So, for the past 36 hours or so I have been in Perth, Western Australia!
Itäs (It´s – I´m typing on a Finnish keyboard so it´s difficult to work out!) absolutely amazing. This place has been such a blessing to me already. I´m meeting new people all the time, such wonderful people, too!
So I came here via Melbourne. In Melbourne I got to catch up with my brother and his partner, and my two best Melbourne mates. It was so good to see them again, after two and a half years.
Since being here the holiday has really started. It´s been so hot, sunny, and just awesome. It´s SO good to see Cody again! (See her blog on the left to stay up to date with her YWAM journey!)
Yesterday we went into the city, it hasn´t changed much really, but felt so good to walk through again. I actually didnät remember JUST how hot it gets here in Perth though!
My brainäs all over the show right now. IÄm working on a new article for tis site which I started this afternoon, but also just looking forward to actually getting into some more time with God! The suggestion has been made that Sara and I might be able to drop in on some of the DTS lectures – so if we can, then that could be really awesome!
Went to church tonight. Metro Church, and had a rather weird moment. They had some song performances going on, and started singing a chorus that was “To God be the Glory” (The old hymn), and as they started into that song, I just burst into tears! Happy tears, like, tears of gratitude and love, but it was still rather strange!
Anyway, thatäs the main update for this trip so far. If I get a computer again later in the week, will update again!
On this day, 29 years ago, two lives were changed forever. My parents welcomed into the world their firstborn son, making them parents. Their lives were no longer just their own, they now had an infant to care for, nourish, raise, grow, teach, train and coach. Personally, I think they did a pretty good job. There were four of us in the end, four children all demanding of their time, energy, love and emotion.
Today’s been very heavily about me. People messaging me on Facebook, texts, cards, presents, all that sort of thing; because it’s my birthday. But I just want to take a moment to honour and thank the two people who have been most instrumental and integral to getting me here.
It wasn’t always easy, and the relationship between us has sometimes been strained, and sometimes been so fractured it looked to be a mammoth task to put it back together again. I’ve been through hard times, and easy times, and so have my parents. Through it all though, even if I haven’t necessarily felt this way, I have always been able to count on them to be there for me in one way or another. For that, I’m exceptionally grateful.
Today I have felt so loved. I have been so blessed. I have had so much warmth and affection sent my way. It’s been wonderful, but I”d like to send a thanks out there to say to my parents, I love you, and I’m grateful for all you’ve done for me.
You know, the first thing I was thinking about when I was reading this passage, was initially about the healing process of the skin diseases. Then I noticed something.
The sacrifice and cleansing process for both mildew and skin disease are the same, or close enough to, to make me wonder what was going on.
I wondered in Leviticus 13, why God would go from skin disease, and then suddenly turn to mildew. It seemed a little non-sequitur, but having read through this chapter tonight, I wonder if it’s as random as it seems.
So where are the similarities? Why did God feel it necessary to talk skin disease and mildew in the same process. It would probably, you would think, be more logical to go from skin disease to other types of disease, and maybe touch on mildew somewhere in the area about house and garden maintenance.
Well, I guess both are surface dwelling. They’re both visible. They’re both probably bacterial in some way shape or form (I think).
And both require a guilt offering to be sacrificed.
That, almost implies to me that perhaps there was a link between finding mildew, or having a skin condition show up, and unknown or unrevealed sin. Almost as if the mildew or, say, a rash were outward signs placed upon a person to make them realise that they had sinned without acknowledging, or realising that they had.
That’s about all I have brain power for tonight though. It’s late, and I have an early start tomorrow.
Blogs may be quiet for the next ten days or so, or at least not every day depending on internet availability. I will be enjoying a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday in Perth, Western Australia. See you all on the other side of the sun!
I have a question. At what point do you stop giving?
I remember a comic strip that my parents had when I was a kid, there were two of them, actually. One was called The Pearly Gates and the other was Love is a Two-Way Street.
