Friday, 27 February 2015

Exodus 40: God in the midst

Good evening friends and here we are at the end of the book of Exodus! Did you enjoy it? Did anyone follow through right from the beginning to the end? If you did, well done! I hope you have been truly blessed and grown closer to the Lord.
The tabernacle was completed exactly as God commanded - 8 times in this chapter we read the words or those similar to these "as the Lord commanded Moses". He did as God said, no questions. He believed God had a perfect plan for his life and for that of the people of Israel and he fully complied.
Can you imagine the excitement there must have been in the camp on the day the tabernacle was finally erected? They had been preparing for this time for months and finally the day had arrived. But it wasn't so much that the tabernacle had been put up in its completion; no, the excitement and joy would have been more that God's glory settled upon the tabernacle, signifying that God was there in the midst of His people. This was not a one-off happening, but rather it was the start of God's presence with them as they continued on their journey to the land flowing with milk and honey. Remember back in Ex 32:10 when God was so angry at the people for their sin of idolatry that He was ready to destroy them if Moses hadn't stepped in and prayed for the people. In Ex 33:2,3 God sent an angel to lead the people for He said He could not even be in amongst their sinfulness. But now, in verse 38 God has blessed them with His holy presence once again in answer to Moses' prayer of Ex 34:9 and in spite of their great wickedness against Him. Doesn't this reveal the everlasting mercy and grace of our loving God? We do not deserve His grace and mercy because of all of our sin, but yet He loves us in spite of our sin and is willing to be a part of our lives if we only repent and accept Him as Saviour and Lord of our lives. His presence would have been so much more precious to the people in the camp because of their recent and the fact that they nearly lost the blessing of the God of heaven.
Aren't you so glad and thankful that, in spite of your sin God loves you dearly? that in spite of backsliding He is waiting with open arms to welcome you back to Himself? that in spite of letting Him down every day He still wants to dwell within you by His Holy Spirit? In a similar way to the cloud being a visible sign of the Lord's presence with His people, we now have an invisible indwelling of the Holy Spirit. See Romans 8:14-17 and Ephesians 2:17-22.
Prayer matters:
  • Thank the Lord for His great mercy and love to you in saving your soul for all eternity
  • Praise Him for His daily presence and help in your life
  • Ask Him to help you to be fully obedient in every aspect of your life, without question
Thank you for being with us these past 8 weeks for this study! Please come back on Monday as we start a new study in the book of Matthew and if you can, send a link to your friends inviting them to join in.
Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Exodus 39: Complete obedience

Hello there, hope you are well! I don't know about you, but I'm actually feeling a bit sad that we are coming to the end of Exodus. I have truly enjoyed what I have learned; there are things I got out of this study that I never saw before and I thank the Lord for that.

Before we look at the verse that stood out for me today, there are a couple of words that I'd like to help clarify for you (if you need it, that is!).
In verse 5 we read about the 'curious girdle'. I always thought this meant strange or mysterious, but it actually means something that is made up of highly detailed decorative work. Anyone who does needlework would understand this. It just means that it's not a plain belt, but one that has lots of different woven threads
through it.

Image result for coat of mail bibleThe other word that threw me is in verse 23, 'habergeon'.
This is described as a 'coat of mail', you know those garments made of metal that soldiers wore in the olden days for protection? There was a simple hole for the head to go through...this robe was the same in that it went over the head.

The verse that spoke to me today, is verse 32, "...the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they."  I'm pretty sure the words 'so did they' are used here for emphasis, in fact very much like the way we would say here in Northern Ireland, 'so they did'! It's making it clear that they did everything they were asked to do, with no doubts attached.

So far the children of Israel have disobeyed the Lord and His prophets on a number of occasions throughout their short history but in this case, they are to be commended for doing well. We need to be kept busy - when we're idle, we have too much time to think and we can get disgruntled. When the people were wandering through the wilderness, they moaned and complained. They didn't know how long their journey would be or where they would end up next and they had no focus. But here, they have exact rules to follow and a huge job to complete and they do it well. They were being useful and did a great work for God. It is important for God's people not to sit around doing little or nothing. Matthew 20:3 talks about people who were standing around idle in the market place. They needed to have a job. 1 Timothy 5:13 talks about the young women who have nothing to do and they end up running from one house to another, gossiping and involving themselves in other peoples' business. In John 9:4 the Saviour says these words,

"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."

We must keep ourselves busy for the Lord in obedience to His plans for us.

Prayer matters:

  • Ask the Lord to keep you busy in His work
  • Ask Him to keep you from getting involved in gossip or in other people's business
Hugs Karen x

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Exodus 38: Giving up something precious

Good evening ladies. Today I'd like to look at what these women in Exodus gave up that was precious to them. Firstly, let's look back at Exodus 25:22,25,29. The women are mentioned here as being 'willing hearted'. They brought bracelets, earrings, rings and tablets (other types of jewellery), all treasures of gold. As Daphne reminded us the other day, these were the riches that they brought with them from Egypt. They didn't have them in their possession very long before they had to give them up, but they have proved their dedication to the Lord and His work by bringing them with a willing heart. They also handcrafted items which were useful for the Tabernacle, according to the instructions that God gave Moses. They literally brought what they could to the work and for this they are to be highly commended. This was something the women could contribute to.

