BRINGING THE BEACH INSIDE – THE HOUSE DOCTOR – SETTING SEASONAL STYLES IN DECORATING (FROM A SERIES OF BEACH-HOUSE DECOR)

ANOTHER WAY OF BRINGING THE BEACH INSIDE FOR SUMMER

No one loves the beach more than me or my family. We love everything about those sandy white shores and as soon as we leave the ocean; we are already making plans for the next time we can return.

That is exactly why I love to give our home a beach-type theme near the end of every summer.  We can get a taste of the beach without even leaving the house.

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HOLD ON TO SUMMER A LITTLE WHILE LONGER

There are many classic decorating tips available for what I’ve called our “let’s hold on to summer a while longer” look.

Over the years I’ve used this type of “seasonal” decorating in different ways.   From time-to-time I try to give the latest look a new “tweek.” I think I might have managed to do that with my beach theme this season.

Life is always changing around us, and nothing ever stays exactly the same; but it is all is good!

This article is full of beach theme ideas, but it is also about a more casual, modern and trendy type of beach-cottage-look; which is just a bit different from some of my more “classic” beach themes from the past.  The more classic themes will be featured in another article later this season.  Right now I love this more casual look.

SUNSHINE AND BRIGHT COLORS

I guess the words that describe this look best would be “lots of sunshine and bright beach colors.” I’ve found that combination seems to be the most cheerful beach theme ever!

This look seems to make my house feel happy and it gives the illusion of prolonging a wonderful summer.

With home decor, as with everything else in life; variety is always more interesting.  So I change my “beach-theme” decor a little here and a little there each year.  It is not hard to come up with new ideas for this theme.  There are a million and one ways to emphasize the beach look inside your home.

CORAL MAKES A GREAT BEACH COLOR SCHEME

On this particular year, as the end of summer approached, I wanted to incorporate some new color schemes using coral.

I wanted a more trendy, “pop-of-color” with a very interesting entrance. Of course I wanted people to feel the wonder of the beach immediately as they walked into the house.  So; I simply laid out the natural earth-toned colors first; then incorporate pops of coral here and there.

THE WELCOME

It all starts at the front door.  I wanted to welcome people into our beach-themed, summer home in the most peaceful and relaxing way.

On the outside I hung an old wooden cross made from heavy vines.  I’ve used this cross a lot in my interior decorations in the past; each time making it the background for different themes.  It seems to welcome people like a bride by being “something old with something new.”  The look is very weathered and the appearance is like something you might see for sale at the seashore.

I hung a little sign upon the cross that said “by the sea.” Seashells and ocean colored beads hang the sign.  Once you read the words posted on the front door, your imagination takes over.

What do you think of when you hear those words “by the sea?”

My first thought is the comforting realization that most likely God loves visiting the seaside as much as we do.  Don’t you know He had fun creating the ocean?

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Have you ever dreamed of walking on the waves with Jesus?

Can you not visualize Him bringing peace and joy to the sea-side tables  of the sandy shores along the way of wherever He chose to reside along the coast?

Living in a beach setting is another way to imitate the upside-down, inside out way of life that Jesus lived on this earth.  Of course the beach only serves as the backdrop; it is really all about what you do and how you live together inside that backdrop that matters.  This same principle can also be applied inside our homes.

I wanted that peace and joy to overflow into my home at the end of summer this year.  Thus; this little sign of welcome is placed on our front door.

The little pops of blue really added to the effect I was seeking for the backdrop.  The tan shells are the same color as sand on the seashore; and the blue beads are the same color of the ocean and the sky.  I loved the emotions these natural colors inspired.

We were off to a good start right outside the front door, even before a person actually began to enter the house!

FROM THE OUTSIDE TO THE INSIDE

I kept the inside of the door very simple but still incorporating the “bright-blue skies at the beach feeling” by hanging a blue wooden boat anchor on the inside of the doorway.

It looked great and stood out against the solid white door.  This gave everything a little “nautical” flavor too.

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I took a casual little shopping trip during this time while I was pondering the way I wanted to decorate the foyer for this season’s “beach” look.

My thinking was aimed at new ways I could begin to pull some brighter beach-like colors into my decor. I especially wanted to add some coral to the mix.

I got excited when my eyes rested on this canvas print that said “Easy Living.” That was just the feeling I wanted to achieve with our home during this season. I wanted everything to feel easy and casual.  The painting was very inexpensive; and yet it had all the right mix of the trendy beach colors I wanted to use.

It also displayed a pretty sailboat.  I already had some model sailboats packed away that would go well with that vision of “sailing.”

SAILBOATS MAKE GREAT BEACH DECORATIONS

I just had to purchase that canvas!

“Easy living” was exactly what I had on the agenda for the end of summer in our humble little castle.  I really liked those words hanging just inside the front door.

When I got the canvas home and hung it on the inside entrance wall, it quickly became the source for the color palette I used throughout the whole house.

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The colors in that painting were exactly what I needed to add that little spark of cheerfulness which I had been seeking.

The sunset orange and the blues and greens and yellows of the painting made me think about some brightly colored bottles that I already had scattered around the house.  I gathered them all together into one grouping to add to the top of the chest underneath the painting. I loved the colorful beach-like effect they gave to the main part of the house.

Two starfish from last year’s “beach-look” just seemed to go perfectly with these coral, blue and yellow bottles.  They completed the look for that wall.

Before I knew it, the first ten steps into the foyer were covered.

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A COLORFUL AND REFRESHING LOOK

I was liking the progress of this fresh beach-cottage-look.

The room was beginning to put out great vibes! I could almost hear the jute box blasting out the music of “The Mighty Quinn” over the sound of waves rolling in to shore  while people danced to the music in the sand.

The year before, when I was creating a more “classic” beach-house look,  I had used a large model of a sail boat on the portable bar against the wall leading to the kitchen.

This portable-bar area was the first spot where your eyes rested as you walked inside the front door. I still liked the sailboat idea. It just seemed to fit right in with the entrance painting of a sailboat, but it would add a few more natural colors and tone down the bright colors just a tiny bit.

I pulled the sailboat out of storage and set it in place. I liked it, so I kept it out and used it again.

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Since I was mixing boats into the decor; I found another one that I had in storage. I put this one all the way across the living room underneath the floor lamp. I added a little blue daisy into the setting for a bit more color. I liked it. It stayed.

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Mixing a few basic colors and classic tones with these trendy things I had found seemed to only add interest. The foyer was coming together just fine.

SOFA TABLE TOUCHES

The next place my eye focused was the couch table behind the sofa. I knew it needed something; but I had not quite decided. I put that off for a while and let the rest of the room evolve first.

I found some pillows that had a white background with a touch of coral and gray. The pillows seemed to help with the mission of adding some touches of coral into the room. I arranged them on the sofa and liked the way they lended to the effect I was aiming to pull together in the great room.

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I set my re-purposed chair (I had painted an old dining room chair antique white) in the corner beside the window and added a contrasting sky blue pillow to it, with a gray seashell design that coordinated with the little bit of gray in the sofa cushions.

LOVE THE FAMILY BEACH PHOTOGRAPHS

I used the photo of Tom’s Pop at the beach on my end table.  I always bring this favorite photo out in the summer. (We miss him so much!) It looks elegant here in front of the sailor’s lantern that I usually always use.

I also have a photo of me at the beach with my Dad.   It brings smiles and I’m thankful that we got to share those coastal trips many times.   It is fun to bring these precious beach memories into our home in this season.  I scatter family beach trip photos here and there in little nooks and crooks, all through the house.  There are so many!

Most everything added to this decor was something I usually use every summer, but the new painting in the foyer and the new pillows switched up the decorating flavors into something new and fresh again.

COFFEE TABLE TOUCHES

Our coffee table is large and black and things show up well on it. I always find it easy to use when I’m attempting to show off our little treasures. I wanted something very beach oriented to go on this table’s surface. Several books about summer vacations seemed to fit the mood of the house.

I continued the focus on colored bottles and added some blue glass with some clear glass bottles. By filling them up with shells, I gave them a beach look and set them on top of a small silver tray. I enhanced all of this by placing a little accent of white lace on top, and a pretty little blue starfish to the side of the arrangement. All of this made a pretty splash of beach color right in the middle of the room.

It seemed I couldn’t go wrong by adding the old familiar starfish ash tray that I pull out almost every year.   It is a little novel and very beach-like.  The coffee table was looking just the way I had envisioned it would for this new summer-beach-cottage decor.

Soon I caught myself thinking about shopping for a bathing suit and wondering where I had left my sunglasses and my big, white floppy hat. The book on summer vacations lay right there on that table just inspiring me. I put my feet up for a little while and dreamed of summer adventures before moving on with the  rest of the decorating chores.

That is the wonderful thing about summer; you needn’t ever be in a hurry and there is always time for dreaming.  Well…..sort of.

I found some warm cozy pillows to put on one side of the other white sofa. This added some softness against some of the bold sharp colors. The calico cat just gave a more casual, “I’m home” sort of feel to it all. Everything so far was feeling very cozy.

CORAL COLORS

So….back to the task at hand. What was missing?

I still felt the need for coral colors.

This problem was solved the next time I browsed through The Christmas Tree Shop. They have great inexpensive littler summer decorations. I found these small decorative wooden beach chairs that were just the right shade of coral and very cheerful and novel.   Before I knew it I was buying four of them and bringing them home with me.

Once home with the little chairs, I sat two of them (one on each side) on the couch table that I had re-purposed and painted antique white. They added just the splash of color that I had longed for.

I liked the first set of little coral beach chairs so much that I put the other two chairs (with their little yellow flip-flops hanging over them from a little hemp rope) just across the room on each side of the mantle above the fireplace.

The novelty of the chairs with a touch of coral color tied the look together. I added another starfish just above the fireplace, then I stood back to see the effect.

Overall it was just what I was after, a room full of natural light, with mostly white furniture, and little pops of color here and there.

LOTS OF SHELLS AND STAR FISH

Still focusing on boats; I added a nautical-looking lantern between the little coral chairs on the sofa table, and it set grandly on top of the white round steering wheel of a boat. The rope on the nautical lantern and wrapped around some of the jars on the coffee table added to the nautical feel of the room.

I used the same cheerful trendy-beach theme through all the rest of the main living areas of the house.

 

Then I placed scattered bowls of starfish in the dining room and I used the same wooden bowl full of candles and sea shells that I always use in my kitchen again this year, only this time I used a plastic platter of blue and white squares underneath the blue candles in a bowl full of seashells  instead of my usual large black square tray.

I scattered little ships everywhere, and I went a bit wild by adding a banner in the kitchen window. You need something a little novel to make a statement sometimes. I thought the banner was fun and nautical too.

I had re-purposed two old bar stools by painting them a deep bright blue color. They not only went well with my summer beach look; but they gave me extra bar stools to sit around my counter height table in the middle of the room. I enhanced the look by putting some nautical looking pillows in each bar stool and setting them on each side of the buffet table near the window.

With hardly any trouble at all our home had taken on a whole new beach cottage look.

This was on a year that we DID make it to the beach.

You know that usual sad feeling of  how hard it is to leave the beach behind when it is time to come home?  Having our home decorated like a beach made that a lot easier.  Returning to our little bit of the beach inside our home only made our great memories last longer!.

 

Having more beach photos to add to my ever-growing framed memories for our beach cottage is icing on the cake after having so much fun at the beach.

I love having a home that flows with the seasons and keeps the memory making going on all year.  We will enjoy this beach look all the way up to the end of September.

Here is to wishing you smooth sailing through your summer decorating schemes.

Ships ahoy!

 

THE ATONEMENT MONEY – COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 172

THE ATONEMENT MONEY

Have you always thought that the concepts of census and taxation came directly from the minds of men?

Better take another look at the scriptures.

God has taken His people out of slavery and false worship and brought them into a new place of freedom.  The problem is that they haven’t yet learned how to live in freedom.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to today’s bible study in the COME AS A CHILD BIBLE STUDY.  We are beginning Lesson 172.  If you missed Lesson 171 you may review it here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/altar-incense/.  At some point the author of this blog will be offering all of the lessons from Exodus as a group.  Keep watching the blog for this at a later date.

FREEDOM LESSONS

God has Moses up on the mountain giving him lessons on how free people stay free.  He instructs Moses on how to set aside a holy place; the tabernacle.  He gives Moses instructions for consecrating a priesthood and consecrating everything that the priesthood will use to operate.  God gives Moses instructions on how he likes for people to pray, and then God begins to fill Moses in on the fact that atonement is necessary for every soul of mankind.

Now that is a lot of “stuff” to absorb.  I suppose that is why it took Moses 40 days up there.  While Moses was up on the mountain leaning how to be free; the people were down in the camp learning how bored human beings can get to be if no one is there to cheer them on.

All of these things that God was discussing with Moses were very important things that free people would need to know as they entered into a promised land.  

Something was becoming very clear to Moses.  If the people of Israel could not learn to follow God’s instructions; they would once again begin to put their freedom into jeopardy.  After all; not following God’s instructions was how they wound up being slaves in the first place.  If only those descendants of Joseph had been more like Joseph!

TIME FOR AN ACCOUNTING

There is so much to learn about being free!

The next lesson God was carefully instructing Moses about was the absolute necessity of atonement.

We can see the importance of this concept in the scriptures over and over again.  Now God was teaching Moses how to teach this concept to His chosen nation who had been out of touch with the teachings of their ancestors during all those many years of slavery.

It was time for an accounting.

THERE IS A RANSOM PRICE THAT MUST BE PAID

God instructed Moses to count the people and to tell them at the time of counting that each person was to pay a ransom price for their life. When this happened properly the people would be blessed. No plague would come near them.

Does this shock you?  

Did you not know or understand that freedom isn’t ever free?

Freedom comes with a cost.  There is always a price to be paid, and that price is called a “ransom” price.

A SACRIFICE IS ALWAYS REQUIRED

Freedom isn’t just granted or proclaimed; it is bought and paid for.  This seems to be true whether you live in biblical ancient times or the current world.  

If you live in a free country in today’s world, someone at some time and place sacrificed their own life and fought for your right to enjoy the freedom that you enjoy today.  They were willing to die for your freedom.  It was the ransom price that had to be paid.  One generation often pays the heavy price of freedom for generations to come.

In the case of the Exodus, the people seeking freedom were in slavery; so it was impossible for those people to come up with their own ransom.  It took someone else, someone who could rise above the enslaved people’s circumstances (Moses), coming along and delivering them from their bondage.

So it was that God established that the price of the ransom was required of each Hebrew in order to pay the price of their freedom.  

Moses had delivered them up to God and removed them from Egypt; but the ransom had not yet been paid.  Legally; they were still slaves who needed redemption.  

The ransom amount was the same for each person, whether rich or poor.  Each person was to give a half-shekel, which weighed twenty gerahs.

The money was considered to be an offering to the LORD.

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DELIVERANCE AND COMPLETE FREEDOM

These people who had been led out of bondage had already celebrated their deliverance with joy; but they did not actually have their full freedom yet!  (There is a difference between deliverance and freedom.)   They had obtained and enjoyed a time of escape from danger and toil and strife.  They had enjoyed a type of release and a short time of rest; but their actual freedom came with a ransom price and it had not yet been paid.

No matter how emotionally good they were feeling in the camp; by law they were still doomed as slaves who needed official atonement.  If Pharaoh should show up; he could still legally claim them as his.  The records had to be set straight for the sake of the future.  Each man had to be accurately recorded as free.

THE ATONEMENT MONEY HELD THE TABERNACLE TOGETHER IN THE FORM OF SILVER SOCKETS

The atonement money that was required must still be paid during this first-ever census which wound up eventually furnishing the silver for the sockets that held the boards of the tabernacle in place.  Without this silver for support the heart of the wilderness worship; the tabernacle, could not stand firm.

This meant that the tabernacle was literally built upon the boards of atonement.  If you would like a review of what we previously discussed about the provision of the silver sockets; just click here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/silver-sockets-of-redemption-come-as-a-child-lesson-156-amazing-silver-sockets/.  I would venture to say that understanding the truths of this particular article is critical to a person’s understanding of true salvation and eternal life.  It would be well worth your time to reread it.

ATONEMENT WAS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE

Atonement was of utmost importance to the people of Israel.

Atonement meant true freedom; not just escape.

God was teaching them the deeper meaning of true freedom.  You can sometimes find temporary escape and obtain a sense of relief; but it isn’t long-lasting or true freedom.  Eventually you will be caught, found or turned in.  You would then need for someone to come along with enough mercy to pay the total redemption price that gives you absolute freedom.

Without atonement (the ransom price) total freedom just isn’t possible.

God sets up a shadow of this type of ransom by telling Moses to take a census and demand that the people pay an atonement price for their lives.

THE RANSOM PRICE OF THE FIRST BORN BRINGS ATONEMENT

In most ancient cultures the “first-born” represented the people of the land.  In other words; their blessings depended on the offering to God of their first-born.  This isn’t to say you should kill your first-born and offer them to God similar to the pagan practices of offering children on an altar.   What good would that serve?  That would be evil.  It is simply to say you should dedicate your devotion to God in the act of bringing up your first-born child to serve and honor Him.  The younger siblings always look up to and imitate the older.  Offering the first-born to God sets a pattern for the whole family to follow.

From the foundation of the world; God claimed ownership of all the first-born.

Remember first-fruits? 

The first and the best of everything belongs to God.  This is step-one to true freedom.  

Remember Cain and Able?  They tell both sides of the story of first-fruits offerings.

Never forget that the first and the best always belongs to God.  This is God’s rightful offering from His people.  The offering should be easy when you consider that EVERYTHING already given to you is a gift from God.  To give Him back the first-fruits is simply returning a small portion of the bounty He has provided to you.  

This whole concept of offering first-fruits could be comparable to a wealthy farmer giving you (a poor tenant) fresh vegetables from his garden all year round.  

Without the help from the farmer; your little family might starve.  Your heart fills with gratitude toward this farmer who gives you a way to work for a living and furnishes the food for your daily nourishment.  

Because you are so grateful; at the end of the year you might decide to invite the farmer to a feast at your table and offer him food cooked carefully and delightfully from your own kitchen.  

It isn’t that the farmer needs you to feed him at all; it is simply that you are choosing to honor him with your thanks through hospitality and respect.  This is the whole concept of first-fruits offerings.   

IT ISN’T A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP

It isn’t about ownership at all; it is about true worship, respect and honor.

We honor God as our sovereign when we give our first-fruits offerings.  It is representative of ALL of our blessings from God.  This is our way of saying “thank you” to God for His provision.  

It is this giving of the first-fruit offering that allows God’s blessings to fall on the rest of our abundance. 

Without the giving of the first-fruits; nothing at all is ever blessed of God.

THE TRUE MEANING OF WORSHIP

More simply put; the entire purpose of a Christian’s life is the act of coming before God in worship and offering the first and the best of everything (physically, mentally, spiritually and materially)  that He has allowed you to have.  That is worship in a nutshell.

It is truly that simple, and the whole act of redemption spins off of this most worshipful offering.

THE HIGHEST EXAMPLE OF ALL

Jesus’s gift of the offering of his own life as a first-fruits offering to God for the redemption of the souls of mankind is the ultimate first-fruits offering.

God has now begun to teach the Israelites this concept; using Moses as the teacher who has flesh.

All of the men over twenty years of age were to pay the LORD a ransom for their life when the census was counted.

WHEN MEN BECOME ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE GOD

God does not hold children to the same level of accountability as he does adults.  

In ancient times when the people were living in the wilderness it seems that twenty was the number of years you needed to live to become an adult.  When a Hebrew child turned twenty he/she was considered to be accountable; both to God and to his fellowmen.

This part of the scripture speaks out about the age of accountability.  You will hear that phrase tossed around a lot in religious groups.

At what point is a person truly accountable to God?

Here in the Exodus we see the answer; it is whenever they have reached adulthood.  

The age given here is twenty years old.  Why twenty?  Because in the times of Moses the age of twenty meant that a man was ready to truly become accountable before God.  He was able to go to war, raise a family, go to work and become a leader in his community.  He was just beginning on his journey of manhood; but the age of twenty was when he would be held more strictly accountable for his own actions.  

Every MAN required redemption.  He was ready; at twenty to pay the money required to obtain his atonement.

Everyone paid the same price, the rich paid a half-shekel and the poor paid a half-shekel.

This money was to be used for the services at the Tent of Meeting. It was to be a memorial; a time to be remembered when they paid the ransom for their lives to the LORD.

THE BELT – THE DRESS CODE OF GOD SERIES (PART FIVE) COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 169

Walking The Path To Truth by Sheila Gail Landgraf

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE BELT

The belt for the priestly garments of the wilderness tabernacle was very important

It carried physical and symbolic reminders for what the characteristics of a priest should be, and it spoke symbolically of the types of activities a priest should be involved with while serving as a minister of God in His tabernacle.

WELCOME TO THIS WEEK’S THURSDAY STUDY

Welcome to today’s ongoing, chronological walk through the bible called COME AS A CHILD.

I post these lessons every Thursday. and I hope you find them interesting and enjoyable.

 If you wish to take this weekly walk through the holy scriptures with us; just click into the COME AS A CHILD section of the blog on Thursdays.  (It could be at either the very beginning of the day, or at the end of the day; depending on the circumstances of daily life at my home and whatever time zone you are reading from.)  

I am busy preparing to offer a direct e-mail function for this section of the blog; since I do get many requests for that.  It should be ready soon!  The new feature (when ready) will send these COME AS A CHILD LESSONS directly into your e-mail box every Thursday; but only if you sign up and request it.  Be watching for the sign-up which I will post soon.  

The new feature will contain ONLY the bible lessons for COME AS A CHILD; You will need to keep reading the blog for the other sections.   For those who are faithful to read the study each week; this new feature will make receiving each new lesson so much easier!  

TODAY’S INTRODUCTION

We continue today in our mini-series of a study of the priestly garments mentioned in Exodus Chapter 28.   We have slowly been making our way through the book of Exodus.  If you missed the first four parts of this mini-series; you might enjoy reviewing them here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/clothes-of-the-ancient-priest/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/understanding-ephod/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/robe-priest/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/turban-crown/

A REMINDER OF THE CONCEPTS OF THIS STUDY

The whole idea behind our Thursday bible study is to come before God with the wide-open heart of a child and consider the scriptures of our bibles in a fresh, new and exciting way; putting behind all preconceived and programmed  notions from our past and drinking in the new things that God has to teach us today.

PAUL’S ANALOGY OF THE BELT

The Apostle Paul often compared the clothing of a Roman soldier to the spiritual clothing of a Christian. This old, tried and true analogy originally came from the clothing worn by the priest in the wilderness tabernacle.

In Paul’s later analogies the belt of a Roman Soldier was used to hold or carry his sword. A sword is symbolic of truth, and the belt of the priestly garments stood for truth.

WHAT IS TRUTH?

Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus the question; “What is truth?”

This man, called Pontius Pilate, was a child of the world who lived with the same similar philosophies of many of those who live and move through our current culture today.   He was one that knew that the world’s definition of truth was ever-evolving and ever-changing according to times and the cultures that evolved in human civilizations.

Today we might label this definition of truth “organic.”  We define it so because it is ever-growing, ever-changing and ever-evolving.  Something that is one way today might be a totally different way tomorrow.  I have to ask you though; is truth REALLY organic as popular culture would have us to believe?

EACH WORLDLY CULTURE MAINTAINS THEIR OWN DEFINITION OF TRUTH

Each people group down through the annals of time has proclaimed their own unique definition of truth; and it always depended on who you talked to and when you talked with them to get the answer to the question of how to define truth.  Most answers came in the form of the definition of the moment that reflected the desires and ambitions of the current cultures.

No definition, given by the world, was ever the same at any time in any culture; EXCEPT for the culture we call Christianity; more clearly defined as The Gospel of Jesus Christ.   This is true because both Christianity and Judaism worship the One True God.  One aspect of the character of The One True God is that God never changes.  Christianity and Judaism are the only religions that reflect this characteristic in absolute purity.

JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE

But Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, stated to Pontius Pilate that He had been born into the world for the cause of “truth” and that He bore witness to the “truth.

Jesus also noted to Pilate that anyone who is of the “truth” would hear His voice and follow Him. (This statement is the author’s personal interpretation and translation of the words found in John 18:37).

Jesus also made the statement that “the truth would set us free.”

In further words from Jesus we can hear him boldly proclaiming; “I am the way, the “truth” and the life.” (John 14:16)

THE ONLY WAY TO FIND TRUTH IS TO FIND JESUS

Now we have come to know the greatest truth of all; that the only way to find truth is to find Jesus.  The priests of the wilderness tabernacle were learning this truth from the symbolism that God placed in their path daily as they served at the tabernacle.  They saw it in the making of the tabernacle itself; and they saw it in the use of the sacrifices.

They also knew the concepts of this fact from the symbolism contained in the priestly garments that they were issued to wear during their time of service before God in the tabernacle.

From the days of Adam and Eve; all cultures knew and were aware of the fact that a Messiah was coming.  The priests could see this prophecy even with the use of the garments that God had designed for them to wear.

We, on this side of history, can now look at all of these things and see that Jesus is absolute truth because He carried the holy scriptures around and they seemed as if they were written upon His heart  He lived them out before the whole wide world as He walked the dusty roads of this earth clothed in the flesh of humanity.

JESUS REPRESENTED THE TRUTH IN EVERY WAY

He lived and died by the truth of God The Father which we find hidden within the sacred pages of the holy scriptures.  He rose from the grave because of these truths, and these words of truth from God are how He became Savior of the world.  Christ lived the truth out before us as an example.

Jesus is absolute truth.

You will never find that from the voices of this world.

THE PRIEST OF ISRAEL NEEDED EARTHLY REMINDERS

The priest of Israel had to know and understand the Word of God.  God had given them the commandments before He told them to build the tabernacle.  They knew in their hearts about the absolute truth from God; that Christ would come and give His life for sinners to save them.  These priest were living out the symbolism of this truth.  They knew that keeping the word and commandments of God mattered more than anything else they could ever do.

