Passover: Door to Deliverance

There are some interesting things that are true about deliverance. One such thing is the door through which deliverance is realized.

The day of God’s triumphal deliverance of Israel from Egypt was marked by a festival called Passover whose symbol was blood over the door.

Wordpress banner compassIn the past I  engaged our children in various Passover activities that would bring to mind parts of the event. When I asked my daughter which Passover held a special memory for her, she told of the year I hid costume jewelry all over the house to reenact the time when the Israelite children asked their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold. This year  with our grandchildren, time was short but we made the blood over the door both the focal point and beginning of our celebration.

In doing this symbolic gesture I got to thinking, “When do I take it down? Did the people of Israel ever do it again? Did they keep that tradition each year at Passover?”

The sacrifice and the door were connected throughout the Tabernacle service. It was very important; this blood/door connection.

It was a matter of life and death – a matter of inclusion into the family of God and of exclusion from it.  Sacrificing at the doorway to the Tent of Meeting was an offering of peace to God.

This deliverance practice and symbol pointed the way to remembrance. It wasn’t just any god who brought you out. The LORD delivered you from slavery. If you want peace with God, you will acknowledge His great deliverance … past, present and future … at the door.

Yes. The future too. The blood/door connection appears in Ezekiel’s vision of the New Temple. Since the resemblance of Ezekiel’s Temple to the New Jerusalem is remarkable, I’m going with “future” on this one and welcome you to join me by making a search of your own on the topic (You can start here: Ezekiel 40 – 48; Revelation 21, 22)

Ezekiel 45:18-25 (AMP)

18 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “In the first month, on the first of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse the sanctuary (from sin). 19 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the door posts of the temple, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the posts of the gate of the inner courtyard.20 You shall do this on the seventh [day] of the month for everyone who goes astray [and sins through error or ignorance] and for him who is naive; so shall you make atonement for the temple (house).

What I learn from this passage is that there is more to the symbol than remembrance or realignment of worship. It is an exercise of compassion “ for everyone who goes astray [and sins through error or ignorance] and for him who is naive…” as well as an expression of atonement for the whole “house”. The King James version renders the phrase, “so shall ye reconcile the house.”

The word used for “house” has a wide range of meanings. Strong’s number 1004 – bayit – house, home; of royalty: palace; of deity: temple; a specific part of the house: room; place; By extension: household, family, clan, tribe; woven garment. This passage and its context (Ezekiel 45) seems to incorporate temple, royalty and family.

We have an excellent example of this type of prayer for those who have gone astray in Daniel 9 which concludes,

17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to and heed the prayer of Your servant [a][Daniel] and his supplications, and for Your own sake cause Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary which is desolate.

18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and look at our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You for our own righteousness and justice, but for Your great mercy and loving-kindness.

19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, give heed and act! Do not delay, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Before when I thought of God’s Passover deliverance, I thrilled over God’s mighty hand displayed for all to see. I recalled fondly how He has rescued me personally over and over again; The evidence in my own life that testifies to His fighting for those He calls His own.

Those are good thoughts. This year I am upping the compassion and asking God to reconcile our whole family to himself… Not because of His wonderful work in my own life but because of His Very Great Name.Blood door 3

Family Is As Family Does

Not everyone we grew up thinking of as our own family  actually is family. Family is as family does.

This week I was reminded just how displaced and dysfunctional relationships within families can become. Misunderstandings…self-seeking position posturing verbiage…habitual slave-like bondage to favoritism…contrived fantasies of escapism and unhealthy holds to living in the past… the hurt of wrongs done tightly gripped and highlighted in our memories….

Division within the family unit (mother, father, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) is a sign of the times we live in.

Micah 7:5-7 / Matthew 10:34-36  /Luke 12:49-53 

What shall we do? Take a hint from ASL (American Sign Language).

The ASL Sign for “Family” is interesting. Using “F” hands pointed towards each other, index and first fingers touching each other so that it appears as though they were “kissing”.

Consider this passage in relation to the ASL sign.

Surely His salvation is near to those who [a]fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
10 Loving kindness and [b]truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 [c]Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.
Psalm 85:9-11 (NASB)

Take a minute or two to let that imagery sink in to the deepest parts of your heart.

Families may not kiss each other technically BUT true family members are kind to each other. They do not rip each other down, they build each other up. Families show love and belonging in special, need-meeting ways.