Image result for old handheld mirrorBut here in Exodus 38 verse 8, God tells us specifically that they brought something else. Their mirrors. These were items that would have been, as they still are, precious to the women because they would have been used for personal grooming, to check that they looked alright before going out. What home is there in the country where there is not at least one mirror? Think of your own home and how many mirrors there are. Many women carry mirrors in their handbags. Even our cars have at least three mirrors! So, as far as these women are concerned, God is commending them for giving up something that He knew was important to them. I wonder, are we as prepared to be self-sacrificing? Are we ready to give up something we love for the Lord's sake, so that His work can go forward or so that His name can be glorified? I'm even thinking of our health. That is indeed something we all hold as very precious, but how would we feel if we had to give it up, for the Lord's sake? How could having poor health glorify the Lord, you ask? Very simply...if the ill person accepts that this is God's will for their life and makes the best of it without looking for sympathy, then this can truly be an inspiration to others and a reason to thank the Lord for their testimony and witness even in times of trial and pain. I know some people who have really hard times where their health is concerned but the way they handle it causes me to thank the Lord for them and for their witness.

What if the Lord asked you to give up a child like Hannah did with Samuel? What I mean here is, would you be able to be happy that the Lord maybe calls your child into full time service, meaning they would have to live far away from you, with little opportunity to see them? To do so is to be self-sacrificing. You would be giving up something you really love and hold as precious for the Lord's sake and so that His kingdom can be advanced. But the Lord would abundantly bless you for doing so. He rewards all those who love Him and put Him first.

Think about something that you regard as precious and important - could you give it up for the Lord?

Prayer matters:
  • Ask the Lord to help you to be willing to give up whatever He asks you to, for the sake of His work and witness
  • Ask Him to truly bless those who are struggling with poor health or some other loss
Hugs Karen x

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Exodus 37: The Mercy Seat

Hello again friends. Tonight we are looking at the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. How many times have we heard this talked about in church and we maybe nod as if we understand, but we're actually not quite sure? Unless you have heard sermons preached specifically about the Tabernacle you are probably not absolutely sure what this is about - we all know it's something to do with the Lord, but not the exact meaning behind the description. Until I did this study, I was one of those people. I'm not saying, by any means, that I'm an expert on it now, but I have a bit of a better idea of the significance today than I had yesterday! 

Taken from:
The Ark of the Covenant is an open chest containing God's Laws which was covered by a golden lid which itself is called the 'mercy seat'. On the Day of Atonement, once a year, the high priest would go in to the Most Holy place and sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed animal on the mercy seat. God accepted this as an atonement for the sins of the whole nation. 

Also on the Ark are two identical cherubim with wings stretched out over the mercy seat and with their faces looking down towards the mercy seat. These cherubim are symbols of God's holiness and His presence and they were regarded as instruments of judgment. They are positioned in this way to indicate that God's judgment upon Israel was turned away because of the blood-stained mercy seat. It was between these cherubim that the Lord would appear in a cloud to meet with Moses (Ex 25:22).

In Romans 3:25, the Greek word for 'mercy seat' means propitiation, and it is Christ who is being discussed here by the apostle Paul. The word for 'mercy seat' also has the same root as the word for atonement which means to cover, cleanse, cancel or appease. So the mercy seat is a foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the same way that the mercy seat and the blood that was sprinkled on it protected the nation of Israel from God's judgment, so now Christ stands forever between a holy God and sinful man because of the sacrifice He made on Calvary by shedding His precious atoning blood to turn the judgment of God from us, if we but accept this gift of mercy.

I must admit that Christ's sacrifice for my sins is so much more meaningful to me now that I understand this about the mercy seat. God accepts only the blood sacrifice for sin and only Christ could provide the way! Thank you Lord for your precious Son!

Prayer Matters:
  • Ask the Lord to help you to really understand what His Word is teaching, especially with the more difficult passages.
  • Who do you know who needs to be cleansed in this precious blood of Christ? ask the Lord to lead you to some needy soul today with the good news of the Gospel.
Thanks for popping in today

Hugs, Karen x

Monday, 23 February 2015

Exodus 36: Cheerful Givers

Hello friends! Welcome to our final week in the book of Exodus. Since it's Monday, we also have a new verse to memorize this week, Psalm 3:4 (see above). As I said last week, our friend Daphne McKee is sharing her thoughts with us tonight on Exodus 36, so sit back, relax and ask the Lord to speak to you!

Good evening everyone. I can’t believe it’s a week from I last did a wee ‘Guest Spot’ time goes so quickly. 

At the very beginning of Chapter 36 we can see how God gave wisdom and understanding to those He had called to do the work.

