Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stones Of The Breastplate- Levi and Joseph

There are 2 sons of Jacob who are not on the Breastplate- Joseph and Levi. Yet, I'd like to include their birth, patriarchal blessing, and mosaic blessing.
1. His Birth
Genesis 29:34- And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. Levi means joining or joined closely.
This was a deep desire of Leah, for her husband to love her and want to be with her. We do't' know how long it took for Jacob to realize this was where God wanted him, but eventually he got there. Genesis 49:31- There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. Remember, he set up a pillar on Rachel's grave. His sons knew where this grave was located. But somehow he figured out that he was meant to be with Leah.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:5-7- Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.  Levi didn't live up to his name, here we see him cursed for dividing and he himself ends up being divided. Leah had hoped for a joining, yet Jacob talks of being scattered.
Sin always has a devastating effect! Levi was not given a certain spot for his tribe. He was given cities that were scattered all over the Promised Land.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Moses takes both his birth and the patriarchal blessing and combines them into something that only God could accomplish. Deuteronomy 33:8-11-And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;  Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.  They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
Massah and Meribah were both places where the children of Israel murmured because of a lack of water. In both places, Moses was told of God to use a rock- first to strike it, next to speak to it. Moses lost his entrance into the Promised Land for striking the rock the second time. Moses seems to be calling their attention to the fact that they would be hearing the complaining of the children of Israel often.
The clause where he is not acknowledging his family or brethren seems to be talking of the time in Exodus 32 where Levi stood against the people at Moses command when they worshipped the golden calf. Levi executed unbiased judgment on the idolaters.
And this unbiased judgment also brings the urim and the thummim into the picture. These stones were used to find out the mind of God in a matter. It was through these that the children of Israel were led.
This tribe, who was separated and scattered in Israel, was separated unto a certain job which helped join Israel to God. As Christians we should be separated to do God's work- Romans 1:1- Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, I Corinthians 1:10- Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. Like Paul, we can be separated and joined in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. His Birth
Genesis 30:22-24- And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:  And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.  Joseph means doubly fruitful.
It's a wonderful thing to know that God remembers us. It's an even more wonderful thing that God will hearken to us! Rachel was sneaky and conniving and yet God still remembered and hearkened to her.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:22-26- Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:  The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)  Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. We talked about this when we spoke of Joseph's sons. Joseph, being doubly fruitful, ha 2 sons on the breastplate.
Joseph went through a lot! Sold at 17 as a slave by his brothers. He was falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned, and even forgotten. But God had a purpose for Joseph. As a slave, he learned management and the Egyptian customs. As a prisoner, he learned to deal with irritable and sometimes dangerous men. And as a child, he learned to trust in the God of heaven who could "work things together for good". When Joseph looked back on his life, he saw God moving-  Genesis 50:19-21- And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.  We see that Joseph  fully embraced God's will for his life to save souls, nourish, and comfort them.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:13-17- And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,  And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,  And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.  His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.  Joseph was undeniably blessed. Was it because of his attitude of humility? His acceptance of hardship? Or his trust in God even when falsely accused? I believe it was, as Abraham, because he believed what God said even when the odds were against it. Hebrews 11:22- By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. 
Christians can be blessed like Joseph, if we, as Joseph, trust God, allow him to lead us, and depart from evil no matter the cost. Proverbs 3:5-7- Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
We see how the stones and characteristics of these men were passed on to their descendants. May we remember that our actions will be passed on to our children, and what we do in moderation our children will do in excess.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Naphtali

Jasper- Naphtali
1. His Birth
Genesis 30:7-8- And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.  And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.  Naphtali means wrestling.
Again, this child was Rachel's attempt to secure her desire apart from God's will. She though she was wrestling her sister, but in all actuality she was wrestling God and His will. Rachel was successful in her scheme, but success doesn't always mean it was God's will, nor does it mean that God has changed His mind about His will. Ezekiel 14:3-5- Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?  Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;  That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. Having our way will always prove to be a thorn in the flesh.
Man is always wrestling, unfortunately this means that one person is defeated and the other is strengthened as he gains the victory. Galatians 5:17; 6:8- For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:21- Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. The hind is graceful, gentle, and agile.  This hind was caught, or trapped, and was released from that captivity. Psalm 18:33- He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. When a hind is let loose, he goes up to a high place. Moses received God's law on a mountain. Christ was transfigured on a mountain. This hind was let loose from some captivity and found a victory from the captor by getting close to God.
 God is not the only one on the mountain! Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on a mountain. Christ defeated the temptations of Satan on a mountain. Ephesians 6:12- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Spiritual wickedness can also be found in high places. So, how do we defeat this spiritual wickedness? Just like Christ did- with goodly words! Psalms 12:6; 119:11- The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Only through God's Word can wrestle the world, the flesh, and the evil and come forth a stronger Christian.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:23- And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south. Naphtali has found favour, and he is satisfied with it. Why? Because it's full of the blessings of the Lord. When we come away from a battle knowing that we sought God's will and have acquired the blessing, we will say like the Psalmist in Psalms 17:15- As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
4. The Stone Jasper in the Breastplate
This stone is the most versatile with many different colors and degrees on transparency. Jasper was also used to describe the one who sat on the throne, and the walls and foundation of New Jerusalem in Revelation. There is much to say about the wrestlings of the Christian life, but is it possible that New Jerusalem reflects the victories of those battles?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Asher

Onyx- Asher
1. His Birth
Genesis 30:12-13- And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.  Asher was Leah's handmaid's second son. Asher means happy or blessed.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:20- Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. His bread shall be fat is a reference to the quality of life. A blessed man will have a quality of life that is far greater than those around him. Psalms 1:1- Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 32:2- Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. And James 1:12- Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. A man who lives his life according the will of God, will receive blessings and have a happy reward.
Asher is also said to yield royal dainties. Dainties are attractive things. The Bible says it can be bad. Proverbs 23:3- Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.  So, dainties can be considered meat. What would royal meat be? Hebrews 5:12- But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Christ said in John 4:34- Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. So, royal dainties is doing God's will and being strong in the Lord by growing in Him.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:24-25- And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.  Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
 First, Asher is blessed with children. If we consider the Patriarchal Blessing, this could very well be spiritual children.
Then, there is a curious phrase- let him be acceptable to his brethren. Unfortunately, many times Christians can be he most jealous, petty people. When someone seems to succeed, others try to tear him down, or reject him. We must always remember that God's acceptance is much more important. Romans 12:1-2- I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Dip his foot in oil should be looked at in the spiritual form, too. Olive oil, in the Bible, is a type of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 52:7- How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!  Our feet should be bringing the gospel to the unsaved world. Again, tying back to being blessed with children.
Thy shoes shall be iron and brass. Asher is wearing armour on his feet. Ephesians 6:15- And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  The Bible tells us that our feet should be shod with the ability to spread the gospel.
Asher's Mosaic blessing all points to a man who submits to the will of God and is a soul winner. He's a happy man because of the rewards he brings with him to the throne room of heaven! And he does this with strength all the days of his life.
4. The Stone Onyx in the Breastplate
The onyx is neither showy, nor flashy. It is a dull, black stone. The blessings of the Christian life may seem dull to those who are looking at it through the world's view, but we shouldn't listen to what the world thinks.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Dan

