Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

I Follow Him–A Poem


The content of this poem I wrote many years ago says a lot about everything I’ve written to this point, especially about the covenant made by God in the post for October 17th. I felt this was an appropriate time to share it.

I FOLLOW HIM
By Crystal A Murray – (C)2005

I follow Him…

…Around the corridors of Heaven, where beings created for worshipping Him fall at His feet. He sighs, and I hear Him say, “How I long for a friend with whom I can commune, and who will worship Me and desire to commune with me–because he loves Me.” A few heavy sighs later, I see His breath flowing into His new friend. He smiles and says, “It is very good.”

I follow Him…

…through a garden, where He walks and talks with man and woman. I see His despair on the day He can’t find them because a veil of sin now separates Him from His new creation. I watch as, in pain and desperation, He slays an animal to cover their nakedness and then uses the animal’s blood to temporarily pierce sin’s veil, so He may commune once more with His friends. I hear Him lament that all communication with mankind will now be strife for Him because of sin, but He loves them, and He will not give it up. He will never leave nor forsake them.

I follow Him…

…to His drawing board and see His plans for a temple in Heaven and its counterpart on earth. I also see plans for an ark; a covenant; splitting a sea; how blood sacrifice should work and why it doesn’t; and a way to bring Perfect Blood before the Heavenly altar and permanently destroy the veil of sin.

I follow Him…

…to Bethlehem on a star-lit night; to a carpenter’s shop; to a temple service; to a wedding in Cana and a pool in Bethesda.

I follow Him…

…now to another garden. In this one, called Gethsemane, His flesh and Spirit wrestle. I hear Him pray for my salvation–and yours. The flesh bleeds, but the Spirit prevails. I watch as His betrayer kisses Him … and then flees with Perfect Blood on his lips.

I follow Him…

…to the judgment hall and the whipping post.

I follow Him…

…to the death stake: where Perfect Blood stains the ground … the Centurion’s sword … and the hands of His killers. I see a tomb where His body lays still while His Spirit descends into Hell to take the keys of death and forever deliver His creation–His friends–from bondage. As He returns to His tomb, I watch as His Spirit awakens His body with the dawning of a 3rd-day’s sun.

I follow Him…

…as He comforts those who grieve at His tomb, makes Himself known to disciples walking a lonely road to Emmaus, and fills the nets of forlorn fishermen. I hear Him tell of a Comforter. Soon, I watch as He ascends in a cloud back to Heaven, where He goes to prepare a place for me–and for all who love Him. I see that, even today, He works in Heaven’s Holy Temple as our High Priest continuously offering His Perfect Blood to atone for our sins.*

I follow Him…

…because I love Him and desire to commune with Him. He makes a way because He loves me and desires to commune with me. And someday, with the sounds of a trumpet and a shout, He will split the skies and call His people to come home. And then…

…I will follow Him for eternity!

*Hebrews 6:19-20

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October 18, 2013 Posted by | Devotion, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Promises of a Loving Creator


We humans think we have it all together sometimes. Just because all the parts are available, including the ability to think and create, we think because we build something, we are some type of creative geniuses. Here’s a little joke that gets the point across well…

One day, a group of scientists were discussing cloning, and they concluded that since they knew how to create humans, they no longer needed God. Upon sharing this news with God, He proposed that before they totally dropped Him out of their lives, they should have a man-making contest. The scientists agreed. God specified they had to do it from scratch–the old-fashioned way, and the scientists still decided it was something they could win.

Finally, the day of the big contest arrived. The timers were set, and the chosen scientist and God were at the starting line. When the whistle blew, the scientist reached down to the ground to grab a handful of soil. Just then, God shouted, “Hold it! Get your own dirt.”

Now, in today’s reading in Genesis 14:21 through Genesis 15:6, the King of Sodom is trying to bargain with Abram about which spoils of war he will keep and which he will give to Abram. But Abram tells the king he will not take anything from him because he wants to be sure the king cannot say later that he was the one who made Abram rich. Abram wanted every thing he gained to be known as a gift from His Creator. He trusted God for the promise of riches, and He knew that meant God would have to be his only provider. We may have many blessings from mankind, but the very source is always our Father God.

