The Gift that Keeps on Giving

God gifts men/women to do the work of the ministry

Exodus 36 to 38 That phrase was coined in the early ’20s to sell Victor Radios, but, in reality, chapter 36 shows us the gift that keeps on giving. God is the one who gifts each person. He gifted the artisans to build the Tabernacle, but He also gifted the people with a willing heart to give to the work. No matter where God has placed you, you have been equipped to do the work of the ministry.

Thinking through all that the supervisor Bezalel had on his plate, he must have learned quite a bit in Egypt. We wonder what his “job” was there. In Exodus 5, we read “The Israelite foremen.” Was Bezalel one of those who learned how to direct a crew that would be under him to build? Where did he learn the working in gold? Did he learn it back in Egypt and now wondered how God was going to use him? That’s how I think. God and I have a conversation: I tell God, “don’t waste this,” use me in your work with the skills you have given to me. What do you say to God?

My father-in-law, was one who could “see” how something was made. If something broke, he would always say, if someone built it, then someone can fix it. He could study a broken piece and could see beneath the outer to the inner and then repair it or rebuild it into a new piece. He passed that on to DA, and he is always saying to me: if someone designed it, then someone can fix it. Both my father-in-law and my husband were/are amazing.

My own Dad didn’t live long enough for me to really understand his gifts, or for me to appreciate them, but he had an inner gift of tenderness that he passed on to me. He could see where a heart was hurting, and he could reach out to fix that broken heart. Unfortunately, his gift was short-lived, and the one person he needed to reach most, he was not able to. I can’t wait to get to heaven and talk to Bezalel and Oholiab and rekindle that relationship with “Grandpa Floyd.”

The people gave willingly and had to be restrained finally. Do I give voluntarily, or do I hold back and wait? God has blessed us. Are we giving willingly and without thinking about the amount or the gift but only that it is being used for God’s kingdom work?

Perhaps you don’t see yourself as a Bezalel or a Oholiab, but only see yourself as a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.[Ps 84:10] God can use your talents wherever He has chosen.  All He asks is for a willing heart.

0

The Priesthood Then & Now

No longer do we need an Aaron as priest for we are a priest because of Jesus

Exodus 28 and 29 The Priesthood of the Believer

When you go to God in prayer do you see yourself as a holy, sanctified priest? We are to “put on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation.” [1Thess 5:8]  Aaron was to be clothed in garments including the breastplate holding the Urim and Thummin over his heart. He was to “bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of decision over his heart when he “went” into the most Holy Place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” [Ex 28:29] Do we bear the believers in our community over our heart?

Aaron and his sons were “chosen” from the nation to be holy priests to bring the iniquities of the people before God. We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that [we] may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  [1Pet 2:9] Aaron was the conduit to speak to God for the people but now, in Christ, who tore down the veil, we are free to come before the Lord just as Aaron did. Aaron was to seek God’s forgiveness for his sin and the sins of the community. Because of what Jesus did we are now a holy, sanctified people and we can pray for the forgiveness of our own sins. Therefore, we are to be a holy sanctified people as we come before the Lord for ourselves and others.

May we take this to our heart today as we pray for others in the believer’s community.

0

Jehovah Jireh…

God is our Provider

Exodus 16-18 God Provides

One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh–the God who provides no matter whether big or little, whether food or wisdom. As the Israelites leader, Moses had a mighty task not only had to lead them but guide them as God gave direction. Maybe you, too, have an enormous task just like Moses. You are overwhelmed and do not which way to turn. It is then that Isaiah’s counsel is wise: You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left,” Sometimes that word comes in the form of a prophecy “Do not treat prophecies with contempt.” [1 Thess 5:20] Perhaps it might come in the counsel of one who is wise as Jethro to Moses. It may not be in an earthquake or a mighty wind, but the still small voice just like Elijah heard. God is listening to His children; He hears your cry. God provides what we need when we come to Him humbly.

Today you may be among the many who are seeking help. Remember to come humbly before God, and He will hear your cry and answer from heaven through avenues we may least suspect. Keep your eyes on Him and your ear open to hear His voice. “The prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord. O Lord, hear my prayer! Pay attention to my cry for help!” [Ps 102:1]

0

At the End of Your Rope

Where are you and God in a wrestling match?

Gen 32 Jacob feels like he is at the end of his rope. He is fearful when he hears Esau knows he is on his way home. Just as we do sometimes, Jacob conjured up pictures in his mind of what that encounter would entail. The element of fear, both real and imaginary, often causes us to think of what lay ahead before we face it. The what if’s and whatever’s are part of Satan’s strategy to keep us from trusting God. How do we put that to rest is what God was teaching Jacob and now centuries later he is teaching us.

And so Jacob makes a plan to divide up his family as well as sending huge gifts ahead to Esau because “Jacob was afraid and upset.” [Gen 32:7] Jacob is covering his tracks. Alone, God now has Jacob’s attention and that is what God does with us. When He gets our attention, then He can work until we are ready to submit to His way and His plan. In the end, Jacob now becomes Israel (God prevails).  

Where are you and God wrestling about your fears? Will you trust Him?

0

“Prayers of Righteous Men/Women”

Prayer is effective

Genesis 25 & 26 What is the value of prayer? Why should I pray? What should I pray for? Over and over, the scriptures teach the value of prayer. As we follow the men and women in the pages of this sacred book, we see those who followed the Lord believed in prayer. Prayer is the answer to that which is upon our hearts. O Lord, hear my prayer!” [Ps 86:6] “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.” [Phil 4:6]

After many years, Isaac and Rebekah were still childless, yet Isaac did not seek other women to fill his quiver as others had done. Instead, Isaac “prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was childless.” [Gen 25:21] God remembered Rebekah and opened her womb, a direct response that God was pleased and answered his prayer. Isaac’s example led Rebekah also to seek the face of the Lord when she was wondering what was going on in her womb once she conceived. 

