“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God will stand forever.”(Isaiah 40:8). THIS IS A GREAT WORD OF HOPE. Despite experiencing exile and living in oppression, God speaks words of everlasting consolation : Nachamu, nachamu ammi : “Comfort, comfort my people…” (Isa. 40:1). There is a glorious future for you, even if your present circumstances seem overwhelming and your heart’s cry seems unanswered. These were God’s words of encouragement to the Jewish exiles that were carried away into Babylonian captivity. Despite the appearance of ruin, God promised to establish Zion as the praise of the earth. God is the only enduring Reality in a constantly changing world, and He has designed it this way to cause men’s hearts to search for him. “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field” – such is the condition of this ephemeral world with its flux and fortunes. The flesh fades because the breath of the LORD blows upon it (Isa. 40:7). God Himself has ordained human life to be a vapor…. Nonetheless we are told not to fear, because there is good news for Zion: the LORD is coming with might to reward those who are waiting for him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather his lambs and carry them close to his heart. As the apostle Peter said, this good news is the eternal life given through the imperishable “seed” – the Word of God that rises forever in Yeshua (1 Pet. 1:23-25).The nations of this world are reckoned as less than nothing; their glory is “tohu” – confusion and unreality – and their princes are regarded as utter vanity. “Scarcely are they planted and have taken root when He blows upon them and they wither to become dust carried off by the storming winds” (Isa. 40:24). The nations of the earth are dried grasses; the kings of the earth are withered flowers. But God is incomparably great and will fulfill his promises to Israel: “The word of our God will stand forever.” He created the heavens and calls each star by name. He is invincible in power and no one can overrule His will. This world is not our home; we are “strangers” here. It is an affliction to wait for the LORD, a sort of “homesickness” of heart… The apostle Paul says our loneliness and alienation prepare for us an “eternal weight of glory” beyond all comparison, because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. “For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18). Just as the “two-souled” man is unstable in all his ways, so the process of being “educated for eternity” means learning to focus our heart’s passion and hope on the glory of heaven. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Those who wait for the LORD inwardly groan to be clothed with immortality and eternal life, and their consolation is great indeed. Yeshua is “preparing a place for you,” an everlasting place of refuge whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Faith sees beyond the shadows of this world to behold your true home with your Heavenly Father.
Thanking G-d for being created in His Image Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” THE TORAH STATES that God made man and woman b’tzelem Elohim- in the image of God (Gen 1:28), which means that every human life is holy, unique, and worthy of profound respect, compassion, and understanding.The Jewish sages attempt to protect us from “anthropomorphism,” or that tendency in each of us to create God in our own image. For example, Rashi said that being created in God’s image meant that humans possess quality of understanding and discernment; Nachmonides explained it by saying that just as God was immortal, so was the human soul, and so on.
Granted that we are all liable to deceive ourselves into thinking we are acting in a godly manner, perhaps the meaning of being created b’tzelem elohim has to do not so much with how we see ourselves, but how we choose to see and respond to others. As Martin Buber said, God exists in the “space between,” where two people are present for one another, in relationship (I and Thou).We must apprehend the truth that not only we are created in the image of God, but so also is our neighbor — despite his or her gender, race, looks, political outlook, and social standing. When we do so, we will be enabled to “imagine” as God Himself does, as “no respecter of persons,” and thereby are made free to abide in the truth of our own identity as one of God’s children. Blessed art Thou, LORD our God, Master of the universe, Who created me in His Image.