Relationships are all about balance (for this point, relationship means anything: a couple, friends, family, colleagues, team-mates, whatever it might be). Obviously, I’ve never forgotten the title of that comic book (hence remembering it now); and it’s a phrase that’s stuck in my mind quite firmly ever since I was a young man able to actually understand the point it was making.
I’ve been in relationships before where love wasn’t a two-way street, though. I’ve been on both sides of those relationships, I’ve been the one who seems to do everything to hold the relationship together, gives as much as possible – but I’m not proud to admit that I’ve also been the person who takes far too much more than their share.
You only have to look at Facebook on any given day to realise that almost everyone struggles with this in their relationships. The amount of status updates that I see that are filled with angry and sad complaints of not being given enough by a friend/partner/sibling/boss/whoever is amazing.
It’s not really surprising, but notice how the focus consistently seems to be on what I’m not receiving? What this person did, or didn’t do, upset me in this way.
It’s hard to not be selfish. It’s hard to give more than we get, and the fact is, it’s not supposed to be that difficult. Love is a two-way street, which means there should be love and giving flowing back the other way. It won’t always be, I mean, we all have times where we need to lean on others more than we can be leaned on at the time; but there should be a balance com out somewhere along the line.
But where do you stop giving, if there isn’t? I mean, I could be carrying, helping, loving a friend for years. At what point, if any, should I stop giving?
Well the only safe answer that I can come up with, is never.
That doesn’t mean I should always allow that friend to lean on me or to rely on me. As I said, there are times when we need to lean, rather than be leaned on.
I think that may be the way to find balance. We can’t force any more to come from the other direction. We can’t make the other person in a relationship walk towards us; but what we can do is take the necessary steps back so that we keep the balance level.
Wow… Science analogy. Fulcrums, weight, distance, balance.
I would, but I’m not sure I can paint the right word picture. Basically, though, you can maintain balance by stepping back to ensure that the centre of gravity on the relationship fulcrum stays balanced.
This really is a riveting passage. I have a feeling that it was probably around here that I gave up reading the bible from beginning to end when I was a teenager. I mean, seriously, how much can you write about skin diseases? If it has white hairs, then get out of Dodge; if it doesn’t, then check it again in a week and see what’s what.
Chapter 13, though, is where I guess we really get into this whole thing about laws created for hygienic purposes. These guys were out in the desert, they were out there with no hospitals, no real medical care or ways to take care of themselves. They had to be careful, and they had to make sure that they isolated anyone who might be infectious; because they were living in such close quarters that if one person got sick, the whole nation was liable to get sick.
They’re just my thoughts on that.
And mildew, again, how much needs to be said about it? I mean, if I was to catch my clothing with mildew all over it, it would likely be thrown out regardless, whether it was a destructive mildew or not.
They probably couldn’t.
Funny the things that can be drawn from a passage. We’re so blessed in this modern era, we can afford to just throw out a cushion cover or a shirt if we find mildew in it. These guys probably couldn’t all afford to just throw something out and drop down to Myer to replace it. They had to keep track of everything, and even burning a woven garment was going to be a difficult loss to most of them.
We’re so blessed; but we also tend to take that blessing for granted.
I only have one more day of work until holidays.
Which, unfortunately, means that I’m probably equally distant now between going on holidays and getting back. Tomorrow will drag as if it’s going on forever, and then my holidays will flash by in what seems like a matter of hours!
Must find a way not to enjoy the holiday period!
I jest. Can’t wait. Melbourne and Perth here I come!
More seriously, I went to life group tonight (and got birthday cake – felt so special! It was actually home cooked and everything! Thanks Anna!), we had some interesting discussion topics come up throughout the course of the evening.
One of which, though, was about salvation – and the ‘moment’ of salvation, or the moment a person enters the body of Christ is probably more accurate than the moment of salvation. Where does a person become a ‘member’ (so to speak) of the body of Christ? Is there a defining moment,or is it something more gradual?
