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February 2020

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Books for the Journey:

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a very good book is "tragedy to triumph" by Frank Retief..the pastor of st.james Church in Cape Town South Africa that had the massacre..a Christians response to trials and suffering.these Old Testament readings are really speaking to me ,God is so detailed about the objects He wants His people to create and theyre not just visually beautiful they have meaning in every item and engraving that is added..i am an artist and through the years i have learned that what you see in front of you in a gallery or on someones wall is not the whole story the process and the meaning in an art work are all part of its finished whole and make it richer than what you can see.the same with the Bible once you start digging and being taught and shown things there is so much more there than just your first reading of the words..

Now, I would not recommend this as something to ready immediately follwing a hard time in your life, but I have to say Phillip Yancy's "Where is God when it hurts" helped me more with grief than any other book, other than the Bible.

Phillip Yancy's "What's so Amazing About Grace".
Is a classic!

Good morning All - I have not read any of the books mentioned in this blog, but I am not much of a self help reader, outside of the bible (sorry) I tried "In The Meantime" by Iyala Vanzant, but could not get pass the the first few chapters, same with Purpose Drive Life. But it's funny I am reading daily The Promises Of God and I love that "Go Figure"
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Exodus 28 - Moses was one of THE most important figures in Judiasm why was Aaron the first High Priest and not Moses. Was it b/c Aaron was older? Was it b/c Moses murdered the Egyptian? Umm Aaron sinned by building the golden calf. (so I am not sure if that could be it) I have not found it in any commentary, maybe it is not important; but I always wondered.

God Bless

My heart goes out to anyone who is walking through heartache right now. I have been through 2 seasons in my life of intense grief and perlexity when circumstances were multiplying to cause my heart to be weighed down with grief, loss, and temptations to doubt the love and sovereignty of God. Two books were a rich means of grace to me: "When God Weeps" by Joni Erickson Tada and "How Long, O Lord?" by D. A. Carson. Both are full of biblical truths communicated with warmth and compassion.

Laverne,
"Moses was one of THE most important figures in Judiasm why was Aaron the first High Priest and not Moses"?
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Because God said so?????

Not being flippant, but it is not explained in the Bible. Jewish Rabbi's say the same thing. Could extend that to being chosen, election, our (Christians) being priests (1Peter2:9), we were chosen not by merit - but by God's Grace, etc.

BUT......
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I think if one reflects on it - one can come up with at least the reason why Moses was not selected.

During the period of Kings of Israel it was forbidden for a man to be king and a Priest. (Only Melchisedec and Christ have ever fulfilled both positions).

Moses was not a king, but he was the leader of 2 million people wandering in the desert. He had administrative and judicial responsibilities. Most attribute Moses as the author of the first five books of the Bible. Moses was a busy person.

The High Priest was also a busy position -administratively and dealing with the people. Israel sinned a lot - so there was constant need for sacrifices and High Priest's time.

So on a practical basis - it makes sense that the two positions were divided between two people. There are probably deeper theolgical reasons for God's decision - but I will leave it at this explanation.

NOTE: I think it is also a position that Aaron needed to occupy to deepen his faith in the Lord. (my personal opinion)

Exodus 28

Priestly Garments

"In God’s plans, we frequently see a dominant principle: the small and imperfect precedes and foreshadows the great and the perfect. This is true of first natural and then spiritual Israel. If it is true of nations, it is true of individuals....

...As the spiritual heirs of the Mosaic priests, we should study our predecessors and understand their responsibilities and privileges, for we are spiritual “priests.” If we take this attitude, then the study of the law that vanished away after Christ’s advent will become alive and exciting again."

A pretty good one-pager that discusses symbolism in priestly garments with supporting NT verses is here:
http://www.tidings.org/studies/redemption200305.htm

Matt 25
Sheep and Goats

Trying to be consistent here. Previously, Christ warned that his coming would be unexpected, one would go and one would stay, people that professed to be believers (Christians) - the 5 foolish virgins and servant with one talent - would be found out and banished....so what are the sheep and goats in this context.

