No Mourning Rituals

A few weeks ago David made pancakes – 4 of them.

They tasted fine but usually, that recipe makes more. We went over it together.

He left out the salt.

And he used 1 teaspoon of baking powder, not 3. The batter did not rise.

Recipes are a lot like the rituals of the ancient world. You had to use the right things in the right amount.

“…in the ancient world the ritual was considered something to be performed correctly. …To make an error in the prescribed forms of the rite was not just a mistake, but an act of impiety. …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Nadab and Abihu put coals and incense in their censers. They did not take the coals from the altar but from another fire, (see  Exodus 30:7, 8; 2 Chronicles 13:11; and Leviticus 16:12, 13). It was a “strange fire” they offered. It blew up in their faces and killed them.

Moses told Aaron and their brothers they could not mourn because they had the anointing oil on them. Their cousins removed the bodies.

Leviticus 10:6, “Moses then said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, ‘No mourning rituals for you – unkempt hair, torn clothes – or you’ll also die and God will be angry with the whole congregation.’ ” The Message

Today, I learned why…

“Nadab and Abihu’s evil was their decision to determine for themselves right and wrong ways to worship. Even mourning for these dead priests was denied, lest it be seen as condoning their sin (10:6, 7).” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Besides, they were wearing their priestly robes. They could not tear them.

I wondered about this for years. I love it when I find an answer to a long-standing question. Have you ever found the answer to something that puzzled you in the Bible?

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Change Clothes

This morning I explained to David that I did not want to move the bookshelf. It’s over 9 feet long and heavy. After he heard that, he asked me to show him what I had in mind.

He was pleasantly surprised to see a cleared room. In a few minutes, he took the table apart and helped me move the heavy top pieces aside. We moved the empty buffet.

Then he went to the bi-fold door, pushed down 2 hidden springs and slid it out of its tracks.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I exclaimed.

The love seat effortlessly slid through the doorway. He went to work and I remembered my verse for today.

Leviticus 6:11, “Then change clothes and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.” The Message

I changed clothes.

Back in the basement, I vacuumed rugs and the floor underneath. Then I rearranged the rugs to cover most of the area. I brought in an extra rug.

Using duct tape, I taped the rugs together on the underside. I was able to move the furniture myself when it didn’t catch on the rugs.

The room is arranged and waiting for the table top. That is something I cannot do alone.

There is one more dresser I want to use in that room. I think I will take the drawers downstairs.

But first – I have to change clothes again.

Are you doing anything in your dining room to get ready for the holidays?

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Bring in the Table

Two days in a row, I filled out my planner and squeezed all the activities on it.

Two days in a row, God laughed.

While reading my chapters, I came across this verse.

Leviticus 40:4, “Bring in the Table and set it, arranging its Lampstand and lamps.” The Message

I got all excited. Maybe I will be able to move the big table downstairs. The second verse I ran across confirmed it.

Leviticus 40:16, “Moses did everything God commanded. He did it all.” The Message

I started with the love seat. After measuring, I tipped it forward. I slid it to the doorway. I got 3 inches through but it would not go past the bi-fold door.

That door has to come off. I got out some tools, but the screws wouldn’t budge. That will have to wait.

Oh well, at least I could roll up the rug that was partly underneath it. I slid the love seat back and moved on to the buffet.

I took the drawers out and stacked them in Derek’s former bedroom. I took everything out of the dining room. And took the pictures off of the walls.

The table is really heavy. I crawled under it and tried to free one corner of the rug, pushing up with my back. It wouldn’t budge. That will have to wait, too.

I hit the shower.

Am I the only one who tries to do everything myself?

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Made from Bronze

I threw the swatch of suede from “Leanne’s Sewing Shoppe” in with a load of laundry. They recommended I wash it to see if there was any change. My coat is machine washable and we wanted to make sure the material did not shrink.

That is another reason we did not use leather. Real leather is the best material but not easily cleaned. I would never throw a leather coat in the washing machine.

* * * * * * *

God gave Moses instructions for building everything in the tabernacle. We read about the gold used – until the altar.

Exodus 37-39, “They made from bronze all the utensils for the altar…” The Message

God chose material that would stand up to daily use without eroding. God could have solid gold if He wanted. But that would be heavy and impractical. God chose the best material for each job.

Many times, I’ve asked God why He chose me to write this blog. Why not choose a Doctor of Divinity? That would be gold.

He wanted someone who was durable – like bronze – to write this blog. Someone who would see Him in the everyday. Someone with a mother’s commitment, unsung – 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

If we knew all motherhood would cost us, we might have avoided it. But then, we would have missed the rewards that make the cost worthwhile.

Do you ever feel you are the wrong person for the job?

(Once again, I receive no commission from “Leanne’s Sewing Shoppe.”)

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Women Skilled at Weaving

I took my coat to “Leanne’s Sewing Shoppe.” (I forgot that Dotty retired.) The material I bought was too thin. She said it would peel in a year. They recommended a suede, that they had on hand.

When I got home, I asked God if I was just being cheap. Should I wear it frayed until I find a replacement?

Exodus 35:25, “All the women skilled at weaving brought their weavings of blue and purple and scarlet fabrics and fine linens.” The Message

These 3 ladies are skilled seamstresses. They know quality material. I can trust them. When they finish, my coat will be ready for another 6 years! (Yes, I took a “before” picture. No, I will not get a discount for mentioning them.)

Do you second-guess yourself?

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Keep the Sabbath

I got up early this morning and caught up my journal. It took almost 2 hours.

I wrote about my birthday dinner and what we bought shopping. I named the people who called to sing “Happy Birthday.” And wrote about the waiter who wrote it on my dessert. (He also put a lit candle in my dessert.)

I wanted to write it all down before church. But my post was long and I ran out of time.

Exodus 31:13, “…Above all, keep my Sabbaths…” The Message

I considered writing between church and the nursing home service. But my daughter stopped by and I ate lunch with her.

Exodus 31:16, 17, “…observe the Sabbath – keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. (17) It’s a fixed sign…” The Message

I didn’t have to read it 3 times to get the message. After the nursing home service, I rested.

How do you spend your Sundays? The Amish go to church every other week and visit extended family on the off weeks. Who do you visit?

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The Embroidered Waistband

We bought a coat – for David.

We shopped all day in 2 different cities. He really needed that coat. He tried it on and then put it back on the rack in the first city. He found it again, priced lower, and bought that one.

He is a wise and patient man. (As he dropped me off at Hobby Lobby, he said, “I’ll just go next door and wait in line for a haircut.”)

God provided the right coat at the right price. He will do the same for me.

How do I know God cares about clothes? Look at the detail in Aaron’s priestly robes.

Exodus 29:5, “…belting the Ephod on him with the embroidered waistband.” The Message

Today is “Pastor Appreciation Sunday.” We take a special offering and bless our pastors. (God made special clothes for all the priests.) The chapters we read showed how God took care of his priests.

  1. Job Security – Exodus 29:9, “…Their priesthood is upheld by law and is permanent. …” The Message. Continue giving even when you don’t like the sermons, or when your favorite project has to wait, or when others want to fire them.
  2. The Best – Exodus 29:27, “…the breast and the thigh are for Aaron and his sons.” The Message. It was never God’s design to keep Pastors humble and poor.
  3. Give Regularly – Exodus 29:28, “…make this offering regularly…” The Message. Your tithe belongs in the storehouse where you are regularly spiritually fed. Anything over and above that 10% is an offering. You give an offering to other ministries.
  4. Remember It’s God’s Work – Exodus 29:37, “…the altar will be soaked in holiness…” The Message. Everything in the church is holy. We don’t sit in seats we are on an altar. We aren’t there for entertainment, we are there to die to ourselves. The more I say “no” to my body, (yes, it kills me), the more I say “yes” to God’s Spirit.
  5. These Are Your God’s Instructions – Exodus 29:46, “I am God, your God.” The Message. People hate it when you tell them what to do. But you aren’t obeying your Pastor; you’re obeying your God.
  6. Give Your Best in Little Things – Exodus 30:23, “Take the best spices…” The Message. Today I will play for the nursing home service. There’s a line of people who audition to play or sing on the worship team. There is no line to minister at the nursing home. And the line to minister in the nursery is mighty short.
  7. Give from Your Gifting – Exodus 30:35, “…the art of a perfumer, salted and pure – holy.” The Message. David still talks about Bev Kennedy. She was a gifted baker. David substituted on the drums in Mt. Pleasant a few times. They have 2 services. Between the first and second service, Bev would feed the Pastors and worship team. Working in a service is exhausting. It depletes your body, soul, and spirit. Bev’s goodies would revive and rejuvenate the body. It lifted the spirits and they would be ready to do it all over again. (It’s not a well-known fact that most preachers and singers fast before the service.)

Are you blessing your Pastor this month? Did you give your best? Was it an offering or did you redesignate your tithe? Did you give from your gifting?

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A Skilled Craftsman

I’m looking for a warmer winter coat. I love my white coat with black accents but the black is starting to fray at the sleeves. I still get compliments on that coat.

I’m tired of being cold when the temperature drops below zero. I want a maxi length to keep my legs warm. I need a polyester coat because I’m allergic to wool, nylon, and feathers. I can get by with a down coat if the feathers stay inside.

See, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack!

It also needs a removable hood because fur is a no-no. And I want cuffed sleeves because I don’t like cold air blowing up my arms.

Oh, I need it in a tall size, too.

I’ve looked everywhere: Penney’s, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Orscheln’s, TSC, K Jordan, Shopko, Target, Talbots, Von Maur, T. J. Max, Ebay.com, Shopzilla, Overstock.com, Amazon.com, Chadwicks, Metro Style, and Ann Taylor Loft.

I found one that met most of the requirements at Macy’s. David worked 10 hours for that much money and it would look like I was wearing a sleeping bag. I won’t waste money on something I don’t love.

I opened my Bible and one sentence gave me the answer.

Exodus 26:1, “…A skilled craftsman should do it.” The Message

I can buy black “pleather” (The coat has to be machine washable.) and take my white coat to Dotty’s. That’s the seamstress who shortened the sleeves on the white coat for me. She could just replace the panels on the sleeves. The coat would look like new again.

(Now I really have to go to Hobby Lobby!)

I will keep searching for a warmer coat. There has to be one somewhere. I’ve even looked at “Goodwill” and “Stuff.”

On those bitter cold days, I can always pull out David’s old coveralls. They kept me toasty at the hot dog roast and hayrack ride. (I didn’t go on the ride but we ate in an unheated warehouse. I also skipped the hot dogs.)

I got a lot of comments on those coveralls. They weren’t compliments but I didn’t care. I was warm.

Where else can I look for a heavy winter coat? Help!

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Study the Design

I worked on it for several mornings. I had a scale drawing of our big room in the basement. There are also cutouts of furniture. One morning, I measured all the area rugs. Then I drew them to scale and colored them.

The next morning, I moved those rugs around on the floor plan. They won’t cover all of it, but I will have furniture over the bare parts.

I rearranged the furniture on paper. I wanted to eliminate a bottleneck by the table. I moved furniture out of the room and brought other pieces in. When I had it set, I laid the floor plan on the top of the bookshelf in David’s office.

* * * * * * *

We were discussing plans for Saturday. Our original plan was to go away Friday night, but that got scrapped. We couldn’t decide where to go or what to do.

Finally, I said, “Do you want to help me rearrange the basement?”

“No.”

“Do you want to see what I have in mind?”

“No.”

I let it go. Who wants to spend their birthday rearranging furniture!

We decided to go “see the rabbits.” (That’s what Derek thought we said when he was 5. We surprised him with a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese in Cedar Rapids, IA.)

No, we won’t eat there for my birthday! And I nixed a stop at “Guitar Center!” I’m thinking Kirkland’s, Hobby Lobby, Von Maur, and Penney’s!

David came back later and said, “If you really want to, we can rearrange the basement.”

I said it could wait. But I want it done before Thanksgiving. The first step is to look at the design.

Exodus 25:40, “Study the design you were given on the mountain and make everything accordingly.” The Message

How do you celebrate your birthday? (David surprised me with roses last week. He lets me celebrate more than one day.)

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A Most Jealous God

At the top of several pages of my sermon notes is one word – “testimonials.” In the middle of a sermon, #God would nudge me and whisper, “Make a testimonials page.” I would write the note and plan on doing it the next day. Then I procrastinated.

Listening to Steven Furtick’s “1:Minute Motivation” jolted me. There was that word – procrastination.

“Whatever is in your heart to do you better do it now. …sometimes the devil will tell you you’re being patient…if he can get you to mistake procrastination for patience, he can keep you locked out of the blessing that is on the other side of your obedience.” “Don’t Blow It,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

I had put every other task ahead of the assignment #God gave me. I repented and pulled up the one testimonial I had copied.

Over the next four hours, I read every comment on my blog and LinkedIn. Then I went to my Facebook page and read the comments there.

I typed the comments and the title of the post. I added the name and job of those I knew. I noted where the comment was from and the date. Then I added links to each post. As I published the page, I realized, procrastination is an idol – it’s putting other things before God.

Exodus 20:5, “…I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me.” The Message

I learned something else, too. I thought the phrase “punishing the children to the third and fourth generation” meant God punished them for their parent’s sins. That is not necessarily so.

God punishes children for sins they commit. They may justify them because their parents did the same thing.

However, sin has consequences. Unfortunately, children suffer the consequences right along with their parents. These consequences are for unrepentant people who hate God. There’s a promise for those who repent and love God.

Exodus 20:6, “But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“You don’t have to do anything to experience God’s love, but you must know His voice and follow His direction to experience His blessing.” “The Word for You Today,” October 24, 2018

Have you completed a task you procrastinated over? How do you defeat procrastination?

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