SEASONS – PASSOVER

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

Christian families with Hebraic hearts from all over the world, who believe in keeping the commandments of God will be celebrating a Seder meal inside their homes.

The very devout have spent much 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 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 bring in prayer and meditation and worship and we honor the holy scriptures and the instructions of our Father in Heaven.  We eat symbolic food that helps us to remember Christ as our deliverer.

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 full of the good things of The Bread from Heaven; it is easy to not live in sin.  The matzoh that we put on our tables this week is symbolic of this.  We can look at the matzoh and see that it is pierced and stripped; just as Jesus was as he hung on the cross for our sake.  We take the matzoh from a white linen cloth and we break the matzoh as we eat it; just as Christ’s body was broken for us.  We know that the matzoh is totally leaven free; just as Christ was totally sin free as He willingly gave his life for us; and became our Passover Lamb.

We eat the matzoh at our Seder meal and we serve it in our homes in place of leavened bread all week.  We bring out our best, the white linen table clothes, the fine china used only on this sacred occasion, the special dishes, including 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 where He 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.”

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 that 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 lead the ancient Israelites out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

With the Passover Seder we remember how our Father reached down from Heaven and began all the things that make us a family today.  He removed us from the bondage of sin and took us on a journey to a land flowing with milk and honey.  He fed us and kept us clothed.  He gave us water from a rock and He showed us mighty miracles; miracles that no pagan god could ever come close to performing.  He 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 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 matzah 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.  We dip the parsley into salt water to remember the tears of slavery.  We eat horseradish on our matzoh to remember the bitterness of slavery.  We taste the haroset, a mixture of sweet red wine, nuts and apples, and it 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.

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.  We 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 must never stop telling the story.  We must remember every part; the way God saved Moses as a child and brought him to lead a nation out of slavery; the way that is symbolic of Christ; 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.  We remember how God fed and clothed and blessed the people in the wilderness.  We are reminded that was where God taught them how to become His family and the route God used to bring them into a land of milk and honey.  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.

Passover isn’t just one day; it last for 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.

THE MERCY SEAT – COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 158

We need to come to God with the eagerness of a little child

CONSTRUCTING THE MERCY SEAT

In Exodus 26:34 God told Moses to put the atonement cover on the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place.  This was The Mercy Seat.

The Mercy Seat, represented God’s presence among the people. God’s Throne on this earth was to be made of solid gold with two cherubim formed over it. These two holy angels would be looking down and covering the ark with their wings. They faced one another and the cover of their wings was spread in order to enclose the cover. The gold covering was formed of one solid piece of gold, and the angels that covered were molded and formed from that same one piece of gold too.

The book of Samuel speaks of how the cherubim together formed a seat for Yahweh. (1 Samuel 4:4)

MEASUREMENTS AND PLACEMENT OF THE ARK

The measurements of this “lid” over the width and breadth of the Ark were 2.5 cubits long and 1.5 cubits wide.

This area where the Ark and its contents were placed was considered to be the most sacred place on the earth.

The articles inside the ark; the two tablets of the law and the golden pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were considered to be the most sacred articles of the earth.

THE ANCIENT RITUAL OF ATONEMENT

This was to be a place that the high priest could enter only once a year on The Day of Atonement when he brought the blood that atoned for the sins of the people and sprinkled it over the Mercy Seat.

Everyone knew this was the place where God dwelled, and it was from here that He dispensed mercy to men when the blood of the atoning sacrifice was sprinkled over the Mercy Seat.

It was only through the offering of this blood that the condemnation of the law could be taken away.

In Hebrew the words “Mercy Seat” translate to “Kapporeth” which means “to cover” or “to wipe out.” This term occurs 27 times in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible.

This same symbolic ritual was used, year after year on The Day of Atonement; until God sent Jesus as a once for all atonement that covered all of our sins forever.

A MORE PERFECT COVERING

Once Christ came there was no more need for animal sacrifice at the Mercy Seat. The temporary sacrifices that did not last were no longer required. The permanent covering for the Mercy Seat of Heaven had been provided by Christ when He died on the cross. No other sacrifice was needed from that point forward.

But the people of Israel of which we speak had not yet seen or known the Messiah. They still needed to carry out the yearly ritual sacrifices on The Day of Atonement. They must confess their sins, place their hands over a sacrifice whose blood would be applied for atonement by the high priest. He would sprinkle it upon the Mercy Seat within The Holy of Holies.

SHOULD WE STILL OBSERVE THE DAY OF ATONEMENT?

Today; we HAVE seen and known The Messiah. Does this mean we should not be observing a Day of Atonement?

Good Question.

Yes, our sins have been covered for all eternity by the perfect blood of Jesus, and we can come to God the Father through the atoning blood of Christ. No question about that; it is very clear. Today we are under a more perfect covenant; one where the laws of God are not carved in stone inside a box; but carved into our hearts, minds and souls.

At first glance, one would think it might be no longer necessary to observe this day; but let’s think through that further. When does the blood of Christ cover our sins; isn’t it whenever they are confessed?

Do you have any un-confessed sin in your life right now?

HUMANS ARE SO IMPERFECT WITHOUT JESUS THAT THEY CANNOT EVEN CONFESS COMPLETELY

No matter how many times you are faithful to pray or confess; no one is ever perfect enough to confess all of their sins.

It was actually the same for Israel; when you stop and think about it. They could not go running to the tabernacle and confess every little sin they knew of all the time exactly when it was committed. They took the sacrifices as often as possible; and they confessed as best they could; but lots of the time, things were still out there and left undone; even though their hearts were in the right place.  They; like we, needed a special time of examination, a set aside time of prayer with God and confession of sins; an annual time of coming completely clean.

WE ALL HAVE SINS OF OMISSION

Perhaps people committed sins they were unaware of.

Sometimes they would simply forget to confess.

How many times have you caught yourself forgetting to admit to God that you have sinned and the chance to receive forgiveness goes by the way side; and you simply do not remember it anymore?

CONFESSION IS A CRITICAL PART OF ATONEMENT

Even though Jesus offered atonement once for all; the sins that are being atoned for must STILL be confessed.

So what happens to those unrealized or forgotten or overlooked sins?

If your heart is intent on being forgiven by God you ask Him to cover all of the sins you have omitted asking forgiveness for. You might even ask God to bring them to your mind so that you CAN confess them.

THE CONTINUED PURPOSE OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

This is what The Day of Atonement is all about today; and actually in the days of the wilderness tabernacle the theory was the same.

The day was for the priest to seek atonement from the un-confessed sins of the people as well as sins that had been accidentally committed within the place of worship inside the tabernacle.

The tabernacle was to be cleansed and the people were to be cleansed by the blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat.

The purpose was to cleanse the WHOLE sanctuary.

Are we not all living stones in the tabernacle of God today?

Sometimes we just need a little housekeeping. We need to clean up those crumbs that have been swept under the rug when no one was paying attention.

JESUS PROVIDED TOTAL FORGIVENESS AND ATONEMENT; BUT WE MUST STILL CONFESS OUR SINS

I’ll bet you haven’t heard that explanation before.  This fact bothers people sometimes because they cannot conceive of not being totally forgiven. They don’t realize that God HAS forgiven them; but once a year atonement must still be considered. This is simply a set aside time to examine our hearts and thoroughly cleanse the House of God.

