Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

When God Makes an Investment


Treasure Chest by Flickr User Tom Praison aka TommyClicks, CC License = Attribution

Treasure Chest by Flickr User Tom Praison aka TommyClicks, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

The Christian singer, Carman, had a song with the lyric line, “When God talks, even E.F. Hutton listens.” Apparently, Carman believed that even E.F. Hutton would know how good God is when it comes to investing. (In case you don’t know, E.F. Hutton and Co. was an investment firm with a commercial slogan that included, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”) If you are a believer, and if you have felt the move of God in your own life, you too know how good God is at investing because you know that He invests in the hearts and salvation of people.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 7:1 through Deuteronomy 7:11, we conclude another week and another portion of Torah. Moses is still speaking to the community of Israel and reminding them of their past while preparing them for their future before the enter into The Promised Land. Moses begins by reminding Israel that The Lord their God is the one bringing them into their new homeland, and He will drive out all the inhabitants that are currently there.

There are seven nations in the land that are bigger than Israel, and Moses tells the people that when God hands these nations over to Israel for victory, Israel is to completely destroy them. Because they are not going to be neighbors, Moses tells the people God’s commands to not make any covenants with them, and he tells them not to show them any mercy. He also advises them not to intermarry. He tells them that if they allow their sons to marry the daughters of the current inhabitants, or if they allow their daughters to be taken as wives to the men of the land, they will turn their hearts away from the true God, and it will cause God’s anger to flare up against them.

Through Moses, God tells them to treat the people as follows: break down the altars they have built to false gods, smash their standing stones to pieces, cut down their sacred poles, and completely burn up their carved images. God doesn’t want any of these things in the land He has chosen for a people He has invested in. Moses tells them how God chose them out of all the people on the earth to be His special treasure. God did not choose the people because they were a large group of people since they were actually one of the smallest people groups on earth, but He chose them because He loved them and wanted to keep the promises He swore to their ancestors.

Moses reminds Israel that God being a promise keeper is how they can know that He is indeed God Almighty. He redeemed Israel from slavery and brought them out from Egypt because He is faithful, and because He keeps His promises. God extends grace to those who love Him and keep His laws to a thousand generations, but He repays those who hate Him to their face, and He destroys them. Because God is not slow in repaying those who hate Him, Moses encourages Israel to keep all the laws and rulings he is giving them and to obey them.

As we enter into our time of resting from our own ways and honoring God for His ways and His wisdom, let us remember that we are able to do so only because He chose to invest in us just as He invested in Israel. God did not choose us because we were anything special or great, or because we deserved to serve Him, but simply because He loves us. He doesn’t have some firm watching to see which of us will be the most beneficial to the kingdom and choosing investments for Him. Instead, He is putting Himself out there as an investor to whosoever will seek Him, come to Him, and receive Him. Know that God does not invest in junk, so you are worth as much to Him as any of His interests.

If you already serve God, rejoice in your value to Him. His Word tells us that where our treasure is, our hearts will be, so since we are His treasure, we know where His heart is at too. HalleluYah! Now, if you are reading this and haven’t made a choice to turn to Him, I urge you to consider the investment He already made for you through the blood of Yeshua, and know that He would’ve paid that price if you were the only option for Him to choose. Our Creator has the wisdom to know when and what to buy and sell, and He wants you in His portfolio because when God makes an investment, He knows what He’s doing.

Shabbat Shalom to all, and may you have an abundantly blessed rest that gives you all you need for a fruitful week ahead.

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August 1, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is Finished!


Finished Work of the Cross by Flickr User Corrie Ten Boom Museum, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Finished Work of the Cross by Flickr User Corrie Ten Boom Museum, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

When we say something is finished, we may mean it is hopeless, or that we’re giving up. We can be finished with something before it is even complete. But when God says something is finished, it is all the way done, complete, finalized, and has nothing to be added to it. When Yeshua said these words on the cross, He was completing the task of paying the price of salvation for all who lived then, all who lived before, and all who will live until the end of time here on earth.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 27:29 through Leviticus 27:34 (the end of the chapter, and the end of the book of Leviticus), we finish another week of the year. As the portion begins, it makes the statement that any man condemned to die cannot be redeemed, he must be put to death. The statement here makes a bit more sense in The Amplified Bible where it explains that redeemed means freed from having to die as sentenced.