This story portion ends with Abram’s conversation with God about not yet having an heir. So, while Abram knew God was his provider, here we get to see his human side as he wrestles with trusting God for his future promise of children that would outnumber the dust of the earth. Abram begins to reason that maybe it is a servant’s child that will become his heir, but God tells him once again that the promise will come from Abram’s own body. He then takes him outside and compares his future promise with the number of stars in the sky.

God knows our form, and He knows that we often trust what we see, which is why we so often trust the creation over the Creator, but He is also kind and merciful as He tenderly reminds us who He is and that His plans for us are always for the good. I love how this little story shows Abram both at his best and at his worst, and it shows how God is ready to bless him in both of those places. God is always the Creator, and He always wants to create wonderful things in our lives if we will keep our sights and trust set on Him.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Above The Earth


Something came to me about the readings for the last three days, and I want to bring it up before I jump into today. In Genesis 6:8, Noah found grace in the eyes of God. In Genesis 6:9, Noah was righteous & wholehearted, and he walked with God. In Genesis 6:18, God told Noah He would establish a covenant with him. In Genesis 6:22, Noah did all that was commanded of him. In Genesis 7:1, God says to Noah, “I have seen that you alone in this generation are righteous before me.” In Genesis 7:5, Noah did all that God ordered him to do. Can you see a pattern here?

Remember, this was before any of the levitical laws were given, so what do you suppose made Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? And that brings us to our reading for today from Genesis 7:17 through Genesis 8:14. Verse 17 tells us that the ark was lifted up above the earth. And that’s where I want to focus.

Noah, whose name actually means “rest,” had a spirit that was above (not obedient to) the flesh. He was, like the ark that he built, lifted up “above the earth” if you think of earth as representing flesh since that’s what we are made from. None of the Scriptures I found say anything about his wife, sons, or sons’ wives being holy, obedient, or finding grace in the eyes of Yahveh.

So, we can sum it all up this way: A man called Rest (and remember our Savior Jesus is The Rest wherein the weary may rest) was righteous. He built a vessel (like our Savior robed Himself in flesh) that would be lifted above the earth (like Christ was lifted up on Calvary and lifted above sin) to save those he loved from complete destruction. Now go back and read the story of Noah as if you’re reading the story of salvation, and ask yourself yesterday’s question…will you get in the ark?

October 7, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wholly Good Creation


I am so in love with the word of God that I can find multiple things to talk about from even a short reading. For me, Scripture is living and filled with wonder and awe. I can see the possibilities of mistranslations by mankind, and yet the thread of truth is so strong that I do not doubt the validity of life I receive from the written words. Today, I read from Genesis 1:24 through Genesis 2:3.

Creation day 6 was quite the busy one. All the rest of the animals brought forth from the dust of earth, and then mankind. And it was so much more than simple creation. It was the decision to make man a little higher than the animals, so that he could rule them from the earth. It was the decision to risk putting God-like attributes in human flesh made from dirt.

Surely, God being God, knew what He was getting into when He did all of that, and yet upon its finish He said, “It is very/vehemently/wholly good.” Apparently, He saw something more in us that we can see in ourselves. He didn’t just like what He had accomplished, He vehemently loved what He had accomplished. It’s hard for me to imagine why anyone would want to reject that, but I can only guess it comes from people who see themselves as good in their own eyes rather than accepting themselves as wholly good as He sees them and created them to be. That gives me understanding as to why He prefers a humble spirit.

And, after all the flourish of work, creation, risk, and emotion, God was done. He wasn’t done being God, but He was done setting up the dominoes, and it was time for them to do what He created them to do… to multiply, to govern, and to be like Him and create things on their own. I wonder though if His letting go was similar to a parent taking the training wheels off a child’s bike and just letting the child go–even knowing the child may fall. I hope when He takes a chance on me, I bring Him reward that makes it worth the risk of His letting go and letting me have free will.

And this seems like a great place to post a poem called “Free Will” that I wrote back in 2002 in the aftermath of so many claiming 9/11/2001 was something God allowed (or caused) to punish sinful Americans.

FREE WILL

Free will, I say, to all free will,
To do just as you desire.
Tis the greatest of gifts giv’n to man,
It can help or can hurt, as does fire.

Many men seek to do all good,
Neither hurt a friend, nor a foe.
But some men abuse this gracious gift,
And it makes God’s head bow low.

So let us not blame our God above,
For men and their evil deeds.
Let us instead use our own free will,
To comfort a heart that bleeds.

An object or word can cause great pain,
In the hands of hatred and spite.
But in the hands of men filled with love,
A balm of healing and light.

May God be thanked for His gift of free will.
Let all men use it for love.
And bless each other as we fulfill,
The goodness of God above.

Copyright ©2002 Crystal A. Murray

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creation Days 4 and 5


Today I’ve read Genesis 1:14-23. I’m stopping at the Ashkenazi portions (the “A” in the “A” and “S” I mentioned yesterday), so some are very short, but later some may get very long.

The more I read and study, the more I see how many ways there are to do it. For a Torah reading calendar, I like the site “Hebcal” which also includes a holiday calendar, Shabbat (Sabbath) candle-lighting times per zip code, and more. Importantly, it also includes a Torah reading schedule that is divided by reader (or day if you choose to do like I am doing), and it has links to commentaries on the topics. When you go to the schedule, simply click on the portion next to the date where you are looking, and you’ll find the divided portion and links to actually read the Scriptures and commentaries. For example, you’ll see for September 28, 2013, that the portion is “Bereshit” (Beginnings) and is Genesis 1:1 through 6:8. You will notice, however, that the divided portions are based on the Sephardic (S) divisions, so if you follow that, it will be slightly different from the commentary I make here. Of course, if you just read the entire portion, those differences won’t affect your reading plan. I could do that and only comment once per week, but I’m trying to make myself write more often, so I’ll push on.

So, the first thing I noticed when I visited Hebcal for today (that is, the day which began at sunset on Saturday and ended at Sunset on Sunday so I visited during the daylight period), was that it listed the portion for the next Shabbat which begins Friday at sundown. I thought to myself, “Wait, am I supposed to be reading the text through the week and ending on Shabbat because it is the 7th day or end of the week?” If so, that would mean I am a week behind. But, if I continue the direction I’m going, I begin my portion on Shabbat (September 28th for Genesis 1:1) and extend it through the week into the seven daily readings, and I’ll finish before the next portion begins. Hmm? What to do.

Well, since I periodically visit a Messianic fellowship called Adat Hatikvah (or Congregation of The Hope) on Saturdays, I don’t think I want to read the portions ahead of the services, so it looks like extending the reading through the week following the given Shabbat portions will work best for me. Yesterday morning, they read Genesis 1 in the service and talked about beginnings. Yep, this feels right for me. But for the rest of you, whatever it takes to get into the Word of God and apply it to your life, please do it. I welcome you to travel on my journey with me, and I’ll keep giving you links to–hopefully–make it easier, but I don’t proclaim to know specific and perfect answers for anyone–including myself. 🙂

And that brings me to this day’s topic; creation of the sun, moon, and stars (day four), and birds and fish (day five). The first thing I noticed in this reading was that the greater and lesser lights were given first for signs, seasons, and years, and then for light. Maybe this is because God had already spoken light, or maybe it’s because we should be paying much more attention to signs, seasons, and years than we do.

I could do a word study to determine if there’s a difference between the light from day one that God called “Day” and the light on day four that He used to light up both the days and nights. Maybe that will be next year’s commentary if The Lord delays His return. But, if I were to guess, I would imagine that the light He spoke into existence on the first day was more about telling the earth who He is and that He is in control. It was sort of like He was saying, “Earth, receive Me–Creator, Wisdom, Life-Giver.” He was giving Earth her first “lightbulb moment” (that one just “dawned” on me–pun intended) of understanding, so she would yield to His words of creation. And maybe that is why He called the light “good” but did not say the same thing about the darkness. Of course, that’s more of a commentary on yesterday’s reading, so I’ll go on.

So we have lights in the dome of the sky that divide the day from the night. The greater light governs the day and is the power generator. The lesser lights govern the night, and the main one (the moon) does not generate its own power. That says to me that if we reflect the power of God, we can light up any darkness. It is not our power or our own light. It is His. And like a full moon, we can bring so much more of His light when we are filled with Him instead of with ourselves. I like that. When I decrease, He will increase.

And on day five, all that light, and the oxygen created from the seed-bearing plants and trees from day three, needed to be occupied. So God created fish and fowl in the same way He created plants and trees–with the ability to reproduce. He commanded fruitfulness and multiplication because He knows that what He creates is good (every good gift and every perfect gift is from above), and He wants to see more of it. May whatever He creates in me also be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth that His kingdom may increase and fill the earth as well. Amen.

September 29, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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