The priests of Israel had to be moving and living in a way that was pleasing to the God of all truth.

The belt around their waist was there to remind them of this fact.

TRUTH IS WHAT HOLDS EVERYTHING IN PLACE

Putting on the belt was a way of girding up all of the other priestly garments.

A priest of God, or anyone else following God, should always be girded up with the truth from God.  This would mean that the scriptures must be written on a person’s heart as well as inside his head.

In the days of Jesus the belt allowed a man to gather up his robe and tuck it in for swift movement. Being girded in the truth does the same for a Christian. It helps us to move and operate in the way that God would have us to live.

WE SHOULD CLING TO AND BE SURROUNDED BY TRUTH

The truth of God should always cling to us and surround us just as this belt surrounded the hips, waist and upper body of the priest of Israel.

This priestly belt was 48 feet long, which translated to 32 cubits in the way the scriptures portray measurements. It was 2-1/4 inches wide. It was made of fine white linen.

As for length, the belt was so long that it could be wound around and around the body until it reached the heart of the priest.  In knowing that this long length of the belt had to be wound and wound, we are reminded of how pure the heart of the priest must be

THE GREAT LENGTH WAS A REMINDER TO STAY PURE IN HEART

The length of the belt suggested that a priest must go to great lengths to always maintain purity of heart.

Priest were human. They sinned.

They often had impure thoughts.

We know of this from studying David. He was a man after God’s own heart; but he sinned greatly and often.

There must be atonement applied for such sins of impurity of the heart. The belt of the priestly garments stood for the atonement from impurity of the heart.

Each time a priest wound his belt closer and closer to his heart he was reminded to keep his thoughts pure and ever clean before God. If he did not; he required atonement in the form of a blood sacrifice to remove the burden of these sins. Otherwise; he would not be fit to be ministering as a priest in God’s tabernacle and unto God’s chosen people.

THE STRANGE COMBINATION OF FABRICS FOR THE BELT

As we have mentioned before; linen and wool both contain certain physical elements that cancel each other out. When used together they both lose their strength and effectiveness.

The people of Israel were commanded not to mix wool and linen; yet in his daily service the high priest wore a belt that had embroidery upon it which was made from colored woolen threads of blue, purple and scarlet. This embroidery was attached to the pure white linen.

This was the ONLY exception to the rule of mixing wool and linen.  Many have pondered why this was allowed in the daily uniform of the priest.

THE HUMANITY OF THE WILDERNESS PRIESTHOOD

I have a personal theory which has never been clarified by any expert.  I think that this represented the humanity of this wilderness priesthood. The white linen represented their desire to be pure and holy before God. The wool embroidery worn on ordinary days that LOOKED beautiful canceled out the holiness and the purity, and it represented all the unholy thoughts of mankind.

Only atonement could remedy this.  These human priests needed atonement too.  They were not always holy.  Only One lived a totally holy life without sin and that was Jesus Christ.

On the Day of Atonement the high priest would remove this belt that contained the wool embroidery, and he would replace it with a belt like the ordinary priest wore.  The new belt would be a belt made ONLY of pure white linen.

The white linen belt would be a belt that symbolized everything that God’s truth stood for.  It was what God would see after the priest had atonement.

The daily sins would be confessed and a sacrifice would be offered by the priest before his service on the Day of Atonement.  This would qualify him to wear the clean new belt; the belt that truly represented the truth of God.

THE ONLY PROVEN ABSOLUTE TRUTH

God’s truth is the only absolute truth that will ever hold up forever.  God tells us in Matthew 24:35 that heaven and earth will pass away but His Word will never pass away.

THE COMFORT OF THE BELT OF TRUTH

With this belt close to the area of his heart; the high priest was able to minister before God and receive atonement for the sacrifices of the people.

The belt was wrapped many times around the waist and the hips and all the way up over the upper body all the way up to the heart.

KEEPING THE TRUTH OF GOD ON YOUR RIGHT AND ON YOUR LEFT

The two ends of the belt hung in the front and down to the priest’s ankles. While the priest was working and ministering he would toss the two loose ends of the belt over his shoulders so that he could move with ease and perform his tasks.

This act was symbolic of keeping the truth of God on your right and on your left as you go through the different places, seasons and phases of life.

THE BALANCING ACT OF TRUTH

The two loose ends of the belt in the priestly garments symbolized the balancing act that truth brings into our lives.  One end of the belt rested securely on each side of the priest; and often these two belt ends rested over the priest’s two shoulders.

God’s truth is always balanced.

One truth will not counter act or be out of harmony with another truth; but all will flow together in peace and love when the truth is properly in place.

GOD’S PROPHETS WERE GIVEN THE JOB OF PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH

Whenever the people strayed from the truth in those early years of the nation of Israel’s formation, growth and thriving forward and in the times that came after the wilderness tabernacle; God would send a prophet with His words of truth to steer the people back into the correct path.  During the times of the wilderness tabernacle this was Moses.  In the later years God sent other prophets.

If the people were wise they would listen; but sadly sometimes they did not.

At one point in time God gave the prophet Jeremiah these words to say to his chosen people:

“For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me, says the LORD, that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.” (Jeremiah 13:11)

WE MUST RETURN TO RENOWN, PRAISE AND GLORY IN HOLY PRIESTHOOD OF GOD

In reading this passage I was sadly reminded that God originally instructed Moses to give the priestly garments to the priests serving in the wilderness tabernacle “for renown, for praise, and for glory.”

Only the priests that were able to hear the truthful word of God were of true service to God.

Some things never change.

The same fact is true of the priesthood of God that is called and ordained today; unless they are able to hear the truth of God and act upon it, there will be no praise or glory for God’s people.

IT IS THE TRUTH OF GOD THAT HOLDS EVERYTHING ELSE TOGETHER

A priest of God must be clothed first in truth and that is what holds everything else together and makes it all work well as they go about their ministry.

We are ALL called to be a holy priesthood.

We are ALL called as children of God to be a part of His Holy Nation that sprang from Israel.

Let us go about our business and our ministry clothed in the absolute truth of God.

Put on the belt of truth today; then go out to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

THE TURBAN AND THE CROWN – THE DRESS CODE OF GOD SERIES (PART FOUR) COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 168

A turban and a crown clothing unlike the angels

WEARING A TURBAN AND A CROWN

The High Priest of Israel was to wear a turban.  This turban was to hold a crown of pure gold.  The scripture God gave to Moses reads like this:  “And you shall make a crown of pure gold, and engrave upon it in the manner of a signet ring.  “Holy To The Lord.”  (Exodus 28:36)

This piece of pure gold that made up the crown was thin and flexible enough to arch across the forehead like a bow.  The concept of the bow shape is interesting because the shape of a bow is the same as that of a rainbow; and a rainbow means that God always keeps His promises.  God had promised Abraham to make Israel a holy nation.  The words engraved across the crown were “Holy To The Lord.”

To achieve that place of actually becoming “holy to The LORD,” one must learn to be pure and flexible like the golden crown that fits into the shape of the priest’s forehead.   One needs to know how to bend and shape into the person that God desires to serve Him on this earth..

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to today’s lesson for the COME AS A CHILD chronological bible study.  We are taking today’s lesson information from Exodus, Chapter 28.  If you are just now beginning to follow along with us, you may find the first three sections of this series called THE DRESS CODE OF GOD  here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/robe-priest/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/understanding-ephod/,   https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/clothes-of-the-ancient-priest/.  We have a few sections to go in this series within the study of Exodus.

THE SEAL OF GOD ON THE FOREHEAD OF THE HIGH PRIEST 

The letters of the crown were raised on the front of the crown.  To achieve this the back side of the crown was pounded with the shapes of letters until the other (front) side formed raised places shaped like the letters which spelled out the words “Holy Unto The LORD.”

This “crown” served the same function that the signet ring of a king represented – ownership.  God’s signature; His name, was written upon the crown.  The crown spoke of God’s ownership and possession of His people.

Thin threads tied into holes in the crown kept the thin golden plate against the priest’s forehead.  It was as if God had engraved His signet across the forehead of the priest of this nation.

A CONSTANT REMINDER OF GOD’S COMMANDMENTS

Later in the history of the nation of Israel, a space was left between the turban and the crown that enabled the priest to wear the tefillin; which was a small container with little scrolls of verses from the Torah.

These scrolls contained or summarized the commandments and served as a constant reminder that the priest was to always bind himself to the commandments.

The placement of the tefillin was also recognized as another symbolic gesture; as if God had written His words upon their foreheads.

THE SYMBOLS OF ATONEMENT

We have mentioned before that each garment symbolized some type of atonement.  The turban represented atonement for haughtiness and the crown represented atonement for arrogance.

The turban and the crown seem to make good partners.  Arrogant people are usually haughty and God abhors this behavior.  These two parts of the garments of the high priest remind us that God atoned for these sins (even of the priest) through the blood of the sacrifices that were offered up.

Though pride and arrogance are even praised and placed high in the ways of the world; we serve a God who loves humility.

God made it clear to Moses that no priest serving God in the wilderness should give way to  a place of arrogance and haughtiness inside his heart.  These characteristics only belonged to those who placed themselves above God, which would be a form of idolatry.

The weighty reminder of the first commandment was forever upon the head of the High Priest in service.  “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”

THE SHAPE OF THE TURBAN WAS SIGNIFICANT 

The turban was made of white linen that was wrapped around the head many times.  The turban of the regular priests came to a point and the turban of the high priest was flat.

The gold crown was fastened to the turban and tied in the back with a blue strap.  On the crown were the words “Holy To The Lord.”  This rested over the forehead.

TWO OPPOSITE REPRESENTATIONS; THE GOLD OF GOD AND THE HUMANITY OF MANKIND

The two items of the combination of the turban and the crown in the vicinity of the head spoke together of many facts.

The gold of the crown represented the purity of the heart and the linen of the turban represented the vegetable aspect of mankind; how man actually came from the dust of the ground and had no life until God breathed the breath of life into him.

THE TURBANS OF THE ORDINARY PRIEST WERE DIFFERENT

The ordinary priesthood represented mankind striving to reach God.  Their turbans came to a point as if to say “I’m on my way up to meet God.”  Life for the ordinary priest was a daily struggle to overcome.

THE TURBAN OF THE HIGH PRIEST REPRESENTED SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT ACHIEVED

The High Priest represented humanity’s highest spiritual level.  The turban of the High Priest was flat; representing the fact that he had reached the top of the spiritual levels of humanity.

The turban represented atonement for conceited thoughts.  The High Priest should have mastered this concept in life before attaining his position among the people.

Many think the appearance of Aaron’s turban or mitre was similar to the one worn today by the Roman Catholic Pope.  Actually, though the appearance was more like the turban traditionally worn by the Sikhs.  There is no definite religious connections between the Israelites and the Sikhs; but the turban worn by Aaron was said to be very much like the one worn by the Sikhs.

THE HELMET OF SALVATION 

The white turban and the golden crown remind us of the scripture found in Ephesians 6:17-20 which speaks of Paul’s description of “the helmet of salvation.”

This scripture says:  “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE

This serves as a reminder to the high priest as well as us, to be taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah.

We read of this in 2 Corinthians 10:5 which speaks to us of:  “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

A SEAL OF OWNERSHIP AND LOVE

 By the words “Holy Unto The Lord” God seemed to be placing his seal of ownership and love upon the foreheads of the priest representing God’s people.

The seal of God is the most important thing an end-times Christian can have. 

We read this in Revelations 9:4 which says:  They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who DO NOT have the seal of God on their foreheads.

ANOTHER DAY IS COMING 

We are just like the high priests of Israel who came into the presence of God.  One day we too will have to come before Him.  He will be looking for that seal that only He can place upon His people. 

That seal is our way to stay protected and unharmed when all of the rest of the world is being destroyed and decaying away. 

The Holy Seal of God is what makes us belong to Him.  It is our label of passage into the Holy Kingdom where we can walk safely just as the High Priest who was righteous and obedient before God had done in the days of the Wilderness Tabernacle when he entered into The Holy Place.

Those words of God’s Seal upon our foreheads translate to mean our atonement.   They speak of our helmet of salvation; Jesus Christ residing within our hearts.

MAKE SURE YOUR SEAL IS NOT COUNTERFEIT

Just as there were false priests who came later in the history of Israel; there are also false gods who wish for us to worship them.  These are not true gods but demonic beings in disguise.  There is only ONE true God.

The false priests of Israel could not stand before a Holy God nor could they make atonement for the people.  They died when they entered The Holy Place and the nation suffered for a period of time for their sins.

All false gods will be sentenced to the bottomless pit, a dark abyss that is the address of a place of eternal torment.   Therefore; we must stay alert and aware of the falsehoods of Satan.  We never want to be following in his footsteps and we do not want to encounter the spiritual darkness that this encounter can bring.

Beware that the devil has a counterfeit seal.  It will be placed on the foreheads of those who are rebellious against God during the times of the end.  The foreheads of all will be marked, either for God or for Satan.

So I ask you today; how will you be dressed when that final day arrives?

What will your helmet look like?

Will you have the seal of God on your forehead and like the righteous High Priest be able to stand before God; or will you wear the seal of Satan and be counted among the lost?

It is something to consider.

Your answer has eternal consequences.

The dress code of God matters.  It mattered in ancient times and it still matters today.  You MUST be covered in the blood of Christ to enter the Wedding Feast of God.  Those who are not properly clothed will be cast into outer darkness forever.

 

THE ROBE – THE DRESS CODE OF GOD (PART 3) – COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 167

future priests by sheila gail landgraf

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ROBE OF THE HIGH PRIEST

We have already discussed that the robes worn by the High Priest in the Wilderness Tabernacle of Israel were more colorful and elaborate robes than the robes worn by the Ordinary Priests. The Ordinary Priest wore basically white linen garments and fewer garments than the High Priest.

On the Day of Atonement the High Priest dressed different from the way he dressed on other days. His robe that held the ephod was sky-blue.  It was seamless and made of one piece, just like the robe that Jesus wore which the soldiers gambled for as He hung on the cross; although Jesus’s robe was probably white and would have been similar in nature to the garments of an ordinary priest.   The hem of this robe for the High Priest was lined with special motifs and designs that bore meanings of great significance.

INTRODUCTION

Thank you for joining in on our study today!

Specifically, we will be discussing the significance of the robe that the High Priest wore on the Day of Atonement. This is Part 3 of a series called THE DRESS CODE OF GOD in the COME AS A CHILD weekly on-line bible study.   If you missed last week’s lesson you may find it here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/understanding-ephod/ .  Today’s scripture passage can be found in Exodus 28:31. Let’s begin by reading that passage together and ponder the words God gave to Moses about the garments of the priests of Israel:

“Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collar around this opening, so that it will not tear. Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die.”

TWO CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ROBE WERE THE SYMBOLS OF FRUITFULNESS AND THE USE OF SOUND

SOUND

Why would there be a symbolic pointing to “sound” on the robe of the High Priest?

The sound that I am speaking of is the tinkling of bells attached to the hem of the robe of the High Priest as he went about his duties in the Holy of Holies on The Day of Atonement.

The sound of those bells was indicative of the fact that he was alive and moving and performing his duties before God.

If the people waiting outside heard the bells they knew he was okay. They could not enter this sacred place; only the High Priest went in once a year on The Day of Atonement. How else would they know what was going on inside the area?

If the High Priest entered without the proper garments, or if he entered without confessed sin; he would die.

The people, concerned about this fact, actually tied a rope to one of the legs of the serving priest; so if this happened; they could pull his body out without entering the sacred place themselves and putting themselves into the very same grave danger.

They would know the possibility of tragedy, if they stopped hearing the sound of the bells.

They would know that God had not been pleased and that the priest had not been able to function in his role before God if the bells were only followed with silence.

A MORE MODERN-DAY SOUND OF BELLS THAT IS QUICKLY DISAPPEARING IN THE LAND

This passage and discussion makes me think of church bells.

It has been traditional to hear the sound of church bells ringing across the land of America and other countries; signifying that it is time for the people to come into the Sanctuary and worship God.

Many nations have considered this fact to be of utmost importance and have implemented bells in steeples in churches all across their lands.

More and more today, this most important part of the week where people have traditionally sought the face of God together, is not kept at all, nor is the absence of this “ keeping” even given a moment’s thought.

The bells fall silent.

The people might feel something is missing; but they just can’t seem to remember what it is. There is no sound of God being worshiped in the land in the churches or the homes.

This tradition of ringing bells and calling the people to worship seems to be disappearing across our lands.

Does this fact not indicate the absence of true worship? I wonder.

I pray for the sound of the bells to return and ring out across the land again once more.

Here too, as well as in the days of the Wilderness Tabernacle, the sound of the bells would be very significant in the spiritual health and progression of our nation.

AN ACT TOWARD SAFETY THAT SHOWS RESPECT

Not only did the sound of the bells on the priest’s garment help the people of Israel to know the constant condition of their priest; it was a safety precaution; one that warned God that someone was approaching His Presence and seeking Him out for a specific reason.

The sound of the bells meant “I’m going to enter your Presence now; so please be merciful unto me because I’m only human. I need to speak with you about matters of grave importance.”

It was a way of showing respect and awe for the Presence of God in a Holy Place.  For the sake of safety; you did not enter unannounced.

Would you go before a King unannounced? God is higher and holier than any king of any nation of the earth.

Of course this one fact makes me stop and ponder the story of Esther; but that is a lesson for another day.  

EVEN THE SOUND OF ORDINARY COW BELLS CAN SOMETIMES REMIND US OF HOLY THINGS

While thinking of these facts about the bells; a funny thought comes to my mind.  Having grown up on a country farm and having had a grandfather who owned a dairy; I immediately thought of cattle crossing a highway.

Most of the cows in the dairy had to come to the main barn at least once a day to be milked. This meant they had to cross a road from one pasture area to another. They were herded together and lead in a group to a gate where they crossed the road and entered another gate to get into the pasture that led to the barn where the milking was done.

The milk cows all wore bells around their necks so if one of them got loose from the herd as they were crossing and remained on the road; people in on-coming traffic would hear the sound of the bell and know the cow was in the road and they could take the proper precautions for safety in their on-coming vehicles.

This was not only for the safety of the people passing by; but for the safety of the cow also. The farmer did not want any of the cattle to get hit by a driver of a car that was not aware the cow was on the road.

Accidents are not good for dairy farmers and they were not good for the priests serving Israel either!

Accidents by the High Priest would be many times worse than the accidents of cattle crossing the road. The dairy might lose a good producing cow, and perhaps a person passing by might get injured too.

On the other hand, if a High Priest had a mishap when entering The Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement; a whole nation would lose its standing before God. The priest would die, and the people would become hopeless forever.

What the priest of the wilderness tabernacle did before God had eternal consequences.

SOUND IS IMPORTANT AND SIGNIFICANT TO GOD

So you see; sound was very significant in the life of a High Priest and for the people of Israel. Sound is important to God.

Hearing the sound was also very important to the people. They knew and realized that the high priest was inside offering up their sacrifice that would bring them atonement. If he failed in his mission; they were hopelessly lost to their sins forever.

The High Priest had to be very diligent to maintain his own holiness before God before offering the sacrifices for the whole nation. He had to be clean and confessed and covered in the proper robe in order to enter and offer the sacrifice for the people.

JESUS CHRIST STANDS BEFORE GOD AS OUR MOST RIGHTEOUS HIGH PRIEST

Today we know Jesus Christ as our High Priest. He is now at the right hand of God in the Temple of the Heavens offering up atonement for our sins every day as we give our prayers to Him.

Every time you pray a prayer of confession Jesus hears you and carries your prayer to the Father, who will forgive you because it has been offered up through Christ. There is nothing that God will hear straight from us. The listening to our prayers is made possible because God is hearing them directly from our Savior; Jesus Christ, who is hearing them from us.

THE ROBE OF CHRIST IS RIGHTEOUSNESS

This act alone shows us how important the righteousness of Christ is.

He walked the earth as a perfect man without sin. This makes Him a worthy High Priest.

Atonement for us as a body and a nation before God is only possible through Jesus Christ.

There is no reason for us to fear His death before God because of any unrighteousness.   No sin or unrighteousness can be found in Him. Because of this He is able to offer up atonement for us, as individuals and as a nation.

CHRIST OFFERS A PLACE OF SAFETY TO US

Just as the bells on the hem of the priestly garment offered their form of safety for the priest and the people; Christ offers us a place of safety.

We are safe in the arms of His love.

Who else would be willing to die in our place?

He loves us more than anything.

We can know we are safe in His care.

SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER TODAY

Those ringing bells indicated that the priest was moving and doing his job; offering up prayers and incense before the throne of God for the people. The prayers were for God to know their hearts and guide and direct every move of Israel in the right direction that would bring them closer to God without spiritual death; and with holy life moving forward.

Are you the high priest of your own home?

Do you understand how important it is for you to stay spiritually safe?

Are you constantly offering up prayers before a Holy God for yourself and your own family?

A prayer is a SOUND; a way that God can know and hear you and direct you. It can resemble the sound of those ancient priestly bells.

FRUITFULNESS

If the priest obtained atonement for the people, the nation as a whole would continue to be fruitful. Thus; we begin to understand the use of the pomegranates on the hem of the robe that was designed by God for the priests to ware.
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The pomegranate is considered to be the most fruitful of all foods that comes from the ground.

THE SYMBOLIC NATURE OF A POMEGRANATE

Are you aware that a pomegranate is symbolic of eternal life?

Eating a pomegranate is a very messy experience. If you cut one open, all the seeds inside explode and send their red juices trickling everywhere. This is a type of symbolic reminder of what the blood of Jesus has done for us.

The red juices of the pomegranate remind us that Christ bled and died on the cross for us. It was a very messy experience, and going through life in this world without Christ can also be a very messy experience too.

We need the life that Christ has to offer.

We need the fruitfulness of the pomegranate.

EATING A POMEGRANATE TAKES WORK AND TIME

The process of eating a pomegranate is messy, takes work and time, and is not an easy task to accomplish; but in the end – it is good and worth all the trouble.

This fact is comparable to the process we must all go through to obtain eternal life.

Jesus did the hard part for us; He died in our place; but we too have work to do.   We  have a responsibility and a duty to attend to the purposes that we were designed to live out.  God has a purpose for each of us on this earth.

OBSERVING THE ARIL

The aril is what we call the little seeds that exist inside the pomegranate. You have to work to get them out.

These little aril/seeds are full of nutrition and good health, so you want to be sure to get every single little seed that you can.

These little seeds have to be handled carefully though; or they rupture. You can’t force them.

OUR LIVES ARE SIMILAR IN NATURE TO THE ARIL OF THE POMEGRANATE

We come before Christ sometimes similar to this process of removing the arils of the pomegranate.

We can’t be forced; least we break; but God gives us free-will and God’s Holy Spirit carefully guides us to come to Christ. Christ, again working through God’s Holy Spirit, carefully loves us until we come to know and believe the source of our salvation and we then begin to trust and become obedient to God.  At that point, we are nurtured and cared for like a well-watered garden as we grow and ripen into something fruitful for the kingdom of God.

Each little aril seed has the potential to grow into a wonderful tree in God’s garden.

Each little seed has potential to bear many more seeds.

THE FRUIT OF A GODLY NATION IS MORE NUMEROUS THAN WE CAN COUNT OR IMAGINE

No other plant has as many seeds as the pomegranate. This fact reminds us of the great number of God’s children on this earth. “As many as the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea;” isn’t that what God promised Abraham his people would grow into?

The pomegranate represents the multitudes of people who will spring from the seed of Israel and become the children of God for The Kingdom of God.

THERE ARE 613 SEEDS IN EVERY FRUIT

If you open up a pomegranate and count the seeds inside you will find that each and every one contains exactly 613 seeds. The count will never be off; there will ALWAYS be 613 seeds in each and every fruit.

This amazing fact became a symbolic reminder to Israel to keep the laws of God.

The Jewish people have the commandments divided into 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. This is why many Jewish tables serve pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah, which is a festival that is also called The Feast of Trumpets; once again mixing the pomegranates with SOUND (represented by the bells on the priest’s robe and/or the trumpet sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.)

THERE IS ONLY ONE PROCEDURE THAT WORKS TO REMOVE THE STAIN FROM POMEGRANATE JUICE

Pomegranate juice will cause a permanent stain; unless it is bleached.

This too can be symbolic of the cleansing of our baptism when we come to know Christ and receive salvation.

Our sins that were scarlet are now washed as white as snow.

A CONSTANT REMINDER TO KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS

When the people saw the pomegranates on their High Priest’s robes they were reminded of the fact that God wanted them to always remember and keep His laws.

He wanted them to stand clean and pure before Him. This was the whole reason for seeking atonement.

THE AMAZING QUALITIES OF A POMEGRANATE WORK PHYSICALLY LIKE THE SPIRITUAL QUALITIES OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

The pomegranate is one amazing fruit!

It contains antioxidants that fight free radicals which can damage DNA and cells.

Pomegranates and their juices help to fight against many deadly diseases.

Pomegranates are a very good defense from hardening of the arteries and they help to protect the heart.

Scientists have found the ingredients of pomegranates fight breast cancer and prostate cancer. They cause the cancerous areas to heal without harming the parts of the body that are untouched by the disease; thus can sometimes be used as an alternative to chemo.

Pomegranates are believed to have originated from eastern Iran to northern India, growing in deserts and/or  very dry places.  They are drought tolerant and can survive well even when the water supply is low.

Pomegranates are typically in season during the months of September through November which just happens to be the time period of God’s Fall Holy Days.

The pomegranates especially remind us of The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. Many people place pomegranates inside their temporary dwellings called a “sukkah” and they share them together during their feasts at this festival. This luscious fruit serves as a strong reminder of the importance and the fruitfulness of keeping the commandments of God.