GRACE AND MERCY CANNOT BE OBTAINED WITHOUT REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION

Our churches have been so completely consumed with grace and mercy that we have often forgotten repentance and confession. The first thing is only possible if you have the last thing.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of such news; but all of your sins still need to be confessed.

Confession comes before atonement.

God gave us this day to help the ancient people play out the need for atonement, and for us today to also remember this fact. Today this commanded holy day (the most sacred day of the year) is simply a time of serious, humble examination; both of our individual hearts and of the work of the Church of Christ as a corporate body.

Today this Day of Atonement of the blood of Christ by the approaching of the Mercy Seat is still a vital part of being a Christian. It is a good time to read through the Book of Hebrews and consider how Christ’s death surpassed the sacrifices and ministry of the Aaronic priesthood.

Hebrews 10:22 admonishes us to do this: “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” We come before God with the faith of that high priest who entered the sacred place with the blood of the sacrifice. Christ has covered us with His mercy and forgiveness; so we can now go boldly before the throne of God and confess our sins. They need to be confessed so that atonement can be applied.

THE CLEANSING FROM HIDDEN SINS

The Day of Atonement today is a good time to pray the prayers of the Psalmist concerning hidden sins. These sins must be atoned in order for the living body of Christ to be completely clean and pure.

The aim of this continued symbolic observance is to make possible God’s continued presence among His people.   We do not offer any more sacrifice; we simply humble our souls before God.

HAS THE CHURCH FORGOTTEN HOW TO BE HUMBLE?

Today, as the Church that honors Christ, we must look at God’s ways and conform to them with humble hearts instead of looking at the ways of men and the world.

HAS THE CHURCH FORGOTTEN TO FIGHT AGAINST EVIL?

To become sensitive to the evils of our age is to become sensitive to the evils which press upon us and tempt us. True submission is seeking the best interest of the other, rather than our own interest.

We must sincerely remove the evil from our places of worship and come before God corporately and individually as pure and atoned by the blood of Christ.

This act requires dealing with “unknown” and “unnoticed” sin in our lives.

It was not for those sins which atonement had already been made that the Day of Atonement was given; but for those sins which had not yet been recognized and those for which a sacrifice had not yet been offered.  Each and every sin must be atoned.

In the keeping of the Day of Atonement we recognize that the sacrificial system God established assumed that some sins which were not recognized as such at the time they were committed would come to the attention of the individual at a later time.

 The Day of Atonement was based on the fact that we can confess and be forgiven for even these unknown and unrecognized sins.

God’s mercy and kindness has covered all the bases. There is nothing that He has left undone or not provided a way for us to be saved from our own foolishness.

THE GOAL IS TO DO ALL THAT WE CAN TO KEEP GOD WITHIN OUR CAMP

On the Day of Atonement we must keep in mind that the issue at stake was whether or not God would continue to abide within the camp.   This all depended upon the cleanliness of the camp, the tabernacle and the people who came to worship there.

If the uncleanness of the people continued to contaminate the dwelling place of God, even when the Day of Atonement had been provided to remove their sins; then God will turn His back away.  God is holy.  He cannot dwell among sin.

Much of this significance of this fact is seen in the study of the sacrifice of The Red Heifer.  I will not go into that today; but that too was a type of cleansing for the tabernacle and the people who came to worship there.

SO; SHOULD CHURCHES STILL OBSERVE THE DAY OF ATONEMENT?

All of the above information is why I think it is a critical time in America for every church across the nation to observe and keep the Day of Atonement that is presented in God’s Holy Day Calendar found in Leviticus, Chapter 23.

It is very apparent from studying the wilderness tabernacle and the ancient rituals; though they are now symbolic; that we must not continue sinning in plain sight while worshiping God and expect Him to honor our salvation.

The church must rise up and keep God’s ways; in spite of our culture’s opinions and beliefs.

NOTHING COULD BE WORSE THAN THE ABSENCE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD

The most dreaded evil for Israel was the absence of God’s presence in the midst of the people. This should also hold true to the church of today.

Look around and try to wake up!  We are a nation in apostasy and many of us have gone out to worship the golden calf.

We must turn back to the ways of God and we must be true to the days He gave us in which to remember His ways.

It is as simple as confession and turning around. Those of us willing to do this will always have access to God’s Mercy Seat through the atoning blood of Christ.

FOLLOWING THE HIGH PRIEST OF THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAVE COME

It is clearly stated in Hebrews 9:11-14:

“Now the Messiah has appeared, the high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation.) He entered the Holy of Holies once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who are defiled sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?”

Let us cleanse ourselves from dead works and serve the living God!

Let us always remember to come before the Mercy Seat!

THE MERCY SEAT PREFIGURES THE PASSION OF CHRIST

Let us all come to realize and remember how the role of the Mercy Seat on the Day of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) prefigures the passion of Christ, who brought the GREATER atonement.

Let us remember how this ancient ritual foreshadowed this the truth that brought the fruit of the new covenant.

THERE IS A CALM, A SURE RETREAT TIS FOUND BENEATH THE MERCY SEAT

When I carefully consider how it was that Moses was instructed to have Bezalel and Oholiab oversee and supervise the skilled craftsmen who worked so very carefully and skillfully to create the Mercy Seat;  and when I try to visualize just how these angels on top of the Mercy Seat guarded and protected the Divine Presence of God among His people long enough for God to come amongst the camp and declare COMPLETE mercy and forgiveness for the nation; an old, old song comes to mind. It was penned by Hugh Stowell back in 1828 in a song called “At Your Mercy Seat” ;

From every stormy wind that blows; From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat; ‘Tis found beneath The Mercy Seat.
There is a place where Jesus sheds the oil of gladness on our heads.
A place than all besides more sweet; it is the blood bought Mercy Seat.

My prayer for you today dear friend; is that God’s mercy and forgiveness fill your heart with joy and the oil of gladness throughout the coming week; and that we inside God’s church may all forever be aware of where that mercy and forgiveness comes from; that precious Mercy Seat where God dwells within the deep chambers of our hearts.

OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO – LOVING DERBY DAY 2017

Thinking About Derby Day

 

Here we are at the end of April and The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner.

Have you bought your hat yet?

STARTING MAY BY CELEBRATING DERBY DAY

A few people I know are throwing “Make Your Own Hat” parties a few days before the big event.  On Derby Day they will get together at one of their homes while wearing their hats.  They will watch the race on a big screen television far from the maddening crowds as they sip on their mint julep.

There will probably be a lot of appropriate music in the background such as: “My Old Kentucky Home,” “The Soundtrack from Dreamer;” “Run for the Roses” by Dan Fogelberg, “Stewball Was A Racehorse” by Peter, Paul and Mary, “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers, “Faster Horses” by Tom T. Hall and “Got Your Horse Right Here” from “Guys and Dolls;” among others.

Sounds like a nice lazy way to kick off the Month of May while having some fun!

THE THRILL OF BEING THERE

Actually being at Churchill Downs on this weekend is the thrill of a lifetime!  If you have never experienced The Kentucky Derby, you MUST put that on your bucket list right away.

Here is just a brief summary of how this year’s 143rd Kentucky Derby will be coming together:

The Run For the Roses will happen on May 6, 2017 at 6:34 p.m. ET.  It will be televised by MNBC live from Louisville at Churchill Downs.  The Oaks and The Derby are the oldest continuously contested sporting event in history.

Some of the top contenders for this year’s race seem to be Classic Empire, Always Dreaming, Gunnevera, Irish War Cry,  One Liner, Girvin, Irap,Gormley, Thunder Show, and Practical Joke.  A lot of people are looking at a long shot called Hence too.  Time will tell!

Place your bets and hold your breath!

A GOOD PLACE TO STAY

There are still a few weekend packages left at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville; if you hurry! They are offering what they call the “Born and Bred Derby Experience.” This very pretty waterfront hotel is giving “call to the post” parties and putting red roses in your room.  They offer several weekend packages and there are hat shops and lovely restaurants on the grounds.  Sounds perfect!

Ready to go?

Wouldn’t it be fun to be in Louisville the whole week before Derby Day and participate in the festivities leading up to the race?

You could never get bored while waiting for race day.  Gala Events and fundraisers for charity are being held all over town.  There are a million other little things to do as you wait for the BIG race; like taking in a fantastic air show, riding or racing in hot air balloons, watching some amazing fireworks or cheering on a few racing steamboats.

Just do try to save a little energy for the Derby!

If you are like me; you will be sitting at home and watching The Derby on TV.  Why not ask a few friends over and have a Kentucky Derby Party?  Make it as simple or complex as you like.

SOME RECIPES FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Here are a few Winner’s-Circle-proven recipes that are sure to suit the occasion:

A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN’S MINT JULEP

4 fresh mint leaves

1 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 jiggers bourbon whiskey

Coat the mint leaves with sugar and place  in a 12 ounce glass.

Fill the glass with crushed ice and whiskey. Stir until glass frosts.

Garnish top with mint sprig.

RACE DAY SPLIT-PEAR SALAD

Ingredients:  The amounts here depend on how many guest you are having.

Pears (one for each guest.)

Mixed Greens.

Arugula.

Pan Roasted Pecans (chopped).

Grapes,

Golden Raisins,

Craisins,

Dried Cherries,

Dried Figs,

Blue Cheese Crumbles,

Slices of Prosciutto,

Jar of Fresh Honey,

Jar of Extra Light Olive Oil,

Champagne Vinegar

Dijon Mustard.

Instructions:

Mix ½ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/8th teaspoon Dijon Mustard to form  a vinaigrette topping.  Set aside for later.  Cook the prosciutto until crisp in a skillet.  Cool.

Take a ripe pear, turn it on it’s side and cut into rounds.  Use an apple core to remove the core, except for the top part, leave the stem attached.  Take a bowl and mix the greens, pecans, cheese and grapes.  Toss the greens in the dressing you set aside.

Use the arugula for garnishing on the plates.  Place the bottom of the pear on a plate (on top of the arugula bed) top this bottom layer with the salad mixture.  Add a piece of prosciutto over the salad and add the next pear part to the stack.  Continue to build up the pear in this way ending with the stemmed pear portion on top.

Cut one pear into slivers and fan several on a plate.  Garnish with grapes and a piece of prosciutto.  Drizzle with honey and serve cold.  This makes a beautiful presentation, but is not that complicated.  You can prepare ahead and refrigerate until time to serve.

BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HENRY BAIN SAUCE

(Henry Bain was the Head Waiter at Louisville’s Pendennis Club. He created this sauce which became a Derby Day special.)

Ingredients:

1 beef tenderloin

1 cup Major Grey’s chutney

2 oz pickled walnuts, optional

1 cup ketchup

2/3 cup A-1 sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire

3/4 cup Chili sauce

dash Tabasco

Instructions:

Grill tenderloin to desired temperature. Slice and serve hot or cold. Whisk chutney and walnuts in food processor. Mix in other ingredients. Serve at room temperature in large martini glasses, with the tenderloin slices placed artistically into the glasses and the Henry Bain Sauce drizzled over the top.

CREAMY BOURBON CHICKEN

Ingredients:

4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed, or about 3 to 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

salt and pepper, to taste

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 green onions, chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup good bourbon

1 cup heavy cream

Instructions:

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper; lightly dust with flour. Set aside. In a large, heavy skillet over low heat.  Heat butter and olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and chopped scallions and saute, turning pieces frequently, until chicken is golden and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, baste with a few spoonfuls of the bourbon every few minutes, adding in very small amounts so liquid cooks off while the chicken cooks and does not accumulate in pan.

When the chicken is cooked through and golden, transfer to a warm platter.  Add sliced mushrooms to the skillet and sauté while stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.  Add the heavy cream to the mushrooms and scrape any browned bits that may be stuck to the skillet.

Simmer until the mixture is hot and starting to thicken. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serves 4

KENTUCKY DERBY PIE

Ingredients:

3/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cups butter, melted

3 Tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cups chocolate chips, stir in

3/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

Combine ingredients and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  The pies should be served hot with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side.

CELEBRATE WITH A LITTLE POETRY

If you cook the pie; be sure to save me a piece!

However you celebrate; when your horse wins just remember these famous words:

“You are a great champion.  When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened and mere mortals parted; parted the way to victory, where you’ll meet me in The Winner’s Circle, and I’ll place a basket of flowers on your back.”  (John Gatins Ritch)

OH THE PLACES WE SHOULD GO – VISITING WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

FALLING IN LOVE WITH WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

A few years ago my family had the privilege of visiting Holden Beach, North Carolina.  We LOVED Holden Beach; but that is another story for another day.  While we were there we decided to drive on over to see what was hiding in the old city of Wilmington, North Carolina.  We discovered quite a bit.

I admit I was guilty of thinking this would just be another cozy little town similar to a million others we had visited before; I had no idea this was going to be love at first sight for me!  Wilmington is absolutely beautiful and oozing with charm and character.

 

 

 

 

I don’t think I could ever tire of discovering the unique pleasures of Wilmington, North Carolina.  What a charming coastal city; with interesting boundaries running from the riverbank all the way to the ocean.  There were perfect pleasures and enjoyment peeking out from every path we took.

If you are a beach lover, there are three beaches to explore in Wilmington. Each beach has its own special charm.

CAROLINA BEACH

Carolina Beach is a bit like stepping back in time.  It is not just about the beach; you will love the famous boardwalk.   If you go there remember to stop for one of the famous donuts at Britt’s.  Harvey L. Britt opened Britt’s Donut Shop way back in 1939.  The place has never lacked for a customer.  They sell one flavor – glazed.  Britt’s Donuts has become a standard tradition for the many people who love to return year after year to this charming boardwalk.  Even the locals love these delicious donuts!

Better save room for one more high-calorie treat when you visit the Boardwalk at Carolina Beach.  The Fudgeboat is always busy, serving up the delicious fudge right from the hub of a 38-foot boat which is docked right in the middle of their store.  The fudge is to die for; and the story of how they came to own the boat is very interesting.  I will not give it away; just ask any one of the Hagestrom Family who manage the place to tell you the story of how a boat came to be lodged inside their store.

