Sukkot – Ah!!! The Joy Of Camping
Maybe I should say, the adventures of camping. In my family, many a vacation trip was a camping trip. We have pleasant memories and stories of beautiful hikes and encounters with wildlife, singing around the campfire, eating smores and marshmellows, and waking up to some of the most amazing sunrises with a fresh cup of coffee. It is to be a time to rejoice and celebrate the works and beauty of God.
But there are also stories of not so pleasant encounters with wildlife, such as skunks, snakes, and bears, waking up in the soaking rain with half of your sleeping bag in a puddle, violent storms, running out of food down the wilderness trail, bug bites, poison ivy and being generally hot or cold and uncomfortable. As we get older we camp less even though the younger ones eventually talk us into it with their enthusiasm. “Come on," they say, "it'll be so much fun!”.
God’s Annual Camping Trip
"Why?," you ask. To remember and to rejoice.
You shall dwell in booths (temporary shelters) for seven days. All who are native Israelites (including those who are grafted in – Ephesians 3:6) shall dwell in booths, Why? …..that your generations may know Remember that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. ~Leviticus 23:42-43
A wilderness experience is a time and a place of learning, some but not all of it can be unpleasant. But still, we are to rejoice. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.~James 1:12
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our trouble, light and momentary (like a camping trip), is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, as we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18
But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. ~Psalm 51:11 Rejoice
Chag Sameach Sukkot!!!
Happy Feast Of Tabernacles -
Sunday, October 13
through Sunday, October 20, 2019
Have you ever come across a special Bible verse, maybe in your morning devotional or on your favorite Christian blog that spoke directly to something you were going through and you wanted to remember it, but found that it had completely slipped your mind after about fifteen minutes? Me too, and it’s not because we’re over fifty, it’s because we just have too darn many distractions, all day, every day!
Meditative Prayer is an easy and enjoyable way that we can carry helpful scriptures with us, revisit them throughout the day, and even end up automatically committing them to memory so that they’re always on tap when we need them. Plus, Meditative Prayer is a simple method that takes us into the deeper meaning behind the scriptures, providing fresh insight every time we use it.
Want to get started? Here’s how…
You’ll need your Bible; your favorite pen, markers or pencils; and a package of 3x5 note cards or something to write on that you can easily carry with you.
Next, think about your favorite scriptures, a situation you may be dealing with, or a topic from the Bible that strengthens you and brings you comfort.
One of my favorites is from Isaiah, and I meditate on it when I’m feeling exhausted or overwhelmed:
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint”
(Isaiah 40:31 ESV).
Let’s say that you’ve just come across this verse for the first time, and you’d like to be able to understand it better and remember it when you need it.
Here’s what to do:
Take a few minutes to prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to help you either find the verse that he wants you to meditate on, or use one of your favorite scriptures, or the verse we’ve written above.
Write your scripture on your 3x5 card, remembering to add the chapter and verse so you can find it again later.
Now just set everything aside for a few minutes, and slowly read the scripture you’ve written on your card. Speak it out loud if you can.
Remember that Jesus said, “’It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4 ESV).
That literally means that God’s Word is spiritual food. It is heavenly bread that feeds our spirits. When we practice Meditative Prayer, what we are doing is taking a portion of God’s Word and we chew on it – as if every word of scripture is a bite of delicious bread.
In fact, the word meditate can mean to ponder, mutter, reckon, chew on, weigh, add up, consider or decide. Have you ever seen a mama cow, ruminating – or chewing on – delicious grass? That’s how we want to ruminate on our scriptures. Chew and digest. Chew and digest.
Let’s look again at our sample from Isaiah, starting with the first line:
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;”
In Meditative Prayer, we read the line to ourselves, ruminating on one word or idea at a time, like this:
We say to ourselves, “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Then we ask ourselves, “What does it mean to wait on the Lord? How can I wait on him? Lord, are you asking me to just be still and wait? Ok, I’m waiting for you, Lord. You know what’s best for me!”
Next, we ruminate on “shall renew their strength,” and we say to ourselves something like, “Waiting on the Lord is renewing my strength. Lord, when I stop what I’m doing and wait for you – when I’m in your timing and not mine – I can relax. Thank you, Jesus, that I can wait for you and trust you. Your timing is perfect, I don’t have to hurry.”
Then we take the next line, “they shall mount up with wings like eagles,” and we meditate on those words thinking something like, “Lord, I want to rise up above everything I’m dealing with, like a soaring eagle. I want to see things from a higher perspective. Help me rise up on eagle’s wings as I wait for you. Please renew my strength!”
