What Happened to the Ark?

Ark b

 

The Ark of his Covenant represents the presence of God, His faithfulness, and atonement in keeping the covenant He made with His people even when they disobeyed Him.

 

 

The Ark refers to the main Jewish icon, the box chest, made of acacia wood, and overlaid with gold, which held the tablets of the Ten Commandments and was placed behind the sanctuary curtain in the inner sanctum where the presence of God dwelt. It was meant to display God’s dwelling and power and our reverence of Him. This image also represented the Ark going to war. It went missing after “Nebuzaradan” (meaning: “the captain of the guard” who invaded and Captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple for Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-20; Jer. 39:11; 40:2-5).

A legend stated that Jeremiah hid it under the Temple Mount in a cave or gave it to an Ethiopian trader to hide it before Nebuchadnezzar could steal it, according to 2 Maccabees 2:1-4 and the Dead Sea Scrolls, “Copper Scroll” found in Qumran Cave 3, and testified by Rabbis Shlomo Goren and Yehuda Getz’s and hinted in Scripture, (2 Chronicles 35:3; and Jeremiah 3:16), which are the last 2 references in the Bible. Thus, the Levites, then nor today do not have it, nor is it in the Americas or in Hill of Tara in Ireland or in a secret government warehouse or any other legend for that matter.

Why did it leave? Because of disobedience!

God is committed to His people, to their betterment, spiritual formation, healthy relationships, healthy living, and wants us to excel in all things of faith and life, to know Him and continue to make Him known. Now was time for His judgment–a “time out”–for their unyielding disobedience. The discipline was to correct a wayward nation, to reboot them to be better and stronger for His glory. They were warned by God’s Word and Prophets to repent or face their consequences.

Here are the consequences. The Promised Land is left behind, and the majority of the peoples are taken into captivity for 70 years in Babylon. They left their Temple, the centrality of their religion and life, they left their homes, farms, business, synagogues, community–all they have known and felt secure and had confidence in. They must learn their lesson, then they will be brought back. Meanwhile, the land rests, and they discover how to better connect with God and others, because God was still at work and His plan was restoration, as God wants His people to continue.

For the Christian, the Ark is meant to remind us of a display of God’s dwelling and power and our reverence of Him.

Now, it is Christ, who paid for our sin, with whom we have our covenant (Ex. 25:10-22; Lev 26:11-13; Duet 10:1-2; 2 Kings 25:8-10; Matt. 27:51; Heb. 9:23; 10:19-20; Rev. 3: 10-13; 4:6-8).

So, it is either under the Temple Mount in a cave, or it is in Ethiopia, or it is in Heaven (Revelation 11:19).

 

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A Tutorial on Pastoral Ministry and Care

pastoral-care

A help for those in #church #leadership or ministry or serve as a #pastor or who serve as a #Chaplain……

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Matthew 25:35-36

#Helping people deal with #life’s #hurts, even our own. For visitations, hospital calls, crises care, Hospice and grief counseling.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10: 35-36

A tutorial on #Pastoral#Ministry#Care …>

 

https://heartafterchrist.org/pastoral-ministry/

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“I remain confident of this…”

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

Going through times of stress, hardships, health issues or confusion. I have written a lot on this subject here: http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=53502

Here is a take Mary and I found today, Laura Story and her song “Blessings,” based on an application of Psalm 27. Perhaps you will be blessed by this as we were….

psalm-27

Lyrics:

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQan9L3yXjc

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What if God were one of us?

ggod-were-one-of-us

When the fullness of the time came, God sent his Son born of a woman….” Galatians 4:4 

A few years ago a secular singer named Joan Osborne wrote and sang a popular song, “One of Us,” which asked the question, “What if God were one of us?”

I found this song riveting.  Although the theology was way off, a plea was made, seeking to know why we exist.  Where is God in all of this life, and what if He lived my life?  The answer of course is yes, Joan, God is one of us, or at least was.  That is what the incarnation is all about.

