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Why I Support Israel

About a week ago, I stated in Facebook that I hope Canada's Prime Minister Harper will win the current election because I'm so pleased with his stand for Israel.  He's taken a lot of heat for that statement and Canada was not offered a seat at the UN Security Council because of it.  Nevertheless, as long as he is prime minister, he says Canada will support Israel.  


Someone commented, "Debbie how can you as a compassionate christian support Israel?"  I started writing my answer to him in a Facebook message but decided that because of its length, I would post it here instead. I am not a scholar and I do not read scholarly books.  What I've written below is completely from memory and, given my age and the state of my mind lately, will likely include some faulty information.  Nevertheless, this is why I support Israel:

I have spent my adult life reading about the state of Israel and her history.  In the past week I have read two new (to me) books that also shed li…

QQC--Weighty Clothes

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 28:6-29 
Aaron, and all the high priests after him, wore special clothes, different and more elaborate than those worn by the ordinary priests.  Part of that were the ephod and breastplate.  Both were made of specially woven fabric containing threads of gold but there was more to them than just cloth. 
The ephod was underneath the breastpiece and provided its support—held in place by a waistband and shoulder straps, kind of like the top of a full apron.  On each shoulder was a stone mounted in gold filigree settings with braided chains of gold attached.  Each stone had to be large enough to have the names of six of Jacobs sons engraved on it:

I’ve had my name engraved on the front of a Bible or two and even with today’s technology, it takes a fair bit of space.  I’m thinking that the stones on Aaron’s shoulders would have had to have been fairly big and thus heavy, to accommodate all that engraving—never mind the weight of the attached gold.
The bre…

QQC--God Blessed and Prepared them Anyway

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 28:1-5 
In addition to the design and construction of the tabernacle and the articles of furniture to go into it, God instructed Moses on what Aaron as high priest and his sons as priests were to wear. 
Aaron had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.  In Leviticus 10 we learn that Nadab and Abihu were killed by God because they offered unauthorized fire before God.  When God was giving the instructions about the clothing for the priests, he knew what Nadab and Abihu would do and that he would have to destroy them and yet he prepared them for the priesthood anyway.  He didn’t leave them out.  In fact, as I was searching for the information about this, I realized that it were Nadab and Abihu who went up the mountain with Moses, their father Aaron and the 70 elders—not their younger brothers, one of whom would become the next high priest.  Again, God knew these two sons would be disobedient and be destroyed and gave them the honour anyway. 
I …

A Mission Bigger than Ourselves

Margot Starbuck on Tony Campolo's blog Red Letter Christians talks about the Christian symbolism in literary works like The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings and, thinking of seemingly insignificant heroes like Lucy and Frodo, asks the following questions:
What if participating with God in a mission bigger than ourselves was actually part of the master plan?  What if journeying through life as the King’s chosen agent, liberating captives, was never meant to be a literary rarity?  What if losing our lives as brave bearers of the new kingdom, was never meant to be the exception? What if it’s the rule? I wonder, how would my life be different if it is the rule?  Or, what if I already am participating in such a mission?  How would I know?  What does it mean?  How does it affect my daily life?  How does it influence the decisions I make day to day?

QQC--Did it Ever Catch Fire?

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 25:31-40


A lampstand was made for the first, main room of the tabernacle.  It was made from 75 pounds of solid gold.  The seven lamps on the stand were fueled by olive oil and were to be kept burning from evening till morning. (Leviticus 24:1-3)  The tabernacle was never to be dark but always filled with light and when the lamps were burning, there was always a priest in attendance. (Leviticus 24:4)  Some of the priests had to work night shifts!


Fire inside a tent is always a potential hazard.  At camp meetings when I was a child, most everyone stayed in large, canvas army tents and, because there was no power available, candles were often used in the evenings.  I remember more than once a tent catching fire.  Did that ever happen to the tabernacle, I wonder.
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QQC--Where Were the Utensils Kept?

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 25:23-30
One item in the tabernacle built at the foot of Mt. Sinai was a table.  It was about the same height as the ark but its width and depth were shorter.  It too was covered in gold.  In addition to the table, the goldsmiths were to make plates, dishes, pitchers and bowls.
We can deduce that a minimum of twelve plates were needed because in Leviticus 24:5, 6we’re told that bread was laid out on the table in two rows of six loaves each (not two stacks as most illustrations show).  Numbers 4:7, 8informs us that when they were travelling, the plates, dishes, bowls and pitchers were to be stacked on top of the table and covered over.
But where were these items kept when the tabernacle was set up?
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My husband Tom, who has been painting with water colours for years has taken up acrylics.  Here are his first four attempts, all since the new year:




"Sad Feelings Are Important"

I've been following a particular blog for quite some time now and am often blessed by what I read there. It's written by a woman who is in the process of healing from things that should never be done to a child. She's come a long way and I rejoice in the progress she has made. In a recent blog post she wrote the following:

