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i talk to God through the day and if iv done something wrong or thought something that i dont think was kind or good i ask for forgiveness straight away,i have done things before which in a human way of understanding we would class as great sin( i know to God sin is sin but my human mind says some things are wrong and others very wrong)i have asked God for forgiveness and because of my guilt have still not been able to quite accept that i have been forgiven so what i did was prayed to God and told Him how i felt and that i believed in His promises and intellectually i know God keeps His promises therefore i must be forgiven..my feelings are sometimes unreliable i have to trust in what God says in the Bible.I loved the bit about God gifting the people specifically to do the tasks He was setting before them..we are doing a SHAPE course at Church which lets you examine your life according to Spiritual gifts, Heart( where your passion is),Ability,Personality and Experience and along with a counsellor( basically someone who listens and helps you formulate your thoughts and who knows you well enough to have helpful advice too)you work out your basic Shape and see where best with these gifts God has given you you can serve Him.

The one gift we all have is the longing for love and the capacity to love. God's greatest desire for us is to put those capacities to work. The "lesser" gifts of exhortation, mercy, giving, prophecy -- I've come to realize that every one of them just opens doors to share love.

I used to think my gift was music and leading worship. Then I realized that was just the "hook" God used to bring me to my real ministries -- the homeless, prisoners, the elderly.

Just wanted to share this interesting detail:

"Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" Matt 26:53(TNIV)

Now according to Wikipedia a Roman legion consisted of about 5000 men. Which means 12x5000 = 60,000 Bearing in mind that two angels was enough to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Even with all this at His disposal He chose to die for me and you. That's just mind blowing to me!

KE I must say that you have a good point. Above all the fact that he CHOSE to DIE for us and the manner inwhich it was done is far more than we deserve.

I am very glad to of read today's commentaries after the old testament reading in Exodus today. I don't always take the time to read them, but have decided that I would start doing the scripture reading before I read the information that Mike provides us. If I feel that I want to dig deeper I read the commentary after the readings. Today what really spoke to me from the commentary on the Exodus reading was the sentence that said "It is most dangerous and fatal to use professions of the gospel of Christ to forward wordly interests". It seems like this happens so much today in our modern world. Everyone wants to promote their own selfish interests and one up everyone else. We are a world of people pleasers rather than God pleasers.

When I think about the stone tablets which contained the terms of the covenant the thought of them being written by the finger of God makes me awestruck. Wasn't the bible written and inspired by the "Finger of God" I think many people (in the non-Christian sector)don't take that into consideration and appreciate the rich resource that we have right at our fingertips.

Stef mentioned that at church they were able to learn about their spiritual gifts so that they would know how to serve. Our church did something very similar. We all took a survey that was scored. The score told us about our personality types. Whether we are conversational, confrontational or more personal etc.. What I learned is what direction I should be going in when contemplating ministry work. I enjoyed reading the verses today about the gifts of the builders who built the tabernacle using gold and precious stone. All that went into building something for God according to His specifications. He had just the right people who were there at just the right time who had a particular talent. Are there some talents that each of us have that perhaps God wants us to use for His glory? It is up to us to be obedient and use our talents. Now to figure out what mine are and to use them. Learning how to prioritize my life to fit things in better would help too.

Have a great day, Laura

hello,
here are my thoughts on todays readings;
1-I can see a link between the craftsmens gifts and the reading from proverbs that describes the Lord creating this wonderful, awe-inspiring world. the Lord is the Great Craftsman and the Great Mathmatician (just study a sunflower)
2-the fact that all men had to pay the same ammount says to me that we are all as valuab;e to the Lord, regardless of purse or content. its not about us, its about God
3-the perfumes must have been wonderfully fragrant, I can almost smell them. the Lord is the Great Perfumer
everything that the Lord made is good, we are made in His image, so lets not say that one is better that another, even ourselves.
we are here to praise Him, we can all do that

I too was drawn to the combination of the OT and the proverbs today. God specifically instilled the men He mentioned by name to Moses with special wisdom.

And then in the proverbs it talks about how wisdom was an intimate part of creation. That it wasn't all haphazardly tossed together like some sort of cosmic tossed salad.

In both examples it directly contradicts the worldly idea of wisdom, which is just some useless one up you have on the next guy... an intelligence that understands the world around but just sort of sits there and maybe scribbles down a self help book along the way.

But here, wisdom was "a master workman" (NASB) Wisdom's ultimate purpose was filled through use, and not just existance.

God filled the craftsmen of the children of Israel with the wisdom it takes to get all of the sacred pieces made for the tent of meeting and for the courtyard. They were not made wise so that they could understand how much better they were than the next guy. They were given wisdom so that they could DO SOMETHING!

My favorite example about this is children. They give very little pause to their world and their interaction with it. If they understand something, they understand it for the purpose of interacting better with it. If they understand their parents, they understand their parents for the purpose of having more fun, or eating more cookies, or getting fewer spankings.

Ecclesiastes on my mind...