For me, and this is just my perspective, but Jesus didn’t give grey areas on this. He said straight out that no one comes to the father except through him. To me that says that without actually accepting Jesus’ gift, and without acknowledging him as Lord, a person isn’t necessarily a part of his body. I see that some things in the bible, in doctrine, in theology are and can be completely grey, but not here.
Just my thought for the evening. Feel free to comment with disagreements or points of consideration.
I don’t get this passage.
Why is a woman unclean after giving birth? This is perhaps one of the most rewarding and amazing moments in two people’s lives, when their child is born, but the woman is ceremonially unclean for actually quite a long period (forty one days if I calculate right for male children and double that for women.
Now I have heard, and I think I’ve referred to before, that there are actually very valid reasons for some of the laws that exist in the Levitical law. Laws that come under necessity of hygiene or prevention of illness, etcetera (I have no specific references on hand, this is just what I’ve heard); and that’s fine with me if it’s the case. I could look up something now and see what reasons there might be not to eat camels or badgers, or what reasons there might be for a woman to be ceremonially unclean for a month after having a baby.
Perhaps she’s more vulnerable to illness? I don’t know.
The thing that also stands out to me is the requirement for a sin offering.
Now as I read this I wondered why a woman would have to offer a sin offering after giving birth to a child. What sin has she committed? Leviticus 4 talked about the sin offering and said it was for sins people had committed without actually realising it. Well, what was the sin?
But just as I’ve been writing this, I wondered something. What if the sin offering isn’t actually for the mother? What if it’s for the child?
The concept of being born into sin is fairly well established throughout the church; and was certainly one struggling point and topic of interest for me in my time away from God. How could God judge guilty babies, infants and toddlers who really don’t have a concept of right and wrong? Well, ask ten people that question and you’d probably get ten different answers.
But I just wonder, is the sin offering a covering over the child from birth until they come of age to be responsible for their own actions?
Well, I have one less thing to worry about.
Those who know me, or anyone who’s read a few of my older blog entries in the past will likely know that I’m passionate about politics.
I’ve therefore been reasonably actively involved in politics on an administrative level for a while now. Tonight, I finally let it go; which was actually a lot tougher to do than I thought it was going to be.
I hadn’t really thought about it too much of late. Since the Federal Election, everything had been fairly quiet and even stagnant; so I didn’t really have to think about it. Just over the past few weeks, though, there’s been a bit of action stirring back up and I started getting my mind involved all over again.
It was just in the past few days that God reminded me of the choice I made a while back. Back when I was first coming back to him, and decided to go to Kazakhstan and give my life to the Kingdom cause rather than to other causes. The main choice that I had at that point, was Missions or Politics, putting my gifts, talents and abilities into the Kingdom of God, or the Parliament of Australia, so to speak. I chose God.
But with the rising up of all the politics again, God had to pull me aside and just remind me of that. I’d kind of forgotten about it a little, so I had to actually make it public and official tonight that I’m letting go of the politics. I’m not able to do everything, after all, and I’ve been worried about that. As hard as next year’s going to be, I’ve been worrying about the very basic points, where it looks like I just won’t have enough time in the week to do everything that I’d like to do and God’s wanting me to do. Well, now that we’re getting closer to that line in the sand that I talked about the other night, he’s starting to filter some of those things out so I can narrow down the priorities.
Which is good. I’m looking forward to it.
In other news – I have two days of work left, and then holidays. Hobart, Melbourne and Perth… I’m so excited. Not sure how much internet access I’ll have while I’m in Perth, though, so things might not be as on schedule as I’d like them to be.
Although – I can actually schedule blog posts to come out in future. Maybe I’ll just write ahead!
Wow! What a feast!
And how grateful am I that God made clean what was unclean.
I’m a big bacon fan. Although rabbit and badger I’m not so partial to.
There’s a veritable smorgasbord of different foods here. Much more of which, it would seem, cannot be eaten than what can be. I certainly would never have thought that locusts and grasshoppers were kosher.