A couple of things stood out to me
-              God gives wisdom
-              God calls people to do His work

But the one thing most noticeable was that when God called them - they were willing to work.  Each one of us is qualified to do something for God - whether it is writing a blog (Mrs Murray - think this is your gift!!), working with children or helping in the kitchen we can all find something to do. The most important thing we can all do is pray.  1 Thess 5:17 tell us to ‘Pray without ceasing’.  We can pray for those involved in God’s work (when we pray for others we are less likely to be critical of them - that’s a blessing in itself). Our ministers need prayer - I often think we have no idea of the burden they carry - so we need to pray that God will give them the wisdom and strength they need each day.

When we read verses 3-7 we see that the people gave willingly to the work of God – they had gold, silver and all the materials they needed - how amazing was this when we think that when they were in Egypt they did not have enough straw to make bricks. We can see God’s hand at work here - before they even left Egypt God had put it into the hearts of the Egyptians to give the Israelites anything they asked (Exodus 12:36).  Isn’t it just great that God has promised that He will supply all our needs (Phil 4:19) whenever things are difficult? We can cling to this promise.

So God provided and the people gave willingly. We read in 2 Cor 9:7 that God loveth a cheerful  giver .  God does not want us to give grudgingly out of a misplaced sense of duty but out of a heart that is thankful for the many blessings we have.  The people had to be restrained from giving anymore. The workmen were honest and told Moses when they had enough - this made me think of our missionaries - we often hear of the needs they have - wouldn’t it be great if they were able to tell us that they had enough and didn’t need anymore!

The next few verses describe exactly how the tabernacle was to be built. I think that this would be a very interesting topic to learn what each of the items mean but I am just going to comment on the ‘veil’ that was placed between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place where God dwelt in the midst of His people. The word ‘veil’ in the Hebrew means screen/divider - this veil was hiding a Holy God from sinful man.  The High Priest after meticulous preparation and bringing a blood offering was only allowed to enter this Most Holy Place once a year.

But when Jesus died on the cross and His blood was shed for us, this veil/curtain was torn from top to bottom.  Only God could have torn it as it was too high for human hands - it was 60 ft high, 20 ft wide and 4 inches thick.

As Jesus cried ‘It is finished’ the curtain was torn and the way was opened for each of us to come to God through the blood of Christ’s sacrifice.  So let us with thankful hearts be ‘cheerful givers’.

Daphne x

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Exodus 35: Willing and Wise Hearts

Good morning girls! I'm really sorry I didn't get to post this last night, but better late than never!
Here we are at the end of week 7, can you believe it?! One more week and we'll have completed the book of Exodus! Thank you to all those who have followed through on this right from the beginning, that's great! But I'm also glad that there are others who have been able to join in along the journey, whether at the middle or even at the end. It doesn't matter when you start these studies, just that you get some food for your soul and learn the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer. As women who love the Lord, our aim should be to love Him more, serve Him more, glorify Him more and grow in our faith.

There were two phrases that jumped out at me in this chapter - "willing heart" and "wise heart". The Christian woman could certainly be blessed with one or the other type of heart, and that is wonderful! But how much more glorifying to God would it be to have a willing and wise heart? I know that from the minute I got saved I always had a heart that was willing to do God's work and will in my life. But unfortunately, it took years of living and learning to gain a 'wise' heart. I think I owe a lot of this to my husband, a very wise man. He has always shown wisdom in his dealings with people and situations and as I've watched and listened to him, I'm hoping I have learned how to be wiser. I know I still have a long way to go, but I'm 'willing' to learn 'wisdom'!

As I read through this chapter what I noticed about the 'willing' heart was that it has to do mostly with 'offerings' to the Lord. Look at verses 5, 21, 22 and 29. Men and women 'brought' gifts to the Lord, they gave Him what they could from their finances, their belongings, their possessions. Are we willing to give the Lord what we can? Remember the widow in the New Testament who gave her last mite into the offering? It was all she had, but she gave it all. I was talking to a friend the other day who told me that she had heard a preacher talking about people who gave their money to the Lord's work, but only gave what was left after they had spent what they needed to spend first. He said that as Christians we should be giving to the Lord first, before we even think about what we need to use our money for. This is absolutely true. The Lord will never see His children go short when they put Him first. We need to ask ourselves if we are being greedy or selfish with what we have. Do we make sure we have enough, and more, first or do we give to the Lord as a priority?

The second phrase is the "wise heart". This is seen in verses 10, 21, 25, 26 and 35. What I got from these verses is that the wise heart is more to do with giving to the Lord regarding our time and our talents. The wise hearted person is the one who 'comes' into God's presence, setting aside other tasks to give Him time and attention and using the talents and skills we have been blessed with for His sake. These women in Exodus 35 could spin and make beautiful garments; they were good with their hands. Some ladies are blessed with being able to bake and cook; others can speak in the children's meetings. Whatever talents you have been given by the Lord, give back to Him by using them to serve Him in some way. Every single person has something they can do for the Lord. Be wise and serve Him with what you have.

Notice here too that we need the Lord's help to serve Him. Very often we can't just make ourselves do the things we should; we need His Holy Spirit to stir us into action, to make us willing and wise. In many of the verses in this chapter we read that God stirred up their hearts and filled them with wisdom to do the work.

Prayer Matters:
  • Ask the Lord to help you have a willing heart to give Him what you can, not out of mere duty but out of a deep love for Him
  • Ask Him for daily wisdom for your marriage, your relationships, your church
  • Ask Him to reveal to you your strengths and then use them for His glory
  • Ask Him to stir up your heart with love and compassion to serve Him wholeheartedly 
See you back here on Monday with a message from Daphne and also a new verse from Psalm 3 to memorize. Have a great weekend!

Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Exodus 34: Moses shines!

Hello again dear friends! Are you still managing to learn the verses from Psalm 3? Don't worry, there won't be a summer exam! It's just for your own benefit, and mine.

We see Moses going to Mount Sinai for a second time, for another 40 days and nights, to receive the tablets with the ten commandments written on them after he broke the first set in righteous anger. It is very likely that this period of almost six weeks without their leader again was a test for the children of Israel, to see if they had learned their lesson from the first time and if they had truly repented. Sometimes we have to be proven regarding our profession of repentance to strengthen our faith and also to reveal to others if it is genuine.

Verse 5. These words really comforted my heart regarding the Lord coming down to Moses. What did the Lord do next? "He stood with him there...". The Lord stood right alongside His friend and was a comfort and support to him. I imagine that Moses might've been getting a bit fed up with the children of Israel and their disobedience to the Lord; their journey to the promised land had been held back by quite a few weeks because of their sin and idolatry. Moses had had to go back to the mountain a second time to get the same commandments. Don't forget that by this time, Moses was well over eighty years old! Up and down mountains carrying heavy tablets of stone couldn't have been easy and then having to cope with a people who spent most of their time in disobedience or complaining. But God met him right at the very point of his need...God stood with him "there", right where he was. Wonderful!

Verses 5-7. Look at all the amazing attributes of the God we love. He is merciful, gracious, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands and forgiving all of our sin. What more could weak, helpless sinners need?

Verses 30-35. After Moses' meeting with the Lord, his face shone with the glory of his Lord. He had spent such a long time in close communion with the Lord that the Lord's glory was now reflecting in Moses' face. Sometimes when I am at work, I am talking to someone who smokes and when I leave them, I can smell smoke on myself, just from being near them. When we spend time in God's presence, surely some of His sweet perfume should rub off on us, so that others will know we have been in the presence of the King of kings. I love perfume, especially the beautiful scent my husband bought me on holiday last year. Every time I wear it, it reminds me of him and I get a warm feeling of comfort wearing it. Often when someone walks past, they comment on the lovely smell. This is how it should be for the Christian after spending time with the Lord; the scent we gained in His presence should stay with us and others should notice it too.

Prayer matters
  • Ask the Lord to meet you right "there", at the very point of your need today. Trust Him to stand with you, comforting and supporting you during your struggles.
  • Ask the Lord to bless you with a lingering scent of His presence so that others will know you have something special and want to know what it is.

Hugs Karen x

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Exodus 33: Talking to your best friend

Hello folks! Hope you are well.
Did you enjoy today's chapter? I loved it . I felt that there were so many lessons for me to learn here that I couldn't relate them all to you so I've just picked out a few.
  • Most of this chapter sees Moses in conversation with the Lord. Moses has been let down by the Israelites and he has been disappointed by his own brother, BUT the Lord has been his faithful and steady friend. How often have you found this to be the case? People will always let us down and disappoint us, and no doubt we'll do the same to them, but thankfully our trust isn't in people; it's in the Lord who will never fail us. Isn't this a lovely image here (vs 9,11)? Moses and the Lord standing at the door of the tabernacle, two good friends having a conversation.
  • Verse 12. When Moses was going through difficult times, he kept returning to the Lord to talk matters over with Him before he did anything - he wanted, no he needed, to know that God was with him. God was the first person, not a last resort, Moses sought out to talk to about his problems.
  • Verse 7. Putting this tent (not the big Tabernacle that God gave design instructions for) outside the camp signified that the Lord was no longer going to be in the midst of the people; it meant that if people were going to worship Him, they had to make an effort to set aside a time for fellowship with Him. They had to leave their own tent and go outside the camp to meet with the Lord. But (v10) some people couldn't be bothered making this effort and they just stayed at their own tent door and worshipped the Lord in their own way.
  • Verse 14. Through prayer and intercession, Moses gained back the presence of God for Israel.
  • Verses 12-17 and 19. There is abundant mercy and grace mentioned in this chapter. Five times we read the word "grace", twice we read "gracious" and twice, "mercy".
  • Verse 15. Moses has no desire to move until he knows for sure that God's presence is with him.
Lessons to learn:
  • We too can have a close friendship with the Lord. We read His word and He speaks to us; then we pray and talk to Him. It is a two-way conversation (v11). He will never let us down.
  • The first person we should run to in times of trouble is the Lord. Of course, it's good to have someone close to us to talk to but our priority should be the Lord. 
  • We have to make an effort to spend time with the Lord in fellowship. This means switching off all the gadgets like iPads, phones and computers (or at least putting them out of sight for a while) and giving the Lord our full attention. It also means that on prayer meeting night, we should make the effort to be there, to have fellowship with the Lord and His people and to get close to Him. Where there's a will, there's a way.
  • Through prayer and intercession, we could also bring back our nation to the God it has abandoned. Do we have the desire to see the people of our wee country serving the living God again? We could certainly see this happening if we pray - 2 Chron 7:14.
  • We should never make a move to go anywhere or do anything without making sure the Lord's presence is with us. Stay put until He makes it clear what He wants you to do.
Prayer matters:
  • Ask the Lord to give you a deep desire and burden to pray and have fellowship with Him and to always come to Him first with your worries
  • Ask Him to help you to make the effort to spend time with Him, in His appointed way; ask Him to give you opportunities to get alone with Him (especially if you have young children or other important duties)
  • Ask Him for a burden for your country, your church, your neighbours
Lots to think about tonight!

