An Ancient Call to Holy Living

In this new year our women’s precept group has begun to study the book of Deuteronomy. As the book begins Moses is reviewing the history of Israel’s release from slavery in Egypt and their years in the wilderness. Then he goes on to give them specific instructions.

In chapter six he gives God’s command for the families. Orthodox Jews recite these verses daily as a part of the Shema. Click here for explanation of the Shema.

These verses apply to us as Christians. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today  shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

My eyes cloud with tears as I think about our culture and the state of the Church in America. 

This is a reminder to me— a verse that I want to memorize. The Bible needs to be a consistent part of daily life. It is important to notice God’s hand in our lives.

We need to tell our stories of faith to our children and grandchildren, to the people in our circle of influence. Do you have a story to tell? 

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. To read more inspiring thoughts based on the prompt, INFLUENCE, click here.

Raquela: Book Review

Flag of Israel

Raquela Levy’s family had lived in Palestine for nine generations. Did you know that Palestine, referring to Israel, is a name derived from Philistine? Historically the Philistines were enemies of Israel. Raquela was a nurse midwife during the final years of British rule in Palestine.

Ruth Gruber spent nine months with Raquela, gathering information and insights into the life of this remarkable woman. The resulting biography is a story of the babies born to holocaust survivors—and the birth of the nation of Israel. Raquela was sent to refugee camps as a midwife to minister to women that were refused entry into Palestine.

The vivid detail describes life in Israel during the war years: Israel’s War of Independence (1948), Six-Day War (1967) and Arab-Israeli War (1973). The book describes events through the experiences of Raquela and her family.

I could picture Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus,  the scene of       Raquela’s developing romance with Dr. Brzezinski. The description of the delivery room at the Hadassah Hospital reminded me my first        experiences as a labor & delivery nurse.

I could feel the sadness when Mount Scopus was lost to the Arabs of     Jordan. The hospital was lost, and Israel had to build a new medical     center.

Perhaps the most moving was the description of the ships filled with Jewish immigrants fleeing Europe. They were refused entry to Palestine by the British. One of the refugee camps that Raquela served at was on the Island of Cyprus.

I have a much better understanding of Israel’s modern history from reading this book. The book engaged me—it was hard to put it down.

* Ruth Gruber, Raquela: A Woman of Israel, New York; Open Road Integrated Media. 1978.

Linking with Christian Blogger link-upSeasons, Literacy Musing Monday,  Booknificent Thursday and Thought Provoking Thursday

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