10 So then, [a]while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven[a]you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NASB)

When looking for true “family”,

Look for those who are kind.

While making the “F” hands in the ASL sign, imagine your thumb and first finger are the shape of eyes.

What do you look for in those you consider “family”? What does your family look for in you? What did Jesus look for in those he called family?

46 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. 47 Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”[a] 48 But [b]Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50 (NASB)

When looking for true “family”,

Look for those who do the will

of the Heavenly Father.

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Here are a few passages that have proven helpful in determining family.

22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his [a]natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, [b]he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but [c]an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in[d]what he does. James 1:22-25 (NASB)

39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40 (NASB)

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the [a]knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, [b]to please Him in all respects,bearing fruit in every good work and [c]increasing in the [d]knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to [e]His glorious might,[f]for the attaining of all steadfastness and [g]patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us [h]to share in the inheritance of the [i]saints in Light. 

13 [j]For He rescued us from the [k]domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of [l]His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-13 (NASB)

 

Family sign 3

The ASL sign for family is a two part sign.

Part of family is what they do together – the initial hand formation pictures kindness. The second pictures a specific  grouping, inclusion or belonging. It is the finishing sign that circles around. It joins at the smallest fingers and points the thumb and forefingers, still touching each other, right back at the speaker.

 Which parts belong?

Look at the three standing fingers. Notice their different sizes? Are you the youngest? Are you the teen? Are you the aged and bent one? Size doesn’t matter in the family.

What is your part in this family? Are you kind to the members of the family? Do you do the will of the father of this family? Those who are kind and obedient to the will of the Father BELONG  in the family.

Which parts do not belong? Groups are groups in part because they are set apart from others in some way.

It is important to note that not everyone who we think of as family IS family. Just because you were born into a group does not mean you identify with that group. Nor does it mean that you align your creed nor your actions with that group. On the flip side, just because you identify with a group and do the same things and say the right words does not mean you actually are a part of that family. Weird. Confusing. But true.

20 So then, you will [a]know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [b]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:20-23 (NASB)

Belonging is partly what you do and partly the knowing relationship of one with another.

Take note of what the people in your social groupings do – work, ancestry, spirituality, recreational interests, financial interests. Dare I say it… what are their particular person-to-person alignments?

Not everyone we grew up thinking of as our family actually is family. Not everyone we surround ourselves with right now qualifies as family. It is this way because God set it up so that family is as family does.

Kids Care

What DO kids care about?

Love.

Not just any love.

Specific to them love.

What is this?BOOTS IMG_20160305_074839291

Let me show you.

This morning when we came back from our usual Saturday morning walk, my grandson, Ryker kicked off his boots before getting up on the couch. That was good. Shoes are not allowed on our couch but grandchildren are.

Hey Ryker, you know where boots go. Please put your boots over there.” I pointed to a nook in the entry way.

Ryker couldn’t be bothered. He promptly abandoned getting up on the couch to stare out the window.

I called to him again getting only silence for my effort.

So I went over to where he was standing, took hold of his arm and calmly stated where we put our boots. I helped him to pick up his boots by their handles and we proceeded to walk together hand in hand towards the front door. Practice is good….

Just about half way, in the middle of the living room, my slippers lay exactly where I’d left them to don my tennis shoes before going on our walk. Hurried Nanas (and mothers ) do those kinds of things but realignment was on the way.Wordpress banner compass

Ryker dumped his boots on top of my slippers. 

OOOOPPPS. Point made, little one. Practice is good for Nana too. 

I smiled.

OK. Ryker you grab yours and I’ll grab mine.”

He did. Willingly. No resistance at all.

We carried our respective footwear to the shoe place where Ryker set his boots just as close to my slippers as they could get without actually being on top of them.

I smiled again. This was Ryker’s expression of love. Nana and Ryker are close because their shoes are close. What a treasure for my heart!

No rebellion here though it could look that way to some people. This was an I’m-two-and-I-matter thing. Ryker cared.

He loved me by imitating what I did. …and by obeying what I told him to do.

I loved him by making my own life match his. What I said was true in regards to both of us. 

This says a lot about parenting. 

This says a lot about God’s love for us.

God showed us how much He loves us by becoming like us, didn’t He? 

He gave us Jesus, the exact representation of the Father. 

He gave us Jesus, the obedient son.

He gave us Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 

Show your children the love  and obedience Jesus had for His Father.

Honestly, kids care.

Compassionate Motherhood

God helps me to be a compassionate mother.

