Janathon and Tabernacles

background_moses_tabernacle

This morning I headed out for a run after Saturday chores.  The freezing fog rose slowly around me. It actually felt like January. I managed a 3-mile out and back. The old bod is adapting to working full-time.  Yay!.

It’s January 31.  I thought it would never get here. Janathon:  complete.  I missed blogging one day, but since I started a new job among several other events, I consider it pretty good.

I’ve lost about 5.5 lbs. this month. I changed up my eating habits considerably and am so glad of it.  More on that at a later date.

Today, I read Exodus 40.  Moses commissioned skilled workmen such as Bezalel (why don’t kids get names like that anymore?) and co. to finish up work on the Tabernacle.  God outlined very specific instructions on how to craft it – gold-encased mercy seaet, bronze lamps, priestly ephod encrusted with 12 precious stones. Bezalel completed all the pieces, Moses put it all together.  I guess some assembly was required. Once Moses finished placing all the holy furniture and setting up the animal-skin tent, something marvelous occurred.

Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. – Exodus 40: 34-35

Every other time I’ve read these chapters about the creation of the Tabernacle items and the portable dwelling itself, my mind drifts.  I mean, we have very little in our churches today that resemble such ancient equipment.  The craftsmanship sounds fabulous, intricate and worthy of God.

But we’re talking about God here, the Lord of all creation, original Master of the universe.  He gave explicit instructions about the Tabernacle’s dimensions and the things to travel with it.  How does the infinite find a home in a tent made of animal skins, which has rather limited square footage?  Why should the eternal divine, who sits on a throne of rainbow-colored gems, hang out here?  By here, I mean Earth, which is prone to dirt and decay and all kinds of crunchy insects. Yes, the portable dwelling contained some articles of gold and precious stones.  However, not enough to warrant housing such majesty, to my way of thinking.

This Tabernacle, this temporary dwelling, became a tangible, visible reminder to the Israelites that Yahweh had come down from the heavenly realms to lead them to the Promised Land. His presence hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and appeared as fire inside the pillar of cloud by night (Ex. 40:37-38). Since God had a home among them now, he planned to stay. His guidance and care continued though the journey was long. I’m reminded that once I accepted Christ into my heart and let Him lead, He came to stay inside me as well.  God’s presence inside me sanctifies this temple of flesh and continues to guide me every day.

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Working It

rubber bands

I woke up extremely glad it’s Friday and with the energy and enthusiasm of a wet noodle.  I did a 30-minute stretching routine. Much better. I had a short day at work today due to an afternoon appointment, making Friday a little sweeter.

Since neither sparkpeople.com nor myfitnesspal.com have calories burned for work activities, I thought I’d have a go at it. I did most of this while standing. Let’s not forget that added resistance. Here’s how I think the work day went down:

Spending an hour looking up, reading and digesting RCW and WAC regulations summarized in yesterday’s training – 100 calories

Digging through boxes of old applications and working notes from a person who left in 2013 – 200 calories

Taking notes by hand while listening in on a conference call about a public records legal decision – 300 calories (This is probably way too low, considering my handwriting)

Discussing technology I have no knowledge or understanding about with a coworker – 300 calories

Not thinking about the Superbowl – 75 calories

Breaking an ancient rubber band by snapping it on your hand – 25 calories

Tearing up old notebooks filled with obscure yet beautifully handwritten notes – 600 calories (Hey, you can get a good aerobic burn!)

Total:  1600 calories

Who needs scheduled workouts?!

Thursday Training

I got out the door this morning and ran 2 miles. The night sky revealed a spangle of stars and a fuzzy moon. I left my headphones at home and listened to the sound of Shelton sleeping. I passed over the creek several times. I enjoy its burble. I really didn’t want to do anything at all this morning. But roll on, Janathon!

Today I’m in Lakewood at records management training.  I’m learning a lot. It’s a hot topic now, because of the Public Records Act. The short version:  governments must provide access to those seeking information on government works. In the last month, local news has featured stories of cities, large and small, who failed to provide public access to government records in a timely fashion.  They got sued and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees to the, ahem, concerned citizens.  It’s a big deal. At this point, I think record-minders should be wearing capes and have laser vision.

I’m putting in a request now.

The Golden Lesson

While doing a short kettlebell workout, I meditated on the day’s reading. I came upon Exodus 32 in my Bible reading plan. You know, the story about the Israelites worshiping the golden calf while Moses and God have their confab on Mt. Sinai. I’ve written about this before.

On the surface, their actions seem justified.  “We don’t know what happened to Moses,” they say to Aaron. “Make us something we can worship” (Exodus 32:1). It seems okay, like the calf is just a stand-in.  I mean, God helps those who helps themselves, right? Wrong. The worship becomes full-on debauchery (v. 6).

Once Moses leaves the mountain, things get rough. The Israelites’ idolatry infuriated God. Moses asks the people to choose sides. The Levites stand with Moses.  Moses commands the Levites to kill anyone opposing God, namely, everyone else.  The priestly order manages to snuff out 3,000. What a bloodbath! God killed even more with a plague later that day.

There are several morals here. But despite the gap of several thousand years, we aren’t so different. Don’t we find ourselves doing the same things?  “God isn’t coming through.  I’ll take out a loan to cover this month.” Relationship on the skids?  “I’ll manipulate them into getting my way.” In other words, we force circumstances to become what we want. We do this with our health and careers, too.