Beryl- Dan
1. His Birth
Genesis 30:4-6- And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.  And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. Dan means Judge.
Dan is the product of Jacob listening to his wife and bearing children through a concubine. You would think that, knowing the story of Sarah and Hagar, he would know that this wasn't the right way to do things. Rachel was impatient and jealous, and, perhaps, Jacob was tired of fighting to do things the right way. Rachel's actions revealed, not only her impatience, but also her lack of trust in God.
Her statement "God hath judged me" is more accurate than she knew. Galatians 6:7- Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. She would definitely reap, though she wouldn't presently see it. I Kings 12:28-10- Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And in Revelation 7, Dan is not listed among the tribes of Israel when the 144,000  were sealed.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:16-18- Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.  I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. Dan is not judging as a superior, but as an equal.
It seems as though the waywardness in Rachel's heart was passed along to this family. Samson, a judge of Israel, was from the tribe of Dan. Endued with strength, this child of promise became a great type of a Christian living for their own fleshly desires (as Rachel did). He ends up fornicating with an harlot, Delilah, who manipulates him into giving up his secret. Her wiles strip him of his God given strength and through her he ends up a blind, slave in the house of the ungodly Philistines. His death was granted him by God, and yet even then it was a selfish prayer to avenge himself of the loss of his eyes.
Dan was a temptation for Israel to step away from the blessings of God and embrace the curse of idolatry. Those who travelled to Dan to worship the golden calf were certainly deceived by the serpent and destroyed by the fall! In the end, we see Jacob praying for a waited salvation! Perhaps this salvation was to a prayer to be saved from deceit?
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:22- And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.  This could be prophecy of Dan attacking their neighboring people to gain more land for their tribe in Joshua 19. Though, I think it's a warning. In Numbers 21, the King of Bashan came out to attack the children of Israel when Moses was leading them. God allowed Israel to slaughter them and their land was given as an inheritance to 2 and a half tribes of Israel. The Prophetical Psalmist says of Bashan in Psalm 22:12-13- Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.  They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.  Psalm 22 is a prophecy of Christ's crucifixion. And the devil is also likened to an attacking lion in I Peter 5:8- Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: In light of these verses, I believe that Moses was warning the children of Israel that Dan would be a stumbling block to them.
4. The Stone Beryl in the Breastplate
This is a very hard stone whose name means to break or subdue. Dan's sin of the calf was the breaking point of Israel.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Benjamin

Amethyst- Benjamin
1. His Birth
Genesis 35:16, 18- And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. Benoni means son of my sorrow, but his father changed his name to Benjamin meaning son of my right hand. Rachel's tomb can be seen in this spot to this very day.
Two things stick out about this. First, Rachel was the fleshly desire of Jacob, whom Jacob made a deal to get. Second, Rachel was a worldly woman who stole her fathers idol (possibly because she worshipped them). Jacob had just gone to Bethel and gotten right with the Lord. He had been given a new name. He told all his family to give him their idols and he buried them. I believe that Rachel would never have stopped worshipping idols, and for Jacob to fully serve the Lord, God had to remove Rachel.
Slemming thinks that Rachel was demanding and manipulative. She used her handmaid to get her desire- children. She tried to force her husband to give her children, when it wasn't in his control- Genesis 30:1-2- And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.  And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?  And  even after being blessed with Joseph she wasn't satisfied- Genesis 30:24- And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
Slemming thinks that she lost her life because she demanded her prayers be answered according to her will, and her life was the price she paid for demanding her own will instead of God's.
Israel demanded a King in I Samuel 8. God gives them their demanded request through Benjamin, who turns out to be a type of the Anti-Christ in the Old Testament.
Benjamin was the only son named by his father. This son of sorrows became the son of Jacob's right hand. Christ also was named by his father- Matthew 1:21- And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. This son of God's right hand became the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:27- Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. Benjamin is called a singular wolf, which is interesting because they are a pack animal.  Wolf in the singular is only mentioned 6 times in the Bible.
Ehud was a left-handed judge of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul and Jonathan were mighty warriors of the tribe of Benjamin. And Mordecai and Esther were also of the tribe of Benjamin- Esther 2:5- Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; All these people had wars fought around their names, with great loss of life.
Paul was also of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1) who wasted the church of God. However, we can see that a life fully surrendered to the will of God can change a "waster of life" into a great apostle who led many to salvation.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:12- And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. The shoulders are the strength that bear the burdens. God is promising him the strength and the protection needed to do the work required.
4. The Stone Amethyst in the Breastplate
An amethyst is a purple gemstone. It was a rather hard stone. The warrior tribe could be hard and cold, but could also come forth as royalty if they followed the will of the Lord.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Ephraim and Manasseh