I believe all of Jesus' words and the inspired writing of the gospels are consistent and should be looked at in context.
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This is not a parable. Parable's never mention the identity of an individual - only alludes to the individual by character description. Jesus has come back and is present in His Messianic Glory. Jesus is clearly identified, and He now clearly says what is going to happen.

Nations - Gk. "ethnos" In OT used to refer to Gentil/pagan nations. Paul uses the term in NT for Gentile Christians. So this is the judgment of the non-Jewish nations of the peole alive at the time of His return.

Sheep and goats - not sheep and wolves. Not obviously good and obviously bad. These Gentiles are the group of people who profess to believe in Christ and be His follower(s). Just like the preceding mixed group of virgin bridesmaids and servants.

Judgment - Jesus pronounces judgment in each case and then gives His basis for the judgment. Heaven for the sheep; hell for the goats.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THIS IS JUDGMENT AFTER TRIBULATION OF PEOPLE ALIVE AT THAT TIME. The works may involve the 144,000 or other believers.

Works - So what distinguishes these people? Their works??? So do works get us into heaven??? No, but works (that Jesus is acknowledging) are the fruit of the Spirit that only comes when Christ is accepted and received as Lord and Savior.

The difference can be seen in their responses.

Sheep - When? We didn't know. Exactly - it is the works done by an unconscious, automatic response of hearts indwelt by Jesus Christ that are the works Christ is approving here. It is the mark of a believer.

Goats - 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

It is a subtle difference, but the implication is: we did things for you, the church, the community - when was there ever a time when we were involved in "religious" environments that we did not step up.

Exactly. You stepped up when His name was involved, but apparently never "for" His name when people were in need (especially fellow Christians).

It seems that the Lord is looking at their lives when their guard is down - when they show their true selves. This is tough - and the only way to live the life that the Lord demands is to be in Him and He in you. The only way to produce the works Jesus approves of here is to be one with Christ - to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
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Although this teaching involves a time in the future when some (or many) of us will not be around - God is immutable - He does not change. He could spot hypocrites when on earth, and He will know them at judgment time.

So the question to believers (Christians) is - are your works the fruit of the Holy Spirit that resides in you when you accept Christ?

Rom10:9-10
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." NIV

If you have done this, then God will do the rest. God will transformn you through the Holy Spirit and the fruit will come.

Eph2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

If you have accepted Christ - there is no need for fear at seeing Him at any time - today, tomorrow or at this judgment.
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NOTE:
I realize that some (even many), including pastors, will disagree with my interpretation. It is still a thought in progress as I am seeing matt24-25 in a totally different light then last year. However, I do believe my posts the last three days have been consistent with the message I see throughtout the text.


Jesus Anointed at Bethany

It is important to know the culture and the preparations of Passover to get a richer meaning of this text. God has been foreshadowing Christ's sacrifice in the OT through the Passover and sacrifices in general.

Yes, Mary's anointing was in preparation for His burial. (She knew and believed Jesus' predictions of His death.)

BUT......

Jewish days go from sunset to sunset. So on the night Christ was anointed, that same day (next morning) the priests inspected the lambs for blemishes and selected(chose) and anointed the Lamb that was to be the Passover Sacrifice.

Our God is a God of details and the Lamb of God will follow the Passover script in preparation for the crucifixion. As Jesus' sacrifice will be the Final and Ultimate Passover Sacrifice - there will be no need for another.

In biblical usage, anointing is an act of consecration—setting one apart for the holy work of God. So it was that Jesus and the temple lamb were anointed on the same day. Perhaps Matthew wants to make sure that the Jewish audience sees the parallel of Jesus' last days and the Passover.

There is no writer like Charles Spurgeon to say what you need to hear when you need to hear it. When I faced the sickness and passing of my Dad, I found his book, "Beside Still Wate" to be of great comfort.