The Hagestorm’s aren’t the only ones with a story to tell though.  Almost everyone in Wilmington has a story to share!

This Boardwalk which is located in the Pleasure Island area is the host for the Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival.  The festival always offers a stunning fireworks display on Thursday nights.  (As a matter of fact; most all Thursday nights seem to be magic here at Carolina Beach with lots of local activities.)

Be sure to visit the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park.  Maybe you can watch the fireworks from the Farris Wheel.  This is one of those old-fashioned carnival-type amusement parks.  It will probably bring back a flood of childhood memories for anyone over 40.  The kiddies will love the rides; and you will too!

A lot of things close down in the winter; but if you are seeking a peaceful family place on the beach to gather; that really isn’t too much of a problem.  If you go during the Christmas Season there IS the famous Annual Christmas By the Sea Festival, and it is quite beautiful with holiday lights twinkling everywhere and carolers and special holiday events, including a huge outdoor fire pit for roasting some-mores out on the beach. Bundle up and enjoy a Christmas vacation from a different seaside perspective.  I think you will love it!

If you just want to hang out and listen to some real surfing music, you can dance on the pier like when you were a teen in high school!  All of this happens at the Tiki Pier on Thursday nights.  The Tiki Pier is just next to The Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar and both places are operated by Abbie and Dave Sinclair.  Their restaurant is great; but the pier is where the action really is.  These two also have stories to tell, each speaking of the local history and the interesting way the unique places in this area came to grow into a happy business with fun-loving and faithful customers who keep coming back year after year to enjoy the beach music and the great food.  The Tiki Band schedule is usually publicly posted for the dates of June – August.  Look for your favorite musicians and come join in the fun. They all have loyal and loving fans just waiting to hear their tunes.

KURE BEACH

Many people also love the Kure Beach area.  This is the home of historic Ft. Fisher where you will experience lots of Civil War history.  This area has been called “the Gibraltar of the South.”  You will uncover many of the secrets of the past from Wilmington’s Port and The Cape Fear River.  This estuary where the mouth of the river meets the ocean has even more fascinating stories to tell.

While you are in this area be sure to visit the amazing North Carolina Aquarium.

The long pier at Kure Beach is great for fishing and bike riding. There is also a cute little gift shop to visit which offers hand-dipped ice cream for sale.

A fun Kite Festival is held at Kure Beach every year, and the beautiful kites add their majestic glory to the already gorgeous views.  In the summertime at this beach you will find a thriving farmer’s market and on many nights there will be opportunities for open-air concerts.

WRIGHTSVILLE  BEACH

Just east of Wilmington is the beautiful Wrightsville Beach.  The beach at Wrightsville has a pristine, private feeling about it.  Beautiful and peaceful, it seems the perfect place for a family to play.

Here at Wrightsville you will find Johnnie Mercer’s pier; the only concrete pier in North Carolina.

Johnnie Mercer’s pier is very nice, but my favorite pier in this area is the old Crystal pier.  It is an old wooden pier that was built back in 1939.  The Oceanic Restaurant is located right at the base of this pier, another feature of its charm.  This restaurant is three stories high with beautiful ocean views and covered outdoor dining.  You will find a small bar at the end of the dining area where you can watch the fishermen come in at sunset while listening to some music.  Don’t tell anyone, but this cozy little place is a great spot to perch during the annual 4th of July fireworks display.  The view is awesome.

Wrightsville is a four-mile-long beach/island, with an interior island called Harbor Island.  The town incorporates pockets of commercial properties all along the mainland.  It is known for being a great place to charter a deep-sea fishing trip.

When you have enjoyed the beach for a long time, and you are ready for a change of pace; you will find a lovely little cottage/museum that showcases the history of the beach from days gone by.

These three fabulous beaches are enough reasons to go visit Wilmington; but there is so much more!

THE HISTORIC DISTRICT

The historic section of the city is fascinating.  Scattered through the cityscape are little micro-breweries, boutiques, sweet shops, restaurants of all types and plenty of antique shops.  There is a lot to do on the Riverfront side of the city.

The RIVERWALK

Definitely take in the Riverwalk.  This is a long wooden walkway following the Cape Fear River.  Along the way you will bump into a view of The USS North Carolina Battleship, The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, and lots of interesting little unique places in the heart of the waterfront downtown area.

The Riverwalk is open 24/7.  It takes in about 1 mile of walking space along the waterfront.  It is lighted for after-hours strolls in the evenings.  There are lots of pleasant little nooks for resting and stopping along the way.  So go visit the old battleship and hear all of its stories, then; go explore the restaurants and shops on the Cape Fear River side of town.

My family took a fun shopping excursion through a large, interesting antique mall before we enjoyed a nice lunch at the Front Street Brewery.  We loved everything about this quaint little spot in Wilmington that was such a blend of art and culture, old and new, antique and a little modern here and there.

Another great place to eat would be The George on The Riverwalk.  Fun and tasty and right on your way as you take that evening stroll!

There are lots of fabulous seafood restaurants here, and the little cafes are quaint and romantic.  Breweries abound.  There are just too many delicious places to name in one article.

After you’ve walked the Riverfront, take a horse-drawn carriage ride and see it all again from a different point of view.  Then add some more perspective and go view it all from a steamboat dinner cruise right at sunset.  Just let me know which one you liked the best; it will be a hard decision.

Looking for an old charming Bed and Breakfast in this area?  Why not try the French House Bed and Breakfast which resides right in the heart of the historic district.  They are the only establishment I know that advertises sounds;  the sound of the steam boat’s whistle, the sounds of the church bells ringing, and the sounds of the horses hooves clopping down the cobblestone streets.  What a lovely and charming step back into a quieter, gentler era of time.

WILLMYWOOD

Another fascinating side to Wilmington is the fact that Hollywood has loved making films of all types here.  The weather is great and the scenery is breathtaking, so the city makes a perfect backdrop for movies and television, and there are many production titles to prove this fact.

This fact has made Wilmington some different and interesting history and these activities have given certain sections of town the nickname of “Wilmywood.”  A blog called “The Wilmywood Daily” keeps people up-to-date on the latest Hollywood happenings around Wilmington. They are many and exciting!

To name a few of the shows and movies produced:  Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill (I love that one!), Sleepy Hollow, Under the Dome,  Stephen King’s Firestarter, Iron Man 3, The Conjuring, Revolution, Tammy, East Bound and Down, Safe Haven, SIX,  Productions of The History Channel, The Choice, Max Steel, The Longest Ride, Good Behavior, Secrets and Lies.   I could go on; but you get the “picture.”

It is fun to find a good tour guide who knows all about these productions who can take you through a detailed tour of the movie-making/production side of Wilmington.  Such people do exist.  You will be shocked at how much this subject can encompass.

NATURE AT ITS BEST

So all of this is great information; but you are really just a nature lover?

Well the beaches and the river are about as close as you can get to the good ole earth, but I get your drift.  Let’s talk about some of the gardens and nature trails.  Wilmington is FULL of these types of activities.

Why not start out at Airlie Gardens at 300 Airlie Road?

