Category Archives: Feast on This

The meandering thoughts of a reluctant hostess

The Land Down Under – a World Studies party

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The Land Down Under – a World Studies party

7th– 8th Grade Unit Study on Australian Culture

Well, y’all, today was a privilege of privileges!  I got to throw another school party for my grand’s World Studies class.  We seriously had sooooooo much fun! Praise the Lord for His graciousness.  I love sharing these class parties with you all in the hopes that you will find something inspiring, or useful, that you can do with your kiddos.  I can barely organize my thoughts to tell you about it all.  I’m blogging about it with a full heart that truly did not want the time with them to end.  It was a case of having too many things that I wanted for the kids to experience (story of my life), and having much too small of time for us to actually accomplish it all with quality.  We managed to squeeze everything in, but we sure could have used another couple of hours.

Their teacher very capably led their studies through the chapter on Australia and Polynesia in their World Studies book, and then generously and graciously allowed me to step in for a brief moment at the end of the chapter, to share the things I’ve collected from all over the world, which this time included a few things from the Land Down Under.  The Lord has graciously provided over the years for me to get to have these things, and not only that, but also to allow me the opportunity to utilize the deeply compelling, God-given passion that’s in my heart, which is to research, and plan, and cook, and decorate, and bring the cultures of other peoples to life.

This party was all about Australia, from the indigenous peoples to the settlers.  We learned about Digeridoos, Dancing Sticks, Boomerangs, and Bull-roarers.  We ate Aussie Meat Pies “with sauce” – the national food of Australia, Tim-Tams, Pavlova, and some varieties of licorice “lollies.” We were able to experience a sniff of Vegemite (the kids were too chicken to taste it – although I had snuck some into the meat pies when I made them, so they actually had tasted it and didn’t know it – Ha!  And we all got to taste a glassful of Bundaberg Ginger Beer.  So delicious!!!!  We also listened to some Australian music, both of the indigenous peoples and some more modern.

Side note: Ask me how glad I am to have a Cost Plus World Market fairly close-by.  Unfortunately, they have discontinued carrying ANZAC Biscuits and didn’t have any Lamingtons. The even more sad thing was that I was too pressed for time to be able to make very many of the things at home that I wanted to this go around – but I have included all the recipes below for you (and myself), in case you (or I) ever want to try this party (again) at home for a Birthday, or dinner party, or family get-together, or for your school, or Homeschool World Studies unit, or for a church function (perhaps you have some displaced Aussies in the congregation who are maybe feeling homesick, or missionaries to the Outback whom you could honor), or whatever the occasion!!!  Perhaps you just want to try some of the lovely foods from down under?


Okay, I’ll start with

Music and Decorations…

I had ordered this tablecloth (above) on Amazon, but it never came. ☹ 

Fortunately, I found this one on eBay and it arrived just in the nick of time. 😊

The food on the table also served as decoration (more on that below), but I also tossed around a few stuffed animals, some real boomerangs, and some Aussie flags and road signs to lend atmosphere.  One of the student’s fathers had a real digeridoo, which he allowed his son to bring to the party.  It was really heavy, made from a real tree, and decorated with real tribal designs.  It was very cool.  I also contributed to the party decoration by wearing a t-shirt that said “G’day Mate!” on the front of it.  It made me happy all day just wearing it. And I had made some little road signs and Aussie flags to scatter around on the table. I have a friend who lives in Geelong and is a huge “footy” fan, the Cats in particular. She sent me some souvenirs of the 2009 Premiers, because of course the Cats were champs that year!!!!! I wished I could have found stuffed animals of all the Aussie animals, instead I ended up getting a t-shirt, which featured at least 10 of them.

This is the music I had playing when the kids entered the classroom, so they could hear what digeridoo sounds like, but I was careful not to play it for long, or loudly, or to meditate on the sounds too closely, since the indigenous people call it dream music. I don’t know, but it may open a portal to the spirit world, and I had no desire to do that.

And this is the CD that I played after we had made our dancing sticks.  I found a used original online for $6 – a find of the century as it is out of print.  It has all the favorites on it.  “Down Under” by Men at Work, Waltzing Matilda by The Outback Singers, and an audio passage from The Man from Snowy River by Fred Hollows.  Absolutely perfect!!!!


Crafts

Digeridoos

So, I wanted the kids to have an opportunity to try playing a digeridoo, but I didn’t want them passing around my real digeridoo and spreading germs during cold and flu season.  So, we made one per kid using gift wrap tubes (which I had asked parents to provide, while they were massively available during the holiday season). The kids then used paint to decorate their digeridoos with various tribal designs. 

How to make a Digeridoo out of wrapping paper rolls:  https://www.koolkidscrafts.com/make-a-didgeridoo.html

How a real Digeridoo is made, by David Hudson:  https://youtu.be/2lBZ6yPW9WU

How to play a Digeridoo, by David Hudson:  https://youtu.be/0XlEkeot7HM

And then we all tried to play them.  It definitely takes some skills. I didn’t manage to get a photo of the kids playing them, but I did nab this photo of some decorated ones that the boys had done.


Bullroarers

The first thing was to show the kids the video clip of Crocodile Dundee demonstrating his Bullroarer skills in a scene from the second movie: 

Normally Bullroarers are heavy pieces of carved wood threaded with a strong thick string or thin leather strap, but I found a kid’s craft version that worked like a snap:

How to make a kid’s Bullroarer:

https://www.schooloftoy.com/freeprojects/

Click on the link above and then scroll down to the bottom of the webpage until you see this video, pictured below:

I premeasured lengths of thin paracord and stuffed them in baggies, and I also predrilled holes in the jumbo craft sticks (tongue depressors). It made it super easy to pass out the elements. All the kids needed to do was thread the string through the hole and they were ready to use.  I had the kids decorate their sticks with Sharpie markers, and then we all went out into the great room to give them a whirl, (literally)!  This was probably the most fun experience of the whole party.


Boomerangs

The same man (David Hudson) who did the video on digeridoo playing also did one on how to make a cardboard boomerang, which he called a “Roomerang.”  The kids watched the video, and then I passed out the strips of cardboard that I had precut.  I marked the center to help the kids be able to attach the two pieces properly, and we fastened them with glue dots, which worked like a charm.  I had made a few as examples, and also so that I could test them to see if they really worked.  They did, but, not as well as his did in the video, but maybe with practice. I found that they worked best when held between thumb and pointer finger right at the base and flicked vertically, and sort of towards your right (if you are right-handed). It takes a little practice.

 

How to make a kids’ Carded Boomerang (“Roomerang”) with David Hudson:

   https://triballink.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/How-to-Make-a-Roomerang.webm

In this video (link above) he also talks about the designs, which are special to the Gubbi Gubbi/ Kabi Kabi people. These were my examples:


Dancing Sticks

And finally, our last activity was to make the dancing sticks.  The same David Hudson as did the Roomerangs, and Digeridoo has a teaching video on how to make the dancing sticks, I basically followed his instructions, except instead of using the clear shipping tape that he uses, and then wrapping it with string, I used a decorative Duct tape to save a step.  I also used Bamboo because I have it growing in abundance in my yard and am always looking for useful opportunities to get rid of it. 

       

How to make Dancing Sticks, video featuring David Hudson:   https://youtu.be/u-6yEYPiYsE


Food

What Australian party would be complete without food? Top of the list has to be the national dish of Australia – the Aussie Meat Pies, and then Tim-Tams, Vegemite, and Pavlova!  I really had ambitious plans for this party, and although I didn’t have time to make everything I wanted to, I’m including the recipes for everything I wanted to.  That way, if you (or I) ever want to make these lovely morsels, we’ll know where to find all the recipes.

First things first, Americans need to know how to eat a Vegemite Sandwich, because most of us try it and do it all wrong, and end up spitting the nasty gack substance out into the garbage can with a majorly disgusted look on our faces.  So, I thought it fitting to let Hugh Jackman give us a proper demonstration:

Hugh Jackman on Jimmy Fallon: https://youtu.be/P_sUhTWtvG4

I found Vegemite at Cost Plus World Market, but unfortunately the parent who was supposed to bring the white bread and butter for the party, ooops forgot.  Meh! It happens. 😦   So, I wasn’t able to make a Vegemite Sandwich for the kids, nor was I able to make Fairy Bread for the kids either.  I was disappointed, but we had lots of other stuff to eat and do, so I eventually got over it. LOL


This is Fairy Bread:

All you do to make the Fairy Bread is toast and butter some soft white bread (just like you do for the Vegemite Sandwich) and then cover the topside with sprinkles.  They can’t be just any sprinkles though; to be truly OZ-thentic they need to be the tiny round sprinkles you see in the photo.


Aussie Meat Pies

I made a batch of these before the party just to see what they tasted like, and I think they are quite similar to a sloppy joe in a pie crust.   I did them exactly the way Aussie Girl Can Cook does in her video, but to be authentic the bottoms of the pie are supposed to be a “short crust,” which, in America, is just a regular pie crust, and only the tops of the Aussie pies are supposed to be puff pastry. I made mine in a muffin pan. And I didn’t have enough puff pastry to do the tops properly, so I used the little bits of corners that I had snipped from the squares to make them round. Didn’t have to cut a vent hole that way.

So, because I was extremely pressed for time, this is how I made mine for the party:

Mrs H’s Aussie Meat Pies

3  12-oz. packages (8-count each) of Texas Pie Company Pastry Shells, sold exclusively at HEB

1  17.3 oz. package Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets

2 pounds ground beef

1 onion finely chopped

1  24-oz. can Hunt’s Manwich Sauce

Enough chicken stock to make a little gravy

1 tsp. Vegemite

I started my process 2 days before the party by cooking the beef filling first and then placing it in the fridge.  Cook the ground beef until browned, add onion and cook until slightly softened.  Pour in the Manwich sauce and stir.  Let simmer on stovetop for about 10 minutes.  Add enough chicken stock to make the gravy and let it cook down to thicken. Stir in the Vegemite and remove from heat.  Let cool slightly and transfer to a food storage container. Place in fridge overnight.

The next day take the frozen Puff Pastry out of the freeze and set on counter top to thaw.  Take the Pastry Shells out of the freezer also and arrange on a cookie sheet.  Flatten the edges of each shell to remove the decorative ridge, then put the shells in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes (as directed on the package).  Pull the shells out of the oven and immediately begin filling each with about a small ice cream scoop full of the chilled meat mixture. 

On a slightly floured work surface, unwrap and gently unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Use a drinking glass or biscuit cutter (that is roughly the size of the tops of each pie), cut circles in the pastry.  If you run out of dough, the bits can be collected and gently kneaded on a floured surface and then rolled out with a rolling pin.  Let rest a few minutes and then cut more circles.  One package should cover 24 little pies, if you are frugal.  Take a circle of puff pastry and hold it in one hand, dip a finger of your other hand in a cup of water and moisten the pastry all the way around the edge on one side.  Lay the moistened side down on top of a meat pie, stretching if needed, and then press it against the pastry below with your thumbs.  Use a fork to seal the edge all the way around.  Continue with the next pie, and the next, until you have finished covering all your pies. 

Beat an egg or two in a small bowl and then using a pastry brush, brush the egg over the top of each puff pastry top.  A little milk can be added to the egg if you need to stretch it to have enough for all the pies. Use a knife to cut a little vent hole in the center of each pie.

Place the pies in a 350 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top crusts are shiny and golden brown.  I think mine might have baked longer than 30 minutes, but my oven has been weird lately. Just keep an eye on them to get that beautiful golden-brown color.  Remove from oven.  Let them cool slightly and then remove them from the pie tins. They can be served hot at this point, plain, or with sauce (ketchup).

If you want to serve them the next day, just let the little pies cool completely on a baking rack (removed from the tins) for about 10 or 15 minutes. Place the cooled pies in a single layer in a large zip-loc bag and then pop them into the refrigerator for overnight storage, or they can be individually wrapped, tightly, in plastic, and then placed into a zip-loc bag and into the freezer for longer storage. 

The next day place the pies on a cookie sheet and pop them into a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.  If they are frozen they can be removed from their wrapper and baked in the same temp oven, but may take a little longer to reach a safe 165 degree internal temperature.  We also tried reheating them in the microwave for about 3 minutes and that worked also.  Serve plain or with sauce.  (My hubby likes salsa on his – he likes salsa on everything. Ha!).


Outback Barbie (what we States-side would just call a BBQ

Once a good fire is established in the firepit, put on some shrimp (what we call prawns), snags (sausages – kind of look like fat hot dogs), and Barramundi (a type of fish).  There’s also many things that are and have been cooked up over fire in the wild, and that’s what Australians call Bush Tucker (Bush Food).

NOTE: many of the foods in Australia are like the foods we have in America.  They harken back to both of our British roots.  In Great Britain the meat pies are often served as a pie floater, which means they are perched in a pool of mushy peas. 

Other common foods are beef stews, chicken and dumplings, pot roast, meatloaf, baked chicken, and that sort of stuff.  There is a large Malaysian, Polynesian, and southern Asian influence also, just as there is Chinese food, Italian, French, Cajun, etc. foods here in the U.S.  There are also animals, berries, fruits, and herbs (and even bugs) that are native to Australia, like Wattleseed and Lemon Myrtle, that are used in Australian cooking.  I enjoy watching Marion Grasby’s You Tube channel.  She makes lots of Asian infused Australian foods.


Tim Tams

Tim-Tams can be purchased in the U.S.  Amazon has them, and they are at World Market.  They are kind of like a chocolate wafer/biscuit sandwich with cream filling, and then coated in chocolate.


ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC Biscuits were a type of eggless oatmeal cookie that were sent to the soldiers who were off fighting in war.  They are made of oatmeal and coconut, and to make them properly you must use Lyles Golden Syrup.  Australia celebrates a national holiday called ANZAC Day every April which gives the whole country a public holiday from work.  It is a day for Aussies and New Zealanders to honor those who fought and lost their lives at war and also to honor those who serve in the military for the freedom of their country. 

Australian Women’s Weekly published this “Best ANZAC Biscuit Recipe of All Time.”  I say we give it a try!

Ingredients

4oz butter, chopped

2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle (see tips)

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

2 tablespoons boiling water

1 cup rolled oats (see tips)

1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup desiccated coconut

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two large 9 X 13” baking pans; line with baking paper.

Stir butter and syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Stir in combined soda and the water, then remaining ingredients.

Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls; place 2 inches apart on lined trays, then flatten slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool biscuits on trays.

Notes

Spray your measuring spoon with a little cooking oil spray before scooping up the golden syrup; this will help prevent the syrup from sticking to the spoon. Make sure you use rolled oats rather than quick-cooking oats as they will produce a different result. Store biscuits in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Lamingtons

These can be purchased, but are not difficult to make. They are basically a sponge cake cut into blocks, dipped in chocolate icing, and then rolled in finely chopped desiccated coconut.  Martha Stewart has a lovely recipe; click on this link (Martha Stewart’s Lamingtons) and you should end up there, unless they have moved it since this post was created. In that case here is a print out:

Lollies

I found a variety of licorice at World Market. It’s a little bit different from the licorice we’re used to. Sooooo yummy!!!


Pavlova

The utter queen of desserts.  It is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.  It is said to resemble her flowing layered ballerina skirts.   It is crisp on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside, and topped with whipped cream and various fruits.  There are vanilla Pavlovas, and chocolate Pavlovas, and I even saw a lemon Pavlova – which would be a perfect way to use all the egg yokes (lemon curd) and help counter balance all the sweetness.

I decided to try using a carton of liquid egg whites to see if it would work, rather than have several egg yokes to have to deal with.  It didn’t work quite as well as it probably would have with freshly cracked egg whites, but it did work, and got raves from all of those who sampled it at the party for the first time ever in their lives.

1 cup cage-free 100% liquid egg whites + 1 freshly cracked egg white (save the yoke to brush on meat pies)

2 cups of regular white sugar

½ teaspoon of pure Vanilla

1/8th teaspoon of Cream of Tartar (or may substitute 2 tsp of lemon/lime juice or white/apple cider vinegar)

2 teaspoons Corn starch

You will also need parchment paper, a large cookie sheet, a 340 degree preheated oven, a pan with water, and a rubber spatula, and then some fresh sweetened whipped cream, and an assortment of fresh fruits.

I decided to do the Swiss Meringue technique, which is to dissolve the sugar in the egg whites in a double-boiler before whipping.  I placed about 2 inches of water in a saucepan and turned it on to boil.  While I waited for that, I measured my egg whites and sugar into a stainless steal bowl that I could perch on top the pot of water.  As soon as the water boiled, I turned off the heat and let the water cool for a few minutes.  Then I set my bowl of egg whites and sugar on top and used a whisk to stir, stir, stir, lifting the bowl from the pan of water occasionally, just to make sure I didn’t cook the eggs at all.  I reached in and mushed the mixture between my fingers a couple of times to see if it was still gritty, and once it felt not gritty I took it off the water completely and started mixing it with the mixer. 

I only have a hand-held Kitchen-Aide mixer, and wasn’t sure if it was powerful enough to do the job.  It seemed like it took forever for the eggs to start turning a glossy white.  Finally, after 10 minutes or so I began to see a soft white mixture, and that is when I added all the other ingredients (vanilla, Cream of Tartar, and Corn Starch, and I also added a splash of lemon juice in case my cream of tartar wasn’t up to snuff – it’s not something I use very often).  I scraped down the sides of the bowl and went back to mixing.  It took a really long time, maybe 20 minutes or so, but it finally started getting the stiffer peaks.  The videos I watched said you can’t over whip it, so I just kept whipping, and whipping, hoping to achieve stiff peaks I saw in videos.  When I thought I had achieved it finally, I stopped whipping.  My poor little mixer was getting warm.

I got a large cookie sheet, put a dab of meringue in each corner, and placed a sheet of parchment paper to cover the pan (the dabs of meringue keep the parchment from moving around.  Then I dumped the meringue in the middle of the pan.  I didn’t fuss with trying to shape it.  I just sort of made a depression in the center and called it good.  Mine didn’t set up tall and hold its shape like the ones in the videos, which is when I realized I probably gave up beating it too soon.  Oh well.  I guess we’ll see.

I placed the meringue into the oven and immediately turned the temperature down to 190 degrees F, and set the timer for 65 minutes.  After the 65 minutes I turned the oven off, but did NOT OPEN THE DOOR.  I left the meringue in the oven overnight.  I did peek through the window though and it looked to be the same size and shape as when I put it into the oven (hallelujah), only it had a slight baked tint to it, and only had a couple of hairline cracks on the side. Praise the Lord – so happy!!!!!!  Hoping for the best.

While the Pavlova was in the oven, I made my whipped cream.  I put about 2/3 of a pint size carton of heavy whipping cream into a cold bowl.  I added about 2 slightly heaped Tablespoons of powdered sugar, and ½ a teaspoon of pure vanilla.  I started the whipping process slowly to incorporate the sugar, and then as the mixture started to thicken a little, I increased the speed.  It was messy and there was spatter, but as soon as firm peaks appeared, I whipped a smidge more and then stopped beating (fearing I’d end up with butter).  I immediately transferred my whipped cream to a covered container and into the fridge to be used on my meringue first thing in the morning.

I decided on the following fruits:  Strawberries, bananas, canned mango drained, blueberries, and kiwi.  I waited until right before serving to top and decorate my Pavlova.  I started by removing the meringue from the oven and carefully and gently peeling away the paper.  I placed my meringue in the center of a large platter, and then dumped my whipped cream on top and spread it out a little.  Then I started decoratively piling on the sliced fruits and blueberries (Uh Oh, what happened to my banana? Okay, minus the banana, I must have dropped it on the sidewalk somewhere between my car and the school).  

OMGosh, it looked amazing!!!!  The kids thought it was fantastic, and the teacher and other staff who sneaked in to try it said it was to die for.  No one had ever eaten Pavlova before – which is probably my saving grace.

This is a photo of my attempt:


And what to drink? …

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In conclusion, if we want to sound like Aussies for a day here are some Australian Vocabulary Words:

G’day Mate = hello

No worries = not a big deal

Sanga = sandwich

Lollies = sweets/candies

Bush Tucker = Outback Food (that’s native to Australia, and grows in the wild)

Aussie (pronounced Ozzie) and is why Australia is sometimes called Oz

The land down under = Australia

Wallabys = kangaroo (aka ROOs)

Joey = baby kangaroo

Billabong = a pond in a dry river bed

Dingo = a wild dog native to Australia

Footy = What Aussies call football

Kookaburra = a type of bird native to Australia

Walk-a-bout = a hike or vacation (traveling)

To “Captain Cook” something = is to Take a Look at something

To “John Dory” = is to tell the story

Dunny = Toilet

Bloke = male

Sheila = female

Crickey = WOW!

Snag = a sausage


• Other Links:

David Hudson website: https://www.davidhudson.com.au/

(Bullroarer, You Tube video)  https://youtu.be/Gy05kWu88u0

2nd Digeridoo playing instruction:  https://youtu.be/F1hnDwjuLGM

• Movies featuring the Land Down Under:

The Man from Snowy River

Quigley Down Under

Crocodile Dundee

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! It’s a Junior High Renaissance Escape Room & Feast, Come One, Come All

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! It’s a Junior High Renaissance Escape Room & Feast, Come One, Come All

That’s the way our little affair got started. Let me tell you the tale of a Renaissance Escape Room that happened recently, one very foggy mid-autum’s day. The Jr. High students of our quaint little school had been looking forward to this day for weeks. They picked out costumes from the Drama Department’s costume closet and daydreamed through chapel just waiting for the chance to crowd into their classroom and see what awaited them there. Their laughter and excitement filled the room, but in just a moment it was all abrutly interupted by aTown Crier with news! She shouted out to them in a booming voice, and that is when they discovered their mission.

She then exited stage left and our dear “Mrs. Hollingsworth” appeared (which just so happens to be a real English renaissance family name from my own family’s history – how about that for a little historical fiction to go with our turkey legs). She was dressed as the rest, but in a red velvet costume, and when she cleared her throat a faux English accent came out. She addressed the students thustly:

Hello, I am Mrs. Hollingsworth.  I’ve come to help you.  We are going to have to be sneaky and very quiet so as not to draw attention to ourselves.  We’re going to need to split up.  Here, I’ve put some slips of paper in this black sock.  Each of you must draw a slip out and then sort yourselves into your teams. 

White team, your area of the room is over there. [she pointed]

Red team, yours is over there. [she pointed]

And Green, yours is there.  [she pointed]

You must stay in your area until you have completed your tasks.  I’ve put together an envelope for each team.  You will find them once you enter your area.  Read the outside of the envelope and follow its instructions.

Your knowledge of the Renaissance is all that will save you now.  Okay, be off!!!!!  And good luck.

The room was divided into 4 areas, using long classroom tables. Each area was clearly labeled, Red, White, and Green. The kids were divvied up into their 3 groups and sent away to their respective areas to begin their escape. It started with reading the outside of the envelope and then dumping out the contents. They had the choice of solving a puzzle that would tell them where to look for their 8 questions, or they could just look for them if they were feeling lucky. Most decided “just looking” sounded good. They found questions stuffed in bottles, and questions stuffed in boxes, others stashed in books , and books made out of boxes. They were high up and low down, on top of things, and underneath.

Let’s start with the Envelopes, please…

(In the interest of full disclosure, the images on the envelopes for the questions and puzzles were taken from a purchase of materials at Teachers Pay Teachers. I’ll tell you more about that a little later in this post. But I used their template for the question cards,although I made many of my own questions using our school’s World Studies Textbook, along with information found in various other books, such as these, and some online sources).

I organized all the Level One questions to be about Famous Artists & Architects of the Renaissance. Level Two questions were about Famous Explorers & Navigators of the Renaissance. Level 3 questions were about Famous Inventors & Humanists of the Renaissance. Level 4 questions were about Famous Thinkers & Philosophers of the Renaissance. Level Five questions were about Famous Writers & Composers of the Renaissance. And, Level Six questions were about Famous Mathematicians & Influencers of the Renaissance.

I made a cheat sheet for each team, printed on both sides. I wanted them to be able to check their answers, but also, since I had included some information that wasn’t in their textbook, I wanted them to be able to find the correct answer for the things they didn’t know about. Here are the CHEAT SHEETS, and QUESTIONS, and MASTER LOCK CODE SHEETS for each team…

Level One Questions Cheat Sheet.  Did you know that the Renaissance was a “rebirth” of art and architecture, deliberately anti-Gothic/Medieval? Because of the wealth of citizens, and the church, many works of art were commissioned (that means the artist was hired and paid a certain amount of money for his creation). During the Renaissance the wealthiest and most influential members of Italian society were called Patricians.  Before the Renaissance, only royalty, religious leaders, and the very wealthy could afford to have their portraits made. The Renaissance produced a booming economy, and ordinary people could then afford such things. There was a humanist (human virtue) interest in art, and a renewed interest in mythology as subject matter for art. The Medici family, the richest and most prominent family in Florence, used their wealth to sponsor new artists and help fund the humanist movement.  The Medici family became wealthy from banking, mining, and trade. The Medici family paid Brunelleschi to build a massive domed cathedral in Florence.  Brunelleschi studied ancient Roman ruins to help create his unique architecture.  Architecture during the Renaissance combined perfect mathematical proportions, domes, and classic columns. Religious works, portraits, and landscapes were mostly displayed in public; while mythologies and nudes were generally displayed in private homes.  Some of the greatest artists and architects of this period are listed below. 

Famous Artists and Architects of the Renaissance:

• Filippo Brunelleschi – famous for the dome of the Cathedral of Florence

• Ghiberti – famous for the doors of the Baptistry of Florence

• Sandro Botticelli – famous for his Adoration of the Magi, Primavera, and The Birth of Venus

• Titian – famous for The Assumption of the Virgin, Pesaro Madonna, Bacchus and Ariandne, and Venus of Urbino

• Leonardo da Vinci – often referred to as a Renaissance man, was a painter, sculptor, architect, inventor and writer.  He created the most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa. Her portrait demonstrated his mastery of 2 new painting techniques, Sfumato (blends colors to create a smoky effect) and Chiaroscuro (uses light and dark to create depth and texture).  Some other paintings include Adoration of the Magi, The Virgin of the Rocks, and The Last Supper.  His sketch books contained drawing of various machines, some that could be used as military weapons, and others that were beneficial to the advancement of medicine. The final drawing in his sketchbooks was the Vitruvian man inside of a square and a circle. The term Renaissance Man refers to a person that was talented in may areas.

• Raphael – was a painter and architect born in Italy.  He painted his greatest work called The School of Athens.  He also did an oil painting called The Sistine Madonna.  It features two cherubim (angels) at the bottom.  These angels have been featured on stamps and t-shirts, and many other memorabilia of modern day.

• Donatello – famous for his Bronze David and his later stone David sculptures, as well as many Biblical figures, his innovation of shallow bas-reliefs, and his larger architectural reliefs.

• Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, otherwise known by his first name.  He created a statue of David which features realistic muscles, joints, and veins.  His works also include the sculptures of Bacchus and Pietà, and painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, which was commissioned by Pope Julius II.  He also designed the dome on top of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

• Giotto di Bondone – was the first Renaissance painter in Florence, Italy.  He broke away from the typical Byzantine style.  He painted people and objects that looked natural, not abstract.  His paint style became knows as realistic painting. 

Level Two Questions Cheat Sheet.  Did you know that the Renaissance was a “great re-awakening” of exploration and navigation? During this period, there was a great renewal of interest in the ideas of ancient Rome and Greece. Many of the leaders of the Renaissance, who were born in the different city-states of Italy, found inspiration in these ancient writings and wanted to know more by studying art, architecture, and culture. Some brilliant minds pursued knowledge through the study of math, geography, and science.  All of this expansion of knowledge contributed to the exploration of the world, which was both good and bad. The famous Silk Road, a once-prosperous trading route, had become very dangerous with tribal groups reclaiming land and charging fees for passage, or taxes on goods. Europe was desperate to find a route to China and India (where their most treasured exotic goods came from), that would avoid these dangerous middlemen. Many explorers and financiers of the age were also unfortunately desperate for fame and fortune and conquest. Part of the reason explorers were able to travel farther from home had to do with advances in navigation and shipbuilding techniques.  Not only did Europeans hope to find direct routes to places with exotic goods, some European kings and queens were inspired to send expeditions out for religious reasons as well. 

Famous Explorers & Navigators of the Renaissance

Niccolò De Conti – was a self-funded explorer, mostly by land, and one of the first Europeans to reach Indonesia and Burma. He shared many exciting stories about people, spices, animals, and geography. His travels helped to improve maps of Asia, such as the Genoese, and his experiences also helped to create a map of the world.

Christopher Columbus – made 4 legendary voyages. His maiden voyage was funded by Ferdinand and Isabella (King and Queen of Spain) in April, 1492.  That voyage included three ships, the Niña, the Pinta, and his flagship, the Santa Maria. He named the first island where he landed San Salvador, in hopes that the natives would find “salvation in Christ.”  He is credited with discovering the “New World.”

Vasco de Balboa – is best known for the discovery of the Pacific Ocean. Balboa started a European settlement in Antigua del Darien, on the east coast of Panama.  Hearing that there was a sea on the south side, he journeyed across the Isthmus of Panama and sighted the Pacific Ocean while standing on a peak. The Spaniards called the Pacific the Mar del Sur (South Sea). The expedition descended the mountain and become the first Europeans to navigate the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the New World.

Hernán Cortés – is famous for a legend where off the coast of Veracruz, he burned his ships in a do-or-die effort to conquer the land.  He warred against the Aztecs and their leader Montezuma II, and lost all of his treasure and most of his men in The Sad Night. 

Amerigo Vespucci – a great navigator, explorer, cartographer, and cosmographer and is where the continents of the Americas got their name.

Ferdinand Magellan – was a Portuguese explorer and navigator who led the first successful circumnavigation around the word. Unfortunately, he did not finish the journey, but his surviving crew members managed to complete this history-making voyage. He was the first observer of a previously unknown species of penguins, discovered galaxies, and was the first European to cross the great Pacific Ocean.  He discovered a shortcut through Chile in South America, which became known as the Strait of Magellan. Besides the strait, Ferdinand Magellan also has a rail car (Ferdinand Magellan Railcar), lunar craters (Magelhaens and Magelhaens A), and even a penguin species (Magellanic penguin) named after him. His expeditions showed clearly that all the world’s oceans were connected.

Marco Polo – though born very early in the Renaissance period, probably inspired some of the enthusiasm for exploration through his book, “The Travels of Marco Polo.” Young Marco became a trader, traveler, adventurer and storyteller. His life inspired a children’s game that is still played today.

Juan Ponce de Leon – was rumored to have been looking for the “fountain of youth.” Served as the first governor of Puerto Rico.

Sir Francis Drake – Accompanied John Hawkins in a voyage of the slave trade. Became a privateer who attacked and plundered other ships.  Was considered a pirate by the Spanish, but a hero by the English. Was given a fleet of 5 ships by Queen Elizabeth I and his expedition was only the second in history to sail around the world. He brought back lots of treasure for the queen. The queen knighted him and he was known as Sir Francis Drake thereafter.

John Cabot – was an Italian explorer sent by King Henry VII of England to the New World. It is believed that he landed in what is now called Newfoundland, in Canada, and was the first explorer to find that part of the world since the Vikings who had traveled there many centuries before.  On his second voyage his ships were lost at sea and the fate of John Cabot is uncertain.

Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, and Pêro Da Covilhã are a few other famous explorers, but there’s not enough room to talk about them.

And these were the questions that were hidden all over the room (inside of books, and boxes, and bottles, etc.)

This was their code sheet:

Level Three Questions Cheat Sheet.  The Renaissance began in Florence, Italy somewhere in the 14th century (1301 to 1400) and lasted until sometime in the 17th century (1601-1700).  Humanism played a big role during the Renaissance?  Humanism was a cultural movement, and idea that everyone should seek to be educated in arts, science, and literature.  It was a time when human emotions were expressed in the form of art.  It made the people think about their own lives and less on spiritual ideas. This new idea about education and emotional art quickly spread to Venice, Rome, and Milan, Italy.  Eventually, new ideas spread throughout Europe.  The start of the Renaissance brought an end to the Middle Ages.  The fall of Rome brought the beginning of the Middle Ages.  People were more consumed with survival during the Middle Ages.  They didn’t have money or time to learn or to study.  They were mostly poor farmers/peasants serving the royal class.  Advances and progress in science, art, and government were lost during the Middle Ages.  This part of the Middle Ages was referred to as The Dark Ages.  The Renaissance was a time to “come out of the dark.” Renaissance means “rebirth.” The Black Death delayed economic grown in northern Europe. Many believe the Renaissance began with the invention of the printing press.  The printing press made books and written materials more easily available, and because of the rise of the middle class and new found wealth, people were eager to learn and prosper. People began to feel better about themselves and optimistic about life.   

Famous Inventors & Humanists of the Renaissance

Erasmus of Rotterdam – was one of the most highly regarded and influential scholars of the Renaissance.  He mastered Latin and Greek.  He was the first to publish a Greek New Testament, which was an essential tool for the Reformation.

Leon Battista Alberti – a humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer.

Thomas More – was a close friend of Erasmus and served in the court of King Henry VIII of England.  His work, Utopia (which means “nowhere”) is a story about an imaginary country based on Christian principles, and the philosophy of Plato.  In this work More presented his view of an ideal state.  More supported the supremacy of the Pope and rejected the Reformation.

Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of the printing press

Leonardo da Vinci – inventor of many, many, many types of machines.

Galileo Galilei – was

Niccolò Machiavelli – created a new branch of political science based on humanist principals, where human interests were the priority.

Francesco Petrarch – was known as the “Father of Humanism.”  He studied Ancient Rome’s poets and philosophers.  His poetry became inspirational to other writers. 

Level Four Questions Cheat Sheet.  During the Renaissance, people loved learning about new ideas and having their old ideas challenged and changed.  They were thirsty for knowledge about art, biology, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, literature – everything!  The printing press made it possible to mass produce books.  As books became readily available, more people learned to read, and new ideas spread faster than ever.  During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church played an enormous role in European life, but during the Renaissance people began to have different religious views. The first book to be printed on a printing press was the Gutenberg Bible.  During the Renaissance, people (called humanists) were more interested in finding and studying the original versions of texts.  They began to interpret writings in different ways, and to ask questions.  Universities across Europe played extraordinarily significant roles in the Renaissance and the Reformation.  They hosted innovative research in many fields and changed forever European religion and society.  Universities and their professors may have had greater influence on society in the Renaissance and Reformation than in any era before or since.  That influence endures to this day.   

Famous Thinkers & Philosophers of the Renaissance

Francis Bacon – argued for an approach to scientific research based on observation and reason.

Desiderius Erasmus (of Rotterdam) – was a Dutch philosopher and Catholic theologian.  Among the humanists he was given the nickname “Prince of the Humanists,” and has been called the “crowning glory of the Christian humanists.” He wanted to introduce humanistic enlightenment into the Catholic Church without breaking with Rome.  He mastered Latin and Greek.  He was the scholar behind what is now known as the Textus Receptus, when the only Bible available at the time was the Latin Vulgate.  His versions were used by Martin Luther for his German translation, and William Tyndale for the first English New Testament, and also contributed to the Robert Stephanus edition of the Geneva Bible and the Authorized (KJV) Bible.

Thomas More – a close friend of Erasmus, served as lord chancellor in the court of King Henry VIII.  His work, Utopia (which means “nowhere”) was a book of social and political satire which presented his views of an ideal state. 

Filippo Brunelleschi – was at first a goldsmith, and made a living making jewelry. He competed for the commission of the Baptistry doors, but bowed out when they wanted to team him with another artist and went to Rome.  While there, he studied ancient Roman ruins, and in the process of making detailed drawings of them, rediscovered a lost artistic technique known as linear perspective.  He also solved major problems in architecture and was able to construct the largest dome ever built without wood supports. Because Brunelleschi never wrote down his designs, historians have struggled for centuries to unravel the secrets of his success.  It is still not fully understood how he accomplished what no one else has ever been able to do.

Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian philosopher, created a new branch of political science based on humanist principals, which emphasized human interests over religious views.  He wrote groundbreaking books about politics. One small “mirror book” called The Prince, which has been translated into dozens of languages and read by millions. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin kept a copy of it on their nightstands.  His last name became a euphemism for everything bad in politics.  Lying, cheating, scheming, backstabbing, killing—are all qualities associated with Machiavellianism.

Nicolaus Copernicus – worked out accurate measurements of the earth in relation to the sun.

Garardus Mercator – outlined an approach to scientific inquiry that changed several branches of science.  Queen Elizabeth gave him the nickname, “Little Lord Keeper.” He was the first English writer to use an “Essay” format.

And this was their code sheet:

Level Five Questions Cheat Sheet.  Thomas a Kempis authored the book, The Imitation of Christ, which is still in print today.  The Canterbury Tales is a collection of twenty-four stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer and can also still be purchased today.  Did you know that the Elizabethan Era is famous for the works of William Shakespeare?  It was the Tudor period of England’s history, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  This “golden age” represented the apogee (which means the peak or highest point) of the English Renaissance. The era is most famous for it’s theatre, but it was also an age of exploration and expansion abroad.  The circumnavigation of Francis Drake brought wealth to England. 

Famous Writers & Composers of the Renaissance

William Shakespeare – was an English playwright, poet, and actor.  He is credited as having written 39 plays, 154 sonnets, 3 long narrative poems, and a few other verses.  His most notable works are “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “All’s Well That Ends Well,” “Anthony and Cleopatra,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Othello,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” and many more.

Petrarch – was a scholar and poet of early Renaissance Italy. One of the earliest Humanists.  His rediscovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited as initiating the Renaissance.  His notable works include odes and sonnets to Laura, the idealized subject of his chaste love, Triumphs, Canzoniere, Secretum Meum.

Dante Alighieri – wrote his narrative poem/book, the Divine Comedy in 1308.  The first part of this epic poem is Inferno, often referred to as Dante’s Inferno.  It describes Dante’s spiritual journey through hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil.  It includes nine concentric circles of torment located within the earth. Inferno (hell) is followed by Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise/heaven).  His book is considered the greatest piece of literature written in Italian.   Iconographic images from Donte’s Divine Comedy have been painted inside the dome of the Cathedral of Florence, the brainchild of Brunelleschi.

Nicolaus Copernicus – was an astronomer and one of a handful who believed that the sun was at the center of the universe and that the earth and planets revolved around it. He proved in his book, On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, that the heliocentric model was correct, backing up his theory with mathematical equations.  It was Johannes Kepler that later proved Copernicus right. Also, Galileo, developed telescopes powerful enough for astronomers to see for themselves that Copernicus’s heliocentric model was accurate.

