Tuesday, April 15, 2014

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Blood Moon

Blood Moon

New Moon

A Big Moon
Morning Moon

When my children were little, I used to tell them that God made the moon as a night light for the earth like the one I kept in their room. But what's been up with the moon lately? From 2013 to 2014, the moon has made sure that we knew it was up there. There was even a "Blue Moon." That is when the moon appears to be an iridescent blue color.

We often take photos of beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The sun seems to always get the attention. I never thought about it much, but it would seem the moon has been trying to show off it's beauty and importance lately.  
On April 15, 2014, we saw the first of four blood moons to come. There have been three other times in history that the blood moon appeared.  It was in 1492, 1948 and 1967.  All three years have been significant in Jewish history.

I don't think this was a coincidence that in the chronological reading for April 14, 2014, Psalm 81 is one of the passages to read.  The first five verses say, "Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. When God went out against Egypt, he established it as a statute for Joseph." (Psalm 81:1-5) In the "One Year" reading plan the passage was from Joshua 10. The day God made the sun stand still!

On April 15, 2014, just after midnight, was the first of four lunar eclipses to happen over the next 18 months. This eclipse caused the moon to turn a copper color. This is due to the earth's atmosphere with sunsets around the earth reflecting onto the moon due to it's position. But as unusual as this phenomenon is, earlier in the evening, it was also the the first night of Passover. 

As I stood there at 12:30am looking up into the sky at this wonderous sight, I thought about the significance of the this particular lunar eclipse being referred to as "blood" rather than by color like the "Blue Moon" was.  Being that it this was the first night of Passover it reminded me of the the lamb's blood being marked over the doorposts so that when the Angel of the Lord passed over the Children of Israel, their first born would live. The placement of blood over the door was across the top and down both sides, but not across the threshold. Apparently the directed placement of this blood has significance because it is also the symbol of the eighth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It is pronounced "chet" which is the letter that means "life."  The more I thought about that, it reminded me of that Passover night over 2000 years ago when Jesus, God's first born, became the Passover lamb. That night he became the focus of the people when like a lamb, was led to the slaughter. That night he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised our iniquities.  He went to the cross covered in blood, his blood. There he was held up with his arms spread out like the frame of a doorpost covered with blood.  As I reflect on that it has become more of a symbol of the Passover blood that gave the Hebrew children "life" and now because of Jesus shedding his blood by way of the cross, if we choose to receive him as our covering and Savior, we too can have life, but not just mortal life, but eternal life.

That "Blood Moon" last night was a reminder to me that there is life in blood. I heard a spectator on television of this event say this was exciting because we need a chance to look up because we are always looking down at our cell phones. There is some truth to that.  I wonder if God has been painting beautiful sunrises and sunsets and allowing these unusual lunar events to get us in the habit of looking up. Jesus himself said in Luke 21:25-28, "'There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.'"

The next three "Blood Moons" will appear at Sukkot, October 8, 2014, Passover, April 4, 2015 and again at Sukkot, September 28, 2015. All on Jewish holidays. I don't believe this either is a coincidence.  This is all by God's perfect design.  With tensions rising in America and around the world, God is giving us a chance to look up and see that He has set a plan of salvation in place for us, through His son Jesus.  All we have to do is believe in our heart.  The "Blood Moon" is a good reminder that there is "life" in the blood and even in the darkest hours of the night, it is available to us. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Duck and Cover

Warm days and Cool nights. What does the weather have to do with anything, you might ask? For those of us who have lived in California for any period of time, we would call this earthquake weather. Just like the South has hurricane season and the Midwest has tornado season, we too have earthquake season. I think it is because the ground expands during the day when it is warm and contracts at night when it cools down. I believe there are seasons in our spiritual lives as well.

We should be preparing daily for a "spiritual earthquake." Many friends that I have talked with lately seem to be experiencing tremors.  Much like a planter will shake a bush to get the dead leaves and/or fruit to drop, the Church can be shaken up to see who is standing firm on the Rock of Jesus. The book of Isaiah talks about a people who have conformed to the culture and have become unstable. This actually shook me up a bit. (No pun intended.) I must confess, I have. It says, "You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans. 7 Their land is full of silver and gold;there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. 9 So man will be brought low and mankind humbled— do not forgive them. 10 Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty! 11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. 12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), 13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, 14 for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, 15 for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, 16 for every trading ship and every stately vessel. 17 The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, 18 and the idols will totally disappear. 19 Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. 20 In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship. 21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. 22 Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?" (Isaiah 2:6-22) What's that phrase we learn as children in school? Duck and cover? I think that is what verse 19 means.

For those of us who have experienced earthquakes, most of the time we don't see too much damage. Partly because here in California we have built our buildings and prepared our land to handle them. There have been places that experienced such devastation when an earthquake happened, that it wiped out a whole city. As a follower of Jesus, this is why it is so important to be in the Word, in worship and prayer every day. We are building a foundation that will withstand any spiritual earthquake that may come our way. If we will hide the Word of God in our heart, then when the earth is shaken under our feet, it's like having a spiritual earthquake survival kit on hand. It's all stored up and ready to be used in time of need.