This New Year

Not Another Resolution

Thanksgiving and Christmas are filled with memories of the year behind. New Year’s is almost here and I wonder what it will bring, goals to aspire, and things relinquish. Goals and dreams get dusted off and hope is renewed. This New Year I want more than resolutions that go incomplete!

Often this time of year brings emotions or an unsettledness that can hover like a fog lacking clarity or form. Feeling something grey that can’t be define or explain. The dream becomes outrageous. The hope is reduced to a reality check. My reality and my ability come into focus reducing my expectations to minimal levels. This sounds like depression but it’s not. I call it acceptance.

When this reality check invades my thoughts I get stuck on accepting the things I believe I can’t change. The things I really hope for, goals, and ambitions seem stuck in my limited thinking. I get stuck in the Serenity Prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change. I lack muster to finish; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. My memories, my thinking, my reality encourage me to accept nothing will change. For This New Year I am rewriting this prayer to the Prayer of Courage.

Courage Prayer
This New Year I want more than a resolution, I want a transformation available through the Courage Prayer that builds courage, wisdom, and peace from God.

Lord God fill me with courage to change the things I should change, the wisdom to know what I can’t change, and Your Peace to accept the difference.

Courage to Change

My direction, if I am moving away from God I need to change directions and move toward Him. Not because He has rules and extreme expectations for my life. Not because people who turn toward God are a bunch of hypocritical, judgmental, near-do-wells. Because God loves me and has plans for my life that are better than anything I can even imagine. Because I will be sharing life with others, like me, who don’t have it figured out, don’t behave perfectly, and even hurt people but recognize we can help each other get a little better every day. Without God in my life I can’t do the rest.

My view of others. Everyone has a story and issues. When you encounter me on my bad day I want you to understand. That means I have to understand when I encounter you on your bad day. Put myself in your shoes, empathize with your situation, and pray the courage prayer for you. Love people where they are, how they are, regardless of anything else because God loved me when I was at my worst. God loves through people.

My view of myself. Self-talk and self-care are important. How well I do at that depends on what I believe. Through life’s struggle we all begin to accept things about ourselves we believe to be true. They aren’t. The reason I would reduce my dreams and goals was because I believed that was all I was worthy of. Others believe they deserve much but still feel like they haven’t gotten all they deserve. It takes courage to confront what you think about yourself. Benign or malicious things can be twisted into beliefs that are based in lies.

Wisdom to know what I can’t change.

God Truth is beyond time. God loves us, everyone. There is no one that is too far gone for God to not accept and love them. God has a desire to bless you, direct you, and use you. God won’t force you to do anything. He’s a gentleman, He always waits for you to talk to Him, and always give you the choice.

God gave all people free-will. We can’t force someone to behave or do something they don’t want to. God will never force them. Unfortunately that means they are free to do hurtful or evil things. I control me. You control you. People can love unlovable people. And people can do very unlovable things. I can’t control what you are going to do but I can control how I respond to you.

Peace to accept.

  • I have to accept my choices, good and bad.
  • I am responsible for who I let influence me and my choices.
  • I am responsible for how I respond to others behavior.
  • I can love and share life with others.
  • I can love from afar.

What others say about me doesn’t define me. How others treat me doesn’t determine my worth. God created life. I am alive and God doesn’t make junk – that defines me. God values me.

Pray This New Year

I want more than a resolution, I want a transformation that will last beyond 2016. Pray the Courage Prayer and as you do start going through the things I have identified above. Make them personal to you and your situation. Take time to be still and listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. If you are not sure how to get started, comment below and I will email you the beginnings of a prayer for each day of January. The key to a great New Year is connecting with God in prayer each day.

Dear Lord,

Lord God fill me with courage to change the things I should change, the wisdom to know what I can’t change, and Your Peace to accept the difference. I want to draw closer to You This New Year. By the end of the year I want to celebrate the changes I will make with your help and the peace I need in many areas of my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Day 25 Glory to God on High

Advent Journey Day 25

Glory to God on High

God has met with us and the first reaction of the Israelite’s is fear and trembling, their hearts are torn, their wretchedness exposed. God’s Mercy is true. He had no higher expectation because He knew they were evil from their youth. But God loved them anyway, He gave and continues to give His Grace. Our only response can be worship! Glory to God on High “the Lord God , compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and faithfulness; who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He will by no means leave guilty unpunished” Exodus 34:6b-7a New American Standard Bible.