Machiavelli – is famous for his little book, The Prince, which was a how-to or guidebook for rulers.  He was called a lot of bad things, including “devil” and “monster,” but nothing indicates that he was ever terribly “Machiavellian.”  He was influential, but never sought power for power’s sake. And every devious strategy he described in the book was based on the actions of others.

Erasmus of Rotterdam – was known as the “Prince of the humanists.”  Was a friend of Thomas More and was staying at his home when he composed what is considered one of the most important works of the Renaissance, “In Praise of Folly.”  In this work, Erasmus took a humorous approach to old superstitions and corruption in the Catholic Church.  He dedicated the essay to More.

Sir Thomas More – was famous for his book, Utopia, which was his idea of the ideal society.  He was very religious and served as lord chancellor to King Henry VIII.

Castiglione wrote a book on manners and etiquette (social behavior). His book was titled, The Courtier.

Level Six Questions Cheat Sheet.  Did you know the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy somewhere between 1350 and 1400 and lasted until the mid 1600s. The Hundred Years War took place between 1337 and 1453 and ended in a French victory. During the Hundred Years War, a peasant girl from France named Joan of Arc believed she was being led by God to drive out the English.  The French defeated the English under her leadership, but the English later captured her and burned her at the stake.  The Black Death may have started in China and by 1347 had spread to. It claimed the lives of an estimated twenty-five million Europeans. The Renaissance (which means “rebirth”) was a period of great awakening of classical arts, culture, science, medicine, education, literature, art and music. It was a time to “come out of the dark.”  The Renaissance began as more and more people were able to afford to learn to read and write, the printing press made printed materials more available, and the Italian seaports traded goods as well as new ideas.  

Famous Mathematicians & Influencers of the Renaissance

Nicolaus Copernicus – was the mathematician and astronomer who formulated the model that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around.

Galileo Galilei – was an Italian mathematician credited with creating the first modern telescopes, which supported Copernicus’s idea that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Johannes Kepler – was a German astronomer, mathematician, astrologer, natural philosopher, and writer of music.  He is best known for his laws of planetary motion, as well as his books Astronomia Nova, Harmonice Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae. He was a contemporary of Galileo Galilei.

Johannes Gutenberg – was a German inventor, printer, publisher, and goldsmith who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable-type printing press.

Henry VIII – was king of England from 1509 to 1547.  He is credited with initiating the English Reformation by separating the Church of England from papal authority.  He appointed himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.  He also invested heavily in the navy.  He made radical changes to the English Constitution.

John Calvin – was a French theologian, pastor, and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He developed a system of doctrine known as Calvinism.

Elizabeth I – was Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to her death in 1603.  She was the daughter of Henry VIII.

Pope Julius II – was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1503 to his death in 1513.  He was nicknamed “the fearsome Pope.” He chose his name in emulation of Julius Caesar.  He was one of the most powerful and influential Popes.  He established the Vatican Museums and initiated the rebuilding of the St. Peter’s Basilica.  He invited Raphael to decorate some rooms in the Vatican. The Catholic Church – used their wealth to make extravagant cathedrals, ornately decorated inside with architecture, paintings, sculptures, expensive doors, and domes.

Martin Luther – was a German priest, author, and hymnwriter Catholic friar responsible for starting the Protestant Reformation.

Lorenzo de Medici – was a poet, known as Il Magnifico (“The Magnificent”), the wealthiest and most powerful man in Florence.  He was a supporter of humanist thinkers and a great patron of the arts.

And this was their code sheet:

The Question cards were hidden individually all over the room, but each team needed 2 puzzle cards and those were hidden together in a locked box for each team. The students had to find and answer all their questions correctly (8 per team), plus find the key for their locked boxes (which I hid in books and in a soup can), and also the locked boxes themselves. Once they figured out the codes for each of the the Questions. Those codes would then be used for finding the FINAL MASTER CODE that would unlock the final “Escape Door.”

These were the puzzle cards I used, and I got them from a kit I purchased of a Renaissance Escape Room. This is where you can get your kit: Escape Room EDU @ Teachers Pay Teachers. It is very well done and very inexpensive. They actually designed it to be used in connection with the internet, but it works easily without it. Since there is nothing on the website or in the printed materials to forbid me sharing these images with you I included them here. Please, though, go visit that website and download your own complete kit. Please support the hard working people that put these awesome things together. It is only a few dollars and very well worth it. I altered the Level 6 card.

Once some of the students had finished this first part, they needed to wait for all the teams to finish in order to go on to the next part as one big group. So this is when they were invited to feast. And what a feast it was!!!!! Bread and wine (okay, grape juice), grapes and pears and apples, cheese curds, jello – did you know that gelatin was invented (discovered?) in the Renaissance?, carved meats and roasted turkey legs, pies and tarts., beer and ale (okay Root beer, and Ginger ale). The kids sat at a table fit for King Henry VIII.

After about 10 minutes, since no one had noticed a certain incognito item that was crucial to the success of the mission, I asked if anyone had seen the tag thing that was hanging from Da Vinci’s the LAST SUPPER painting, which was hanging on the wall by the table of food. Of course the kids made a bee-line over there to check it out.

The tag was attached with a string to a note that was taped to the back of the painting. It said:

“What is missing from DaVinci’s Last Supper Table, that is always part of our Communion Table?” 

They searched and searched…

…and someone blurted out, “THE CHALICE!”

Under the CHALICE was a note tucked inside of a little blue envelope that said:

“Look under the drawbridge!”

…and so they did!

Under the drawbridge was this TAP CODE/Polybius Cipher puzzle which needed to be solved. It required all teams to come together with their Master Lock Code Sheets, plus the box that had the 3 colored blocks in it (which hadn’t served a purpose yet), and a cipher key.

This was the cipher key to the TAP CODE/Polybius Cipher:

If you’ve never done one of these before, each letter of a word is represented by two numbers. It helps if the first thing you do is draw a slash between each pair of numbers in the puzzle. Then tackle the first pair, which in our case is 55. First go 5 spaces across the top, and then 5 spaces down. So 55 equals W. 32 is 3 spaces over and 2 spaces down and is an H. 43 is 4 spaces over and 3 spaces down, which is O. So, the first word is WHO. To make the puzzle more challenging, remove a few letters in this key.

After solving the puzzle, the question is asked, “Who found the blocks in the box?” One of the kids remembered and ran and grabbed the box. There were three blocks in the box. One block was Green, one was White, and one was Red. The Green block had a code written on it: “Level 3/Q2/Digit2” (or something like that). The White one and Red one also had a similar written code. Each number of the escape code came from a different team’s code sheet.

The kids were sure they had figured it out. They jumped up and ran to the door. They twisted the numbers on the wheels of the luggage combination lock to enter the code: [?] [?] [?] and voila, SUCCESS!!!!!!!!! The lock popped open and the kids escaped, exactly 30 seconds before the end of the class period.  YAY!!!! They got to keep their heads.

Inside the locked pouch I had placed bookmarks, one for each student, with their names on them, and an exclamation that said, “I Escaped the Renaissance!”  The kids got to keep their drink goblets and the bookmarks as souvenirs. And they seemed to have had a really fun time. Half of them had to hurry off to their next class, but the other half stayed and helped me clean up, and haul all my decorations and food service out to my car. What a great group of kids.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.” — “Hamlet”

“All the world’s a stage …” — “As You Like It”

“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?” — “Romeo & Juliet”

“Is this a dagger which I see before me…” — “Macbeth”

“Be not afraid of greatness…” — “Twelfth Night”

“If you prick us, do we not bleed?” — “The Merchant of Venice”

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” — “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” — “Sonnet 18”

Stones of Remembrance 6: Abraham’s 5th Altar

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Stones of Remembrance 6: Abraham’s 5th Altar

Read Genesis 22 thru 25

What did God do to Abraham in Genesis 22:1? 

Was Isaac Abraham’s “only” son?  The Hebrew word for “only son” is yachid (yah-cheed); Strong’s #3173.  Using a Strong’s concordance/dictionary, what are some of the definitions of the word yachid in the Hebrew?  Jesus is God’s “only son,” but angels are also called “sons of God” in Genesis and Job. What do you think is meant by the term “only son?”

Zechariah 12:10 says the house of David and the people of Jerusalem will mourn for the one they pierced “as one mourns for his ________  ______.”  How does Hebrews 11:18 shed light on this?

The parallels between Isaac and Jesus are so profound, we know God wanted us to see in Isaac a type and foreshadow of the promised Seed that would one day crush the head of the serpent. This website lists a whole bunch of these parallels, but here are the ones I found that I thought were pretty neat…

The mountain

Look on a map to find where Mount Moriah is located. Draw it on your personal map. In the coming chapters of this Bible Study we will make visits back to this mountain, and I don’t want to spoil the fun, especially when we get to David’s altar to God, but this mountain is just a treasure trove. These are some websites I found with lots to share about it (The Rich History of Moriah,… Mount Moriah,…and What is the Significance of Mount Moriah in the Bible).  “And Abraham called the place, “YHWH-Will-Provide, as it is said to this day (Genesis 22:13b), ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided'” Genesis 22:14.

The donkey ride

What type of animal did Abraham saddle up for the journey to the mountain top?  Read Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John12:12-19; what type of animal was Jesus placed upon? Why a donkey? Have a peek here.

The journey

Abraham’s journey with Isaac to the place of the altar was 3 days, at which point the mountain was still afar off (Genesis 22:3-5), so more than 3 days, possibly another day, for a total of 4.

Jesus’ journey to the cross followed the timeline of the Passover (Exodus 12:3-6). The Passover lambs are chosen on Nissan 10, which is when Jesus made His triumphal entry (Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19). The lambs are inspected (as Jesus was, and He was found to be blameless – Matt.26:59-60; 27:19,24; Luke 23:4,14-15,22); And on Nissan 14 the spotless, defectless Passover lambs are slain, which is when Jesus breathed his last (Matthew 27:2, 50; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31,42) – Preparation Day is Thursday, the day before Sabbath; Sabbath begins at dusk on Friday. In this instance Passover landed on Preparation day. Total of 4 days.

A promise made

In Genesis 22:5 Abraham said to his young men, “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”  Why did Abraham say “we” would come back when he was taking Isaac to sacrifice him (Hebrews 11:19)?  Likewise Jesus said “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also” John 14:3.

The wood

The wood for the sacrifice was laid on Isaac (Genesis 22:6;) to carry.  The wooden cross was laid on Jesus to carry – John 19:17. Isaac was bound and laid upon the wood (22:9). Jesus was laid upon the wooden cross and bound to it with nails (Mark 15:24; John 20:25). This happened as prophesied in Isaiah 53:5

The knife

Abraham raised a knife to slay his son (Genesis 22:10). One of the soldiers raised a speer to pierce Jesus and make sure He was dead (John 19:34). He was pierced for our transgressions – Isaiah 53:5; John 19:32-37; 1 John 5:6-8; Dt.19:15; John 8:17-18; 1 Tim. 5:19.

The altar

Isaac was laid upon an altar made of rocks with the wood put in order upon it (Genesis 22:7-9). Jesus was laid upon a wooden cross atop a barren hilltop that is said to have resembled a skull cap, which was likely a very large rock (John 19:17-18), perhaps the place where King David took the skull of Goliath (1 Sam. 17:54), therefore aptly named the-place-of-the-skull (Gol-goth-a). The names Gol-iath and Gath are even sort-of hidden in the name Golgotha. Click on those links to discover the meanings of those names. Golgotha, like Gethsemene, was where Christ’s blood was pressed out like a drink offering, which, in addition to a grain offering, was to accompany all offerings of blood. Christ’s crucifixion served as the blood sacrifice and the firstfruits grain offering, and the drink offering all in one. Goliath’s name means exposer or one that uncovers, and isn’t it interesting that in researching all of this, such a wonderful mystery would be uncovered?

The ram’s horns, caught in the thicket

Just before Abraham plunged the knife into his son, he was told to STOP! “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns” (Genesis 22:13a).

“And they clothed Jesus with purple and they twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head (Mark 15:17); Jesus’ head wrapped in thorns – (John 19:2)

The anxiousness

Isaac was trusting and willing, but he spoke to his father, look the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb (Genesis 22:7)? Jesus, being obedient to death — even death on a cross (Philippeans 2:8), began to be troubled, sorrowful, and deeply distressed He fell on the ground to His face and prayed 3 seperate times for this cup to be removed. His sweat was as great drops of blood. (Luke 22:39-46)

The faith

Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb…” Genesis 22:8. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac…concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:6; Romans 4:3,18,22; James 2:23).

Jesus, speaking of His body said, “Destroy this temple,and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19.) Jesus said He had the power to lay down His life and the power to take it up again (John 10:18).

The Angel

Who do you think was the Angel who called to Abraham from heaven and stopped him from slaying Isaac?  Does your Bible cross reference other places in scripture where this Angel is also mentioned?  Could the Angel be Jesus?

Hebrews 9:15
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 12:24
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Hebrews 8:6
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace

Galatians 3:19
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

(Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Christ,-The-Mediator)

Job, in his time of suffering on earth, lamented that there was no mediator for him in God’s court of law (9:32-33). But a mediator was promised (Galatians 3:19) who would take away the sin of the world and make sin-sick men holy, as God is holy. Christ is the only true mediator between God and man, because He is the ONLY one to ever live who was both fully God and fully a man, knowing the divine nature of God and His pure holiness, but being able to sypmpathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).

❤ ❤ ❤

When the Holy Spirit puts it into our hearts to chase down a rabbit hole in the scriptures, you can be assured Jesus is waiting there. Jesus says that we will seek Him and find Him when we search for Him with all of our hearts. The veil to the Holy of Holies is ripped in two from heaven to earth so that we may enter into His presence and have fellowship with Him. Isn’t the Bible fascinating? I love the mysteries and the deep and hidden things of God, the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table, that are waiting to be found, don’t you?

If the Bible has always been just a dusty old book with crazy old stories for you, I hope that something I’ve found here will change your mind. Please know that it is a totally different book when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. If we are born again, believers in Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, the Bible will come to life for us as we read it in a way we could have never imagined. That is one of the amazing things about it. Through it we have relationship with our Creator and Savior and He has fellowship with us.

Has your faith ever been tested? It is a refining process (Job 23:10).

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When Jesus comes for His bride will He find you faithful? Do you know Him? Do you want to know Him? There is no magical prayer, or complicated formula. All you have to do is ask, believing, and you will recieve Him.

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Let’s continue reading…

Where did Abraham return to after the Mount Moriah experience (Gen. 22:19)?  Where did Sarah die (23:2)?  In that verse it says Abraham came to mourn for her. Did this mean he was not with her when she died? This was the place of Abraham’s 3rd altar (Gen.13:18).  Who are the sons of Heth (Gen. 10:15)?  How much silver merchant’s money did Abraham pay to purchase a burial place for Sarah (Gen. 23:16-18)?  Were there witnesses to the transaction?  Write out Genesis 23:19-20. Check out this article about the burial place that Abraham purchased. Who else is buried in this grave – Genesis 25:8-10; 35:27-29; 47:29-31; 50:12-13?

Perhaps you have lost a spouse?  Did you have the means to pay for the funeral and burial at a cemetery? Would you expect that a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years later that burial plot would still be there? This one of Abraham’s is almost 4000 years?

Where did Abraham send the oldest servant of his house to fetch a bride for Isaac?  What did he make him do in Genesis 24:2-3?  Can you draw Abraham’s family tree from the info you find in Genesis 11:26-29; 22:20-24; and 24:15?  Use a blank sheet of paper to sketch out Abraham’s lineage.  Add it to the pages of your book and remember to keep adding to it as we go along.  Make notes of the scripture locations for your information.

How did the servant know he had chosen the right bride?  What did the servant do in 24:21?  Whose daughter was Rebekah?  Isaac and Bethuel were cousins. (How important is it to you that you or your children marry within the family-of-God?) What did the servant give to her in verses 22 and 47?  What did the servant do in 24:48 & 52?   What did the servant give as a bride gift and as a dowry in verse 53?  What was the blessing her family spoke to her when they sent her off (vs. 60)?  How is this blessing similar to what God spoke over Adam and Eve in Gen. 1:28, Sarah in Gen. 17:16, and God’s blessing on Abraham through Isaac in Gen. 22:17?  How is this similar to Jesus’ blessing on Peter in Matthew 16:18?  Isaiah 45:18; Matthew 28:19.  Has anyone ever spoken a blessing over you?  Have you ever spoken a blessing over your children, grandchildren, or family members?  Where did Sarah die (23:2)? Where was she buried (23:19)?  Mark these places on your map.

Where was Isaac living at the time (Gen.24:62)?  What did Isaac do in the evening (Gen. 24:63)? Isaac and Rebekah became husband and wife in whose tent (Gen. 24:67)?  Who did Abraham then take as a wife in Gen. 25:1 (but was she a “wife?” See 1 Chron.1:32)?  How many children did he have with her?  Where did he send those sons to live (Gen.25:6)? And where did Ishmael live (21:21; 25:18)? Who inherited all of Abraham’s wealth (25:5)?  Mark all of these places on the map.

What is the exact wording of 25:8?

What do you think it means that he was “gathered to his people?”  Is this a physical thing – being buried together in a family grave, or a spiritual thing?  Who does the act of gathering (2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chr.34:28)? The same was said of Ishmael in 25:17; and Isaac in 35:29; and Jacob in 49:29 & 33; Aaron in Numbers 20:24; Moses in Deut. 32:50; and Joshua’s generation in Judges 2:10.  Were all these people buried with their family in a mass family grave? 

What is Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-31)?  Is Abraham’s bosom the same place as “Paradise” (Luke 23:43; John 20:17; Acts 1:9; 2 Cor. 12:2,4; Luke 14:14; 1 Thes. 4:16)?  Is it the good side of Hades (or Sheol) as believed in ancient Greece and Rome? I challenge you to do some research on that.

Where did the Garden of Eden, the Paradise on earth, go? Did it just die, or was it taken up in the spiritual realm?  Are there other places in the Bible where people are said to be gathered?

“Do not foresake the GATHERING of yourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25. What do you believe this verse to mean? Have a peek HERE for some interesting perspective.

What are some other gathering places? The table (Hebrews 13:2), a wedding (John 2)? Not sure where I am going with that, but I like the thoughts it provokes.

Where was Abraham laid to rest (Gen. 25:9-10)?  Who buried him (25:9)?  Where did Isaac choose to live (25:11)?  We know that Ishmael lived in the Sinai Peninsula (which was considered Egypt from the earliest of Bible times).  Mark all of these places on the map.  It seems that Isaac and Ishmael had an amicable relationship, doesn’t it?  They remained close neighbors all their lives, buried their father together, and never had any known conflicts. Isaac’s son Esau would later marry one of Ishmael’s daughters (Gen.28:9), in what appears to be a show of maturity, and an attempt to please his father and mother. 1 Chronicles 1 and 2 go into detail of the lineage Abraham’s children. 1:27-31 is his son Ishmael. 1:34-37 is his son Isaac. 1:38-54 is his son Esau (who does Gen. 36:1,8-9 say Edom is?). And 2:1-17 is the family of Jacob/Israel. Compare the genealogies of Genesis 36 and 1 Chronicles 1&2 with all that we know so far.

Personal application

How does all of this apply to us?  Has the Holy Spirit spoken to your heart about anything as we’ve studied His word? Can you think of an experience you’ve had with God similar to any of the characters in this story? Abraham certainly had quite a full life, with much scripture devoted to him.  He was a go-getter right to the end.  He lived in relative peace in the land God brought him to.  There was never an issue with his servants, and even his children did not quarrel with one another.  He fared well and was prosperous.  He was blessed and was a blessing. 