That sounds rather common place as I write it. To me, God’s help is a huge deal.

As a young mother I turned to the ladies at church for instructions. Some of their advice was golden. 

I didn’t know how to cook or to meal plan or to feed my family properly. Enter Donna Berg, Ruth Bechtel, and Linda Giffin. Their golden advice: 1. Pay attention. Be careful with the fats, 2. Master the art of five dinners. Plan your meals in a sequence that makes the most of your leftovers. 3. Get the children involved in preparing and cleaning up after meals.

I did not know how to make doing laundry for the six of us efficient. What mattered? What didn’t? Enter Donna Dalton ( My own mother made sure I could iron linen table cloths and a cotton blouse perfectly so I didn’t have to do it over again for some unsightly crease accident or burn. In college my dorm mates made fun of me. As a young mother with four toddlers, ironing mattered on a scale of 1-10… absolutely 0.) Donna’s golden advice: If you don’t have time for it, don’t fold the clothes. Throw them in the drawer. Kids don’t care about wrinkles. This choice saved me a ton of time and gave me added space I needed just to be with my children.

I didn’t know the first thing about potty training. Enter a neighbor lady, several church ladies and a book called, How to Potty Train in Less Than A Day.  As much as I LOVE Biblical instruction, the Bible is pretty much silent on the topic of training children to handle their waste responsibly. The personal advice I treasured from Mary Cultum – “I’ve never seen a high schooler in diapers”. She was totally serious but I laughed and lightened up. Honestly, the degree of calm with which you meet this natural transition of life goes a long way to making it successful for everybody.

My mother watched a few interactions between me and my children and came up with, “ So you can meet their physical needs. When are you going to start raising them?”

Raise : to serve in the capacity of parent to; rear:

to raise children.

Parent: verb (used with object)

9.

to be or act as parent of:

to parent children with both love and discipline.

Are you kidding me? Everything I did was about raising these children of mine. BUT…

Since, all of a sudden, that concept was up for debate, I embarked on a training program. What God said would be what is important. He would be our Impartial Standard of Authority in all this parenting business. Food, laundry, chores, and character; God’s perspective would be a part of all of it.

The church ladies called me strict. I called myself consistent and I don’t regret those times of consistency at all.

Some concepts were challenging. Especially the character trait ones.

Compassion? I didn’t know what that was. I’m not generally a thoughtful person by nature… being thoughtful is a daily effort that my husband and children help me with (PRAISE GOD!!!). I’m that way because I grew up in a situation in which others cared for others and I spent most of my time alone. Struggling to be compassionate is my adult consequence of emotional abandonment in childhood.

Yes, I breastfed (until they got teeth.). Yes I stood up for hours in the middle of the night in tears rocking and comforting a colicky, crying child. Yes, I made them treat their Grandpa with respect whether they felt like it or not. They were not allowed to curse, steal or lie and the punishment fit the crime. I did what I had to do to meet needs.

Wordpress banner compassIs that compassion? Does compassion have boundaries? Who do I help first? What about me? Is strategic withholding of benefits compassionate or simply manipulating? Can I be compassionate to more than one person at a time? How do I teach the children to be compassionate towards each other? My swirling mind nearly knocked me over. I needed an anchor.

The art of sharing and granting possession, taking turns and forbidding access to personal items. These blind-sided me. They are situational landmines for discipline. They are charged full of electric opportunities for teaching the realities of compassion.

What did GOD’s Word, our impartial standard, say about compassion?

There are ten (10) different words the King James Bible translated as “compassion”. I have highlighted some key words.

  • 2550 – hāmal – to spare, take pity on, have mercy on
  • 7349 – rahûm – compassionate, merciful [from 7355]
  • 7355 –rāham – to love; to have compassion on, show mercy, take pity on; to find compassion, be loved; feelings of compassion are usually accompanied by acts of compassion. [from 3395, 3396, 3397, 7348, 7349, 7362]
  • 7356 – rahamîm – compassion, mercy, pity
  • 1653 eleeō – to have mercy on, pity; to show mercy to, show pity to another who is in serious need, usually with a focus on an act of kindness that will help meet the need. [from 1656]
  • 3356 – metriopatheō – to deal gently [from 3358+3958]
  • 3627 – oikteirō – to have compassion on [from 3628, 3629]
  • 4697 – splanchnizomai – to have compassion on, to have pity on [from 4698 – splanchnon – inward parts of body; of emotion: heart, affection, tenderness, compassion]
  • 4834 – sympatheō – to sympathize with [ from 4862+3958]
  • 4835 – sympathēs – sympathetic [ from 4862+3958]