Word of God

Moses wrote out all that God had directed him to, but God didn’t end there. God inspired many others through His Spirit to write the history, prophecy, and poetic worship for many hundreds of years. Joshua, Samuel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Esther, Isaiah, and Micha and many other books continue to reveal God’s Plan and God Himself.

The Bible is a compilation of love letter to the soul and spirit of each person willing to read them.

God’s Faithfulness

God’s faithfulness ensures the Advent Son, the Promised Son would come. Some believe He has come, others still wait, while the multitude have not yet confronted their own wickedness. God’s Word continues to be preserved and proclaimed with 2 goals.

  1. Reveal the sinfulness of every individual. When we see God’s standard we stop looking to the left and to the right but rather into His Word of Truth that cuts to the root and exposes the darkness within with a promise of hope.
  2. Introduce you the God with a Plan. It’s as simple as the Exodus. Slaves to sin and wretchedness at the basal human state of survival are redeemed through the Blood of the Lamb, given Living Water, and transformed through Spiritual Leaven. The broken are made whole, the old new, the darkness bathed in light.

Individual Faith comes through the Word; hearing, reading, following. Our response is Worship and Praise.

Glory to God on High
Individual Faith comes through the Word; hearing, reading, following. Our response is Worship and Praise.

Worship by Following His commands, Love God and Love Others

Zechariah 7: 8-10 And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Praise with Thank You and Amen

Exodus 15 Rejoice – “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. … Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? … The Lord reigns for ever and ever.”

1 Chronicles 16 People Praise – “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always…. He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations,… Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior;”

Isaiah 6 Heavens Praise – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Luke 2 Glory to God – “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”… “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Sing Praises to the God who Saves! This song of Worship is very profound, enjoy! WOW! Hebrew Worship with English Subtitles

Joyeux Noël

 

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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Day 24 Word of God

Advent Journey Day 24

The Word of God

A forty day journey brought Moses and the Nation of Israel to Mount Sinai to receive the Word of God. Moses would go up the mountain three times. Each time lasting forty days. The little they had learned is tested in Moses absence. The leadership, priests, and judicial system caves to the demands of the throng, a gold calf is created and worshiped.

Word of God
Above all God meets us personally and individually. This starts with the Word of God.

Progress depends on knowing what is acceptable and unacceptable, just and unjust, holy and abominable. The Word of God is the key to success, for the Nation, Leadership, Priests, Judges, and Prophets. Ultimately each individual’s success is dependent on following the Word of God. To follow you must hear it, learn it, read it, and discuss it.

Write it Down

Yesterday we read that God told Moses to write down what happened with Amalekites at Rephidim. That was the first mention of a written memorial. It was just days before they arrived at Mount Sinai to listen to God. We know they spoke a different language than Egypt but this is the first mention of a written language, it had been verbal.

An oral conversation has limitations for accuracy and longevity. A simple game of telephone reveals the limits of accuracy for a statement. The depth and complexity of what God was going to share needed to be exact. God dictated and Moses wrote. Still great discussions and debates rage over what God was implying or meant with specific words or phrase structure.

Sharing stories and expectations from generation to generation depends on faithfulness. Just one generation, unhappy with the expectations or the previous patriarch can modify or omit portions. If one generation turns away and doesn’t share the whole of the Word of God could be lost. Man is not faithful or consistent. God’s way of preserving His Word required a written account.

The Word to Moses

Moses wrote the first five books in the Bible, called the Pentateuch. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is sometimes referred to as the Law because it does include the Ten Commandments, the Temple protocol, and Rules for Society. It’s much more.

It also contains many stories, of where the world began, the promises, and covenants. It details moments of great success and righteousness alongside acts of faithlessness and failure. The choice between good and evil at all levels, individual, family, cities, and nations. No perfect people can be held up as the one to replicate. Each protagonist has moments of utter failure, a nemesis, and clear consequences or mercy.

Simple Complexity

It is commonly referred to as the Torah; instruction, doctrine, and law. This is a limited view of the Word of God. The ancient term Yarah reveals the life within the text; show, direct, instruct. It is more than objects, it’s actively showing, directing, and instructing to the reader and student of the text. Simple enough for a child to understand but complex enough to challenge the lifelong student. It’s a verb not a noun.