These are beautiful and formal botanical gardens, full of wildlife, history and interesting structures with walking trails that will surprise and delight you.  You will find breathtaking views of Bradley Creek, 10 acres of freshwater lakes, more than 100,000 azaleas, and the most interesting sight for most people is the 467 year old Airlie Oak.

In this beautiful area you can take a walk, take a tram tour, or take a bird hike.  Maybe you will spot a Painted Bunting Bird! This pretty bird was once abundant to North Carolina but now it seems to be decreasing in abundance. They look like flying-rainbows with their colorful blue heads, green backs and bright yellow shoulders.

Don’t worry if you can’t find the bird though; there are 200 more species that are lovely and popular to this area.  Wilmington has some of the best birding around.  There are also over 100,000 different azaleas here serving as another type of feast to your eyes.

You can enjoy concerts on the lawn in the summers, and you can even witness the release of many, many butterflies from this place in June through August.  Such a pretty sight to behold!  The gardens are lovely and well worth exploring.

If you are in Wilmington between Thanksgiving and Christmas be sure to see the Enchanted Airlie light show.

Want a not so formal more of a wilderness trail to tackle?

There are nature preserves and natural hiking trails and parks everywhere you turn.  You will not be disappointed; and you can always bike, surf, sail and run on the beach.  Take your choice.

ANTIQUE LOVERS PARADISE

Okay – so you’re into historic homes and antiques?  This is the place.

Be sure to tour the Bellamy Mansion.

If you love railroad history you would enjoy the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

THE ARTS

Into art museums?

Tour the Cameron Art Museum.  They showcase both modern and historic works.

You would also enjoy visiting The Artworks Studios at 200 Willard Street which is open to the public on Friday and Saturday, and often features special events and festivals.  This is an art village showcasing the visual, literary and performing arts of Wilmington for all the world to see, hear and enjoy

ANNUAL FESTIVALS ABOUND

Into local festivals?

There are more than I can name here; but the favorite is always The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington.  This festival was founded way back in 1948 and has become the largest annual festival of its kind in the state.  It lasts for a week every April and features big-name entertainment and galas along with fun family events and pageants.

This festival is a huge fun filled display of pure southern hospitality for the whole city to enjoy.  It is usually attended by over 200,000 people.  Southern belles and their escorts promenade through the lush gardens at many famous annual garden party events.  (Hmmm, reminds me of an old Ricky Nelson song.)  The freshly bloomed azaleas act as a lovely and colorful backdrop to the enchanting festival.  The rich heritage of coastal Carolina brings out its best for this event.

THE HOUSE DOCTOR – WHY I WRITE ABOUT “THE HOUSE DOCTOR”

It was way back in 2013 that I first started writing down my thoughts about the art of turning a house into a home.  I began sharing the column of the blog I call THE HOUSE DOCTOR.   I chose to do this for many reasons:

 A HOME SHOULD BE A SANCTUARY

It is my personal belief (as a Christian filled with God’s Holy Spirit and following Jesus Christ) that the home is a very important place of sanctuary.  It is our refuge from the world.  Our little corner of the earth that is safe and comfortable.  The dictionary describes the word ”sanctuary” as: a holy and sacred place,  a shelter from the storms of life, a place of rest and refuge; a place of peace.

When the church first started meeting there were no temples or church buildings.  These early Christians met inside each other’s homes.  Each man was the priest of his own home.  Each woman was in charge of keeping a Godly home.  Each person entering the threshold of these in-house meetings probably felt as if the place they called home was their own little personal sanctuary.

God’s people were to worship daily, and this passion was usually done behind the walls of their own homes; in their own personal spaces.  1 Peter 2:9 speaks of how each person who knows Christ as their Savior is actually a priest.   “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

When special things happened in history; God gave instructions to the people as to what should be done at their homes.  Remember what God said regarding that first long ago Passover in Egypt?  Remember that the doorpost of each home was to have the blood of the lamb sprinkled over it?  God recognized the homes of his people; and He blessed those who chose to honor Him in their homes.

It is with this in mind that I have come to think of my home as a type of sanctuary of sorts; a place that honors God and a place where everyone can feel safe and loved and secure.  If the church building that we go to burns down tomorrow; we still have our main sanctuary; our home.   The home is the first sanctuary; the place where God is worshipped every day in all that we do.

So many of Our LORD’s teachings happened around a table inside a structure called a house; which was actually someone’s home.  I strongly feel that each home should have a table; a gathering place where hearts meet to share a meal and share their blessings of the day.

When I think of my own kitchen and my own dining room; I try to think of God’s table.  I have dedicated the two main tables inside our home to His service.  I hope all that goes on there follows the love and care of Jesus.

If you stop to think of the reality of this, you may recall from your own life experiences that many of the things that happen in our day-to-day lives  and around our own kitchen tables are actually more sacred than the things we might have experienced inside a dedicated building or within the community where people go to worship God.  It is not that the community building is wrong; but I’ve found if the process doesn’t start with the home and around the kitchen or dining room table; the building in the community may not be able to live up to its reputation.

It all starts at home.

Most feelings about home and God start when we are children and hopefully the transformation of Christ living within us grows us to a place of maturity.  There is no place more helpful for this growth and development than the Christian Home.

Notice; I say “home” and not “house.”  A house is a building, but a “home” is a dwelling place.  It is my constant goal for my home to be a special dwelling place for those who have Christ living within their hearts.  I hope it is a place where people can meet Christ, get to know Him and learn to follow Him and practice His ways.

ANY PLACE CAN BE A CASTLE

It has been my fun experience to discover that any place can be a castle; even a tiny little apartment or a one room building or a hotel room, or an alleyway with a chair to sit upon; if the person living there has a heart with a zest for love and life.

When we first moved into our house we were looking for a place that would sleep six people.  A bed for everyone was the biggest requirement we had.  It wasn’t easy finding a building that we could afford to live in which had room for each of four children to have their own space, a married couple to have their own room, and a space with one extra room in which our frequent houseguests could stay.  That would mean six bedrooms!  That was a lot, and quite frankly; it didn’t fit into our budget.

Finally we found a place that was spacious enough.  It wasn’t fancy; and it needed lots of work.  It was not new at all; but everyone would be able to have their own space.  We decided to be thankful for our spaces and let God take it from there.

To my surprise; the children, who were used to having to share spaces, thought it was a wonderful home!  They did not care at all if the walls were dull of paint, or the floor wasn’t perfectly groomed; they had longed for their own spaces and they had now attained what they sought after.  They thought we had moved into a castle!

To hear them talk to their friends you would think we had bought a large mansion on a hilltop instead of a modest, fixer-upper house in a rural neighborhood.

To make matters even more blown out of proportion, my husband told the children that his family name meant “landowner” and that the Landgrafs who originally hailed from Germany were counts and great landowners.  He mentioned to them that a few of those Landgraf’s had even built and inhabited a famous old castle in a beautiful old German town.  He expressed his lifelong desire to visit that castle and everyone got all excited about the idea.  We all dreamed of going there.  Then we talked of making our own Landgraf Castel right where we were; until we could make that dream come true.