I will never forget the lady who visited me when I was on bed rest with an ankle injury. She came into my sick room, looked at me with compassion in her eyes and gave me a little figurine… a little girl in a blue sun dress and a straw hat standing in a rain puddle. I loved that porcelain girl but I loved that lady more even though I never saw her again. I loved her because she was compassionate; she had compassion on me not because she had to as a matter of duty but because God moved her and she decided in her heart that she wanted to show kindness to me… a stranger to her…a hurting, lonely little girl.

In contrast, my mother tended my wounds because she had to. (Forced compassion  is just not the same. Ever.) I no longer have the figurine. Mom threw away all my things indiscriminately when I went to college. But that one lady’s compassionate deed will live on in my memory, treasured forever because of her heart of compassion. What a beautiful picture of eleeō and splanchnon she was to me!

Lord, please

bless her right now

wherever she is.

Help her to feel

your compassionate heart

for her too. Amen.

As a young mother, I had to decide who needed me most and when. Often I felt guilty about my choices. I was worried they thought I was playing favorites. I wasn’t. Why couldn’t I show the same level of love to each of my children at the same time?! Was I a bad mother?

Logistically it just wasn’t possible in every situation. Indeed God teaches us that true compassion requires an act of sound judgment, of analytical thinking that sorts through information and finds a great solution. Where guilt drug me down, I should have stood tall in confidence.

While only God can move the hearts of anyone to real compassion, I could actually teach situational problem solving to my kids. I could train them to look for and meet real needs. My husband was fond of saying, “See a need? Meet a need.” I don’t know if they understood what I was trying to model for them. Understanding how difficult it was for me each day was certainly beyond their u nderstanding. All they could see was what I did and did not do 

Funny thing about children. They can “see” your attitudes too. I decided that I would try to show each of them my heart for them as individuals and trust God to move compassion into their lives whenever and wherever they needed it. I chose to make my feelings match my deeds; To cry in the open and laugh heartily whenever the urge sparked wasn’t abandonment of reason,  it was rather rational in origin.

My children and I have a pretty good relationship now that they’re grown. Struggles to be compassionate are still every day battles. And yet…

God helps me to be a compassionate mother. God’s help is a huge deal.

Charting Paul’s take on Resurrection

Today I want to bring you a “Guest Post” of sorts in that I did not write this. In the spirit of team work, I invite you to unleash your inner editor, onto 1 Corinthians 15. Together, we can chart the communicated thoughts of the Apostle Paul. Lord willing, doing so will increase our understanding of the resurrection of Christ. …and the resurrection of those He calls His own.

When writing, word choice is important. Word arrangement is just as important. Examining the structure of thoughts is another great tool in the study  of God’s word. (I have added color to some  repeated words, made certain runs of reasoning larger and indented phrases paying attention to verbs, objects and prepositions If it looks wonky to you, let me know and we can work it out together. The text is taken from the NASB version of the Bible)

The Fact of Christ’s Resurrection

15 Now

I make known

to you,

brethren,

the gospelWordpress banner compass

which I preached to you,

which also you received,

in which also you stand, 

by which also you are saved,

if you hold fast [a]the word which I preached to you,

unless you believed in vain.

For

I delivered to you

[b]as of first importance

what I also received,

that Christ died for our sins

 according to the Scriptures,

 and that He was buried,

and that He was

 raised on the third day

according to the Scriptures,

and that He appeared

to Cephas,

then to the twelve. 

After that He appeared

to more than five hundred brethren

at one time,                                     most of whom remain until now,

but some have fallen asleep;

then He appeared to [c]James,

then to all the apostles;

 and last of all,

as [d]to one untimely born,

He appeared to me also.

9 For I am the least of the apostles,

 [e]and not fit to be called an apostle,

because I persecuted the church of God. 

10 But by the grace of God

I am what I am,

and His grace

toward me

did not prove vain;

but I labored even more than all of them,

yet not I,

but the grace of God with me.

11 Whether then it was I or they,

`so we preach

and so you believed.

12 Now

if Christ is preached,

that He has been raised from the dead,

how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

 13 But

if there is no resurrection of the dead,

not even Christ has been raised;

14 and if Christ has not been raised,

then our preaching is vain,

your faith also is vain.