Israelite’s refer to the time on Mount Sinai as God giving the Word. Not Moses receiving it. This shows the continuing action of giving to any individual at any time in any location. Not just to Moses. When you begin to study the Word of God for yourself you learn and grow. In time you encounter the same passages you studied before only there is new insight, relevant and timely Wisdom.

Word Preserved and Expanded

Over the next several thousand years God’s Word was followed, lost, and found. God was faithful to hide it when some tried to destroy it. God inspired others to write other books to expand the breath while slowly revealing more of His plan. Some books are historical or poetic worship preserved to continue the Journey of Israel toward the Promised Son. Other books are written as accounts of specific Prophets of God, some for specific times and others to restore hope in God’s Salvation at the fullness of time.

Lamentations 3:22-26 New International Version (NIV)

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Advent Journey

Our Journey has come almost exclusively from the Pentateuch, or Torah. A few exceptions include Jonathan, Samuel, and the Girl with purple hair. These all have roots in the first five books of the Bible. God told Abraham from His seed would come Nations, and Kings – One of his descendants would be David. Foretold in Genesis and revealed in 1 Samuel.

The Word of God is an Advent Journey. As we draw closer to God, His plan and His will for our life, He draws closer to us. His Word shows, directs, and instructs us in how the world works, how to interact with others, and how to be the best individual we can be. But the Word of God shows, directs, and instructs is about Him.

Above all God meets us personally and individually. This starts with the Word of God.

It’s your turn. What has God shown you over the last twenty four days? Do you know more about Him? Do you know more about yourself? Has the Word of God spoken to a deep or dark place and brought light or peace? I would love to hear about it. Comment, like, and share. Your words may be exactly what the next person needs to hear.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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Day 23 Time – Mount Sinai

Advent Journey Day 23

Mount Sinai – Mount of God

From the moment God appeared in the form of a pillar of cloud/fire He was leading the Nation of Israel to Mount Sinai. This is the mountain that Moses had seen the burning bush. Therefore it was also the region where Abraham’s ancestors dwelled. It is referred to as The Mount of God for good reason, He met with Moses there a second time.

Time to Mount Sinai
Time is God’s Mercy till we are better prepared to face Truth.

A Season in time.

Egypt.

The first month is Nisan, on the evening of the fourteenth is Passover, the fifteenth beginnings the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the sixteenth (or after the Sabbath) is First Fruits when a sheaf of new Barley is waved. All celebrations reminding Israel the power of God and the slavery both physical and spiritual He was saving them from. Then a block of time, seven weeks, seven Sabbaths, counting each day toward the seventh.

  1. Red Sea. This time was part of Israel’s actual journey into the wilderness and toward Mount Sinai. Soon they arrived at the Red Sea and God intervened. By allowing the Israelite’s to remain dry, God revealed their spiritual state, equally dry.
  2. Marah. They traveled for 3 days without water. Finding water became another disappointment because it was bitter and undrinkable. An elm branch thrown into the water and it was good, or healed of bitterness. God reinstated the Sabbath and tested with a proposition, ‘serve Me, do all I command, and I will protect you from all the plagues and disease because I am the Lord who Heals.’
  3. Elim. The next stop had, 12 streams of water, 70 palm trees, equals water, healing, and rest.
  4. The Desert of Sin. The fifteenth of the second month brought grumbling and God sent manna, Bread from Heaven. God was testing their resolve to follow everything He commanded. Would they obey the Sabbath? It was a struggle to remove the human instinct to hoard, slavery was self-preservation. Manna was trusting God.
  5. Rephidim. No water again, only dry desert and rocks. Testing and quarreling. God tells Moses, take some elders and before the people strike the rock and I will send water. Water from a rock and the beginnings of leadership through the elders. Israel is beginning to form a government structure beyond Moses.
  6. Amalekits wage war at Rephidim. A Nation at war with General Joshua. Moses, with the staff of God in his hand, takes Aaron and Hur to watch from above. Abraham grew weary and Aaron and Hur supported him until the war was won. God tells Moses to write it down and ensure Joshua knows. Moses built an altar to God, our Banner.
  7. Near the Mountain of God. Jethro, Moses father-in-law arrives with Moses’ wife and children. Jethro had heard what God had done. Jethro now sees all Moses is trying to do on his own. Advice given; choose men of God to help. Leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens to judge the people and their disputes reserving the difficult cases for Moses. Advice received; A Judicial System is established.