THE ALTERNATION OF PRAYERFULNESS AND FRUITFULNESS AND THE RESULTS OF SUCH A COMBINATION

The bells and the pomegranates alternated around the hem of the priest’s robe.

There was a bell, then a pomegranate, then a bell, then a pomegranate.

That is how the order of our life should be lived before God; prayer, life, prayer, life, prayer, life.

It is through our constant prayers to God that we are kept spiritually fit and alive and able to perform the righteous acts of daily life that are demanded by a Holy and Righteous God.

Keep your bells and pomegranates in place; keep them active and serving. Don’t ever forget to use these tools of prayer and remember how they remind you that keeping the commandments of God always bring fruit and life.

It all matters in the dress code of God.

THREE WAYS TO CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY NEAR BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA IN 2017 – OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO

Independence Day by sheila gail landgraf

INDEPENDENCE DAY THE BIRMINGHAM ALABAMA WAY

Come join the Independence Day celebrations taking place in the area of Birmingham, Alabama.  The South really knows how to throw a party; especially a meaningful party such as Independence Day.

Many will be traveling to their favorite summer retreats for this holiday.  My family will be staying closer to home for our nation’s celebration this year, but we will be joining the hearts of all the people across the land.

Why would we want to travel when there is so much to see and do right here so close to home?

Great celebrations are happening all over the Birmingham area and many of them are right under our noses and practically in our own backyards.

YOUR OWN BACKYARD IS ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO HOLD A CELEBRATION

Speaking of your own backyard, I think that is a great way to celebrate.  Pull out the rocking chairs and sit out on the front porch and maybe crank up the ice cream freezer.  If your friends and neighbors decide to drop by; the more the merrier.

Parades are happening in all the home towns across the nation this weekend.

Music is pouring out from every doorway.

Grills are grilling and restaurants and breweries all over town are cooking and brewing up some Independence Day feasts.

Fireworks are in the plans for several large and small town locations all across the country.

THREE EVENTS TOP MY BUCKET LIST FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY 2017

As I thought of all that is happening this year, three events are right at the top of my bucket list. Here is a brief summary of these fa.vorite happenings that are coming down close to where we live, in the greater Birmingham area of Alabama.

MORGAN CREEK WINERY, 181 Morgan Creek Lane, Harpersville, Alabama 35078

Morgan Creek Vineyards are located just outside of Birmingham. If you don’t mind a pleasant little drive from the city to the country you can be there in no time.

This year the winery is having Music in the Vineyards. It all could make for a lovely and enchanting experience.

The grounds are breathtakingly beautiful and the winery is open for some interesting tours. Wine tasting will be among the most popular of the events.

The fun starts at 5 p.m. and there will be live music by The Tekneck Band on the lawn. You may rent a table (205-672-2053) or you may bring your own lawn chair and/or a blanket. The cost per person to attend is $10.

The fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. It should be a very beautiful evening!

THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN, Fireworks Show launched from Vulcan Park, in Birmingham, Alabama

You cannot attend the show AT Vulcan Park, so please don’t get that part confused. This Birmingham tradition that lights the skies of Birmingham’s Southside every year is STAGED from the fireworks placed in Vulcan Park. For safety’s sake the park gates close at 6 p.m. and no one is allowed to enter after that time.

You must find a favorite spot around town from which to view the fireworks.  Anywhere that you have a good view of the Vulcan will give you a good view of the fireworks.

Many people watch the show from different areas and favorite perches in Five Points South, Homewood, Vestavia and Mountain Brook. UAB also has a few good spots from which to watch the fireworks.

Where ever you decide to view from; just get there and get comfortable early. Traffic will be heavy and it is better to be in place long before the event begins.

This year’s extravaganza promises to be spectacular with about 20 minutes worth of colors and lights in the sky with patterns choreographed to a musical soundtrack that will feature a mix of patriotic favorites and popular musical performances.

How convenient for us that our daughter lives in a good viewing spot! We will gather on her patio as a family sharing the food that we all bring and just chill and relax with a cold drink while we watch the fireworks show.

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate our independence!

THE AMERICAN VILLAGE: 3727 Highway 119, Montevallo, Alabama 35115 205-665-3535

Again, for just a short little drive through a few country roads just outside of Birmingham you can be at The American Village to celebrate July 4th and Independence Day.  I can’t think of a better place to learn the history of our great nation, or to celebrate the future of America.

This is a wonderful, hands-on  way to teach your children the history of our country and to show them (literally) how we gained our independence.

Gates open at 11 a.m and there will be shows, exhibits, re-enactments and entertainment for all ages all day long. You can have your photo taken with some of the characters who are dressed in the proper clothing and acting out a day way back in the founding days of America.

Meet the characters and hear their stories.  If you think you know it all and have heard all the stories; you might be surprised to be learning new facts here.

Tour the very authentic colonial village and experience a day of the colonial life.

The day ends at the main stage near the town hall where you will hear inspiring speeches, patriotic music and the grande finale will be a beautiful burst of fireworks that will last well into the night.

You will leave proud to be an American!

I sincerely hope you and yours take in something fun and interesting to commemorate the Independence of America this year. Our young people need to know their heritage.

This is who we are!

The land of the free and the home of the brave!

Celebrate America!

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

ENJOYING THE ALABAMA OUTDOOR MARKETS – OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO

market by sheila gaiil landgraf

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE OUTDOOR MARKET IN THE AREA WHERE YOU LIVE?

Open air markets are scattered throughout the beautiful state of Alabama.  Every year many locals and visitors take advantage of these wonderful outdoor markets.  Some of my favorites are found in and around the area of Birmingham, Alabama.

EACH ALABAMA MARKET IS UNIQUE

Each market has its own set of interesting qualities.

You always leave each of these locations with healthy food and lots of other great finds.

More than likely you will be entertained in some unique way during your visit.

You never know what surprises will greet you as you move through the huge assortment of booths in the sunshine.

It is an absolutely lovely way to spend a relaxing day, plus you get the benefits of good exercise a nice walk as you stroll along.

THE FAITH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH MARKET

When choosing from the many open air markets of  Alabama, please don’t discount the smaller ones.  I’ve experienced lots of fun at the smaller area of outdoor booths which open every Saturday in the parking lot of the Faith Presbyterian Church on Valleydale Road in the Inverness area.

This smaller market is only open on Saturdays from nine till noon, and there are a limited amount of booths, but they often have good live music and tasty refreshments.

I like to browse here first, grab a bite of brunch from the vendors and then move on to the larger markets  that stay open all day later.

The vegetables for sale are great and all of the people are friendly.   Several unique artists are displaying their wares at fabulous prices in this spot.  I always find something novel and different.

Check it out!

POP’S CURB MARKET

If you don’t find all the veggies you need  at that location, drive straight down the road a bit and look to the right.

A very well-organized local curb market called “Pops” sells fresh Alabama grown vegetables, plants and other unique items.

It is well worth a look.  I have a habit of picking out one of their hanging baskets every spring.  They are always beautiful!  Their inventory is ever-changing with the seasons.

NO MARKET IS THE SAME

I do love how each open air market seems to take on its own special personality.   The character of the market seems to depend on the people displaying their merchandise, the location of the market, the merchandise itself  and the people living in the area surrounding the market.

No market is ever the same, which makes exploring all of the open air markets an exciting adventure.  I always look forward to checking in with my favorites anytime I find myself free on a pretty summer day.

Here are two larger market favorites of the locals from Birmingham, Alabama:

THE MT. LAUREL FARMER’S MARKET

Mt. Laurel is a lovely place, even if you aren’t there on Market Day, but Market Day is very special.

The day I was there it felt like God had put up His bluest sky just for me!  It seemed He had intensified the landscape with bright blazing colors. The delicious scents of fresh-cut flowers and the heavenly aroma of the amazing foods being sold at the market were so inviting.

market series by sheila gail landgraf

PART OF A BEAUTIFUL COMMUNITY

The moment I drove into the community of Mt. Laurel, I felt completely surrounded by beauty.

This urban-type community is conformed to the land, and serves its inhabitants well by keeping everything needed for a rich daily life within walking distance of their homes.

Inside the little town there are beautiful churches, a school, shops, restaurants, a library, a grocery store and a hardware store, as well as other business establishments.  The architecture is lovely, quaint and well planned

A FEELING OF WELCOME

Each front door of the homes seemed to say “Welcome!  Come visit me today.”

I passed rocking chairs on porches that whispered, “Come sit a spell.”

There were also many comfortable benches scattered in shaded little nooks.

I resisted the temptation to stop at a few of the open houses, though I really wanted to peek into their lovely rooms.  I even resisted the temptation to wonder through the streets and step inside the very interesting and unusual shops and restaurants.

I had to keep reminding myself “it is market day.”  Every little area looked like a place where I would enjoy sitting down with coffee and a good book.

I had no time for that today though, after all, I was here for the out-door market which is held every Saturday starting in the spring and lasting through the summer.

THE MARKET USUALLY STARTS EARLY

The day can get away before you know it, and those marketers like to start early while there is still some  cool morning air.

I’m told that most of what is sold here is grown local and organic on the community farm property.  The growers host various educational classes to teach people the science of maintaining and growing your own food and eating and living nutritionally.

SOMETIMES YOU JUST GET LUCKY

I didn’t need anyone to tell me that I had stumbled upon a good thing.

Who could resist the smell of freshly baked bread?  I certainly could not pass it by.  The samples get you every time, especially when they have all those jars of fresh jam and honey to add to the already perfect baked goods.

If anything can be canned, you can find it here.  Amazing assortments of flavors are just waiting to be tasted.

Veggies and flowers make a perfect combination on any table.  Forget planning out new tablescapes; these are natural tablescapes, totally designed by the greatest of all designers.

Just look at the beautiful sunflowers!  You know, I’m sure I passed the field they came from on the way in.  It took my breath away.

Do you have a little girl in need of a dance costume?  You’ve come to the right place.

Or maybe she only needs a pretty hair bow.  You can find them here, and there is even a tea party going on for Moms and daughters.  You will spy it around the corner after the market in the main part of town.

Maybe you would like some cheerful glassware for your summer table.  Aren’t these wonderful?

If you don’t want to prepare your own veggies for cooking, someone here has done it for you!  Just refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to cook.

This is truly a fruitful place.  The peaches are to die for.

Soon my tummy and my shopping bag were full of fresh foods and crafts for the home.

I passed the people walking their dogs and the moms pushing their babies in strollers and made my way back to my car.

A beautiful window box caught my eyes as I was leaving.  It looked “just perfect.”  It said in flowers how I felt about this beautiful day.  I gave thanks to God for the experience and headed for home to try some of the goodies I had found.

THE PEPPER PLACE MARKET

There is another jewel of an outdoor market hiding in Birmingham’s south side and it is called The Pepper Place.  If you haven’t discovered it yet, you’re missing a great treat!  It is one of my favorite places to buy groceries underneath the bright blue sky.

A PERFECT PLACE TO SHOP, EAT AND VISIT

You must come to The Pepper Place if you love open air markets!

The Pepper Place is located at 2829 2nd Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama.  It usually opens outside in April.

A HISTORICAL SKYLINE

You won’t find the green grass and rolling hills that we saw at Mt. Laurel here; but you will find the skyline of an interesting old historical city.  The art of concrete and steel seem to emerge as a greeting.  Old, almost dead buildings, warehouses and factories seem to have found some type of new life in this place.

The Pepper Place is a modern-day portrait of resurrection.  It is as if everything here is waking up from a long, long sleep to a new day and age.  I think if you listen very close, you will hear the stories of eras gone by.

THE STREETS HAVE STORIES TO TELL

The streets here DO have stories.  This area was once known as the Lakeview District, and it once had an artificial lake surrounded by a hotel, a pool, a skating rink, a bowling alley and a ball park.  A trolley ran through the area.  Can’t you just imagine how special it must have been for the people living in the area back then?

That was back in 1893.

Things have changed a bit since those days.

A TALE OF TWO COMPANIES

In the 1920’s the area became more industrialized.  Two companies took over the main part of the landscape.  They were The Martin Biscuit Company and the Dr. Pepper Syrup Plant.  Dr. Pepper also built a bottling company in the area.   A new viaduct was completed on 24th Street bringing in even more traffic and several light industrial businesses.

Now, many years later the area hosts a busy design center, the Farmer’s Market and The Terrific New Theatre.  Restaurants, galleries and business offices dot the scene.

The minute you step onto the property you can feel the energy of this place.  Signs welcome us from all entrances and there are human smiling faces to back them up and make their greetings true.

INTERESTING AROMAS AWAIT AROUND EVERY CORNER

Did you catch that delicious aroma from the gentle breeze of the alleyway?

Can you recognize what it is?

I think maybe a mixture of grilling BBQ, the scent of fresh flowers, the smell of ripe peaches, strawberries, and flavored coffees; as well as some other interesting scents mixed in for good measure and variety.

Sheila Gail Landgraf

The wonderful fragrances compel me to move closer to the busy merchant’s booths, seeking to know what else is hiding there.

Just as I am about to indulge in the joys of the sweet tales my sense of smell is speaking of, I am drawn to listen to what my sense of hearing has found.

MUSIC AND MUSICIANS ABIDE HERE

Out of the street noise comes the sweet melody of a song.  There is music here!  It is indeed very good music.

Several talented musical artists are entertaining openly outside the bistros and inside the coffee shops.  One famous coffee shop is called The Red Cat.   Many a local talent has become well-known there.

Their songs float through my head like old friends that I bumped into unexpectedly.  I pick up my feet and walk with a little more rhythm, subconsciously moving to the catchy tunes I hear.   Pepper Place is all about music.

There are others affected in the same way that I am.  I see people walking their dogs, and I see dogs walking their people.  Some ladies pass me pushing puppies in a baby stroller.  They stop and listen to the music too.  Many are sitting around the scattered table areas with lunch and/or brunch, several of them with their pets at their feet, resting, enjoying the sights and sounds of the market.

THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY

I see parents with children, teens, older couples, and grandparents with their grandchildren.  There are no age barriers here.  I laugh thinking of Birmingham’s bad rap because of the history of racial strife.  I see all races and cultures laughing and passing the time as friends.  Everyone is moving and living together.  It is lovely; and I soak it in so as not to forget how all things do not have to fit into neat little categories, but collages are nice and sweet and paint a much better picture of love.

The people here are relaxed and friendly.  I think a few only came to socialize with their neighbors and to spend quality time with their families.  I see a few wives and husbands as well as dating couples.  I am here with my husband, my daughter and my son-in-law.  It is a great way for us to talk about life, laugh and share our hours.

THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT WONDERFUL FOOD

Instantly we are captivated by the food.  Some of the local restaurants have booths.  The locally famous cooking college has let its students use the market as a testing place.  I would say the tests have gone very well!  Their food is disappearing fast.

Local bakeries and even those who are working out of their homes are displaying tempting treats.

Samples are waiting on you at every turn.  Coffees, cheeses, cookies, cakes, candy; the list goes on and on.  Fresh home-baked bread!  It is all amazing.  The Pepper Place is all about wonderful food!

By the time you load up on all the calories you dare to spend in one place at one time, you spot the unique displays by various artists.  Most of them are local.  What an amazing selection!

THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT ART

Each work of art is a different masterpiece.  This is not your typical arts and crafts show, this is genuine artwork crafted by genuine artists. Most of the artists are local to the Birmingham area.  They tell their stories if you take the time to talk to them.  Paintings, pottery, jewelry, carvings, you name it, you will spy it here.

I tuck notes in my brain from the creative ideas these craftsmen spark in my imagination for my own projects later.  Their creativity is contagious!  Some of this art is so very unique though that I have to fork out the cash and pay for the originality, because I know I would never be able to duplicate it in quite the same way.  The bright vivid colors paint their own canvas over the day as we wonder through the merchandise.  The Pepper Place is all about beautiful works of art!

TREASURES ARE BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE BECAUSE THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT UNIQUE AND WHIMSICAL SHOPS

When we get a little warm from all our walking in the sunshine, we begin to explore the other interesting “inside” shops in the old refurbished warehouses that frame the alleyways where the “outside” booths live.  We go inside to cool off, but again we are surrounded by a multitude of pretty treasures and keepsakes.

I make a mental note of the permanent stores that I want to revisit when it is closer to the Christmas season.  I love antiques and collectibles, and I am not disappointed. They are here.  I also love modern upscale furnishings, and they are here too.  I fall in love with several pieces and remind myself to start budgeting for them.   The Pepper Place is all about unique and whimsical shops!

It is all so good, and we haven’t even arrived at the main focus of our journey for today……The Farmer’s Market.

market series by sheila gail landgraf

A BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA WAY OF SHOPPING

It is a common practice these days for the women in Birmingham to skip the large corporate grocery stores that have fruits and vegetables shipped in from other countries.   Why would they spend their money there when they can enjoy their day at this market and buy fresh, locally grown produce?  It is a great way to have fun and keep your family healthy too.  The prices are comparable if you are looking at quality.   So we come to The Farmer’s Market with great anticipation.  We are not disappointed!

THE FARMER’S MARKET IS THE MAIN ATTRACTION

Every type of vegetable and fruit are displayed along with cheeses, spices, jellies, jams, pickles, soups and other canned goods.  If you don’t want to shell your beans, buy them already shelled in handy sizes fresh from this market.  The selection is amazing and the quality is excellent.

Do you need new recipes and fresh ideas?  They can be found here in abundance.

THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT EXCELLENT FRESH PRODUCE

The Pepper Place is all about excellent fresh grown fruit and vegetables.  I fill my shopping bag with luscious food that will serve my family well in the coming week.

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT A STEEL CITY POPSICLE

There is a booth in the fruit section selling fresh smoothies.  Delicious!  Also, a good cool treat is the amazing flavors that Steel City Pops sell in their popsicle booth.

DON’T FORGET TO SAMPLE THE WINE

We turn out of the Farmer’s Market section and come to an area selling wine grown just for The Pepper Place!  Samples are being poured and we help ourselves.  My daughter decides to purchase a bottle for later in the evening.  This local wine is made, bottled and sold on site.

We walk through a little trail that takes us into a lovely outdoor garden.  It’s Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery!

CHARLIE THIGPEN’S GARDEN GALLERY IS AMAZING

You have to see this to believe it.

The eclectic mix of beauty and whimsy is delightful.  No “cookie-cutter” gardening here, it is all very unconventional.

Unusual statues and beautiful plants grow all around the neatest garden supply shop I’ve ever encountered.

There is original artwork displayed right beside the rakes and shovels, not to mention that the garden is a work of art in itself.

A GREAT PLACE TO ENJOY A LITTLE LUNCH

After a lovely walk through the garden and some excellent tips from the proprietor about how to plant for spring, we chance upon a little cantina that is serving up some great plates.

We stop and eat a bite, but not too much, then we go on our way browsing through the other stores in the area.

SUCH PRETTY FRESH CUT FLOWERS FOR SALE

On the way out my daughter and I had to gander at the lovely flowers in the fresh-cut flower section of the market.  Our guys were so nice.  They bought us a bouquet to take home!

Moving on through the district, the four of us, my husband and I along with my daughter and son-in-law, stumbled upon some other restaurants that were awesome.

FINER RESTAURANTS ARE TUCKED INTO THE LUNCH SPOTS AND COFFEE SHOPS

If you go to Pepper Place, be sure to check out the fine restaurants as well as the lunch and coffee shops.  Nothing could be better!  Most of these establishments open in the afternoon and evening hours.

We  decided to come back for dinner later because we had also discovered there was a wonderful art exhibit going on this afternoon in some of the nearby warehouse bays.

Off we went to the warehouses anticipating resting over dinner later.

IF YOU ARE REALLY LUCKY; YOU WILL STUMBLE ON A TRAVELING ART EXHIBIT

We were greeted by wine and cheese as we walked into the exhibit that Mr. Arthur Price had magically displayed for us inside a few of the larger old warehouses.

Delighted with his work; we browsed through his awesome collection of paintings and spent a good while marveling at each beautiful and interesting creation by this very talented artist who seemed to specialize in beautiful, large canvas murals.

To our amazement the artist took the time to speak to us personally about many of his favorite paintings.  He explained to us how his ideas were formed for different pieces.  It was so much fun to get to hear his thoughts regarding his own work.

His favorite work seemed to be a painting of a Spanish scene depicting one of their famous festivals.

We learned that he is a gardener and a visionary, and that he was born a native to Alabama.  He has spent his life studying myth, culture, legends and fables from the past and the present.

Mr. Price lives with his wife, Caren, on a farm near the Cahaba River in Shelby County, Alabama.

He paints on very large un-stretched canvases.  His pieces show serious and fantastical images of people, animals and spirits that are submerged into nature.  He uses interesting and unusual combinations for his subjects, most of them recognizable, yet having a dreamlike appearance.

The best word I could use to describe his style would be “enchanting.”  His work still haunts me, especially one painting that I took to be of Ruth and Naomi, yet, I didn’t ask him if that was correct.

Some of the paintings captured the beauty of the Native American Indians and their lives.  They were beautiful and ghost-like, not at all typical of the paintings we usually see of this culture.  Each painting carried a story of its own that only the artist could tell.

THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT ART AND BEAUTY

I wished we had taken more time here.  The exhibit would only be around for a few days.  The next time we came it will be a different artist.

It seems The Pepper Place is all about art and beauty!

After the much enjoyed art exhibit, we strolled back over to the area of the restaurants and enjoyed some fine food.  We had worked up an appetite by now and this place knew how to make food an adventure!

THE PEPPER PLACE IS ALL ABOUT EXCELLENCE IN FOOD

We had definitely made a day of it.

We left happy and content at about 9 p.m. after some rather tasty drinks from the bar.  We found ourselves pleasantly tired and ready to go home and bask in the memories of a great day.

WHICH MARKET WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

So I have given you a taste of just a few  of the good open air markets in the Birmingham, Alabama area to check out.

Don’t be surprised if you discover more on your way to these.  This wonderful way of shopping has become very popular; and you can see the old fashioned curb markets springing up everywhere along the Alabama roads.

THE AREAS SURROUNDING BIRMINGHAM ALSO CONTAINS OPEN AIR MARKETS

If you want to leave Birmingham and go out to the country a bit, I highly recommend that you take a peek at the flea markets in Collinsville and another popular flea market in an area called  Mountaintop.  They too have vendors with wonderful fresh produce.  There are also many others sprinkled all across the state.

As I mentioned before, not one of them is the same.

So enjoy life this summer and seek out a few new and exciting adventures at the open air markets.  You will find it a delightful experience.

 

 

 

ב BETH – A HEART IS A HOUSE FOR GOD’S WORD

INTRODUCING TODAY’S SPECIAL TREAT

Welcome to THE HOUSE DOCTOR section of The IN SEASON Lifestyle Blog.  Today we have a very special treat for you!

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our guest blogger:

ELAINE ETHRIDGE

If you have a heart that beats with passion for the task of making a house into a home, Elaine’s featured article brings forth some interesting points to consider.  She gives some great advice for a way to let our homes become the nesting ground for God’s fruit in our lives.

Thank you Elaine for sharing the beautiful words of your heart in the blog today.  I know everyone will also enjoy the awesome photos from your yard that were the inspiration for this article that follows:

ב BETH

(Writing and Photography by Elaine Ethridge)

While reading the verse of the day this week, the LORD led me to dig deeper into Psalms 119. 

I found that this Psalm is divided by eight Hebrew consonants.

ב BETH is the consonant that precedes verses 9-16.

To my delight I discovered that ב BETH is the picture or symbol of a house, a house not so different in appearance from my bluebird house. 

As I read the passage, it occurred to me that it is all about housing, or making our heart a home for God’s word. 

These verses talk about hiding these words from the Psalm in our heart:

 Following them.

 Recounting them aloud.

 Meditating on them.

 Contemplating them.

 Delighting in them.

 Remembering them. 

KEY QUESTION:

How could we not know God and His character when doing these things?

(Here are the words from the passage of Psalm 119:9-16: NIV; “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that came from your mouth.  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”)

This IS how we know what we should do and when it is appropriate to do so!

This is how He leads us into purity, washes our thought life and confirms us to His image. 

Our heart, as a home for His word, becomes the nesting ground of God’s fruit in our lives.

God would have that fruit to mature and to take flight, bringing life to a lost and dying world.

A PRAYER OF THANKS AND A REQUEST FOR A CHANGED HEART

Oh God, thank you for your word!

Thank you Holy Spirit for writing it on my heart.

Thank you Jesus that you stand at my heart’s door and knock.  Your desire is to sup with me!  How amazing is that?

Lord, give me a heart completely open to you and your word.  Give me a desire to feast on it daily and fellowship with you. 

God I confess that I fast more often than feast.  Change this in me.  Come deposit your word in my heart!  Enable me to raise the cups of commitment highlighted in this passage and say “I will rejoice in following your statues.  I will meditate on your precepts.  I will consider your ways.  I will remember and not neglect your word.”    

In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 

FATHER’S DAY DECORATING – THE HOUSE DOCTOR

Father's Day decor

FATHER’S DAY IS FAST APPROACHING!

Are you  ready?

The best way I know to turn a house into a happy home is to honor and respect the father/father’s who live, love and visit there.

I refuse to let Father’s Day be a downer for me because my Father is no longer with us.  I know he is having a great time in heaven and he would not want me to be sad.  

Instead I choose to make it a day to remember and honor all the wonderful ways he was a good father to me.  Thanks again Dad!  I hope I told you in a million ways while you were alive.

There are also a whole wonderful bunch of loving family members and friends left here living all around me that need to celebrate the great God-given position of fatherhood.  

Our family has been blessed with many awesome fathers.  

I’ve cherished the honor of being a small part of helping my husband be a good father; and I’ve adored the honor of watching my son-in-laws step into the happy place of becoming loving fathers too.

 

 

Father’s day is a good day for counting all of your blessings; both past, present and future.  What a wonderful way to officially begin the summer festivities,

So; let’s all have a wonderful Father’s Day celebration this year!