Hugs Karen x

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Exodus 32: Impatience leads to sin

Don't forget to keep memorizing the word of God!
Hello folks! I hope you enjoyed Daphne's thoughts last night. Thank you again for your contribution, Daphne ☺. And so for today's chapter. I couldn't believe how many lessons there were in these verses; time doesn't permit me to go through them all but I'll list a few of the lessons that stood out for me.

Verse 1. The people grew very impatient, waiting for Moses to come back from his meeting with the Lord on Mt Sinai. Finally, they just 'couldn't OR wouldn't' wait any longer so they got Aaron to make them false gods, blaming it on Moses because he was taking so long. Why do we always have to blame someone or something else when we do wrong? This is something we all know started in the Garden of Eden after Adam
and Eve sinned - Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve and also, in a roundabout way, he blamed the Lord Himself. What is so wrong with accepting that we made a mistake? Why can't we bring ourselves to own up to things? Anyway, the people had sinned as a result of their impatience but it was more than impatience that caused their sin - at the root of this sin, as in all sin, was a sinful heart which was bent on backsliding. look up these verses for yourself - Jeremiah 3:6,11,12,22 and Hosea 11:7 and 14:4 - to see what God says about our backsliding heart.

Verse 2. Take a look back at Exodus 28. Aaron was given a very privileged position as high priest - he had responsibilities which he has not taken seriously. Has he already forgotten the second commandment, Exodus 20:4, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..."? Or was it a case of jealousy, where Aaron felt that he could do just as good a job, if not better, than his missing brother Moses? If you look at Numbers chapter 12, you will read there about Aaron and Miriam turning against their brother through jealousy and about how they criticized him and the work he was doing. Unfortunately, family members can hurt each other due to jealousy and other reasons; worse still, Christians in God's family can also hurt each other. The Christian can be the focus of an attack by another brother or sister in the Lord and this causes great pain and harm to the individual and to the work of God as a whole. The world and the devil already have it in for the Christian so why would we want to harm our brothers and sisters in Christ too? We should be united in the daily battle against the devil, not hurting and bringing down one other. Check out this post on Courtney's blog Women Living Well.

Verses 21-24. When Moses returns and challenges Aaron, Aaron blames the people - "They made me do it". He tries to get out of taking full responsibility for his actions - he says he threw the gold into the fire and all of a sudden there appears this golden image in the shape of a calf! He must have thought Moses was daft to believe such a story.

The lessons we can learn here are to:
  • know and be very aware that our hearts are always leaning towards backsliding, slipping away from God 
  • cultivate patience - impatience can lead to disaster when we take matters into our own hands (the story of Sarah and Hagar is a very clear example of this, and we are still living with the consequences of Sarah's impatience to this very day)
  • accept full responsibility for our sin and don't try to blame others
Prayer matters
  • Ask the Lord to help you to be diligent in keeping your heart right with Him at all times, knowing its leaning is towards turning away from Him
  • Ask Him to teach you patience (be aware though that He may have to bring you through some very tough times to mould you into that patient person, trust me on this one!!)
  • Ask the Lord to help you to accept your own part in wrong doing and to confess it before Him, remembering the wonderful promise of 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness". What a gracious God we serve!
Hugs Karen x

Monday, 16 February 2015

Exodus 31: Building the Tabernacle

Hello folks and welcome to our new followers. It's good to have you with us and I hope you enjoy your visits with us. It's a new week and so a new verse to memorize, Psalm 3 verse 3. Are you finding these verses easy enough to learn? Can you believe we'll soon be finished the book of Exodus?! We just have this week and next. What did you think of it? I agree that it was difficult at times to apply it to our own everyday situations, but we managed to learn something, didn't we? Would you like to know where we'll be going after that? The book of Matthew! I think the problem we will have in this gospel will not be trying to get something relevant to our own lives but, trying to keep it to just one or two verses that really stand out! There will be so much we can learn. The good thing is, we will probably all have different lessons to learn. Doesn't that just show you how amazing the Word of God is, that there are a number of us women all reading the same words but getting a different message from the Lord to meet the exact need of our soul? 