Isaiah 55:1 on filling the inner emptiness…. “All who are thirsty, come to the waters.”~ Isaiah 55:1. THE PROPHETIC VOICE IS HEARD: “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13). Spiritually speaking, there are two basic sorts of breaking. One is to be broken by the inevitable sin and ruin of this world, and the other is to have “lev-nishbar,” a broken heart, before the LORD (2 Cor. 7:10). The former comes from the vain attempt to find life in the broken vessels of this world, whereas the latter comes from the realization of an incurable inner emptiness (Matt. 5:4). The soul finds eternal satisfaction desiring God’s righteousness, since God alone provides the vessel of “living water” we need to live (John 4:14; 7:38). We all must drink from God’s fountain of life, lest we suffer spiritual dehydration and death. All who are thirsty, come to the waters… Are you haunted by an inner ache for love, joy, peace, and life? “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). Such inner poverty is adisguised grace,and the desire for healing reveals the Spirit’s invitation. Faith begins with the recognition of what wereallywant, since only then will we come to Yeshua for the “bread of life” and “living water.” All we need is found in him, though we must reach out in faith to receive: “For without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists, and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). God rewards those who seek him out; he responds to all who hope in his love and salvation. Therefore, as Yeshua said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). We are not saved by faith in our own faith, but in the Reality and Power of the LORD God who does the miracle of raising the dead to newness of life. Do you have the “gift of holy desperation”? That’s the very special blessing of needing God so viscerally that you otherwise will fall apart or even self-destruct apart from His ongoing intervention in your life… You pray because your very life depends on it; you believe because without God, you would be swallowed up in darkness. The fire on the altar was to be kept burning at all times (Lev. 6:12-13) symbolizing the “inner fire of the heart.” How blessed it is to be full of the fire of this inner need, this relentless groaning, this constant hunger and thirst for God and his righteousness! How fortunate we are to receive daily bread from the hand of our heavenly Father.
Crown roast of lamb chops on Welsh onion cake!
The Welsh recipe is a stunning crown roast of lamb chops on onion cake – layers of potatoes and onion baked in butter until they melt. The lamb chops are placed on top of the potatoes which soak up the tasty roasting juices.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour 35 mins and serves 6
- 400 grams white onions
- 200 grams floury potatoes
- 100 grams melted butter
- 12 – 14 lamb chops
- Black pepper and salt to taste
- 1 large rosemary sprig for garnishing
- Mint sauce (for serving)
- Heat oven to 200C. Slice the onions. Slice the potatoes finely, and then toss with the melted butter and season with salt and black pepper.
- Brush a shallow ovenproof dish with some of the melted butter. Layer the potato and finishing off with a meat layer of overlapping potato slices. Sprinkle the remaining butter over the slices.
- Cover the dish with foil and then bake for one hour.
- Remove the foil after the onion cake has baked for one hour. Place the lamb chops on top with their bones interlaced , and then tuck the rosemary sprig in the middle. Return to the oven for 25-35 mins, depending on the size of the racks, and on how you prefer the doneness of the lamb.
- The potatoes will, by now, be beautifully tender and golden brown on top. Allow the lamb chops to rest on the bed of potatoes for five minutes before serving. Use mint sauce or mint jelly as an accompaniment.
- Lamb is a young sheep that is under one year of age and therefore has tender meat.
- Lamb flesh should be pinkish, firm and finely grained. Fat should be white, solid and flanky.
- For a crown roast, a double piece of loin lamb has 14 chops. Allow about two ribs per person.
- When preparing a crown roast, keep the tips of the bones from blackening by wrapping with a bit of aluminium foil.
- Mint sauce is the accompaniment to lamb.
The Development of Worship in the Old Testament.
The Book Of Daniel
Worship in theot, as now, is relational. The condition of a person ‘s heart – which was the center of being in Hebraic thought – was the most critical aspect of the worship relationship Psa 40:6-8 . The religion of Israel was established for the sale of Yahweh’s presence in the midst of His people Lev 26:13. Yahweh was not some distant god to be appeased , nor was He pleased by empty ritual; rather, He sought relationship with his people and welcomed it in many forms, including: petition ,pilgrimage,thanksgiving,the playing of instrumener,obedience,complain,lamentation,repentance, and remembrance – all which took both verbal and physical form (Exod 15:1-21; Esth 4:1-3; Pss 6:6; 121).
Yahweh’s presence with His people begins intimately with breathe that gives life to Adam and Eve. They remain in full communion with their creator until they eat the apple and discove their vulnerability. They can do nothing to restore their relationship to Yahweh themselves. Yahweh sacrifices animals Gen 3:21to clothe and cover their shame, thus resolving their alienation and preserving His relational presence by means of atonement(Isa 40:1-2;Romans 5:12;1 Cor 15:22,1 Cor 15:45). It is this active redemption that defines the core of Yahweh’s relationship with all of creation (Gen 9:8-16; Romans 8:18-23).