It is time to decorate the house in an honorable and festive way.

I want our house to have some elements of surprise, however;  I’m not changing too much of the color scheme that we used for Memorial Day and Pentecost.

Father's Day Sofa Pillows - by Sheila Gail Landgraf

The red,white and blue will be great through Father’s Day.    As a matter of fact; I’m leaving that color scheme in place until after Independence Day.

America’s colors are so flexible!

They blend with so many of our seasons. I love the bright cheerful look they present; so I’m going to plan my Father’s Day festivities around these patriotic colors.

Still – we need SOME changes; just a few little elements of surprise here and there.

Speaking of little surprises; I love Henri Nouwen’s way of welcoming a day into our lives.  He says:

“Each day holds a surprise., but only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy, it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.“

Red White and Blue In A Baket by Sheila Gail Landgraf

Celebrating Father’s Day is certainly a way of bringing this type of celebration into our lives.  

Celebrations From the Past - by Sheila Gail Landgraf

Father’s Day is always a great time for remembering the good times we’ve had with our Fathers in the past; and a perfect time for beginning to look forward to and be thankful for the good things that are still ahead with the youngest generations who are quickly taking their place in the busy and bustling world.

Men of the Future by Sheila Gail Landgraf

REMEMBERING THE DAY BY SHEILA GAIL LANDGRAF

The first element of surprise for Father’s Day will start at the entry door. The red, white and blue banner that says “Welcome to our home” will greet all the Dad’s who enter for our celebration.

Welcome Banner by Sheila Gail Landgraf

I’ve gathered some red, white and blue photo frames for pics of our grand children to put on the couch table in the entry.

I’ve found a cute little red, white and blue fireplace screen that is made up of little row-house bird houses. It gives the fireplace area more of a cheerful summer look.

USING THE FAMILY TREE TO CELEBRATE AND HONOR OUR FATHERS

To give the decorating theme that little element of surprise; I’ll add some navy blue stars to the family tree in my kitchen window. On those stars will be some candid black and white photos of all of the Dad’s in our family.

I did this same  sort of project (in a different and appropriate way) for Mother’s Day,  and it was a great hit!  I hope all of the family’s fathers love it as well.

I’m sure the guys won’t be expecting their version of the family tree for Father’s Day, and it will be a novel conversational center in the room when we gather.

Everyone will love looking over the memories of all of our family’s Father’s in action.   This is sure to spark some interesting conversations, plus this little extra effort will truly surprise them.

I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

 

 

For the dining room area I’m going to continue this festive approach and drape a string of red, white and blue wooden stars in the window between the open draperies.

The table will carry on the patriotic look with its array of red, white and blue dishes and place-mats and napkins; and I’ll also add a little country flair to this occasion with a row of mason jars filled with  short little stems of pretty navy blue and/or red carnations at the center of the table.  This will make things feel a little less formal and produce more of a jazzed-up-casual type of atmosphere that I think our Father’s will enjoy.

I’ll set out the old, well-used red, white and blue picnic basket with it’s starred napkins for a focus accent in the dining room.picnic basket by Sheila Gail LandgrafThe kitchen table has it’s larger flags inside a tall narrow glass jar which has a place for a chalkboard message. I’ll write Happy Father’s Day on the chalk board message section and just let the flags bring the color to this location.Table Flags

FlagsTo accent the family tree whenever I get it filled with pics of our family’s Dads I’ll put two more rows of small mason jars filled with small flags on each side.Flads in the WindowI’ll keep my large red wing-backed chairs out in the corners of my kitchen just a while longer.  They will be flanked with pretty navy blue pillows that contain white stars.

The chairs accent each side of the table holding the family tree.Patriotic KitchenI think some of our time together may be spent outside on the deck; even though our deck is still being remodeled.   Since that is the case I think I’ll flank the tables on the deck with bright red table cloths and add some mason jars and flags here and there along with some bright, pretty red, white and blue hanging baskets strategically located in different places along the deck.Cross with FlagThings are really beginning to look festive and I think it is all shaping up for a lovely Father’s Day celebration.

ELIMINATE ALL THE STRESS FACTORS AHEAD OF TIME

Father’s day is another of those stressful scheduling times.

I try to eliminate the stress factor for everyone  by not even having a schedule. We will be home all day for whoever wants to wonder over.   The door will be open.  There will be food and festivity for whoever can join us. No pressure.

One of our children and her family will be in another state and they will be holding our two grandsons hostage in their home; so we will be missing them from our ranks this year.

Their pics will be with us though and we will be getting phone calls I’m sure.

The other married daughter will be spending time with her husband’s father too; so I’m not pressuring them with a firm schedule.  She and her husband will be scheduled to work (I know because we are babysitting their daughter.)  At least we will get a few minutes in with them when they drop her off and pick her up!  My granddaughter’s Dad will also be enjoying the day with his daughter; so that is another understanding moment on our part. Our little granddaughter should be having her Father’s Day time with just her own Dad too!

Our other daughter could also be working retail-crazy-hours and our son often has logistic problems.

It could be a full house or an empty house; and I never know, so I just don’t worry and am thankful for whatever God brings our way.   I try to keep our home schedules simple and “off-the-cuff.”  The world gives us enough schedules!  I’m not dealing with that in our celebrations and down time, nor am I harassing or rushing anyone else.   I simply prepare whatever I’ve planned for whoever shows up whenever; and have low expectations on keeping a firm schedule. Whatever unfolds; unfolds as it does.

It is always good and NEVER boring!

This is all the more reason for having the house festive and the food in order. You never know when someone could decide to drop in. We can be ready to celebrate with either just a few or a crowd at the drop of a hat.

This year I’m planning an  easy-to-prepare Father’s Day menu.  I’ll try to post it with this series of Father’s Day articles soon.

The finishing touch to all the patriotic and traditional decorating is simply knowing the truth of that one little trick that utilizes the words of Max Eastman:

“A smile is the universal welcome!”

NOTE TO THE READER:  THIS IS JUST ONE OF SEVERAL ARTICLES ON FATHER’S DAY.  IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/fathers-day/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/contest/.

JUNE NEWSLETTER For The IN SEASON Lifestyle

Hello Everyone!

Can you believe we are well into June?

So much is happening in The IN SEASON Lifestyle that it is hard to know where to start with blog updates!

I think I will start with the big announcement that we will be hosting a monthly newsletter!  June will be our first official month for hosting The IN SEASON Lifestyle Newsletter; so consider this moment a part of history! 

Here is your own personal June First Edition Newsletter:

We have certainly been busy this past month of May; just living life upside-down and inside-out.  

With the inception of this blog we have started many new traditions!  

LOOKING AT THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE

THE PAST – THE BUSY AND SEASONAL MONTH OF MAY

May was one awesome moment after another.  

We added our first Newsletter and our first Contest.  

We were also busy creating a new section to bring you some of the The IN SEASON Lifestyle related products.  Keep checking the PRODUCTS section of the blog for the updates that are coming.  You are going to love each one!

With the publication of this Newsletter every month we will be giving you a summarized glimpse of THE PAST, THE PRESENT and THE FUTURE of this blog and The IN SEASON Lifestyle happenings and news!  

CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY

We began the month of May by having a week-long series of  Mother’s Day articles under the SEASON’S section of the blog.  I hope you enjoyed every one and that maybe these articles were helpful to you in your own Mother’s Day Planning.  If you missed them; you may read them here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/seasons-menu-mothers-day-luncheon/

As promised; here is a pic of my family celebration showing my own beautiful Mom with our lovely daughter and her daughter (my adorable granddaughter.)

I loved the fact that we had four generations of women from the family at our house on that day.  I should have made my husband take a pic with me in it just for that reason; but alas and as usual; I was behind the camera.  

Here are their lovely smiling faces:

MOMS
MY MOTHER’S DAY CREW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOTHER’S DAY PHOTO CONTEST

This May The IN SEASON Lifestyle launched our first Mother’s Day Photo Contest and all the entries are now in!

There was a slight problem though:

We had a tie!

Two photos hit the top of the charts for our judges!  Now it is going to be up to our readers to break the tie.

Here are the entries:

ENTRY NUMBER ONE:

E Ethridge
MD contest

In case you can’t make them out, or haven’t memorized the words to The Velveteen Rabbit (like some of us) here are the words framed in the photo:

“‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

These two entries are by one single photographer and they go together as a pair for one entry.  The photographer is bringing the same message with both photos.

Both photographs relate to the aspect of how Motherhood makes our lives become “real.”  That is why this photographer’s children used a framed copy of the quote from The Velveteen Rabbit to bring this fact home.

The exact words submitted from the artist taking the photos were:

“A dozen fading roses beside a picture penned and framed by my oldest from The Velveteen Rabbit.  A perfect Mother’s Day story!  Our children do so much to make us “Real”.  We moms’ pour ourselves into our children as they love us into velveteen.”

ENTRY NUMBER TWO

T KIMOLL

LOVING MOM

There were no words to post to this Entry Number Two; but that is totally appropriate; because I think this photo speaks volumes.  When a photo tells a story without words; you know it is special!  This photo shows the love that the boys have for their Mother; and it also shows the love the Mom has for her boys.  Just beautiful!

SO IT IS UP TO YOU; THE READER’S OF THIS BLOG TO BREAK THIS TIE!!!!!!!!!!

Please pick your favorite and send your vote in to wordcastlepublications@gmail.com.  Simply say either ENTRY NUMBER ONE or ENTRY NUMBER TWO.  

We will tally up the final votes in about seven days and make the winning announcement.  

The winner will receive a free “first draft” copy of THE SEASONS OF LANDGRAF CASTLE (Volume One)  (my family cookbook that I hope to have in publication and offer for sale on the blog soon.)

A great big THANK YOU to all of the other beautiful Mother’s
Day Photo Contest entries we received.  They were all amazing!

P.S.  I can’t let this Mother’s Day Photo contest go by without sharing a photo wrapped in kind words from our daughter Erin; who just happens to be one of the most talented photographers I know.  

Of course she didn’t qualify for the contest; but she gave me the gift of a lovely Mother’s Day photo (also a great lunch date.)  It brought tears to my eyes and I just have to share the story with my readers here:

Here is the photo:

Here are the words from her note:

“I’ve managed to build my dish collection around the plates you gave me years ago. When I finished my breakfast this morning it occurred to me that it’s kind of the same with everything you’ve given me: love, guidance, plates…they’ve all been a really solid foundation. Thanks for all you do and Happy Mothers Day!”

What more could any Mom ask for?  I feel truly blessed!  She blogs too; and since all bloggers love to share their joy with the world; I know she wouldn’t mind me sharing my joy with you.

FLAG BY SHEILA GAIL LANDGRAF
FLAG

MEMORIAL DAY

We celebrated the lives of all veterans who died during their service to our country on Memorial Day.  Here is a pic of my husband walking down a Memorial Day decorated highway.    

One way to honor people is through poetic words that pay a deserving tribute to the truth of the amazing stories behind the noble service that was given.  I wrote a poem to share in the PEN ART section of the blog.  If you missed it; here is the link:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/soldiers/  

I would like to dedicate my poem called, Pilgrims, Soldiers and Memorials After Pentecost, which we published in May to these brave men who served in the wars of our country.  My own Father is included in this loving dedication.  He served in the Navy during the Korean War, and I spent a lot of time thinking of him on this holiday.  It was also his birthday.  He always enjoyed Memorial Day and it was fitting that his birthday fell on the same day this year.  He is truly missed.  My Mother gave me a great gift not too long ago of the little pocket-sized navy blue bible that he carried while in the service.  It was issued by the Navy during the time of the Korean war.  I will always cherish that gift.

My husband and I were fortunate enough to be traveling during the Memorial Day weekend.  We saw lots of parades and road-side tributes; and we traveled down many sections of memorial highways flanked with flags and crosses that contained honored names.  I hope to be posting a few of those photos here from time to time when appropriate.  

One place we visited had a flag behind a sword stuck into a stone.  I had to venture closer to see what the plaque said at this monument.  

I was surprised to read the words written:

“On this site in 1897 nothing happened here.”  

How I wish that could be the saying we post on all monuments in the future!

it would mean that all the people of planet earth were living in peace and harmony.  I pray that we let all of our wars of the past teach us this goal; if they teach us nothing else!

I offer a big sincere “Thank You” to all veterans for your faithful and dedicated service and your willingness to lay down your life to defend the rights of your brothers and sisters.  We will forever be in debt to your love and devotion to liberty and freedom.

FLAGS ON A BUILDING

FLAG BEHIND THE SWORD IN THE STONE

THE END OF ALL WARS

TRAVELING DURING PENTECOST BY SHEILA GAIL LANDGRAF

THE DAY OF PENTECOST  

What celebration could top Memorial Day honors?  

I think it is very safe to say the The Day of Pentecost was one of the most significant days in the history of mankind!  I’ve had many things to say in the SEASONS section of the blog on Pentecost.  If you missed the article; just click this link to read:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/pentecost/

I hope you celebrated this day with all of your heart.  Our God has certainly kept His promises to us; and our Savior, Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to come closer to God and worship Him with all of our hearts.  We have Torah and we have God’s Holy Spirit.  Together they have shown us the way to find the love of God in our hearts.  These two elements working in our lives are the secret keys to living by God’s commandments every day.

My husband and  I were in the midst of traveling on this great day.  We paused in our travels and worshiped The Great God of Heaven and Earth and gave Him thanks.  

I don’t think it was much of a coincidence that we found ourselves so close to the home of the great Billy Graham on this day.   We saw so much evidence of God at work all around the land as we visited the little mountain cities of the Black Mountains and noticed that they still honor God.  

We dodged a tornado that went through Charlotte N.C. on this visit.  Later in the hotel we had a chance to worship and pray with a couple (both of them in their late 80’s) who had been right in the center of the storm and God brought them safely on toward the destination of their granddaughter’s wedding day.   We were originally scheduled to be in that same spot at that same time and for some really odd coincidences, we changed our minds and went in another direction.  I know it was simply God looking after us on our journey.  I also give God the credit for leading this beautiful couple to safety in spite of the storm.  No matter where life leads you; God is there!

 How wonderful it was to be on the road with God’s people on this special day.  God’s people are certainly still out there all across our great land! You won’t hear it in the news; but they are there.  

The greatest freedom ever won happened AFTER Memorial Day; it was called Pentecost!

 

 

 

 

THE PRESENT – THE AWESOME BEGINNINGS OF SUMMER IN JUNE

Today I can tell you we are coming to some new and wonderful times in The IN SEASON Lifestyle.  

Stay with us and see what exciting things are in store this month.  I hope you will send your contact information to Wordcastlepublications@gmail.com so that you can be added to our monthly mailing list.  Your contact information will never be sold or used for gain.  Please feel free to send us your comments and suggestions.  Just click our CONTACT tab and/or use this link to contact us:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/find-us/

Look forward to many summer greetings as our current season begins to change and the days become longer and brighter.   We will ponder some summer music in the PEN ART section of the blog; and we will be looking at home decor that will take us to the seashore; even if we are just on a stay-cation in our living rooms! Keep watching for it in THE HOUSE DOCTOR section of the blog.

THE FUTURE – THE AWESOME MONTH OF JUNE

The future holds a lot for us to explore over the next month in The IN SEASON Lifestyle.

Some of the most exciting news is that we have our first guest blog post and it will be offered under THE HOUSE DOCTOR section of the blog.  This section is always about making a house a home.  Our guest author has found an interesting take on how some of God’s creation have built their homes and exactly what that means in Hebrew.  Do you know this author personally?  Be reading to find out.  Look for it soon!

We also have some very interesting things coming in June about the season of summer.  We will be adding some recipes gathered from Low-country South Carolina  for MONDAY NIGHT MENUS, and we will have some great new destinations for off-the-beaten-path travel in  OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO.

We will be increasing our PRODUCTS search for things that are The IN SEASON Lifestyle related products.  You may find a few summer things you fall in love with.  Seasonal decor will be one of our focus points.

It would not be June without a terrific FATHER’S DAY celebration to top off the middle of the month.  Keep looking in the SEASONS section for those up-coming articles.

We will also offer a Father’s Day poetry contest.  The prize will be $50 offered by Wordcastle Publications to the best poem describing a father.  Please look for the details in upcoming blog posts!  You don’t want to miss the chance to win; and the winner will be published in this blog under the PEN ART section of The IN SEASON Lifestyle.

The COME AS A CHILD Bible Study missed a week in May, and I’m sorry I did not post that article ahead of time before embarking on our 25th Anniversary trip.  I did the healthy thing and took my annual off-the-grid break.  I will be making up for lost time in that column by posting five articles in June instead of four!  Keep watching the blog on Thursdays for COME AS A CHILD and the trip through Exodus.

There are also some very interesting columns coming for AN APPLE A DAY – 365 DAYS TOWARD A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE.  I’ll keep you guessing as to the content; i can’t share it all yet!  

I’ve also felt prompted to add a new section of the blog called GROW OLD WITH ME.  It will be an unusual twist on old age; as it will highlight the benefits of being older and wiser instead of playing down the joys that we experience with ageing.  I’m pleased to tell you that the world has this theory all backwards.  This new blog section will set the record straight.

We have so much to look forward to!

See you on the next post and/or our JULY newsletter!

Many Blessings to Everyone!

Sheila Gail  Landgraf

ME BEING NATURAL
ME BEING NATURAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE DAY OF PENTECOST – SEASONS

Pentecost

 

It is almost time for Pentecost!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31, 2017  IS THE ANNUAL DAY OF PENTECOST

If you have been counting the Omer with me, you are realizing that the 49th day comes on Tuesday, and that means that Pentecost happens on Wednesday, May 31st.

Of course many churches in the area are celebrating Pentecost on Sunday.  That is why they call it “Pentecost Sunday.”    They won’t get to their full celebrations until June 4th, which is the Sunday following after the actual Day of Pentecost.

OUR CELEBRATION WILL BE VERY INTERESTING THIS YEAR

As I’ve already mentioned, we usually observe the actual Day of Pentecost  at our house, since we keep Sabbath on Saturdays; but this year we get to celebrate in a very unusual fashion.  My husband and I will be on the road celebrating our 25th  wedding anniversary.  We will stop wherever we are at the time and celebrate the day!

A TIME OF SEASONAL FULLNESS

All of this fullness of life happening between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and right after Memorial Day is going to create an extra lot of festivity at the end of May and the first of June.   What a blessing it is to be celebrating so many seasons of life all at once.

NO GIFT COULD BE GREATER

If I had to choose only one occasion to celebrate over all the others; I would have to choose The Day of Pentecost.

What greater gift was ever given than the blessing of God’s People with the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit?  The only thing comparable or greater would be  the gift of Christ who sacrificed His life for us to made this very special day possible.

THERE IS SO MUCH ANCIENT HISTORY BEHIND THIS DAY

This day has been celebrated by the faithful since ancient times.

The very first faithful did not even understand the full meaning of the day.

One concept runs through The Day of Pentecost for all generations the same; the concept of God’s provision and the fact that we should be thankful and offer praise to God for the abundance of life He has given to us.

LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD

On the Day of Pentecost today, we offer up our thanks for the gift of God’s Holy Spirit living within us; making our lives rich and full.

In ancient times they offered thanks for God’s provision of the harvest that made their lives rich and full.

By the Day of Pentecost in ancient times; the people of God had been bringing early first-fruits offerings to God’s altar for seven weeks; starting right after Passover and continuing right up to the season of Pentecost.  On this Day of Pentecost, they were to move on from the giving of the earlier barley harvest offerings and begin bringing the best and the first of the wheat offerings.  This was known as latter first-fruits.  It came to be called Pentecost.

The later first-fruits harvest was the time for the most cherished crops to be offered up to God in Thanksgiving; then the rest of the wheat could be happily consumed by the people in the meals at the tables of their daily lives.

THE PATTERN FROM THE DAYS OF NOAH

The pattern set in place actually goes all the way back to the days of Noah.  He was very familiar with the offerings of Pentecost.

At the end of the flood God caused a great wind to blow over the earth and the waters receded.  (Does that sound familiar?  “It was like the sound of a mighty rushing wind.”)

Noah sent out three separate doves to see if the waters were low enough for his family to leave the ark.

THE PATTERN OF THE FIRST DOVE

The first dove returned with no place to rest it’s head; and Noah took it back into the boat.

This dove is symbolic of the people living without the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.

THE PATTERN OF THE SECOND DOVE

The second dove Noah released returned in the evening with an olive branch within its beak.

This dove was symbolic of today’s Christians, living with a portion of God’s Holy Spirit residing within their hearts.  The olive leaf represented food and nourishment for the spirit.

THE PATTERN OF THE THIRD DOVE

Noah waited seven days after the return of the second dove; and then he sent out the third one.

The third dove never returned.

This is symbolic of the day when God will give man immortality.  It is a time when God will breathe the breath of eternal life into all of mankind who have followed Christ and they will live forever more inside God’s Kingdom.  This will be the last flood; a complete pouring out (flooding) of God’s Spirit to mankind.  On that day those who already contain a portion of God’s Holy Spirit will be completely filled up; and they will live forever in a world made new by God.

CHRIST’S CAREFUL CONCERN FOR HIS FOLLOWERS

Jesus knew after His Resurrection and Ascension that we would all feel lost without Him.

The Holy Spirit resolved that problem, connecting heaven and earth similar to Jacob’s ladder in the story of Jacob at Bethel.  God’s Holy Spirit connects the Messiah and His Bride (The Church) even when they are separated by time and space.

LEARNING AND WAITING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST

For fifty days in that time between Passover and Pentecost; God has been teaching us just like He taught our ancestors wandering in the wilderness.

The ancient harvest offerings were only physical in nature; but today those who are faithful observe the custom by bringing and offering the first and the best of their spiritual as well as physical offerings on the day of Pentecost.

PASSING THROUGH SEVEN WEEKS

From the day of our early first-fruits offerings and the beginning of the latter-first-fruits offering we have been counting through seven weeks; passing through seven holy Sabbaths, and trying to open our eyes wider to the will of God in our daily lives.

We’ve spent seven times seven days of counting while waiting for God’s appointed sacred time of Pentecost, or the day our Jewish brothers call  “Shavuot.”

Each day of our counting we studied the attributes of God and attempted to apply His goodness to our own lives.

We sought after His holy traits and His holy character and imitated them as best we could.  It was our own form and type of the journey of our ancestors through the wilderness.

OUR OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS OF THE WORLD

The whole time, we were listening for God’s voice, and remembering that HE IS GOD.

We pondered the fact that we came from dust of the ground and realized that we must depend solely on God for our sustenance and life.

Our souls, like the ancients, celebrated the giving of Torah; and we wrote more of its words inside our hearts as we waited on the day of God’s fulfillment and the giving of His Holy Spirit.

We pondered the fact that while in the wilderness God’s people had received the best ways to live directly from God the Father.

RECEIVING THE WAY TO MAKE TORAH WORK

In the Holy City of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after Jesus had Ascended into the Heavens; God’s people received the way to make Torah work inside their hearts; through God’s Holy Spirit living within.

These two precious wedding gifts of The Bride of Christ have been received and opened with thanksgiving!

With the progression of God’s appointed Holy Days from Passover to Pentecost; The Bride now has received salvation and a whole new supply of all she needs for sanctification.

WITNESSING THE REVERSAL OF BABEL

The gift of God’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost has reversed the damage that was done at the Tower of Babel.  With the gift of tongues people who had always spoken different languages and never understood each other are now able to communicate with, love and understand one another.

The language of love from the heart of God is allowing God’s people to communicate like they have never communicated before.  It will break down the divisions that Bable put up.  The knowledge of The LORD will one day fill the earth.

TRADITIONS

In modern times some people wear red to remember the appearance of the flames of fire above the heads of the disciples of Jesus on the first day that this amazing blessing occurred.

Many also use the symbol of the dove for Pentecost because God’s people know (just like Noah knew) that a dove always returns for its mate, and it takes its mate back to their first home together.

When Noah released his dove from the ark; he knew it would be searching for their original home where they lived before the flood.

THE HEART OF MANKIND IS ALWAYS DESIRING TO GO BACK TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN; THE FIRST HOME WITH GOD

When God gave His Holy Spirit to mankind on the Day of Pentecost; God knew mankind would always be searching in his heart for his first home; the time in the garden when man lived with God in peace and abundance; before evil and sin covered the earth.

Like Noah’s dove searching for home and a place to land; God’s Holy Spirit is always searching for a place to land within our hearts.   He will search and search until we find Him.

ENTERING INTO NEW LIFE AFTER BAPTISM

When God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence inside our hearts; we are cleansed and refreshed and renewed just as the earth after the flood in the days of Noah.  We step out after our Baptism and we enter into a whole new way of life.

After the flood; the earth had to start anew with producing green growing things.  It did not have an immediate offering to God for that year at early first-fruits.

We are like that new earth after we receive salvation and are baptised.

We are starting a whole new process of becoming fruitful.  Good fruit takes time to grow.  This “growing” time is the time of sanctification that one goes through in this life.

STAYING FAITHFUL, BEING PATIENT AND GROWING

The fifty days that we count every year from Passover till Pentecost remind us to stay faithful and be patient and keep growing.

They remind us to prepare and to keep pursuing the One we love with all our heart.  We should never give up!

CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN

One day, like the dove’s mate waiting patiently in the ark of Noah, we will look up and see our Beloved coming in the clouds of glory.

He will be coming to tell us that our heavenly home has been prepared and it now ready.  He will take us away with him.

LIKE A BRIDE WAITING ON A GROOM

The fourth, fifth and sixth weeks of the counting of the omer are huge growing times as we are approaching the end of waiting on the Day of Pentecost.

We begin to feel a sense of urgency.

The reality of our meditations sink in and we begin to act and think like a bride who is seeing the calendar days right before her wedding unfold.

She gets to begin to put more and more into practice from the things she has learned and planned for her Groom.