Still, it’s an interesting list of foods.
I was talking to a friend recently about some of the law in Leviticus, and one of the things that he pointed out was that the law actually separates into Civil, Ceremonial, Food and Moral law in Leviticus and the Old Testament in general. It’s not hard, really, to tell that this is the food law, but it makes me wonder why. Why was it okay to eat beef, but not pork? What was wrong with bacon? Why not camels or rabbits? Why not sharks (Which, if I’m correct, have fins but not scales)?
Why did God actually need to specify that they don’t eat vultures, or geckos?
I’m willing to try most things, but I don’t know. If someone put a plate in front of me and said it was baked gecko, I might maybe choose that moment to be full or unwell.
Why were these animals unclean? I’ve heard people talk in the past about the hygiene. Food spoiled easily, and perhaps animals like pigs and rabbits were susceptible to particular illnesses that others weren’t. I can see that being the logic, especially for a lot of the birds – I think all of them are meat-eating birds. The same with rats and other rodents like that.
“I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45
All these animals the Israelites weren’t supposed to eat, at the heart of it, made them unclean. Even touching the carcass of the animals they could eat, if the animal died (rather than being slaughtered, presumably), then touching it would make them unclean. As obviously ‘food law’ as this chapter is, it also demonstrates a significant element of the ceremonial law that was required when holiness was dependent not on grace, but on actions. The Israelites were really expected to live to an extremely high standard of purity and cleanliness.
It’s hard to let go.
Twice today I’ve had things come up, interactions or just circumstances that have caused old feelings, thoughts and emotions to arise. Both occasions were a little surprising, but perhaps what was more surprising was just how easy it was to slip straight back into those old feelings and thoughts.
I’ve just had an image of an old uniform. It’s hanging in the back of the wardrobe, dusty, moth-eaten, hasn’t been touched or looked at for years. But one day, the owner opens that wardrobe door and looks at the uniform. He takes it out, and slips the jacket off the coathanger and slips his arms into it. It still fits. So he shrugs a little just to get comfortable, and then takes the pants off the coathanger too and puts them on.
The problem is, that they’re old and moth-eaten. They’re dusty and dirty; and the dust and dirt gets all over him and contaminates him. He’s not clean, and the uniform just doesn’t feel as good as it used to, because it smells and feels thinner.
It’s time to let go.
It’s easy to slip into feelings that we used to have. Even after years have gone by, sometimes in our personal relationships we can quite quickly settle back into how things used to be. That can be great, too. I have friends who I don’t see anywhere near as often as I’d like, but whenever we catch up, it’s like no time has passed at all. That’s all positive, and it’s great.
The same thing, though, can happen with negatives, and that’s not so great. It’s just as easy to find ourselves slipping back into negative feelings and negative patterns, and that can be detrimental. We grow for a reason, we move forward for a reason, and when we fall back into old feelings – when we slip that old uniform back on – then we get dusty, dirty, and suddenly we go back to where we were all those years ago.
Letting go isn’t always as easy at it sounds. Letting go isn’t just not thinking about something; it’s about breaking that thing’s power over your head, your heart and your life.
This is a really important passage.
Once again, it comes back to the seriousness of things between us and God. Last night it was about the sacrifice, it was about the position that Jesus stood in so that the rest of us could come into fellowship, communion and relationship with Almighty God.
Tonight, chapter ten, shows how seriously we need to take God’s commands.
There’s a serious part to Christianity. I know that I tend to be more focused on the liberal side of my relationship with God, I love him, and he loves me. He’s my dad, the one I can come to with anything and rely on him completely. It’s all so good.
But he expects responsibility from me.
I’ve talked before about the warrior heart that God’s put in me. The dreams that he’s given me. The hope that I live in.
What a soldier needs, though, is discipline and obedience.