In the NT, we find Zechariah offering prayers at the altar of incense at his time of chosen duty. An angel appears and tells him that his prayers for a son have been heard and answered. Truly, “The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous has great effectiveness.”[James 5:16] 

Prayer is the divine path to receiving answers from the Lord. What prayer need is on your heart today? 

0

Merciful God & Answered Prayer

Pray for your children

Gen 19 God is the Living and Holy God who loves purity and hates sin. He is gracious to save and a righteous judge towards the sinful.  The book of Genesis provides all of these pictures of God and in contrast, the “man made in His image” as tainted, sinful, and without hope minus the mercy of God.

Abraham’s pure heart is revealed as he asks God if he will destroy the righteous with the wicked. Lot’s heart is revealed as one who wants to be a fence sitter. Even the city dwellers see his hypocrisy. How different Lot is from Noah who lived in the world but was not a part of it. Peter describes Lot as a righteous man, but here we only see him as a man who has lost his testimony in the marketplace and his home. “This man came to live here as a foreigner, and now he dares to judge us!” [Gen 19:9] Even “Mrs.” Lot loves Sodom more than God!

Abraham had begged God for ten righteous to be saved, but only Lot and his two daughters survive.  These daughter’s act of incest is living proof of those who do not train up their children to follow God.  

What are some lessons we can glean from this passage? (1) God loves the prayers of his saints, and our prayers matter. (2) What you sow you will also reap. (3)We must be as bold as Abraham to pray for those who are perishing.

0

HALLELUJAH!

Praise the Lord !

Revelation 19 “Hallelujah to the King of Kings”

We have walked through the Tribulation and seen the horrors that only the evil enemy could devise, and yet in the midst of these chapters, we have found the glory of the Lord and have stopped to praise Him for His mercy, His lovingkindness, and His grace. Now with all of heaven, we can shout “Hallelujah.”

The word hallelujah is only found in the book of the Revelation in the NT but is often found in the Psalms (see examples below) as Hallelujah or Praise the Lord. “Hallelujah is an English transliteration of hallalouia, which is a Greek transliteration (not translation) of a Hebrew term, which means, “Praise Jehovah.” [sola scriptura]

Psa 113:1 Praise the Lord! Praise, you servants of the Lord, praises the name of the Lord!

Psa 146:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Psa 149:1 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! Praise Him in the assembly of the godly!

Take time today to meditate upon that word. Give the Lord Praise! Hallelujah! Then compose a prayer to Him, for He alone is glorious, righteous, and deserving of praise.

0

Who is God to You?

God is holy and just

Revelation 16 God is Just

John wrote: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it because the time is near!” [Rev 1:3]These words remind the first-century church as well as us today that God is still on the throne; he is omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign. Men continue to disregard the words of scripture, but God will reign supreme for He is: “just – the one who is and who was, the Holy One – because you have passed these judgments,” Then I heard, “Yes, Lord God, the All-Powerful, your judgments are true and just!” From the OT to the NT, the same theme is ever-present:  “As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust; he is fair and upright.”  [Deu 32:4]

Oh, the patience and longsuffering of our God to bring to pass His righteous judgments. And that is why at this season we pray as David prayed: “You are just, O Lord, and your judgments are fair” [Ps 119:13] and why the wise still seek Him before it is too late to know His promise: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” [Prov 8:17]

May we know Him and give Him the honor due His Name. 

0

The Prayers of the Saints

Prayers of the Saints

Revelation 8 “Do you wonder if God has heard your prayers? 

The Apostle John reveals what he saw as he stood in heaven before God’s throne and the incense altar. Just like the elderly Zacharias stood before the altar of incense, this specially chosen angel did the same step by step. He filled the censer with fire from the brazen altar, and then, reaching down, he took two handfuls of incense to sprinkle on the burning coals. Zacharias did it in the earthly temple, but this angel did the steps in the holy temple in heaven.  Zacharias had prayed often and fervently for a son but wondered if his prayer had reached heaven’s door. The Angel Gabriel assured him that his prayer for a son had been heard.

Do you wonder if your prayers reach heaven? “The utterly astonishing thing about this text is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom.” [J. Piper]

God in heaven stored the prayers of the saints from 2000 years ago, and now the time has come for them to be used to consummate the avenging power upon those who have denied God and His Son.  And the smoke ascended to the nostrils of God there to find their fulfillment.

Do you know and believe that your prayers have been heard and not forgotten? Revelation 8 is your answer.  

0

“A Manual on Prayer”

how to pray

Luke 11:2-5 Our greatest need is to pray. When asked, Jesus gave his followers a simple manual consisting of three basic elements of prayer followed by these words: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”[vs 28]

First; begin at the beginning:  Hallow the Father’s name for he is holy and abides in heaven: “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” [Ps 11:4]

Secondly; seek God’s forgiveness for sins of omission and commission so that you are able to forgive others. “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.” [1Jn 1:9]

Lastly; seek God’s protection and direction so that we remain faithful. Claim the promise that Jesus has “Disarm[ed] the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” [Col 2:15]

We ask then how should we pray? Pray shamelessly and with confidence: “let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.”[Heb 4:16] for “we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness” [Eph3 :12]

Prayer is how we remove the barriers that keep us from true fellowship with God so the question is: how does your prayer life measure up?

0