Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Espresso Your Faith


Espresso Expression by Flickr User Rob Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Espresso Expression by Flickr User Rob Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Life is like a cup of coffee. Whether people like it bold and strong, very mild, or full of any variety of flavorings; we drink it in a style that is pleasing to each individual palate. With coffee opinions as varied as coffee beans, there are those who feel that the way they drink their coffee is the only way anyone should drink it. We may not agree, but we can admire their passion, and sometimes we can give their chosen concoction a try. Me, I like a lot of extra flavoring in my coffee, but I also like the punch of an espresso shot to leave that lingering coffee taste in my mouth.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 31:7 through Deuteronomy 31:9, we have just three short verses, but they’re all about the way some people like their coffee: strong and bold. Here’s the text from The Complete Jewish Bible

Next Moshe summoned Y’hoshua and, in the sight of all Isra’el, said to him, “Be strong, be bold, for you are going with this people into the land Adonai swore to their ancestors he would give them. You will be the one causing them to inherit it. But Adonai — it is he who will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you, so don’t be afraid or downhearted.”

Then Moshe wrote down this Torah and gave it to the cohanim, the descendants of Levi who carried the ark with the covenant of Adonai, and to all the leaders of Isra’el.

(Note: Y’hoshua = Joshua; Isra’el = Israel; Adonai = The Lord or Yahveh; Torah = word; and cohanim = priests)

Moses knows the future of Israel based on his past experience and on the prophetic words God has given him. He knows Joshua will need to be strong and bold for a number of reasons. He will need to be…

  • strong to fight the enemy
  • bold to lead the people
  • strong to resist sin
  • bold to stand against false gods
  • strong to encourage the people
  • bold to discourage the enemy
  • strong in his faith to trust God
  • bold in his witness to testify to Israel and others

Joshua will need to think like a cup of espresso in every area of his life. Hot water can only make him stronger, and brewing under pressure will prepare him for things like his future battle at Jericho. But, no matter how strong and bold he is, and even with the word that he is the one helping Israel to inherit their promise, Joshua must never forget to keep it in the boundaries of knowing that God is the One truly leading them. God is the One he must trust to never leave nor abandon him or Israel. Espresso outside the cup wouldn’t be much good (unless you like licking the counter), and Joshua’s boldness outside of God would not have what Israel needs to claim their inheritance.

At the end of the Torah, Scripture picks up in the first chapter of Joshua with more on these commands and encouragements to Joshua. Here’s what it says in verses 5-9 (CJB)…

No one will be able to withstand you as long as you live. Just as I was with Moshe, so I will be with you. I will neither fail you nor abandon you.

“Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go. Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.”

Just as it was for Joshua, our strength and boldness are found in God’s word. He tells us to trust Him, to find our strength to do all things in Him, and to lift Him up that He may draw all men to Him. Paul was bold and strong in his proclamation of The Gospel, but even he knew that he needed God to help him stay that way. He asks the Ephesians to pray for him (in Ephesians 6:19) “that whenever I open my mouth, the words will be given to me to be bold in making known the secret of the Good News.” Let us pray for ourselves and for each other that we will always trust God to make us bold, to make us strong, and to help us “espresso our faith.”

PS: Just when I thought I was being so creative in coming up with a cool title for this post, I found a book on Amazon by the same title. It actually looks like a great book, especially for coffee lovers, so I’ve added it to my wish list. If you want to look at it for yourself, it’s at http://www.amazon.com/Espresso-Your-Faith-Rhonda-Rhea-ebook/dp/B00AYJESIM

Advertisements

September 15, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Managing the Management


Ethics are a journey to objective truth, where the individual is subordinate to the universal. Image (and quote?) by Flickr user Dan Hutcheson, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user's full photo stream at Flickr.

Ethics are a journey to objective truth, where the individual is subordinate to the universal.
Image (and quote?) by Flickr user Dan Hutcheson, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Have you ever worked under bad management in a job? Whether it is a team manager, a department manager, or the leader of a company, managers can make or break the future for every person who is subordinate to them. I’ve found the best managers to be the ones who know how to be managed by others and how to manage themselves.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 21:1 through Leviticus 21:15, we begin a new portion (Parashah 31). The Hebrew name for it is Emor and it means “Speak.” In this reading, we find God telling Moses to speak to Aaron and his sons about their requirements as priests. What is expected of the people will be expected that much more from those God has called to lead the people. And even in the leadership, the higher the rank (anointing), the stronger their need to adhere to God’s commands.

We begin with the ruling that a priest is not allowed to make himself unclean by touching anything or anyone dead except for his close relatives. Because he is a leader among his people, the priest must maintain an integrity to set an example that will never profane God’s call on him or God’s word to him. God gives the reason here to be more than just the example though. He must maintain these rules of being separate and clean because he is the one who offers sacrifices and bread to God.

Later, we learn that the priest ranked highest among his brothers (the one who has had anointing oil poured on him and who has adorned the consecrated garments) is not allowed to make himself unclean even if his father or mother dies. This is speaking of the priest who is actually on duty to make offerings at the time, so leaving his station to deal with the dead would interrupt the holy practices he is currently involved in. A modern-day visual might be something like a preacher stopping in the middle of a baptism to jump in a mud bath.

The other rules for our leaders concern their marriages. While some have decided that being a priest means being married only to the church or to God, (I’m guessing they’re leaning on Paul’s statement here that a man can be more effective if he stays unmarried), these priests could marry, but they had strict requirements about their marriages. They could not marry a prostitute, a widow, a divorcee, or any woman who had been profaned in any way. The high priest was required to marry a virgin of his own people so as not to disqualify his descendants from following in the priesthood.

These Scriptures explain why a calling to any kind of leadership for God is not just a simple “I think I want to be a preacher” thing. We have those who come in declaring themselves to be apostles and prophets for no reasons but pride and money. We have those who are barely saved but want to run their own churches and ministries before they have learned how to be submissive to God. 1 Timothy 3:1-13 lays out a modern-day equivalent to our reading from Leviticus (leaders and elders compared to high priests and priests) , and it explains well why leaders must be above reproach, and why they must not be new converts. It’s summed up well in verse 5 which reads (in NLT), “For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”

If it is not God who manages the management, then the management will not be able to bring forth the fruit God desires of His church. And that’s the key to remember if you are in any position of leadership or ministry…it is not our church, but God’s. He must increase, and we must decrease, and that even applies to management (leadership).

 

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do As I Say AND As I Do


Sharing by Flickr User Ryan Roberts, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial

Sharing by Flickr User Ryan Roberts, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Why didn’t the clam want to share his lunch? Because, he was a little shellfish. I have never read anything that would make selfishness sound like a pretty thing, but there are plenty of pictures (like the one above), and stories, that demonstrate the beauty of sharing. I think we have a built-in desire to share, which is why the stories touch us so deeply. And I think it is that natural desire to share that makes social media so profitable because we can share without a monetary cost to ourselves. We don’t only share for what we can get back, but I think most of us find it easier to share with givers than with those who do nothing but take, take, take. As Scripture says in Luke 6:38 (New Living Testament)…

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 10:12 through Leviticus 10:15, we read of God’s example of sharing. Moses tells Aaron and his sons to eat the especially holy part of the grain offering by the altar, and he explains that it is the priests share. He then tells them to eat their share of the wave offering in a clean place. He says that offering is also to be shared with their Aaron’s daughters, and with the rest of the family. He goes on to explain that these portions of the offerings are to be their shared portions perpetually.

See, these were offerings given to God, but He made sure a portion of them was given back. He set the example of only taking to give, just as He set that example in nature with the way it regenerates. And I believe He is the one who put it into our hearts to give something back whenever we receive something–even if it is only our gift of thanks to the giver. He gave us His word that we can do as He says, and He gave us His example that we can do as he does. That’s why we play Follow the Leader and not Follow the Dictator. Let us lead by example as He led by example that the whole world may know the beauty of Our Awesome Creator.

I’ve shared a picture with part of this writing from Ellen G White before, but it seems appropriate again, so enjoy this beautiful portion of a chapter from her book The Desire of Ages

          Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.

          The angels of glory find their joy in giving,–giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supreme Court Justice


Supreme Court by Flickr User Envios, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Supreme Court by Flickr User Envios, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window and view original plus access user’s photo stream at Flickr.

There are two words that often make me feel frustrated when I hear them … fair and deserve. We read in Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:12 that because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. In other words, because people refuse to do things God’s way, the justice that God (as Love) brings to the human heart will be reduced. This means that it is because of sin that life is unfair, and people either get things they don’t deserve or don’t get things they do deserve. But for every person who cries out for fairness, there is an unfair moment on the cross where Our Savior took what He did not deserve, so that we would not receive what we did deserve. Trusting Him to recompense our afflictions is trusting in real justice.

In the meantime, we’re all still human, and we will all feel at times as if we have not been treated with justice in this life. In today’s reading from Exodus 18:13 through Exodus 18:23, we find Moses being called on to settle disputes, and we find so many people lining up to get his advice that people surrounded him from morning until evening. That’s a lot of work for one person, and Jethro notices the same thing. He asks Moses what is going on, and Moses explains that the people come to him for God’s guidance. He tells Jethro that when the people have a dispute, he judges between them and then explains God’s laws and teachings to them.

Jethro begins to explain that it’s not a good thing, and that Moses will wear himself out if he doesn’t learn to delegate. (Boy do I understand this part.) Jethro suggests that Moses should represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him. He adds that Moses should teach them God’s laws and show them how to live. But when it comes to judgment, Jethro tells Moses to choose men to govern the people in groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Whatever size group each leader should govern, these leaders should be competent, God-fearing, honest, and incorruptible.

Can you imagine if every person in a leadership position had to qualify with these characteristics? We have plenty in charge–of our country, our cities, our courts, our churches, and even our homes, that cannot qualify by even one of these characteristics, let alone all four. What a pleasant environment we would live in if all men and women in power were–at the least–honest. If they were also incorruptible, we could have a taste of fairness and equity. And if all were competent enough to make God and His word their true and supreme court, we could know real justice.

Jethro goes on to explain that if these leaders solve most of the disputes and only bring the difficult cases to him, Moses will have help with his heavy load, and life will be a bit easier for him. Jethro closes his advice-giving by telling Moses that if he does these things, and if God directs him to do these things, he (Moses) will be able to endure, and the people he is leading will make it to their destination peacefully.

Since I’m a bit like Moses in trying to do everything myself rather than delegating things to others, I can understand his need to hear this advice from Jethro. I’m certain they prayed for God to show them what leaders held the qualities that would make Moses able to trust them as his delegates of authority. I know that, even in the small scenario of my writer’s group, having officers and workers I can trust with group tasks brings us to a peaceful destination together. My helpers may never know just how much their work means to me, but from a leadership position, I can tell you it is priceless. If you are the type of person who works to help others, never judge your service by the size of the job but only by the sincerity of your motivations.

January 19, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

Inkspirations Online

A well of inspiration and encouragement for Christian writers

3rd Letter Writers

Telling Stories. Sharing Life.

Quills & Inkblotts

Because the world needs good stories

dwwritesblog

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein

Truth in Reality

It is the glory of god to conceal a thing ~ but to search out a matter is the honour of kings." (Proverbs 25.2)

Go - Gather - Grow

Digging Deep in the Word to Reach the World

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Learning to follow Christ one day at a time

Hallelujah

Thinking about all the reasons we have for praising our LORD.

For Birds & Tea

A blog about the day to day of a writer, a fighter and an ornithological admirer.

Fellowship of the Minds

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

The Narrowing Path

walking together in truth and love.

Inspired Prompt

Follow Us Down the Write Road

Happy Eco Mama

Green parenting, positive psychology and connecting our little ones to the natural world

Create With Joy

Infuse Creativity In All You Do

thefrontwindow

Blog of Best Selling author David Johnson

Sly Twin Tiger

website of science fiction author Andrew M. Friday

Above All Else

Thoughts from Katie Foster

Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Editor

Simply beautiful publishing powered by WordPress.

THE WORD on The Word of Faith (a GroupBlog)

BREAKING FREE from The Word of Faith Movement & telling the World about it! TELL US YOUR STORY

Write One Real Life

Where writing meets faith in the real world.

behind the lens

the view from the other side of the window

Blaire McDaniel

Finding God in the Gray.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips) **Facebook.com/MattWalshBlog

Buy Wall And Floor Tiles

Know more about Tiles

On Faith and Writing

A Daughter of the King

Christian Design and Video Share

A great WordPress.com site

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

By the Blood of the Lamb

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...

Iris Grace

Iris Grace Painting

Today's Author

Fostering a community of creative writers through articles, comments, writing prompts and a healthy, supportive environment.

Redeemed Hippies' Place

Trying to Keep it Real in an Unreal World

Louisville Christian Writers blog

For members of LCW to spread their blogging wings or reblog their own posts.

Monica Mynk

Stories of Broken Girls, Seeking Love, Finding His Truth

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Women: Each One A Survivor

Enjoying Every Moment

Jessie Jeanine

A survivor inspired by the tragedies and triumphs of life.

DiscernIt

Deut 32:28 "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them."

mixedbrainwriting

Messages from both sides of my brain.

Lisa Preuett~Rest Stop for the Soul

"COME TO ME ALL WHO ARE WEARY AND BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST" Matthew 11:28

Life's Highs & Lows

Michael C. Mack's Blog about Living Life to the Fullest Despite the Circumstances

%d bloggers like this: