10 Sabbaths: Days 14-57
In the Weakness. Day 14.
Family of sick people, including myself.
Did it anyway.
Reading and Recovering. Day 20.
I’ve been sick. It started like a cold.
It ended up in the “I don’t want to talk about it” kind of stuff.
So, I don’t want to talk about it.
I simply couldn’t exercise and didn’t feel like writing.
But I’ve been reading.
I bounced back today. Went for a night jog. There’s nothing like a mild evening in January to go for a jog. So good.
God’s appointed feasts. God’s. Appointed. Feasts.
They are His. They are appointed. They are Feasts.
7 Holidays that God initiated. Invented. Appointed.
It seems as if that information alone would intrigue you.
Passover. Unleavened Bread. Firstfruits. Pentecost. Trumpets. Atonement. Tabernacles.
Look it up. Study it. Long for it.
Same Neighborhood. Day 23.
Something in Number 35 really stood out to me the other day.
In verse 34, the LORD said:
“Don’t desecrate the land in which you live. I live here, too – I, GOD, live in the same neighborhood with the People of Israel.”
OK, here is a quick context lesson:
The original contextual understanding is clearly aimed at the People of Israel. God chose this people, and was speaking directly and specifically to them at this point in history. This cannot be overlooked and generalized.
The LORD chose to dwell with this people.
That being, said, later in the story (John 1), we learn that God came and dwelt among us (that is, the light came into the darkness). When that terminology was used, it was a broadening of an understanding of what it means for God to live in our neighborhood.
Not just with the People of Israel.
Not just in/around the land of milk and honey.
Not just a nation of people.
Not just a nation of land.
The light living among the darkness.
Take care of where you are, because He is here. In the neighborhood.
After a Meal. Day 25.
In modern American church culture, people often times pray before a meal…thanking God for provision.
A beautiful idea, especially when done authentically.
In ancient Jewish culture, a blessing or a moment of thankfulness was more often done after the meal.
You have received. You are blessed. You acknowledge this. You bless God in thankfulness.
“After a meal, satisfied, bless GOD, your God, for the good land he has given you.” -Numbers8.10
Regardless of whether you pray before a meal, after or meal, neither or both…I think the following verse in Numbers 8 is the key:
“Make sure you don’t forget GOD” (Numbers 8.11)
Actually, so many of the commands that God gave to the Israelites were for this reason. Over and over, the LORD tags on the phrase “Do not forget the LORD your God.”
Be Fair. Day 26.
One of the rarely mentioned ongoing themes in the Torah revolves around debt.
More specifically, the way you treat someone who owes you.
I suppose this is under a bigger theme of the way to treat people in general, however there is something unique about the feeling that you can have towards someone who is indebted to you…whether that be financially or emotionally.
The consistent message seems to be related to the manner in which you collect.
There is the concept of charging little to no interest. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with interest existing in the arrangement. However, while it’s fair to collect a little beyond your loan (thus making it an investment as a lender), the LORD does not want the borrower to be hurt by the process.
This is reinforced by the command to not take his handbill or millstone away from him as payment. This would take away from his ability to work, and thus earn the money to pay you back. While this makes sense logistically, I really think that it’s not just about logic (the borrower being able to earn money). I think the LORD is getting to a deeper issue of not desiring or attempting to truly harm the person.
This is reinforced further when the LORD gives a specific example. Even if someone who owes you money doesn’t pay you back, and the only thing he has left as collateral is a cloak. You can actually take his cloak, but you return it to him by nightfall, so at least he can have his cloak to sleep in at night.
The principle: If someone owes you…..while it is ok to actively pursue the return payment…..if they can’t pay you back…even if they can never and/or will never pay you back (physically or emotionally)….
you should desire (and even actively work towards) the best for that person.
Actually, wanting the best for the person should actually be your motivation in the loan in the first place.
Go live that way.
[Read the book of Numbers.]
Sadducees. Day 27.
Sadducees are known mostly by their unbelief in resurrection.
How sad….you…see…..(ba dum chhh)
It is no surprise, then, that they would have been the group of religious leaders that were attempting to [often times] manipulate the religious and political systems.
