Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day two)
…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16
Have you ever built anything? When I was 15 my dad and I built the house that my parents still live in. We did practically everything from digging trenches for the plumbing to roofing, and just about everything in between. I found that details mattered. A half an inch here may make quite a difference down the line. In order for everything to work in the end they needed to be properly planned for in the beginning. Our faith walk is much like that. Guided by the example of Jesus, the instruction of the Word, and the leading of the Holy Spirit we too can be fulfill the design that we were intended to be. Take care, today, to not shave an inch off of your walk with Jesus.
Re:Verse reading – Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:17-21 (Day Four)
The Bible is radical! Usually the instructions in Scripture are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the world. Scripture says, “love your enemies”, the world says, “hate your enemies”. Scripture says, “bless those who curse you”, the world says, “curse them back”. If someone hits you, your first inclination is to hit them back…if they steal from you, get it back. Jesus taught a relationship with our enemies that feels almost unnatural…in fact, it is supernatural. We can only respond like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. How do you respond when someone does you wrong? Do you obey Scripture or do you follow the ways of the world? It is only by faith that this relationship with our enemies can happen. Choose wisely.
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:26-31; Romans 5:1-11 (day five)
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”
Ever notice the 2 verb tenses in this verse? Past (Christ died) and Present (God demonstrates). Jesus’ death on the cross was a “once and for all” moment, yet God still uses it in the present as a reminder of His never-ending love. We remember Christ’s death and are immediately filled with a flood of emotions (thankfulness, joy, sorrow). It is the work of the Holy Spirit that constantly/presently points us to the death of Christ to prove and pour out the Love of God. God’s past love (Christ’s death) can be understood as a present reality. As believers we have the privilege each day to remember back and rejoice now in God’s Love. When we do this, the result is a deep and daily Hope of the Glory of God.
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:26-31; Romans 5:1-11 (day four) “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” God’s creation was good…for just a short time. It did not take long for sin to enter the world. Then, the rest of history has been God’s working to bring about the redemption of man. We were created in God’s image and only after Christ came to redeem mankind, could we again have a relationship with God. Once God has poured His love into us through the Holy Spirit, we are able now to seek to become more like Christ. A lot of big words describing the character of Christ…perseverance, character, hope, atonement, redemption, reconciliation…we are once more being created into the image of God through His Son Jesus Christ. We could not restore the relationship with God ourselves…it was only through the work of Jesus. He is our only hope. A relationship with our Creator God? Absolutely…but only through Christ!
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 39:32, 42-43; 40:1-2, 16-17, 32-38 (day four) The Israelites had done all that God had commanded them through Moses. They had followed His instructions to the letter. For once, they had done good. Verse 43 says, “So Moses blessed them.” Moses spoke good words to them…he praised them for their obedience. Words of blessing and encouragement can lift the spirit of everyone. Do you like to receive praise from your authority…your boss, your parent? Parents (especially Fathers)…do you bless your child with the words of Scripture? Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” A spoken blessing is a prayer. Giving your child a spoken blessing will help them to strengthen their character, to face temptations, or to walk in wisdom. For your children to hear you pronounce blessing into their life will impact them immeasurably. Spoken blessings call on us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we pronounce these prayers. Remember…death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 39:32, 42-43; 40:1-2, 16-17, 32-38 (day two)
And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:36-38 KJV)
When the Lord was calling me to full-time ministry this part of the Exodds story spoke the most to me. Whatever the season of life, career, family you may be in when the Lord moves, it’s time to go. What gave me the most peace about this is that the Israelites may come to a wonderful oasis on their journey where they felt they could stay indefinitely, but when the cloud moved they knew it was time. It is rarely about our comfort or convenience, but always about his plan. I didn’t have a cloud to see, but I relied on the Holy Spirit to guide me, the Word to instruct me, and the assurance that God heard my prayers for guidance. Wherever he leads, I’ll go.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 39:32, 42-43; 40:1-2, 16-17, 32-38 (day one)
“So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.”–40:38.
At the end of the day, it is our only advantage, the only thing that distinguishes Christians from other people. The Lord is with us! Not because we are good. The golden calf settled that. Not because we are strong. Years of slavery gave them (us) nothing to offer. Rather, because He called us to Himself in covenant, because He has given us His name. Not fail safe! Not something that anyone should take for granted! Years later God would remove His glorious presence from the temple and nation. Even now, there are “Christians” who by grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit, live without any evidence of His nearness. Protection. . . Identity. . . Guidance. . . All these are ours when God is with us.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 35:4-10; 20-35; 36:2-7 (day six)
And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. Exodus 35:21
God’s all-sufficiency is not in question. At first glance it would seem that God is in need; that He needs their stuff, along with their time and energy in order to build the tabernacle and its furnishings. This simply isn’t true, after all God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. God was quite able to fashion a tabernacle of his liking in the blink of an eye. So what was God doing if he didn’t need anything from the people?
I think we find the answer all throughout Exodus 35-36. Moses reminds us over and over that the people gave because their hearts were stirred to do so, and they were able to do the work only after the filling of the Holy Spirit. I believe God was calling them back to their deepest nature, being fashioned in the image of God. God not only was invested in establishing a symbolic and tangible presence among His people, but also was doing the work of restoration. This whole business of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the new covenant with an enslaved people has everything to do with God restoring all things unto himself. This restorative work began in the earliest days after the Fall and ends with Jesus’ return, but God is clearly working towards that end in building the tabernacle.
Could it be that the giving of ourselves, whether things or time or skill, taps into our truest nature? Could it be that both the inspiration to create with artistic skill, and the work itself is the reflecting of God’s image in us? After all who gives like our God? Or who creates like Him? When we give out of the stirring of our hearts, or create with our hands by the power of the Holy Spirit we begin to realize what it truly means to be human, men and woman made in the image of God.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 35:4-10; 20-35; 36:2-7 (day three)
“[The Lord] has filled [Bezalel] with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.”
Though God could have willed it so, it is unlikely that Bezalel suddenly found himself able to do metalworking and gemcutting—as if he had never worked with such materials before, then woke up one day as an expert in those crafts. The method of God with people that we see repeatedly in scripture is his use of time to help form the bodies, minds, and spirits of those who seek his direction. We’re prone to curse time as being too long (or too short). But one who seeks to grow in the way God has made him will find time to be a beautiful pathway along which the Holy Spirit leads him into the fullness of God.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 25:1-11, 17-18, 23-24, 31-32; 26:1-2, 7-8; 27:1-2; 29:43-46 (day six)
For a brief season when Emma was a toddler, she needed a visible reminder of my presence in order to fall asleep. She needed to know that I was in the room. Every so often she would open her eyes to find me, and the moment she laid eyes on me she would rest her head and go back to sleep. My presence brought her peace.
The Tabernacle served the people of God in the same way. It was to be a constant reminder of the presence of God. The Tabernacle also provided tangible symbols of how God would relate to his people. He would listen to them, speak to them, provide for them, and most importantly, make atonement for their sin; all of that was communicated through the Tabernacle and its furnishings.
The Tabernacle also instructs us as to our new covenant relationship with God. Through Jesus we experience the presence of God in the truest sense, one that the Tabernacle could only allude to. Jesus made it possible for intimate renovations of the heart; transforming us broken cisterns to temples of the Spirit of God. As followers of Jesus we can be at peace that God is always present with us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit powerfully teaches us, intercedes on our behalf, puts sin to death for us, gives gifts to us, all on the basis of our faith in Jesus. As believers we can rest in the presence of God; he will never leave us or forsake us.