Has God ever asked you to give up something precious to you, as Isaac was to Abraham?  Was it hard for you to give it up or did you trust that God is ultimately good and would work all things together for good?  Ever had a child (or other family member) that you loved dearly almost be taken from you by tragedy?  Have you ever thought about where our spirits go when our bodies die (1 Cor. 5:3; 2 Cor. 5:6-7)?  Have you ever wanted to step in and help your kids choose a mate wisely? Perhaps you’ve prayed God would bring them a good spouse, of good moral character, to love, honor, and cherish, and who would love, honor, and cherish them back?   If you have small children or grandchildren, you could begin praying NOW for their future spouses.  God, knowing the future, can help to lead them to the spouse that will be a good, godly fit, a good provider, a good helpmate, a good friend, a good mother/father, evenly yoked for the work of God’s kingdom, etc.  Start the conversations young, how important it is to choose a spouse wisely.  Do you have regrets over the spouse you chose? Do you feel blessed that God gave you a good spouse? Maybe share with your kids some of the concerns you have that may help them choose a spouse wisely in this day and age (std’s, unplanned pregnancy, ungodliness, temper issues, having a kind heart, how they treat others, etc.), and some mistakes you made and the consequences you suffered that you would hope they would avoid. There is a wonderful movie (for teenagers) which can help with this conversation.  It’s called *Because of Gracia.  It’s a beautiful movie every parent of teenagers should see.

Project (an altar that I can build): 

Make a shield bookmark for your Bible.  Color the front of it, and on the back of it write several scriptures that speak of God being a shield for us, starting with Genesis 15:1; Deut.33:29; Psalm 115:9-11; Ephesians 6:16; 1 John 5:4.  When done we can laminate it.  How nice to make up several bookmarks and give them to friends and family.

OR, if we are very ambitious we can make a banner (flag) in the shape of a shield and embroider the scriptures along its edges, and then hang it on our wall.  We could also worship God with it at church, if we belong to a church that uses flags and banners in worship.  OR, we could fly on a flag pole at our house; OR hang it on a pole and march with it in a city parade. 

I sketched this design for such a banner when I was a member of my church’s worship team.  I had always intended to sew one together, but other projects vied for my time and I never got around to it!

 “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” Psalm 119:2 

[*] Five Stones Films | BecauseOfGracia.com | ©2018 GRACIA FILMS, LTD

Mrs H’s Unofficial “copy-cat recipe” – Tiago’s Cabo Grille Chocolate Cake

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Mrs H’s Unofficial “copy-cat recipe” – Tiago’s Cabo Grille Chocolate Cake

I want to preface this post by saying if you live near one of these restaurants you absolutely MUST go and have the chocolate cake (and the margaritas, and the guacamole, and….), but if, like me, you live hours away, then I hope to help delight our tastebuds with my less-than-perfect take on their fantabulous desert!!! They serve their cake freshly warm from the oven with a ganache-like frosting oozing over the sides, a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and a dalop of whipped cream on the side, and the whole mess sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon. Oh my gosh!!!! To die for!

INGREDIENTS

1 ¾ cup granulated sugar

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup Dutch process, unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon ground Saigon Cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 tsp finely ground pink Himalayan salt

1 cup whole milk

1 ¾ sticks salted butter, softened

2 eggs

2 tsp Mexican vanilla (I always splash a little over the measurement)

¾ cup boiling water

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease the bottoms of two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add milk and butter.  Beat on medium speed to 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix until incorporated.  Stir in boiling water.

Divide the batter evenly between two prepared pans.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the tester comes out clean when inserted into the cake’s center.

Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.  Removed cakes from pans, discard the parchment paper, and transfer them to a wired rack to cool completely. 

Now they are ready to be frosted. And this is my favorite ganache recipe. Make yours with bittersweet chocolate, add a teaspoon of cinnamon, and up your ratio of chocolate a little more to make your ganache thicker, since it will be spread on warm cake and you don’t want it to just soak in and disappear.

I know there really is no duplicating the deliciousness of Tiago’s original, but this is a dynamite stand-in for when you are just craving it like no other and live 2 hours (or more) away from the closest restaurant.

And now to the second part of this post… A HAPPY BIRTHDAY cake!!!!!

So… it’s August. It’s my granddaughter’s birthday, and her day fell on a school night this year. Her parents are both full time employed and I wanted to be a blessing, so I volunteered to make the birthday dinner and cake. I am a decent cook, I guess, or at least that’s what my family says, but I am NOT a baker, not by any stretch of the imagination, and so perhaps this is what inspired me to blog about this cake, because it is the ONE baking attempt I’ve made that actually turned out, miracle of miracles, and I figure this to be the greatest reason to save it for posterity, i.e. my grandchildren, if indeed we are all still around and we haven’t been raptured by the time they are grown bakers. (Come Lord Jesus). Anyway, the birthday girl wanted “grammie’s tacos” for supper and sooooo that’s what inspired me to go with the Tiago’s cake for her birthday cake. Her special request was for a 2-layer cake, one layer being chocolate, the other layer being vanilla, and she wanted it frosted with a vanilla frosting. Each cake recipe makes 2 rounds, so I ended up with 4 total rounds of cake, and decided her cake would just have to be a 4-layer cake instead. I didn’t think anyone would mind, unless of course it didn’t turn out, but it did, so yay! 😉

My Vanilla Cake recipe:

INGREDIENTS

2 cups granulated sugar (I use just a little less)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

3 small eggs (or 2 large)

1 teaspoon vanilla (I always let it dribble a little over)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease the bottoms of two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add milk, water, and butter.  Beat on medium speed to 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Mix until incorporated. 

Once both of my cakes (chocolate and vanilla) were baked and completely cooled, I wrapped them tightly in two layers of cling wrap/plastic wrap and then tucked each individual layer in a gallon size zip-loc bag, pressing out all the air, and then put them all into the freezer overnight. Tip: Baking the cakes the day before makes for less work on the day of the party, plus the cakes are easier to frost when they are frozen, and they stay super moist and fresh for up to 3 months (so I was told by my cake decorating friends).

The next day I whipped up my frosting. I didn’t have enough cream cheese to make enough frosting to frost the whole 4 layers, so I whipped up a batch of chocolate buttercream as well as a batch of cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS

12 Tablespoons butter, softened

5 (and up to another 1/2) cup confectioner’s sugar (depending on how sweet you want it

1 cup Dutch process, unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon

2/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla (I always splash a little over the measurement)

Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

In a bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, mix confectioner’s sugar with cinnamon and cocoa.  Blend sugar mixture with butter, alternating with milk, beating well after each addition.  Beat until smooth.  Blend in vanilla. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick Butter, softened

8-oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1 (10-oz.) package Confectioners (powdered) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

splash of Half-and-Half

Combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until light. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add milk only if needed for the desired consistency, beating until smooth. If you want to add a sprinkle of cinnamon also, do it!!!!

About two hours before the party I took the frozen cakes out of the freezer, unwrapped the first chocolate layer, placed it on my cake plate and slathered it with chocolate frosting on top. I unwrapped a white layer, carefully placed it on top of the chocolate one, and frosted it on top with chocolate frosting. Repeated with the last two layers, leaving the very top layer unfrosted on top. I spread my cream cheese frosting all around the sides of the cake first, and then I did the top last. As you can see I am NOT a skilled decorator either, and I won’t even play one on the Internet. But I am happy to report that the cake was delicious, and a hit with the grateful birthday girl.

This cake was so moist and delicious. I wanted to send it home with the birthday girl (no, I didn’t), but her mother wouldn’t let me (say it ain’t so), saying they already had a bunch of leftover cupcakes from the school party at their house (I’m crying on the inside), plus they are trying to eat healthier (and then there’s that). Oh my. Maybe the 4-layer cake wasn’t such a great idea after all. Soooo, in order to keep me from eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, for the next two days, because I also am trying to eat healthy (I know, so boring right), I decided to wrap it up and tuck it back into the freezer for the next time the girlies come over for a sleepover. I’ll have to let you know if it stays good frozen with the frosting on it.

The balloons pictured were a Balloon Arch kit ($7 at the grocery store) that I put together and then wrapped around my hanging dining room light. I had a few of the long bubbly balloons leftover from a previous party (green, red, orange) that I tucked in for a party effect. I would have added more if I’d had them. These kits come with the various sized balloons, and the ribbon (with the holes in it) that is used for holding the balloons in place. I didn’t know how to do this so I spooled up a You Tube video which was very helpful. You basically put all the bigger balloons into the tape, and save the little ones to fill in the spaces afterward, using glue dots, or I used invisible scotch tape. Unfortunately one kit won’t make an arch. Mine only ended up to be about 4 feet long, so I decided to do this with it instead.

And you know what? I was just thinking… (yes, that’s what that awful noise was) …as far as freezing cakes go, if you are an empty-nester and only cooking for two now-a-days… if it is true that naked cake keeps for up to 3 months in the freezer wrapped up correctly, why not bake a couple of cakes and freeze them for those nights when you want dessert, but don’t want to go to a lot of fuss. Cut each cooled round into 4 pieces, wrapping and freezing as described above, then tuck the wrapped pieces into a gallon size zip-loc freezer bag and press all of the air that you can out of the bag. Finally, mark the outside of the bag with the expiration date (so you’ll know it’s still good when you find it 2 months from now and have long forgotten that you did this). Also make up a batch or two of frosting and portion it out into little snack size cups (with lids). Make sure to fill the cups completely so that the lid smashes down on the frosting when snapped on, so there is no air space. Place those cups in a zip-loc bag and into the freezer also, next to the cake. The next time you and hubs are craving something sweet after supper, all you have to do is pull out a piece of cake from the freezer, and a frosting cup, let them thaw on the countertop together. Maybe you’d rather whip up a small batch of ganache instead of the frosting? Cut the cake in half, pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds (if you want it warm), and slather each with thawed frosting or warm ganache. Can be served with a scoop of ice cream (cinnamon, if you can find it), a squirt of canned whipped cream, and a dusting of cinnamon on top, if desired. And there you go… Tiagos (almost) in an instant. Make some coffee to go with your cake and curl up in front of a good movie or go outside and sit by the firepit and enjoy a cool fall evening together.

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is cast off, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27

Mrs Adams’ Crunchy Turkey/Chicken Salad with Watermelon Rind Pickles

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<strong>Mrs Adams’ Crunchy Turkey/Chicken Salad with Watermelon Rind Pickles</strong>

This chicken salad recipe is the favorite dish of my sister’s ever brought to a church fellowship. It was her pastor’s wife (now pastor’s mother) who introduced everyone to this fantabulous salad.  The only thing is though, in Wyoming there aren’t ever any watermelon pickles available in the stores, so often times she has to substitute bread and butter pickles, although grapes would probably be a better substitute.

Mrs. Adams is from Texas and apparently, they are a southern thing – watermelon pickles, and since I live in Texas now, I was able to find them at Central Market in San Antonio and send them to my sister, who passed them along to Mrs. Adams, so she could make her famous salad the way it was supposed to be made. 

But the crazy thing is, I remember, as a kid, my grandmother making watermelon pickles in the summers. She always wanted us to save our rinds for her so she could make a big batch. She always had a jar of them in her fridge – and she’s not southern at all, although my grandpa was, and so maybe that’s where she got the idea.  Maybe his mom (or stepmom) made them?  Well, at any rate, a few years ago, I decided to try and make them myself, ‘cause San Antonio is a long ways to drive for a jar of pickles.  As far as recipes, all I had was a Ball Blue Book for inspiration, and after trying both types that they had listed, I realized that neither of them remotely resembled the taste or gooey consistency of the ones my grandma used to make. 

Then, a few weeks ago, on one of my many visits to Facebook, I saw Brenda Gantt had posted a video of herself making them, and after watching, I decided hers looked a whole lot like the ones my grandma made, very thick and gooey and sticky.  So, I thought I’d try her method out and see if it was a match.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with who Brenda Gantt (#BrendaGantt) is, well, let me just say she is this most darling little ol’ cooking grandma lady from Andalusia Alabama who ever put videos on Facebook.  They are down-to-earth and practical, charmingly unprofessional, and downright homey.  Shot by her using a little ol’ cell phone, in her very user friendly, fully equipped, but dare I say, a little bit old school kitchen, where friends and grandchildren frequently make an appearance.   Sometimes Brenda is all done up, make-up on, hair done, cute outfit, and other times she is in her housedress with no makeup and hair going every which way or stuffed under a ball cap.  She is a popular lady with lots of friends and a loving grandma and mother. She is a patriotic and Christian lady who shares her faith and love of country often, and has the most adorable personality.  She is a widow and retired school teacher, and has a little Bed and Breakfast that she operates called Cottle House. She is so beloved that her videos often get pirated and posted to You Tube (without her permission), but perhaps you have seen her there?  Below is the link to the little video she did of the watermelon pickles, which I hope you’ll go and watch here. If you have a cell phone you can aim your camera at this QR code and then click on the link that will pop up on your screen. It will take you right to the video.

This summer I have had such a craving for watermelon, and because of the abundance of watermelon rinds, I decided I would give Brenda’s recipe a whirl.  Let me tell you, it turned out exactly like my grandmother’s recipe, except my grandma’s had whole cloves in hers.  I thought they might be even better if they were spicy, so I added some garden jalapenos along with a lemon and a few spices just to see how they would turn out. Weeee doggies, they are my absolute new favorite!!!!! I love them soooooo much that I have made two whole watermelons worth now.  They make the chicken salad even better than it already was, if I may say so myself. 😉 

I made a little video capture collage from Brenda’s video. I thought it might be helpful to aid in the instructions for my watermelon pickles. As you can see, it took her a couple of days to put this one together, sometimes she is fixed up and sometimes not, and if you watch the video you will get to meet one of her beautiful granddaughters and a prankster grandson.

MrsH’s Spicy Watermelon Rind Pickles

INSTRUCTIONS: (numbers correspond to the numbered sections of the Brenda collage above)

1.  Cut watermelon in half.  Scoop out the red part

2.  Cut the rind into strips about an inch wide

3.  Cut the green skin off each piece of rind

4.  Cut the rind into bite-size pieces

5.  Once the rind is all cut up you should have a pretty good pot full.  I actually transferred my rinds into a large ceramic bowl to set overnight instead of leaving them in the metal pot.

6. Cover the rind pieces with sugar (do not stir).  Use regular, white, granulated sugar.

7.  Make sure the sugar covers every piece.  Let the rinds sit, uncovered, on the counter for 8 hours or overnight (do not stir).  The next morning you will see that the sugar has leached the liquid out of the rinds and has formed a sort of wet crust on top.

8.  Pour the liquid and rinds into a large pot and bring to a boil on the stove.  (I added about a dozen small, really spicy jalapenos from my garden (stems removed, chopped up), plus one lemon sliced, two cinnamon sticks, and about a heaping tablespoon of Ball Pickling Spice – which I added to a reusable tea bag, and let it all cook together on a medium boil for about 2 hours or so. 

It will cook down quite a bit.  The rinds need to cook until they are translucent.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if they are translucent while they are boiling, so I remove a piece from the pot and let it cool to see.  Once the pickles are translucent, they are ready to be jarred, but in the meantime, while the rinds are still cooking, it’s a perfect time to get the your jars ready.

Get a few clean jars with lids and place them in a pot of water.  *I used old olive jars that I had saved, and their lids, and to my utter amazement they actually sealed when they cooled. 

To prepare the jars, bring water to a boil in a large pot on the stove and keep it at a simmer.  Let the jars and lids simmer together while the pickles finish cooking, until you are ready to use them.  Use tongs to take one jar at a time out of the boiling water, tip it upside down to drain it well, and then place it upright on a towel near the pot of pickles. 

9.  Use a canning funnel and ladle to fill the jars with pickles.  Fill the jars almost to the rim, but leave about a half inch of headspace.  Clean the rim of the jars with a clean, wet paper towel so that there is nothing sticky or any pieces of pickle on it. This will ensure that the lid seals properly so no oxygen gets inside to spoil the contents.

10. Using tongs, take a lid from the boiling water, tap off the water, and place the lid on the jar.  Screw the lid on hand tight.  Set the jars back away from the heat, or on a wire rack, and allow them to cool until the lids seal.

Since these pickles are not being water-bath canned, and because I used previously used lids instead of brand new canning lids and rings, it is safest to keep the pickles in the refrigerator.  If you would like to make some that are guaranteed safe for long term storage, here is the Ball Blue Book recipe:

I would recommend using Brenda’s pickles within a month, which is no problem when the goal for making them is to also make Mrs. Adams’ Chicken Salad (recipe below).  These pickles are so delicious just to snack on, as you would any other type of pickled veggies.  They are sweet and spicy and I can’t wait for you to try them. Brenda says that she first tried these as preserves spread on a buttered biscuit, accompanying a steak dinner she and her husband dined out on at a restaurant.  I tried them that way and they are delicious. My grandmother always had them around as a side for meals and snacks.  She always added whole cloves to hers while they were cooking, along with cinnamon sticks.  I like the Ball pickling spices, it has all the spices in it. And the cinnamon stick, jalapeno, and lemon rind just makes them perfect.

Mrs. Adams’ Crunchy Turkey/Chicken Salad

Original recipe courtesy of the Ladies of Grace Bible Baptist church (Casper, Wyoming), Favorite Recipes cookbook, published 2002 by Morris Press Cookbooks.  I modified her recipe slightly to avoid any copyright liabilities.

4 cups cooked turkey or chicken, pulled and chopped into bite-size pieces

1½ cups chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped green onion

1 (20-oz) jar of watermelon rind pickles, drained (if liquidy) and chopped

1 (5-oz) bag slivered almonds

1½ to 2 cups Mayonnaise, as preferred

The juice of 1 lemon (or a Tablespoon of bottled lemon juice)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons salt, or more to taste

2 Tablespoons Curry Powder (I used Hot Madras), more or less to taste

2 cups Chow Mein Noodles (wait to add until just before serving)

Toss turkey/chicken with the next 4 ingredients until well incorporated.  Mix the mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and curry powder together and pour over chicken. Mix well. Add more mayo if a creamier texture is desired.  Add more salt, pepper, curry powder – if more is desired.  Cover tightly and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  Stir in chow mein noodles just before serving.  Great dish to bring to a church pot luck, Bowling pot luck, Bunco night, cards, dominoes, or other game night get-togethers.  If you are a grandma and live in the same town as your kids and grandkids, take a batch over to them to be a blessing after a long day at work. Can be made up to 12 hours before serving. Add the chow mein noodles just before serving.

“Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:11-12

Stones of Remembrance-5: Abraham’s 4th Altar

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Stones of Remembrance-5: Abraham’s 4th Altar
Read Genesis 21

Let’s talk about it…

Who made a covenant at the well at Beersheba (vs 22, 27, 31)?  What does the name Beersheba mean (21:31)?  Where is it located on the map? 

Here is a wonderful video tour of present day Tel Beersheva done by The Watchman – Erick Stakelbeck which aired on TBN November 15th 2019. Give it a watch. 

What is a Tamarisk tree?  (Click HERE and HERE for some really great insights)!