Mount Sinai.

  • God Calls Moses. A choice; ‘Tell the people you saw all I did, how I protected and provided for you, If you will do all I command, keep my covenant then I will make you a treasured possession in all the earth, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’
  • Israel responded. A decision; ‘We will do everything He says.’
  • Moses leads. A preparation; ‘Ready yourselves, wash, abstain from sex, God will speak from His Holy Mountain. 3 Days’ time.
  • God Meets with His people. Thunder, lightning, smoke of a furnace, a trumpet sounding louder and louder. Don’t come near, only Moses should come up the mountain and hear my Word for you. It’s almost as if God is asking are they ready to be watered, anointed with His Wisdom?

Between Egypt and Mount Sinai there are seven distinct events each moving Israel from an enslaved nation to a Nation of God. They had to learn to trust God for their physical needs, spiritual needs, and direction. They established a leadership and judicial structure. They waged war. All because of God’s care and keeping.

Four hundred years were not rectified in forty days. They were ready to begin the real transformation process, “Doing all God said.” First they must hear the Word. Moses went back to camp, reminded them to not go up or touch the foot of the mountain. He would be back, in time. How long? Forty days.

Time and Time

Time to Mount of God
Time passes for us, but God is outside of time

This initial period in the wilderness took forty days. A long and difficult journey recognizing their absolute need to hear God’s Word. They were so ready they agreed without knowing what the commands or covenants were. The Promise of a son, still waited in time, the right time, the fullness of time. They had reached the time when God would give His Word to His people.

Time waiting, getting ready, working on yourself, relationships, connection with God all can seem daunting. Time is God’s grace and mercy. We are never fully ready, but with time we can be better prepared. Time to grow, time to forgive, time to love, time to remember. God offers opportunity in time. We learn to trust and lean on Him. In time we gain Wisdom.

It’s your turn. Have you believed for something but had to wait. Then when the time seemed right to you troubles and trials seemed to abound. Can you relate to the Israelite’s forty days in the wilderness? I would love to hear your experiences. Leave a comment below.

©2015 Elayne Cross

 

 

 

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Day 22 Forty-nine Days

Advent Journey Day 22

Starting the day after the offering of First Fruits counting begins and continues for forty-nine days, or seven full weeks. This time is also known as counting the omer. It is the time between the first harvest of the early grains and the full harvest of harder grains. An omer is simply a unit of volume that God commanded for both the First Fruits and the Festival of Weeks.

forty-nine days
From the First Fruits they counted toward becoming fully free, body, soul, and spirit

Forty-nine plus one

The Israelite’s were to count for forty-nine days, seven complete Sabbath’s then on the next day, present an offering to God. Seven is the number of perfection. This represents perfection squared and is directly linked to the offering tied to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Removing the leaven was about a purification from the slave mentality based in the basic physical need to survive. When survival is the foremost in your thought, righteousness falls away and sin becomes comfortable.

The blood of the lamb is applied to the door, death passes over, and a hasty exodus designed to redirect the focus from the physical needs and limitations back onto God who redeemed and preserved them. Immediately a wave offering is brought to bring favor on this year’s harvest – the First Fruits are now revered and hope is restored. Now the counting begins for the next Feast.

Festival of Weeks

In Deuteronomy 16 this name is given. However some Jewish groups call it counting the omer, others shorten it to Shavu’ot or Weeks. The First Fruits was very first crop of the growing season and looked forward to the harvest. A beginning with a promised ending, if blessed would also be bountiful. Unlike the green sheaf if grain for First Fruits, this celebrates the full harvest. Gathering in all the crops till the next growing season.

Bread

What is a festival without food? The offering brought for the Feast of Weeks is bread, two loaves. This is a significant statement related to the positive nature of leaven. Most things can be used for good or for evil and that includes symbolism. To bring bread to the priest not only did you need to plant and harvest but grind, thresh, mix with other ingredients, and wait for it to rise. Then you bake it, in an oven heated with fire.

Removing the leaven was a purging of banal survival instinct, immorality, sin, and idolatry. Baking bread is an intentional, time consuming, process of creating something that satisfies the physical needs of the body while embracing the spiritual light. Bread is a spiritual food. There is no nutritional difference between a bread made with or without leaven. The time and skill needed to bake bread are gifts from God who blesses us with more than the basic needs of human life. He lifts our countenance, lightens our burdens, and is a sweet smell when we are trusting in Him.