15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God,

because we testified  [f]against God

that He raised Christ,

whom He did not raise,

if in fact the dead are not raised.

16 For if the dead are not raised,

not even Christ has been raised;

 17 and if Christ has not been raised,

your faith is worthless;

you are still in your sins.

 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

19 If we have hoped

in Christ

in this life only,

we are

 of all men

most to be pitied.Wordpress banner compass

The Order of Resurrection

20 But now

Christ has been raised from the dead,

the first fruits of those who are asleep.

21 For since

by a man came death,

by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

 22 For as in Adam all die,

so also in [h]Christ all will be made alive.

 23 But each in his own order:

Christ the first fruits,

after that

those who are Christ’s at His coming,

24 then comes the end,

when He hands over the kingdom

to the God and Father,

when He has abolished

all rule and

all authority and

power. 25 

For He

must reign

until He has

put all His enemies

under His feet.

26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

 27 For He has

put all things in subjection

under His feet.

But when

He says, “All things are put in subjection,”

it is evident that He is excepted

who put all things in subjection to Him.

28 When all things

are subjected to Him,

then the Son Himself

also will be subjected

to the One who subjected all things to Him,

so that

God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise,

what will those do who are baptized for the dead?

If the dead are not raised at all,

why then are they baptized for them?

 30 Why are we also in danger every hour?

31 I affirm,

brethren,

by the boasting in you

which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,

I die daily

32 If [i]from human motives

I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus,

what does it profit me?

If the dead are not raised

let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die

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.33 Do not be deceived:

“Bad company corrupts good morals.”

34 Become sober-minded [j]

as you ought,

and stop sinning;

for some have no knowledge of God.

 I speak this to your shame.

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?

And with what kind of body do they come?”

 36 You fool!

That which you sow

does not come to life

unless it dies;

 37 and that which you sow,

you do not sow the body which is to be,

but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of [k]something else.

 38 But God gives

it a body

just as He wished,

and to each of the seeds

a body of its own.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh,

but there is one flesh of men,

and another flesh of beasts,

and another flesh of birds,

and another of fish.

40 There are also

heavenly bodies

and earthly bodies,

but the glory of the heavenly is one,

and the glory of the earthly is another.

 41 There is one glory of the sun,

and another glory of the moon,

and another glory of the stars;

for star differs from star in glory.

4So also is the resurrection of the dead.Wordpress banner compass

It is sown [l]a perishable body,

it is raised [m]an imperishable body;

43 it is sown in dishonor,

it is raised in glory;

it is sown in weakness,

it is raised in power;

44 it is sown a natural body,

it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

45 So also it is written,

“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”

The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However,

the spiritual is not first,

but the natural;

then the spiritual.

47 The first man is from the earth, earthy;

the second man is from heaven.

48 As is the earthy,

so also are those who are earthy;

and as is the heavenly,

so also are those who are heavenly.

 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, [o]

we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

The Mystery of Resurrection

50 Now I say this,

brethren,

that flesh and blood

cannot inherit the kingdom of God;

nor does [p]the perishable

inherit [q]the imperishable.

51 Behold,

I tell you a mystery;

we will not all sleep,

but we will all be changed,

52 in a moment,

in the twinkling of an eye,

at the last trumpet;

for the trumpet will sound,

and the dead will be raised [r]imperishable,

and we will be changed.

53 For this [s]perishable must put on [t]the imperishable,

and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 But when

this[u]perishable

will have put on

[v]the imperishable,

and this mortal

will have put on

immortality,

then will come about the saying that is written,

“Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin,

and the power of sin

is the law;

57 but thanks be to God,

who gives us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore,

my beloved brethren,

be steadfast,

immovable,

always abounding in the work of the Lord,

knowing that your toil

is not in vain

in the Lord.

 

Release: Know Who You’re Talking To

I had never thought of the Exodus as a freedom manual before reading it this time (March 19, 2016).

This had to be communicated but should it be a comment or a post? As writing progressed, a new post was beginning to form.:)

Insight for Released to Worship God was prompted by a wonderful lady who was set free from addiction. She now helps others on the path to freedom. She told me — among other things — “I can help them because I know who I am talking to. You gotta know who you are talking to.”