Without a moment’s hesitation, we all began calling our own home “Landgraf Castle.”  It fit the moment and it stuck forever.  To this day, when we speak of our home we will often call it “the castle.”  My daughter even gave us a sign to place on the mantle that says “LANDGRAF CASTLE.”  I have a friend who makes wine and she made us our own Castle Reserve.  Sometimes people who don’t understand look at us funny.  We just smile.

That began my fascination with the whole idea that any home can become a castle if enough people have a heart for making it so.

MAKING A HOME IS ABOUT SHARING THE SEASONS OF YOUR LIFE

The” castle” has now taken us through many seasons of life.  If you read this blog at all; I’m sure you noticed that I’m very into “seasons,” even more than I’m into “castles.”

One thing I pleasantly discovered in all of my seasonal celebrating at our home was the fact that my home could become the center stage for displaying my love for each of God’s beautiful seasons.

Thus; I began the changing of the seasons at The Castle.  Every new season brought a new decorating adventure.  Each adventure stood for something significant and was a teaching platform for my family.  We held celebrations that celebrated God’s Holy Days each season.  This helped the children learn to appreciate God’s clock.  We also followed the traditional seasonal celebrations of our culture and our nation inside our home.  This gave the children traditional values and a rich heritage to be proud of.   We followed all the lovliness of each season and brought its elements inside to live with us.  All of the celebrating of the seasons truly gave new life and joy to a house that started out a dull place with nothing in its personality but simply enough bedrooms.  We no longer had a fixer-upper; but we had a castle that was in constant celebration.  We were always living life inside out and upside down; and it was grand!

Each new season brought a little more updating, and a little more remodeling, and a little more celebrating of special seasons and occasions.  There was never a dull moment.  We were always on a tight budget; but somehow everything we needed happened just in time.  Life in the home was constantly evolving and changing just like the seasons that God put into our years.  Many things changed; but some things never changed.  The changing things kept the constant things important.

Now I have a whole building full of “seasonal” items that my family treasures; and I bring them out when the times are appropriate.  One day each of these treasures will go to the child that loved them the most to be used in their home with their children. 

Most every item has a story to tell; and you know I am so fond of storytelling.  I believe every home has a story!  I write sometimes just to share these special stories with the world; not just about my own home, but the stories of all the many homes that we have had the privilege of knowing and loving personally.

Having a home that changes with the seasons has been a wonderful experience.  I write sometimes just to share how wonderful this experience has been; and hopefully I may spark ideas that will make you want to join in with many of our seasonal celebrations.

That settles the questions about the word “castle” and the how the “seasonal” element ties into the happenings in our home;  but many people also want to know why I used the word “doctor” in relation to the home.

BECOMING A HOUSE DOCTOR

Well, the answer is quite simple really; a house that isn’t loved is just a house.  It takes love to make a home.  That is the essence of being a house doctor; you bring love and care to a house until the transition “happens” and the house becomes a home.  When the word “house” no longer seem appropriate; and the word “home” is in full force; the doctor’s work is done!  The home is healed and the house is cured.

Like in the story of The Velveteen Rabbit; the house becomes REAL; and it is a home.   That is the whole idea.  It IS NOT about decorating; though decorating sometimes plays an important role in the transition.  It IS about love and family and community living.

So, you see there are many ideas for writing in a column called THE HOUSE DOCTOR.  I feel it ties right in with living out The IN SEASON Lifestyle which my blogging is all about.  I hope you find these articles interesting and fun as you go about your IN SEASON Lifestyle too!

Come on in; the door is always open.

CONSTRUCTING THE MAGNIFICENT VEIL – COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 157

photography by Sheila Gail Landgraf

INTRODUCTION:

Thank you for joining us in this  on-going chronological bible study called COME AS A CHILD.  This week we will be looking at the magnificent veil (curtain) that was placed between The Holy Place and The Holy of Holies within the wilderness tabernacle.

We have been finishing our focus on Exodus Chapter 26.  If you missed our lesson last week you can find it at:  http://theinseasonlifestyle.com/silver-sockets-of-redemption-come-as-a-child-lesson-156-amazing-silver-sockets/

CREATING THE VEIL

Exodus 26:31:  “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.

This is speaking of the “veil” that God had Moses to construct.  The veil separated The Holy Place from The Holy of Holies.  It was the veil that hid the Ark of the Covenant from the view of those inside The Holy Place.  This veil was a huge, thick curtain made of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen.  There were beautiful cherubim woven into the curtain’s design.

RECOGNIZING THE SKILLED WORKERS

I love the part of the scriptures that describe this work of the veil as being done by “a skilled worker.” 

God pointed out to Moses who the skilled earthly workers were.  He showed Moses those who were capable of implementing this magnificent design for the wilderness sanctuary.  They were indeed very skilled.  Some of their excellent skills were probably gained during their time as slaves; but these bad experiences were now put to good use.

However; The GREATEST of the skilled workers was God! 

God very skillfully implemented the whole story of the gospel into the elements of the wilderness tabernacle.  The placement of the veil was a very significant part of the whole story of man dwelling with God.

SEPARATING THE BRIDE

Though it was a large and magnificent curtain divider within the wilderness tabernacle; the word “veil” implied something that a bride would wear.  The church that would come out of the beginnings of this tabernacle would be the church that would also be known as The Bride of Christ.  At some point in time the veil of the Bride would be lifted.  She would see her beloved clearly with an unveiled face and they would no longer be divided by any barriers.

This time of the forming of the wilderness tabernacle was not that time of the unveiling of The Bride.  It was only the very beginning of much more of the love story that was to come later.

The skilled storyteller of all storytellers had very carefully woven His design into the place of worship for His people.  Every corner, wall, covering and furnishing told a piece of His story.    All of the significance of these elements held hints of past, present and future.  The veil hinted at the coming days when men and God would finally be united forever.

FIRE, EARTH, SKY AND SEA

Josephus describes this “veil” as being a kind of image of the universe; “for by the scarlet there seemed to be enigmatically signified fire, by the fine flax the earth, by the blue the air, and by the purple the sea; two of them having their colors the foundation of this resemblance; but the fine flax and the purple have their own origin for that foundation, the earth producing the one and the sea the other.”

He speaks of the fact that the dyes for the colors used came from the earth and the sea.  It was a process that took time and effort of great skill to obtain.  These dyes for the colors had also been forming and coming to be from the very foundation of the world at Creation.  God had provided everything that was needed way back then and certain elements of the Creation were constantly being groomed for their moments of magnificence.  The dyes enhanced the beauty of the excellent design by giving royal colors to the veil.  

This curtain also had embroidered designs upon it that were mystical elements of the heavens; the vast blueness of the skies and the angels that were woven into the design.

Exodus 26:32 explains how the veil was to hang in the tabernacle.  “Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood over laid with gold and standing on four silver bases.”

The curtain must be secure as it separated off the most holy space in the world; the Holy of Holies that held the Ark of the Covenant; the place of God’s throne.

THE VEIL UNDERLINED THE SEPARATION OF MAN AND GOD

Even the priests were not allowed to go behind this curtain.  They could go no further than The Holy Place where the table of shewbread and the menorah were.  They were to be about their business when they were there; it was not a place to enter casually and just “hang out” for the day.  They carefully came inside; they focused on what God had ordained to be done; and they left and went on about their day.