Forty-nine days Spiritual Journey

The counting represents the spiritual journey the Nation of Israel took. From the moment they left Egypt, the evidence was clear. They were in the basest human state, a nation without God, full of sin, idolatry, and immorality, seeking salvation through their own wits and will.

God purged them first with a test, slaughter a lamb and do as He says and be saved. Then flee and leave all sinful leavening behind. Confront your weakness through trial and set back while eating the fruit of your wit and will, unleavened bread then manna.

In the fullness of time, God would visit them and restore the counterfeit leaven of the human flesh with His love, justice, and unity. A nation of God sustained, protected, and blessed by His hand. When the Nation of Israel trusted God He would provide for them better bread than they could produce without Him. As the Nation began to see fulfillment of some of God’s promises, the Promised Land and the Promised Son would also come.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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Advent Journey Day 21

three in one
Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits – Three celebrations form one standing reminder of God’s Grace and God’s Plan

Three in one

Israel’s Exodus was a three in one event. God completed and established three distinct and important statutes. The history and background of the feasts and convocations can be confusing. We have looked at each of these individually. Today we are going to bring the three together as God intended.

Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits

  1. Passover marks the beginning on the fourteenth of Abib (Nisan). The night when the Spirit of God moved through all Egypt and killed every first born of man and beast. The only ones to live had followed God’s command and sacrificed a lamb, without blemish. They put the blood of the lamb on the door post and lintel. Then they were to roast it over fire and eat it being careful not to break any bones.
  2. Unleavened Bread began at sunrise on the fifteenth of Abib. The next morning. This signified the haste of their exit. They could not wait on bread to rise but rushed out. Leavening produces a chemical change, a transformation of the flour, oil, and water into an airy bread and the rotting of fruit. This represented many things most notably the distance from God. The Israelite’s had become united as people but were spiritually flat. Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts for seven days. No leaven is to be found in their homes.
  3. First Fruits takes place on the day after the Sabbath that occurs during the seven days of Unleavened Bread. It relates back to Cain’s offering to God of grains he had cultivated. It was not revered, or looked upon favorably. We are not told the specifics, only that God encouraged Cain to choose, good or evil. Cain very soon chose evil in the form of murder. The parents who brought death into the world now had a son who took life. God redeemed this attempt at the first Passover and sealed it with the offering of First Fruits. At the start of the first grain harvest Israeli farmers are to bring a sheaf of grain to the priest as a wave offering to be accepted by God, along with a 1 year-old lamb for a burnt offering.

Redeemed

God pronounced He redeemed the first born of man and beast, representing those who were at risk the night of Passover. Those He redeems willingly follow Him into the physical wilderness where they received spiritual blessing and provision. God met them there and He became their God and they became His people.

These three in one events begin and end with a Holy Convocation. A gathering of the Nation of Israel. These convocations are like book ends to the process of moving away from the physical and toward the spiritual. Becoming more than a nation of people but a Nation of God, set apart, guided, and protected by their King, the King of the Universe.

This is the new beginning, the journey had begun. The Promise still waits for God’s timing. God is still preparing His people for the Advent Son.

It’s you turn. Join the conversation. Do you see hints of God’s Promised Son in these three statutes? When you pass fields full of fresh crops, what comes to mind? Leave a comment below.

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First Fruits

Advent Journey Day 20

First Fruits
The first born of man was Cain, The hope of promise in Cain was lost. But God had a Plan, He redeemed the First Fruits

First

It took the death of the first born of man and beast for pharaoh to finally release the Israelite’s. The significance is celebrated for every first born Jewish son for all time. Does the significance of first born relate to the Promised Son?

First Son of Man

The first born son of Adam and Eve was Cain. The second son was Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd. In time they both brought a sacrifice to God. How the offerings are described reveals some interesting things. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground. Abel brought from the firstlings of his flock. If we read that and the following verses that say God regarded Abel’s offering but not Cain’s the first thought would be – Abel’s was of his first born. Yet I left out the word ‘also’. Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock.

Able also brought an offering or also brought of firstlings. Whenever something is or isn’t noted in the Bible that causes you to stop and wonder, it’s intentional. We know they both brought offerings to God. We know Abel’s was from his firstlings. We know God had respect for Abel and his offering, and none for Cain or his offering. Cain was sad and God went to console him.