She had learned to separate the voices. She skillfully divided the voice of the addicted person from the addiction. The one she talked to was the person. The one she prayed over for encouragement was the person. The one she resisted, the one she got distance from was the addiction…the old slave master.Wordpress banner compass

God has given us a path away from slavery to our old slave drivers. Addiction. Fear. Drugs. Sex. Anger. Illness. Grief. Spiritual forces of darkness. Magic arts. Sorcery. The need for approval. The effects of abandonment. Striving for success. Self importance. Self destruction.

The path is the Exodus… the calling forth of His people.

One of the essential skills we need to build within our transitional community is the skill of knowing who we are talking to.

Moses knew who he was talking to. He knew exactly who the Pharaoh was. He knew exactly who the God of His fathers was. He decided to listen to the voice of God and follow Him. Because he made that choice, many were released to worship the Almighty.

We can listen and follow the right voice too.

16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16 (NASB)

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; John 10:27 (NASB)

Released to Worship God

Released to worship God

 

16 You shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.” Exodus 7:16New American Standard Bible (NASB)

What is release? Should I seek to be released? 

7971 – šālah – to send out; to be sent away; to be sent; to send away, let go, release; thrust out; to “let go” from a marriage relationship is to divorce.

Before His people could serve Him properly they had to get a divorce from their slave masters. God was going though divorce negotiations with Pharaoh every time He spoke though Moses and Aaron and told the King of Egypt to let them go.

Interesting.  Let’s follow that line of reasoning.

17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will strike [a]the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. 18 The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will [b]become foul, and the Egyptians will [c]find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.”’” Exodus 7:17-18  (NASB)

Part of negotiating the terms of divorce is to confirm who the parties involved really are

Never forget that the One who delivers you is exactly who He says He is. So just in case you were wondering who He is that does the delivering…

LordStrong’s word 3068 – Yahweh – The proper name of the One True God; knowledge or use of the name implies personal or covenant relationship; the name pictures God as the One who exists and causes all things to exist.

Very cool that One so AWESOME should take on the job, isn’t it? He is both willing and able. What a treasure to be associated with Him!

Released to worship God

8 [a]Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs. Exodus 8:1-2New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The word “that” sometimes seems insignificant. Here it has a great deal of meaning…knowing there is a “next thing”. Looking toward the “next thing” God has for us is an essential part of belonging to Him.

11 Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old [d]gained approval. Hebrews 11:1-2 (NASB)

There is a journey between point A (slavery) and point B (emancipation). Hope.

Hope gets us through transitions. And friend, deliverance for the people of God is one doozy of a transition. Amen?

God is gracious. He tells us a tid-bit about our “next thing”. Looking toward the next thing gives us hope.

The people of the Exodus hoped for the fulfillment of the prophesy; To be given a land of their own. God was acquiring a people He could call His own; sons who would not be false to Him, His inheritance.

The word “to” here represents the whole journey from Point A to Point B – forced marriage to the wrong person, divorce, remarriage, living with the right person …in love …by choice.

Released to worship God

The unspoken but definitely inferred part of that phrase is that there is someone special who needs releasing.

20 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, [a]as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.21 For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they dwell22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are [b]living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that [c]I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land. Exodus 8:20-22New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God had distinguished Himself to the slave master.  Now He defined who really belonged to whom.

Were there really more than just Jacob’s descendants living in Goshen? Does it matter? That is where those who chose to identify with Jacob’s God lived. Interesting to note what God tells Pharaoh, – surprise – God is there with His people. 

God is with you in the midst of your release.

Wordpress banner compassGod is with you in the midst of your release. From the beginning of divorce negotiations with your slave masters of fear, addiction, anxiety, worry, forced labor, manipulators, abusive relationships, altered self-perceptions, and whatever or whomever else through the whole nasty business to the completion of the transaction.

 

Released to worship God

Right when Pharaoh was about to let Israel go, there needed to be , as with all divorce proceedings and documentation, a clarification of terms.

Apparently, Terms Part 1 of the agreement was distance.

2Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 

26 But Moses said,It is not right to do so,

for we will sacrifice to the Lord our God [a]what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice [b]what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us? 

27 We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He[c]commands us.” 

28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.” 

29 Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord.31 The Lord did [d]as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.32 But Pharaoh [e]hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Exodus 8:25-9:1 (NASB)

That last bit the NIV translates as “worship” instead of “serve”. The word is Strong’s # 5647 – ‘ābad – to work do, serve, labor; to worship, minister, to work in ministry; to be plowed, be cultivated; to be worked; to reduce to servitude, enslave, cause to serve; to be caused to serve.