A Tamarisk Tree in spring bloom

  • What is the name of God that Abraham called on (21:33)?  Find all the places in scripture where that name is used.
  • What are all the names we’ve found for God to this point in the scriptures (Genesis 1:1-Genesis 21:33)? Have you been keeping track?
  • Highlight all of them in your Bible with a purple colored pencil and write the Hebrew names in the margins beside the scriptures. 
  • Draw the symbol of an angel in the margin beside scriptures where angels are mentioned.  If the word “angel” is capitalized in scripture, who might that Angel be? Draw a Jesus cross in the margin of those and color them purple. 
  • When God refers to Himself as “Us” draw a triangle in the margin beside those and color them purple. 
  • When the Spirit of God is mentioned, draw a little ghost with a halo in the margin, and color those purple. 
  • When the word “man” or “men” appear in scripture, but they are actually referring to spirit beings who presented themselves as a man or men, draw an angel or angels in the margin and color those yellow.
  • When “sons of God” appears in scripture, highlight those in yellow and draw an angel in the margin next to those scriptures.
  • Always draw a rock pile next to all rock-pile-altars in the scriptures and write the came given to it, if there is one, somewhere by it.

Where did Abraham stay (live) “for many days” (21:34)? What information do we know about the Philistines to this point?  Pretty much only that they were descended from Ham (Gen. 10:13-14).  According to my Unger’s Bible Dictionary they were probably members of the Aryan race.  They formed a league of five great cities: Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gath (along the Gaza strip), headed by five lords called seranim – the Hebrew word for “princes.”  They worshipped Dagon “fish” represented with the hands and face of a man and the tail of a fish. They also worshipped Ashtaroth, and the Assyrian goddess of propagation, Ishtar (aka Inana).  At their city of Ekron there was a sanctuary to Baal-zebub, “lord of habitation,” whose name in Greek became Beelzebub, the “ruler of the demons” (Matthew 12:24).

Personal application

I believe by knowing God’s names we know Him.  Names in the Bible reflected a person’s character.  Since this practice started with Adam – a human formed from the dust (adamah) of the earth, his name reflects a major picture of who he was. He called his wife Wo+man because she was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones, but named her Eve, which means life or living, since she was the mother of all living. The name Cain meant aquire – Adam and Eve acquired a son.  And the name Abel meant breath or nothing, which I suppose could mean his life was but a breath, a vapor, which was here today and gone tomorrow; his brother made him into nothing.  Each name then is birthed out of knowing the person and having intimate experiences with God!  Names seem to be prophetic.  God’s name at Beersheba is El-Olam, Hebrew for “Everlasting God.” Elsewhere in scripture He is the God who “is and was and is to come,” without beginning or end (Colossians 1:15-18; Revelation 1:8; 3:14).  The Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), the First and the Last. 

If Abraham could stay in the land of the Philistines “for many days,” and not be afraid or tempted, or overcome by evil, then we can have faith too, in our “valley of the shadow of death” circumstances, when it feels like we are surrounded by evil giants!  God is our shield (of faith) and our exceedingly great reward!  He is our Amen!

Project (an altar that I can build): 

Plant a tree – a tamarisk tree is kind of an evergreen-like shrub-type tree and has very small and wispy fern-like leaves. It produces pink or white flowers mostly during the winter. It thrives in salty soil.

According to Plants of the Bible (ww2.odu.edu) trees were often used as memorials for great men. Therefore Abraham thought it appropriate to honor God by planting the tamarisk, and it seems appropriate that we could do the same. Abraham’s gesture was meant to be a permanent memorial of the covenant between himself and God. The tree that stands as a memorial of the covenant between us and God is the cross (Acts 10:39; Acts 5:30; Acts 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24). For our memorial we could place a cross in the ground next to the tree that we plant, even make a sort-of prayer garden area out of it under the shade of that tree, setting a bench there too and even planting flowers in some pots! We could bury a box with a note inside that tells of “this tree being planted as a memorial to our great God” and include the cross of Christ scriptures. Neat for someone to find one day!

 “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.” Psalm 119:14 

Stones of Remembrance 4 – Abraham’s 3rd Altar

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Stones of Remembrance 4 – Abraham’s 3rd Altar
Read Genesis 12 thru 21, and whatever else comes up   

Let’s talk about it…

Here are some things we might want to research: 

What is the last known address for Abram (13:18)? Who came to celebrate victory with Abram there (14:18)? Who did God say He is in 15:1?  What promise did God make in this place in 15:5?  Fill in the blanks of this sentence from 15:6: “Abram ________ in _____ ________ and ________ accounted it to him for ___________” (See Romans 4:4).  This is also the place of the split animal covenant/promise between God and Abram.  Draw little symbols on the map of all that we learn.

Where was Hagar from?  How and when might Sarai have acquired her (12:10)?  Where did she run away to (16:7)? Who appeared to her there?  Draw Hagar’s location on the map, also draw the well and label it with its name (16:14).  Draw an angel there also. What did God/Angel tell her to do in 16:9?

Where was Abraham when the three men visited (18:1)?  What did Abraham do for them (18:6-8)?  What message did they deliver to Abraham (vs 10)?  Who were the three men (18:17,20-22 & 19:1)?  Draw them eating under the trees at Hebron on the map.  What did the angels come to do? Where was Sodom (Gen. 13:10-11; 14:3,10)? This website gives an estimated population of around 40,000 to 65,000 for the townships of Sodom and Gomorrah at that time. In this video (beginning around the 3:33 minute mark) the Bible teacher says archeaology has discovered between 1.5 and 5 million bodies in graves in the Sodom and Gomorrah area. Taking such numbers into account, do you remember how many righteous men needed to be in the city for God to spare the city (Gen. 18:23-32)? That’s a LOT (no pun intended) of depravity.

Three men visited Abraham in 18:2, and then in verse 16 the men rose to go to Sodom, but it seems that one of the three was the LORD and He stayed behind to have a special conversation with Abraham. How many arrived in Sodom, and where did they find Lot (19:1)?  What did Lot compel them to do (19:2-3)?  Remember who the inhabitants of Sodom were (Gen. 10:6-20)?  What did the people of Sodom want to do to the men (19:5)? Might this be related to what happened with the sons of God and the daughters of men in Noah’s day? And, what Ham did to his father (Gen. 9:22,24) after the ark landed. (Sexual perversion).

The two men escorted Lot, his wife and two of his daughters out of the city (19:16) and then who brought down the fire and brimstone (verse 24)? Why do you think Lot’s wife looked back (see Gen.19:14)? Where did God tell Lot to flee to? Why, would you imagine Lot was afraid to go to the mountains – that some evil would overtake him and he would die there? Could it be that he knew about the pagan worship practices that took place in the high places?

***We’ll actually study, in a later posting to these stone-pile-studies, about the Moabites (who were the descendants of Lot through his firstborn daughter). They hired Balaam to seek an oracle in the high places (Numbers 22 & 25); also the Ammonites (which were the descendants of Lot by his younger daughter) who were the people who sacrificed their children to Molech (Leviticus 18:3,21-25). Sadly, Bible history tells us that Solomon took wives of both the Moabites and Ammonites and followed in their wicked ways (1 Kings 11:5,7), and he burned incense in the high places to their gods. Canaan, of course was the land of, and the people of Ham, Noah’s perverted son. The Canaanites were giants in the eyes of the spies when they and Joshua and Caleb peeked into the Promised Land for the first time.

So since Lot was afraid to go to the mountains, what city did the LORD allow Lot to flee to (19:22-23)? What happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (19:24)?

Did Lot remain in Zoar (vs 30)?  Why not? Make a little note on the map where Moab and the place of the Ammonites was, and note from whom those two people groups descended from.

Where did Abraham move to (20:1)?  What happened there?  Abraham told the TRUTH and Abimelech FORGAVE and welcomed them to stay.  He also paid Sarah’s fine for bringing a curse on them (20:11-16).  This is where Isaac was conceived and born.  What did Abraham do when Isaac was eight days old? What did Abraham do when Isaac was weaned?  What did Sarah see Ishmael do (21:9)?  Where did Hagar run to (vs 14)?  Is this the same place she ran to before (Gen. 16:13-14)?  What name did she give to GOD? Is this the well that’s in dispute in 21:25,31 the same well God showed to Hagar when she ran away twice?

Where did Ishmael dwell and what did he become (vs 20-21; 25:18)? What prophesy was spoken over his life (16:11-12; 17:20; 21:18-21; 25:12-18)? Where have we heard of the Pishon River before (Gen.2:11)? Mark the Wilderness of Beersheba and the Wilderness of Paran on the map. Draw a well in the wilderness of Beersheba with Hagar and Ishmael beside it, and then of Ishmael shooting an arrow in the Wilderness of Paran. What did Abraham plant in Beersheba? And beside what landmark did Abraham and Abimelech sware an oath?

Personal application

Have you ever been led by fear, as Lot was, running from one bad decision to another? Has your choice of where to live ever seemed like paradise at first, but then turned out to be the worst place imaginable to raise a family, a real nightmare on Elm Street? And what about Abraham, the newcomer to the Promised Land, and obviously surrounded by some scary folks. He also was led by fear at times and it caused him to feel like he had no choice but to tell a lie. Have you ever been surrounded by scary people who made you feel scared to tell the truth about who you really were? Ever been caught in a lie, but forgiven of it by someone you least suspected would ever forgive you?  Has anyone ever paid a fine or a debt that you owed? Is there someone you need to forgive. Or someone you might need to confess the truth to and ask forgiveness?  How has forgiveness changed your life? Do you know a single mother raising a son/child? Maybe you are that single mother – do you have a testimony of how God has been the God-who-sees your circumstances and been a comfort and help to you? Write your testimony down so that you can reflect on it later and not forget what God has done for you, and share it with the people around you. You could be an encouragement to others you didn’t even know were going through the same things you are. You are also welcome to share it in the comments section below.

Project  (an altar that I can build)

Forgiveness jar:  Make a jar where, before I go to bed at night, I can place little notes upon which I’ve written and expressed forgiveness for every little offense that came up that day.  Rather than be tempted to gossip about the offender, or harbor anger or bitterness toward the offender, let me choose to be intentional to speak blessings to the situation, apply God’s promises to it, and place those offenses in the forgiveness jar.  When the jar is full, empty it out in the fire pit and start all over with an empty jar.

My grandmother always had home-baked cookies in her freezer so she could set out a spread of coffee, tea, and at least something sweet for drop-by visits.  It was a marvel to me though, how she could throw together a meal at a moment’s notice, with several sides, when anyone stopped by.  Her house was always neat and tidy, and herself presentable by, at the latest, midmorning.  Food was love in her house and her table welcoming.  She wasn’t lazy about preparing meals, or stingy about sharing.  I want so much to make my table an altar of showbread for God and the people I love; a place where people are gathered around and the Lord is present with us.


 “So a book of remembrance was written before Him.” Malachi 3:16b 

Stones of Remembrance – 3: Abraham’s 2nd Altar

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Stones of Remembrance – 3: Abraham’s 2nd Altar

Read Genesis 12


One of the most exciting things about the times we live in is that archeology is uncovering so much about the Bible. Jews returning to their homeland are sharing more and more about their knowledge of faith and history. It is truly opening a world up to all of us that has laid dormant for centuries. You might want to look into collecting a few books or DVD’s about Bible Archaeology. I recommend the books written by Adam Zertal , also Aaron Lipkin‘s videos, and Randall Price‘s books, (and more Randall Price), and also the Written in Stone – documentary series by Gordon Robertson on DVD (there are 4 titles in this series at this writting, and two in production: House of David, Secrets of the Temple, Jesus of Nazareth, Kings and Prophets, and coming soon…Oracles of God – Part One – Old Testament, and Part 2 – New Testament). They can be ordered by calling 1-800-700-7000. There are lots more I could recommend, but I’ll leave it there for now. Also, get your hands on some Messianic Jewish publications, such as the series of books written by Rabbi Jason Sobel (The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi, Mysteries of the Messiah, and Alligning with God’s Appointed Times).

Click this link to watch a clip of Written In Stone, Kings and Prophets: https://www.cbn.com/giving/special/kingsandprophetsdvd.aspx

Our wonderful, amazing Bibles are coming to life with so many beautiful layers. Where one may pick up the scriptures and read for its historical content, another sees the copies and shadows in all the words and stories of the Old and the New, with Jesus waiting to be discovered between every line and paragraph. Yet another sees the veiled prophecies being whispered in the Old and utterly shouted in the New for anyone to hear if they will simply tune their ears to hear and their eyes to see through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The word of God is truly living and active, powerful, and the same yesterday, today, and forever. A masterpiece of love from our Creator.

Using a map from your Bible, locate the locations of Bethel and Ai. And if you’d like you can download and print this map that I have provided, and then mark where Bethel an Ai are on it, draw a mountain in between them, and then draw a dotted line from Shechem down to the mountain. You can even draw a small tent on top of the mountain. In the white space to the right of Israel draw a rock pile and then draw an arrow over to the mountain where Abram’s camp is, which is where that rock pile altar was. Do your own research on these places. What do their names mean? What has been discovered about them? What events have taken place in these areas? What pieces of archeology have been discovered from these areas, and perhaps are being held in the British Museum, or somewhere else? Did Charles Warren write anything about them in his explorations?

What did Abram do after he built this altar (Genesis 12:8)? So, this altar was his place of prayer. Try to draw praying hands on top of your little illustration of the altar.

What does the name Bethel mean (see Genesis 28:19). Does the center margin of your study Bible say what the Hebrew word for Bethel means?

What caused Abram to go to Egypt? Why did he feel he needed to lie to them about Sarai? How did the Egyptians treat Abram (12:16), and what caused them to discover Abram’s lie (12:17)? What part of Israel did Abram return to (13:3-4)? Draw a dotted line to show Abram’s travels to Egypt and back. What was the reason for Abram and Lot to have to part company? What area did Lot choose? The “plain of the Jordan” is thought to have been the south end of the Dead Sea. It was once lush and green. What cities were there where Lot pitched his tent (13:12)? Where did Abram move to (13:18)? Mark this on the map. Draw the altar and some trees in the white space to the right of Israel and draw an arrow over to Hebron.
Lot got caught up in a battle between which kings (14:1-17). Do you recall from our Noah chapter who the Rephaim are? See Ezekiel 32:27; Numbers 13:33; Deut. 2:11,20,21; 3:11; 2 Sam. 21:19; Josh. 11:22. They are related to the Nephilim of Genesis 6:1-5. And the Zuzim in Ham – the son of Noah who saw his father’s nakedness.

Was Abram victorious in getting Lot back? Who met with Abram right after his victory (14:18) and what did the two of them exchange? Who came to Abram in chapter 15:1? (See John 1:1) …And what event took place between the Word and Abram (Gen.15)? Look on a map and see how much land God was giving to Abram (vs 18). Could the “river of Egypt” be the Pishon (Gen. 2:11)? The Pishon skirted the whole land of Havilah (Gen.2:11), which was the Sinai Peninsula, which was Egypt – and the land Ishmael would later inhabit (Gen.25:18). What body of water skirts the land of Havilah today? This is all part of a puzzle we are putting together.


Personal application: How does this apply to me? Do I have a place of prayer where I go to meet with God? Has God’s Spirit met me there and moved me with love / vision /courage? Have I ever felt like I had to lie about something as a matter of life and death? Did my lie find me out? Ever had to split up with a family member, or felt the need to offer them something that rightfully belonged to you? And after getting them out of a tight spot, once, did you have to bail them out again not long after? Did you seek God for His grace to handle it all with mercy? Is the relationship with that person damaged beyond repair now or has God granted you reconciliation? Ever won a battle over an enemy? Ever given or received a blessing from a priest of God? (Lots to think about!)


Project (an altar that I can build)

Promise Box: Type out the scripture verse, Jeremiah 29:11-13, on pretty paper in a pretty script to fit on the lid or around the base of a small round hatbox. Glue the verse onto the box, along with additional favorite fabrics, ribbon, or scrapbooking images, etc. and then decoupage the box with Mod Podge.

Blessing Box: Type out the scripture verse, Genesis 14:19, replacing Abraham’s name with mine.
Once the box is decorated, write current life issues on pages of pretty stationery and on the flip-side write a Bible promise (from a Bible Promise Book) that’s applicable to the issue. Add them to the Promise Box.
OR write out ways God has blessed me each day and add to Blessing Box before going to bed at night.

OR fill the box with random acts of kindness cards that can be done each day to bless others. Find a set of printable random acts of kindness cards at mrshlovesjesus.com.

“And you shall remember the Lord your God,”
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV)

Teacher Appreciation Lox Bagel Breakfast

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Teacher Appreciation Lox Bagel Breakfast

For Teacher Appreciation Week this year, my gift was to coordinate parents to bring breakfast and lunch for the staff each day of the week. After everyone had grabbed their day/meal there was one slot left to fill. I ended up with breakfast on the last day. The parents really spoiled the teachers and staff with lots and lots of goodies, and since I had the luxury of knowing what everyone had brought, I decided they might all appreciate something that wasn’t sweet and unhealthy. My neighbor is a farmsteader and has a farmstand every other week. She bakes the most wonderful bagels. So I grabbed up a couple dozen of those and a dozen of her farm fresh eggs, along with a package of her farm grown sprouts, and herbs out of my own garden. Most of the rest of the ingredients were store bought organic. I was surprised by how many of the staff had never heard of Lox Bagels. Well, they are all big fans now as I was after the first time I had one! 🙂

Lox Bagels

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced
  • Cucumbers, sliced thin
  • Tomatoes, sliced thin
  • Red Onion, sliced thin
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Lemons, cut into wedges
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Chives, minced
  • Capers, whole or minced
  • Dill Weed, minced
  • Everything Bagels (1 to 2 dozen), sliced in half

Arrange Lox ingredients decoratively on a platter or charcuterie board, cover with plastic, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  When ready to serve set out on a buffet table with little appetizer forks and spreading knives.  Place chives, capers, and dill weed in small bowls and keep chilled until ready to serve.  When ready to serve nestle them in with Lox ingredients on platter.  Place whipped Cream Cheese in a bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.  When ready, set next to Lox platter.  Keep Bagels in a plastic bag until ready to serve.  Fresh bakery bagels can be purchased ahead of time, wrapped and frozen, to keep them fresh.  Remove from freezer the day before and let thaw in the refrigerator.  Slice room temperature bagels in half with a bread knife and stack pairs in a kitchen towel lined bread basket and cover with another tea towel.  Set the buffet table near an outlet so those who wish to toast their bagels may do so. Set a toaster near the basket of bagels.

Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 2  8-oz blocks Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup Sour Cream (may substitute heavy cream – add more if a creamier spread is desired)
  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Dill Weed, chopped
  • ¼ cup Red Onion, minced

Place all ingredients for the cream cheese spread in a large bowl and mix with a mixer on medium speed until blended, then increase speed to high and whip cream cheese until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  If made the night before the flavors will have time to meld.

Mimosas

  • Various fruit juices, chilled
  • Sparkling cider/grape juice (non-alcoholic Champagne), chilled
  • Strawberries, orange wedges, fresh mint sprigs, etc. for garnish
  • Champagne Flutes

Arrange garnishes on a platter.  Fill a tub with ice.  Nestle the juices into the ice. Set the fake champagne (or wine, if appropriate) either in the ice also, or next to champagne flutes. Place the garnishes in front for easy access. Set out a small set of tongs for self-serving of the garnishes.  Let guests assemble their own beverages.