I remember once watching a documentary about – I think it was about the Sea Shepherd; the Greenpeace vessel that goes into the Southern Ocean to try and prevent Japanese Whaling. I’m not going to bring up whaling tonight. What I saw, though, was these videos of people who don’t understand the seriousness of heirarchy, of orders, of commands. These people on this boat weren’t all professional sailors. They were volunteers on the ship for a season. The problem that came with that, though, was that they didn’t realise the importance of commands. They thought everything was an option.
Not everything is an option. Discipline and heirarchy are required in certain situations. We’re soldiers in a Holy Army, and discipline is required – nay, commanded. Obedience is commanded.
God loves us. He loves us so much that he would actually lay down his own life for us. That doesn’ t mean, though, that we get a free pass. God has a plan and a purpose for us, but to walk into that purpose, we need to be following him completely.
Jesus said that the sheep will know his voice. We need to know our God’s voice, and hear it, and obey it.
I don’t think God’s likely (although I’d never say he would never do it) to burn someone to a crisp with holy fire like he did Nadab and Abihu, today, but we should still take his commands seriously, and be sure to follow what he says.
I also had some thoughts on hearing the voice of God, as the chapter ends we see an interaction between Moses and Aaron and the remaining sons about following God’s commands, and Aaron stands up for them. I’ll just say we do need to ensure that we are attuned to God’s voice in our lives, because it’s not the only voice that we hear.
Well, another great day!
It didn’t exactly turn out as well as I’d have hoped, but.. No, scratch that, it didn’t turn out AS I had hoped. It still turned out well, and wonderfully.
So, my car’s decided that she’s not going to start again. Last night I put the battery on charge and this morning, it still wouldn’t go, eliminating the possibility that it’s the battery – well, mostly. The point is, though, that it’s not going, and it’s likely that she’s going to need to go in for surgery. Maybe a starter motor transplant, by the looks of things.
Still, that meant that I couldn’t actually go down and see a friend like I was hoping to. They were having a working bee on their farm which I was looking forward to. Instead I ended up staying at home and watching a documentary on world war one aircraft – which was actually really interesting, at least, to me.
This afternoon, though, I got to go out to Orielton and watch my cousin in his go-kart racing. He didn’t end up with the result he would have liked, but it was exciting to watch!
Then, church tonight at The Way. They had a missions trip to the Phillipines from which everyone returned this afternoon, and came to church tonight to share about their adventures. Well, I was quite surprised by over and over, the testimonies that they had were touching me. God was really drawing my attention to different parts, pointing out that Kazakhstan’s going to be like some of those experiences I heard about tonight.
Hearing them talk, and giving thought to Kazakhstan really took it to another level of reality. God reaffirmed for me, yes, I’ll be going there and yes, there’s going to be some really intense times and experiences, but it’s going to be such a blessing. I’m excited and slightly fearful, but not afraid, if that makes sense.
Anyway, though, it’s late, so on to…
It’s day eight, after the priests have spent seven days untouched and alone with God. Wow, what an amazing time. It would be such an amazing experience. I think, at some point somewhere that I should just grab a tent, drift off to the wilderness somewhere and spend a week just me and God. This inspiration doesn’t just come from this chapter’s reading, but I’ve just started reading Wild At Heart by John Eldredge, which talks about a man’s need to be in the wilderness, to be out there in the wild. I’m only a few pages in and already can see that this is going to be something powerful and effective in my life.
Offerings aren’t for the faint of heart, or the weak stomached. I don’t know what I thought when I was a kid, but all this talk of slaughtering didn’t really affect me, and I do know that I read Leviticus passages when I was younger, although maybe they just didn’t really click to me as to what was going on.
I’m just reading this, though, thinking how much blood there must have been. What would it all have been like, it must have been messy.
But it’s also serious.
I mean, pardon the pun, but it’s deadly serious.
And that’s, I think, the point of the sacrifice. Sin isn’t a light-hearted matter. Redemption isn’t a light-hearted matter. Atonement isn’t a light-hearted matter. We cannot stand in the presence of God, with sin covering our hearts; it’s just not possible. There was a purpose to these slaughters, and it wasn’t just a barbecue; it was because blood and life have to flow in order to cover the debt and purify those who have sinned.