Whoops - that's "Beside Still Water" :-)

I was recently going through this stage of grief in this second year after my husbands death.
I suddenly realized that he was not coming back, and life as I had known it, and cherished for the past 38 years was over. I wept before the Lord hating the changes, wanting his joy. Realizing for the first time in my life I was alone. No parents, siblings, or husband to turn to.
I had to face life by myself for the first time in my life. I knew that the Lord could change things in a second, bring me joy and peace. Yet I was not ready for the changes until I came to this epiphany. Like the lepers who found themselves between a starving city and the Syrian Army. If we sit here we die, if we go into the city they have no food, and we die. If we go to the syrians, they may catch us alive, or kill us quickly if they kill us quickly we but die. So Why Sit we here?
I could no longer sit in my home hoping for the Lord to ease my pain. I had to get up and get out, find classes to go too. Groups to meet with. I had to find things to do, people to meet. Praise God he told me I know the thoughts I have for you, thoughts to prosper and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.
I don't know what tomorrow holds for me, but I do know who holds all of my tomorrows.

Mike as I read Matthew 25:34-40 I wondered if Romans 10:9 was enough because you have people who confess and believe in Jesus but they are still selfish.

THANKS JOHN - my pastor also says ALL the time to us FAVOR AIN'T FAIR - I like that saying.
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SHEREE - both these books sound very interesting to me. In the last year I have gone through many adjustments personally and the titles you shared have peaked my interest. I plan to go check them out of the library and they might wind up in my library. Thank Q

Sorry, i'm a lil behind, but i always catch up :p. I really love Matt 25, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' I always think of that when I have a chance to help someone, whether they be in need of something i can provide, someone in jail, etc. We should do it as if we are doing it to Jesus. We are all valuable in God's eyes and we may have a selfish tendenacy to think someone is less, but not so. Jesus came as our example, lowly and humble. Who am I to turn away someone in need if i can minister to them.
My pastor was going over the account of Mary annointing Jesus with perfume in Luke 12. There Judas rebuked her for "wasting" the perfume...it could be sold to help the poor. Jesus knew his heart, he was not interested in the poor, Judas was in charge of the finances, had the money bag and he was pilfering. he wouldn't have given the money to the poor, he would have pilfered that as well!
Sure glad we dont have to go through men to get to God...Jesus Christ is the One and only mediator. It angers me to think of people going to priests to access God. Those priest are no closer to God then anyone, if they even know him at all. We all have equal access to God through Christ! Imagine that, the 'greats' like Billy Graham for example...he has no special access to God that every believer is not entiltled to. If one doesnt know Christ personally, he cant access God. period! until he repents, God will not even hear him.
I do have a special admiration for pastors and men of God, though we arent to be a respector of persons..I think its natural we admire people and appreciate them!! I appreciate my pastors sooooooooo much!!!! I thank God for them!!!

Well, I've gone through a few deaths of loved ones, honestly, the book that really comforted me was not a Christian book, so I hesitate recommending it, but when i read it, it really helped me so much! Its a book written for those who's loved ones commited suicide. I cant tell you the pain...I hope no one else has to experience this ever! But suicide is unique to other deaths, like my mom died of cancer and I've had friends die of Aids, drown, other relatives of cancer. Sudden death is awful and when its the action of the person you loved, talked to every single day and they are gone..and i had them, i couldve stoped them...if i only wouldnt...ect. I cant tell you the guilt and pain, it almost killed me. Anyhow, the book is called "Suicide: Survivors...A Guide for those left behind" by Adina Wrobleski. But I pray to God no one has to got through this. I got the book out to look at the title and just looking at it hurts too bad, tho my best friend died almost 13 yrs ago. the pain never leaves. never. not this side of earth anyhow.

I was listening to Christian radio today and he was saying how most the psalms start out pretty gloomy, but they end in praise! thats what we are to do! So since i mentioned something gloomy I will end in praise, the Lord giveth and He taketh away. Blessed be His name forever and ever! For He is goooood!!!

Any idea where I can buy a replica of a Breastplate of Aaron like you have pictured on your website?

Thanks,

Steve
770-318-4029

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