Cold Brew Coffee

  • 3 bottles of your favorite brand Cold Brew, or make homemade (recipe here)
  • Flavored syrups (Hazelnut, caramel Macchiato, etc.)
  • 1 or 2 quarts Half-and-Half
  • Ice
  • Clear plastic Solo Cups (with lids, optional)
  • Stir sticks
  • Straws

Fill a tub with ice.  Set the cold brew bottles (you may want to have both regular and de-caf) into the ice.  Nestle the Half-and-Half into the ice also.  Set a bucket of ice near the cups, with a serving scoop, and arrange the syrups, stir sticks, and straws so they are accessible.  Let guests serve themselves.

Want to know which cold brew brands are the best? https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/best-cold-brew-taste-test/

“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”

1 Corinthians 12:27-28

God’s Keys

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God’s Keys

Forgive me for taking forever to post anything new on the current study, and instead jumping into the middle of it with something about keys.  Well, it may not be part of the stones study, but trust me, it’s interesting.  Come and see.

About a month ago I read a passage of scripture that has sent me on another fascinating rabbit trail through God’s word.  I honestly never pass up these rabbit holes if I can help it, because Jesus is always hanging out in them, and there is always a treasure to be had in excavating the layers of the scriptures.

We’re all familiar (or maybe not) with Peter’s magnificent confession in Matthew 16:16.  The name Peter (Cephas in Greek) means “rock” and on this rock Jesus said He would build His church.  Peter explained what Jesus meant in his first letter, 1 Peter 2:4-10. After that little exchange, Jesus promised Peter a set of keys, and that’s where I want to take us today. 

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’  Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  And I also say to you that you are Peter [a little rock], and on this rock [a big rock] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”  Matthew 16: 15-19

Before I get started I’ve gotta say, I’ve never heard anyone preach on these keys, at least not from the perspective that I am seeing them, so it makes me a little nervous to share.  I know that the word of God is not of any private interpretation, and I’m absolutely no Bible scholar, so I am praying that I have the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to help me rightly divide the word … and I share this perspective strictly as an “interesting theory” until God proves it through other Bible teachers, or reveals it to others in His own time.  God is revealing so much in these latter times that I have no doubt He will disclose the mystery of these keys, if indeed there is one.

The first thing I felt compelled to do was to take a good hard look at the place where Jesus brought His disciples to ask them the very important question: Who do people say that I am?  The Bible says their conversation took place at Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi was an area near Dan, at the extreme northern border of Israel. I discovered, through much looking that this place has had quite a sordid history. This area was at the time of Christ a sanctuary for the worship of the Greek god Pan. The place was called Panias (or Banais). Pan was a man from the waist up and a goat from the hips down.  He carried and played a panpipe and had a voracious appetite for sex, any kind of sex. This god is where the term “pansexual” comes from, Pan in Greek means “all.” According to the belief of his followers, He slept the winters in the underworld, accessed by the grotto that is at Panias.  Worshippers believed that cave to be a portal or gateway to Hades.  It appeared to them to be bottomless, a bottomless pit filled with water. Interesting that Jesus brought His disciples here to reveal to them who He was and what was going to happen to Him.

Pan’s worshippers came to awaken him in the spring with orgy parties and bestiality with goats. Greeks would throw their sacrifices into the grotto and if the sacrifice disappeared in the waters it was said to have been accepted.  Waters from the depths of this cave fed out to a nearby stream (one of the headwaters of the Jordan River) and if blood appeared in the waters of the stream, the sacrifice was said to have been rejected.  There were little niches hewn in the rocky cliff face to the right of the huge cavern, and carved idols of Pan, Echo, and Hermes were once placed on display there.  During the time of Jesus, there was a temple that stood in front of the cave. 

(Visit: Generation Word to see photographs and read the history of the area).

This “little rock” of Panias was at the foot of the “big rock” – Mount Hermon, which was considered to be the “mountain of the gods.”  What gods, you may ask?  Well, according to a stone stele found at the summit of Mount Hermon in 1869 by explorer Sir Charles Warren, it was the place where the fallen angels made their pact with each other to sin with human women (Genesis 6; Jude vs.6) and create a corrupted super-race of giants, which is what prompted God to flood the earth in order to rescue humanity from the brink of extinction. The Book of Enoch also confirms this.

Reading further in Matthew, chapter 17 we find Jesus leading his three inner-circle disciples (Peter, James, and John) up on “a high mountain” by themselves.  This mountain was almost surely Mount Hermon – the mountain of the gods, which was right there in front of them, and may even possibly have been the “exceedingly high mountain” Satan took Jesus to in the temptation (Matthew 4:8; Luke 4:5).  Jesus was transfigured there (His glorified body revealed) in front of His closest friends, and also (I believe) in front of all the principalities, and powers, the rulers of the darkness, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). 

It is interesting that Moses and Elijah are who appeared with Jesus in His glorified body, as Elijah was one of only two people in the Bible who never died, Enoch being the other one. Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind (Enoch walked with God and simply was no more).  Moses was with God and only God when he died (if indeed he did die as we think of it, or simply ceased to live on this earth – Deuteronomy 34:5,7), and only the LORD knows where the body of Moses is buried (if indeed it was buried or just put in a safe place – Deuteronomy 34:6; Jude 9).  Moses’ body was not buried in a traditional family grave, like all the other patriarchs before him, nor even in Israel, but the historian recorded it was in a valley in the land of Moab, though his 120 year old body was in stellar health (Dt. 34:7).  So, it is interesting that Moses would appear with Christ, when we consider that the archangel Michael contended with Satan over the body of Moses, and now here is Moses victoriously transfigured on the mountain of the gods, with Jesus His Christ!

In both instances, the question at the grotto of Pan, and this transfiguration at the mountain of the gods, Jesus told His disciples to tell no one until after He had been risen from the dead.  I have often wondered why that was, and the theory I’ve come up with is two-fold.  First of all, it has been in Satan’s heart to kill Jesus ever since the curse in the garden (Genesis 3:15 and 4:8; 1 John 3:12; Revelation 12:4), and then storm heaven to rise above the throne of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan has to have God’s permission before he can do anything (Job 1:6-12 & 2:1-7) to lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed (to strike His heal) Matthew 4:6/Psalm 91:12. I believe Jesus personally gave Satan the permission he sought for that day.

And second, the Jews (and the disciples) believed the Messiah would come as their Conquering King (2 Samuel 7:13-14; Isaiah 11:1-4; Hosea 3:4-5; 4 Ezra 12:32; Micah 5:3; Ezekiel 37:24-25), to restore political power to the Jews (Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6), and to defeat all their enemies.  If they had known their Messiah was coming as a suffering servant, they might not have killed Him (Luke 23:34).  Jesus wanted His disciples to know who He really was, and who the real enemy was (we battle not against flesh and blood), and that He would defy all expectations and instead be the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, which no one was looking for, and which they would not understand until after He had risen.  Jesus spent the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension explaining things to them (Luke 24:45, 49; John 14:26,16; 15:26; 16:7, 13; 20:22), as well as restoring Peter.  And after Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit (the breath of life) revealed more and more to them.

Peter’s name (Petros # 4074) means small rock – like the rocks David picked up and put in a shepherd’s bag when he went to fight Goliath, who was a giant, and a seed of Satan.  David picked up 5 smooth stones, but he only used one.  In the same way, Peter would be a stone in the hands of the Lord, to raze giants and lead the people to Jesus.  Peter tells us that our Lord has lots of stones, which are all being built up into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) for Him to dwell in, each with unique gifts and talents, which are likened to the parts of our human bodies (1 Corinthians 12:).  Jesus Himself is the chief cornerstone of the pile of rocks (1 Peter 2:7).  Jesus said in Luke 17:21 “…the kingdom of God is within you.”  We are God’s house collectively, and not built by human hands. 

Peter was singled out as a stone with a special purpose.

And on this (the massive thing they were facing, the thing they were standing at the foot of) rock (Petra, #4073, mass of rock), Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (the grotto of Pan, the stronghold of paganism that was right there in front of them) shall not prevail against it.”

Do you remember where Jesus took His disciples to give them the Great Commission after His death and resurrection, and before He ascended to the throne?

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.” Matthew 28:16

Pretty sure this mountain was Mount Hermon, and Jesus making good on the promise He made to Peter and the other disciples in Matthew 16:18. It’s all right there, hiding in plain sight in the scriptures, for all who care to do a little excavation.

Going back to the stones of God’s house, when Jesus told the Pharisees that if they destroyed the temple Jesus would raise it up in three days (Matthew 27:39-40; John 2:19-22), they had in their minds the temple on the temple mount (Herod’s Temple), but Jesus was talking about His spiritual house on this earth, which we are all a part of, all of us who accept Him as our Savior.  The Pharisees had turned God’s earthy temple into a den of thieves, and when they killed Jesus, the Shepherd, they hoped to scatter the sheep, but three days later Christ arose, the Chief Cornerstone of His house, and His house (believers) were instantly erected as a new house for Him to dwell in. God does not dwell in temples made by human hands (Acts 17:24).  He is making us into a temple for Himself to dwell in.  It’s made up of each of us, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  And what’s really awesome is…that the gates of Hades shall not prevail.  No matter how big and scary and dark everything seems to be headed towards, Jesus is bigger!!!!!

Never lose hope, my friends!  Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!

The next thing I felt led to do in my studies was to grab my concordance and see if there were any other “keys” in scripture.  This is how I usually do Bible study, because I believe scripture will always explain scripture if we dig to find the connections.  And so, the next key that I found was in Isaiah 22:22: 

“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.”

The “he” (in bold letters, emphasis mine) in this verse is Eliakim, who was indeed a real person in the lineage of David, who sat on David’s throne, but this is also a prophecy of Christ, because what is said of Eliakim here is said of Christ by the apostle John in Revelation 3:7:

“And to the angel/messenger of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.’”

The word key in this verse is maf-tay-ach in Hebrew and means an opener, Strong’s #4668. The name Eliakim (EL-YAW-KEEM), Strong’s#471, means “whom God raises up or sets up”. (Daniel 2:21 tells us, “He [God] raises up kings and also brings them down.”) The word shoulder is she-kem, Strong’s #7926, meaning the area between the neck and shoulders, where a burden (yoke) would be placed.

So now we have the paraphrase: “EL will lay the yoke (or burden = key of David) on the neck/shoulders of the one He raises up. The One who has the key has the ability to open and no one can shut, and shut and no one can open.  The power of binding and loosing belongs to Him, and to only those whom He chooses to give it to (2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 1:6; 3:21; 5:10; 1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 20:6).

God had raised up Eliakim to be seated on David’s throne, but ultimately God raised Jesus up (on a cross – which was laid on Him as a yoke, as His burden to carry) to redeem the people from their sins (Philippians 2:5-8) … 

“Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (Golgotha, in Aramaic – which I believe is the place where Goliath’s skull was taken, Goliath the giant – a seed of the fallen ones, and hence the name – 1 Sam. 17:54).  There they crucified Him, and with Him two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle.  Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross.  It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” John 19:17-19

“And I [Jesus, the Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep] gives them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand…and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29

Ezekiel tells us about this “Good Shepherd” in Ezekiel 34 beginning in verse 11, but lets look at verses 23-24:

“I will establish one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them–My servant David. He shall feed them and be their Shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them: I the Lord have spoken.”

And herein lies the mystery, because King David was dead and in the grave when Ezekiel was alive, and when he prophesied this.

In Luke 19:28-40; Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; and John 12:12-19 is the story of the “Triumphal Entry,” as it is called. The people took palm branches and went out to meet Him, and in John’s gospel they cried, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” Luke’s gospel adds: “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Mark’s gospel adds: “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” And Matthew’s gospel also says, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” It all harkens back to the vision of David’s son Solomon being ushered in as the next king of Israel to occupy the throne of David:

“So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon” (which was at the temple). “Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn and all the people said, Long live King Solomon!”

Zechariah the prophet prophesied of the coming King, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation. Lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” John and Matthew reflect this prophecy in their accounts.

Jesus came the first time as the suffering servant, lowly, as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah (53); He came in peace, riding into town, lowly (-the Greek word is “praus,” and it means in humility, considerate, unassuming, gentle, meek, mild – meekness is not weakness, it is power under perfect control, in humble wisdom and penetrating love) on a colt, and only a few saw Him, but the apostle John prophesied in in Revelation 19:11-16 that King Jesus will come again, and this time as our conquering King, riding truly “triumphantly” on a white horse, warlike, with all authority displayed, and every eye will see Him! And Satan and evil will be defeated.

King Jesus is now, and forever shall be seated on David’s throne as the King of Israel (Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 1:32), and indeed of the whole world, King of Kings, and Lord of LORDS, seated on the heavenly throne, which David had occupied as a copy and shadow only temporarily on earth (Hebrews 12:2).

“God raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realm, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come, and He put all things under His feet in subjection, and gave Him headship over all things to the church which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all” Ephesians 1:19-23.

We are not to be conformed to this word, but transformed, having renewed minds, which are set on things above, not things of earth. Therefore, rejecting the LORD as their King, and in turn asking for an earthly king, like everybody else on earth had (1 Samuel 8:5-20; 10:19; 12:12-13 and 17-25) was Israel’s sin.  It was a sin Israel repeated when they took Jesus before Pilate (John 19:11, 14-15), and in choosing Barabbas – a son-of-Abba over THE SON OF ABBA (John 18:39-40).  Even we today sin when we look to political leaders to lead us and guide us and protect us from our enemies, rather than have faith in the LORD to be our very present help in times of trouble. Men can be called to leadership but we are not to put our faith and our hope in them over Jesus.

The things of God, which are upon this earth, are a copy and shadow of things in heaven (Exodus 25:9,40; 26:30; 27:8; Hebrews 8:5; 9:9,23,24; 10:1; Colossians 2:17; Matthew 6:10). The throne is part of God’s true tabernacle (Hebrews 8:1-2,5), but it was not part of the earthly Tabernacle which God showed to Moses for the people to build (Exodus 25 – 31), although the Ark of the Covenant was God’s representation (compare 2 Samuel 22:11; Ezekiel 1:4-28; Exodus 13:18; Numbers 2 & 10; Revelation 4 – this is a Bible Study unto itself and part of the Stones of Remembrance Bible Studies which I will post at a later date). God dwelled among His people via the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle, but it was not until Israel asked for a king that the copy of the heavenly throne, with one seated upon it, came to be on earth (1 Chronicles 22:10; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:34-37; Jeremiah 33”17).  God gave the people the desires of their heart only because it would serve His ultimate purpose.

David was the first king of the Tribe of Judah (in the order of Melchizedek – who was the original king of Salem, and also priest of God Most High, and was a king/priest without lineage – without beginning of days or end — Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1-3).  David was God’s chosen (1 Samuel 16:1,12-13) and Israel’s most beloved king.  David knew He was sitting on a heavenly throne which would one day be returned to its rightful place (Psalm 110).  David’s kingdom reunited Israel with Judah for a time, and restored the Levitical priesthood.  David desired to make a house for God in His beloved city (Jerusalem), and had the Ark of the Covenant brought to it’s someday house.  This is why I believe it is said that David was a man after God’s own heart. He turned the hearts of the children to their Father and the heart of the Father to His children. David, like Jesus, was a shepherd of the sheep of his father (John 10), born in Bethlehem, of the lineage of Judah.  King David was a foreshadow of King Jesus.

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16

Jacob, aka Israel, foresaw this in his blessing to his son Judah: “the scepter (a symbol of kingship) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver (another name for a priest) from between his [Judah’s] feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people,” Genesis 49:10.  This scripture shows that God already knew His people would ask for a king.  Their king would come from the tribe of Judah, as a copy and shadow of their heavenly King, who would also come from the tribe of Judah (and whom I believe is personified in the mysterious Melchizedek, whom Abraham visited, who appears to me to be Jesus — Genesis 14:18; Matthew 26:26-28; Revelation 1:5-6; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 6:20 thru 10:23).  The name Melchizedek means My King is Righteous (Hebrews 7:2):

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign wisely, and execute judgments and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Jesus is the rightful, anointed, supreme KING of Israel, who will take back the kingdom by also being a PRIEST who sprinkles His own sacrificial blood on the altar of God behind the veil, which He ripped in half, restoring the obedience of the people – by taking away our sin.

Most scholars agree that Shiloh, in Genesis 49:10, is referring to the Messiah. 

Let’s go back to Samuel, the one who anointed David king, and see it from that perspective. 

Samuel was the answered prayer of his mother Hannah.  She had prayed for a son and promised to give her son to God if God would give her a son.  Samuel’s name means “asked for from the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:20).  After Samuel was weaned, she gave him to Eli, the Levitical priest who was serving at the House of God (Tabernacle) in Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:24; Joshua 18:1) where she and her family went to worship once a year. 

Samuel (an Ephraimite) grew up under Eli to become a judge over all of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba (1 Sam.3:19), that is from the farthest northern boundary to the farthest southern boundary, and also God’s prophet. Only Levites (of the tribe of Levi) could be priests.  Samuel was the only godly influence that we know of after Eli died.  He went on a circuit between Bethel (name means House of God – from the Jacob’s Ladder dream), Mizpah (means Witness – where Jacob made a pact with Laban), and Gilgal (which means rolling – as in rolling off a heavy burden from one’s shoulders – where the first altar to the Lord was built from the stones of the Jordan River) (1 Samuel 7:15-16).  God’s temple was located in Shiloh, but the Levitical priesthood had all but dissolved (1 Samuel 3:13-14). 

“The word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation” And because the priests were so corrupted (1 Samuel 3:1; 8:3), “Men abhorred the offering of the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:17).  I’m sure they all loved Samuel, but Samuel’s sons were just as corrupt as Eli’s.  So, when Samuel was getting pretty old and the people feared he would be dying soon, they asked Samuel for a king.  So, it was when the Tabernacle of God was at Shiloh that the people asked for a king.  God assured Samuel that the people weren’t rejecting him, they were rejecting HIM.  They didn’t want God to rule over them (1 Samuel 8:7).  They wanted to be cool kids, like all the other nations who had earthly kings.  

The “house of the LORD” at Shiloh was, for all intents and purposes, Jesus living among the people (that’s who Jesus is – Immanuel, God with us).  According to the Abarim website the name Shiloh means He Whose It is – and also His deep and abiding Shalom. 

Remember the house that Jesus is building?  Jesus is building us up a spiritual house for He Himself to dwell in on this earth, for which He is the chief Cornerstone.  The Father in Jesus, and Jesus in us. “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:21. The stones that He is using to build His house are you and I.  Before Jesus left to go and prepare a place for us in heaven He said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

In God’s seeming absence it is easy to become fearful.  It was that same fearfulness that made the ancient Israelite people ask for a king.  They were afraid that without Samuel they would be swallowed up by the nations around them.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  The people forgot that their God went before them, and fought their battles (1 Samuel 8:20). Their eyes were on man, as our eyes often are.  They forgot that their King was the Word (John 1:1-14) by which everything had been created; that He was the Breath that parted the Red Sea; and the Angel who escorted their ancestors through the wilderness.  He was the Shekinah Glory of the Mercy Seat, and the glory Cloud that covered by day.  He was the glowing Pillar of fire by night, the Manna that appeared every morning, and the Rock from whence the water flowed (1 Corinthians 10:4); He was the Commander of the Lord’s army on the other side of Jericho, who brought down the walls when the priests blew their trumpets and the men shouted.  He was the One who held the sun in place in the sky for a whole day, and defeated Israel’s enemies with hailstones. He was the Angel who visited Gideon and gave victory to his 300.  He was the Angel who visited Manoah, and He was the strength of Samson in the Nazarite vow.  He was all of that and so much more, but the Israelite people had laid down their shield of faith.

