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I just finished reading A Grief Observed last night! The section that stuck out for me is that God is like a good surgeon who must do the deep cutting in order to heal. If He were a bad surgeon, He would stop when we tell Him to. He is so good and so merciful that we must allow the cutting in our lives. I don't know why He has allowed such deep sorrow in my life (I am going through my second miscarriage) but if it is His will, I want to be in the center of it no matter how painful it may be.

The verse that jumped out at me today was in Exodus where God said Aaron and his sons would be set apart (consecrated in the NIV)by their clothing (and a few more rituals coming soon). It occured to me we are all set apart from the rest of humanity by the blood of Jesus-we no longer need the special clothes and rites. How wonderful for us! We can now approach God and have communion with Him because of the santification and consecration and purification of Jesus Christ. Cool!
Also, a note to Molly-first, my prayers are with you as you trust God during your walk in this valley. Second, there is a wonderful book by Phillip Yancey called "Where is God When It Hurts?" I picked it up after 9-11 and it really has some great insights. Maybe it would be comforting for you to read.
God bless you.

"...to express glory and beauty." THis phrase jumped out at me today in Exodus (The Message) The clothing of Aaron and his son's was to express glory and beauty. Betty already alluded to the fact that we are adorned in robes of righteousness, washed in Jesus' blood. We are a royal priesthood, part of a kingdom of priests.

As priests, we have the privilege and responsibility of ministering before the Lord. In Matthew today it suggests that the "church" is not where all of the work of God's Kingdom takes place. God calls us to reach out to the weak and feeble, to the homeless -- to "the least of these".

Psalm 31:14 Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God! What a tremendous statement of faith!! Do we know and trust God enough to throw ourselves upon Him?
Is He more than enough, all that you need, all that you ever wanted? He never disappoints those who seek Him with all of their heart.

Proverbs 8:12 "I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity; Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street. Having spent some time on a street with tenants quite the opposite of these --- I really like the looks of this neighborhood!! When I walked in my own ways, I sometimes thought that I was pretty smart, but my wisdom is foolishness in the face of God's wisdom.

Molly, I'll be remembering you too. While we're mentioning books, I'll throw in one by Brennan Manning called "The Boy who Cried ABBA". May the God of all comfort give you peace and may the peace that passes all understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Mark

Exodus 28:1-43
Aaron and his four sons were to be set apart, to be holy unto the Lord. Their garments were to be made of fine linen and embroidered with the finest of threads. The fasteners used, especially for the High Priests garments, Aaron was appointed the High Priest, had to be made with pure gold. The embroidery had to be exquisite. It has been said that you can really know a lot about a person by what they surround themselves with. God surrounds Himself with the finest things He has created. He is a God of excellence and beauty and He concerns Himself with every little detail because the detail is important and relevant to who He is.

Matthew 25:31-26:13

Although this reading includes the wonderful passage of Jesus being anointed for His death by a woman who considered what Jesus had done for her more valuable than the “fortune” she anointed Jesus with, I became fascinated with two sentences spoken by the sheep and the goats.

The sheep responded to Jesus’ statement about them with this, 37 "Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?'

I’ve always read both the sheep and goat response as if they were the same and the King’s response to them was based on what they did or didn’t do to the “least of them.” But I just realized the sheep are perplexed, they have no idea of doing anything to or for anybody. However the goats’ response to Jesus’ when I was hungry, in prison statement was different if I’m reading the text right, and I went to several translations.

44 "Then they will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'
The goats claim that when they saw the King hungry, thirsty, naked … they did something because of the last part of the sentence, “… and not help you?”

The sheep didn’t think they had done anything special but the goats stated that they had. I think what this is saying is that our “help” must be so part of our lifestyle that we don’t even think that it is special. In order to say, as the goats did, “ … and not help you?” one must keep a record, mental or “notches” of all the good deeds one has done. The sheep do because it is part of who they are. The goats do to earn “goody” points; however, God is not in the “goody” points redemption business. We are saved by grace not by works.

Psalm 31:9-18
10 I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.

This sounds a lot like depression. I have heard and I believe that depression is anger turned inward and this verse sounds like it to me.