To restore our relationship with God, blood had to flow. Life had to be given up. I think sometimes we get caught up in the wonderful pretty images of the resurrected Jesus, of angels and fluffy white clouds; but there’s a more gruesome side to the story, and that was the blood that flowed.
What Jesus did for us is so, so powerful and amazing. It’s not something to take for granted, and it’s not something to devalue. Yes, it should be, and is celebrated, and Jesus is honoured; but remember how valuable that gift of salvation truly is. It’s not a price we could EVER have paid for ourselves.
God’s doing amazing work.
Not just in my life, but in the lives of people around me as well. I’ve talked to quite a few people in the past few days who are expressing just how great God is, and how he’s doing amazing things in their lives. If there was any doubt in people’s minds; if anyone thought maybe he isn’t preparing for something big, get in to his presence and his heart, because otherwise you’re going to miss out.
God is powerful and mighty. We have nothing to fear if we are in him.
There are certain numbers that are powerful in the spiritual realm. I’m not sure why or how. Forty is one, three is another, and seven is a third. Seven’s kind of obvious, it’s the amount of time God took in creating the world, according to Genesis. It’s one quarter of the cycle of the moon, too.
There’s something powerful, though, about remaining for seven days. The priests are told, after they go through the rigmarole of being consecrated and prepared for priesthood, not to move for seven days. They are to stay in the Tabernacle for one week, and not come out.
Imagine how you would come out at the end, if you spent seven whole days in the presence of God, to the exclusion of anything else in your life?
It would be life changing. Absolutely life changing.
I think this passage, though, also speaks of something else very important. Once again, we see the detail that goes into the report. They could have just said that Moses dressed the priests and prepared the offering like God had told him to do, and things would be all happy and smooth. They didn’t, though, they specifically described each detail, to verify that yes, they actually did everything the Lord commanded them to do.
And that’s because of how important it is. Just like the building of the Tabernacle, God’s meeting place; it is clarified exactly what they did in consecrating the priests for service in God’s house.
Serving directly in God’s presence is an amazing privilege, and one that doesn’t come about lightly. There is preparation, and determination required. There is consecration and purification required. There is discipline and observation required. We don’t enter into the service of God lightly or casually. It comes with massive amounts of responsibility and requirement. God commands all submission and all faithfulness. God commands obedience, absolute obedience, to the point where we ensure that we have crossed every t and dotted every i in the commands he gave us; just like we see here in this passage.
Spool (v) : To spend time in a cooling off period.
This is the new word, and one that a friend and I want to try and see make the mainstream. It came from an accidental combination of “spending time apart” and “cooling off” – hence, spending time in a cooling off period.
What context? Well, for example, you know those moments in a relationship when you don’t want to actually break up, but you just need some time apart? Well, you’re spooling. Or perhaps things are just getting a little too intense between two people, so they take a week’s break from one another. They’re spooling for a week.
“It’s not that I don’t love you, but I really think we should spool for a week.”
Got it? Learn it. Use it. Spooling!
- On a more serious note. Tonight was the last night of Christian Essentials, and wow, what a just amazingly powerful and intense night.
God’s doing some more breakthrough. It’s amazing, something came up tonight that’s just been held deep down in my heart for years – quite literally almost a decade, actually. Something that’s been eating away inside you for that long isn’t going to go away easily, but it’s back into my conscious, and time to deal with it I guess. Interesting how God works, there’s two old pains that he’s brought up in the past couple of months.
But I can’t walk in his fullness while I’m still holding onto them. It doesn’t matter how old the scar is, or the injury is – a person can’t be at full fitness and strength if it isn’t actually healed. I can’t be at my best with old injuries still holding me back and causing hesitation. Hesitation is not something that a warrior can afford in the heat of battle.
So, time to heal the old wounds.