I wonder if David’s (earthly) throne was finally taken back up from the earth as part of Jeconiah’s (aka: Coniah’s/Jehoiachin’s) curse (Jeremiah 22:24; 22:30).  I also wonder if the Garden of Eden was also likewise taken up when Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:22-24) since that’s where the Tree of Life is, and angels guard the way.  God allows Satan to mess with some of His things, when it serves a purpose, but not all things.  He won’t let His precious things go to extinction.  That’s why He saved Noah.  Noah was the only non-corrupted, righteous man on earth (Genesis 6:9, 12). And He saved Lot.  Lot was the only non-corrupted, righteous man in Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33).  The garden and the throne (I believe) were taken to heaven for safe-keeping (Garden: Luke 16:22, 23, 26; Revelation 22:2)-(Throne: Revelation 4 & 5; 21:10, 24; 22:1-3), to be revealed again later, perhaps during the millennial reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:4-6).

And when this world becomes almost totally corrupted and evil (2 Thessalonians 2:3), I believe with all of my heart that God will put us, those who are His true church, written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, in a safe place until evil is destroyed (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) forever.

The last king of Judah was Zedekiah.  The curse of Jeconiah was fulfilled.  The last prophet to speak was Malachi.  And then there were 400 years of silence … until Shiloh came, and HE retrieved the Key of David.  He took the yoke, the burden of leadership upon His shoulders as a sacrificial lamb, and reestablished His Kingdom through servant leadership!!!!!!!

When Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross, Matthew says “the ground quaked and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53).

This tells me that while Jesus’ body was in the tomb, His spirit went exactly where He had promised the thief on the cross they would go … PARADISE (aka: Abraham’s Bosom, the good side of Hades)

  • A).  To loose the chains of death that held the Old Testament saints in slumber.  Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, David, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, etc., who all their lives had believed, and looked forward to the day of their Messiah (Hebrews 11:13-16), whose spirits waited in Paradise for their Savior to come and release them (Matthew 27:52-53), because their sins had finally been redeemed. (Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 53:12; Isaiah 49:9; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 4:16; Matthew 11:5; Luke 2:29-32; Luke 4:18)
  • B). To take back the key of David (Authority/Kingship) – the throne of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 5; 6:20; 7:1-), and dissolve forever anyone being king of the Jews, King of Salem (JeruSalem), save Jesus Himself.
  • C). To preach to the spirits in torments, on the other side of the great chasm, where possibly the angels who sinned and are bound in hell (Tartarus) – or the bottomless pit — or under the Euphrates (Revelation 9:14) are being held.  Perhaps Satan himself, and all his fallen host – the third which he swept out of heaven with his tail (Revelation 12:4) were the LORD’s audience that day? 

Whoever it was that continued living there “in torments,” we know they could see into Paradise, because of the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:20-25). Perhaps Jesus held up the Key of David for them to see, as they gazed across the great chasm, as a symbol of His victory over their multiple attempts at corrupting not only the seed of the Messiah, but the kingdom authority of the lineage of David. Perhaps the message He preached was that of Isaiah 14:12-21:

“But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north…Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” 

The Restrainer [Jesus] was then risen from the dead and made alive again.  Death and the grave were forever defeated. He had the keys of death and Hades, and also the Key of David.  Praise Yeshua!!!!!  Glory to God in the highest!!!!

I believe Jesus escorted the saints of Old out of their graves (Matthew 27:52-53), where angels took them on to heaven (Matt. 28:2)?  Because when Jesus appeared to Mary Magdelene He asked her not to hold onto Him for He had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17).  For 40 days Jesus stayed and appeared to people on earth in His glorified body (Luke 24:13-53; John 20 & 21; Acts 1:1-11).  This accounts for the gap between Revelation 1 where Jesus has the keys of Hades and Death, and Revelation 5 where no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll, and then the Lamb appeared.  Jesus ascended into heaven, and a cloud received Him, and once He was seated at God’s right hand (Mark 16:19) as our King (the scepter of Shiloh in it’s rightful place) then a scroll with seals was handed to Him.  Jesus first sprinkled His own blood on the Mercy Seat in heaven (Hebrews 10:4, see Hebrews 9 & 10) as our High Priest (the lawgiver from Judah in His rightful place), and then He sat down as our King.

If you have never read the book of Hebrews or the book of Revelation, this would be a great time to do that, and make a note of all the thrones that come up, and who is sitting on them.  And if you want to chase down a rabbit hole of your own, look up the “throne of David” and see how many addresses you can find.

So, the next key that I found while following this breadcrumb trail was in Luke 11:52: 

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge.  You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

Notice the woe in this verse?  There are six of them all total in Luke 11:37-54, all aimed at the lawgivers, the Pharisees, and Scribes. Jesus spoke eight woes to the same group in Matthew 23. Here are some of the names given for the Scribes, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees: Blind Guides, Fools, Whitewashed Tombs, Brood of Vipers, Hypocrites, etc.  Pretty harsh words!!! So what had they done?  They had taken away the key of knowledge, the Bible, preventing themselves from entering (into true fellowship with God) and hindering those who were entering (into that true fellowship).  They had set aside the word of God and shrouded it behind dogma, tenents, and religious doctrines of men, making faith a very heavy burden that few could measure up to.

In those days the word of God was meticulously hand copied letter by letter by letter on scrolls by the scribes, and studied extensively and taught by the Pharisees.  The scrolls were kept in the synagogue.  The only word of God that existed in the homes in those days was oral, or perhaps a small book of prayer.  The word was taught in the home through traditions and stories handed down from generation to generation.  Men went to Synagogue on the Sabbath to listen to the Pharisees present a word from the Torah scrolls, and some would spend time lingering there to discuss it, in much the same way as the Greek philosophers philosophized (Luke 2:46-47; 4:16-30 & 31-37, 44; 6:6-7; 13:10).

And, in much the same way as the Greek Philosophers were honored and respected for their great knowledge and wisdom, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes esteemed themselves as the spiritual superiors of society, better than everyone else, and they wanted to keep it that way.  It made them important. They made lots of rules for people to follow, which were impossible for most people to keep. Though righteousness is to be pursued, the Bible is our standard, not the doctrines of man. And without the Holy Spirit creating that clean heart in us, it is impossible to please God, for all our righteousness, apart from Him, is as filthy rags.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16

Paul knew full well, as he himself was a Pharisaical apprentice until his radical encounter with Christ (Acts 22:3-21; 26:4-5; Philippians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 11:22).  He understood the grievousness of withholding the key of knowledge and articulated such in his letter to the Corinthians.  He said that he and his companions had to “…endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.” And said, “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:12,16.

Jesus said the Pharisees were of their father the Devil, who was a liar and the Father of lies.  The book of Jude shows us what the spirit of the Pharisees has been from the beginning.  Jude [Judah] speaks a woe to “them” (those who hinder the gospel of Christ): (vs 6-19) and these are those who are responsible: fallen angels, Sodom & Gomorrah, dreamers, followers of the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, the rebellion of Korah. Such ones are like clouds without water, late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, raging waves of the sea reserved for darkness, wandering stars, grumblers, complainers, flatterers, mockers, sexually crazed, and those who cause division.  (My gosh, Jude could be talking about the world today; would you agree?)

I wonder, if Jesus hadn’t come when He did, if there would have been faith on the earth for very much longer.  The people were without hope, and like sheep without a shepherd.  The Jews hated the Samaritans and left them with no place to worship.  And the religious leaders had turned faith into a cult with political power, having only head knowledge of the Torah and an abundance of rules. They possessed a self-righteous form of godliness, but denied the power thereof. The Sadducees had taken the Torah and snipped out all the parts they didn’t like.

Before Jesus left this earth He opened the scriptures to His disciples (Luke 24:45) and told them to wait for the Holy Spirit to come (Luke 24:49), which the Spirit did in Acts 2:1-4.  And He took His disciples to the mountain which He had appointed for them (Matthew 26:32; Mark 14:28; Matthew 28:7,10; Mark 16:7; Matthew 28:16-17, and 10-20 the Great Commission – Mark 16:15,19; John 21:1,14 Breakfast by the sea – Tiberias/Galilee – and the reinstating of Peter). (I believe Mount Hermon is a good candidate – Matthew 16:18) and commissioned his disciples to go and make disciples of all people. 

Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, and to set people free from the law of sin and death.  He made a way for the Holy Spirit to live inside of us, so that we would not be dependent upon pastors, teachers, priests, rabbis, etc., ever again (who tend to be prone to corruption), to teach us (John 14:16-17), or to be dependent upon anyone on this earth in order to have fellowship with God.

God wants us to have fellowship with each other as well as with Himself, as disciples and as mentors to one another, to encourage one another, to love and serve and be a friend to one another. God made the church and He made each of us to have Spiritual Gifts as the body of the church and members individually. But there will be seasons in our life when we don’t have a church, when we don’t have friends, like when Abraham left his home and family to go to a land that God would show him, like when Noah landed on the slopes of Mount Ararat, like Adam who had a garden and animals and God, but was alone, and in those times Jesus is that friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is the one who laid down His life for us. In those times God’s word is vital to our spiritual, physical, and emotional health.

The Torah scriptures- the first 5 books of the Old Testament, referred to as “the Law,” plus the historical books, the Psalms, and the Prophets which all together comprise our Old Testament, remained on scrolls until the Gutenberg printing press was invented, and then they, together with the New Testament letters, which were collected into bound books just a few hundred years after Jesus walked this earth (the Marcion Bible of 144 AD, which was comprised of the writings of Paul, and said to have been presented to the Apostle John).  The Council of Nicaea in 325AD collected all the writings of “the Christians” and assembled the Old and New Testaments that we know today. The monastaries kept all these writings in protected storage through the Dark Ages and then during the Renaissance these writings were made into book form for mass distribution. The oldest surviving OT texts were the Septuagint and the Masoretic, until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found between 1946 and 1956 at the Qumran Caves, and outdate all the others in existence. The Bible is probably the first book ever to be printed, was (and still is being) translated into multitudes of languages, and has been dispersed all over the world.  It is today the number one bestselling book of all time. It is being preached over the airwaves to every corner of the earth. The Bible warns that nothing shall be added to or taken away from it, and that not one jot or tittle shall pass away from it until all are fulfilled. Therefore, I believe the LORD has protected His word up to this generation, and that what we hold in our hands today is the inspired word of God (although the multitude of modern translations is suspect and may be another indicator that the last days are upon us). Even so, we have fellowship with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit opens the scriptures to us to remind us of the things which are written in it (John 14:26). And if we ever come to a place in the scriptures that seems to contradict other passages, or be in error, it is the fault of translation and not the Word of God. The original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek is inerrant and must be studied in order to understand what the translators possibly failed to fully convey.

Some, yea many, will come to faith through the “foolishness of preaching” (1 Corinthians 1:21), but once the Holy Spirit takes residence in us, “we have no need that anyone teach us” (1 John 2:27; Jeremiah 31:34; John 6:45).  The Holy Spirit can be trusted with our spiritual wellbeing where the hirelings cannot (John 10:12). We are told to test what we hear and search the scriptures to make sure that what our preachers and teachers say (including me and this blog) is true to the word of God. Satan and his spawn (false teachers) will and have worked overtime to twist God’s words from the very beginning – the serpent in the garden. Therefore we must be vigilant to seek the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We in turn have the responsibility to shine the light of Jesus to this dark world of lost people and preach the gospel to them. That’s what it means to “make disciples,” through the careful handling and sharing of the word, to be as watchmen on the wall, watching the signs of the times and sounding a warning that others might be saved, and to help each other pursue righteousness and flee from worldiness and the lusts of the flesh.  Jesus has laid the key of knowledge on our shoulders.  It is our responsibility to take His gospel to the world. 

Baby Christians need spiritual milk (the foundational knowledge of salvation, holiness, overcoming evil) until they reach the age of weaning, when they are able to study and rightly divide the word for themselves on a deeper level, through the Holy Spirit who is in them.  Every time we search the word of God with a hunger and thirst for spiritual nourishment, the Holy Spirit living inside of us opens more of it to us. The living word is filled with mystery and depth, but the Holy Spirit only reveals these pearls to His followers who deeply desire to have that honest fellowship with Him. He will not cast them before swine. That is the beauty of the word of God, and the essence of making disciples of all men.  Like Paul, we need to be faithful to our responsibility to help people rightly divide the word and to use it to make them holy as He is holy, and not be like the Pharisees, who had enormous head knowledge but didn’t rend their hearts – only their garments, seeing themselves as better than everyone else, more spiritual, and who turned the gospel into an unattainable, secret hierarchy, man’s club. 

With Christ there is no Jew or Greek, Barbarian, slave or free.  We are all one in Christ.  We are to all be servants, to wash one-another’s feet, to carry one-another’s burdens, to pray for one-another, to lay hands on one-another, to learn, to love, to study, to know. Not to try to outdo one another, trample one another, compete, or make ourselves as gods. We are all fellow sojourners.

I feel like it is my spiritual job to share the things God shows me.  It is terrifying, because I know that teachers will receive a harsher judgment than others, which is sobering (Ezekiel 33:1-11). I don’t know that I have much of an audience to warn, but if there is even one person out there who heeds the message and is compelled to seek after Christ because of what they’ve read here, praise the LORD. God’s word is sent from heaven as rain to water our hearts and will not return to Him void.  Unless the Holy Spirit draws us, none of us would be saved.  So if God has led you here, that is confirmation to me that His Spirit lives in me and has shown me these things to share with you. One person plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. It’s not my job to make notches or keep records.  It’s just my job to speak when God says speak, and to give an answer for the hope that is within me. And given my foolhardy younger days, running headlong after the world and all its pleasures, I am living proof that God can save and use ANYONE!!!!

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog today and Jesus has wooed you to want to know Him, I want to encourage you, don’t delay in accepting His invitation. The devil is possessive and will try hard to keep you bound and lost. Hurry, while Jesus has His hand outstretched to you. 

I gave my life to Jesus after meeting a woman who asked me if I were to die today, did I know where I was going. I had cold feet and put her off for a few weeks, but the Holy Spirit would not let her words fall to the ground. I wrestled over the thought of becoming a “Jesus Freak,” and wasn’t sure I was done sowing my wild oats yet, convinced that becoming a Christian was the end of fun and laughter. Satan had totally brainwashed me into thinking fun and laughter was equivelent to JOY, but the fact is all that is only a counterfiet of true joy, and ultimately a trap. Everything the devil presents as “fun” always ends up as a snare and a portal into a dark world. It all ends up as a miserable prison without exit doors. Jesus is the one who made us and the only one who has the true compassion to give us LIFE. He laid down HIS life in order to set us free from the law of sin and death. He holds all the keys that will set us free. And I’m telling you, when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. I feel like the luckiest person on earth that God would forgive such a wretch as me, a vile sinner who has broken every one of His Ten Commandments. This is true joy, and I want so much for you to experience it.

I encourage you to please have that talk with Jesus. Tell Him all about your sins, and ask Him to forgive you, to come live inside of you and be LORD of your life. Get a Bible and begin reading it.  There are free Bible apps for your phone (Bible Gateway, and YouVersion). Talk to God.  Talk to Him a lot.  When He convicts you of sin, confess it and ask forgiveness.  Turn from all your wicked ways and renew your mind daily with the word of God, as often as you possibly can.  If you are sick, go to the elders of the church; find someone who has been healed by God from sickness and ask them to lay hands on you and pray for you.  Find someone who loves the Lord and who is wise with His word and ask them to mentor you, for accountability. Ask God for wisdom and guidance in everything you do.  Know also that the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  You need to know how to defend yourself (Ephesians 6) because he will do everything in his power to trip you up. The Lord is our refuge!!!!

Look for a good, godly group of Bible-believing Christians who read and study the word of God together, and join with them in seeking after the things of Christ.  If you are timid at first to look in your town, look online.  But be VERY careful to stay away from the cults that are out there.  Ask God to give you discernment and to guide you to the right people to disciple you.  If they are asking for money constantly, they are probably a cult. If they are bashing all other churches, they are probably a cult. If they have leaders who are given to the lusts of the flesh and aren’t concerned with fostering holiness through Jesus and studying the word, they are certainly a cult. If they have lots of rules and secret levels, they are most definitely a cult. RUN!!!! As far as TV preachers, I would suggest maybe starting with someone like Les Feldick (lesfeldick .org/), who may seem kind of square and old fashioned, but who actually reads and teaches the word, and isn’t just a preacher with clever sounding sermons and a fancy pulpit, as so many are.  Find old broadcasts of J. Vernon McGee (ThruTheBible), who is again, a bit old school, but teaches the Bible.  Verse-by-Verse ministries (download the app to your phone for access to all his teachings on the books of the Bible), and Chuck Missler (many of his teachings are available on You Tube), are teachers whom I trust. Listen with your Bible open and with highlighters and colored pencils in hand.  Pray about everything you hear. Make notes. Kay Arthur (PreceptMinistries) is another good one whom I recommend.  Look for her podcasts.  If you have questions go to GotQuestions.org. Let yourself be discipled with the spiritual milk of the word until you are able to discern the Holy Spirit’s leading into the meatier morsels, like prophecy, and the deeper mysteries hidden in the layers of the word, for which you might want to seek out a Messianic Rabbi, like Jason Sobel, Rabbi Schneider, or Jonathan Cahn. 

When you are ready to look for a local church, start by going to the Sunday night and the Wednesday night services. Some churches have Saturday night worship services. See if they have a women’s or men’s Bible Study class and give that a whirl. Some larger churches have home groups that are maybe more or less intimidating, depending on your personality. Volunteer to do the things that God puts on your heart, until you find what your Spiritual Gifts are, and then fan them into flame by using them.  You’ll know your gifts when it brings you joy to do it. Don’t let people exploit your eagerness. Many will try to put their ministries on you. If what you find yourself involved with does not bring you joy, only obligation, get rid of it. That’s not your gift. We don’t earn our salvation by doing good works (and being a martyr about it), don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, but if we are truly saved we will want to do things that will help others find Jesus and the freedom and joy that we have found.  Listen to the Holy Spirit and follow where He leads. God bless you, my friend.

I touched on this key earlier, but now will do so in depth.  The next key that emerged from my studies was in Revelation 1:18,

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

I don’t know if the keys were being held by someone (Lucifer?) in Hades and Jesus retrieved them, or if He left them in heaven as a reward for Himself, but one thing is for sure…JESUS HAS THE KEYS! The One who has the keys is the One who is able to open doors that no one else can open, and shut doors that no one else can shut. He is the ONE who binds up and the one who sets captives (prisoners) free!!!!!!

The following is interesting to note. 

The words Hades and Death are capitalized in my Bible, which means they are names for places or persons.  Hades (Strongs #86 Hades, which means Unseen) is used 4 times in the Gospels and always by the Lord (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; and 16:23), and it is used in Acts 2:27, 31 with reference to the soul of Christ.  The actual Greek name for Hades is used, but the Greek word that has been translated Death is Strongs # 2288: Thanatos.  This is also the one riding on the Pale Horse in Revelation 6:8, and Hades followed with him, and power was given them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger (Limos #3042), with death, and by the beasts of the earth in that passage.

Hades and Thanatos were gods in Greek Mythology.  Thanatos was the personification of death. His brother is Hypnos, from where we get the word hypnosis. Hades was the god of the underworld, the place where human souls go to after death. His name became synonymous with his realm. His name means “unseen one.” In Greek mythology he is the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, who were Titans. Hades and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated their father’s generation (the Titans) and claimed rulership over the cosmos (the Olympians). Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea. Each one holds an object in their hands. Poseidon has a trident, Zeus has a scepter, and Hades (aka Pluto) has keys. So…is this where Jesus took posession of the keys? Did Hades (Pluto) get the keys from Adam? Did Jesus go and get them back?