Ligure- Ephraim
1. His Birth
Genesis 41:50, 52- And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.  Ephraim was the second son of Joseph. Ephraim means doubly fruitful.
Joseph was a Jew that was promoted to the second in command in Egypt, and was given a Gentile bride, this making him a great type of Christ. When Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph, he gave the second born the blessing of a firstborn son. Jacob told Joseph that the older would serve the younger, and from there on in Ephraim's name was mentioned before Manasseh.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 48:20- And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. Ephraim, the second son of Rachel's firstborn, received the blessing of the firstborn from Jacob.
Genesis 49:22-26- Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:  But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)  Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. Joseph went through a long trial, but in the end he was blessed- II Corinthians 4:17- For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;   The way we know that Joseph was blessed by God was in the fact that he saw all the things that happened to him were because God had a plan. He didn't blame his brothers, He acknowledged God's hand in the matter. Genesis 50:20- But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Ephraim received a double blessing because of the hardships his father faced; we as Christians receive many blessing because of the hardships that Christ faced!
4. The Stone Ligure in the Breastplate
Not much is known about the ligure. Commentators differ on what exactly it was, but it still remains a mystery. Manasseh was Joseph's firstborn, like Israel was God's firstborn. Yet, the double blessing has fallen to Ephraim, the second born of God, the church. We get salvation by grace and are called the sons of God- John 1:12- But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Just as the ligure is a mystery, so also is God's second born that receives the double blessing! Ephesians 5:32- This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Agate- Manasseh
1. His Birth
Genesis 41:51- And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. Manasseh means forgetfulness.
There is no reason made evident in Scripture as to why Jacob would reverse the order of these two brethren. It may be in the fact that Jacob himself was the second born, and he was also passing this on through Joseph, since Joseph was the second "firstborn", being the firstborn of Rachel, his second wife.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Joseph named his son forgetfulness, and sometimes forgetting is a good thing. Joseph was able to forget all the evil his brothers did to him and, in doing that, was able to forgive and accept them. Philippians 3:13-14- Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  We must not only forget, but we must reach forth and endeavor to accomplish the will of God in our lives!
Genesis 48:16- The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. Jacob's blessing to these boys brings to rememberance the wrestling with the Angel where Jacob himself received a blessing- a new name! No longer would he be known as "the supplanter", but now he would be known as "a prince with God". His blessing from the Lord was passed on to the sons of Joseph.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:13-17- And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,  And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,  And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,  And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.  His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. Again, both sons are mentioned together in the blessing of their father. 
Manasseh was divided into two half tribes, each receiving an inheritance on both sides of the Jordan River. This could be prophetical in that God deals with his firstborn, Manasseh, mainly in the Old Testament before Christ is rejected of the Jews. Then, he turns again to deal with his firstborn in the New Testament during the Tribulation and history thereafter.
4. The Stone Agate in the Breastplate
The agate is harder than steel. These stones were originally found in Achates, Sicily. They are rough and unattractive until they are split and polished.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Gad

Diamond- Gad
1. His Birth
Genesis 30:9-11- When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.  And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.  And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.  Rachel had given her handmaid first to have children by proxy, and so Leah followed suit. God never meant for a man to have more than one wife, nor for a woman to have more than one husband.
Gad means a troop. Certainly, a troop of children did follow, but also a troop of trouble. Trouble always follows a man who listens to his wife's desires instead of following God's will (i.e. Sarah's desire to have children through Hagar).
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:19- Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. This tribe certainly lived up to this blessing and is described in I Chronicles 5:18- The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. 
Israel was oppressed by many "troops"- the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Midianites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans. They are the only historical people who have truly overcome and remained close to their original roots.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Gad seems to be a warlike tribe. Deuteronomy 33:20-21- And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.  And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.  Both Jephthah and Elijah were Gadites, both were tough men! Both executed the judgments of the Lord, Jephthah as a judge of Israel, and Elijah as the prophet who stood against Ahab and Jezebel and all the prophets of Baal.
4. The Stone Diamond in the Breastplate
The diamond is the hardest stone, one which is not easily broken. It is a precious stone that can leave an indelible mark. Oh, that as soldiers of the LORD we, too, can leave an indelible mark of the grace of God on those around us.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate-Reuben and Simeon