Next, “they shall run and not be weary;” and we say, “Lord, I have been truly weary. Help me to run the race you’ve set before me. Help me to run this race with joy and not complaining. Give me your strength, Lord Jesus!”
And finally, “they shall walk and not faint,” and we say, “Jesus, I know that everywhere I walk, you go with me. You promised that you would never leave me or forsake me. You’ll never let go of my hand. Help me to walk through this broken world. Help me to walk, and not faint from weariness or be afraid. Lord, help me to be patient and wait on you, and renew my strength!”
Can you see how this is a mixture of both prayer and meditation? This method of Meditative Prayer teaches us how to incorporate God’s word into our prayers and makes his promises a part of our conversation with him. When we pray God’s Word, we remind ourselves of – and we let God know that we have heard and believe – his promises.
The key is to take your scripture card with you, and meditate on it throughout the day, It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll find that each time you pull out your card and chew on your scripture the Holy Spirit will reveal a deeper understanding of the verse to you, as you nourish your spirit on God’s bread from heaven.
We’ve listed several scriptures on what the Bible says about comfort on our Words of Comfort page, at https://speakcomfort.com/words-of-comfort/ , and here are some other verses from the English Standard Version translation that you can write on your prayer cards to get started:
When you need patience:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
When you feel lonely:
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land (Psalm 68:5-6).
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called (Isaiah 54:5).
When you feel afraid, or are facing a challenge:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2).
I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed (Psalm 34:4-5).
When you want to praise God:
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1).
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Psalm 34:34:3)
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)
For peaceful rest and sleep:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).
If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet (Proverbs 3:24).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear…Be still, and know that I am God…the Lord Almighty is with us (Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11).
Yom Kippur – Tishrei 10, 5780/October 9, 2019
For the ancient Israelites, Yom Kippur was the one and only day of the year when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle to make atonement for the sins of the nation. This was to insure that the names of the individuals were written in the Lamb's Book Of Life (Exodus 32:33, Revelation 13:8). One bull, one ram and two male goats were to be offered. It was also to be a day of affliction and remorse for sin. (Leviticus 16)
In the days of Isaiah the prophet there was plenty to be remorseful about. The nation had fallen far from God, steeped in wicked idolatry and divided. The idolatry of Baal worship involved debauchery, sacrifice of babies and children, slavery and sexual rituals, (much like promiscuous sex, gender confusion, drunkenness, abortion, human trafficking and Satanic ritual sexual abuse and sacrifice of humans of all ages that are all taking place today). Their sacrifices to Yahweh were useless. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. ~Isaiah 1:14-15
Because of the intercession by Moses and other prophets for this people, Israel, that God had chosen to use for His purposes and plan, God as always in His infinite mercy, calls for repentance and obedience, and promises abundant life.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord,“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. ~Isaiah 1:18
The yearly sacrifice to Yahweh included two male goats. One of them would be offered as a sacrifice on the alter and the other would take the confessions of sin upon its head along with a scarlet cord and be set free into the wilderness. According the Talmud, another scarlet cord would be hung on the door of the temple, that would turn white when the goat reached the wilderness indicating that the sacrifice was acceptable. The scarlet cord continued to turn white each year until AD 30.
What happened around that time? The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As believers, we know that the sacrifice of animals was and is no longer necessary.
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’ ”Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. ~Hebrews 10:5-8
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. ~Hebrews 10:16-18
Rahab’s Scarlet Cord
Not only was Rahab a harlot, she was an idolator. She lived and conducted business in Jericho just before the time God called the Israelites to destroy it after their time of wandering in the wilderness with Moses. The stories of the miracles surrounding the children of Israel and their God had spread far and wide. They were coming to Jericho and because of the extreme wickedness (Baal worship) of the city, they were not taking captives. She hid the spies in exchange for her safety and that of her household marking her dwelling with a scarlet cord. (Joshua 2, 6:22-25) By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. ~Hebrews 11:31
She repented of her former life and sought to became one of God's people, eventually marrying into the line of Judah and becoming a direct ancestor to Messiah Yeshuah. Yeshua/Jesus Was and Is God's plan (Revelation 1:8) for the salvation of the whole world. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~Hebrews 4:14-16
Today we have the same choice as we look forward to Christ's imminent return. That return could be today, tomorrow or 100 or 1000 years from now, but this life here and now is short and even the youth are not guaranteed tomorrow. God will not continue to tolerate the wickedness of the world, but he desires that people would repent and be saved.
Jesus became our scapegoat, and once and for all sin offering. However you choose to celebrate Yom Kippur, let it be a reminder of this gospel.