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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers for Isabella Joy

Less than one month—and you will depart the warmth and comfort of your mama's womb and enter the world rich with activity and noise and love. You will leave the place where you began in love and where most of what you heard was your mama's heartbeat and voice –to hands clamoring to hold you and everyone's different idea of what you want, need or – yes – what you should do and be. Pressure. Such pressure for a tiny one!

So, my prayer for you, little girl of my Little Girl, is that you enjoy the time remaining in the peace of your mama's womb. God has said He knit you together while there. Beginning with—did you know—your hearing muscle? That is the first part of the human body that forms in the womb after conception—the hearing muscle. Isn't that interesting, Isabella? (I wonder if you, dear child, will enjoy my many bits of trivial information or if I will bore you with it? Time will tell.) The hearing muscle is the first thing to form and usually the last thing to stop living when the body dies. God intends us to hear. So, I pray for you, my baby girl, to have ears to hear what God says and the heart to follow fully after Him when you do—unafraid and unashamed. Not everyone will appreciate that prayer, but I pray it nonetheless.

Science also tells us that if we could take a mold of the shape of our inner ear, it is the exact same shape we are while in the second trimester while growing in our mother's womb. We are born to hear. Samuel's name means to hear with the intent to follow. I pray this same thing for him.

God says in His word, "before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you." I also pray that you never forget His voice and that you remain forever in tune with Him, just as you will be with your mama and daddy. May He speak mysteries to you, Isabella. May He speak mysteries and allow you to share His wisdom with the world around you — that the world around you may know Him too. God has said, "It is the glory (character and nature) of God to hide a matter and it is the glory (character and nature) of royalty to find it." He built us to find the mysteries He has hidden, Isabella. How exciting our God is! How fun!

I believe one of the mysteries He has hidden (but I found it!) is that the first thing He knits together while we are in the womb is the hearing muscle—so that we continue to hear Him as we did when He knew us before He placed us in our mother's womb.

God bless you little one. I love you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why I See Christmas in Numbers 21 (Part 2)

We are talking about how we can see the purpose of Christmas in the Old Testament story of Israel's rejection of the manna God rained down from heaven for them to eat. I would like to note that the manna came early in the morning, while the people still slept. The dew came first so the manna did not connect with the earth that was cursed because of the fall of mankind. The dew came down and then the manna rested on the dew. Biblically speaking, dew is representative of God's favor and blessing. So, instead of food from the earth which is cursed, the manna rested on the opposite of cursed—favor and blessing.

But Israel complained about the manna. They called it light bread and said their souls loathed it. Then poisonous serpents—common to the area—began to bite them. The serpents had never bitten anyone before, so apparently a door was opened—a shield came down through the complaining—and allowed the venomous snakes to do what snakes naturally do.

When people began to drop dead from the serpents' bite, they asked Moses to intercede for them. He did, and God gave him the cure. Now pay attention, we are about to celebrate Christmas.

When we spell out the word serpent in the Hebrew we can see a picture developing. The Hebrew alphabet is amazing in that it also contains their numerical system and each letter paints a prophetic picture.

From right to left the first letter in the word serpent is nun. The ancient Hebrew pictograph of the letter nun is a seed. It has the meaning of continuation, progeny, and heirship. The modern Hebrew picture of nun is a fish—which is where the Christian fish symbol comes from. This fish symbol connotes the meaning of believer. This makes perfect sense because those who believe on Jesus become sons (children, progeny) of God (John 1:12). Before the fall—before Adam took the word of the serpent over the word of God—God called Adam a son (Lk 1:38).

The letter nun has the numerical value of fifty, which has a theme of freedom. The year of Jubilee is the fiftieth year and slaves are set free, debts canceled and property returns to its original owners.

The second letter of the word serpent is chet. The ancient Hebrew pictograph of this letter is a tent wall. It is what separated the female side of the tent from the male side. It was a wall of division. The modern picture of the letter chet is a fence. Both signify separation and/or division.

It is significant to me that the doorposts in Goshen (believers) had to have blood applied to the lintel (above the door) and each doorpost, which forms the letter chet if you write it out. I haven't figured out how to do that in the blog world yet. Only the doorways with the blood applied were protected from the death angel. That is why most modern Jews consider the chet the sign of life and often wear it as jewelry. The blood of the lamb on those doorposts left all Israel alive. The picture of the door or fence brought the realization of separation to a new light.

The numerical value for chet is eight, which has a theme of new beginnings. Eight people were in Noah's ark to begin new life in the earth after the flood. On the eighth day after birth, a male child (Hebrew) enters into covenant with God and is given his Hebrew name—which is kept secret until that time (tradition).

The last letter of the word serpent is the shin. Interestingly, the ancient and modern picture of shin is tooth/teeth. It is drawn as two front teeth in the ancient pictographs, representing peace and protection from the devourer. Shin represents the Guardian of Peace and one of the names God chose to reveal Himself to Abraham—Shaddai—the provider and sustainer of life. Starting to see a theme here? If you look at the shin it seems to signify a flame as it looks like flames leaping upward. The Jewish mystical tradition of the spiritual essence of shin is fire and flames. Though the two pictures seem diverse, they aren't. Teeth are used to devour and fire devours too.