She knows in her heart that the time for thinking and planning are drawing to a close; she is much closer to reaching the time for DOING.

By the end of the seventh week of the waiting; it is exactly time to be responding to the One we love.

GO OUT OF THE ARK

And so it happened in the second month and the twenty-seventh day that God spoke to Noah and said “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your son’s wives with you.”

God was giving them the gift of a clean, new world.

Jesus has given us a portion of such a gift called The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is an engagement present that says “Keep this until I come for you.  It is to remind you that I am close; and I am coming again!  It is to help you to know that you have my heart at all times.”

A SPECIAL DELIVERY PACKAGE FOR THE BRIDE

So at the end of all the counting of the days Pentecost arrives like a special delivery wedding gift from our Groom in Heaven.

This day from God, one that He appointed and planned so long ago; is like an official invitation for mankind to leave the world and come inside the ark of Heaven where he will find rest with God forever.

The Messiah will be waiting (like Noah at the bow of the great ship);  looking for and seeking the Bride.

KEEPING OUR TEMPORARY SHELTERS UNTIL THE WEDDING

When God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us; our bodies become temporary shelters; little temples or tabernacles designed to house The Holy Spirit of God.

We take Him with us wherever we go.

A NEW BEGINNING FOR GOD’S CHURCH

With Pentecost accomplished, just like that new world that Noah’s family stepped into; a whole new beginning comes to God’s Church.

My favorite quote from the lips of Jesus can be applied here:

“I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.”

Praise to Almighty God for The Sacred Appointed Day of Pentecost that draws us ever closer to our Father in Heaven.

NOTE TO THE READER:  This is just one of many articles in this blog about God’s Holy Days.  If you enjoyed reading this one; you might enjoy:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/seasons-coming-into-the-spring-holy-days-counting-the-omer-part-three/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/seasons-coming-into-the-spring-holy-days-counting-the-omer-part-two/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/sacred-appointed-times-and-seasons/

A CAKE AND A TREE – THE HOUSE DOCTOR – A FEW DAYS BEFORE MOTHER’S DAY

FLOWERS AND SONGS
flowers
Yes….I planted a few more flowers; but they are not pink!

Last night was a lot of fun at my house; especially in my kitchen.  I put together a Mother’s Day Family Tree and a delicious Mother’s Day Lemon Blueberry Cake.

 LET THE CAKE BAKING BEGIN

cake
All you need to bake a lemon blueberry cake.

GETTING A FEW THINGS READY AHEAD OF TIME

I’m getting ready for Mother’s Day; just a simple after-church lunch/tea with my Mom and husband (my brother told me he couldn’t make it) and a few possible visits from some of our four grown children, their spouses and the grands in the afternoon. 

A FEW HANDY BAKING TIPS:

cake
Yum!

I’ve been really busy gathering the things for Mom and the luncheon; and as of this moment I have completed baking the lemon/blueberry cake ahead of time.  

The cake  now rests safely inside my freezer.  Did you know that homemade cakes ice much better when they have been frozen first?

I’ve also discovered that there is something magical that happens to the taste buds when the cake has been frozen before it is iced.  Go figure!  All I can tell you is that it works.  I’m not real sure of the scientific explanation.  The pre-frozen cakes always taste especially fresh and moist; as if they just came out of the oven, only cooler.  It never taste dried out or overcooked.

Another little “tip” is to throw a couple of extra lightly beaten eggs and a small box of white cake mix into the mix along with the rest of the recipe.  This just makes the cake rise better and higher and it keeps the layers from sinking in or cracking as they are cooling off in the baking pans.  

I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER

This little heart-shaped cake did just what I wanted it to do; thanks to those little extra tips.  

It came out pretty and fluffy and extra fresh and delicious.

 

Just to be safe; I made an extra  little loaf cake for my husband so he would not be tempted to sneak a few pinches from the heart-shaped one I’m going to serve on Sunday.  (He has been known to do that in the past!)

WHATEVER IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER IS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE:

READY TO ICE
READY TO ICE (BUT I’M FREEZING FIRST)

You know I DID cook the loaf cake JUST for my husband to snack on for the next few days; but I didn’t think he would mind if I took a little to the office.  I’m also really glad it wasn’t iced yet; that might have been detrimental to my diet.

snacking
snacking

Here are some scenes from the whole happy mess in the kitchen.

I’ll ice the cake on Sunday morning and hopefully have time to take a photo of the finished product to share in the June Newsletter with the photos of the person who wins the MOTHER’S DAY PHOTO CONTEST.  

REMEMBER TO ENTER OUR MOTHER’S DAY PHOTO CONTEST

If you want to enter our contest just click here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/home/ and fill out the form to receive our Newsletter.  

Also send an e-mail message with a photo of you and your Mom celebrating Mother’s Day together to wordcastlepublicaitons@gmail.com.  Give me a brief description of your day.  

If your Mom has already graduated to Heaven; I would love to see a photo of you with your children, or an old photo of you and your Mom together.  

If you are not a Mom at the present moment; I would love to see how you are interacting and being remembered for your “aunt” or “friend” talents on this day.  

If your day resembles Mother’s Day in any shape, form or fashion; please send a photo our way.

OUR READERS WILL JUDGE THE CONTEST

I’ll let the readers of this blog vote on the winner.  That lucky person will win a free autographed copy of my cookbook called THE SEASONS OF LANDGRAF CASTLE.  

I’m very excited about this contest!  I am looking forward to sharing the results of our day together.  I hope you will decide to enter.  

MAKING THE MOTHER’S DAY FAMILY TREE FOR MY KITCHEN 

 What I’m really excited about RIGHT NOW though is how CUTE my little family tree turned out for decorating the kitchen!

KITCHEN TREE
MY MOTHER’S DAY KITCHEN TREE

famly photos
Family photos

 I printed some black and white photos of our family’s Moms-in-action and pinned them on the tree using some pretty pink flags for backdrops.   Very easy and simple; but so novel and fun.

PICKING OUT THE PHOTOS TO USE WAS A HARD DECISION

When it came time to choose, I had gathered so many great photos of our Moms that I could not decide on which photos to leave out!  I only had eleven pink flags.  Finally; I decided to scatter the rest of the photos among the flowers on the table under the tree.  

I love how it all worked out.

ANOTHER STEP TO MAKE A GOOD IDEA GO EVEN FURTHER 

I’m planning to buy a little pink photo album and give it to my Mom when she sees the tree.  Then I will let her take home all the photos on the tree for her little pink book. 

(I’ll probably make her wait a few days to collect them though; because I’m LOVING how happy this tree makes me feel while I’m busy working in the kitchen.)

Seeing so many beautiful, loving, Mothers smiling in the room where I’m cooking our meals just makes this chore seem a whole lot easier.    

 I know I promised to post some recipes and my menu for a Mother’s Day Luncheon/Tea; but I don’t want to give you Mother’s Day overload!  

This will be something to look forward to tomorrow.  Yes; I promise the Lemon-Blueberry Cake recipe will be included along with the others.

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

NOTE TO THE READER:  This is just one of a series of articles on Mother’s Day.  If you enjoyed reading this; you might also enjoy reading: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/miracles-and-metamorphasis/ and https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/mothers-day-gifts/ and https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/mothers-day/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEASONS – CREATIVE GIFT IDEAS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

letter

THE “IT IS ALMOST MOTHER’S DAY” PANIC

Here it is almost Mother’s Day and you are still in a frantic panic over what you will do for Mom this year.  You do not even know what you want to give her for a gift.

First; don’t panic.

Second; keep reading.

Are you perhaps a visual thinker?  Most of the world seems to think that way today.  We often need a photo to get our creative juices flowing and working in the right direction.  If that is the case you are in luck.  This blog post was created just for you.

MY BEST SUGGESTIONS:

Perhaps you might like to browse through these suggestions and see if any of them fit your mom.  Here are a few very happy visual ideas:

ONE

 

letter
All Mom’s love a letter writeen from their child! A perfect gift!

All Mom’s love a letter written from their child.   Just say how much you appreciate all the things she has done for you over the years and how significant she has been in your life.  Nothing could please her more!

TWO

You could take her to an outdoor concert to hear her favorite band playing.  One of my fondest memories was with one of our daughters listening to Zac Brown Band belt out tunes into the open South Carolina air.  Even when we got caught in a thunder-storm right in the middle of the concert; it was awesome!

 

 

 

outdoor concert
Outdoor Concerts can be so much fun!  A perfect gift!
toes-sand
Toes in the sand; a perfect gift.

THREE

Plan a beach vacation with your family and invite her to join you.  Put her ticket into a nice little card and give it to her on Mother’s Day.  She will love sticking her toes into the sand with you and her grandchildren at her side.

FOUR

Take her a nice potted plant that will fit into that empty corner of the living room.  Put a big pink bow in the pretty container.  That will be a gift she can enjoy for a long, long time.  Be sure to tell her the best way to care for that particular plant.

plant
Pretty Potted Plants make perfect gifts.

FIVE

Put your creativity into a nice handmade card.  She will love that you did it yourself and you can be so specific and original with your design.

card
Make a nice handmade card.  It will be a perfect gift.

SIX

If you are still thinking hard about that beach vacation; just remember she likes the mountains too; or any other range of interesting places.  Invite her to a vacation where the whole family can gather together under one roof.  Call it a family reunion; but make planning it with you her Mother’s Day surprise.  Set 

vacation
Family Vacations are a perfect gift.

aside planning dates on your calendar so you can get together over lunch and brainstorm good ideas.

SEVEN

Invite her to a train ride.  Maybe through a vineyard.  Some of these excursions offer wine tasting and /or dinner with the ride.  There are lots of towns where these are still available if you do your research ahead of time.

EIGHT

Does she garden?  Why not buy her a big floppy hat and lots of bulbs?

Hat
Hat and bulbs make an amazing gift.

 

NINE

Baskets are awesome; especially baskets full of pretty fresh-cut flowers.  What are her favorites?  Roses, tulips, daisys, what is her pleasure?  Then fill up the basket with those.

basket
Basket of Flowers make a pretty gift.

TEN

Take her on a picnic.  Make it a nice peaceful place where there will be plenty of time for casual conversation and laughter.  Pack a thoughtful lunch and take a quilt to spread over the picnic table.

picnic
Picnics are a wonderful gift.

ELEVEN

Take her to look at the most fantastic view you have ever seen.  Let her stand there and drink it in.  Take a selfie of the two of you with your favorite place in the background.  Have a frame wrapped and ready to give her for when you bring her a copy of the selfie.

view
Fantastic Views are some of the best gifts.

TWELVE

Invite her to a carriage ride.  There are lots of towns where these are still available if you do your research ahead of time.

THIRTEEN

Take her on a riverboat cruise.  Many river towns offer such fun for the whole family.  Some of them serve up delicious food.

FOURTEEN

Fly a kite together.  When is the last memory you have of this?  Make a new one.

FIFTEEN

Take her to an arts and crafts festival.  I’ve enjoyed this experience many times with my twin daughters.  One took me one year and the other picked that same idea the next (probably because I enjoyed it so much. )  I have great photos of those two very pretty days as reminders; and a silver charm bracelet made out of spoons and a pretty necklace by a local artist.  I hope you get lucky like I did and go somewhere where they are serving apple dumplings!

SIXTEEN

Make reservations at her favorite restaurant; or take her to one of your favorites that she hasn’t discovered yet.  Make sure she orders dessert!

 

Restaurant
Restaurants are nice gifts!

SEVENTEEN

Take her for a stroll around one of your favorite parks.  There are so many botanical walking trails in town.  They can be truly amazing to walk through and the sunshine will join in with you to make the day complete.  Bring a thermos full of cold lemonade for afterwards.  Point out the vegetation that surrounds you and surprise her with your knowledge of the world of nature.

Park
Strolls In The Park make nice gifts.

EIGHTEEN

Does she love horses?  Take her on a trail ride or a weekend riding camp retreat.

NINETEEN

Is she a camper?  Pack up the tent and head for a weekend of hiking and climbing; just make sure she is as up to it as you.

Camping
Camping is a fun gift.

TWENTY

Are books her treasures?  Give her a gift card from her favorite book store and take her there to pick out what she wants.  Have coffee and treats at the bookstore sweet shop.  Or you could take her to a storytelling festival – those are great fun!

books
Books are cherished gifts.

TWENTY-ONE

Craft a gift made from photos.  Use your imagination.  Below are some awesome examples that I’ve personally cherished over the years.  These are gifts that last year after year and always bring a smile and the memory of your thoughtfulness.  

TWENTY-TWO

Does she sew?  Pack a basket full of material and sewing supplies.

TWENTY-THREE

Go mountain climbing just  for the day.  Be sure it ends at a waterfall!

TWENTY-FOUR

Does she love music?  Take her to an old record store that sells real vinyl and spin the hits that you pick out together afterward.

record store
Record Store Outings can be an awesome gift that keeps on giving.

TWENTY-FIVE

Is she crafty?  Fill a basket full of craft items and surprise her with them.

TWENTY-SIX

Is she a writer or a techy?  Find some accessories that she has been wanting for her laptop or her desk.

computer
Computer Supplies make very nice gifts.

TWENTY-SEVEN

Homemade treats are the best.  Cake pops are always great gifts.  Pick a design that you know she will relate to and wrap it up in pretty little bags with pink ribbons and a card.

cake pops
Cake Pops are a really sweet gift.

TWENTY-EIGHT

Give her a brunch/lunch or tea.  Get creative with your menus and decorate the house around them.  She will never forget it!

Tea
Teas/luncheons and dinners by you make amazing gifts.

TWENTY-NINE

Are you an artist?  Surprise her with some of your artwork.  Nothing could be better!

THIRTY

Does she love scones?  What Mom doesn’t?  Take her a few from her favorite bakery and make her a special cup of coffee to go with them.  Savor the moment outside on the patio and chat awhile before the day starts to own you both.

scones
Scones, crafts and flowers are a perfect gift combination!  Along with sweet smiles.

THIRTY-ONE

Go to church with her.  Attend where SHE usually goes.  These people have heard about you for years and she would love nothing better than to introduce you to all of those that have prayed over you every week with her!

THIRTY-TWO

Take a family portrait and promise to give her a copy on canvas.  She will cherish it forever.

THIRTY-THREE

Is entertaining on the patio her thing?  Bake her a cake and serve it up with some homemade ice cream from the ice cream freezer you are giving her as a present, or consider giving her a brightly colored outdoor set of dishes.

THIRTY-FOUR

Does she love going to plays?  Buy her a season’s pass and attend one of the functions with her.

It doesn’t really matter what you give her; as long as you tell her you love her and give her your love and devotion all through the year.

I hope whatever you decide to do; that the day is full of blessings and memories that will last a lifetime for both you and your Mom!

NOTE TO READER:  This is just one of a series of articles on Mother’s Day.  If you liked this article you might also like:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/mothers-day/

SEASONS – PASSOVER

Observing the stories of Passover

PASSOVER SCHEDULE FOR 2017

Tonight at sunset begins Passover week.  From sunset to sunset we observe the holiest day of the year.  Such observance will continue for one whole week.

Tonight Christian families with Hebraic hearts from all over the world will be celebrating a Seder meal inside their homes.

We will spend the next seven days eating unleavened bread.  During the days of eating unleavened bread we will celebrate the day of Early First Fruits (the 2nd Day of Unleavened Bread.)  For more about the time of unleavened bread please click here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/seasons-why-do-we-keep-the-seven-days-of-unleavened-bread/

THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION

The very devout have spent a lot of time preparing for this day; They have done their spring cleaning and removed the leaven from their homes.

Removing the leaven is symbolic of putting all sinful things out of our lives.

God does not want us living in sin; and if we truly love our Heavenly Father; we do the work and put the sin outside of our lives.

We replace the old things with the new things.

As we put the sin away; we fill the new and empty spaces with prayer and meditation and worship.  We honor the holy scriptures and follow the instructions of our Father in Heaven.  The symbolic food we eat helps us to remember Christ as our deliverer.

THE EMPHASIS IS ON PUTTING MORE OF CHRIST INTO OUR LIVES

Just as the leaven is symbolic of sin; the unleavened bread is symbolic of the love of Christ.  It is even more important to put more of Christ into our lives than it is to remove the leaven and concentrate on removing our sins.

When you are filled up with the good things of The Bread from Heaven you become satisfied.  It is easy to not live in sin.  The matzoh that we put on our tables this week is symbolic of this fact.

THE FOOD WE EAT IS SYMBOLIC OF SPIRITUAL THINGS

We can look at the matzoh and see it is pierced and stripped; just as Jesus was pierced and stripped when He hung on the cross for the sake of our salvation.

Taking the matzoh from a white linen cloth and breaking it in half; we remember how Christ’s body was broken for us.  We know that the matzoh is totally leaven free; just as Christ was totally sin-free when He willingly gave his life for us and became our Passover Lamb.

We eat the matzoh at the Seder meal and serve it in our homes all week.  It is served in place of leavened bread.  Bringing out our very best for this meal is appropriate.  It is appropriate to use white linen table clothes and fine china set aside only for this sacred occasion.

WE ARE EXPECTING A SPECIAL GUEST TO ARRIVE

There is always an extra plate for Elijah; and we watch the door to see if he returns this year.

We are reminded every time we eat the Seder meal that Christ was the Bread of Heaven. We know the extra place is really for Him, as Elijah told us about the Messiah to come.  Christ was the message of Elijah.

We wait for Christ and we remember on this sacred night.  We fill our bodies and our souls with the Bread of Heaven and thank God for the ability that He gives us for removing the unwanted sins of our days.  These are some of the ways that we honor God The Father in this holy, sacred week and on this night of our Seder meal.

We read the scriptures that explain how God asked us to do this.

One place is found in Exodus; Chapter 12; verse 24:  “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 

When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as He promised, observe the ceremony. 

And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians.”

OBSERVING THE CEREMONY

So it is that we show honor to God the Father and Christ The Son by “observing the ceremony” of the Passover Seder meal on this first night of The Passover; the night that the story of God’s people began.

On this most sacred night God formed a nation from a people who were not a people.  He separated them out from the rest of the world and called them His own.

Anyone who eats of the Bread of Heaven and trusts Christ to remove their sins is considered a member of this Holy family that God began forming on that first Passover when He led the ancient Israelites out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

GOD FORMED HIS FAMILY FROM A PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT A NATION

With the Passover Seder we remember how our Father reached down from Heaven and began all the things that make us a family today.  God removed us from the bondage of sin and took us on a journey to a land flowing with milk and honey.

All that time He fed us and kept us clothed.   He showed us mighty miracles; miracles that no pagan god could ever come close to performing; such as the time water came from a rock.

Our Father proved to us that He was God; and He taught us how to worship Him.  We worship Him with our Seder meal and we remember.

THE DEEP MEANING OF THE SYMBOLS FROM THE WILDERNESS JOURNEY

The food in our meal is symbolic of all the things that the first members of our great family experienced in the wilderness.

As we have already mentioned the matzoh that symbolizes Christ; as the Lamb of God.

We have parsley, called “karpus” and it reminds us of how the Hebrew people were prosperous before they sinned and God had to turn His back away from them; this sin lead them into a life of bondage and slavery in Egypt.  Dipping the parsley into salt water helps us to remember the tears of slavery.

We eat horseradish on our matzoh to remember the bitterness of slavery.

Tasting the haroset, a mixture of sweet red wine, raisins, nuts and apples, reminds us of the mortar the slaves used to lay bricks in Egypt.

There is a shank bone on the table to symbolize the Passover sacrifice, and we drink four glasses of wine to remember certain things.

There is an egg on the Seder plate which symbolizes the new life that God brought by bringing the people out of Egypt and forming a new nation called Israel, and eventually forming the Church of God in Christ as Messiah.  This is the miracle of the forming and evolution of God’s Holy Family.

We dip our fingers into our wine and we remember the ten plagues that came upon the people who refused to listen to God.

THE TELLING OF THE STORY IS MOST IMPORTANT

We always remember by telling the story with the celebration of this meal.

The telling of the story is actually the most important part of the night.

We tell the story of redemption from slavery in a million different ways; by speech, by symbolism, by the food we eat, by the way we prepare, by poetry, by drama, by song, by prayer, by scripture reading.

All of us love the story and the telling of it never becomes too old or boring.  God shows us something new every time we hear it; and by the telling we pass on the story to our children and to their children to come.

WE ALWAYS HEAR SOMETHING NEW IN THE STORY

We must never stop telling the story.

Remembering all the parts of the story is important.; the way God saved Moses as a child and brought him to lead a nation out of slavery; how all of  that was symbolic of Christ; thinking about the way the people were enslaved in a pagan nation and how God delivered them by sending 10 plagues; the way God told them to prepare by placing the blood of an innocent lamb over their doorposts; and how those who did not obey God with this sacrificial act lost their firstborn.

Those who honored God kept their families intact and were delivered from the bondage of slavery.

We remember how God parted the sea and let the people cross on dry land, and how He protected them from Pharaoh’s army.

God fed and clothed and blessed the people in the wilderness and we do not forget this. The wilderness was the place where God taught them how to become His family and it was the route God used to bring them into a land of milk and honey.  We must remember all of these things.

WE SEE THE LAMB OF GOD IN THE DELIVERANCE STORY

After we remember all of this with story and symbolic food and with the wine that is symbolic of Christ; we speak of how all of these things symbolized the way of life that Christ provided for us as He became The Lamb of God.

OUR OBSERVANCE CONTINUES FOR SEVEN DAYS

Passover isn’t just one day; this is a period of time lasting seven days.  For seven days we observe unleavened bread; the symbolic act of leaving the leaven out of our lives and we eat the matzoh that is symbolic of putting more of Christ into our lives.

And the most holy night of the year begins the most holy week of the year.

I pray that your Passover is blessed with the presence of God and that your family can celebrate together and rejoice in Christ our Savior.

VISITING THE BIRMINGHAM ZOO – SUMMER FUN FOR KIDS SERIES – OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO

IMG_20160623_143500341VISITING THE BIRMINGHAM ZOO

School may be starting back; but officially it is STILL summer!

Don’t let the fun end yet; there is still time for a few more summer activities before fall arrives.

Can I make a great suggestion for that first weekend after a stressful first week of classes and homework?

Visit the Birmingham Zoo.

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A VISIT THAT BRINGS BACK PERSONAL MEMORIES

 It had been years and years since I had ventured out to The Birmingham Zoo, but one day my grandchildren and two of my grown daughters gave me the happy opportunity to visit there again.  Fond memories from many years back at this particular zoo flooded my mind; and it was delightful to revisit some of those old memories.

I was so impressed with all of the progress.  The growth and changes since the days I first discovered the zoo and the present times are simply amazing.

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A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON

The Birmingham Zoo and I were actually born during the same year!  That would make this zoo now almost 63 years old.  Can you imagine the excitement way back in 1955 when their gates first opened in Birmingham, Alabama?

My parents took me along year after year to see this exciting new place, and together we all made history; being a few of the very first visitors to explore the site.

So much has changed between now and then.

“Monkey Island” as we used to call it when I was a kid is gone.  Monkeys now have their own special section with the “Primates.”  I did hear a rumor though that The City of Trussville might be building a Monkey Island replica in their city park to honor the first original exhibit from the Birmingham Zoo.  So many have memories of that place!  If all continues and goes well; that duplicate of the zoo’s old Monkey Island just might happen sometime in 2017 or 2018.  We will see.

Another old exhibit that I remember being a big attraction back “in the day” were the polar bears.  They are not there anymore either.  Alabama weather and polar bears seem to have finally clashed.  I suspect that is why the exhibit eventually disappeared.  However; you might have just as much fun visiting the new Black Bear exhibit instead.

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MANY MORE EXHIBITS TO EXPLORE

There are so many more new exhibits now!  The addition of two shiny new trains is also a crowd pleaser.

These days the whole zoo experience is very educational, hands-on, and just a lot of plain old-fashioned fun.  Lots of new and exciting experiences are happening in this spacious zoological park.  Don’t take my word for it though; you simply must come along and see for yourself!

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MORE HISTORY

As I explained earlier, being a child from the late 50’s and early 60’s, the zoo holds a special place in my heart.  Back during that era it was called The Jimmy Morgan Zoo.

After the kids of my generation grew up we all wanted to take our children to see the place we loved so much.

Many years after I was grown; in the 1990’s the Zoo began to go through some tough financial troubles.  Problems developed left and right, and the once happy place was almost forced to close its doors.  Funding was very hard to come by in those days, and keeping such an operation running properly was almost impossible without the needed funds.

The many concerned citizens of the city who deeply loved and appreciated the zoo and wanted it restored for the sake of their own children and grandchildren began to rally together to try to come up with logical and workable solutions.  No one wanted to lose the zoo!zooiverview_o

SOME BENEFICIAL CHANGES

In 1990 the Mayor of Birmingham made a very hard decision and decided that the zoo would become a private operation.  A new board of directors was formed which eventually came to be known as Birmingham Zoo Inc.  This turned out to be a very smart move.  Since that time the zoo has operated as a private, not-for-profit organization and the new organization has seen an amazing recovery.

The Birmingham Zoo is noted among the top zoos in the nation now.

The citizens of Birmingham are very proud of this local achievement.  The CEO of the zoo, William Foster, DVM, has charted an exciting new course in all the right directions and has initiated drastic improvements in how the zoo is managed and maintained.  His credentials are amazing and his zoo and veterinary experience has inspired much of what has happened here.

Renew the Zoo is one of the newest programs that has been introduced, and it is gaining ground for developing a new habitat for Asian species.

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NEW LIFE

Now days there is so much new life going on at the zoo!

There are many wonderful annual community events being held, such as the local favorite “Zoo Light Safari” that always fills the acres of the park with a beautiful winter wonderland of twinkling, musical light shows during the Christmas season.

There is also the famous “Boo At The Zoo” that happens in the fall.

These two events are only a few of many taking place all the time.  The zoo is a favorite tourist attraction now not only for those who hail from the “Ham,” but also for people who travel into town from miles away.  It is known for being one of the most popular tourist attraction in the State of Alabama.