But this is not God’s way of dealing with “life”. The Lord has the best in mind for us, every day. We are not forgotten. We need to wait and pray, trusting in the meantime. He has the answers, if we’re willing to listen. They don’t include doing it our way.

Tuesday Time

I woke up groggy this morning. After reading about the priestly garments in the book of Exodus, I headed outside. Our weather ahs been positively springlike. Dry and balmy for several days. I took to the means streets of Shelton and ran 2 miles with fartleks on well-lit blocks.  Hey, fartleks are real. Look it up.

At work today, I found myself looking at the clock.  I composed this haiku.

Hurry, clock! Don’t stop.
Why do you move so slowly?
Hands drag on your face.

As I dive deeper into records management, both in the natural and online, I come across unique items.  Like the Mazama pocket gopher.  Discovered in the Mt. Mazama area in Oregon, this little guy is now a threatened species.

Ain't he cute?

Ain’t he cute?

It actually was part of a public works project file, a feasibility study to save their habitat.  They like prairies, by the way. They dig up earth and help plant diversity.  Wikipedia.com says so.

What caught my eye here is the name Mazama.  My dad used to be part of the Mazama mountaineering group.  They climbed mountains. I’m related to my dad, who was a Mazama. Mt. Mazama held the first group of Mazama pocket gophers.  That means only 2 degrees of separation keep me and the gophers apart.  Huzzah!

saycheesegopher_000

I also found a treasure trove of Washington State digital archives.  The town of Marcus, Washington, had a complete list of ordinances from the town’s founding in 1910.  Guess what #4 was?  Okay, I’ll tell you. In October of 1910, the town ordinance passed a law for the taxing and killing of dogs.  I’m guessing strays, because right before that, they passed an ordinance about keeping alleys free of debris and safe. A couple of years later, in July of 1912, they got all over children loitering outside at night. They specifically prohibited it. Loitering children.  Marathon kick-the-can games:  The universal problem.

Time is an illusion. I like discovering things.  However, though these things are new to me, others knew about them already. What has been, will be again. There is nothing new under the sun. Not even pocket gophers.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. – Ecclesiastes 1:9

Heart Lesson

broken-heartI woke up early this morning and ran four miles. The dark, foggy morning held a couple of walkers on the path. Otherwise, it was just me and my thoughts. It felt good to get outside and knock out the run. Now, the day is sunny and warmish. I saw crocuses popping up while out walking yesterday. Weird season, this winter.

Brothers and sisters, in the course of human events, someone will say something to you that crushes your spirit.  If you’ve been alive any length of time, you’ve experienced this.  You recognize our shared fallen reality. You know people are fallible. Their limitations cause them to snap at you, through no fault of your own.  Yet it hurts keenly and always comes out of nowhere.

The main school of thought I’ve heard is “don’t let it get to you.” But usually by the time I remember this gem, the incident has already penetrated my armor. The shaft is in deep. It stings. I pull on it, trying to yank it out, but it won’t budge. How to come back from this?

I find myself looking to forgive, because I have committed the same crime. I must give up the right to be offended and set the offender free. I pray and ask for more grace. Jesus loves to answer those prayers. We can’t ever get enough. Then I look to spread kindness. Usually, I won’t bring it up to the person, as that would only make it worse. But perhaps a hug, friendship permitting, or a little chocolate wouldn’t be amiss. I don’t want to live out of fellowship with anyone, if I’m able to mend fences.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18

Our Father

overcast sky

I’m finding myself drawn more and more to prayer.  Prayer for my family. Prayer for friends. Prayer for coworkers. During worship today, I looked around at all the raised hands and I thought, Yes. No more playing church. People all around us are giving up and lying down. People are giving in to depression and mourning long-lost relationships. We have to help them. We need to encourage, to edify and exhort to hope.

I feel like I need to be on my face more because I’ve come to the end of what I can do to help a lot of folks. Painful life events, as Pastor explained this morning, should cause us to turn to God more and more. And if we don’t learn the lesson the first time, you can be sure it will come up again on the next exam, like a song on perpetual repeat. The circumstances and people may change but the concept we need to grasp remains.

Yesterday, I ran 3 miles. This morning I did a short jump rope workout, some stretching and called it good. But this afternoon, instead of praying here at home, I took to the streets. I walked and prayed for 2 miles. The day had been balmy but damp. Dare I say it felt like an early spring? The overcast sky, heading into sunset, had patches glowing blue and gold and peach. Other places frowned, a dark gray.  It seemed unsettled, kinda like all the things I’m wanting to fix. What will the outcome be? Sunny? Showers? Continual, never-ending clouds? Wait and see.

Pastor preached out of Ecclesiastes 3 today. You know the “time for everything” song. I’m entering a season of prayer as things reach a point of desperation. As I moved along, dodging the come-on from the drifter hanging around the picnic bench, I realized that once again I’m back to trust.  Will I trust God to handle these scenarios, about to careen over the proverbial cliff? I breathed in and out and finally surrendered.  Because, in the end, I’m not the only one learning lessons.  The individuals going through the tough times have wisdom to gain as well. As I turned for home, I looked up into traces of blue sky.