We Are Loved

Our deepest need is to be loved. The Bible testifies of God’s love for us. God’s amazing love!

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, O most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night. Psalm 92:1-2

Jesus explained God’s plan of salvation to Nicodemus. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

Paul states the enormity of God’s love. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

We are called to love God and obey his precepts.

Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. Joshua 22:5

Jesus taught the two greatest commandments. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor as your self. Mark 12;30-31

I have been musing on these verses. What does it look like to live out the two greatest commandments? I know that I often fall short. God knows our human frailty. That is why Christ died for us. When we stumble, we confess and we learn and we go on.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: LOVED Visit this community of writers here.

Lost! I Need a Map

The traffic on the expressway was light and I was enjoying the book on tape.  Suddenly a road sign for a town that was past my destination      appeared. I had missed my exit. I had to keep driving until another exit came up. Then I pulled over to a small shopping center to figure out where I was.

My husband has reminded me many times that my i-phone has a map application. So I pulled out my phone and typed in the address of my destination.  I had two choices:  turn around and back track on the       expressway or reduce the mileage by taking county roads. I chose the county roads.

The scenery was nicer than the expressway. The road wound through farm country and trees that made an archway across the two-lane road. I became anxious when the weather changed. Dark clouds rolled across the sky and a sudden down pour obscured my vision.

I had to check the map periodically. I am directionally challenged and can easily turn left when I should turn right or vice versa. So I went along with periodic pauses, pulling over when it was safe to verify my route. I breathed a sigh of relief when I began to recognize the street signs. I was so glad to reach my sister’s house safely.

Isn’t this like the believer’s life? Events in life can take us to a confusing place. We don’t know what is true or how to respond. We feel like God is far away. We need to take out God’s word and spend some time in prayer. We need direction from the Lord. The Psalmist expresses this for us.

Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map,
So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,
To the place of your presence,
To enter the place of worship, meet my exuberant God,
Sing my thanks with a harp, magnificent God, my God.

Psalm 43: 3-4   The Message

Send out you light and your truth,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
And I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43: 3-4 ESV

Linking with Christian Blogger Link-up,  Grace & TruthThought Provoking Thursday,  Sitting Among Friends and Word of God Speak

TUESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY and Apricot Bread

 

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

For more than 20 years I have participated in Precept Bible studies.    I started with the women of Faith Community Church, and have continued for many years  with women at      Village Church of Barrington. We meet every Tuesday morning, September through May. We have become friends through our time together, reading the Bible and discussing it, sharing prayer requests.

Currently we are studying the three covenants that God made: with Abraham, with Moses (Israel), and the New Covenant. Today our topic was the covenant with Moses (Israel) or the law. After God rescued the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, he made a covenant with them and gave them the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 19 & 20)

No one is able to keep the law. We all fall short. The purpose of the Law was to show them (and us) our sin and need for a Savior.

For by the works of the law no human being will be        justified in his sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

After the Ten Commandments were given on tablets of stone, Moses was given very specific instructions for a tabernacle.   (Exodus,     chapters 25 – 31) The tabernacle was a sanctuary for God. It was also designed to point to Jesus.

For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.   John 1: 17

When my husband and I toured Israel we visited a model of the tabernacle, built to the specifications in the Bible. Here we are in the outer court.

Biblical Tabernacle
The Outer Court of the Tabernacle

Just inside the gate (entering the outer court of the tabernacle) is an altar. The altar is for sacrifice and symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus became for us as he offered himself on the cross in payment for our sins.

Beyond the altar is a bonze basin for washing. The basin symbolizes the cleansing we receive by the Word of God.

Biblical Tabernacle
The Bronze Basin in the Outer Court

Inside the tent the first room, called the Holy Place, contains a table with bread (Jesus, the bread of Life), a lampstand (Jesus is the light of the world) and an altar of incense (Jesus continually intercedes in prayer for believers).

The Altar of Incense in front of the Veil
The Altar of Incense in front of the Veil

A thick veil stands before the inner room that holds the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. The Ark contains symbols of God’s faithfulness: Aaron’s rod that budded, manna and the tablets of stone. The mercy seat is the throne of God.

Biblical Tabernacle
Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat

Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Hebrews 9: 3-5

The veil enclosing this room was torn when Jesus was crucified giving us access to God. We can approach God with our prayers.

God has reached out to us and has told his plan of salvation through his word. He has given us symbols that illustrate his plan.  The Old Testament of the Bible points to the New Testament. The longer I study the Bible, the more I see God’s love.

After our discussion we have coffee and treats.   Today I made an    apricot bread to share. It was enjoyed–here is the recipe:

1 + ¼ C. dried apricots
½ cup reserved water (from simmering apricots)
½ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
2 large eggs
½ tsp. baking soda
2 + ¾ C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut (I prefer unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pan.

Place the apricots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let them stand in the hot water for an additional 20 minutes and then drain off the water, reserving ½ cup. Chop the apricots.

Add the reserved water, melted coconut oil, honey and eggs to a large bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Then add the apricots and baking soda. Mix. Add flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. Mix well. The batter will be thick (biscuit dough consistency). If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and when a knife or toothpick is inserted, it should come out clean. Cool on a rack; then turn out of the pan and slice.

Apricot Bread_5318

Linking with Word of God Speak, Let Us GrowThought Provoking Thursday,  A Little R & R and Whole Hearted Wednesday

Thanksgiving and Ancient Questions

 

Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am aware of so many things to be thankful for—family, church, blogging community and home.

On Thanksgiving my husband and I will have one of our daughters and her family, our son and his wife, at our home.  I have ideas for   activities for the grandchildren and a couple new recipes from fellow bloggers. I am looking forward to this day of celebration.

We will read some Bible verses together.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exalt in you;  I will sing praise to your name,  O Most High. Psalm 9: 1-2

God’s greatest gift to us is the offer of salvation.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.        Ephesians 2: 4-5

In the midst of preparations for Thanksgiving, I am aware of difficulties among extended family and suffering that is happening in many places around the world. Perhaps you see things that prick your heart.

Praise and gratitude is mixed with questions and doubt.

The Psalmist was able to give praise and thanks in one moment. And then later wonder how God allowed some things to happen.

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1

There are no answers except the character of God.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13

God is just and righteous.

As I give thanks, I will also pray for mercy and grace, lifting the circumstances beyond my control to the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4: 4-6

Bible

Linking with Essential Fridays,  A Little R & R,  WholeHearted Wednesday,  Titus 2sday,  Words with Winter and Word of God Speak