Anyway, on to Exodus 31. Just for a wee change this week and to stop you from getting bored listening to me all the time, I have asked one of the followers of this blog, Mrs Daphne McKee, if she would mind doing a 'guest slot' and sharing with us what she has learned from God's Word for this chapter. Daphne very kindly agreed to do this and I appreciate her labours for the Lord in this way. Here's what Daphne says:

Good evening everyone, I hope you all had a lovely weekend – I always enjoy Sunday – it’s good to be able to hear God’s word explained and so encouraging when God speaks to us through His word.

So when Mrs Murray asked me to do a ‘wee guest spot’ for her I was pleased to see that in the first verse of Exodus Ch 31 that God was speaking to Moses. 

I noticed that God was giving Moses 3 different types of instructions

How to build the tabernacle
God gave precise instructions as to how the tabernacle was to be built just as God has given us instructions as to how to live our lives – when we are saved our bodies are not our own.  1 Cor 6 v 19 tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost therefore we should glorify God both with our body and spirit.

Who would build the tabernacle
We can see in verses 3 and 6 that God gave the workers the wisdom and knowledge that they needed to do the work – When we remember that previously all the Israelites had done in Egypt was make bricks then we can understand how they may have felt overwhelmed by this task, I’m sure that many of us know this feeling when God calls us to do something for Him.  Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord giveth wisdom.  It’s so comforting knowing that God will give us the skill to do whatever He asks us to do.

When to build the tabernacle
Though the work was to be carried out quickly – God did not want anyone to work on the Sabbath. 
It’s sad to see how to-day it is ‘normal’ for work to continue on Sunday – it’s not that long ago that shops etc were all closed and churches full.  Even though we have all modern time-saving technologies it seems we have even less time to remember our Creator.

God did not mean that keeping the Sabbath was to be a chore but rather an opportunity to have a rest from our work and busy lives and have a day of praise and thanksgiving.  The shifting of it from Saturday to Sunday was in remembrance of our Lord’s resurrection – so it really is a day of praise and thanksgiving when we remember the sacrifice made for us so that we could have our sins forgiven.

Daphne x

Thank you, Daphne. Now that was easy, wasn't it?! Daphne will be back again next Monday, God willing, with her thoughts on Exodus 36. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Exodus 30: The Altar of Incense

Good evening folks, and happy Friday! It seems like only a day or two ago that it was last Friday...where IS the time going to?

Here we are, in the tabernacle and God is showing Moses His design for the altar of incense. The two key words here are 'altar' and 'incense'.

'Altar', as I'm sure you know, signifies 'sacrifice' which for the Christian always points to the Lord Jesus Christ. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us while we were sinners. To sacrifice means to give up or surrender something. He gave up His glory in His home in Heaven to come down to a world where He would be hated and despised by sinful man, then crucified as an innocent person. He gave up His life for you and me so that we could escape eternal punishment. As a Christian following in the footsteps of our Lord and Master, we need to think about what we sacrifice for Him already and how we could surrender more to Him. As the lovely hymn says, 

  1. All to Jesus I surrender;
    All to Him I freely give;
    I will ever love and trust Him,
    In His presence daily live.
    • Refrain:
      I surrender all,
      I surrender all;
      All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
      I surrender all.
  2. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Humbly at His feet I bow,
    Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
    Take me, Jesus, take me now.
  3. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
    Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
    Truly know that Thou art mine.
  4. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Lord, I give myself to Thee;
    Fill me with Thy love and power;
    Let Thy blessing fall on me.
  5. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Now I feel the sacred flame.
    Oh, the joy of full salvation!
    Glory, glory, to His Name!

We should be giving Him no less than our all; He deserves our whole life in sacrifice and we should be living in complete surrender to the will of God, putting aside our own wants and wishes.

The other word that is important here is 'incense'. Usually the word 'incense' in the Scriptures refers to 'prayer'. Aaron was to burn a sweet smelling incense to the Lord morning and night. It was to be made exactly according to God's recipe. In the same way today, we have a recipe for prayer as it is found in the Lord's Prayer. This prayer (which we will look at some time in the future) is not meant to be repeated word for word, but rather it is a template which we are to base our prayers on. The idea of the burning incense here morning and night is simply that we send forth sweet incense in the form of prayers to the Lord. He loves the fragrance of the prayers of His dear children as it ascends into heaven, morning and night, day by day. Prayer is so important for the Christian because it keeps us in constant contact with our Heavenly Father. If God the Son had to spend much time in prayer while He was here on earth, then we most certainly need that special time, talking to the Lord.

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you dedicate yourself completely to Him, holding nothing back. Pray that He will help you to pray constantly, regularly, willingly to Him. He loves to hear you talking to Him.

Thank you for being here today. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday for Exodus 31.

Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Exodus 29: Offerings made to the Lord

Good evening, friends. I do hope you're enjoying the studies and getting some food and rest for your soul.