God Speaks, Cain Speaks

God went to Cain and explained although he failed, God was still there for him. Cain needed to choose to do right because sin wanted to control him. Cain held the power to choose good or evil.

Cain went and spoke to Abel. We don’t know what he said, but we know he chose evil and killed Abel.

Adam and Eve brought death into the world, their first born brought murder. Cain was comparing himself to Abel and struck him dead. The hope of promise in Cain was lost. Another son, another time.

First Born

When they left Egypt God told the Israelite’s the first born belong to Him. He had redeemed them, purchased them when he passed over the doorways with the blood of the lamb on them. Every first born is to be devoted to God and every first born that is male belong to God. The first born male beasts had to be sacrificed or redeemed with a lamb. All sons must be redeemed with a lamb.

For whatever reason Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted, Abel’s was a firstling and this is significant. First born sons became so honored within Israel they received the majority or all of an inheritance, and were the next patriarch of the family. Any deviation from this protocol is significant and like any anomaly in Scripture worthy of a closer look.

First Fruits

When God commanded the feasts and convocations they included an offering of First Fruits. The first day after the Sabbath of Passover was the day to offer First Fruits at the temple. This was when the first crops of grain were coming green.

The Israelite’s were to take a sheaf of new grain and present it to the priest at the temple. The priest is to wave it before the LORD to be accepted. A male lamb, one year old and without defect was to be offered as a burnt offering. No new grain or crop was to be consumed before the offering of First Fruits. This was to take place after Passover but before the seven days of Unleavened Bread was complete.

Fruit of the Ground Accepted

Now for a perpetual statue the First Fruits of the earth could be accepted and revered by God. The act that was not revered led to disappointment. The disappointment let to a choice – do good or do evil. Sin waited anxiously for Cain’s decision. The choice was murder. When God redeemed the first born, He also rectified Cain’s fumblings with the grain offering.

God revealed the importance of Feasts, convocations, and sacrifices. These elements must be critical to His Perfect Plan for the Promised Son. Would He be the first born? How much longer would it be? God was not done laying the ground work for the Plan. Israel was still lacking the wisdom and relationship with God they would need. BUT God is faithful and God’s timing is perfect.

It’s your turn; Are you a first born? Have you dedicated your life or some part of it to God’s service? Did you struggle thinking what you offered to God wasn’t good enough? Share your thoughts. Like it and share with your friends. Share the Journey with me to learn more about this Advent Son.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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Wisdom

Advent Journey Day 19

Wisdom
God brought the Nation of Israel to the wilderness to expose the wilderness of spirit then fill that void with His Word

Possessing Wisdom

Israel needed wisdom to become God’s Nation. Unlike every other nation on the earth, they were to be a nation of law. When Israel left Egypt their King was not ruthless or physical. The King of the Universe is Just with clearly defined law and consequence. The typical king was swayed by emotion, motivated by power, and knew their throne could be challenged or taken by force. The King of the Universe had established the earth and could destroy every king and kingdom with His word. God reigns through wisdom not fear.

Newly free the new born Nation of Israel knew power-over, dominance, ruthlessness, and fear. These ideologies permeated their thoughts and beliefs. The ruthlessness of their captors was quickly forgotten when basic needs of life were scarce. They were focused on survival in the wilderness and were willing to return to bondage. God was trying to teach them faith to believe that as their King, He would sustain them beyond the limits of the physical wilderness they roamed. They were stuck in the wilderness of their spirit, lacking wisdom.

Wilderness of spirit

God had one last challenge for Pharaoh that would be a testament to all the earthly kings, The Red Sea. The kings of the earth got the message and feared Israel and so honored God. Israel on the other hand was still isolated from belief. When they encountered the Red Saw fear gripped them. God used Moses to part the water and allow them to cross on dry ground. 2 important events reveal their disconnection from God.

  1. God parted the sea ALL NIGHT. Dark of night relates to evil and ungodly activity. God is light, the light that exposes sin. David said God was the light that reveals his darkness. The Prophet Isaiah said those who walk in darkness don’t trust God.
  2. The water was divided and they walked in the midst of it on dry ground. Water represents wisdom, in particular the wisdom of God. The Nation of Israel had so little wisdom even their feet were on dry ground.