Matthew 26

Before the Sanhedrin

Short of reading some books on the subject, I think no one does a better job of explaining the injustices and rule skipping in the trials of Jesus than John MacArthur.

For todays reaadings:
http://www.biblebb.com/files/mac/sg2389.htm
http://www.biblebb.com/files/mac/sg2390.htm

Some Highlights for those that do not hae the time to read.

1)Trials were to be held in public and during the day in the Jewish Legal system.

2)A right to self-defense was guaranteed. (similar to our attorneys)

3)It takes two witnesses (in agreement) in Judaic legal system to provide evidence against a person.

"The one in Matthew claimed Jesus said, "I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days." The one in Mark's record claimed He said, "I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands." Even they don't agree. What did Jesus actually say? John 2:19 tells us: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up...

...The testimony of those two witnesses should never have been admitted. As mentioned earlier, a witness had to know the year, month, day, hour, and location of the supposed crime. Also, there were strict rules regarding the limitations of disagreement that could be tolerated between witnesses." - From J. MacArthur links above

4) Jesus' silence regarding charges. As predicted in OT. Just like the lambs that are led to Passover sacrifice and slaughter in general. One reporter in Wyoming wrote - 'it is eerily silent as the herd of sheep to be slaughtered are led into the waiting pens of the slaughterhouse.'

5) Jesus spoke. Speaking here does not viollate OT prophecy. Jesus is not replying to charges. He is answering the question - 'are you the Son of God?' He has always answered that question - either straightforward or cryptically. The judges are given every opoortunity to know WHO they are convicting.

6) Instead they regard it as blasphemy, and judged Jesus gulity. They were supposed to seclude themselves and vote. Wait three days and vote again. Sentencing was to be done on the third day after a day of fasting.

The trial was a mockery - and simply a conspiracy to remove Jesus' threat to their power and money base in the Temple.

[Much more detail at the links above.]
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Again I find it amazing when different releigious sects or atheists claim Jesus never said He was God. If they can not understand Jesus' words - surely they can tell by the reactions of the Sanhedrin that in fact - Jesus was claiming deity.

Exodus 30:11-31:18

Atonement Money

I am reminded of an excellant observation made on this blog last year by Ramona(?).

Here in Exodus - the ransom for one's life to God; making atonement for their lives - is the same for rich and poor. It occured during a census (which probably only happened once in a person's life????? - because they are rare in Bible????).

It is the same today. Their is no "price" for the ransom of our lives to the Lord for our atonement - but there is a "cost". And it is the same for Rich and Poor.

The Cost is that one must humble himself before the Lord (like a child), acknowledge they are a sinner, and submit their will to God - and allow Him to rule our lives - through Christ and the Holy Spirit residing in us. This can only happen by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Patrick made a marvelous comment the other day. Is Rom 10:9-10 enough? It doesn't appear to work for everyone.

Unfortunately "belief" or "believe" in English does not have the rich connotation of the Greek. In Greek "Pistis" (one variation) - "believe" - incorporates three things - acknowledgment, belief, and trust. All three must be present when Rom 10:9 is considered.

Ex. You can "acknowledge" that parachutes work - scientifically and empiracally. You can "believe" that if you jump out of plane and pull the cord, you will land safely. But you only "trust" when you actually jump out of the plane.

It is the same for Christ regarding Salvation. Think of the "trust" exercise. You can acknowledge that Jesus is God; you can believe that Jesus will save you and abide in you forever. BUT THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. Until you close your eyes and fall back and let Jesus catch you, embrace you, be one with you - you do not trust God - you do not have the "belief" of Rom 10:9.

The marvelous thing???? When Jesus wraps his arms around you and becomes one with you - HE NEVER LETS GO. You are one with the body of Christ forever.

A good (one- pager)apologetic article on "belief" is here:
http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5391
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[Note: Interestingly enough - the roles are reversed. In OT the price was easily affordable for the rich.

Today,the cost of submitting one's will to God is usually easier for the "poor" to do than the rich. The rich have to put aside pride, idea that they control their destinty, that they have made themselves wealthy, etc.]

Exodus

Basin for Washing
http://www.the-tabernacle-place.com/tabernacle_articles/tabernacle_laver.aspx

Anointing Oil
The priest ere anointed with Oil to consecrate (set them apart) so that they can serve God.

Today we are anointed with the Holy Spirit. It is not an outward anointing, but the Spirit residing in us. Why? Besides the ongoing sanctification - it to sets us aprt and allows us to serve God.
http://www.bible-topics.com/Anointing-Sacred.html

Incense is a type of perfume that is associated with the worship and prayer to God

Incense — from the Latin "to burn," "a mixture of gums or spices and the like, used for the purpose of producing a perfume when burned"; or the perfume itself of the spices, etc., burned in worship. It was burned as an offering to God on the altar in the tabernacle and the temple. The purpose of this incense offering was to honor God. Incense symbolized and expressed the prayers of the Hebrew people, which were considered a pleasant aroma offered to God.
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~dbuchner/2tim3V16/Matthew/Matthew_introQ.html
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Sabbath - I am going to hold off on discussing the Sabbath, except to make one point about these passages in today's readings.

"Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come.."

"The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant."

"It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever,.."

I hope it is clear and we can agree for now - that in these passages - God clearly is talking to Israel.

Just put that away for a future time.

I do think that for many people in this day and age they almost think that confessing their sins in a fix all. For example, people may think that they can do something as long as they remember to ask for forgiveness of confess it to God. However, this is wrong thinking, I was one of those people I thought that as long as I confessed my sins it would be Ok. I now know that is not true you have to mean it and want to do better and change. I am only 22, and have different struggles in life then I did even 5 years ago. I think that if you have someone that you can talk to and who understands you, if that is a pastor or a friend or a partner, I think that helps you understand. I don't know how many times I have called my friend and talked the "problem or mistake that was sure to end my life as I knew" and yet they see it different than I did. I also like talking things out with my pastor, however my pastor who is 51 years old and has had more life experiences then me, he still relates to me as a 22 year old. I like that I can go into his office or home and sit down with him and just talk or cry depending on what I need. I think that confessing sins in your life to yourself, others, and God, will not only help you spiritually but it will also help you deal with life in general. I know that life is not easy for some, but I also know that there is a God that loves everything about you and wants more than anything else to know what is hurting you and what is causing you problems, I do believe that He is the only one that can help you though anything. He is all-powerful, almighty, and He wants to know you, that also means the "bad" parts. He can and will change you, even if you don't think that you can, He can.

Verses that stood out for me today:

Exodus 31:12-13 "The Lord then gave these instructions to Moses: “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy".

Matthew 26:52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword".

Psalm 32:1 "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
Psalm 32:5 "Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone".

Proverbs 8:30 "I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence".

I need to keep this short. I'm going to Amsterdam today.

Yeah! I'm back! :0) Thanks for all your prayers!

Psalm 23 IS a very powerful word! I believe confessing your sins verbally is extremely important for the sake of accountability. Confessing to God is first and foremost...as He is who we have sinned against...but telling someone else helps me deal with the sin also...I have a couple of accountability partners who I trust with everything...they help keep me straight!

Sometime I don't "feel" better after I confess to God, because I still hold on to the guilt. But then I try to focus on that God is faithful...his word says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins! As far as the east is from the west!

All the readings in Matthew about Jesus and the upcoming crucifixion, really touching me in a different way over the past few days. Very emotional.

I guess the bronze basin is kinda like a bath tub back in the BC times :) although it is really weird looking :)

Over scheduling? I know I do that but I think it is because we never know when we are not going to be here. In 15 min I have to get ready, go study with a girl for the PPR in canyon then at 2 we are leaving for a bday party and I still have to take a test online for a class that I haven't done for the past 2 weeks because I have been student teaching. So you tell me Over scheduling? Yes, and I wonder this will slow down right? Yes eventually. And yes I make up excuses sometimes but are they lies ?? would they be only God knows the truth and I avoid the phone. How sad is that? But I must say that little boy of mine gets my full attention at home. so its God, E. and school.

That painting is Jesus rescueing us for what we can not rescue ourselves from; This sad world. He is holding us up and making us feel that we are one with him. That is okay to have feelings to drop what makes us heavy in our hearts. He was the one that wants our worries not us. :)

KE - Thanks so much for pointing out the definition from the Free Encyclopedia regarding(Roman Legions). You know; its almost like, if not like Jesus letting them know how much power He truly has just in case they forgot.
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My sins are confessed in my heart and mind as well as verbally to God.
I say them out loud to hear the words it seems to do something different for me if said out loud. I feel plenty different after confessing my sins. Its like a load is lifted, but I also feel bad, because I get mad at myself for the sin in the first place. After I am in meditation for a while I remember sin is over my head. Umm relevancy; I am not sure if it is or not but here in the 21st century I continue to ask God to forgive me for missing the mark. Spiritual Discipline - for the ancient people yes I think it should have been practiced regularly just because of they way things were during those times. The needed to be set apart from others.

there goes Peter again in ch 26, having a loyalty to Christ, but messing up, ha, and cutting the guy's ear off. wat a bizarres scene that must have been. Jesus just picked it up n put it back on...i wonder wat was going on in that guy's mind.

vs 67-68 is getting me emotional. :( Its so hard to read...not only because we love Him, but bcos He went through that because He loved me! and you! and every person so much...a love I cant understand, none of us can fully.

aw, we read Ps 32 at church this morning! Great chapter, it all speaks to me!

As far as sins, i usuaslly confess them to the Lord, unless He prompts me to confess to someone else, maybe a friend or someone. say its an issue i feel can be a snare, its good to be accountable to someone else. I think we should confess wenever we pray...i mean of course we cant confess evey single thing specifically, but since sin blocks our entrance to the throne, i dont want anything in my way! just get rid of it.

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