Saturday, March 10, 2012

Life Journal Reading for Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday is the absolutely most awesome day to be visiting the Firs. The Spirit of God is so thick you feel like your totally enfolded by it! I hope each of you has the opportunity one day to share in this experience.

Today's journal reading is shared by Aunty Sharon, who has been inextricably involved in each trip since Pastor Creighton started going in 2007. She basically plans the travel for each trip, and it's amazing how she does it! But she will always immediately give credit to God who goes before her every time. Thank you, Sharon, for your servant's heart. Looking forward to the day you get to participate in your own travel plans :)

Deuteronomy 16-18; Galatians 2

Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name. 3 Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. —Deuteronomy 16:1-3

In Deuteronomy 16, God reminds us of the three annual feasts observed by Israel: the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. Each carried specific instructions: time, offering or gift, length and location, and reason for rejoicing. For the Festival of Weeks, they were told to count off seven weeks, giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings they had received from God. For the Festival of Tabernacles, it was seven days of rejoicing after gathering up their harvest. Three times annually, God decreed that His people should appear before Him with a gift in proportion to the way He had blessed them. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, however, was to be observed over a whole month. The month was actually divided into three parts – preparation, one week of celebration, followed by a time of reflection and pondering. The people were to bring an animal sacrifice from their own flock or herd to a place God chose. Each day they were to roast and then eat this sacrifice with unleavened bread so they would always remember their time of departure from Egypt.

As I read and reflected on God’s instructions to His chosen people regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I thought about all of the preparation that consumed months of our time before you left for India. I considered the incredible significance of preparing well in advance. Though the Passover feast was really one week in the month, the preparation for it was important and crucial. Equally important was the time God carved out for His people to reflect and contemplate once the festival was over. This was invaluable so the people could fully embrace what God had done for them in delivering them forever out of the bondage of Egypt. But what stood out to me and seemed most significant…was the SACRIFICE! The Passover was itself a blood sacrifice. There was cost involved. The life of a lamb was taken. The sacrifice brought to the Festival of the Unleavened Bread was personal.

Even as a long-time believer, I am still learning what it means to live my life as a sacrifice to God…fully and completely devoted to Him. I’m still learning to see how much I truly lose when I lose the presence of God in my life. I still need God to help me to stop, to listen, to wait and be still. I call myself a Christian but allow myself to be consumed with “to do’s” that take me off track of His will and purpose. I still need God to show me how to observe and celebrate His ultimate sacrifice for me.

Thank you India team for being an example of sacrifice. You’ve carved out 10-14 days of your life and devoted yourselves wholeheartedly to the cause of Christ! You’ve created this divine “desert” right in the middle of full and active lives to serve God and put others before yourselves. You obeyed God’s will and purpose as you journeyed across the globe. You depended on God in your weaknesses and difficulties. You surrendered yourselves to the loving arms of our Abba Father. You have given me once again an eternal perspective of what is truly important. Thank you……I love you!

Dear Father, your Word always leads me back to you and your unfailing love. Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes once again to see your heart in my brothers and sisters who each year sacrificially journey across the globe out of obedience to your call to serve You as they serve your people in India. Thank you, Father, for taking care of every detail as they journey home in a few days. Keep them safe in your arms. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Aunty Sharon

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