 Emerald- Reuben
 1. His Birth
Reuben was the firstborn of all of Jacob's sons. Gen 29:32- And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. God stepped in and helped Leah by giving her a son. God knew that Jacob hated Leah, and loved Rachel. Leah knew this too, so she named Reuben "See a son".
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
As the firstborn, he was entitled to a double blessing. In fact, Reuben could have inherited the birthright, the kingdom, and the priesthood. But Reuben sinned and committed adultery with his father's concubine. One sin ripped these blessings from him. The birthright was given to Joseph, the kingdom was given to Judah, and the priesthood was given to Levi.
Yes, one sin can deprive us of many of the blessing of God.
Genesis 49:3-4- Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:  Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. We see that, even though he lost his blessing, his sonship remained. It is a comfort to know that even though our sin would keep us from the blessings of God, it can never effect our sonship, our salvation.
The excellency of dignity and power may refer to specific character traits which he did posses. He saved Joseph's life when all the other brothers wanted to kill him, even though it was a selfish move. Unfortunately, instability was his weakness and he couldn't be relied upon.
Jacob then remind him of his sin, naming it for all to hear. Slemming thinks that God is reminding us that if a man is not capable of controlling his own passions, bringing his own carnal desires under strict discipline, he is certainly not capable of holding any holy office where he is responsible for controlling the lives and conduct of other people.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:6- Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few. A very short blessing from Moses .Basically, it reinforces the fact that grace could be lost in the old testament. Moses is asking that Reuben not lose his existence as a tribe.
4. The Stone Emerald in the Breastplate
The emerald is a beautiful green in color. Much live the green sea that is ever rolling and unstable.
Sapphire- Simeon
1. His Birth
Genesis 29:33- And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. Simeon means hearing. It could be that she was praying that Jacob would love her and she was now acknowledging that the LORD heard her prayer.
If this is true, it tells us why God wanted Jacob with Leah, who believed, trusted, and worshipped God, as opposed to his desire of Rachel, who stole her father's idols (Genesis 31:19).
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Simeon and Levi are mentioned together, like Issachar and Zebulun. Genesis 49:5-7- Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.  Unlike Issachar and Zebulun, they did not receive a good blessing.
In Genesis 34, Dinah went to see the daughters of the land and ended up fornicating with a man of the city. He wanted to marry her, and the brothers said the entire town had to be circumcised. While they were healing, Simeon and Levi went and slaughtered the men of the town.
Proverbs 27:17- Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. We become like those we hang around. And we hang around those who we are like. Simeon and Levi were both cruel and deceitful in this action, and Jacob was pointing out that he did not approve of it.
As Christians, we are to separate ourselves from other Christians who are walking in a worldly fashion, so we don't become like them and so they don't think we condone their sin! I Corinthians 5:11, 5- But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. They don't lose their salvation, but they should be avoided so we aren't struck with the same consequences as they.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
It is very strange that Moses doesn't even mention Simeon in Deuteronomy 33 where he blesses the tribes.
4. The Stone Sapphire in the Breastplate
This stone is the second hardest stone in the world. The word comes from the Hebrew which means to cut off or divide.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Issachar and Zebulun