I have to admit that these passages throughout the end of Exodus and now the beginning of Leviticus, all the stuff about the tabernacle and the sacrifices, it goes on a bit doesn’t it? Not to mention that everything seems to be said at least twice.
Okay, fair point is that important points tend to need to be repeated. Quite often more than just twice before they get through to us. These were deeply important things for everyone to know.
Still, there’s also additions. I now get a better idea of what the fellowship (or peace) offering actually is! An offering of thankfulness (v12) or a vow or freewill offering (v16).
So it seems to be twofold. One, just something that’s out of gratefulness. I guess perhaps an offering that is brought before God when recognising that he’s done something for you? Kind of – to use a really simple example – bringing a gift for a friend who did something nice for you?
A vow – well, that would seem to me that it’s almost like signing a contract or something. You make a vow, and then seal it with the fellowship offering.
And freewill – how about that, this is the offering that you bring God ‘just because’. I like it.
See, people that I care about, I like to do things for them. It’s not normally anything major, but I’ll make them coffee, or pay for a meal or something like that. I know that not everyone would, but I consider it a sign of showing my love for them by doing something for them – by blessing them. This, I guess, is the offering that is brought forward just to bless God. To come to him and just declare love for him for no reason other than just because.
We can’t generally bring a lamb or a bull to God as an offering to bless him these days, but what ideas are there for things we can do?
How is God blessed in your daily life?
For me, I guess the obvious ones stand out first of all, worship, praying, even doing this blog in order to spend time with him and gain a greater understanding of who he is – drawing closer to him. What else, though? I mean, what can I actually do to bless God? Generosity comes to mind. Loving people.
Jesus did say in the parable about the sheep and the goats, that whatever we do to the least of his people, we do it to him as well. So in blessing others, we’re blessing God.
I’m feeling a little lost tonight.
I love kids movies. One of the best days of my life was visiting Disneyland when I was in Hong Kong a few years ago. I can’t wait for the opportunity to spend a few days at the really big ones in the USA.
One movie that I have, though, is Lilo and Stitch. There’s a scene in that movie where Stitch, after just running havok and eventually finding himself trapped, alone and without direction, sits down with a copy of The Ugly Duckling and gently whimpers, “I’m lost”.
I don’t know if I’m necessarily feeling trapped, alone and directionless – actually, I feel quite directed; hence the comments last night about direction.
I just feel a little flat and lonely, and the image of Stitch sitting there came to mind. I think, maybe, because as he’s sitting there, he’s as confused by the feelings that he’s having as he is affected by them. That’s perhaps the link. I don’t really have any reason to feel melancholy, or lonely, or flat. I’ve got so much going on and so many things that I’m looking forward to that I don’t really have any reason to feel down or melancholy. So I’m brought down by the fact that I’m feeling down!
Confusing? I hope so, because it confuses me.
What’s just as confusing is how quickly God can turn that around. I just paused, worshipped, prayed a little, and felt God’s arms around me. Amazing. Just amazing love and peace.
Fire leapt out at me as I read this chapter.
Not literally, obviously. My eyebrows are still all intact and all that.
No, just reading about the fact that the altar was to be kept burning all the time. It strikes a couple of notes in my heart as I read it.
First of all, something simple – it doesn’t matter what time it is or where we are, God’s forgiveness and salvation is always available to us. God doesn’t sleep, he doesn’t take a vacation – although undoubtedly he deserves it! What he does, is keep watch over us, no matter what time it is. The altar was to be kept burning, it was always ready for the offering of someone who came forward to God, admitting that they needed his forgiveness and help.
There’s no hours of business for forgiveness. There’s no closed sign that’s ever going to go up on the door and tell you to come back tomorrow.
Secondly, though, was to do with purification.
The flames of the altar brought about a sweet aroma to the Lord, as the offerings were burned away. I know I made a joke the other day about God loving a barbecue – and come on, I have no doubt that he does. On a more serious note, though, it’s not the actual smoke and the smell of cooking meat that is actually the ‘aroma’ that God’s talking about.