Only the high priest could go behind the veil, and he could only do that once a year for less than an hour’s time in order to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Mercy Seat on The Day of Atonement  (Yom Kippur.)

The High Priest would never dream of entering The Holy of Holies without bringing with him the blood of a lamb.  

So it was that this huge thick curtain served to separate mankind from God.  It was known that man could not look on the face of God and live.  For years and years and years man was unable to have direct access to God; until Christ came and lived and died to give atonement for our sins.  Until that time; all of the common people as well as the priests were told to stay on the other side of the curtain.

THE ARK WAS GUARDED BY THE CHERUBIM REPRESENTED ON THE VEIL

The curtain was guarded by the cherubim that were designed into it.  Just like the angels that guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned; angels were in the design of the veil covering The Holy of Holies; symbolically guarding the place of The Throne of God on the earth.

COME AS A CHILD LESSON 156 – THE AMAZING SILVER SOCKETS OF REDEMPTION

Redemption - photography of Sheila Gail Landgraf

Welcome to our ongoing chronological bible study called COME AS A CHILD.  Today begins Lesson 156.  It is all about redemption.   Most of the  bible references are taken from Exodus Chapter 26.  We are considering the amazing silver sockets that are used to anchor the wilderness tabernacle.

Previously we discussed how God instructed Moses to make bars of acacia wood that were overlayed in gold to form the tabernacle structure.   Click here if you wish to review that lesson:  http://theinseasonlifestyle.com/httpwp-mep8woph-if/  

All of these golden bars together formed board sections that were anchored in place by silver sockets.  Two silver sockets were  placed at each end of  all the golden boards and the boards were intricately placed inside them for security.  These silver sockets formed the bases for all of the tabernacle’s structure.

THE SOCKETS FORMING THE FRAMES ON THE INSIDE OF THE TABERNACLE WERE  MADE OF SILVER

All of the sockets on the inside of the tabernacle were made of silver.   They were different from the sockets used in the outside courts; as those sockets were made of bronze.  The significance of this is symbolic of a soul that is being transformed by God’s Holy Spirit, which only happens after redemption takes place in one’s soul.  The progression goes from earthly (the bronze sockets) to more holy (the silver sockets.)  This process of holiness happens as a person comes closer and closer to God.   Please note it is nothing that the person does that makes them like the silver sockets; it is only the atonement of the blood of Christ that brings the person closer to God.  This is the “silver” of redemption.

 Silver is always symbolic of redemption.  There are many biblical examples of people being sold for silver; Joseph and Jesus come to mind.   

THE SILVER USED IN THE BASES OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE STRUCTURE CAME FROM A REDEMPTION TAX

All of the other articles used in the construction of the wilderness tabernacle  were offerings that were freely given from the people.  These prior slaves of Egypt who eventually became the nation of Israel had been given many valuable articles on their departure from Egypt.  This included much gold and silver and other precious items.  These were bribes from their task masters to persuade them to leave Egypt during the time of the plagues. 

The former slaves had willingly given these precious and valuable items to Moses to be used in the building of the tabernacle.  No one was asked to give; each person gave gladly and cheerfully from the desire of their hearts to please God.  

However; the acquisition of the silver that was used in the building of the tabernacle’s foundation  was different.   This silver was required to be given.  It was collected from the people  in a type of tax, or a ransom of sorts.  

A certain amount of silver was required of every man of military age (over 20 years old.)   Each man was required to  pay one-half shekel as a redemption price for his life.  The men would confess their sins then ask God’s forgiveness; they would bring with them the cost of  redemption and pay it at the tabernacle.  Every man was required to pay the same price; no matter how rich or poor they were.  No matter how much more one had sinned than the other; all sins were redeemed by one price; one-half shekel of silver.  

There were 603,550 men over 20 living in the wilderness at the time.  They each brought their half shekel of silver.  All of these half-shekels totaled up to 100 talents of silver.  This silver in turn was made into the sockets that held up the 50 bars of the holy place.   

THE ACT OF PAYING THE PRICE FOR REDEMPTION OF SINS WAS SET AS A MEMORIAL BEFORE THE PEOPLE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BUILDING OF THE TABERNACLE

The scripture relating to this fact can be found in Exodus 30:16;  “And you shall take the redemption money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”

Christ had not yet come.  There was no Messiah to save them.  Each man was responsible for his own soul.  From the days of Adam and Eve there had been talk of a Messiah; but He had not yet appeared on the scene.  There was no atonement automatically provided for the souls of these people.  Therefore; each man was required to pay for his own sins with his own life, and his life could be redeemed through this tax that was paid to the tabernacle in the form of a certain amount of silver.  

These very specific instructions about this redemption price were spelled out in many areas of scriptures.  Here are two more:  

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “When you take the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then every man shall give a ransom for his soul to the Lord, when you number them; so that there is no plague among them, when you number them. They shall give this, everyone who passes among those who are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) half a shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. Everyone who passes among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the Lord. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering to the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; so that it may be a memorial to the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.” [Ex 30:11-16]

A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for everyone who went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. And the sockets of the sanctuary were cast from the hundred talents of silver, and the sockets of the veil; a hundred sockets from the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. [Ex 38:26,27]

The foundation of the tabernacle was made up of 100 sockets.  Each socket was made up of one talent of silver.  In those days one talent of silver was considered to be the value of one human life.  The value of the life of 100,000 men held up the base of the place where God would come to dwell among them.     

A talent was very heavy.  It weighed about 75 pounds.  It would have been no fun to be dragging  this amount of weight around in the wilderness.  100 men seemed to have managed somehow.  The people had grown strong through their past experiences as slaves.  During that time they had moved huge blocks of stone to build the pyramids for Pharaoh.  They had been prepared and made ready.  God had conditioned them to be able to carry the price of their redemption.  They did not consider it to be a heavy burden. 

THE REDEMPTION PRICE OF THE SOULS OF THE MEN OF ISREAL WAS WHAT FORMED THE UNSEEN BASE OF THE TABERNACLE STRUCTURE

The silver sockets that the golden boards were anchored into were made from this silver taken for the redemption of the souls of the men of Israel.  God wanted them to remember this fact.  He claimed that it should be a memorial.  He called this redemption by silver “atonement.”   From this fact, the nation of Israel became known for being “the nation of the redeemed.”  

Now we can look back through time and see why God wanted them to remember that redemption came through the payment of a certain amount of silver.  This amazing fact prefigures the coming of Christ as the ransom for sinners souls.   Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver for the life of Christ.  That perfect life was exchanged for ours.  Jesus paid his life for our redemption.   

Redemption isn’t always obvious.  Sometimes it is unseen.  The people crucifying Christ had no idea what they were doing.  In the wilderness tabernacle, the very thing that was holding the tabernacle up, these silver bases of support; were  hidden in the ground and buried beneath the sands of the desert.  The very parts which you could not see, the silver bases which held the golden support for the tabernacle in place; kept everything sturdy and standing.  Without these bases the tabernacle would topple and fall.  With the bases of redemption in place; the tabernacle remained strong and sturdy.

These silver sockets stood for redemption and atonement.  They  were very important, yet they could not be seen.  They were hidden.  They worked like anchors, keeping everything firm and steady.  Without them; nothing would hold in place.  All of the silver used in the structure of the tabernacle came to 9,600 pounds.  Now that is a lot of silver!

