The morning mist has cleared, the sun has broken through for a while, the smell of a bonfire permeates the air, and I am planting bulbs in my lunch break: in the midst of autumn, the promise of spring....
Despite the enticing things in the shops, I try not to think about Christmas too early. As much as I love it, I don't want to miss the autumn thinking about a winter festival. However, at the end of October I make our Christmas cake and pudding to give them time to mature, and start to think about laying up homemade goodies in the freezer. Home baking takes time, but is well worth the effort: a lot of our happy family memories are based around food!
If you would like to try my family recipe for Christmas cake, use the button below to send me your email address, & I'll send it to you.
CELEBRATE THE OUTPOURING!
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.[John 7:37-39]
God wants to do amazing things in our communities, but He has chosen to come through our lives. He has called us to partner with Him; and to walk in the works He has for us, we have to be filled with the Spirit.*
Let's take some time today to seek Him for more of His Spirit.
*see the 'Filled up & Overflowing' section of the website
When the Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon, the first thing they did was celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. They were celebrating a harvest before they had one.....
This is a constant emphasis in scripture: that prophetic declaration in word and/or action comes before the physical realisation. Even God follows this pattern [Romans 4:17].
We need to do the same: proclaim harvest-time over our communities; after all Jesus said the fields were ready!
This is a good time to prayer-walk our streets or neighbourhood, declare that Jesus is Lord, proclaim harvest time, & release blessing over our communities.
CELEBRATE JESUS THE DESIRE OF THE NATIONS
I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations,
and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of Hosts
Despite what the media tells us, Christianity is not in decline. The Lord is committed to bringing His Great Plan to pass: He will pour out His spirit on all flesh, and a great multitude of people from every tongue & nation will worship Him, & declare that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Today, pray for a nation.
Don't know what to pray?
Operation World has plenty of resources:
I also like this prayer for the nations:
Check out the internet for testimonies of what Jesus is doing around the world. You'll be blessed!
Here is one from friends of ours who are ministering in Brazil at the moment:
The Feast of Tabernacles was given as a celebration of rest: the rest of a pilgrim people coming into the land God had given them; the rest of a people living in the provision of God; the rest of a nation with God in their midst.
Let's take time today to be quiet, to meditate on the rest God has given us through the sacrifice of His Son.
Let's turn our hearts of affection towards Him & bask in His presence....
CELEBRATE GOD'S INTERVENTIONS
We all have stories of God's intervention on our behalf, some 'steady & everyday', others miraculous. This is a good time to bring out those stories & dust them off.
Testimonies are powerful - they release the supernatural power of God to repeat the intervention in the lives of others.
Swap stories, and be blessed by God's faithfulness!
When the Children of Israel crossed over the River Jordan into the Promised Land, they were instructed to take up 12 stones to make a memorial of God's work on their behalf.
You can read the story here:
These stones, as well as being a way of passing on the story of God to the next generation, were a visible reminder to those who had experienced His provision.
Can we come up with creative ways of making 'memory stones', (for example a 'memorial box') to remind ourselves, and our families of the Lord's faithfulness? It's a great way to share God-stories with children.
I would love to hear your ideas, please send me them, using the comment button below:
CELEBRATE SALVATION HISTORY
As spiritual children of Abraham, we have an inheritance stretching back over 1000s of years. The Bible is our family history. This season is a good time to re-discover the stories which form the foundation for who we are now, as the people of God. Story telling is at the heart of the Bible: stories which were passed down from generation to generation. And with the nights drawing in, it's the season for stories....
If you have children, or grandchildren (or even if you don't!), a good place to start is with a children's bible, such as the one below - bite-sized stories which give an overview of salvation history.
An adult alternative, giving an overview with additional information, (and also with pictures!), is the Illustrated Bible.
The third book is the Bible written in novel format, which I have just started reading - I am enjoying it so far. This style captures the sense of the oral tradition, the story-telling roots.
If you click on any of these books you will be transferred to the Amazon* site, where you can find many other Bible Story options.
Alternatively, how about trying your hand at learning to tell the stories, rather than read them. The website for GCM Collective has an interesting take on being 'story formed', and the potential for story as a tool in reaching the world with the good news of Jesus.
Their resources include scripts to learn, which take you right through salvation history.
Look for 'story of God update':
LET'S CELEBRATE GOD'S PROVISION
Put (your) hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. [1Timothy 6:17 ]
Our lives are overflowing with God's provision.
Take time today to note His blessings, and praise & thank Him for all His goodness to us.
With children..... compete to list the most blessings in (say) 3 minutes. Then thank God.
We are blessed to be a blessing - give something away today.
The keynote of the Feast of Tabernacles, which was prescribed in the Old Testament for 7 days, (and subsequently lengthened to 8 days in Israel, and 9 days in the Diaspora) is celebration. And if the Israelites, under a lesser covenant, had something to celebrate, how much more have we, as the redeemed people of God?
These next few days are a great opportunity to look back at everything the Lord has done for us, look around us at the amazing things He is doing in our day, and look forward to our coming King. Let's be inspired, let's celebrate!
For more on the Feast of Tabernacles, see:
Journey into Rest - Seasonal Blog: a Diary of Seasonal Living.
LIVING WITH A SEASONAL RHYTHM
We can scaffold rest in our lives by punctuating our days & weeks with breathing spaces. Paying attention to the passing seasons is one way of doing this. So come on in & enjoy the Creator's symphony....
AUGUST, SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
The Season of Fruitfulness
Check out this site by Photographer, Pat Mingarelli: