From Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)…
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
What a privilege we have to know who our God is and what He has done for us. What a pleasure He has given us to bless us with His presence when we bless Him with our praise. We often attribute the gates and courts with church attendance, but if we see His gate as the narrow gate of salvation, we find even more opportunities to enter with thanksgiving and praise.
In today’s Infinite Supply newsletter, the author speaks of what we find beyond the gate.
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
It is the FULLNESS of Christ that we are after, the revelation of Christ as He IN FACT IS. For too many Christians the Lord Jesus is “merely” their Savior. Thank God He is our Savior, but there is a depth and a richness bound up into the personage of Christ that goes far, far beyond “mere” salvation. Salvation is the narrow gate – coming into the fullness of Christ is the narrow path. The gate is only the entrance to something larger.
Source: Lord of All by Chip Brogden
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Something larger; something bigger; something more. Most of us want bigger and more, and it is God’s desire to give us bigger and more. If we were satisfied with only a little, we may not desire or pursue a heavenly reward.
I remember some years ago trying to work with a nephew on the idea of the rewards of sobriety. I presented all the great possibilities a sober life could bring, but none of them worked. For every good thing I presented, my nephew told me he was satisfied with something less. Sleeping on a couch in someone else’s home, getting a ride in someone else’s car, never having anything of his own: All of these were acceptable to him. How can anyone argue with that?
Salvation is so much more than just a ticket out of Hell. Being saved is a gate we should all want to walk through, but there is so much more on the other side–both here and in Heaven. I’ve tried to use food as an example, comparing dog food to a steak dinner, but those who simply do not hunger or thirst for righteousness will often reject that too. They want to be saved because they don’t want to go to Hell, but the idea of filling their life with more and more of The Lord holds no appeal. I don’t get that.
The idea of having more of Yeshua and less of me gives me a reason to press on in this life. In his message called Drawing Near, John Bevere talks about Enoch as walking closer and closer to The Lord until he got so close that he just couldn’t stay attached to this earth any longer. I believe that statement is on the audio CD, but I recommend at least reading about the interaction between Adam and Enoch from pages 11-13 which you can read for free at Google Books. (The link will show you 11-12, but keep reading.)
I’ll close with the lyrics to verse three of song Draw Me Nearer by Fanny J. Crosby. It seems to perfectly capture the heart of longing to be in The Lord’s presence. May you find yourself longing to draw nearer to the fullness of Christ each day you dwell on this earth.Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!
Where there is no vision, the people perish, but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)
Vision gives us reason to go forward like a finish line gives a runner purpose to keep running. Vision tells us where we should be headed and helps us establish our purpose in life. Without reason, life is simply chaotic. It has no destination, no purpose, and no finish line. How can we know which way to go without a destination? And how can we reach our destination without a map that shows us how to get there?
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 30:15 through Deuteronomy 30:20, we complete another week and another portion of Torah. As we conclude the chapters for this week’s portion, we find Moses presenting Israel with a choice. First, he tells them to look at him, so I’m guessing he’ll be animating his hands to signify the two choices he will present. “On one hand,” says Moses, “there is life and good. On the other hand, there is death and evil.” Since they are likely between the two mountains and within hours of the shouts of blessings and curses, he may even be pointing to each mountain as he illustrates that Israel must choose one hand or the other.
As Moses continues, he tells them it’s not really a choice in what they do but a choice in what end they will achieve. Because he wants them to achieve life (just as God wants for them and for us), he orders them to follow God and His ways. He tells them that if they obey God’s commandments, laws, and rulings; God will extend their lives, increase their numbers, and bless them in the land they are about to enter. He lays out the direction, the finish line, and the prize.
Moses then shows the “prize” if Israel chooses the other option. He tells them that if their hearts turn away from Yahveh Almighty, they refuse to listen, and they prostrate themselves before false gods; they will perish, and they will not live long on the other side of Jordan. Verses 19 and 20 offer a summary with some familiar words for us…
“I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, loving Adonai your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him — for that is the purpose of your life!”
At the end of the last verse, Moses tells them that their decision is the foundation that will determine how long they live in the land promised to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
While vision is necessary to move forward, God’s vision is what we need to move forward in the right direction. Without God’s vision, we are forced to choose from among innumerable ideals, thoughts, and destinations. Some may move us in a general direction of good; some may only look good but lead straight to destruction. To guarantee that we are not blind followers of blind leaders, we must make certain our vision is directly from God. Without His vision, we are certain to perish.
God has set before us His finish line, His destination, and His prize. Unlike most of the races people run in this life, the prize isn’t reserved only for the fastest or the first to cross. All we must do to obtain God’s prize is get across the finish line. If we stay on the path God has chosen for us and mapped out in His holy word, we will reach the destination He has prepared: an eternity in His presence and glory. We may falter, but we can get back up. We may fail, but we can repent. But, no matter what, if we keep God’s goal and vision in mind, if we don’t quit, and if we just keep running to the end, we will have achieved the purpose for our life.
Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath Peace) to you, my readers, and may you walk humbly before God Almighty today and always. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful classic poem (video with narration) called The Race…
Let’s start with a little bit of fun today…
The clans go marching one by one, The little one stopped, there was work to be done. The clans go marching two by two, Each clan has an assigned task to do. The clans go marching three by three, Descendants of K’hat, Gershon and Merari. The clans go marching four by four, The last of these will guard the door. The clans go marching five by five, Worker bees in God-ordained hives. The clans go marching six by six, No non-Levite was in the mix. The clans go marching seven by seven, They pack the bread not made with leaven. The clans go marching eight by eight, Some lift, some carry, some serve and wait. The clans go marching nine by nine, With God’s direction, the tribes align. The clans go marching ten by ten, From thirty to fifty years old were the men.
Today’s reading from Numbers 4:34 through Numbers 4:49 (the end of the chapter) again tells of the census counts from the descendants of the sons of Aaron. These counts, however, only cover the men from ages thirty to fifty who are able to work in God’s service. Based on reading stopping at the breaks marked “A” (Ashkenazi) and “S” (Sephardic), you’ll notice an overlap from yesterday. I read to 37 to stick to the pattern I started with, but since 34-37 include census information, I’m backtracking a bit.
Much of the information is similar to yesterday’s reading concerning which jobs will done by which tribes. I combined some of the information from yesterday and today in my little parody above, so all that’s left to be added are the actual numbers. The men who could serve from the clan of K’hat totaled 2,750. Those from the clan of Gershon totaled 2,630. And, those from the tribe of Merari come in with 3200, so our total from the three clans is 8,580 men between the ages of thirty and fifty who would work in the service of Yahveh’s tabernacle. According to God’s order to Moses, the Levites counted each man, and then assigned the men to specific services and works.
Counting people to do specific works for God makes me think of the following verses from 1 Corinthians 12:15-26…
15 If the foot says, “I’m not a hand, so I’m not part of the body,” that doesn’t make it stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I’m not an eye, so I’m not part of the body,” that doesn’t make it stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If it were all hearing, how could it smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged each of the parts in the body exactly as he wanted them. 19 Now if they were all just one part, where would the body be? 20 But as it is, there are indeed many parts, yet just one body.21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you”; or the head to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be less important turn out to be all the more necessary; 23 and upon body parts which we consider less dignified we bestow greater dignity; and the parts that aren’t attractive are the ones we make as attractive as we can, 24 while our attractive parts have no need for such treatment. Indeed, God has put the body together in such a way that he gives greater dignity to the parts that lack it, 25 So that there will be no disagreements within the body, but rather all the parts will be equally concerned for all the others. 26 Thus if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; and if one part is honored, all the parts share its happiness.
I love how The Complete Jewish Bible says that last line, that all parts will share in the happiness. I know that if we all did things God’s way, the whole body of Christ would participate in the happiness created by our obedience. If we all take our marching orders and do our assigned services with praise, we will soon find we are not marching alone but with the presence of God because He dwells in the praises of His people. Now that’s a beat I can march to.
And just for a tad more fun, here’s a video of The Ants Go Marching…
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