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A GREAT PLACE TO TAKE THE GRANDCHILDREN

What an excellent way to spend some time with your grandchildren!

As of this writing the cost is only $16 for adults and $11 for children over two years old.  Two and under are free!

There are special passes you can purchase if you plan on returning again and again.  I highly recommend purchasing one of these plans.  Not only do you benefit from the use of it; but much of the zoo is funded from the money made from these passes.  You would be making a great contribution to the community while enabling yourself to spend the days of each season enjoying yourself.

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THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED TO KNOW

If you have a toddler, you will want to bring a stroller.  You WILL need it.  You could spend, not just one whole day here; but many days.  With so many events and activities, there is lots of walking involved.  Of course, it you forget to bring your own stroller, there are strollers available to rent for $9 each.  Double strollers rent for $11.  Wheelchairs are available for $10 and electric scooters for $25.  We brought our own.

I would also recommend that you fill your child’s water bottle to the brim with fresh cold water and perhaps tuck a few small snacks handily into your purse for short rest periods.  Bring along water for yourself too!  You WILL get thirsty.  Drinks for sale and scattered water fountains are available, but you might get thirsty in an area where these are not so convenient.

Food is also available for sale in several places.

Remember to use sunscreen and bug repellent that is healthy and not full of chemicals, and visors and sunglasses are most appreciated as you travel through the jungles here.

Wear loose and comfortable clothing; because most likely you will get hot.

It would not be a bad idea for your child to carry a small see-through back pack to hold their souvenirs and water bottles in order to let their hands remain free for the hand-on adventures.  That would also keep you from feeling like a bell-boy from the local hotel because you are loaded down from carrying all of their baggage around.

There are convenient diaper changing stations in the plentiful restroom areas.  You should remember to carry baby wipes for those sticky little hands and those chocolate ice cream smiles that you are sure to accumulate on this adventure.

Most important of all, if you are a grandmother (like me) and you cherish every minute with your grandchildren; BRING YOUR CAMERA!!!  At the end of the day the photos where priceless!  There is also a little photo booth that you can pay for where your pictures roll out trimmed in zoo themes.

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TIMES AND DATES AND OTHER SUCH THINGS

The Birmingham Zoo is open from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. till 7 p.m. on weekends.  The address is:  2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham, AL  35223.  You can call them for answers to any questions or concerns at 205-879-0409.  Any information you might need can be found by using the internet; and the location is easy to find using your GPS or by using Map-it.

The Birmingham Zoo’s website has a very good map of what is available and the order of the exhibits.  It is well worth checking out.  You can pay in advance on-line and you can print out a schedule of what is available and going on during the time you visit.  This is all very handy and keeps you from waiting.

ONCE INSIDE YOU ARE ON A WILD ADVENTURE

There is wonder and excitement around every corner.

This zoo contains exhibits for over 950 animal species and the land for the zoo covers over 122 acres all together.   These exhibits are often joined by “traveling exhibits” too.

Many exhibits are not just “there” to look at; but they are interactive and they give young and old alike a way to actually participate with the animals and to be educated about their habitats.

Safety precautions are well thought out and are in use at every station.  You can make lots of furry friends and become a part of the fascinating world and the habitat from which they live and thrive.

A GRAND NEW ENTRANCE WELCOMES YOU

My awareness of a sense of “newness” was sparked immediately upon entering the zoo.  There I would see where an exciting new entrance is presently being planned and designed.

It looks like it will be magnificent when finished!  They were still finishing the work during our visit.  For the time being, we entered through the old entrance; and we were greeted with several lovely planters filled with bright beautiful flowers as we made our way through the fast-moving line.

I apologize for the fact that my seven-year-old grandson accidentally picked a few of these flowers.  Please understand that I made up for this in my annual donation this year.  He did not know that they were only there to look pretty!  When I explained this to him I was quickly told that his little cousin who was meeting us at the zoo needed these flowers to put in her hair!

Oh the world of a seven-year-old boy!  After that first little panic, and the sweet understanding greeting from the helpful attendant at the gate; we were off to a day full of excellent fun.

THE MARKETPLACE GIFT SHOP AND THE KUDZOO CAFE

We walked into an area containing The Marketplace Gift Shop and nearby was one of the two cafes at the Zoo; called The Kudzoo Café.

If you are into souvenirs, and are going to let your child buy one; I recommend that you set a budget and let them look around for about five minutes before you start the days adventure.  Tell them to be considering what they want to buy when you are leaving the park, because this will be in close proximity to where you exit (you travel in a circular motion as you walk around the zoo.  (In the slightly edited words of T.S Elliot; “the end is only the beginning.”)

At any rate; if you take my advice, you will not have to carry everything around ALL DAY LONG.  This would also keep you from spending an hour or two of your time with your child in the gift shop trying to decide on a ten dollar toy instead of enjoying what you actually came for.

Keep in mind that this is not the only place to buy such things.  There is the Lorikeet Aviary Tiki Hut and the Giraffe Encounter Outpost further down the road.

I will say that the gift items I saw were of top quality and more interesting than most.  Much of it is priced around $20 – $50.  There are some small items that are less expensive though.

The T-shirts are cute and expressive.  Everything was eco-friendly and the cute stuffed animals were perfect little replicas of the ones you will be studying on your visit.  Some of them are very novel and fit right in with the zoo themes.

My little group didn’t stay in the gift shop long.  We were here for the experience and the memories; not the stuff.

THE HUGH KAUL CHILDREN’S ZOO

We soon found ourselves walking deep into the Junior League of Birmingham’s Hugh Kaul Children’s zoo.

Then we actually took a turn away from this area, more toward the left and headed for the Predator zone because we wanted to save the Play fountain and the Carousel Ride in this nice area for last.

The Play fountain is a wonderful and nicely designed splash pad where the kids can really enjoy getting soaked in the water after along day of walking in the sunshine.  There are tables and chairs for the adults with aching feet to sit and watch them run and play.  A rest for everyone!

WHERE TO EAT LUNCH

The Kudzoo Café as well as the Safari Café were surprisingly good stops for fast food at the zoo.

The food was not cheap; but it was reasonable enough for the quality; which I thought was good and nutritious for the most part.  They had an excellent variety of foods available on their menus.  We found it very convenient to eat lunch at one of these two cafes during the middle of the day.

Food is NOT allowed inside the zoo grounds.  However, if you want to leave in the middle of the day, grab the picnic waiting in a cooler in your car, and come back to the zoo after your picnic lunch; I highly recommend carrying your picnic basket over to the Botanical Gardens just across the road from the Zoo.  It is very close by and a most beautiful place to stop and rest.

On this particular day, we found the seating at the Kudzoo Café to be adequate and cool with plenty of tables and chairs both inside and outside.  Everyone got just what they wanted and we enjoyed resting in the cool while we dined.

 

TURTLES AND FISH

Before we stopped for our lunch; and right at the beginning of our journey we looked at some of the large aquariums and said “hello” to some very large turtles and fish.  My grandson LOVES turtles, so he was thrilled right from the start of our journey.

FRIENDLY BIRDS THAT LOVE TO BE FED

We headed on through a very interesting bird aviary and saw some nice exhibits of all types of winged friends.

We were able to enter a caged area and do some hands-on feeding ourselves and were even able to let a bird light and perch on our hand here.  The kids were delighted!

There were over 300 types of birds.

My granddaughter loved the flamingos.

REPTILES GALORE AND SEA LIONS TOO

We toured an exhibit with some pretty amazing reptiles and we took in a show starring some fantastically entertaining Sea Lions.

We walked through some pretty swampy areas and saw an alligator poking his head up out of the vegetation growing over the swamp water!

We crossed over a wooden bridge to get across the swampy lake area.

A FUN TRAIN RIDE

It wasn’t long before we saw the zoo’s train station and we gladly hopped aboard the train and took a little ride all around the zoo.

There are actually two trains available; the Birmingham Zoo Express and The Red Diamond Express.  The train conductor navigates through the different areas of the zoo and he is full of interesting stories about each area.

THE TRAILS OF AFRICA

Soon we found ourselves headed toward The Trails of Africa exhibits, and along the way we stopped to let my grandson take a fun ride on The Wild Slide.  Later when I asked him his favorite part of the zoo he surprised me by telling me this was it.

Our first real physical “interaction with the animals” came when we visited the giraffes.

My daughter helped my granddaughter enjoy feeding the giraffes, and my grandson who is a good bit older got to feed them by himself.

Both children were delighted with this activity.  They took away the facts that giraffes are herbivores; which means they eat only plants.  Their long necks allow them to reach the leaves, buds and branches very high up in mimosa and acacia trees.  They can eat hundreds of pounds of leaves each week!  We did our part by feeding them at least two pounds of that food for the day!

After we fed the giraffes, we took off to explore the Trails of Africa.  There were elephants, rhinos and river hogs hiding out in the natural habitats of this area.  This is a quiet zone, a good place to calm down from your last adventure and just take in the awesome animals on exhibit.

The huge crates that the rhinos sometimes travel in were open and out for display on the ground.  I would not want to be the driver hauling these crates big enough to haul the largest animals.

The kids had a blast just jumping and playing inside these HUGE hauling crates and pretending like they were animals.

My granddaughter squealed with laughter when my grandson peaked in at her from outside the crate through the holes left in the sides for breathing.  Who would have ever thought that large wooden crates for hauling rhinos could be this entertaining?

I have to admit this was the place where the most giggles were exchanged!  Even my grown daughter joined in on this.  Oh yeah – we forgot it was a quiet zone.  Fortunately, the walls of the crates stopped our laughter from echoing too far.

The zebras were so fascinating to look at.  They were all dressed up in black and white, as if they had an important social event to attend.

Here we also encountered the majestic King of the Jungle!  There is a stately male lion and a female lion.  He is one year older than her.  They are magnificent and I could have stood in front of them forever and not become tired of gazing at them.  I think the lion is my favorite animal at the zoo.  There was an inside exhibit too that housed various other members of the “cat” family.

Have you ever ridden a camel?

Another one of my nephew’s favorite adventures was the camel ride.  Did you know that camels have two rows of eyelashes?  That is so that their eyes will be protected in the desert dust.

No doubt about it; camels are cool!

THE ALABAMA WILDS AND LAURA INGALLS SHOOK BLACK BEAR TRAIL

We continued on down the road to the Alabama Wilds and took in the Laura Ingalls Shook Black Bear Trail.

We didn’t have time for the zip-line adventure today, but we made a note of it for another visit soon.  It sure looked like fun!

We saw the Brock Cabin Area and even petted some of the more tame animals that were more local to Birmingham.

While we were visiting there was a terrific exhibit featuring dinosaurs!

THE DINO DISCOVERY EXHIBIT

The Dino Discovery Exhibit featured life-sized North American native animatronics dinosaurs.  Some of them were 20 feet tall weighing almost seven tons and measuring 85 feet in length!

The trail had these creatures that once roamed the earth 160 million years ago.  The sound effects here are very authentic, and it may frighten a few of the little ones so be sure to hold their hands tightly.  One dinosaur sprayed us good with water.  My granddaughter remembers this vividly and her eyes turn into huge pools when she speaks of it now.  She also remembers the little baby dinosaur at the end of the trail.  He was really cute!

My grandson loved getting up close and personal with these monsters.  I can just hear him now telling all of his friends at school about how he petted a dinosaur!  This exhibit was only in town for a short while.  I’m so glad we caught it.

From time to time there are many other special traveling events that come to the zoo.  You just have to watch the events schedule  to see when they will come for a visit.

The dinosaur exhibit was totally awesome.

THE CAROUSEL AT THE END

What could be a more perfect conclusion to a wonderful day than to end your visit with your first carousel ride?

This was the case for my sweet little granddaughter.  The carousel was amazing and you don’t need for me to describe it any further than to tell you to look in her eyes in the pictures.  It was magical!

My grandson thought so too (though he was an experienced carousel rider from way back by now), and you know he chose to ride an ostrich because he didn’t think he had spent enough time with them earlier.

All the animals on the carousel were animals we had previously met inside the zoo.

After a few more adventures in the awesome splash pad; our day at the zoo finally came to a close and were headed home; tired, happy and full of the kinds of memories that live in your heart forever.

THE MIRRORS AND THE BRONZE BASIN – COME AS A CHILD LESSON 173

THE BRONZE BASIN

There was a lot of work ahead for Moses as he began to follow all the instructions from God to set up the wilderness tabernacle.

One task was to oversee the setting up of the bronze basin, or the laver.

The bronze laver is a subject we have discussed in the past and we all know it’s significance has to do with coming clean before God – everyday.

Today we may look at this same subject from a slightly different angle.  That is the wonderful thing about scripture; it is ever evolving  Once you absorb the first layer of meaning there is another layer right behind that one.  The joy comes when you decide to keep peeling those layers back.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to our Thursday Bible Study we have called COME AS A CHILD.

If you are just joining us all of the previous bible study lessons for the Book of Exodus can be found by reading the previous articles under the COME AS A CHILD tab in the blog.

This is a chronological study, and I hope to have the Book of Genesis Study and the Book of Exodus Study available and all together in one place in downloadable form for anyone who wants a review them soon.

Today’s lesson is taken from scriptures found in Exodus, Chapter 30, verses 17-21.

WHEN THE WOMEN GAVE UP THEIR MIRRORS

This bronze laver in the court of the tabernacle which was used by the priest for washing was made from the polished bronze mirrors that were donated by the Hebrew women who served in the outside courtyard of the tabernacle.

This was a very precious and valuable gift they gave.  Mirrors were hard to come by in those days.  The people did not have hand-mirrors like we use today.

Most likely the women were given these mirrors (made of bronze and shinned to the point that they gave a good reflection) by their  previous Egyptian masters.

During those ancient days of history, these mirrors must have been greatly treasured.

Can you imagine a woman living without a mirror today?

AREN’T WE ALL CONSTANTLY STUDYING OUR OWN REFLECTIONS?

Maybe we should give this pont some deeper thought.

Have we become so caught up in our own self-images that we have forgotten to worship God?

Is there not a great extent of self-worship happening in our culture today?

Are we not all constantly catering to, improving and working on making that image of ourselves that we see in the mirror reflect the world around us?

THE CONSTANT NEED TO REFLECT THE WORLD

We want to be thin.

There is a need and desire to be stylish.

We want to be beautiful.

Our images  need to have a certain flair, even maybe a better flair than our neighbor’s image when she looks inside her mirror.

Where have we placed our values?

What are these types of values really worth?

WHAT DID THESE FORMER SLAVES SEE THAT WE ARE MISSING?

There are commercials out there everywhere that make a woman think she has to look perfect at all time.  Our society has really given the role of being a woman such a stigma.

We no longer strive just for beauty; but the beauty has to be “sexy.”  That word “sexy” has become as common as all the other words that come out of our mouths today.  Everything, everywhere  seems to be centered around a certain appeal to the sexual appetites of the culture.

Perhaps these Hebrew women had experienced such things back in Egypt.

Today young girls are growing up thinking of nothing but becoming the skinny models they see on television.  They have noticed how men always pay attention and never fail to notice the models.  This makes these beautiful young girls feel quite inadequate; as if they must imitate these shallow examples instead of building the character that God desires for a woman to have.

WHAT  WERE THESE HEBREW WOMEN THINKING WHEN THEY DONATED THEIR MIRRORS?

These Hebrew women had experienced first-hand how following God can set you free.  They had been delivered from Pharaoh, crossed the sea on dry land and were headed for a land of milk and honey.  They KNEW who had made this possible for them.  It was their Creator who had done these mighty things.

It was God who made the woman.

He made each one perfect in her own way.

Have we forgotten this fact?

There is something attractive inside the being of every woman who walks the earth; but this will not be seen in an immoral culture that doesn’t value the person over how they can use and abuse a person.

THE HEBREW WOMEN HAD FOUND THEIR TRUE DESTINY

These women who gave up their mirrors for the making of the bronze laver might have put a lot of thought into what they were doing in making this sacrifice.  After years of abuse and mistreatment, they had just come out of the Egyptian culture that treated women in almost the same way that women of today’s world are treated.  Like many women of today, until God rescued them through Moses; they had been used and abused for all the wrong reasons.

These Hebrew woman had a new chance to change the reputation of women. They saw an open door and they walked right out of the wrong thinking of the past.  They had been given a fresh, new page.  What did they do with it after all the wisdom they had gained during their times of slavery?  They melted down their mirrors and made a place to wash before coming to the altar that honored God.

They had learned the secret to becoming a real woman.  They understood for the first time that honoring God also brought honor and blessings upon them.

LIVING INSIDE-OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF AN UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD

Perhaps these women serving in the outer courts of the tabernacle knew the secret of living life  inside-out in the middle of an upside-down world.

One day in the future Jesus Christ would come to explain this fully; but these wonderful, thinking, intelligent and loving women took great strides to preach the gospel prophetically through their actions even before its time had come.

They had to KNOW the One True God in order to do this.

A LOT OF “PERHAPS” HAPPENED HERE

I can’t sing their praises enough!

Perhaps they had found out the hard way that living a shallow imitation of someone’s else’s idea of what you were created to be isn’t the way to find joy and happiness.

Perhaps they had learned that the true beauty of a woman grows from the inside-out when she experiences and lives out the love of God.

Perhaps they had seen so much outside beauty exhibiting a lot of hate and had come to appreciate true inside beauty that exhibits a lot of love.  They had definitely learned to tell the difference; and they now desired to teach the inside how to reflect outward. For this they no longer needed their bronze mirrors.

They simply needed a heart full of God’s love.

THEY HAD LEARNED HOW TO GIVE GOD GLORY AND IT REFLECTED IN THEIR FACES IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY

Perhaps this is why they turned their bronze mirrors into something more useful, something more honorable and something that would give glory to God instead of bringing them and what God had made them to be to shame.

Good for these women!

I say let this movement begin all over again today.

DO YOU CARRY A BRONZE MIRROR THAT THE WORLD HAS GIVEN TO YOU?

Let the women of today’s world turn in their bronze mirrors and replace them with a cleansing and an altar that honors God in every way.

Let the mirrors that once reflected the world and all of its sins show the reflections of a godly heart.

There are so many voices crying from underneath the surface of this story.  We have so much to learn from this ancient culture that left slavery and bondage and came out of the pagan practices of the world.

They were joyfully on their way to a much better place.

Yet; they could never have done this without the leadership of God and his servant named Moses.

Moses set the example for treating the women honorable among the men of his own culture.  I’m sure it was a lesson that he had struggled to learn, the same as it is for many men living in our society today.

One man thinking honorable was able to help many women bring true worship into their culture.

Where are these men now?

A BRONZE STAND MADE THE BASIN SECURE FOR WASHING

God told Moses that the basin was to have a bronze stand and it was to be used for washing. Getting ready for worship requires a steady and secure base.  Then the laver was to be placed between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar. It was to be filled with pure, clean water.

Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and feet with the water from this basin whenever they entered the Tent of Meeting. The penalty for not washing with water was death.

The laver gave a constant reminder that men needed to be cleansed before approaching the throne of God.

Not only were they to wash, but they were to bring a sacrifice before they could wash.

All of this was necessary before entering The Holy Place.

ANOTHER PICTURE OF CHRIST

Once again in the layout of the tabernacle we see a picture of how Christ brings atonement and salvation to mankind.

Those of us who have come into the Church consider ourselves saved because Christ has become the final sacrifice for our sins.  Before Christ these Old Testament priests had to bring their temporary sacrifices; then be washed by the water of the laver.

The altar that allowed the men to come clean before God was built from a group of loving, God-fearing, thinking and obedient women.  Their sacrifice helped to make their men into godly leaders.

After receiving salvation in the church today we too come clean before God; not because of anything that we have done but because of the atoning blood of Christ.

WASHING DAILY IN THE WORD

Still, there is more to this cleansing process.  There is the matter of a daily cleansing that we must remember to do.  We must be washed daily in the Word of God.

Christ wants a pure and unblemished Bride.  The scriptures NEVER say a “sexy” bride.  They say a “pure and unblemished” Bride.  Young women be sure to read those words for yourself.

Those who are saved have been cleansed on the inside; but the outside picks up the daily dirt and grime because of the necessity of walking through this world.  We must remove that dirt and grime from ourselves every time we approach the throne of God to worship; because God abides in a Holy Place.

PURPOSE OF THE BRONZE BASIN

The bronze basin is for daily washing.

The bronze laver was placed between the altar and the tabernacle.

This was the proper procedure and it was all laid out in perfect order.

There was a place to offer a sacrifice and then a place to wash before entering the Tent and coming into The Holy Place.  It was important for the priests serving in the tabernacle to get this right.  If you didn’t offer a sacrifice you could not enter.  If you did not wash properly; you could not enter.  The penalty for disobeying the rules was death.

THE PENALTY FOR DISOBEDIENCE IS DEATH

Now we know the symbolism of this lay out.  Before you can enter through the door (Christ) you must be washed in the blood (the atoning blood of Christ) and the water (the waters of baptism and the washing of the Word daily.)

You first come to the altar with confession and prayers, then you receive salvation.  You are saved, then washed clean and pure in baptism.

You are then free to enter the door of the tabernacle (Christ) and come into the worship of God in The Holy Place.

The whole setting of the tabernacle was a way that God laid out for us to relate to how to come before Him in worship.

 

JAZZ UP YOUR DAILY EXERCISE ROUTINES – DAY TWO OF 365 DAYS TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE – AN APPLE A DAY

HOW TO PUT FUN AND INTEREST INTO YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINES 

When it comes to exercise, or anything for that matter; don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut.

Physical activities can be so much more enjoyable if we just follow a few simple suggestions for adding a little variety into routine workouts.

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CHANGE THE SCENERY OFTEN

If you go walking or running or exercising in the same place every day, you will eventually begin to tire of the same old scenery.

I grabbed a hint about this by observing one of my daughters.
When it comes time for her daily jog, she just takes advantage of wherever or whatever place she finds herself living in at the moment.  

Most of us would postpone or rearrange or wait to go home to fit that part of our daily routine into our day’s activities.  We tend to do the same exercise, in the same place, at the same time every day; or we postpone or skip.  

Why wait?  

Take advantage of the amazing changing qualities in your days.  

Enjoy the moments you are living inside of right now.  

Exercise right where you find yourself living at the moment.  If you can move and exercise in a familiar place; you can move and exercise in an unfamiliar place.  

Just start walking!

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WHERE EVER YOU ARE; STOP AND EXERCISE

It is actually just that simple.

If this girl is at a friend’s house; she asks her friend to walk around the neighborhood with her while they talk.

If she is at the office, she goes outside and explores the city on her walk.

If she is driving and she sees a nice little park; she stops and takes advantage of the good timing!  If there is no park; well there is always the side of a road.  No problem.  (Please do take all safety precautions though.)

 

 

 

You don’t have to exercise in the same place every day!

Duh!

CHOOSE TO EXERCISE OUTSIDE WHENEVER YOU CAN

Nature never gets boring, so why not chose outside over the gym whenever you can?  

If you do this often enough you will find  that whenever you CAN’T go outside, the gym will begin to feel novel to you instead of boring.  Alternating places keeps both places fresh and new.

EXERCISE YOUR SENSES TOO

SOUND

Do you listen to headphones whenever you walk?

That is a great way to incorporate your sense of hearing into your exercise routine; but don’t do it every day, or don’t do it in the SAME WAY every day.  Some days listen to books on tape or listen to your favorite music on the radio.  It is more fun to mix it up.

On other days make phone calls, or just enjoy the sound of silence in your ears.  It is most beautiful.

Have days just to listen to the sounds around you.  Listen for water lapping in the creek or birds chirping in the trees.  Listen for the laughter of children and the sound of a song from a person in the distance, or maybe you will have a bonus day and actually hear church bells chiming!

Become more sound-aware as you walk, it will keep your mind occupied and make the walking a lot more fun instead of a dreaded chore. 

SIGHT

Incorporate your sense of sight by noticing things about your surroundings.

Instead of focusing on how fast you are running, or how many times your pulse is beating; try simply looking around as you walk or run or exercise.

What do you see?

Develop a keen sense of noticing the beauty of nature, the novelty of your city-scape, or the peacefulness of the countryside.  What things are new?  What things are old?  Which places do you relate to the most?

Let your eyes feast on the places that you love to encounter as you exercise.

You will begin to feel and think like an artist and your exercise will be enhanced because you will have more enthusiasm for the journey.

Pay attention to abstracts that you see in the landscape. Do those shadows look like they have a message?

Let your eyes sharpen your imagination as you pound the pavement and keep moving forward.

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TOUCH

Use your sense of touch as an inspiration to keep moving.

After so many miles; allow yourself to stop and stroke the face of the waiting horse beside your gate; or inspire yourself to go a mile further in order to pick a bouquet of lovely flowers from a garden for your dinner table centerpiece later.

Take a moment to pet your dog or your cat and you can even invite them to come and exercise with you.

 

 

 

TASTE/SMELL

Be inspired by the different tastes and smells along your journey.

Walk to a local coffee shop occasionally instead of following the typical walking trail. Sit down for a few minutes and bask in the goodness of a cup of Joe, and then continue your exercise.

Breathe in the smells of bakeries and restaurants along your street. Try to guess what they are serving today as you jog past them. You might just become a more regular customer!  Remember to count those calories though.

You will have to stop in occasionally to see if your guesses are accurate. Not every day, but occasionally reward yourself with maybe something a bit healthy, like a yogurt from a local shop.   Coffee doesn’t have calories!  Neither does water.  An occasional treat is well deserved anyway.  Just don’t over indulge.  Be refreshed and continue to exercise afterward.

INCORPORATE YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES INTO YOUR EXERCISE 

My favorite thing to do when I walk is to take photographs of nature and all of its novel surroundings. You actually wind up walking further because you don’t even notice how quickly the time passes. Time flies by when you are busy looking for that perfect camera-shot.  It is easy to think you are not even exercising; but you are.

If you are a writer, try composing stories or poetry inside your head as you get your daily exercise. It will still be fresh on your mind when you return to your desk after the exercise time is over.

You will have longer to think before putting things down on paper and you may come up with better ideas this way. You won’t feel guilty for neglecting your work while you walk or work out. The two pair together well; like good wine and excellent cheese. Besides; there is nothing like healthy lungs full of fresh air to inspire words of wisdom and joy.

Do you love to sing?

No one would mind hearing you make a joyful noise as you are jogging down the lane. Let your song overflow into your exercise routines. Those voice muscles need exercising too.  Don’t save it all for the shower.

Do you paint or draw?

Keep a lookout as you walk or jog for objects and scenery for your next sketching project. You will be amazed at the ideas that pop into your head if you just stay focused on your hobby while you exercise.

Let your next exercise time become a time of inspiration.

Or maybe the exercise you enjoy the most IS you favorite hobby.

Do you love riding your bike or working in your garden?

Do you like rafting down a river, hiking, ice skating, bowling, rollerblading or snowboarding?

Are you an avid tennis player?

Do you enjoy horseback-riding?

Why not enjoy your hobby and get your exercise all at one time?

What could be better?

RECRUIT FRIENDS TO JOIN YOU

Do you often find yourself pressed for enough time to chat with your best friend, or get to know your neighbors better? This is easily solved by inviting them to join you on your next walk, hike, run, paddle-boat adventure, trip to the gym, or swim.

Exercise does not have to be a lonely experience.

If you aren’t totally into solitude; invite a friend to come along. Two people exercising together brings double benefits, not to mention the fact that it will heighten the friendship experience for both of you.

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINES EVERY DAY

We all know that change makes life much more interesting. Don’t let your exercise experience get boring because it is always the same old routine.

If you walk every day of the week, change your trails daily. Go to the park one day and the walk inside the mall the next day. Take a stroll through the city sometimes; but look for country roads to jog on too.

If you find you are still tired of walking EVERY day, you really don’t have to walk all the time – try swimming one day, biking one day and walking one day.  Change things up a bit; but keep moving in everything you do.

Alternate your activities and keep mixing them up.

Every now and then gather the neighborhood together around your basketball goal and have a friendly little neighborhood game instead of simply pacing around the block. You might make some new friends; you never know!

Inviting other interesting people to participate in your exercise routines with you makes things a lot more interesting and you are more likely to continue the activity with a partner by your side.

Don’t be a hermit all the time – invite a friend to join you.

HEALTHY DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BORING

Staying healthy is just about living better, not at all about being bored. A little imagination goes a long way toward your eventual greater happiness.  Incorporate a few of these suggestions and I promise you will be loving your exercise routine again.

Keep moving and keep thinking of ways that you can make positive refreshing changes that will keep you out there moving and inspired about life.

PREPARING THE ALTAR OF INCENSE – COME AS A CHILD- LESSON 171

sheila gail landgraf

PREPARING THE ALTAR OF INCENSE

The Altar of Incense that we will discuss in today’s COME AS A CHILD post  is not exactly like what you see represented here by this opening photograph; but there are many similarities.

This colorful photo is actually a place I once discovered which is the studio of a very successful artist.  For many reasons this photo reminds me of The Altar of Incense that God designed and asked Moses to build.

If you think that is rather a strange statement; consider the following facts:

I have always thought of God as the greatest artist of all.  He is our Creator.  He designed and articulated every thing that exists.

IMAGINE EVERYONE’S PRAYERS BEING DEPOSITED AT GOD’S THRONE AT ONCE

I posted the photo because it reminds me of what an altar truly represents; the many mixed colors of millions of different and unique souls in prayer as they are offered up before God’s throne all at once.

This is an event that is happening continuously, all the time throughout the vast universe everywhere at once.

A CONTINUOUS WORK

The prayers of God’s people are never-ending, never-ceasing and all of them are different and unique in some way, just as each person is different and unique in some way.

The amazing mystery is that God knows and remembers each one.  He collects them up until the unique timing comes in which He gives His answer.

Not one answer from God is ever wrong, or too late.  Every answer is just right and perfectly logical; from God’s perspective.  We may not see this at first, just as when the artist paints the painting goes through various stages of development and we can’t know the results until the end.

Often we cannot see that from where we are standing.  It all just looks like a big mess.  God sees the whole picture; and He knows what He is creating the whole time.

TRANSFORMATION IS ALWAYS TAKING PLACE; EVEN IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS

Sometimes our many prayers must look a lot like this colorful mess of spots splashed upon  a canvas as God begins His work of transformation.

Then; God takes those prayers and arranges our lives in perfect order.  He creates what we could never conceive in our minds by ourselves as He brings one color to the center and begins using some different colors in the  middle and the background.

He mixes certain textures and combinations in a way that bring us to  a beautiful portrait of all the seasons of our lives.

WE PRAY BEFORE THE GREATEST ARTIST OF ALL

It is very important that we come before God’s altar with the same such wonder and expectation as we would have whenever we are viewing an accomplished work of a disciplined and excellent artist.

When we first enter the studio there will be work that is unfinished; still going on and it may look a mess at first.

After all; God is putting the brushstrokes on the pages of our lives, and we should be approaching the studio of a such a great artist with reverence and awe as He is always about to paint his next greatest masterpiece.

GREAT ARTWORK CANNOT BE IMITATED

It would be insane for us to approach the work of a common and unaccomplished artist and attach the name of the greatest artist that ever existed onto it.  That would be counterfeit and dishonest.  That would totally devalue the honor of the true artist.  No one would ever allow this; unless they were deliberately trying to deceive people for their own gain.

Such is my thinking as I approach the place of God’s next instructions to Moses.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to Thursday’s weekly bible study called COME AS A CHILD.  Throw away your preconceived notions and join in with our discussion of Exodus, Chapter 29.

GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS TO MOSES CONCERNING THE ALTAR OF INCENSE

God instructed Moses to make an altar of acacia wood for burning the incense.

God said to make it square, a cubic long and a cubic wide and two cubits high.

The horns were to be one piece with the altar.  They were to be overlaid with pure gold as well as the top and the sides of the altar.

The altar would have two gold rings on each side to hold the poles that would carry the altar as the nation traveled through the wilderness.

This altar was to be placed in front of the curtain that hid the Mercy Seat, where the Ark of the Covenant with the tablets of the law were kept inside.   God would meet the people, through the priest, in this place as they approached this altar.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE USE OF ACACIA WOOD

Remember what we have learned so far about the characteristics of acacia wood?  If you would like to refresh your memory there is a whole article about it here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/httpwp-mep8woph-if/.

The fact that this Altar of Incense was made of acacia wood makes it special.  It tells me this altar was to be long-lasting and a permanent fixture in worship. This was the altar for the burning of incense.

Why do you think the burning of incense was so important to God?

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CORRECT USE FOR THE BURNING OF INCENSE

I have many theories:

I think the burning of incense was God’s way of teaching us how to pray.

The Psalm of David in Psalm 141:2 states:  “May my prayer be set before you like incense.”  I think David might have been suggesting that he hoped his prayers rose up before God like the smoke of sweet incense with a pleasant aroma before God’s throne.

Some times our prayers do smell sweet and are accepted by God and enjoyed by God.

Things that smell sweet, as a rule, are generally always accepted by everyone.

Something that stinks is NOT always accepted, but it us usually rejected.

In other words David was hoping and praying that God would overlook his many stinking sins of the past, and find his prayers acceptable and sweet; and that he would be heard by God.

THERE MUST BE A SWEET FRAGRANCE FOR THE PRAYERS TO ENTER INTO  A HOLY PLACE

Upon the original burning of the incense at the altar the prayers would then rise before God who would be residing in the Holy of Holies.

This altar was in front of the veil and the smell of the incense drifted back toward the place of the highest holiness where God was dwelling among the people.

The smoke from the altar of incense would “rise up” just as our prayers do when they make their way toward heaven today.

THE INCENSE CARRIED THE PRAYERS TO A SPECIFIC PLACE

The prayers made when the incense was offered needed to be directed toward God and God alone.  They needed to be headed in the direction of the place where God was dwelling.  If they headed to a different place; they would not be heard or answered by God.

Some cultures existing today use incense for all the wrong reasons.  They direct their prayers to pagan gods and use pagan rituals as they offer these prayers.  This type of prayer was forbidden by God.   They would be considered “strange” before God; because there are truly no other gods out there.

Those offering pagan prayers with pagan rituals are communicating with spirits and demons that are posing as god.  This is detestable to the true God of Heaven and Earth.  The use of incense as a prayer tool must be done properly and in the way that God ordained; or the person using the incense is in danger of angering and dishonoring God.

PRAYERS WERE TO BEGIN THE DAY AND TO END THE DAY

God instructed Moses that Aaron should burn incense on the altar every morning when he came to trim the lamps.  He should burn incense again in the evening when he came to light the lamps at twilight.

This meant that the incense would burn all the time before the LORD for all generations to come.

THE PRAYERS AND THE LIGHT CAME TOGETHER

I find it interesting that God associated the burning of the incense with the lighting of the lamps.

In the parable of the ten virgins we are taught to always keep oil in our lamps.  The lamps filled up with oil are comparable to God’s Holy Spirit filling our souls.  The oil is symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit; but God’s Holy Spirit comes to us through the form of prayer.

The more prayers that are offered up to God; the more light He shines upon our daily paths.  Prayer is a way of preparing to meet the coming Groom; Jesus Christ.  The incense is symbolic of the prayers that we offer up to God.

A PERPETUALLY PLEASING AROMA BEFORE GOD

The burning of this certain recipe for  incense designed specifically by God from morning till evening every day and then refreshed again meant that prayers were being offered perpetually before God’s throne forever without ceasing.

The smoke of this altar indicated that God’s people were praying continuously and never stopping.  This was the thing about the perfume of the incense that was the most pleasing to God.

NO STRANGE FIRE OR INCENSE WAS TO BE USED

Nothing else was to be offered here.  Only what God had specifically prescribed and designed.

No more incense, no burnt offerings, no grain offerings, no drink offerings were to be offered.

Only the specified incense that God had required of the priesthood would be acceptable.

The prayers had to be directed ONLY to GOD and never to a pagan god.

The incense used had to be of the mix that God found pleasing; and not something that men found to their own liking.

The people were not to pervert God’s instructions.

ONCE A YEAR PRAYERS OF ATONEMENT WERE OFFERED IN THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Once a year Aaron was to make atonement for the horns of this altar of incense.  The atonement was to be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for generations to come.

In those days this procedure was all that mankind could offer for atonement.

The smoke of the incense would be thick and serve to protect the priest offering the prayers from seeing God; because unless a man was completely holy and pure; he could not look at God and live.  Until the coming of Christ; no man was perfect and sinless.  Jesus lived as a man and showed us that this was possible.

The smoke of the incense offering up the prayers served as protection for the priest and the people.

With the covering of the smoke from the incense the priest was able to stand before God and offer the atoning sacrifices until the time of Jesus, when a more perfect sacrifice was provided.  Jesus was the only One that could stand before God and not be afraid.  It was His sacrifice that made this possible for us; but in the days of Moses; this was not possible.  Heavy incense had to be used on the Day of Atonement in order for the High Priest to enter The Holy of Holies.

A MOST HOLY ALTAR TO BE USED AS SPECIFIED BY GOD

All of this preparation for The Altar of Incense was important.  This altar was to be most holy to the LORD.  The sacredness and holiness of God was extremely  important to  consider at The Altar of Incense.

God had brought the people safely and miraculously into another place.

He had delivered them from a time of bondage and slavery and from a culture that practiced pagan rituals to false gods.

The burning of incense had also been used in Egypt; but this type of ritual was displeasing to God.  It was not the same as the incense offered up to God from the Altar of Incense in the Wilderness Tabernacle.

UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENCES IN OFFERINGS

Judaism and Christianity; which both originated eventually from the making of the Hebrew people into a people of God; were commanded to never worship other gods.

This was forbidden for a reason most simply stated; because THERE ARE NO OTHER GODS.

The pagan religions from the areas where they were enslaved believed in the plurality of many gods.  They had a god for grass, a god for tree, a god for this and a god for that.

God informed His people that this practice was wrong.

He alone was the ONE God of Heaven and Earth.

He made the grass.  He made the trees.  The people were to worship their Creator; not the creation that He had created.  The only reason for coming before The Altar of Incense was to participate in the worship of The One True God of The Universe.

DO NOT BE DECEIVED INTO FALSE WORSHIP BY THE CULTURES THAT SURROUND YOU

Many religious groups and cultures of today DO use incense in their worship of other false gods.  Some people do not really seem to understand the concept that if they are burning incense in sympathy to the people of such cultures, they might be dishonoring the true God of Heaven and Earth.

This act would not be true worship.  It would be false worship; thus idolatry.  It would be going right back to the place that God had delivered Israel from; that place of Egyptian false worship.

In today’s culture this takes many shapes and forms.

WHY THE BUDDHIST BURN INCENSE

In Buddhism, the offering of incense is a way to honor the triple gem of Buddha.

Buddha is not God.

This is false worship.

The teachers of Buddhism like to claim that burning the incense and producing the pleasing aroma purifies the mind and burns away the negativity of a person’s soul.

This is very ironic given that they are using false worship for purification.  Any thinking person could see that this is bad logic.

Instead of using the incense to pay your highest respect to your true creator; you are using it to honor a false god.  This would be considered “strange fire” and it would not be pleasing to the One True God; not then and not now.

WHY THE HINDU BURN INCENSE

In the Hindu tradition incense is offered up to “the gods.”

You can quickly see that the Hindu religion believes that there are multiple deities, and not ONE specific God of Heaven and Earth.

It all may look and sound like they are worshiping the same God that Christians and Jews worship upon first glimpse; but a longer look will reveal many pagan practices.

A DECEPTIVE INCENSE

The use of the incense in this culture is to purify your mind (once again) and to help you to have clarity and focus.   The use of incense in Christianity and Judaism is to please God.  The incense in the Hindu culture is basically to aid the user more than to please the false gods that they serve.

The aid of clearing your mind is actually a way to open your mind up to all the false deities.  This is a type of “first-step” into the Hindu culture that “prepares” you for greater things.

Don’t be surprised if those “greater things” turn out to be demons.

A TRUE HEART AND MIND TOWARD THE ONE TRUE GOD SHOULD NOT BE MANIPULATED BY FALSE PRACTICES

A person serving The One True God of Heaven and Earth would not allow their mind to be manipulated in such a way.

Remember the lesson of the turban and the crown?  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/turban-crown/  A person following the true God would keep his mind clear of false religions and not open up their spirit to entertain false gods.

WHY OTHER PAGAN RELIGIONS BURN INCENSE

There is yet another sad culture out there today.  It is a religion of satanic worship and wiccan rituals.

Be very careful that none of your religious rituals fall into the same practices that these cultures use.  They are very deceptive and counterfeit.  Many APPEAR to be like those prescribed by The One True God; but they are fake.

There will be some slight alteration, some unnoticeable opposite, some pagan practice thrown in to change the whole pattern of the worship.  It will take the focus away from The Creator and substitute an imitation and/or the creation in His place.

Deception and lies are the usual route taken by Satan and his army of false worshipers.  Nothing about their tricks are new or unique.  They have used the same approach since the beginning of time.

Be very careful what you do.

Don’t think that your actions do not  matter.

KEEP ALL WORSHIP GOD-CENTERED, HONEST AND PURE

When you are attempting to keep worship honest, pure and good; everything matters.

Consult the scriptures and do your homework.

Turn your heart and worship to the One and Only God.  Trust His Son Jesus Christ.  Follow God’s Holy Spirit and His Word into pure prayers and honest worship.

God was very careful when He gave these first “learning” techniques to His chosen people; Israel.  We do well to take note and follow the patterns that the TRUE God set into motion.

THE PROPER USE OF THE ALTAR OF INCENSE

So from all we have learned so far; you might be asking yourself; what is the proper use of the altar of incense in worship for a person trying to live a Christian life today?

Simply put; the altar of incense is used properly when we come before the TRUE God with pure hearts and offer our heart-felt and sincere prayers.  Then God will hear us from Heaven and answer our prayers.

God will paint a new masterpiece from the colors of our souls that we leave at the foot of His altar of incense in Heaven.

When we look back at the seasons of our lives and see what he was creating all along  yet unrecognized to us; we will rejoice and be glad and worship Him even more than before,  because we will be able to SEE with our own eyes what a great and mighty God that we serve.

If we simply take those daily trips to the altar of prayer, every morning and every evening, to offer Him our worship, prayer and praise; anything is possible.

 

 

DAY ONE – NURTURING THE SOUL – AN APPLE A DAY; 365 DAYS TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

DAY 1 of 365 DAYS TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
So one day I decided to set out on a quest to maintain my physical body as a healthy temple for God’s Holy Spirit to live and travel within.

I started this very long journey by studying and trying to  discover a few of the facts that seemed to be working for others in such a similar pursuit.

One day I stumbled across some interesting articles that spoke about the Orthodox monks living at Mount Athos.

In this small section of Greece, prayers have been offered up continually for more than one thousand years!

Can you imagine?

A CULTURE OF EXCEPTIONAL HEALTH AND DISEASE-FREE LIVES

Perhaps that fact alone, that these men live in constant prayer,  is the reason that these Monks have exceptional health and live long disease-free lives.

If that is what has caused their good fortune and developed their apparent extremely good health, I’m sure the rest of us may soon find that avenue to be a bit impossible!

Yes I pray; but do I pray continuously?  I’ve tried from time to time but I cannot honestly answer “yes” to that question.  It is something to hope for.

Prayers might have been offered up on the plot of ground where I live for over a thousand years too (for all I know, though doubtful) but it is that “continuous” part of the statement that wipes out any hope of my little plot of earth ever being so holy that it aids God in healing people.  A lot of humanity lives within my house.  Oh that it were rooted out and more Godliness could take its place!

I’m sure that  in this place where I live there may have been long lapses of time between the many faithful prayers which we have humbly offered!

No one has prayed continuously here, or any other place close by.
I wish.

Bummer!

DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD’S MERCY AND FORGIVENESS

We know God is merciful and forgiving.  Hopefully, we can find some other reasons (due to God’s mercy) that these people from Athos seem to live such long lives and maintain such healthy physical bodies!

What facts exist in their daily lifestyle; besides their constant devotion to Christ that makes them fare so well?

TEA????

Some people think it is the tea they consume.

Drinking tea is a local custom.  Drinking certain types and kinds of teas CAN be a healthy practice.  We will look into that later.

WINE??????

Some people think it is the wine they consume.

They do have their own brands of wine that are produced and grown locally.

Could that be the reason?

Some wines have been known to have healing qualities that come from the Great Healer named God Almighty.  We will check out the healing factors found in certain wines at some point on our journey.

A MIX OF THIS AND THAT????

We will simply need to take a look at the whole picture of these devoted men and deduct our own conclusions.  It could be anything.  It could be the fresh air from the ocean breezes.  It could be the nutritious way they consume their food.  It could be the exercise they get as they go about their daily labor.  It could be a mix of all of the above.

For starters though, there is one thing that remains constant.  We cannot pass that constant devotion to Christ off so easily.  This part may actually be the whole sum of the equation.

The first and most important part of maintaining a healthy body is to maintain a healthy soul.

If we constantly practice the presence of God in our days and direct our minds toward Him, we will begin to find the first key toward maintaining life from within.  Everything starts on the inside and works its way toward the outside.  That is how Jesus lived; straight from the heart, inside outward.  The things of His heart radiated out to the world from the rest of his physical body.

FINDING THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE

Life is how our body survives the decay of the world around us.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” God is The Creator and the true source of all life. If our minds stay focused on returning to God (just as the needle of a compass constantly returns to the north;) God will stay the pole star of our inward being, and we will achieve the first step in maintaining whole health.

These monks (those that are living true to their creeds) have the first step and the first priority of life in order. That is the main thing.

Nothing else that affects their health and well-being could come to fruition without that very important first step.

We would start well by keeping this in mind. The first rule of health in this 365 Day quest is this: YOUR BODY CANNOT BE COMPLETELY HEALTHY UNTIL YOUR SOUL IS HEALTHY.

How do you keep your soul healthy?

Start with belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and a part of God Almighty.  Confess your sins to Him and begin to live your daily life in pursuit of Him.  To your confessions; add other  prayer.  Prayer is a two-way street – speak; but don’t forget to listen too.

Continue those thoughts with study and meditation of the Holy Scriptures found in the Bible.

End these higher thoughts by  letting your actions reflect the things you have studied and learned and prayed to God about.

You do not need to travel to some remote island in Greece to do this!

Start right where you are.

By nurturing your soul you will be well on the way to nurturing your physical body.

Let’s always remember this first step as we continue on our journey toward better health..

The IN SEASON Lifestyle’s NEWSLETTER for JULY 2017

CATCHING UP WITH JULY’S IN SEASON LIVING

We were intending to post this July Newsletter earlier!  

This month has just been too busy and eventful; so we are posting the July Newsletter at the end of the month instead of the beginning; and this pattern may just become a pattern for the future publications.  

So much has been happening here!

WHY POST A NEWSLETTER ANYWAY?

In posting the Newsletter each month I like to review the past, present and future happenings of The IN SEASON Lifestyle blog; the past month being the happenings of June, the present being this wonderful month of July that we have almost finished; and I want to end with looking forward to the future month of August.  

All three time periods hold certain elements of excitement and wonder and life in season that we remember, celebrate and look forward to next.

GREAT MEMORIES FROM JUNE

Let’s start with our good memories of June.  

What a month we shared last June!  The Season of Summer was ushered in and we remembered THE OUTDOOR MARKETS OF ALABAMA.  If you missed that post; you can find it here.  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/outdoor-market-alabama/.   You need to go check every single market for yourself!

If you want to review our thoughts of what this summer of 2017  holds; you can review it here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/the-summer-season/.

It seems we did not yet get around to  publishing those promised articles about the music of the summer of 2017; but never fear; we haven’t forgotten.  Much is still in the works.  Be looking forward to that special feature in August.  Hopefully; we will have a few interviews from people who have been enjoying all of the pleasures of summer music across the land.  There have been so many festivals and concerts held that choosing which ones to write about might just be a challenge; but we are up to it!

Got any summer concert photos that you would like to share on this blog?  I may make a collage page of friends and neighbors enjoying summer music together.  If you have a short summary and a sweet photo to donate to the SUMMER MUSIC CELEBRATION PAGE just send it to wordcastlepublications@gmail.com; then be watching for the collage we will create.  It will be fun to see fellow blog readers that are living IN SEASON and celebrating summer with music.  Can’t wait to see what that turns out like; as long as people are living inside out and upside down; these are bound to be great!

June was also a big celebration that honored our Fathers!  If you missed any of these Father’s Day articles and want to review them again they can be found here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/fathers-day/https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/fathers-day-poetry-winner/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/fathers-day-food/  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/fathers-day-decor/ 

Be sure to read the poem by the winner of our first annual Father’s Day Poetry Contest!  

 

 

 

June was SO FULL of celebrations; including Flag Day.  We honored the flag of The United States of America with this article:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/flag-day-celebration-seasons/

 

 

June also started our COME AS A CHILD Bible Study’s series called THE DRESS CODE OF GOD.  This is an exert from my book called A WIDE-EYED WALK THROUGH EXODUS.  If you missed this series that started in June; you may catch up with us by clicking here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/garments-of-the-priests-of-israel/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/clothes-of-the-ancient-priest/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/understanding-ephod/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/robe-priest/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/turban-crown/    

Keep reading with us in COME AS A CHILD every Thursday to continue our study of The Exodus.  New and exciting bible studies and mini-series are just around the bend.

OUR FIRST GUEST BLOGGER

One of the greatest parts about June for me was the experience of having our first guest blogger to post in The IN SEASON Lifestyle Blog!  Her name is Elaine Etheridge and her post (which included beautiful photos) that we put in our THE HOUSE DOCTOR section of the blog was amazing.  You can read it again here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/a-house-for-gods-word/ .  Thank you again Elaine for this wonderful word of encouragement and hope.  The hearts of  our homes are filled!

JULY ARRIVED WITH A BANG!

Just when we thought things could not get any better we began our Independence Day celebrations in July.  The IN SEASON Lifestyle posted this article in honor of Independence Day:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/independence-day/

We took some of our own advice and celebrated THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN; which is where all of the photos featured in this JULY NEWSLETTER came from.

I could not be more thankful or feel more blessed than to have my family around me right here in the Good Ole USA and having such a fun Independence Day celebration from my daughter’s home in Birmingham.  What a blast!  Literally!

HOPE YOU ARE CATCHING THE SUMMER FUN FOR KIDS SERIES IN OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO 

With summer well underway now; my July thoughts have been centered around kids.  They are out of school and ready for fun.  I was blessed to have some very special times with all three of my grandchildren this month.  Nothing could make me happier.  

 

I hope you are enjoying some fun time with your own children and grandchildren.  If you do not have children of your own; there are many time-stressed mother’s out there this summer that would love for you to adopt their children for a few hours of fun in the sun.  

It has been such a pleasure to watch my four grown children be aunts and uncles with a mission this summer.  I’m not sure who had the most fun; the kids or the adults.

We’ve kicked off the Summer Fun For Kids Series and we started with the magic wonders that McWane Center holds for children who can travel to the Birmingham, Alabama area.  If you missed this article you may read it here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/fun-kids-mcwane/.  Look for several more articles in this series that will last right up till school begins again in September.

We also promised an Adult’s Summer Travel Series of articles.  We have the first post here and we are recommending the lovely town of Wilmington, N.C. for your summer fun.  You can catch the news here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/wilmington-north-carolina/  Look for more interesting places to visit this summer as we continue this series through the rest of July and August.  