I have to be honest with you and say that when I came upon this chapter, as in previous times, I was tempted just to skim over it quickly because it looked a bit heavy going, especially with all those "offerings"! But no, I couldn't do that this time. Every word in the Bible is important, no matter how difficult it may seem to understand so I settled down to really read it and take it in, armed with a few commentaries from my husband's study! So for the first time ever, I got to grips with these offerings and discovered that, once again, the Old Testament is pointing ahead to Christ the Saviour.

There are seven offerings mentioned in Exodus 29. We'll take a look at each one individually, but you'll see they are not in sequential order by verse but as I think they relate to us, our sin and to the Saviour.

Verse 18, "burnt offerings". These signify God's wrath poured out upon, and burning up, the sin of mankind as it was laid upon our dear Saviour on the cross of Calvary. When Jesus died on the cross, the wrath of His Father fell upon Him, the sinless One, devouring your sin and mine. They are also a sign of our belief in His finished work and our profession of our faith (John 1:29).

Verse 41, "meat offering". Since meat is something that was used for food, this represents us offering our person and our property, our body and possessions. Usually it was presented alongside a burnt offering to show the connection between pardon of sin and devotion to God. It signifies that there is now fellowship with God (Rom 12:1).

Verse 28, "peace offering". There is a connection between this offering and the previous two in that, after faith in Christ's finished work and a giving up of ourselves to a holy God in service, there is now peace in our hearts. Christ gives us peace within; He is the only One who can satisfy the needs of our soul. (Rom 5:1,2).

Verse 14, "sin offering". Sin has been dealt with completely in the individual person. This offering refers to sins that we commit but may not even be aware that we have committed them or that they are indeed sin, usually in relation to our attitude. For example, a heart full of pride, a lack of love in a certain situation, rashness in our words. So we need to come to God and confess all of our sins, the ones we are well aware of and those we have missed (1 John 2: 1,2).

Verse 24. "wave offering". This was symbolic that the offering was dedicated to the Lord. Portions of the offering were literally waved in the air to let the Lord see it and then used practically, for example, to feed the families of the priests. For us, this means that we need to show our dedication to the Lord by our lifestyle and our testimony.

Verse 40, "drink offering". Along with the sacrifices of an animal, grain and oil, a drink was offered to the Lord as a metaphor for providing hospitality and food for God, which was very important in the Middle East. For us, this would signify what we can do, as Christians, for other people. How can we serve and help others?

Verse 27, "heave offering". This was harder to find any commentaries on, but it seems that this is similar to the wave offering. It involved the raising up of the hands and arms towards heaven while presenting the offering to God. This would signify that it is something designated for a higher purpose. Just the way we are as Christians. When we get saved God does not expect us to just sit around doing nothing for Him. We are designated for more than that. God wants us to be up and doing for Him, serving him, praising Him, telling others about Him. I asked myself, 'do I want to grow rusty in my Christian life through lack of use, or do I want to be ready and willing to serve the Lord and bring glory to His name?'

So, that's what I found out about the offerings. If you know anything more on this subject please feel free to share with us. 

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you to be up and doing for Him and for others. Pray that you will find peace in living for Him.

Hugs Karen x

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Exodus 28:The clothing and duties of the high priest

Good evening dear friends. I hope you are well and have enjoyed today's chapter. If you haven't got to it yet, I really hope you receive the same eye-opening blessing that I did! There were three verses in particular that really stood out for me, verses 12, 29 and 38. In these verses we read about the very privileged but highly responsible job that Aaron and his descendants are given by God. God gives them very exact instructions, removing the need for them to add their own opinions and ideas. We must worship God in His way, not in our own way.

Verse 12, "Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial."
Verse 29, "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually."
Verse 38, "...that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things...; it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord."

What we need to keep in mind as we read the Old Testament Scriptures is that these pictures and descriptions are always pointing us towards the Lord Jesus Christ. God put these things into place until Christ would come in the flesh, removing the need for them. This is why we no longer need to approach God through a human priest; the Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest and He is all we need.
The Lord Jesus Christ, as our intercessor, is clothed in glory and beauty (vs 2, 40), and as Aaron had done in the OT, He presents us and our petitions before the Lord for a memorial.

Listen to this lovely thought - each of the twelve tribes of Israel was allocated a precious stone and each name was engraved upon this stone which was then placed carefully and permanently into the breastplate of the high priest. So, every time he went into the holy place, wearing the garments as instructed by God, he had the names of these twelve tribes placed close to his heart and on his shoulders as a reminder to the Lord and the people of how precious they were to him. Do you realise how precious you are to God today? The Lord Jesus Christ brings your name before the Father always as a memorial, not because your name is etched into a precious stone, but because it is engraved in the palm of God's hands. Once you are saved, you are saved for ever. God does not ever forget His children; He never undoes that special relationship. He saves and keeps for ever.
Some of the twelve tribes were smaller and not as significant as the others, some are more easily remembered such as Judah. But each one was valued as equally as the other by God; none was more important than another. And so it is with us. There is not one of the daughters of God more significant or important than another. You may feel you don't have much worth or value, but this is not how the Lord sees you. Your name is engraved on His hands and His heart and you mean so much to Him that He sent His Son to die for you. He remembers you continually and prays for you.