Wisdom revealed

The quest for knowledge begins with wisdom. Wisdom comes from God.

Deuteronomy 4:5-7New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?

God brought the Nation of Israel into the wilderness to expose the wilderness of their spirit then fill that void with His Word. For them to recognize the Promised Son they needed wisdom.

What is Wisdom? We are told Solomon was extremely wise because he asked God for wisdom. Yet in 1 Kings 3 Solomon asks for understanding to judge the people, to discern between good and evil. God gave him wisdom. Therefore wisdom is the quality to know and discern between good and evil. This is what the tree of knowledge of good and evil contained, wisdom. God’s mechanism to teach the fundamental difference between good and evil is God’s word through the Law.

It’s your turn. Have you asked God to give you wisdom? Have you been helped by God to make a decision you later realized was wise? I would love to hear your experiences. Simply click on “Leave Comment” below and tell me your thoughts on wisdom.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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From Slave to Free – Advent Journey Day 18

Slave to Free
Slavery is tyranny. Anarchy is lawlessness. Freedom is liberty with laws.

Advent Journey Day 18

From Slave to Free

Freely they came, Slaves they became, Free they would become.

God sent Moses to draw out Israel so they could worship Him. They needed to shift from slave to free. As difficult as Egypt was, it was an isolated womb. They were entering the world. The birth of the Nation of Israel started with the plagues. Like an infant, they left Egypt dependent on external care, a slave to those in power. In the wilderness they would be transformed to a nation of Laws and Justice.

In Egypt the Israelite’s lived separate – isolated from the Egyptians. They were governed by Pharaoh and controlled by task-masters. All they knew was slavery. What to do, how to do it, when to do it, what to eat, how much to eat were all controlled by an external source. They couldn’t even determine when to get up or when to go to bed. Being separated from Egypt’s control was uncomfortable.

Never before or after has a nation walked away from a situation of bondage without the struggle of war.

God waged war on their behalf with signs and plagues. The final blow was killing the first-born of every person and beast in Egypt. Israel walked away will no collateral damage but the spoils of gold, silver, and garments. They had been nit together into a unified nation but they carried a damage you couldn’t see.

Learning Freedom

Israel’s an easy target for ridicule when you read about the Exodus. The miracles they saw and the constant presence of God in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night seems sufficient evidence of God’s intervention and care. Yet time and again they grumble and complain. Questioning why they left the familiarity of Egypt. Egypt stunk but nothing was within their control or their responsibility. Even if they were punished, they could blame their lot as slaves.

Now they were facing personal responsibility. While a slave, acting against those ‘in charge’ was a subtle way to exercise freedom. As a free-man, acting against the situation was no one’s problem but the one who behaved badly. They had no concept of personal consequences. Now that they were physically free they had to mentally and emotionally shift from slave to free.

Consequences

Who was to say what was acceptable and what wasn’t?

Israel was and will always be God’s people. God’s standard for justice is perfect. Moses was a man sent to bring them out of bondage, the exodus was only the first step.

God set the Israelite’s apart so He could be their God and they could be His people. The people through which His promise to Abraham would be fulfilled – to bless all nations, to send the Promised Son.

God redeemed them. Now they were free to serve God. They needed to learn how. It would be through God’s standard for Justice.

Clarity of Law

Three days into their journey the first lesson involved bitter water. They grumbled and looked back toward Egypt’s familiarity. This would become a common mantra during their walk to freedom.

If you have never heard anything like this ask a child to do something they have never done. It’s an excellent test of their thinking. They will do one of three things,

  1. Do it
  2. Try and fail
  3. Complain and grumble about fairness.

The first two are born from some confidence and encouragement that they are capable and may succeed. The third is a deflated dependent attitude. Moses’ job was to get the Israelite’s from level three to level one in their service to God.

The question then remains, who is wrong and who is good? What is the consequences of failure?

In order to serve God whose Judgments are True, we must know what is just and unjust. Without a defined standard everything is fluid and relative.

Tyranny – Freedom – Anarchy

Slavery is tyranny. Anarchy is lawlessness. Freedom is rooted in liberty with laws. Limits defined through laws protect freedoms with balance. Justice is exercised through laws.

The freedom to choose to serve God willingly is the cause leading to the Advent Son of Eve. Israel had to unlearn slavery while learning freedom. The mechanism to learn was the Law. With the law came God’s power and protection.