Proverbs 8:12-13
If you want understanding, judgment that is first-class, discernment and knowledge you better move in with Wisdom.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

I am very sorry that this is soooo late, but I feel impressed to still send it.
I noticed your zeal and fervor for the Sabbath, and taking a day’s rest out of the seven, and I really admired it. And I also appreciate this opportunity to be able to read the Bible with all of you(I had to get that out, because I wasn’t sure when I will be writing back). I have been praying that God would give me the words here to say, so that I may be clear and concise for your benefit. I pray that you receive this in love and know that I am only coming in that spirit.
I noticed that there was some error though in your perception of what the Sabbath truly is. You made some good points on the importance of a Sabbath; there is a Divine purpose to its establishment and observance. Jesus tells us that, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”(Mark 2:27). God also told Isaiah to “make it a delight”(58:13). The Bible explains that there was a definite reason that He set apart a Sabbath. But why, and what is it? The answer to that question can be found-as we have already read-in the story of creation. God had just labeled His entire creation “very good”, at the end of the sixth day(Gen. 1:31). By the seventh day the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them; but God had one more thing to establish. On the seventh day God rested, and in that rest He “blessed” and “sanctified” the seventh day(2:1-3). God made the seventh day holy. I think that we lose site of the complete picture of the Sabbath when we look at it as just a day, and not a certain day that God gave us. (Now I want to take a second to ask that you read through this not making any assumptions, and that you study for yourself and don’t just take my word for it. But I implore you to truly take time to study this, open-minded, for yourself.) God seems very clear that He wants His day to be hollowed; He did not leave us to “pick a day”. I like how C.S. Lewis puts it. He says, “The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely the keys”. God, in his giving of the law, gave us our “sheet music” to play; we have to be sure though that we play God’s music, and we avoid adlibbing. I read somewhere that all the law is, is God exposing to us His character. And there is something to be said about the fact that God put the observance of the Sabbath within the Ten Commandments. In the fourth, God reveals the sanctity of the seventh day. The fourth commandment states:
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all they work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hollowed it.”(20:8-11)
Please do not misunderstand me though, this commandment is in no way more important than the others, but I wanted to call attention to it for a reason. There are a few important points that are revealed in this commandment. First God called Moses to “remember” the Sabbath day, which means that this isn’t some new command that God just created. Second, there is something interesting in its wording; God says “Remember the Sabbath day”(emphasis added). He doesn’t call us to remember a Sabbath, but the Sabbath, and then He goes on to explain that it is the seventh day that He rested on and wanted us to rest on it also. (This is just a sidebar, but I thought it would be of some value to point out. The fourth commandment is the only commandment that explains God as the creator of all of this: “…the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…”(v.11). It is the only commandment that authenticates creation. So unless there has been a call to change or alter the law anywhere in the Bible, they-all ten-should be followed whole heartedly. Let’s look to the Word and see what it has to Say about the Law of God.
In the Bible the Law of God is called: “perfect”(Ps. 19:7); “holy”(Rom. 7:12, Is. 58:13, Ez. 20:12, ); and “spiritual”(v. 14), among other things. In Ecclesiastes the Law of God is referred to as “the whole duty of man”(12:13). Joshua warned not to turn to the right or the left of it(Jos. 23:6). Solomon labeled you a “wise son” if you kept them(Pr. 28:7) . David called them “precepts that are to be fully obeyed”(Ps. 119:4). Jesus explains that the observance of His commandments is the sign that you love Him(John 14:15). He also explained that if you wanted to abide in His love, you would keep His commandments, the same way He keeps His Father’s and abides in His love(15:10). Listen to what Christ said in Matthew 5:19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven…”. Jesus warned the Pharisees not to reject the law for the sake of keeping their traditions(Mark 7:9 & Matt. 15:3). Jesus says that he was not here to destroy the law(Matt. 5:17). And the gospels are clear in stating that Jesus observed the Sabbath(Mk. 1:21, Lk. 4:16, 31, and 13:10). Paul also kept the Sabbath day holy(Acts 13:14 and 17:2); he also spoke of the sanctity of the Law itself(Rom. 6:14, 15; 7:12; 8:3, 4). John and James also revered the law(1 John 3:4; James 2:10, 11). And finally, obedience of the law will be the sign of who God’s true remnant church is(Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). God’s followers will delight in doing his will.
I left some verses out and some other points, because I didn’t want to risk talking you to death. I just wanted to show you the reverence and the importance of obedience to the law of God. His law is perfect and we are called to follow it. It reveals his character, and without it we would not be able to label sin for what it is. Jesus made it clear that the word of God will never change. Nowhere in the Old or New Testaments is there a call for the altering or abolishment of the Moral Law of God. Jesus-who is supposed to be our perfect example-showed an immense respect for the law. Paul said that we are not under its power, and that the mere obedience to it will not get us into heaven, but he never says that it is abolished. Without the law, how do we know how to obey? Grace does abound, but obedience to the law and grace walk hand in hand. There is a standard to live by, but we cannot do it without grace. My hope is that you receive this through prayer and fasting, and that we can put denominations aside and get to the point that we are serving God in spirit and in truth. I would love to hear back from you, or anyone else, so that we can discuss this together. If you would like I could send you who and where the change happened.

I apologize for being rude. I forgot to post my email address which is [email protected]

peace and love,
Jasper

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