Well that is not the Sunday morning kind of worship celebration we revel in today is it? Have you ever considered that God releases His people to work for Him. He intends for us to work …Not for the church, not for other slave masters, not for ourselves but WORK FOR HIM.

Working FOR God is worship OF God.

Most agreements have concessions and so did this one. Distance was respectful (v 26,27) We see respect also in 9:15-19 where power is no longer a disputable point – God could have killed them outright but didn’t – God offers a degree of relief to the Egyptian people who are suffering because of Pharaoh’s choices. Pity only some of them took Him up on the offer.

Released to worship God

Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Exodus 10:3New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Power would not move him. Kindness would not move him. Pharaoh wanted more clarification of terms. He would not grant this divorce otherwise.

So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them,

Go, serve the Lord your God! [a]Who are the ones that are going?” 

Moses said, “We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, for we [b]must hold a feast to the Lord.” 

10 Then he said to them, “Thus may the Lord be with you, [c]if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is [d]in your mind. 11 Not so! Go now, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for [e]that is what you desire.”

So they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. Exodus 10:8-11New American Standard Bible (NASB

Here we have Terms Part 2: Who gets to go? Young and old, sons and daughters, flocks and herds… all of us. Why? Festivals to God are family events. Divorce negotiations involve grandparents, inheritances, children, possessions, etc. Who is actually leaving must be discussed and agreed upon. This deliverance  was no different. BUT… 

Wrongful slave masters are not allowed to say what.

They are not allowed to say where.

They are also not allowed to dictate with whom you serve.

Only rightful masters possess authority over all those areas

of your life, child of God.

Gird yourself during release negotiations with these truths.

God lets Pharaoh know He wants ALL his people with the advent of the locusts and the destruction of all vegetation in the whole of Egypt. Even three days of Darkness that could be felt did not change Pharaoh’s heart towards Israel. He kept trying to negotiate the terms of this severance.

Finally he’s willing to let the people go but wanted to keep the flocks. Moses says no. Not a hoof was to be left behind. He informed Pharaoh politely that since God would tell them which animals were needed for the sacrifice, all of them would have to go along. (God does that with us too. We often won’t know what we need to do God’s work until we get to where He wants us to accomplish it. It’s a faith thing.)

Pharaoh was not happy with that. In fact, he was furious.

So was Moses.

But listen to this dear friend, old and wrongful slave masters do not get to dictate the terms of your leaving. Only your new and rightful master has that authority.

28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! [b]Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!”

29 Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again!”

 (Awww, but we’re not done yet.) The Last Plague

11 Now the Lord said to Moses, “One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely.  (Complete divorce, absolute severance from the old slave master is ESSENTIAL.)

Speak now in the [c]hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold.” The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was [d]greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.

Moses said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

 Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even [e]bark, whether against man or beast, that you may [f]understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ 

All these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves [g]before me, saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who [h]follow you,’ and after that I will go out.”And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. Exodus 10:28-11:8 (NASB)

Release from bondage is a transition with rules.

  • Identify the parties involved and the powers each one holds
  • Wrongful masters are not allowed to dictate terms of release
  • Complete divorce from the old slave master is a process necessary to the “next thing”
  • Old slave masters do not give up easily. When they do comply, they are convinced it is their own idea.
  • Expressing compassion for those impacted by the release itself is valid
  • Those released are freed for a purpose…to a particular work for a particular God
  • Complete release is a process and a festal procession. Allow the first. Enjoy the second.

You too can be

Released to worship God

Rain:Love Does

Love DOES

What shows love?

Action for the benefit of another,

In the most basic of things

like rain.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said,

You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 

44 But I say to you, 

love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 

45 so that you may [a]be sons of your Father who is in heaven;

for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,

and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

Wordpress banner compass 46 For if you love those who love you,

what reward do you have?

Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 

47 If you greet only your brothers,

what more are you doing than others?

Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

 48 Therefore[b]you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB)

Loving like God… rain… is this kind of perfection.

Be kind to those who choose right.

Pray for those who choose not to do what is right.

Rain.

Love does.

Saturated With Freedom

Free

When I force myself to do something, suddenly the intense desire to avoid doing it overwhelms my soul. Being free saturates my thoughts. Can you relate?

Free

Sound good? It is.