Therapist says the sad feelings are important. Eventually, I will understand and embrace them for they are my personal responses to the painful, unacceptable situations in my life. He believes the sadness might return periodically throughout my lifetime, but I will recognize it, allow it, and move on without becoming overwhelmed by it. He says to feel nothing, to ignore the abuses, allows them continued power. As I weep for my losses, for the hurting child and subsequent aftermath throughout my teen and adult life, I allow those things to heal without disregarding their importance, without denying the existence of events which intensely harmed me, and …

QQC--Ark and its Poles

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 25:10-16
The ark of the covenant was a trunk or chest the size of an ample desk—bigger than the one I’m sitting at.  Made of wood, it was covered inside and out with gold with gold molding and four gold rings.  Gold is heavy.  I once held a bar of gold just a bit larger than a chocolate bar and it was heavy.  Now imagine a large chest, somewhere between table and counter heights, as deep as it is high and quite a bit longer, covered inside and out with this heavy metal.  I have a cedar chest that is maybe a quarter the size, with no gold on it, and it isn’t all that light.  Add on the gold and it would need several strong men (back in those days) to carry it. 
To assist in the carrying, they were to make two wooden poles, also covered in gold to slip through the rings at the bottom corners (not up at the lid) and the ark would ride above the heads of the Levites carrying it.  Those poles, nor the rings, could not be slender and delicate as is usual…

Missionfest Manitoba 2011--Setan Lee of TransformAsia

Setan Lee was a third-year medical student, only 17 years old, the day the Khmer Rouge took control of Battambang, Cambodia in 1975.  They killed the educated and upper classes and the rest were moved out of the city.  Setan managed to hide his identity and was included with a group of 1000 teens guarded by three young girls with AK49s.  The teens were given three rules:

No complainingNo emotionsBreak the first two and you'll be killed.
When some girls began to cry for their moms, the soldiers pulled out their fingernails, poured hot lead on them and then poked out their eyes.  The teens were forced to work 20 hours a day with one small meal and so they would try to find bugs and other things to eat while they were working even though this was forbidden.  One day, the girl working next to Setan found a morsel and quietly tossed it to him.  The female guard saw this and Setan had to watch while his companion was beaten and then smothered to death.  Of the 1000 Setan started out with…

Afternoon Hang-out

I have time to kill between my noon-time doctor's appointment downtown and my late-afternoon appointment at church and so I'm trying out a new place to hang out for the interim.

The establishment is an open, airy bookstore and café on a main thoroughfare.  Through the large front windows I can see the tall iron fence of a cemetery.  Inside, the three women who had gathered for lunch around a small round table have gone.  Their very audible conversation has been replaced by three volunteers around another table where one is reading and commenting on a book that was translated from Russian.  Many of the Mennonites in Manitoba came here to escape the Bolshevik Revolution a hundred years ago and some continue to have ties to that country.  Other volunteers pass between the back of the store and the kitchen pushing a trolley of dirty dishes in one direction, and freshly cleaned dishes and food in the other.  Presumably the cold storage and dishwasher are outside the kitchen.  It&#…

A Mango Valentine

One of Tom's favourite treat is dried mangoes so, for Valentine's Day, I bought a framed canvas he can use for his acrylic painting, some dried mango, dried cherries (was looking for red) and pins (the store actually had packages of pins with yellow heads only--usually you can only find mixed colours) and created this valentine for Tom.

Missionfest Manitoba 2011—Paul Estabrooks of Open Doors

Open Doors is the mission organisation started by Brother Andrew when he began to smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union.When the iron curtain was opened, Open Doors began to look for other people groups who wouldn’t have Bibles unless they were smuggled into their country.
Paul Estabrooks was in charge of the Far East arena and had already helped to smuggle many Bibles into China but when the Chinese asked for 30,000 they wondered how it could even be possible?  They’d never taken in 1,000 in one trip so how could they take 30,000? 
The Chinese said, “You pray and we’ll pray and God will show you.”  The Bible they printed for the job was the tiniest Bible in the world and called it the Rainbow Project.  However, it affectionately became known as Project Hernia.  Using a trade show as cover, thirty men each brought two suitcases weighing 92 pounds each, full of Bibles.  That’s 184 pounds, in addition to whatever personal items they brought—a change of undies and a toothbrush was about al…

Missionfest Manitoba 2011--Ron Pearce of Empower Ministries

I often hear Ron Pearce on the radio with his Empowering Moments spot, so it was good to see and hear him for a longer longer length of time.  When he asked Missionfest's organiser what he should talk about, he was told to tell "stories that hit you and stay in your brain," so he tried to tell as many as he could.  He spoke so fast, I sometimes could get only short little "sound" (print?) bites.