Adam and Eve were slaves in their ignorance and servitude to God. The tree of knowledge enlightened them and allowed them to see their position clearly. God set them free and evil flourished into anarchy. Good lost the structure of the law and justice. The wilderness journey is reestablishing law and justice with the consequences their freedom from bondage carries. Freedom has a cost.

God’s plan is moving forward. The Covenant stands, the Promise remains.

It’s your turn. Have you felt enslaved to something or someone? Have you moved from slave to free? Gained your freedom? What did you have to learn to stay free?

©2015 Elayne Cross

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Unclean to Clean

Advent Journey Day 17

How do you move from unclean to clean?

Unclean to Clean
From the beginning God established in His plan as cover for sin until such time as the Advent Son

 

There are several things that make a person unclean according to God’s standard. In God’s Mercy He created a contingency plan. If you’re unclean at the start of a Feast, like the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread, without Mercy you would not participate and be cut off from Israel. Like I shared on Day 16, the first step is to acknowledge you have sinned, or that you are unclean. To focus our investigation we will look at leprosy.

Leprosy

Biblical leprosy is NOT the same disorder as the current disease by the same name. Its presentation in the Bible creates a depression and the current disease bulges, among other differences. For instance Biblical leprosy can infect people, clothing, and homes. In current terms it might be more accurately compared to a mold or fungus.

Leprosy was a specific disorder associated with sin, not unlike leaven it was an external expression of an internal issue. Bread with leaven rises to at least double the size as without leaven. Leprosy was not as easy to determine so a significant process for identifying and monitoring leprosy can be found in Leviticus chapters 13 and 14.

Unclean?

To determine if what you have is leprosy you had to present yourself to the priest, for examination and determination. The first exam results in a quarantined 7 day wait. After 7 days and it’s worse you are declared unclean, BUT if it hasn’t changed you wait again for 7 days. If it’s better you are declared clean.

Time and again this waiting period is required along with a washing. Not only does this prevent priests jumping to conclusions, it provides time for a person to evaluate their life and reconnect with God.

If the leprosy doesn’t improve; A garment must be burned, A home must be torn down, and be taken outside the city to an unclean place. A person must live alone outside the city. He must also tear his clothing, keep his head uncovered, cover his mustache, and cry out unclean, unclean.

Clean!

If the leprosy improves and is declared clean, there is an atonement process.

  • Garment – it is washed again and is clean.
  • House – 2 clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet string, Hyssop, an earthen vessel, and water
    • One bird is killed and the blood mixed into the bowl with water – now called living water
    • The second bird is bound with the string to the wood and Hyssop. It is dipped in the living water and sprinkle 7 times on the house (or person).
    • Then the bird is released, the atonement is complete, and the house is clean.
  • Person – wash clothing, then complete the same process with the 2 birds and living water. After releasing the bird
    • Wash cloths, shave all hair including eyebrows, and wash in bath.
    • Wait 7 days then present to the temple to make atonement
    • Series of offerings, grain, guilt (sin), and wave. This includes an anointing process, first with blood from the sin offering then with oil from the grain offering on the right ear lobe, thumb, and big toe. It also includes a sprinkling oil 7 times onto the person.
    • The atonement is complete and the person is cleansed.

Advent Son?

This seems a complicated process and a bit gory with the blood, yet it points us toward God’s promises. Even in our state of sin God provides multiple opportunities to cover our sin until such time it can be fully cleansed. God provided for a Second Passover period for those who were unclean during the first Passover for a full 7 days in the 2nd month.

God is Just and has standard of sinlessness that must be met. When and how that will be satisfied is nestled within the hope given to Eve and passed on to Noah. From Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob where the promise was linked by Covenant with the Nation of Israel while reserving the promise to all nations.

Leviticus 17:11 states the life of all creatures is in the blood and God gave it to us on the altar to make atonement; it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Atonement is the repayment for a wrong to restore a relationship. When the blood was poured out with water, the plain water became living water.

Water is a Biblical symbol of wisdom, from the Torah, Godly Wisdom. Water and blood in the sacrifice become Living Wisdom. The cleansing is not just about recognizing the sin. It included being sprinkled or ceremonially washed with Living Wisdom.

God wants to share life affirming, positive, wisdom on us, in us, and through us. This is the goal of the Advent Son, Living Wisdom poured out for us.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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