The numerical value of shin is three hundred. Gideon attacked the Midianites with only three hundred men armed with flaming torches in one hand and swords in another. Samson burned the fields of his enemies by releasing three hundred foxes with torches tied to their tails. And I am reminded of the story of the Holy Spirit coming to reside with believers and people saw tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

I see vividly the story of the fall in the Hebrew writing of the word serpent. The serpent is the fence between the believer and God—the source of separation and division.

But God gave Moses the solution to the serpent problem. He told Moses to make a serpent of bronze. In the biblical world, bronze is representative of judgment. God told Moses to place the bronze serpent on the rod and lift it up so all could see it. Those who were bitten by the serpent need only to look upon the bronze serpent to live. The serpent was judged and the people were healed and regained the life the serpent stole.

Now I want you to know that in Hebrew writing that the word bronze is the exact same word as the word serpent except one letter has been added to the word. The letter tav is added to the word serpent to make it a bronze serpent. The ancient Hebrew pictograph of the tav is a cross. When the cross is added to the serpent it represents the serpent has been judged. The serpent is rendered powerless. To all who look upon the cross in belief—the serpent cannot harm.

Jesus said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up. Whoever believes in Him (Son of Man) will have eternal life. God loves all humanity in the world so much that He sent His only Son to liberate them from the curse in the world because of sin. Whoever believes in this Son that God has sent is no longer cursed or condemned, but set free (John 3:14-18).

Can you see the purpose of Christmas in this story? Can you see, like the manna, coming quietly and in a manner unexpected (what is it?), the Savior of the world came as a child in the wee hours? Jesus said, "I am the bread sent from Heaven, for the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (John 6:33-41). Jesus came to give us the life God intended for us to have. We cannot attain that life any other way. All the health food in the store will not give us that quality of life. All the organic supplements and all the prescription meds and all the physicians of the world—are lacking compared to what Jesus accomplished by coming to the earth and being lifted up to take the judgment and curse that was in the world because of sin. Now that is a Christmas story!

To sum up a few points I gained from this study:

Believers are considered (by God) to be children of God—with all the rights and privileges of heirship. (John 1:12-13).
Slaves are set free, debts are released and property is returned to the original owners. Jesus represented to us how mankind was intended to live—far above principalities and powers, sickness and disease, evil of every kind—and as He was leaving, He said, "As my Father sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21).
Christmas is about family. God called Adam His son. When Adam turned away from what God said as truth and honorable—like the prodigal son in the parable Jesus told—God did not write him off, but rather waited for him to realize his "missing the mark," (which is what sin is) and sent Jesus to show us all the way back to being the family of God. We all descend from Adam. The Bible calls Jesus the last Adam, because He came to show us the way back home—to the heart of God.

The Angels said it best, "Peace on earth and (God's) goodwill toward mankind." Merry Christmas to all and may the light of the world shine brightly in each heart.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why I See Christmas in Numbers 21 (Part 1)

During their wilderness travels, Israel became discouraged and they began to complain about God and Moses. They said, "Why have you brought us from Egypt to die in this wilderness? There is no bread. There is no water. And our soul loathes this light bread (speaking of the manna God provided for them each day)."

And this story makes me think of Christmas. "What?" You say. "How can this story remind you of Christmas? There is no manger. There is no star. There is no Savior of the world." Oh contraire. It has everything to do with the reason of Christmas and gives us a tremendous visual of our Savior. Will you allow me minutes of a few days before Christmas to share with you this version of the Christmas story?

The people are complaining. The economy is tough. They want steak and ale and all they have is water that comes from a rock when Moses talks to it and a food they don't recognize and call "what is it?" That's what the word manna means, "what is it?". They said their soul (mind, will, emotions—intellect) loathed the manna. So, let's talk about Manna for a few moments.

In Psalm 78, Asaph highlights the 40 year trek Israel took in the wilderness. He says, "He (God) split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas." And, "He (God) rained down manna for them to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels." (Ps 78:15, 24-25). Psalm 105 states that there was none feeble among them (Israel). Moses, talking for the Lord, states, "In these forty years He has led you, your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell. He fed you on manna to teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but from every word that proceeds from God's mouth you may live (implied)." (Dt 8:3-4). And then Jesus, Himself, said to those who would hear, "I am the bread come down from Heaven." (Jn 6:41).

This is the bread—the light (something light in value or position) bread—their soul loathed was a picture of Jesus as provider and sustainer of life. But the story gets better, stay with me.

When they said, "Our soul loathes this light bread.", fiery snakes—which by the way are common in the wilderness—began to bite the complainers. The snakes were always there—but until the people complained, they didn't bite anyone. They were poisonous snakes whose venom was like fire.—but they didn't touch Israel until they spoke against God. Complaining opens a door for serpents to attack. Brings a new realization of that verse that says, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue," doesn't it? There are serpents in the world around us, but we are protected as long as we remain in agreement with God's word and way.

Tomorrow we will examine the Hebrew word for serpent to understand this story and the story of Christmas better. Hope to see you here.