15 For [a]such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and [b]do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the [c]king. 1 Peter 2:15-17 (NASB)

Where this word, Strong’s word 1658—eleutheros “Free”, is used:

Matthew 17:25-27 Sons of God are free from paying for God’s goodness

John 8:33-36  The Son makes you free

Romans 6:20 Free to do what? Your choice.

Romans 7:3 Death dissolves the legal contract

1 Corinthians 7:2122 Seek freedom

1 Corinthians 9:1, 9: 15-19 Free from all men

1 Corinthians 12:13 Free people and slaves all  baptized into one body

Galatians 3:28  Slaves and free people are all one in Christ Jesus

Galatians 4:26-31  The free mother and the slave mother

Ephesians 6:8 God rewards slaves and free people

 Colossians 3:9-11 Renewal in Christ is for everybody regardless of status

 1 Peter 2:15-17 Act as Free Men and Women

 Revelation 6:15  Hiding in fear is human. Fear does not respect status.

Revelation 13:11-16  The Beast causes all people to get “the mark” regardless of status.

Revelation 19:17-19 The Great Supper of God. Vultures do not respect the status of carrion.

FREE — Strong’s word 1658—eleutheros

The legal right to choose, not the absence of cost; the state of being liberated from various kinds of ownership, confinement and distress—from prison, from political domination and oppression, from physical sickness, from marriage (by death), from sin (through Jesus Christ). This all means I am no longer a slave… It is a type of passage from childhood to adulthood 

Now that sounds really good doesn’t it?

How has God freed you?

Wordpress banner compassHe has freed me from fake relationships and from forced relationships. I am the LORD’s freed soul. Status does not determine my destiny but God does. Hallelujah!

Thank you God for freedom in Christ. Thank you God for freedom in community with other people. Please dear LORD, free these precious souls who read this today. Help us to act as the free people we are…simply and without deceit. Silence foolish talk, Father, with our behavior. Make our actions, our behavior, speak volumes in honor of you. Amen.

Believing God for Good Things

For all of the hurts and uncertainties that precipitate insecure and anxious behavior, there is an anchor and a hope…a belief… that does not disappoint. In fact, herein lies a confidence that will realign our weakest points making them resiliently strong. The troubling spots in our relationships will begin to fade in the polishing work of our Savior as we actively believe this one verse.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11 (NASB)

You may have heard this before. Please listen to the translation of it using Strong’s concordance definitions. Read the words in bold continuously as one thought.

The existing One [Strong’s # 3068] is a brilliant, public [Strong’s #8121], surrounding cover of defense [Strong’s #4043] ; The existing One [Strong’s number 3068] puts into place [Strong’s #5414] favor, charm and acceptance [Strong’s #2580], glory, honor and abundance [Strong’s #3519]; No pleasant, agreeable or beneficial thing [Strong’s #2896] does He keep back, deny or hinder [Strong’s #4513] from those who proceed, carry and lead [Strong’s #1980] completely, soundly, in a healthy manner, unimpaired, innocently, having integrity in accordance with truth and fact [Strong’s #8549].

Can you believe with me that God is who He says He is?

Are you willing to behave in accordance with what He says He can do? Am I?

If so, How will that change us? It might change and anchor who we accept favor from. Might it also alter whose groups we join, thereby defining the limits of our belonging. Association is important. 

If we let God set up our positions of favor… if we let Him direct our charm, …I f we allow our status, reputation, accomplishments and wealth to be the direct result of His action, we are freed up to be fruitful in a variety of ministries to a variety of needy people.

If God puts all this into place in our lives, then we no longer have to fight or grab for it…with Him or with the different people around us. Well now, that would be freeing wouldn’t it?

Wordpress banner compassIf God does not keep back from us any good thing …  does not deny us good things and does not hinder good from coming our way, why do we feel the blockage? Good question.

God’s character does not change. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him

God’s good behavior towards us is conditional. The text says, “to those who…” which does not include everybody. It is OK to be special to God…exclusive even. 

Lest you think that this is a foreign concept to the Bible, another example of conditional good things is found in Matthew 18:33-35  where we are cautioned about forgiveness.

In Psalm 84:11, we — those who proceed (walk forward), carry (serve), and lead (govern) — should aim to increase these behaviors:

Why? Because if we do these things, God will not withhold any good thing from us.

Please share your good gift alignment stories in the comment section below.

Care to join me in receiving good things from the Almighty who loves us? Belief in Yahweh, the One who exists and causes all things to exist,  trumps hurt and uncertainty every time.