact blueprints. But why record all that in His eternal Word so that all the generations to come would have available to read? We aren’t re-building His tabernacle, after all.*

Or are we?

In the New Testament, God reveals that we are now His tabernacle.

2 Corinthians 5.1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 Peter 1.13, 14 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;  Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

Just as the Israelites moved around in the wilderness, and carried the tabernacle with them, we have the freedom to BE God’s tabernacle, to carry Him with us wherever we are (or maybe, it’s that He carries us).

And, just as God gave explicit detail in how to construct that tabernacle, He gives us explicit detail in how to construct our own. The entirety of Scripture is a how-to lesson for worshiping our Lord.

2 Timothy 3.16, 17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

He provides instruction in how to deal with Him, with others, and with ourselves for each aspect of life.

In addition to building our temple, God provides cleansing. He gives us Jesus, the Word, who washes us clean (Ephesians 5.26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,), the springs of Living Water to refresh us in our works (John 7.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water).

And it’s all done in love! God designed us for worship: it’s how we receive our greatest joys and live in the greatest peace.

As an aside, I also wondered about two other things as relates to building the tabernacle:

  1. When we, as humans, plan out and design a new space, we get giddy with excitement about the doing and how it will turn out. Was God giddy?
  2. What was God’s purpose in having His people construct the tabernacle? He could have miraculously ‘poofed’ it into existence, and everyone would have been totally awed. But I think there’s something to be said about making it with their own hands. It involves ownership. Most things mean more when you work for it, except salvation. But even the gift of salvation means more when we put some sweat into it to work it out.

* I get excited to think that we CAN rebuild the tabernacle, just as God designed, since He left us His exact instruction. Each aspect of the tent, implements, furnishings, clothing, and rituals represents an aspect of Jesus, and we have so much to learn from it.

Spiritual Disciplines

God calls us to a lifetime of obedience. We can only learn obedience through reading His Word (so we know what to obey), trusting Him, and acting on that firm belief that He is true and good and love. God blesses obedience. Whenever we are obedient, He will bless us. Sometimes we perceive His blessing right away; sometimes we don’t get to see it until eternity with Him; sometimes we see His blessings, but they don’t look like blessings to us, and we turn away.

For your consideration, following are some of the spiritual disciplines that God teaches in His Word. As you read them, pray over each one. Does it speak to God’s Spirit within you? Are there some you can check off as part of your normal routine, and you take joy in worshiping God this way? Are there some that nudge you to work on? This is not a to-do list. These are suggestions of actions you can take to open your heart to God.

  • Scripture reading, meditation, and memorization
  • Writing Scripture
  • Study of Biblical words and themes
  • Study of historical context, Biblical commentary
  • Fasting
  • Worship through music
  • Prayer:
    • Pray continually
    • Prayer journaling
    • Praying the Scriptures
    • Praying with guided (scripted) prayer
    • Personal prayer: deep conversations with God
    • Communal prayer (congregational, partner, small group…)
  • Observing Sabbath rest
  • Abiding in God with a grateful heart
  • Praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord
  • Solitude
  • Silence
  • Celebration
  • Communal worship
  • Service to others
  • Confession to God and repentance
  • Asking forgiveness:
    • From God
    • From others
  • Forgiveness: forgiving others
  • Generosity
  • Tithes and offerings

Prayers for Those in Pain

There are a lot of different kinds of pain. All of them need prayer. When pain becomes chronic, we need new perspectives, different ways of thinking, and new ways of doing things.

Whether you are in pain, or know someone who is, here are some prayers to consider for those who are suffering, and for those in their lives.

Lord, as ____ suffers, I pray

  • For discernment to know Your task list day by day
  • For peace with having a smaller task list.
  • For peace with more rest as needed.
  • For courage to speak up and advocate when needed.
  • You give wisdom and words to share deeply with spouse / loved ones.
  • ____ keeps an anchor in Scripture and God-centered writings.
  • You show ____ specific verses to lift and give light and peace.
  • That ____ looks to You for Your Light.
  • Keep ____ from falling into darkness. Suffering can drag us down to despair, into darkness. Darkness can lead us astray, it is disorienting, and walking in it leads to errors; and then we believe lies, and we stumble. I pray a continued light unto ____’s path, step-by-step.
  • May ____ continue faithful in Your Word, even when feeling faithless.
  • Sometimes we miss Your blessings. May ____ consciously look for Your blessings, and rejoice to see You. Give ____ eyes to see you.
  • Show ____ how to rise above the pain, and know Your peace that passes all understanding.
  • Show ____ how to be a blessing to others, even amidst suffering.
    • And bless ____ with a soft heart, to desire to be a blessing.
  • May we all remember to praise You always.
  • Give wisdom to all medical care persons, and to those who help to care for ____. Give wisdom to ____ in knowing when to call for help / appointments, and how to appropriately carry out necessary treatments / procedures.
  • Bless all concerned with soft, loving, and forgiving hearts.
    • But also give courage to stick to what is necessary.
  • As our lives / schedules / needs change, give our minds capacity to see things with a different perspective, and grace to accept changes.
  • When there are children involved, give grace and wisdom for appropriate and loving communication.
  • When things are especially tough, may we put aside our fleshly reactions; and fall, instead, to our knees before You.
  • Father, we praise You for Your hand in our lives. We know You have purposes for all that we go through. May we persist in You, knowing that a crown of righteousness awaits us, for we love You (2 Timothy 4.8).

From ICR: Secret Faults vs Presumptuous Sins

Directly from this site: https://www.icr.org/article/13458/June+3+-+Secret+Faults+vs.+Presumptuous+Sins


June 3, 2022
Secret Faults vs. Presumptuous Sins
“Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:12-13)

David, the author of this majestic psalm of praise to God for His revelation of Himself and His nature, voices his own frustration at his inability to mold his life totally in accordance with God’s revealed plan. He recognizes and asks for God’s forgiveness for his failure to measure up, and asks for strength to avoid habitual sin patterns and willful rejection of God’s way.

God had already made a careful distinction between these types of sins. “The priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him….But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously…the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:28, 30-31).

Paul also recognized such a difference. Keep in mind that all sin is abhorrent to God and must be repented of, resulting, of course, in His forgiveness. But Paul claimed that even his blasphemous, murderous persecution of the church was done “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). His plea of ignorance did not excuse his guilt, but through it he “obtained mercy” (v. 13) and “grace” (v. 14).

This is a “pattern to [us] which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (v. 16). Let us not be guilty of willful, presumptuous sin, but on these occasions when we do fall, we can be thankful that our “longsuffering” (v. 16) Savior still affords us such mercy. JDM