1. His Birth
This name means "a hire for payment". Genesis 30:18- And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.  It was because of a deal struck with Rachel for some mandrakes that Reuben brought his mother, that Leah conceived this child.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:14- Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: Balaam's ass saw the angel. And Isaiah 1:3 says that the ass is wiser than the children of Israel- The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.  Issachar was a wise worker. God gave to this tribe some of the most fertile land in Palestine.
Genesis 49:15- And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.  His "hire" or "reward" was to reap the benefits and the blessings of his hard work! Psalms 126:5-6- They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Great reward will always follow those who work for it, especially spiritually speaking!
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:18-19- And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.   There is an obvious link between Zebulun and Issachar. These brethren have opposite outlooks and different natures, and yet they labor together.  There are many opposites who work well together in the Bible- Elijah and Elisha, Peter and John, Paul and Timothy. Psalms 133:1- Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
4. The Stone Topaz in the Breastplate
A topaz is thought to represent the reward of diligently seeking. It is a cheerful golden-yellow. Proverbs 8:17- I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Carbuncle- Zebulun
1. His Birth
Genesis 30:20- And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. Zebulun means dwelling.
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:13- Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. He was given the border of the Mediterranean Sea. Zebulun's decendants were a sea-faring people. Christ lived in Nazareth which was a city of Zebulun, fitting for the great Fisher of Men!
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:18- And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. While Issachar liked to dwell at home, Zebulun was an active tribe.
Deuteronomy 33:19- They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. Zebulun, also known as Galilee, not only sent treasures out, but they also brought them in. Galilee has been the setting of many stories of the Lord Jesus Christ- Mount of the Beatitudes, the Mount of Transfiguration, the Mount of Olives, and Calvary!
4. The Stone Carbuncle in the Breastplate
Carbuncle means glittering, like the sea when the sun is shining on it. Zebulun had many havens for ships, and probably many lighthouses. Psalm 107:30- Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. A harbor of rest for those who seek refuge from the sea of life, it is fitting that the Lord was raised here and had much of His earthly ministry in Zebulun's shores! Matthew 4:15-16- The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stones Of The Breastplate- Judah

I used the book These Are The Garments by C. W. Slemming along with this study.
The 12 stones in the breastplate correspond with the 12 tribes of Israel, also engraven in the breastplate. They were chosen by God according to four different characteristics:
1. Their birth- Genesis 29:31- Genesis 30:24
2. The Patriarchal Blessing- Genesis 49
3. The Mosaic Blessing- Deuteronomy 30
4. Stones in the Breastplate- Exodus 28:17-21
These stones are not listed in the order of birth. God has chosen a different order for them to appear on the breastplate, and that is the order in which we will look at them.
Sardius- Judah
1. His Birth
The theme of Judah is praise. Genesis 29:35- And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing. Judah means "the praise of Jehovah".
2. The Patriarchal Blessing
Genesis 49:8a- Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: Praise brings blessing and blessing brings praise. The man not only gave forth praise, but he was the recipient of it.
Genesis 49:8b-  thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; This means victory.
Genesis 49:8c- thy father's children shall bow down before thee. This is a prophecy about the kingly line coming thru Judah.
Genesis 49:9- Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? Judah is always likened to a lion. Christ himself is the lion of the tribe of Judah.
Genesis 49:10- The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. The scepter is the symbol of authority and acceptance (Esther 4:11).  This is also a clue as to whom the Messiah would come thru.
Genesis 49:11-12- Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. The ass is a beast of burden, and the vine is a type of fruitfulness. Judah had the ability to take the common burdens of life and find a fruitfulness and a joy in them.
Wine is a type of blood (Exodus 7:17). Judah has washed his garments in blood- the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, his sins are forgiven him and he is able to see joy in the common things of life.
His eyes are red, as if he had been drunken. Ephesians 5:18- And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  and Acts 2:15- For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. He's not drunk with wine; he's filled with the Holy Spirit.
Milk represents strength, and is almost always associated with wine. Isaiah 55:1- Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  and used together would be strength in the Lord. Ephesians 6:10- Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
3. The Mosaic Blessing
Deuteronomy 33:7a- And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: Most of the prayers in the Bible are by the Kings of Judah- especially King David! These are all of the line of Judah. And we know that the Lord hears the prayers of His saints.
Deuteronomy 33:7b-  let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.  If we look at this as the Kings of Judah, their hands were sufficient in battle. From David to Uzziah, God helped the Kings of Judah in battle. But, looking at this as the coming Messiah, we see that His hands helped the poor and needy, healed the sick and lame, and defeated His enemies while nailed to the cross. And still, they minister today to the many saints around the world who need help against their enemies- the world, the flesh, and the devil.
4. The Stone Sardius in the Breastplate
This is a red stone (garments washed in wine). The color of this stone just sums up the character quality of Judah.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Healthy Minute- Adrenal Fatigue

