The Five Days of Giving

Easter is coming up! One of my favorite times of the year. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to celebrate the moment that made eternity with God possible: the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

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Last year, I told y’all about my worship calendar that I had made. I was reflecting on how to incorporate worshiping God into my life and was curious how often God scheduled Israel to worship Him. In Numbers 28-29, I discovered that not only did the Israelites worship God each week, month, season, and year — they made offerings twice a day!

In Numbers 28:16-25, God gives Israel directions on holding the Passover. After the Passover, the Israelites had a festival. For seven days, they were to eat bread without yeast, the first and last day would include a sacred assembly with no regular work being done, and special offerings were to be made each day. For Christians, the Passover is only the beginning as we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection as the fulfillment of the Passover imagery. We now take the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of what Jesus has done and an anticipation of His return.

Because of the resurrection, worship of God has taken on a new look while we live in the church age. We no longer live under a sacrificial system in the same way the Israelites did. The Holy Spirit dwells in the body of Christ and not a physical building. In the New Testament, Paul urges the Roman believers in Romans 12, to daily “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” He then finishes out his letter flooding the readers with ideas on how they can accomplish this living sacrifice lifestyle. 

In light of the Christian practice of being a living sacrifice to God and in reflection of how Israel held the Passover and following week of festivities, Easter weekend is not the only part of the holiday I like to celebrate. What I’d like to share with you is a practice I have adopted for the days after Easter. I call it the Five Days of Giving.

Like the festival after Passover, the Five Days of Giving is actually seven days. Easter kicks off the week with a celebration of the Resurrection. I love that day because it’s already a tradition to get together with family, have a big, special meal, and hopefully discuss the impact of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It’s a perfect way to start the week.

After Easter follows the Five Days of Giving. This is an opportunity to be generous with others as a symbol of how infinitely generous Jesus was when He died for us. Our gratitude and joy for salvation can overflow into the Five Days of Giving. During this time, or even a week before, I ask God to show me how I can give to people during the five days. It could be a gift of money, time, material goods, etc. The important part is interacting with God and asking Him to show me the needs of others and if I can play a part in fulfilling a need.

It’s fun to incorporate others into the Five Days of Giving, because once the five days come to an end, the seventh day is another special dinner! At this meal, everyone gets to recount the events of the week and how God communicated to them the needs of others. 

Celebrating in this way has made me look forward to Easter more than I have in the past. The Five Days of Giving is such a fun excuse to express gratitude for Jesus’ great sacrifice and miraculous defeat over death. It also has boosted my creativity in sharing with people the truth that God loves them and wants to provide them eternal life with Him.

Feel free to celebrate Easter with the Five Days of Giving and have fun! 

Happy Easter! He is risen!

Reading Prophecy As Literal and Symbolic

Reading Prophecy As Literal and Symbolic

There are ways to read prophecy that will give the reader different interpretations of what has been written. This is a key reason as to why there are so many variations of beliefs coinciding with the book of Revelation. As a dispensationalist, a main element to how I interpret the Bible is that I read it as literal. I do not pick and choose which pieces of the Bible really happened and which are allegories or metaphors. In my interpretation, each book is to be taken literally and read according to its genre. A historical narrative is not a mythological story that portrays a moral message. It’s something that actually occurred in the past.

Just like historical narrative, prophecy has its own way of being read literally. It’s called literal and symbolic. When reading prophecy, I interpret it as an event that is literally going to occur, but the imagery within the prophecy is to serve as a guide to the real figures, places, and events.

For example, in Revelation 1:12-20, John gives a description of the “Son of Man.” In verses 13-16, we see descriptions like, “hairs of his head were white, like white, wool, like snow,” “eyes were like a flame of fire,” “feet were like burnished bronze,” and “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.” The words don’t read, “He had eyes on fire” or “His hair was snow.” No, these descriptions are there to reveal characteristics of the real person.

Standing before John is a person who is like a son of man, but not quite. There is something more to him that is not completely of man. We see a person who has stark white hair. What does white hair often represent? Age, wisdom, and discernment. The person before John is wise. We also see that his eyes were like fire. This person can see beyond what normal men can see. He can pierce into the soul of man. A two-edged sword comes out of this person’s mouth. He has the word of judgment. This person is powerful.

This person speaks to John and gives further description of himself. He calls himself “the first and the last” and “the living one.” He says, “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Is this person beginning to sound familiar? All of these clues point you to the one and only fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ. The one who died, resurrected, and stands in the midst of the church interceding on our behalf. It is Jesus who comes to John and initiates this message of Revelation to the churches.

As important as reading prophecy literally and symbolically to understand what’s written, there’s another factor that helps: reading the Old Testament. These clues that are given in Revelation are not the first time they’ve shown up in prophecy. Read Ezekiel 1:26-28; 43:1-6 and Daniel 7:9-14; 10:5-14 to see if you find anything similar to what John saw and documented.

And that, my friends, is a brief look at how to read prophecy literally and symbolically.

Did Somebody Paint That?

Did Somebody Paint That?

I was walking into church yesterday, and as I was walking through the children’s ministry section of church, a girl looked at a mural painted on the wall, pointed, and asked her mom, “Did somebody paint that?”

I looked at the mural and was like, wow, what a stupid question. It’s obvious someone did that. The brush strokes were evident and the paint layers on the wall were painfully visible. My mind held on to the girl’s initial question, though. Did somebody paint that? 

I started thinking, Isn’t that what everyone is asking? Dying to know? They look at nature, people, emotions, gender and ask, “Did somebody create that?”

The answer is innately known: YES!

Without a creator, this world really is too good to be true. It is increasingly evident that more faith has to go into the solution of time to explain what’s around and in us than the solution of God the Creator. God who has made Himself known through creation, His word, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is an important realization for a recovering codependent such as myself, because knowing that this world was created, knowing the creator is Yahweh God, believing in His Son, Jesus, and reading the life-breathed word of God, I can know some important things:

I was made. And not by any amateur artist. I was made by the Master Creator. The One whose creation peaked the inspiration of our history’s greats. All art is an imitation of what God has made. The human body is a fascinating, intricate, and beautiful structure. Not only that, we, unlike the rest of creation, have the life of God in us. It says in Genesis that God breathed into Adam the breath of life (also translated souls). God filled man with a life unlike anything else given to creation.

Knowing from our very beginning that we were given such value, we also know the following because God told us so in His word and in His actions:

We have a purpose
We have a future
We will never be abandoned
And for you love addicts out there: your love story is already happening.

And when I say that, I mean: wouldn’t it be nice if a person could give us love, affection, affirmation, protection, provide for all our needs, show up at just the right time, and be completely head over heels for us? In my short life span that has been packed with dating, I can say I’ve never met someone who has met these qualifications. I don’t believe I ever will either. I think what we’re looking for is God. He has put His life into us and until we acknowledge we come from a Creator who loves us and surrender our lives to His will and His calling, we will never ever be satisfied or reach our fairy tale happy ending.

God is the absolute best fairy tale ending and better than that: He is in reality.

Wow, I got off on a tangent there. Anyways, the question! Did somebody paint that? Of course! Did somebody create this? The evidence is undeniable. True, effective healing from codependency starts with surrender to the Creator of it all: Yahweh God.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:44-