AUGUST WILL BE FILLED WITH MORE EXCITING INFORMATION AND EVENTS

I have been filling you all in on why I write in my AN APPLE A DAY column for a while.   If you missed those posts; they are here:  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/maintaining-a-healthier-lifestyle/  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/new-healthy-practices/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/ordinary/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/health/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/sorting-information/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/family-health/ https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/setting-health-goals/     August will begin the actual articles.  

We will start counting from one through to 365 days toward healthier living!   Don’t miss a post and you will be well on your way by the time we arrive at fall.  I hope to be posting these articles on Mondays.  Keep reading and checking.  If you haven’t signed up for these Newsletters and put yourself on my e-mail list; you might miss something wonderful.  Go here right now and sign up!  https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/home/  .  

THE HOUSE DOCTOR will be fun during the month of August.  My home is moving from the patriotic summer look it has enjoyed to a beach-house look.  I love including the things of the sea towards the end of summer; whether I actually get to visit the beach or I just enjoy the beach season and its blessings from the comfort of my own home.  Keep reading to see how I am pulling this off in our home summer after summer.  

I’m also making the outside areas of our home more enjoyable this summer.  If you have followed me for long you will know that I love cozy outdoor spaces.

 This August I have been especially taken with the color Turquoise.  If you keep reading THE HOUSE DOCTOR posts as well as the new posts I’m about to start in GROW OLD WITH ME; you will discover why this color is so significant.  I’ll leave it all a mystery for now; but look for some fun and festive ideas for outdoors with heart and intention in August.  

Find out how to make growing older more fun, fulfilling and exciting.  It can actually be the best of all the SEASONS of life for us if we keep an open mind.

SEASONS articles are in the works too.  The fall seasons are coming and we are anticipating how to spend THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES this year.  We are already making our plans for THE FALL HOLY DAYS, even right in the heart of summer.  

 

 

Summer seems to be a good time to catch up on our reading.  We need to make time to relax outdoors, drink in the sun, and let ourselves escape into a good short story; and/or a great new novel.  

I will have a few book reviews this summer under the PEN ART section of the blog; and I’m excited to tell you that August will be offering a SHORT STORY CONTEST.  All entrants will need to be thinking of a summer story that is fun and fiction.  The winner will be posted in September.  Keep checking our CONTEST section for what is coming up in late August.  

Wow!  I could not be more excited about The IN SEASON Lifestyle and all that God has blessed us with and all that we have in store for the rest of this season of life we are living through.  

I encourage you to keep living, loving and reading.  Keep living life upside-down and inside-out.  

God bless you every one! 

Sheila Gail Landgraf Editor of The IN SEASON Lifestyle www.theinseasonlifestyle.com

 

 

 

 

GROW OLD WITH ME – WHY I CREATED THIS COLUMN OF THE BLOG

EVER WONDER WHY I CREATED A COLUMN CALLED GROW OLD WITH ME?

Our culture is always telling us how to look, feel and be “younger.”

I hate to tell you; but eventually we ALL grow older; so why not learn to enjoy the journey?

Why do we always have to be trying to be young when we have reached the place of being older?

Shouldn’t “older” be an honorable place too?

I’m very convinced that there are some wonderful things about being “older,” and those are the things I would like to share with you here.

Believe it or not; there are actually  a few others out there that would even tend to agree with me on these points!  So come on now; let us hear from you.  Raise your voices!

WE COULD BE ENTERING THE RICHEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

I firmly believe the “Golden Years” should have the potential to become the richest years of our lives.

For one thing; most of us are through with all the trial and error thinking.  Finally; we pretty much KNOW who we are; how we think and what we enjoy.  That alone is something worth celebrating!  Just think of all the years we have wasted and the mistakes we have made with trying to arrive right here.  Now we know.

Knowing is a good thing.

NOW IT IS ALL ABOUT PRACTICING WHAT YOU KNOW

But maybe you have been listening to the world a little too long, and maybe you have forgotten to stop and realize that you actually KNOW who you are better than anyone else.

I would encourage you to stop for just a moment and answer the following questions.  It will only take a moment.  Please write your answers down on paper because we may need to refer to them from time to time again as we ponder this magical age called “older.”

QUESTIONS FOR HONESTLY PONDERING THE ART OF GROWING OLDER

If you had to do one thing only for the rest of your life; what would it be?

If you had to spend time with ONLY three people for the rest of your life; what three persons would you choose?

Is there any one thing that makes you happy; no matter when, or how, or what?  What is that ONE thing?

Is there one place on earth you love more than any other place?  What is it about that place that makes it so special to you?

What is your favorite book?

What is your favorite song?

What is your favorite food?

How have the things you love changed over the years?  What do you still enjoy?  What have you decided to leave behind?

Is there a time in your life; looking back; that seemed more magical, more together, more joyful?  What made that so?

If you had to live your life all over again; what part of it would you want to experience again?

What part would you take out and never return to?

Looking back over time; who has made you feel loved?

Who has made you miserable no matter what you tried to do to get along?

At this point in time; what part of the definition of “relationship” really matters to you?

How do you now define family?

What type of company do you desire the most?

Are you happy spending time alone?

Are you happiest alone or with others?

If you could experience ANY adventure you wanted; what would it be?

Are there things you always wanted to do that you haven’t crossed off the bucket list yet?

If you could pick a career all over again knowing what you know now; what career would you make your life’s work?

Are you surviving or thriving?

Are you living with intentionality or just existing?

ACCEPTING “OLDER” AS A GOOD THING

Guess what?

You can’t answer a single question here unless you fall into the category that people call “older.”

I laugh every time I watch “Fried Green Tomatoes” and the main character (played so beautifully by Kathy Bates) turns into an imaginary woman named Tawanda.  She has to deal with some smart-mouthed teenage girls who make fun of her age and very rudely steal her parking space at the grocery store.   At the end of the scene Tawanda gets her revenge by ramming her car into theirs three times while shouting her name and then driving off.  The enraged girls come running out of the store all upset.  They are astonished to  face someone who has just given them a taste of their own medicine and they are in total disbelief.  This Tawanda character whirls out of the parking lot leaving them crying in the distance after rolling down her window and throwing out that famous quote:  “Face it girls I’m older and I have more insurance.”

I love that part!

I’ll just stop right here and now and interject a great big THANK YOU to Fannie Flagg; who has made me laugh over and over again during this long life I’ve led.   She just happens to be older than me; and I’m sure that is also a part of the magic of her writing.

OLD AGE HAS ITS ADVANTAGES

That movie scene always makes me smile.  There are milder ways of proving the fact, but it is true, sometimes old age just has its advantages.

I hope thinking through some of these questions gives you more insight to the fact that at this point in life; you really do KNOW who you are; and I also hope that this KNOWING translates  into BEING in some way.

QUIT LISTENING THE  VOICES OF THE WORLD AND INSIST ON LISTENING TO YOUR OWN HEART BEAT

Most of us DO KNOW who we are by the time we reach the age of 50 or 60; but most of us accidentally make the mistake of failing to live intentionally into what we know about our true selves  We listen to all those voices out there that don’t really know us which are telling us how they think we should be living.  Guess what?  They don’t know us at all!

IT IS TIME TO SAY ENOUGH

It is time to say “ENOUGH” to the voices of the world that are trying to convince you that the quality of life is gone.  Go ahead and wear that purple dress you like.  Throw the black dress in the give-away box because it probably belongs to someone else.  Old age is definitely a time to BE who you really are.

REMEMBER THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY AND YOU ARE STILL TRAVELING

I have a new canvas painting which I have placed over the edge of a stairwell in my home.  I take those stairs about a million times a day as I move from the upstairs in the house to the downstairs.  Every time I start to step down I see those special words painted against a cheerful picture of a pretty bicycle with a basket full of flowers leaned against a wall in a quaint little village.  Both the painting and the words give me peace of mind.   The words say “The joy is in the journey.”

I used to think this saying was true for someone in their 30’s or 40’s and that it was mostly about discovering new things; but now I think it relates more to someone older than that who has learned how to be living life the way it should be lived.

It is as much about enjoying what you know and love as it is about continuing to learn new things along the way.

And it always helps to remember that forks in the road are not ever the end of journey; sometimes they are just new beginnings.

THE SECRET OF TRUE JOY IS IN KNOWING YOURSELF

You have to be old enough to REALLY know yourself to experience true joy.

You have to be old enough to sort out the superficial things and sift down to those things that really matter.

For most of us that isn’t about where we live, or what we wear, or how we look in what we are wearing; but it is about “being” as we are doing things that are worthwhile with people that we truly love in a place where people understand real hospitality.

CROSSING OVER SURVIVING AND ENTERING THE PLACE OF THRIVING

This type of “reality” is soothing to an aching body.  It is forgiving (and even honoring) to one that has a few wrinkles around their eyes, and it is relaxing and nurturing to those that have survived a few more hard times than they might wish to talk about.

The joy comes when you cross over from that place of “surviving” to the place of “thriving.”

Easy for me to say; right?

Not really…….but I’ve had a few friends along the way that have helped me to develop this attitude.

COUNT ON THOSE OLD FRIENDS TO BE THERE

Being a writer; most of my friends have been introduced to me in the form of novels and I have slowly absorbed their good advice from reading.  The thing about making friends this way is that you can come back to the same subjects over and over again and see different perspectives that you didn’t see the last time.

Friends that are found within the pages of books never seem to mind repeating themselves; unlike a lot of human beings that I know.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have real flesh and blood relationships; not at all; but if you will take the time to make friends with the wisdom of written words you will find those flesh and blood relationships become even more interesting.

LEARNING THE ART OF SAILING

It is all a bit like sailing.

The solid foundation of the boat is your actual flesh and blood relationships; they carry you through life and make life safer, more “doable” and easier to navigate.  They provide a place to lay your head and a place to shelter you.

The wisdom from truly good books is like the sail to the boat.  They offer more guidance, catch the right winds and help to carry you further along on your journey.

I’ve enjoyed many good books like this in my life as I’ve begun this journey into old age; but a few stand out as some of the best.

THE BOOKS THAT HAVE HELPED ME TO ENJOY GROWING OLDER

The first and most important is the Holy Bible with the scriptures written down in black and white to review over and over again.

If you truly want to get encouraged; look at the people in the bible and what they did in their lives.  Read their stories.

Most of these older biblical characters had extremely important, world-changing missions and usually they didn’t even start on their adventures through these various missions until they were well over forty.  Many of them had very fulfilling missions given directly from God even after they had reached 80 years of age!

Look for those people.  Study how they thought about life.  Ponder what it was that was different about them.

I dare you.

A BOOK THAT PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO DAILY ABUNDANCE

Another book that has inspired me tremendously is a book that many may have forgotten by now.  It was published back in the early 90’s and used mostly as a type of “coffee-table” book by most folks.

The articles are short with simple themes about daily life; but they are beautiful and full of wisdom.

The book is called “Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.   This book explains a lot about how the daily life experiences of getting older should actually be lived out.

The very words; “simple abundance” say it all.

You don’t have to have a fortune, and you don’t have to live in a mansion, or wear designer clothes or eat at expensive restaurants in order to enjoy a type of “simple abundance.”

Unlike many today may be thinking; getting older isn’t necessarily about traveling to every tiny part of the globe and experiencing everything under the sun.  Just ask King Solomon about that!

Mostly; you simply need to know the answers to all the questions I asked you earlier.

You need to know yourself; what makes you tick, what makes you happy, and what you consider worthwhile after all your years of living life through trial and error.

Old age is about having the answers!

IT IS A RELIEF TO BE IN SUCH A PLACE

This is a GOOD thing; this place of finally having the answers to the questions that everyone else is still out there running around in circles trying to find.

You know who you are and you know what truly matters because you have experienced enough by now to have your own particular set of answers.

This is the beginning of peace.

SHARING THE PEACE OF MIND

This is a peace of mind that you can now learn to extend out to others.

This “peace” and this “knowing” could truly change the world if it is funneled into all the right channels.  That is part of why I write about growing older.  That is what I want everyone to see and enjoy and discover for themselves.

The world is a much better place because of the existence of “older people.”

Let’s quit trying to change them; let’s begin to let all their wonderful years of life experience teach us more about peace and harmony and TRUE life.

BY NOW WE CAN UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF TRUE HOSPITALITY

Another book that I think has contributed to this very same line of thinking is a book called “The Turquoise Table.

The Turquoise Table” is a simple, but eloquent book that expresses the secret KNOWINGS of a life well-lived.  The author, Kristin Schell, spends her pages talking about finding community and connection in your own front yard.  You can meet her here:  http://www.kristinschell.com/blog/.

Kristin Schell started practicing this simple act of hospitality  by doing a very simple thing – sitting at a turquoise picnic table she placed in her front yard.

Now there is a whole movement formed around this simple act of hospitality and these people sharing true hospitality across the land are becoming known as “the front-yard people.

THIS IS PART OF WHAT GETTING OLDER IS ALL ABOUT

I read through most of her book with delight, and I thought to myself the whole time; “this is what getting older is all about – this knowing how to share hospitality with presence.”

I came to a chapter toward the end of this book and the title of that chapter jumped right off the page at me.  It was titled “A Table For All Seasons.”

Well, if you read my own blog often you will know that I’ve been writing for years and years now about the changing “seasons” of life and a very active part of my writing has involved things of the table and the act of making a house a home.  It all requires knowing the difference between hospitality and entertainment.

OLD AGE INVOLVES KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOSPITALITY AND ENTERTAINMENT

You know I quickly resonated with every word that Kristin had to say; and I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I’ve reached an age of “knowing.”  This age is a time of being able to distinguish the difference between hospitality and entertainment.

Kristin says “true hospitality provides presence; not entertainment.”  I couldn’t agree more, and I think that is one of the greatest gifts that older people have to offer to their community.

Older people  bring a sense of knowing how to slow down and be present, and this is a rare gift indeed; a much-needed gift.

OFFERING THE GIFT OF PRESENCE

So I’m finding old age and this sense of KNOWING and living amongst wonderful friends to be delightful.

I love mastering “being” over “doing” these days.

I love slowing down and sitting still enough to savor the community around me and sharing whatever talents God gave me with those who matter the most.

It is a process still; and I am always learning how to improve the process.

At this point of “growing older” I am truly beginning to appreciate the joy in the journey; more than ever before.

Every journey is better when it is shared.  I would love for you to come along and go with me.  There are many things in this word that we could re-explore together now that we KNOW what we KNOW.

Let’s go check this out!

Come along and GROW OLD WITH ME!

CONSECRATION OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD – COME AS A CHILD LESSON 170

A QUICK REVIEW

Before we discuss the consecration of the priests serving in the wilderness tabernacle; let’s take a moment to review. Up to this point we have been discussing the facts around the dress code of the Priests of God in the days of Moses.

One strange thing I noticed was the verse given at the end of Exodus 28, verse 43.  I’ll just quote it here and let you ponder this last statement of the Chapter on your own:  It says:   “This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.”

At first glance I thought maybe God had decreed that the Aaronic priesthood dressed with this form of dress we have studied should last forever.

The key to most passages like this that are confusing for those of us on this side of the cross lies within the translation of the Hebrew into English.  The English words that indicate “forever” in English translate to the word “olam” in the Hebrew.

Olam does not actually mean “forever” as we understand the word in English; but it means lasting a long time or “long-lasting.”

The time of the Aaronic priesthood was declared by God to Moses to be long-lasting.

Now it is becoming clearer to me.  I can better understand how the Melchezedek priesthood happened way back in the days of Abraham and the Aaronic priesthood happened much later.  Then I can understand that the Aaronic priesthood was to be “long-lasting” but not “forever.”

That would make sense given that we can now claim Christ’s Order of Melchezedek Priesthood that is eternal and forever on this side of the cross too; which is a higher and better priesthood than the Aaronic priesthood and it DOES last forever!

THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD WAS VERY NECESSARY AND VERY SIGNIFICANT

The fact that the Aaronic Priesthood would not last forever did  NOT make the Aaronic Priesthood insignificant!

God had a very distinct purpose for Aaron and His descendants; they were types and shadows of things that God wanted to teach us about the priesthood that would evolve after the coming of Christ.

God used the descendants of Aaron to teach those who would come after him.   The Aaronic priesthood set the patterns to help us better understand the whole nature and concepts of the priesthood in general.

AN IRONIC NOTE ABOUT TODAY’S PROGRESS

Of course, why should people of today’s world, (thinking about the many who haven’t even paid attention to the fact that the ten commandments are still relevant;) take notice of the fact that today’s priest might not be clothed properly (as is the case with those who misinterpret the word “forever”) or the fact that they all might not be direct descendants of Aaron?

These things might seem trivial compared to the way the world is set on overlooking and misinterpreting the commandments of God.  But; I digress.  I guess I’m just trying to bring out the fact here that perhaps we should be paying more attention to “spiritual” dress of those ministering to our congregations today than their “physical” dress.

If the inside isn’t right; the outside isn’t going to matter.

One must be in the proper spiritual state to be TRULY ordained, and ordination blessings cannot be passed on if they are fake.  To make a long story short -if there is no true faith in Christ – there is no true message to deliver.

Do those serving in the priesthood of our churches today have the proper covering for their souls?   This is of the utmost importance.  It matters now more than ever.

Are they covered in the blood of Christ?

Are they saved?

Do they have the ordination from God and the message of salvation to pass on to those in need?

Perhaps this is a good place to focus our attention today.  There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing for sure.  We must all be praying for more sincere shepherds to be tending the flocks.

With this fact out in the open and out of the way; we should just move on to today’s topic.

INTRODUCTION
So; welcome to today’s Thursday bible study called COME AS A CHILD. If you missed last week’s lesson you can find it here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/belt-truth-dress-code-god/. Today’s lesson speaks of the instructions from God to Moses for the consecration of the new and soon to be very well dressed; priests.

FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS TO MOSES CONCERNING THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD

Moses was told to take a young bull and two rams without defect. He was to make thick round loaves of bread from olive oil which contained no yeast. He also was instructed to make some thin loaves of bread that contained no yeast that was brushed with olive oil.

Moses was to put the loaves into a basket and to present them to God with the bull and the two rams.

ONE NEEDS TO BE WASHED BEFORE THEY ARE CONSECRATED

Aaron and his sons were to stand at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. They were to be washed with water.

Have you ever been washed with water?  I hope this helps you to recall your own Baptism.

ONE NEEDS TO BE PROPERLY DRESSED BEFORE THEY ARE CONSECRATED

Moses was to take the priestly garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe and the Ephod with the breastpiece.  The ephod was to be fastened on Aaron by the waistband. The turban was to go on Aaron’s head and the sacred emblem was to be fastened to the turban.

When one comes into the Kingdom of God through faith in Christ; it is very similar to what these Aaronic priest experienced.  The old robes are removed and the new clothes are put on.  Upon entering God’s Kingdom one is first baptized, then the old man is put away, burried beneath the submersion of many waters.  When the candidate arises again from the water it is as if he has put on new clothes.  He has put on a NEW MAN.  The old things are passed away, the new things are what matter now.  His sins are washed away and he arises a new creature in Christ.

The new spiritual wardrobe  of a person professing Christ is very similar to  a white robe worn by an ordinary priest that is signifying that he is now clean and pure before God.

The Ephod worn over the priest’s heart was like the Word of God that a new believer learns to spiritually put over his heart.  He has hidden God’s word inside his heart; he becomes a lot like the priest wearing the ephod.  He gains discernment and he knows things he would not otherwise have known because he is listening to God’s Holy Spirit as he walks through life.

The breastpiece that holds the ephod of the priest in place and protects it is symbolic of the protection of God upon the new believer.

The turban of white linen and the golden crown the priest wore that said “Holy Unto The LORD” across the front was symbolic of how a new believer fills his mind with the pure things of God; and how he becomes sanctified as he begins to walk with God through the Kingdom of God.  The more he walks with God the purer and holier his new life becomes.

These are the things that concentrated the Aaronic priesthood; and these are the things that concentrate a new Christian and sets them apart in order for God’s work to take place in their lives.

ONE IS ANOINTED WHEN BEING CONSECRATED

Moses was to take the anointing oil and anoint Aaron by pouring it on his head.

Aaron’s sons were to be brought to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and dressed in tunics with caps fastened on their heads.

Sashes were to be tied on Aaron and his sons.

God declared the priesthood to be theirs by a long-lasting ordinance.

Moses was to ordain Aaron and his sons.

ONE IS TO OFFER A SACRIFICE BEFORE THEIR CONSECRATION TAKES PLACE

Consecration cannot happen without a sacrifice.  Moses was told to bring the bull to the front of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron and his sons were to lay their hands on its head. Moses was to slaughter it in the LORD’s presence at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

Christ became the perfect sacrifice for all believers.  We all at some point during the days God has granted to us have a need to go to Him and fall before Him and ask forgiveness.  We must ask Him who is perfect to go before God  in our place.  We are unacceptable without His atonement that covers us.  We must come to believe with all our hearts that Christ has finished this for us; once for all.

Do you believe?

As Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bulls head, we are to place our trust in Jesus.  He is our atonement.  We release our sins to Him and He is witness before God at the entrance to The Temple in Heaven; that He bore the pain of our sins on the cross.  His still nailscared hands testify of our atonement.

Do not be afraid!  Jesus has overcome death and the grave.  He has paid the price for our redemption.  It is written and signed in blood for all the world to know.

Moses was to take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar with his finger. He was to pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.  The wages of sin is death but life is in the blood and it covers the altar giving mercy and atonement even to those who do not deserve.  This isn’t about achievements and deserving; it is about something greater.  It is about so much love that a man would lay down his life for another.

After that Moses was to take all the fat on the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver and both kidneys with the fat on them and burn them on the altar.

THE FLESH OF THE SIN OFFERING WAS TO BE TAKEN OUTSIDE THE CAMP

He was to take the bull’s flesh and it’s hide and it’s intestines outside the camp. This was to be a sin offering.

Then Moses was to take one of the rams and have Aaron and his sons to lay their hands on its head. Moses was to slaughter this ram and take the blood from it and splash it against the sides of the altar. He was to cut the ram into pieces and wash the internal organs and the legs, putting them with the head and the other pieces, then burn the entire ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.

This pleasant offering is what God sees when our sins are removed and covered by the blood of Christ.  God sees them no more and He is now pleased with what is placed before Him as we offer the flavors of our lives to His service.

Moses was to take the other ram and have Aaron and his sons to lay their hands on its head, then slaughter it, taking some of its blood and putting it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then Moses was to splash blood against the sides of the altar.

This is symbolism that speaks of what we should be listening to, what we should be doing with our hands, and where we should be walking as we carry Christ around with us as we pass through the world daily.

Next Moses was to take some blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments.

THE CONSECRATION IS COMPLETE

At that point Aaron and his sons and their garments were consecrated.

To be consecrated means “to be set aside for the glory of God.”

Moses was to take from this ram the fat,the fat tail, the fat on the internal organs and the long lobe of the liver, both kidneys with the fat on them and the right thigh from this last ram. This was the ram for the ordination.  Until a priest is consecrated he cannot be ordained.

THE WAVE OFFERING

Moses was to take from the basket of bread made without yeast which was before the LORD, one thick round loaf with olive oil mixed in, and one thin loaf.

Moses was to put all of these into the hands of Aaron and his sons and have them wave them before the LORD as a wave offering.

Then Moses was to take these loaves from their hands and burn them on the altar along with the burnt offering for a pleasing aroma to the Lord, a food offering presented to the LORD.

God told Moses after he took the breast of the ram for Aaron’s ordination to waive it before the LORD as a wave offering.

God told Moses to consecrate these parts of the ordination ram that belonged to Aaron and his sons. The breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented would be the contribution of the Israelites before the LORD from their fellowship offerings.

Then God said that Aaron’s sacred garments would belong to his descendants so that they could be anointed and ordained in them. The son who was to succeed Aaron as priest, and who would come to the tent of meeting to minister in the Holy Place, was to wear them for seven days.

A FELLOWSHIP MEAL WITH GOD MADE POSSIBLE AT THE DOOR TO THE TABERNACLE

So God told Moses to take the ram for the ordination and cook the meat in a sacred place. Aaron and his sons were to eat the meat of the ram and the bread from the basket at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

Consider this in light of the present day.  Have you ever been offered a fellowship meal from God?

Have you tasted the sacred Bread of Heaven?

If you have you know the joy of fellowship with God; just as these ancient priest did.

They were to eat the offerings by which atonement was made for their ordination and consecration. No one else was to eat of them. They were sacred. If any meat or bread was left over until morning it was to be burned up. It should not be eaten because it was sacred.

God told Moses to do all of these things for Aaron and his sons and to take seven days to ordain them.

Moses was to sacrifice a bull every day as a sin offering to make atonement. The altar was to be purified by the making of atonement for it, and anointed to consecrate it. This too was to last for seven days as consecration of the altar. Then the altar would be most holy and whatever touched it would be holy.

Also Moses was to offer each day two lambs a year old, one in the morning and another at twilight. A tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering was to be offered with the first lamb. The other lamb to be offered at twilight would have the same grain and drink offering and it would be a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.

Study these words carefully.  Is it not God just retelling the story of the Passover to His priest?  How many times must He paint the portriat of salvation before His people understand?

What about us?

Do we really see and believe?

Then God commanded that the generations to come would make this burnt offering regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting; before the LORD.

Everything was to be passed on to the next generation.

Everything was to take place before the entrance.

The entrance was a doorway.

The “door” is Christ.  God was foretelling His story even before it happened.  He was again speaking of Messiah and salvation for the people.

God promised to meet them there at the door and to speak to them. He promised to meet with the Israelites and said that the place would be consecrated by God’s glory.

So it was that God consecrated the Tent of Meeting and the Altar and Aaron and his sons to serve as priests in the Wilderness Tabernacle.

God promised to dwell among the Israelites and be their God. He said that they would know who He was and they would understand He was the One who brought them out of Egypt so that He could dwell among them and be their God

So it was with them.

So it is with us.