Where’s the connection?
Their back-and-forth-ness between the Israel system (which was both religious and political at the same time, as they believed that the two are one in the same) and the Roman system was rooted in a disbelief in something.
Note: If your primary identity is rooted in something you don’t believe, you may not know who you are.
If you believe that there is nothing else after this…no resurrection…no eternal life…no newness to be found….no forever-ness to your decisions/actions, you may be tempted to do/say whatever is needed in order to get what you want right now.
Don’t be like that.
Half-waylay. Day 35.
I’m trying. I really am.
Normally, when I try to be good about exercising, I find excuses to get out of it.
I haven’t done that this time. I’ve actually been exercising well. Trying hard. Exerting.
That being said, this is the second time I have been legitimately sick in two weeks.
Not just kinda feeling weird.
The Good News: I have reached the point where I’m actually disappointed to miss a day of exercise.
I have actually accidentally lost weight. I didn’t go into this in order to lose a certain number of pounds. I didn’t significantly change my diet. I just wanted to exercise regularly. It’s going very well.
In the reading through the Bible category, it’s been strong and full of life…with a slower than preferred pace. But I’m not quitting.
In the writing department, while I still have no illusions that a book will be completed in 70 days, I still feel good about a raw initial draft happening.
However, with two sicknesses in two weeks (I currently have no speaking voice right now. I mean that.), and little girls with all sorts of issues to attend to (oh, my strong wife should win a gold medal), I may need a few grace days after Day 70 arrives. I don’t mean that I will allow myself some open-ended slot to randomly complete these tasks (namely finishing the reading of the Bible and the initial draft of the book). I just mean…..80 to 85 days is seeming like a sweet grace period.
A New Generation. Day 42.
After Joshua died…
“Eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of GOD or the work he had done for Israel.” (verse 10)
Let’s never let that happen again.
Evening Gathering. Day 47.
Last night, I had the honor of being in a vacant building with more people than the building should probably hold.
We had a special time singing to the Lord together.
Our church family does not own a building. We rent the theater of a high school on Sunday mornings.
We wanted to have an evening gathering. A simple time of connecting with the Lord through song.
The building that we ended up borrowing is going to be torn down soon. And then student housing and retail spaces will be built.
We are hoping that the proclamation of the truth of God will lay the groundwork for the future of that part of downtown Boone.
PS: I’ve been exercising. I’ve been reading. I have some serious work to do in the writing department. But I am still confident that I will have a rough rough rough draft of a book soon. Day 70 was the goal. Since I was sick twice, I am granting myself a week or two extension.
The Whole Thing...With Multiple Facets. Day 57.
What an interesting update.
The Whole Thing started as a Sunday morning teaching series, and seems to be slowly forming the beginnings of a book that is meant to help people have a more holistic understanding of the entire Bible using 6 simple images.
And it also seems as if there could be more manifestations.
I sat down with a small team of volunteers within the children’s ministry of the church that I am part of. One of the topics: the possibility of developing teaching curriculum for the children’s ministry within the context of the narrative of The Whole Thing.
I did not see that coming. What an exciting moment to be part of…for parents and volunteers within a church family to be excited to present the truths of Scripture to a new generation with renewed passion and with fresh perspectives.
And in addition a book and in addition to a children’s ministry resource, I have had conversations with two more groups of people that led to the idea of The Whole Thing as a potential short study for individuals or groups who are new in their faith, or at least new (and want renewal) in their approach to reading and being changed by the truth of the Scriptures.
So, really, there are now 4 ways that I can see The Whole Thing being born:
(1) A good old book
(2) A book designed for people to read short excerpts and thoughts for about one minute per day for a year that would lead to understanding ‘the whole thing.’
(3) Children’s Ministry resource
(4) Guided Study for individuals or groups who are new to the faith.
I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t set out for this. But in agreement with the friends and family around me, it certainly seems right.
Due to multiple sicknesses and multiple rounds of multiple sicknesses with our kids, Day 70 will probably become Day 85 or more. I’m trying.