When Yeshua, under Jewish law, was condemned to die, there was no way to turn it around and free Him from the obligation of the cross. He was going to go there no matter what. But, because His perfect blood fulfilled the law, He set us free from having to pay the wages of our sin that condemned us to death, and therefore, we can be redeemed from it. Halleluyah! The law that was our curse became our blessing because our High Priest finished all that was necessary to fulfill the requirements that left so many in bondage.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been angry as I’ve watched reenactments of the crucifixion. Sometimes, I have wanted to jump through the screen and beat the ones who issued the death sentence to The Savior. I’ve also felt great frustration in watching the Jewish priests as they did nothing to stop the false condemnation, and in watching the people use their chance to free him to free a murderer (Barabas) instead. Now, however, on reading this, I can understand why the condemnation had to stand. They had to keep the laws intact in order for The Messiah to fulfill them.

The next few verses talk about tithing. The word says that if a man tithes of his land, that land will be holy to God. The same goes if he tithes from his animals. If he tithes on his animals, he is not to examine the animals at all, but one tenth of his flock as it walks under the herdsman’s staff will belong to God and become holy to him. And if a man wants to redeem any of his tithes, he is to add twenty percent to its value.

The last verse finishes the laws and commandments given by God to the people of Israel through His speaking to Moses on Mt. Sinai. God was finished giving laws, Moses was finished receiving laws, but the people were not finished learning the laws. Some laws had to be relearned because they were forgotten. Some laws had to be taught to the new children who were born after the laws were given. And some laws had to be relearned the hard way by watching the punishment on someone else who had forgotten. But the day came when no one was required to learn the laws anymore, not because they were bad laws, but because they were no longer necessary to cleanse people from unrighteousness. When Yeshua hung on the cross and said, “It is finished,” He concluded all the work necessary to cleanse us, so when our lives on this earth are finished, we can dwell in unending joy with our Creator.

May 9, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Total Torah Recall


Oil Kaleidoscope View by Crystal A Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Oil Kaleidoscope View by Crystal A Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
I love the light and colors that are displayed when I’m able to capture an image from inside my oil-cell kaleidoscope. This one has not been shared to Flickr yet.

Shabbat Shalom, everyone. I’m writing from the road tonight because I’m pretty sure we won’t make it back home before midnight. I will edit later for links and such though. Edit: I was right. It’s almost 3 am, and I’m just trying to do a quick edit before I go to sleep. I changed images since the one I uploaded with my phone somehow took the whole page width, but I’m sticking with something filled with light since the Torah (T-OR-AH) is filled with light. (OR is Hebrew for light.)

When I planned this series of blog posts, I wasn’t thinking of sharing the Torah content as much as just sharing how something from the reading affected me. Then, the natural teacher side of me kicked in, and I started trying to summarize the text to help readers gain an understanding of God’s holy and wonderful word. I hope you are all blessed by my efforts however long or short.

Today’s reading covers Exodus 23:26 through Exodus 24:18 (the end of the chapter and the end of the week’s portion). It’s a wrap up of the rulings God has been giving Moses, and in this one, God calls the total rulings His Torah. Refer to my first post on this subject for the meaning behind the word Torah, but in brief, it is God’s word, and it contains God’s light and truth.

Having read it earlier today, I don’t remember the particulars so much, but the part that stuck out for me was on reading what Moses and the seventy elders of Israel got to see. While most of the camp of Israel was only able to see God as fire on top of the mountain, Moses, Aaron, a couple other leaders, and the seventy elders were invited higher up and were able to see an image of God Himself. As they looked, they saw His feet standing on a piece of transparent crystal that looked like the sky.

I cried as I read the description and imagined being able to gaze upon such a wondrous site. I can’t put into words how very much I am in love with My Creator. And I can only imagine how it will feel to look on His loving face one day and to know I have an eternity to thank Him for all He has done for me.

There’s an old song by The Oakridge Boys called When I Sing for Him. It talks about how good it feels to sing praises to God, and then the music crescendos, and the singer belts out, “When I sing for Him in person, HalleluYah; when I move to my new home, HalleluYah; oh the angels will be singing, HalleluYah Amen; when I sing….for….Him!” As a singer, I can imagine standing on that stage in front of God, looking at Him standing on the sky-blue piece of crystal, and hearing the words, “Well done, my true and faithful servant.” It’s too precious to me to even describe in the fullness of how I envision it.

Have a blessed Sabbath, and when you can find a quiet place and time, take a few minutes to imagine yourself singing in person to your Creator and Savior who loves you. I promise, it will bring you a special touch if joy and peace. In the meantime, enjoy this video of the song I mention above. Only in hearing the song for yourself can you truly know how powerful it is.

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gathering Angel Flour


Gluten Free Flour by Flickr User Andrea Nguyen, CC License = Attribution

Gluten Free Flour by Flickr User Andrea Nguyen, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and access user’s photo stream at Flickr.

There’s an old Bluegrass song called Angels Gathering Flowers (see link below), so I came up with today’s title based on the content of our reading from Exodus 16:11 through Exodus 16:36 (the end of the chapter), that song title, and one of my favorite movie lines ever: Harold Crick (played by Will Farrell) in the movie Stranger Than Fiction brings a box of assorted bags of flour to a girl that runs a bakery and says, “I brought you flours.” God could have said that to the children of Israel as He shared what some have claimed was possibly the food of angels.

Our reading begins with Yahveh telling Moses to let the people know that He has heard their grumblings. I would add–again. He tells them that they will be eating meat that night and bread in the morning, and He says, “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” And again I would add–again. How quickly they forgot. And how quickly all we humans forget between seeing the provisions of God in our lives. Thankfully, His mercy is new every morning because we so need it.

That evening, quails covered the camp, so they got their meat. The next morning, a fine white substance covered the ground like frost, and the people said to each other, “Man hu,” which was Hebrew for “What is it?” I pictured what they gathered making their hands look much like the hand in the above image, so I thought that was a great image for today. But, also, because the people said the food tasted like sweet honey cakes, I also found what appears to be a nice recipe for Gluten Free Angel Food Cake at the Taste of Home site. Please let me know if you make it and if it’s as good as the reviewers claim it is.

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups egg whites (about 10)
3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted fresh fruit, optional
Directions
Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sift 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, flours and potato starch together twice; set aside.
Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time.
Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through the batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on the lowest oven rack at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned and entire top appears dry. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.
Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Top with fresh fruit if desired. Yield: 16 servings.

The next part of the reading covers the rules about gathering this sweet bread. Israel is told to gather for each person according to his or her appetite. They are to gather for six days, and gather double for the seventh day. (I know yesterday’s reading made it appear it would double on its own, but I guess what was in the field was doubled, so the people could gather double.) If people gathered more than they needed and tried to save the leftovers, it would melt, go bad, and before it could be eaten, it would be filled with worms. But when they gathered for Sabbath, the leftovers did not melt of get wormy.

There were a few people who still tried to go out and gather on the Sabbath, but there was nothing to gather because God did not send anything. He told those people to go back to their tents and rest. I don’t know if they had eaten all they had and ended up with an unplanned fast day, but I know that God was quite frustrated with them. One way or the other, people learned to rest on the day Yahveh chose to be the day of rest–the seventh day of each week.

The reading closes with more description of the bread, and the knowledge that Israel ate the manna for forty years until they came to an inhabited land. It also speaks of God’s command for them to take about two quarts of manna and put it in a container to be kept throughout all of Israel’s generations. I would love to know if it’s still out there somewhere, still intact inside the true “Ark of the Covenant.” If it is, I’m sure it’s not melted or wormy. 🙂

And here’s a link to a video of a Bluegrass group performing the song mentioned above…

January 16, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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