The incarnation simply means God came to be a man.  He was fully man while remaining fully God.  That way He could identify with our plight in life.  As He lived a normal human existence for over 30 years, He experienced all that we experienced, including all the emotions, relationships, and temptations.

He drove nails as He worked with His earthly father.  He obeyed His earthly mother when she asked Him to take out the trash.  He played, He worked, and He lived the life of a man, a human being, with all that we have in our makeup that makes us human.  He went to sleep at night, and awoke to a normal life with all of the stresses and opportunities a human could have in the first century.

Therefore, we can never say to Him, Hey, God, You do not understand my situation or me!  He does indeed understand.  He has indeed been where we are.  He may not have gone to high school in Burbank, driven a car, programmed a VCR, or held a job in a cubical with an annoying boss, but He has experienced all that is important in life that we experience and wonder about!

        We need to have a grasp on who we are in Christ, and who Christ is. This is the foundation of being a Christian.

Who is He?  What did He do for me?  What is my role and purpose?  These themes stand out as we celebrate Christmas, because Christmas is the celebration of what we call the incarnation, that is, that Christ, being fully God Who created the universe, Who always existed, chose to come down to us, to be one of us.

Consider what you may have learned in school, especially in science, since science demands that every event must have a cause. Science demands the classic if/then statement in logic and reasoning. If it is raining, then it must be cloudy.  If you are a Christian, then you have been saved.  That event had a cause.  If you sinned and you are saved, then you received some kind of a miracle.  The cause of sin itself (original sin as well as our willful disobedience) creates the ultimate need of our salvation.

Then comes the other cause of our being a Christian, and that is a Redeemer Who was necessary to save us.  God, Who was one of us, lived in this world and in its sin.  Yet, Christ remained sinless.  He did not concede to the temptation thereby enabling us to be saved so that we would not be lost forever. Then, comes the if of the logical equation of we humans in temptation, and sin, which is in need.  The if is the presence of a sinless man in the midst of a universally sinful human race. It all comes down to the cause for which we celebrate, which is the Christmas miracle.  That miracle happened, the incarnation happened, for our salvation.  So, why have the Incarnation? Why have a Virgin Birth?

        Because such a person as Jesus Christ demanded it!  This was a special birth that, as the Gospels record, showed us His Divine nature.

The HOW of the birth becomes believable when the WHO of the birth is taken into account.  We, as humans, are all born into, and with, original sin.  By skipping the original sin, Christ became the second Adam (more precisely the first, since He is preexistent).  As Adam represented all of humanity in the fall, Christ represented all of humanity in the redemption.  Christ needed to be isolated from the original sin so it would not affect Him, so He could do what Adam could not do which was to remain sinless.  If this had not been so, then the unique Jesus, who was born as one of us, would have created an unapproachable hurdle without the Virgin Birth.  He would be unable, as we know it, to overcome the original sin that plagues us all.  Would not the pre-existence of Christ necessitate such a miracle birth?  Perhaps He could have come in some other way.  We just do not know all of the options. But, if He had, then He would not have been one of us!

         However, if we do not accept that Jesus was born special and unique, then we cannot accept that He is God.  The incarnate Son of God is pure and holy and thus cannot touch sin.  If He did, then He would be corrupted and unable to take our place by living a sin free life. He would be unable to save us.

More here: http://70030.netministry.com/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=32333&columnid=3844

(c) 2001 Rev. R.J. Krejcir

       Have a very merry Christmas, and do not forget the Christ in the Christmas!

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CONSERVATIVE VOTER GUIDE FOR GENERAL ELECTION 2016

 pray-vote

A voting guide for Christians who value Conservative and Family Values. 

As many of you have asked, it is finally here, the voter guide for perhaps the most important election in USA history. Remember, this is NOT an endorsement of any organization I am affiliated with like; LAC, ITW, CMTA, FASICLD, just me as a private person. So, do your own research (see links below) and remember, even if we do not like anyone, we must do our civic duty and VOTE! Remember to vote character, values and keep in mind faith and reason, then consider what is at stake in the Supreme Court, Federal Judges, international relations….

If you are in the USA you may notice a strange stench in the air, like dirty socks. Yes, it is that time of year to vote. The great American tradition, which any good citizen must do; go and vote. Even though the trend may be to find the least qualified people who have charisma and nothing of character or intelligence to offer. But, we can exercise our civic duty and vote the best possible candidates and issues. (Yes, I am cynical about government.)

The best due diligence and research from the best sources seems to indicate these fine folks and issues for public office…..

“Once again I’ve provided a list of conservative recommendations. One of the best sites is the Craig Huey’s Election Forum, which specifically caters to Christian values voters.  You might want to check it out yourself, particularly if you need information for districts other than my own. His website is www.electionforum.org. Robyn Nordell is also a strong Christian who provides well-researched information for values voters. Robyn includes explanations for many of her selections, so you might want to scour her website as well. I might mention that she’s not totally in sync with Craig Huey on everything.”

May all of us, as believers, vote to preserve the biblical principles this nation was founded upon.

May God bless you, and may He continue to bless our nation!

(From a good ‘insider’ friend)

And here we go…..

VALUES VOTER GUIDE:

PRESIDENT:  Donald J. Trump

UNITED STATES SENATOR:  Loretta L. Sanchez

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE (27th District):  Jack Orswell (4 star rating)

STATE SENATOR (25th District):  Michael D. Antonovich (5 star rating!)

MEMBER OF THE STATE ASSEMBLY (41st District): Casey C. Higgins

JUDICIAL:

OFFICE NO. 11:  Steven Schreiner

OFFICE NO. 42:  Efrain Matthew Aceves

OFFICE NO. 84:  Susan Jung Townsend

OFFICE NO. 158:  David A. Berger (4 star rating!)

COUNTY / SUPERVISOR (5th District):  Kathryn Barger

STATE MEASURES:

51:  YES, some have recommended a no….

52:  NO

53:  YES

54:  YES

55:  NO

56:  NO

57:  NO

58:  NO

59:  NO

60:  NO

61:  NO

62:  NO

63:  NO

64:  NO (!)

65:  NO

66:  YES

67:  NO

COUNTY MEASURES:

A:  NO

M:  NO

Here is the LA County Election Forum website:

https://www.electionforum.org/la-voter-guide/

You may check out www.electionforum.org

Faith and Freedom coalition 

https://www.ffcoalition.com/2016-voter-guides/ 

Traditional Values 

http://www.traditionalvalues.org/

http://www.traditionalvalues.org/content/voter_guide 

More helps: 

www.capitolresource.org 

www.judgevoterguide.com 

Feel free to disagree with me; however, I will not debate about these people or issues, I have no inclination or time. There are sites you can go to do that. This is FYI only… 

Let’s remember one another in prayer!  

Be blessed!

Richard

Phil 1:6

 

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Praise and Availability

sacrifice of praise

Hebrews 13:15-16 

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  Hebrews 13:15-16

We have many important items going on in these two short verses, let’s just look at two, exposited from this text. Our praise, as a peace offering of thanksgiving. And how will we will be available to keep on sharing it.

Are you available to God and others? This is also a form of praise and pleasing to God. Our offerings today are not about dragging our livestock or pets to be sacrificed, because Jesus was our sacrifice. So, then, what do we bring? Our sacrifice today is what flows from our heart, to love, trust and adore our Lord.

Let’s look at a key word, “Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.”

They may sound either scary of comforting to you. What is this mean? Because Christ is the offering, we respond by offering ourselves up to God in devotion and surrender to His Lordship. It is our living faith and piety that pleases God and this is what endures even without the Temple (which would be destroyed in 70 AD, a few years after this letter was delivered).

Thus, all that they know for generations is coming to an end. All that is scared, countable, familiar, trustworthy is closing up for good. Imaging you losing it all? Consider the plight of the refuges today. These Jews will be fleeing in terror their homes with nothing to a foreign land that will hate them and abuse them.

Another main point for the Jew that changes everything and sets up Christianity, Christ the Redeemer is that animal sacrifices are no longer necessary or even desired by God. He desires our intimacy.