When your adrenal glands aren't functioning where they should be you could start to experience feelings of being tired, or weak, or even slightly depressed and blah- these are signs of adrenal fatigue. Most people reach for caffeine to help them when they are feeling this way, but that can make you tired, but wired and actually make adrenal fatigue worse in the long run.
NOTE: Adrenal fatigue and candida normally go hand-in-hand. So, if you are experiencing adrenal fatigue you may want to get checked for candida.
Watch this video below for more information on adrenal fatigue and how to overcome it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Not Thy Will, But Mine Be Done (prose)

All God wants from any of our lives
Is for us to submit our wills to His.
Not my will, but thine be done.
Often He hears the opposite but
In our own words we say
Not thy will, but mine be done.
Why are you making this such a big deal?
It's my life let me live it!
Not thy will, but mine be done.
It's not the same as when you were here,
The world is much different now.
Not thy will, but mine be done.
You don't know my dreams and goals;
You just don't understand me!
Not thy will, but mine be done.
I'm only young once, and I've got plenty of time.
I'll change when I'm older.
Not thy will, but mine be done.
One day I woke up and I'm old and grown.
My life has been nothing but
Not thy will, but mine be done.
With regret, I realized I'd wasted my days
With nothing to show for my existence, but
Not thy will, but mine be done.
What could I have accomplished?
Who could I have been?
If only His will, not mine was done?
Is this what I wanted? Is this what I craved?
Who's will did I actually follow?
Not my will, but who's was done?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Believer's Heritage- Joseph Scriven

Joseph Medlicott Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1819. He was a good student who attended Trinity College in Dublin at the age of 16. Even though his health was poor, he tried to carry on his family's military tradition in England. He left after 2 years when he was assessed as "physically unfit".
Joseph returned to Dublin and finished college in 1842.
He was engaged to be married in 1843. The day before his wedding, his fiance was thrown from her horse into the river Bann and drowned. 
After this tragedy, he took a job as tutor to the Bartley family. While in the Middle East, he wrote the first line of his famous song, which he intended for a poem called "Pray Without Ceasing". When Joseph heard that his mother was ill, he sent her a letter with the poem enclosed. Years later, when Joseph was sick, a visiting friend read some of his poems, including what had become known as "What A Friend We Have In Jesus".
Jospeh left for Canada in 1846, and took a tutor position in 1850 with the Pengelley family. There he met Eliza Roche, and again was engaged to be married. But for the second time, tragedy took his fiance, this time in the form of pneumonia.
He was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, of which George Muller was a member, and began preaching for a Baptist Church. He would preach wherever he could find an audience. Sometimes, he was even greeted by people throwing fruits and vegetables at him, but even when faced with arrest he carried on. It was said that he could quote Scripture for any occassion.
Jospeh spent all that he had to help those who could not help themselves. It was a familiar site in Port Hope, Ontario to see him carrying around a bucksaw. He would cut wood for those who couldn't do it for themselves, or for those who could not pay, but he wouldn't work for money. He would care for the sick. His landlady, an Irish widow,had a cow, which he milked for her and made the deliveries.
Joseph died in 1886 and was buried in the Pengelley family cemetery next to Eliza Roche. His friend published his poems in a book called Hymns and Other Verses. Charles C. Converse, a well known musician of the time, put it to music, and it was included in Ira Sankey's gospel hymns. 
In 1920, the people of Port Hope erected a monument to Joseph with the words of his poem-turned-song written on the four sides.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Aunt Jane's Hero (book review)

Aunt Jane's Hero is a story about a young man, Horace, who wanted to find love. He was a handsome man with a good sense of humor, yet chose to hang out with reckless young people. He went after the most modern of women for his time. And yet, he couldn't find what it was that his heart desired.
Aunt Jane was a kind, Christian woman whom he would talk to. And it was Aunt Jane that he turned to after his world seemed to fall apart.
He lost his leg in the Civil War. His desire to be loved seemed like that could never happen now that he was a broken ma., After all, who could love someone who wasn't whole physically or spiritually?
This book is a story of a man who wanted to live his life his way and lost everything he wanted, yet when he turned to the Lord and learned to live his life according to God's will he found everything his heart could ever desire. If you're looking for an encouragement to walk the Christian walk then this book is for you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Flu Shot Soup recipe