Keep this at the foremost of your thoughts today - "The Lord loves me and He holds me close to His heart". What a blessing it is to be a daughter of the King!

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you to see just how precious you are to Him. Ask Him to comfort you in whatever your need is today. Ask Him to give you the opportunity to share what you have with some other dear lady who maybe feels that no one cares about her, that she is not dear or special to anyone. Let her know how much the Lord loves her.

Hugs Karen x

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Exodus 27: Burning lamps

Good evening friends! Before we start with this chapter, I'd just like to tell you that there has been great rejoicing among the families and friends of a couple of our followers on this blog! The daughter of one of the ladies' has come to trust fully in Christ as Saviour and we are so thankful for this wonderful news! It is a real cause of praise to the Lord for answered prayer. I am telling you this because I want you to be encouraged to pray on for loved ones to come to Christ. Sometimes, we feel so discouraged when we do not see answers to prayer, but please, do not give up, but instead come to the Lord with a renewed zeal that He is faithful to answer prayer in His own special time.

I'd also like to thank those who have added comments on various posts of what you have learned from God's Word. If you don't feel comfortable about going public with your comments, then you can email me using the comment form on the left or text me. It encourages my heart to hear what you're learning and how the Lord is blessing you.

The verse that has really spoken to my heart from this chapter is verse 20, "...that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always."

In the Scriptures, oil is very often a picture of the Holy Spirit. When we get saved, the Holy Spirit enters our heart. As John 14 reminds us, until we reach heaven and experience complete fellowship with Christ, He is sending us "another Comforter", the Holy Spirit. This is a very simple illustration, but you know how if someone you love is going away for a while, they might leave you a little gift or a note just to remind you of their love for you while they're away? Or if a work colleague leaves, you might get them a piece of jewelry or something to remind them of you? Well, this is similar to what the Lord is talking about in John 14:16,17. He is telling His disciples that He must leave and won't see them again for a while but in the meantime He will send the Holy Spirit to comfort them and be with them. Aren't these words lovely - "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever"; take note too that the Holy Spirit doesn't not just live with us but He also lives within us. "For He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (v17). So those of you who are maybe feeling alone or lonely tonight, please be assured you are not alone. Even though you cannot see the Saviour YET, He has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort you and to be with you. What a blessed assurance of Christ's love for His people!  

In Exodus 27:20, the lamp can also be a picture of us and our testimony. As we see from this verse, the oil is in the lamp and causes it to burn brightly. In the same way, the Spirit is within us and our life and testimony can burn brightly because of His presence and grace. But how can we make sure the lamp burns 'always'? By making sure we are always filled with the oil, the Spirit. If we don't refill the lamp by prayer and reading God's Word and walking close to God, then the oil will be used up and the lamp will not burn. We need to replenish the oil often so that the lamp doesn't dry up. We need to make an effort to be in the Word of God, each and every day. Fill yourself with God's Word, be with God's people, pray to Him, keep close to Him.

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to give you time, energy and enthusiasm to get into His Word. Ask Him to help you soak yourself in Him and be filled with the Holy Spirit, and know that the Spirit is within you to comfort and help you along your journey of life. Pray for the other ladies who follow this blog, even if you don't know them personally - they are your sisters in Christ, who know and understand many of the difficulties that we all have to go through.

Hugs Karen x

Monday, 9 February 2015

Exodus 26: The design for God's dwelling place

Good evening, friends. I hope you had a good day today and that you have known much of the blessing of the Lord in your life. Have a look at the verse above - it's Psalm 3:2, our memory verse for this week.

I'm going to admit to you right up front that I am struggling a bit with these readings about the Tabernacle because there is so much detail in them and they are a bit confusing. However, they are still very important verses and I have been blessed with some simple thoughts as I've read through it. I'd really like it if you would add a wee comment in at the bottom to let the rest of us know what you have learned, since the Lord speaks to us all whatever our need is and these can be so different from each other's.
So, what I've gathered from my reading of this chapter is mostly from verse 33 and the words "the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy". There is a separation between God and man, a division made by sinful man that could only be made right by God. Sin has caused a vail to be put up between us and a holy God because He is so holy that His eyes cannot even behold our sin; so this vail, or partition, had to be broken down and God's plan was that His pure and holy and beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, had to be punished for this awful sin of ours. This took place on Calvary when Christ suffered, bled and died for us. This is what is spoken of in Ephesians 2:14, "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;" and also in Mark 15:38, "And the veil of the temple was rent (torn) in twain (two) from the top to the bottom."
Only Christ could have made it possible for man to be reconciled to a holy God. I'm so thankful to my Saviour that He was willing to die for me because, if He hadn't, the only place for me and my sin would have been a lost eternity.
If you click on the word 'tabernacle' below the picture, you will be taken to to see a visual representation of the design of the OT tabernacle.

Prayer matters: Praise the Lord for the work of Christ in making a way back to God the Father in reconciliation and pray for your friends and family who still haven't seen their need of coming to Him and accepting this work for them. Pray that Christ will be seen in your life on a daily basis.