But what is that compared to the souls of mankind?  It reminds me of the song with the lyrics that say “LORD you are more precious than silver.”

HOW THE WILDERNESS TABERNACLE WAS DIFFERENT FROM THE HEAVENLY TABERNACLE 

This silver socket foundation of the wilderness tabernacle is probably the one part that is not like a shadow of the heavenly tabernacle.  You do not hear of silver in heaven; there is only the mention of gold.  In heaven there is no need for redemption.  Anyone who dwells there will already be redeemed.    

In the concept of heaven though; the invisible aspect of redemption is still evident.  It is unseen; just like the silver bases of the wilderness tabernacle.  Every person who enters into heaven will have experienced a redemption process from their earthly life through their relationship with Christ.   Every person will have gone through a wilderness experience where they leave the old sinful life behind and enter into the service of God.

Though this redemption is not visible to the eye, and will not even be seen when these souls are found in heaven; the fact remains that everyone in heaven would have been through a redemptive process during their earthly life.  This is a basic concept that everyone entering into the heavenly places must experience before finding the doorway to holiness. 

The un-redeemed cannot enter through the heavenly gates or come into the heavenly sanctuary where God lives.  Every resident of heaven must be clothed with redemption and atonement.    The price is the same for every soul; no matter who they are or how much they have or have not sinned.  Christ paid his life as a ransom for all.  He paid the redemption silver for us.

Here again, we can see so many shadows and types of Christ in the elements of the wilderness tabernacle. 

We see the redemption price that He paid for us, and we begin to realize how overwhelming and larger than life His love for us has always been. 

COME AS A CHILD – ACACIA WOOD WITH GOLDEN OVERLAYS

Photography by Sheila Gail Landgraf

Thank you for joining our ongoing chronological bible study called COME AS A CHILD. 

We have been looking at the structure of the wilderness tabernacle.  Our text today is taken from the scriptures found in Exodus; Chapter 26.  God has just finished giving Moses a general idea about how to place the coverings of the tabernacle.  Now God is advising Moses of the plans for making the framework to support those coverings.

CONSTRUCTING THE FRAMEWORK:

THE BARS MADE OF ACACIA WOOD:

Moses is instructed that the bars which will be used to make up the boards of the framework inside the tabernacle should be made of acacia wood.

Acacia wood comes from acacia trees.  Acacia trees are graceful trees that like warm climates.  They have deep root structures and are good to use to prevent erosion in landscapes.   They grow in any type of soil, even in sandy areas.  These hearty trees have bright colorful and beautiful leaves and produce very pretty flowers when the season comes for them to be in bloom.

The acacia tree is still used for many modern-day purposes.  It is known for its beauty and strength.  In this  present age, we  are mostly using acacia wood for making furniture and for materials for hardwood flooring.  Manufacturers of outdoor furniture especially love this wood because it is so moisture-resistant and solid.  This quality would have made the acacia wood a very good fit for the structure of the tabernacle, since the pieces that formed the structure of the tabernacle traveled with the people through the wilderness and theses things were constantly exposed to the harsh elements of the desert.  The hard-wearing, strong and heavy wood; could survive well as the people traveled through the wilderness.

Another interesting trait of the acacia tree is that the whole tree, including the flowers, the leaves and the wood can be used in some good and beneficial way, whether it be for food, medicine or building materials.  Nothing from this tree is ever wasted; all parts of it are useful.  The tree grows very fast and lives to be about 30 years old.    The wood is very durable and able to withstand pressure from heavy weights.  This quality would make the acacia wood an ideal material for supporting the four heavy layers of the tabernacle’s covering curtains.

I suspect God loved all of these qualities of this amazing tree; and that might be why it is used so many times in the construction of the tabernacle.  We have already noted that this wood was used inside the Ark which was placed inside the Holy of Holies.  It seems that God took note of the wonderful qualities of the acacia tree and said “Come here little tree; I have a great mission for you!”

THE GOLDEN OVERLAY:

Despite the beauty and durability of this wonderful acacia wood; God told Moses to overlay the acacia with gold.  One reason for this might have been that the acacia trees never became very tall, and most of the tree’s branches would not have been long enough to form one long, solid board.  The pieces needed to be put together from several sections of acacia wood.  The sections of each bar that went into the boards were held together within a golden overlay.  One looking at the bars might think that the bars were solid gold.  Solid gold would have been too heavy to carry through the wilderness.

Humans are a lot like the acacia wood in the tabernacle.  They need God to put their best pieces together and to form and cover their weak places.  God takes the talents of each of us and puts them together and then covers us with his love to make a beautiful structure called the church.

These acacia and gold bars of the tabernacle were fit together into forms called boards.  The boards  became a type of steady foundation underneath the layers of coverings of the tabernacle.  Each bar was made to be 10 cubits high and one cubit broad, but the depth of each bar was not mentioned in the scriptures.

This hidden acacia wood that rested within each bar of the structural formation of the tabernacle represented the redeemed souls of humanity.  The practical, durable, yet beautiful wood is symbolic of the flesh.

The wood used in the outer courts was overlaid with bronze, representing mankind covered with sin.

The wood used in the inner courts was overlaid with gold, representing mankind covered by the presence of God.

The gold overlays that surrounded the wood bars represented the fact that mankind could be redeemed and made more beautiful by the presence of God covering them.  The humanity would be hidden underneath the beauty of the glory of God.

FIVE BARS MADE A BOARD:

We have mentioned before that the number five is the number for grace.  Five bars made up each section called a board; and one of the bars from each section was hidden in the middle.

One acacia wood, gold covered bar in each set of bars that made up the boards of the construction of the foundation could not be seen.  This one piece was very important.

THE HIDDEN BAR IN EACH BOARD SECTION:

Even though it could not be seen, this hidden bar was the most important bar of each section of bars making up the boards.  It was sort of like an Oreo cookie; the best part was inside the middle.

The hidden middle bar was the supporting bar that ran from end to end in the middle of each board section.  The supporting bar represented Christ coming to live among men in order to redeem mankind.  Without that middle supporting bar the whole structure would have been useless.  The other bars were good support; but the support from the middle bar was what made those bars work together and hold in place.

Without the love of God mankind cannot dwell in unity.  Without God we fall and we break.  We cannot hold ourselves upright.  It takes that middle supporting golden bar; the one that holds everything steady and firm to accomplish the needed support.  It takes Christ living within our souls for mankind to dwell together in peace and harmony.

THE ENTRANCE WAS IN THE EAST:

There were to 20 boards on the north and the south and six boards on the west with two additional corner boards.  The east had no boards; as it was the place of the entrance, and pillars supported the tent in this east entrance area.

Altogether there were 48 boards of acacia wood overlaid with gold. We will speak more of how these boards were used and held up in our next lesson from COME AS A CHILD.

The meaning and symbolism of the elements that made up the foundation and structure of the tabernacle are exciting and insightful to anyone interested in understanding how amazing the mind of God truly is.

No man could have ever composed such a structure for mankind to be able to  haul through the wilderness.  Only God’s mind could conceive such an awesome and workable plan.