1 whole chicken
4 cups chicken stock
1 diced onion
2 sliced leeks
3 diced celery
3 diced carrots
16 oz mushrooms
10 cloves minced garlic
1" grated ginger
5 to 10 basil leaves
1 TBS chili sauce
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS curry paste
1 TBS sugar
1 can coconut milk
8 oz leafy greens
1 cup rice noodles
salt to taste
Cook chicken until done. Remove meat from bones, and set aside.
In a large pot, add stock, onions leeks celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, basil, chili sauce, lemon juice, fish sauce, curry paste, and sugar. Cook until hot.
In a separate pot, cook rice noodles according to package directions. Strain and set aside.
When sauce is hot, add chicken, coconut milk, and leafy greens. Bring o a boil. Turn off and add noodles. Salt to taste and serve.
NOTE: You can add more chili sauce if you like it spicier.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fornication Is Not Love (video sermon)

Throughout the Bible, you see the word "concubine". What does that mean? A concubine is like a live in girlfriend or a common law girlfriend. She is not a wife.
A relationship between a concubine and a man is that of fornication without commitment. They aren't in love with each other, or they would commit. They are just using this person to supply their physical needs. A fornicating relationship is not a relationship of love, it is lust.
A man is suppose to be willing to lay down his life for his wife. He should be willing to work, to provide, to protect; his life is all about supplying her needs. That is love. Love respects someone enough to wait for marriage. Love  will commit to that person before they fulfill their fleshly desires. When a relashionship begins with fornication, it plants a seed of alienation and drains the love out of the relationship, and brings the curse of God upon both the man and the woman. It's not something that you want to spend the rest of your life paying the consequences for!
True love obeys God's commandments and doesn't ensnare someone into a shameful situation that expects you to disobey God's will for your life to "make the situation right". There's a big difference between spending your life with someone and sacrificing your life for someone.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Who's Servant?

Money, and the things it buys, are necessary for life, and God blesses his children with possessions to enjoy and use for him. There is nothing wrong with money, but allowing money to dominate you is a dangerous position.
Recognizing that what we have belongs to God and is to be used for him, will give our resources eternal value. It is one's attitude towards wealth that determines it's true value. Eternal treasures surpass in value material wealth on earth.
Jesus wanted a young man to learn that. And thru him, he wants us to learn that.
Luke 18:18- And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
This poor young man, like so many people today, was confused. An inheritance is a gift, not something you earn. Yet he thought there was something he could do to secure it. Jesus wanted to show this young man that obeying rules was not enough.
Luke 18:20- Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
Jesus quoted 5 of the commandments that pertained to men. Jesus wanted to cause the young man to recognize something.
Luke 18:21- And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Jesus knew that this man was trusting in his good works. You see, this was the Old Testament and you were saved by keeping the law. God rewarded people with riches for keeping the law.
Luke 18:22-23- Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
The man was a prisoner to his wealth. It was his badge that told others how good he was. He thought he had kept the law, but he loved his money more than his neighbors and more than God. Maybe he didn't realize he was doing it, but he had given riches the most important place in his life. The problem was not that he had riches, it was that his riches had him.
Luke 18:24- And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
The listeners were shocked! If a good person who kept the law and was rewarded by God with riches couldn't be saved, who could? Jesus wanted them to realize that the law couldn't save them. He wanted them to see that it was impossible to keep the law. To have eternal life one must admit that he cannot be good enough to deserve to go to heaven. He must receive Jesus' death as a payment and accept God's gift.
Jesus explained in the sermon on the mount why trusting in wealth is risky. Emptiness follows those who lay up earthly reasures for personal enjoyment.
Where one invests treasures and his life will determine where his heart will be.
Matthew 6:20-21- But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.