So what does God want in our lives, and our churches, even in heartaches and confusion and uncertainty? A living sacrifice. This was and is a lifestyle of worship-that God be continually praised. This motive continues and refers to the fact that we belong solely to God, not to ourselves or the world or anything else. This is a key component of maturity and spiritual growth in the faith. This streams from our trust, obedience, and gratitude for Who Christ is and what He has done for us (Lev. 7:11-21; Psalm 4:5; 27:6; 40:6; 50:7-15; 54:6; 69:30-31; 119: 108; Pr. 21:3; Hos. 14:2, 12; Luke 10:36-37; Rom. 3:25; 6:12-17; 8:13; 12:1-3; John 15:13-15; 37-38; Eph. 4:23; Phil. 4:18; 1 John 3:16),

Offer to God a sacrifice of praise. And to do that as this passage attests, we have to be available, continue it and share it. Just like any Gospel endeavor.

Consider this, we have a God who became Available with us, who elected to choose us, and selected us for a purpose. One of the primary calls is for us to be in touch with our Creator, our loving Lord. His power flowing through the universe is available for us to use if we choose to trust, and obey, according to His Will.

Can you imagine the awesome nature of our Lord; can you fathom the power that is in our hands; can you see the potential you have, and the plan that God has for you? Or, are you too busy watching TV, or are you being driven by the schedule and urgencies of your life, leaving no time to tap into the power at hand, the power that goes beyond any human means or adventure! We can do what God can do to the extent of our capabilities, and what He allows according to His purpose.

What is Availability? It is a character, a Fruit of the Spirit. It is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others. It makes personal priorities secondary to the needs of God and others. It is to reflect God’s priorities, so we are always available to Him, and others, when we are serving (Isaiah 6:8; Mark 1:17-18; Luke 16:10; Acts 16:10).

How do we get this Fruit from God that builds our homes and our church?

We, too, must get rid of our old self, and embrace the new life that is available to us in Christ (Col. 3).

We need to be able to admit when we are wrong, to confess, to grow, and to go on from there. This will allow us the fastest and strongest growth, and the building of our character.

But it all starts from our sacrifice of praise. We are to be so full of love for our Lord that it flows to those around us.

Christ shed His blood for us in disgrace. So now, we can be an offering of praise and sacrifice of our will over to His so we can do good, listen, and live properly, thus pleasing God. The sacrifice that pleases God is our obedience and our trust in Him. We can even bear His disgrace, for our home is not of this world. With Christ, we can succeed in sharing His Name and we can do good too. We can obey our spiritual leaders (as they are responsible to look after us) and be accountable to them as they are to God, doing it all with joy. For if we are ingrates, we will be filled with sorrow and miss what God has for us.

The point being for us to live as a response to what Christ has done for us.

If you love Him, then you are to love others too. This Text is almost written as a letter of recommendation to encourage the hearers to continue in the faith and not give up, and to obey their leaders, because if they do not, they will face dire problems. What they were going through then was nothing like what would come.

I can’t, you may say. I am too busy, too disabled, too old, to warn out, too…. But, consider this. The fall of Jerusalem was just two years away when they heard these Words, when all their property and vocations and means would be taken away and families would be fragmented. The author. God, advised them to “shape up” so they could be ready to face it, grow through it with joy and not melt in bitterness. In context, this was also a call to be responsible for one another so they could encourage and equip others, helping them when they slipped or were about to slip (Rom. 12-14; Gal. 4-5; Eph. 4-5).

What needs to be shaped up in us? 

Our Lord wants us to be wholly devoted to Him all the time. This will then flow from us to others. There should be no circumstance we could ever face that would cause praise to cease flowing from our lips. Our praise is to acknowledge Christ alone, by His grace alone, with nothing coming from us but faith. What we can sacrifice is our person, our ability, and our availability for His purposes.

When we first give ourselves, everything else will be easy, because pride and hoarding will be eliminated, as well as materialism. We can sacrifice our wallets and purses to His service. Time, talents, and treasures should flow willingly from us to His service, with joy and gladness. The testimony that we are effectively praising God is the difference it makes in our friends, families, and neighbors.

When we are in a healthy relationship of praise, the church reaps the benefits of health and vitality that beckons the world to our Lord-to who He is, and what He does. As do our personal relationships and any undertaking, we do.

This is the sacrifice of praise because it distracts from our ego and self, from our sin and selfish nature, and leads to His presence.

Pray and live honorably so God may produce even more in you. Remember your fellow Christian workers and pray for and support them.

As Christians, we are in tighter community together in Christ; as Christ-followers, we are to be deep friends who are bonded as a family. The purpose of our doctrine and the study of His Word is not just for the knowledge, (which is very important), but our supreme goal should be what we do with that knowledge. This is the relationship that is growing in Christ, then outward to others around us.

Remember: His shed blood paid for us!

You have truly dedicated your right to yourself to Christ! We give Him our all! It is easy to die for a cause, but are you willing to live for Him in perfect obedience, so your life is poured out so that your strength is gone and you must rely on Him? Hebrews is about keeping your faith real and growing. Our relationship with the Lord must be transparent and not secretive (unless you live in a closed Muslim country)!

Let’s say this together: Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Benediction: May the God of peace, who saved you continue to equip you. May you produce effectual fruit for the glory of Christ, our Great Shepherd. To God be the glory!

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By Understanding Faith…

understanding faith

By understanding faith and what Christ has done for us, we will be able to have more gratitude and live a more transformed life.  Once this happens, the result will be more faith, better relationships, more impact, and of more use to Christ.

 

We, as His disciples, must make every diligent effort to observe ALL that Jesus commanded–and more– to the best of our ability, (Matt. 28:20; John 8:31-32; 2 John 9), as well as stay free from the temptation and lure of materialism (1 Tim. 6: 9-10; 1 John 2:15-17)!  The good news, besides that of His grace, is that Christ gives us His mercy and strength, providing forgiveness and ability to those in Christ (1 John 1:9 Phil. 4:13)! Our call is not just to do good things, but have a good heart!  That means we must be virtuous in our thoughts, motives, and aspirations, with the best intentions toward others, as Christ did with us.

Allow Christ’s most amazing and wondrous gift to be imputed to you, so your most inward being is transformed and renewed!  Without this, we cannot be or do any good!

The point for us all is that it is only God Who satisfies us and quenches our deepest spiritual needs.  There is none other than can or will do–not the pleasures, fulfilling of desires, or even sin.  Jesus is contrasting what is physical, fleeting, and limited to what is spiritual.  Jesus is contrasting what is temporary to what is eternal and abundant–what we think is important to what really is important (Isa. 44:3; 55:1-3; John 2:19-21; 3:3-10; 1 Cor. 2:14).

For us today, we can receive forgiveness of our sins because Jesus represented us as a man and was also fully God to take our sins and receive God’s wrath in our place.  We can see Christ’s attitude and willingness to conform to God’s will even with the looming consequences that was to come.  By His power, grace, and obedience to the Will of the Father, we receive His righteousness by what He has done and can live with the motivation and guidance He has to offer us as Lord.

When we try to live for and by ourselves without Christ or even try to serve Him without relying on Him, we are showing an incredible amount of disrespect!

We need to have the right focus and perspective so we can know what God wants us–me– to do!   We can do this by learning about our Lord, His obedience and be willing to go through times of waiting, discouragement, and even suffering, and see them as opportunities for personal growth, faith building and strengthening.

 

We are to point to Christ and do our best to be a true follower of Christ.  We are to be disciples, learners who can look at what hinders us, reach out to Christ, and grow beyond the barriers that block our spiritual formation and intimacy with Christ.  We have to understand Him and His teachings, be deeply convicted, and be willing to grow through our trust and obedient actions.  If we do not do this as a church, we will stagnate into apathy, disillusionment, depression, dysfunction, or some other kind of abuse to one’s self or others.  We have to be convicted; Jesus shows us how by these examples, and He makes the Way for it!

 

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