Empower Ministriesgoes to spiritual hot spots in the world to provide Bibles, motorcycles and goats, along with other things.

When we look at what is happening in Egypt the past two weeks or remember 9/11, we don't need to be afraid.  We don't need to worry about whether the end times are here or not, he said, because in the end, we know that God reigns.

Twenty-two years after the massacre in Tienanmin Square, those protesters are some of the strongest Christian leaders in China.  How cool is that?

Ron directed us to the story of Philip in Acts 8.  Why is the sto…

Missionfest Manitoba 2011--Doug Nichols of Action International

Doug Nichols was a young college student and living "the good life," partying and getting drunk  One night he came home to his apartment rather inebriated and a fellow student, studying through the night, came and offered him some coffee.  As Doug drank cup after cup, the other student told him the Gospel and, in the wee hours, he accepted Jesus into his life.

The first book he read in the Bible was Romans and when he read chapter 13, "owe no one anything," he was convicted.  He had used thievery to support himself and now went back to each home he had burglarised, introduced himself, asked them to make a list of everything he had taken and he would come back later in the evening to repay them.  "Funny thing," he says, "none of them called the police on him.  They were probably too shocked.

He decided to go to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta but had such learning disabilities (how had he managed college then?) that he was ready to pac…

QQC--God in the Cloud

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 24:15-18
 God's glory looked to the Israelites like a consuming fire (v.17) but the first description we have of it in this passage begins in verse 15: "When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai.  For six days the cloud covered the mountain."  On day seven, God called to Moses from inside the cloud and Moses entered the cloud, where he stayed for forty days and forty nights.
This reminds me of the transfiguration of Jesus.  "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.... While [Peter] was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my son, whom I love....'"  Matthew 17:1, 5)  
Notice that in both cases, there was a cloud on a mountain, God spoke from the cloud and six  particular days were noted before this event occurred.
Clouds f…

Missionfest Manitoba 2011--An Introduction

I love Missionfest and have gone every year but one or two in the last 15 or 20 it’s been happening in Winnipeg. I grew up on mission stories and as soon as I had money to do so (around age 12), I started buying my own.To spend a weekend listening to those who are serving in the front lines is heaven and I can’t remember being disappointed with any of the speakers except perhaps the one long ago who seemed to have a need to constantly check that his fly was zippered as he spoke.
We’re meeting in a new venue this year with much more space for the 120 exhibitors (mission organisations, Bible schools and camps), the plenary sessions and the seminars in between.Last night I walked so much, trying to see everything, that I was totally done in. Last year I bought nearly every book that was being sold but this year I’m limiting my purchases to books that are stories. They’re faster to read and I still have some of the slow-to-read books from before.
There are five plenary sessions with Doug Ni…

QQC--God Is a Consuming Fire

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 24:15-18
 After the three priests and 70 elders returned to camp, where the rest of the nation was waiting, Moses went up the mountain and God's glory covered it.  His glory appeared to the Israelites as a consuming fire.  
Interestingly, in the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, the writer of that book says, "our God is a consuming fire."  
"At that time," referring to Mount Sinai, "[God's] voice shook the earth, but now [in the Christian era] he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.'  The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain." (Hebrews 12:26, 27 NIV)
The removing of what can be shaken.  Other parts of the Bible talk about how God refines us.  How is anything refined?  In fire--the fire that consumes all that can be burned so that all that remains is the pur…

QQC--Seventy-four Saw God

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 24:9, 10

When Moses first went up Mount Sinai, he did not go alone.  "Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel.... But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank."

Imagine!  Seventy-four of them saw God and did not die; it wasn't just Moses.  They ate and drank in God's presence.  They didn't go all the way up the mountain with Moses because in the next verse, God calls Moses to come up the mountain but they did go up part of the way.

If we doubted that they all saw God, we can look at a descriptor that was given: "Under [God's] feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself."  John in Revelation described it this way: "before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal." (4:6)  I could be wrong but it seems to me that Moses a…

Tuesday Afternoon Ramblings

2:17 p.m. I’m hanging out at Perkins, waiting for 6:30.A friend phoned this morning, asking me to take her to the doctor and, because Tom and I are going for marriage counselling in the early evening, I figured I may as well stay out for the afternoon.I wanted to go for a walk this morning but chose instead to nap to get me through the long day (having gotten up too early); so as I was driving away from the doctor’s I was thinking of where to go.
The Forks is a fun place to walk and have lunch but as I turned onto Main Street I realised I had the perfect opportunity to do what I’ve been wanting but never do—walk in my church neighbourhood.I was right there!Finding a parking spot, I set out at a brisk clip.It didn’t take long for me to discover that I wouldn’t be walking too long at that speed and slowed my pace.
It’s a beautiful day—clear, sunny skies and feeling warmer than the -39F with wind chill given by Environment Canada—and the walk was good.As I walked, I prayed.During daylight h…