Hades was portrayed as a soft ruler, but did not want anyone to ever leave his realm, and became quite enraged if anyone ever tried, or cheated death, or if anyone ever tried to steal souls from his realm. Imagine then, if the myths are true. If these gods are really the fallen angels. Imagine Hades’ dismay at Jesus’s arrival and Him having the power and authority to release the souls being held there. Is it Hades’ rage that sweeps a third of the angels from heaven to fight Michael and his angels (Revelation 12:1-10)? Is it also Hades’ rage that is precipitating the Armageddon showdown on earth between Jesus and Satan in Revelation 19:19?

According to mythology, Hades’ reluctant queen was Persephone. He has a 3-headed dog named Cerberus. Why would Hades need a three-headed dog? Perhaps because there are 3 levels to the otherworld: Abraham’s Bossom/Paradise….. Hades (realm)/Sheol….. Gehenna/Tartarus?

Since finding Sharon and Derek Gilbert on SkywatchTV (their programs: Unraveling Revelation, Sci-Friday, and The Bible’s Greatest Mysteries, which are available at GilbertHouse.org), I don’t believe the Greek gods were myths after all, although the fantastical tales written about them are very likely fake news

Remember how Jesus said, “Upon this rock (which was Mount Hermon – the mountain of the gods) I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail”?  The gates appear to have a defensive quality, as if they’ve been put up to keep Jesus out.  But, alas, King Jesus holds the key, so there is no keeping Him out.  What he opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open, that includes things in heaven and on earth and under the earth.

And, if we have given our lives to Jesus, no one can snatch us out of His hand. 

If we refuse to make Jesus Lord of our life, and He banishes us to Hell, there is no one who can break us out.  For the occupants of hell, be it man or angel or demon, the only release from there will be resurrection to the Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:7-15), and then to eternity in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.

The next key in scripture is in Revelation 9:1,

“The fifth angel sounded. And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth.  To him was given the key to the bottomless pit (literally shaft of the abyss).”

“And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace.  So, the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit” Revelation 9:2.

Remember the woes mentioned in the Key of Knowledge, to those who withheld the gospel? Well, I think it is interesting that the verse immediately proceding this Revelation 9 passage states, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.” The first woe is pronounced upon “only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (9:4). So, the sheep and the goats have been separated, it appears, and marked, and it is interesting to me the punishment that is handed out. Locusts that had the shape of horses prepared for battle and their torment was like that of a scorpion, with stings in their tails, when it strikes a man. Men will seek death, but will not find it. In 1 Kings 12:11 and 14 it says, “And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” The word “scorpions” in that passage has been translated “scourages,” exactly the thing Jesus was chastised with for us (Matthew 27:26, 30-31; Isaiah 53:3-5). The weapon which made those being punished want to die shall be visited back upon the ungodly. If mankind refuses to let Jesus be the substitutionary punishment for their sin, they shall suffer their own consequences.

Now, going back to verse one, there’s an “angel” and a “star” in that verse, which means there is a distinction being made between the two.  The star is a male and he is given a key to the bottomless pit.  The word STAR in this verse is the exact same word used for the STARS in Jesus’s right hand in Revelation chapter 1, which is explained in verse 20 as the angels of the seven churches.  Scholars say that the word star can be translated as messenger (some translations say divine messenger instead of angel), and some believe the stars are the leaders or pastors of those churches. 

Now, let’s look at the word “fallen.”  Strongs #4098 the word is Pipto, and it means to alight, descend, come down and land, shine brightly.  As soon as the star lands he opens the bottomless pit with a key. 

I wonder.  Could this “star” be Peter?  I mean… could it?  This is honestly the carrot that led me to the rabbit hole of these keys that you are reading right now.

We know that Peter is certainly an eternal being, who passed on to heaven before John was taken to Patmos. When Peter died, he was absent from his body but present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).  He is alive today and living in heaven with Jesus, and waiting for his body to be resurrected – which is why he might appear as a shining star instead of a man???

Daniel 12:3 says, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.

A Glorious Body – 1 Corinthians 15:35-55

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind [a]of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40 There are also [b]celestial bodies and [c]terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made[d] of dust; the second Man is [e]the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the [f]man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we[g] shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a [h]mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 O[i] Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

Jesus, after all, promised Peter, AND ONLY PETER, the keys to the kingdom, as they stood facing one of the many gates of Hades that existed on this earth at that time.  Jesus said that Peter would bind on earth what had been bound in heaven, and would loose on earth what had been loosed in heaven, meaning the spirits that dwelled in the bottomless pit had already been given permission (Revelation 9:5) in heaven to do their deeds, and the “star” was simply unlocking the door and letting them out to go do it.

Who did the “star” release? An army who had as king over them, Abaddon/Apollyon. According to Derek Gilbert, in his book, The Second Coming of Saturn, this Abaddon is also known as Saturn, and this release from the pit is Saturn’s reign on the earth. Saturn is also known by another name, Lucifer – the Lucifer of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Are Lucifer and Satan the same person? The name Abaddon/Apollyon means destruction/destroyer. Isaiah 54:16 says “I [God] have created the waster to destroy.” He was created by God in order to give man, whom He created later, free will, but this adversary and Satan, himself, became enamored with the power he was given and it caused him to rebel, as God knew he would. But God already had a plan to redeem men when they sinned – Jesus, the Lamb who was chosen to be slain before Creation (1 Peter 1:18-20).

As David chose one stone from his shepherd’s pouch to take out Goliath, Jesus chose Peter as a stone with a special purpose, a key holder whose ministry it is to let out, and to lock up.

The key that Jesus gave to Peter wasn’t just authority to preach the gospel, for He gave that authority to all of the disciples, and to you and I.  Peter was promised a whole set of keys, not just one key.

Remember the woes Jesus spoke in Luke 11 to three groups of people – the lawyers, Pharisees, and Scribes who took away the key of knowledge? Well here, with the key to the bottomless pit is the first of three woes fulfilled.  The king of the bottomless pit is released to torment the ungodly of the earth for 5 months, the exact same amount of time that God released the flood waters to destroy the ungodly of the earth (Genesis 7:24).  The second woe involves the two witnesses who finish their testimony and are killed by the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit, then the witnesses are brought back to life by the breath of God and taken to heaven in a cloud (just like Jesus was).  The third woe involves all the inhabitants of the earth – those who destroy the earth; Satan has come down to them having great wrath.

Know this, my friend.  When you see evil prevailing on the earth, it is the last dying breaths of our adversary/adversaries, with his angel cohorts and his corrupted seed, but he does not win.  Our King is seated on the throne in God’s heaven, and our enemy will be defeated.  He may take some of us out in the process, but always remember that “if we live, we live to the LORD; and if we die, we die to the LORD.  Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the LORD’s” Romans 14:8.  We are bought by the blood of Jesus and no one can snatch us out of His hand.  Make sure you keep your Spiritual Armor on you, having an especially tight grip on that shield of faith, and make sure your Robe of Righteousness stays clean and white.  Keep your lamp (or body) full of the Holy Spirit.

Our adversary wants our birthright, but he cannot have it.  He has a puffed-up heart, but he will be brought down to Sheol…

The final key in scripture is in Revelation 20,

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.  But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them … and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” 

Could this angel be Michael? Or could it be Peter here also?

Perhaps as David killed Goliath with one smooth stone, Jesus used Peter to lock Satan away for 1000 years.  I have no doubt that Peter could put chains on Satan, as Jesus’ little rock. Peter was the bold one, the gutsy one who made that confession in front of the grotto of Pan, and who wacked off the ear of the soldier who had come to take Jesus away in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And who stood up and preached at Pentecost.

What would be the point of us knowing this is Peter? 

I’ve been praying for wisdom and asking God this question, and this is the thought that occurred to me, that our lives don’t end when we die. Peter’s life didn’t end when he died.  He has an eternal life, and maybe that is what God is showing us by this little revelation? (If indeed this is a revelation.)

In heaven there are creatures that praise God, day and night (Revelation 4:8).  There is scripture that says there is a great cloud of witnesses that surround the living on earth (Hebrews 12:1).  Perhaps one of the things Jesus has given to Peter to do is to lock and unlock doors and gates. Why is it always a joke that Peter is standing by the Pearly Gates admitting or turning people away? Where did Peter being the gatekeeper come from? Where did the “pearly” gates idea come from?

On that note though, I wonder what job Jesus has for me in heaven?  And for you?  I know I have always loved food and serving.  Perhaps I’ll get to be a Sous Chef in His kitchen?  Perhaps I’ll get to serve at the great wedding feast?  I’ve also always appreciated the beauty of nature.  Perhaps I’ll get to be a tour guide to show others all of God’s magnificent creation; of course, He’ll have to show it all to me first!  LOL. 

BTW: There is one other key in the Bible, and it was literally used to lock a dead king in his chambers (Judges 3:12-30).  Perhaps even that one has a prophetic connection.  Perhaps it is the key that locks the fat rebellious dragon in his firey bed chamber forever?

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” 

Colossians 3:1-2

Stones of Remembrance-2, Abraham’s First Altar

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Stones of Remembrance-2, Abraham’s First Altar

Read Genesis 8 to Genesis 12

Interesting thing about this name Ra’ah. It is listed here as Strong’s Hebrew word #7200. It means to see intellectually, to look upon, inspect, regard, perceive. God revealed Himself, He appeared to Abram, and Abram perceived Him, Abram saw God with spiritual eyes, dimly, as in a mirror, veiled. We know that it was a perception because of John 1:18 and Exodus 33:20. You might be interested in what the folks over at GotQuestions.org have to say about people in the Old Testament “seeing” God. Later in Genesis we will read about the God-who-Sees-Me (Genesis 16:13), El Roi in Hebrew, which is the Strongs Hebrew word #7210. It comes from the word/name Raah, but means a sight, an appearance, a spectacle, a gazing-stock, a vision. And then there is Ra’ah (Strong’s # 7462) which is mentioned in Psalm 23:1, the Lord-my-Shepherd (the one who watches over His sheep). You can read about this name HERE.

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Here are some things we might want to research: 

What does the name Abram and then Abraham mean?  What does the name Sarai and then Sarah mean?  What also happened at the time God changed Abram’s name?  Why might God change a name? What happened in 17:17 and 18:12?  Research what the name Isaac means (21:1-7) – if you own a study Bible it should tell you in the margin what the Hebrew word for Isaac is in verse 3. Do you know what your name means? Does it reflect your character or a trait about you?

Consult the map in your Bible to find the places Abraham traveled to, and draw with colored markers on your own map a dotted line of his travels, coming down from (Haran), then to Shechem, then Bethel, and then a dotted line going south and west toward Egypt.  Draw hills to show the hill country.  Put dots where the cities were.  Also, draw little illustrations of the altar that Abraham built at Shechem.  If you have the journal book for this study there is a map on page 197 that you can use. Make a sticky-note of all the details of the altar and stick it next to your illustration. 

Put God’s name, “Jehovah Raah” next to this altar in your Bible and on your map.

What type of structure did the Nimrodians build in Gen. 11:4? Did you know that there are step pyramid structures all over the world? Here, DuckDuck it and see for yourself (CLICK).

https://www.ancient-code.com

What did the people build the Nimrodian structure out of (Gen. 11:3)?   What was their goal for building it (Gen. 11:4)?  What was their fear in vs.4?  What happened in verse 8? 

How many continents are there on the earth? Do you know? In the midst of all the building and babbeling there’s a man’s name that is mentioned in Genesis 10:25. The verse even tells us what his name means. Peleg. “The earth was divided (#6385) in his days.” Genesis 11:9 says the builders of that tower were scattered abroad, over the face of all the earth. Could God have broken the continents apart as a way to scatter them, as it appears by the land shapes on a globe? Could this be why there are strange stone structures of amazing similarity all over the world? Isn’t it strange that giant’s bones have been found all over the globe, but not a single tool has surfaced which lends a hint to how these structures were built?

How many nationalities of people can you list from all the continents of the earth today? How many languages are spoken on planet earth? How are they related to each other?

This is fascinating stuff to me. It proves that the Bible is true and accurate. Perhaps that is why all evidence of Nephilim, when it is discovered, is immediately rushed away to some secret holding place and we never hear of it again. You would think that the findings of giant skelletons would be headline news, but they’re not. It’s all hidden away. I can almost feel my dad being interested in all this stuff. It would have fascinated him too, I think!!!! Anyway, I’m putting the link to LA’s first video about the moundbuilders, and the serpent mounds here>> https://youtu.be/x5tLy2_KKeY and once you click to watch it you will see his other videos. If not, these are the links to other of his videos and You Tube channel… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCySeXTLuH6wSJveZrA-sz9A and https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLamarzulli/videos. He has traveled all over the world, at his own expense, and investigated all sorts of strange structures, earth mounds, stone structures, brick structures, etc. If you click the subscribe button on his You Tube channel you will be notified when he uploads new ones. You can watch them all and stay in the loop with his work.

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“Abram/Abraham believed in the LORD and it was accounted to him as righteousness.”

Genesis 15:6; Genesis 3:6; Romans 4:3, 18 and 22; James 2:23

How is God’s plan for Abram in Gen. 12:1-3 different from the Nimrodians plan in Gen. 11:4? What was the command God gave to Abram in Genesis 12:1? Why would God send him to the land of the Canaanites (the giants)? Have you ever wondered where the Garden of Eden was? Look up the geographic hints in Genesis 2:8-15. Do some digging to see if you can come up with an approximate location. I’ll give you a hint. I believe it is the most hotly contested plot of land on the earth even still to this day. We’ll venture more down that rabbit trail in a coming chapter. Suffice to say, Abraham was a brave man.

Did Abram go alone as God asked – Gen. 11:31 & 12:4?  Why did he “dwell” in Haran (Acts 7:4)?  If Abram had obeyed God and not taken any family he might not have dwelled in Haran so long.  He’d have had time to dig wells and plant gardens in Shechem, Bethel, or Hebron before the drought hit, which could have prevented him from having to flee to Egypt, where Sarah acquired Hagar. And if he hadn’t brought Lot, he wouldn’t have had to split the land or deal with that whole mess.  But I think we can all sympthize with Abraham. How many of us would have gone alone into a proverbial “Sherwood Forest?” It’s sometimes scary to go into a dark room of our own houses. I wonder if Abram chanted the scriptures that I chant when I am scared, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18.

Who were Abraham’s other children (Gen. 23:1-6)?

What are the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-33) compared to?  What does “they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built” mean, do you suppose?

Highlight the words CURSE and BLESS in Genesis 12:2-3.  Use a highlighter to highlight in your Bible every instance when you see the words BLESSED, CURSED, ALTAR, MOUNTAIN, and GOD’s NAME. Research other places in scripture where Abraham’s story is told (Acts 7:2-8; Romans 4:9-25; Hebrews 11:8-12); what can we glean from these passages?

Personal application

As you read the story can you imagine yourself in Abram/Abraham’s, or Sarah’s, or Lot’s, or any of the other character’s shoes? 

Mark all the places you read about on the map and draw little pictures to show mountains, trees, water wells, the locations of towns, a dotted line to mark Abram’s travels, altars, people, etc. 

Does anything in this passage of scripture remind you of a time when God appeared to you, promised you something either by a word that jumped off the pages of scripture at you while you were reading, or deposited into your heart as you were praying, or was spoken to you by a prophet, or preached from the pulpit and you knew it was a word from God for you, or by some other means, or has God ever shown you something that He wanted to give to you, or moved you to a new land?  Has there ever been a time in your life when you knew what God wanted you to do, but you didn’t quite obey Him and suffered consequences because of it? 

If you are in Christ, there is therefore now no condemnation.  I hope you know that no sin has overtaken except what is common to man.  Our flesh is constantly at war with our Spirit.  The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  When we quench the Holy Spirit, kick against the goads so to speak, when He is trying to lead us in the way we should go, and we let the flesh have its way, it just gives the flesh more power in our lives.  When we confess our shortcomings to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, giving more power to the Spirit. 

Do you have a testimony of some struggle you’ve overcome by the power of God?  Maybe it was a hard fought battle, but praise God, He brought you to a place of victory.  Perhaps you struggled with fear?  A health issue?  Sexual sin?  Worry?  Maybe it was something else.  Please share your testimony! Share the details and praise God for the victory! 

Project (an altar that I can build)

I planted two trees, one on either side of the front door of my home.  At the base of each tree I set a large stone.  On one stone I wrote the word BLESSING, and on the other stone I wrote CURSING.  I wanted those trees (and stones) to serve as reminders to me every time I entered or left my home to be a blessing in this world rather than a curse.  I wanted them to remind me to show love, to be patient & kind, to give and bless and serve others with the love of God, both coming and going, remembering that I will receive a blessing from God for allowing His Spirit to move and work in me.

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“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul.”

Psalm 66:16

Stones of Remembrance – Rock/Stone/Pillar/Mountain/Altar

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Stones of Remembrance – Rock/Stone/Pillar/Mountain/Altar

Okay, here is your second assignment, should you choose to accept… 

Find the definitions for each of the Hebrew and Greek words listed below, and then make a note of all the Bible addresses where each is found.  What is the most common word used for “stone” in Hebrew (and Greek). Can you find every place in the Bible where a stone/rock/pillar/altar is mentioned?

I did not include it in my spreadsheet, but also look up the word MOUNTAIN and make a note of all of the mountains as well. What is the Hebrew word for mountain? Is there more than one? What is the Greek word for mountain, and is there more than one? What is the definition of each, and where are all found in the Bible? When a mountain has a name, list the names and what each one means. Go deeper…find if there is any history or mythology related to any of them. This website might be useful to you: (https://www.abarim-publications.com/NaLi/Mountains_Bible.html)

I love a good game of hide-and-go-seek. I love an Easter Egg hunt. I love a good mystery. How about you? Funnzies! Let’s dig.

BTW: You are free to print out these pages so you can write your research on them and tuck them into your book. To print: highlight all of the text, then right click on your mouse, and choose print.

Here is a great website to help you in your research of Old Testament Hebrew: 

Old Testament Hebrew Lexical Dictionary: (https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/eng/hebrew.html)

Hebrew words for

Stone(s)

Strong’s #Hebrew wordDefinition
68eben 
6697tsuwr 
5619caqal (saqal) 
7275ragam 
6872tsrowr 
1496gaziyth 
8068shamiyr 
810eshek 
6344pachad 
2789cheres 
5553cela 
2106zaviyth 
2687chatsats 

Rock(s)

5553cela 
4581mauwz (maowz) 
2496challamiysh 
3710keph 

Greek words for

Stone(s)

Strong’s #Greek wordDefinition
3034lithazo 
3035lithinos 
3036lithoboleo 
3037lithos 
2642katalithazo 
2991laxeutos 
4074Petros 
6344pachad 

Rock(s)

4073petra 

Here is a terrific website to help you in your research of New Testament Greek: 

New Testament Greek Lexical Dictionary: (https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/eng/greek.html)

Hebrew words for Altar

Strong’s #Hebrew wordDefinition
4196mizbeach 
4056madbach 
741arieyl 

Greek words for Altar

Strong’s #Greek wordDefinition
2379thusiasterion 
1041bomos 

Hebrew words for Pillar(s)

Strong’s #Hebrew wordDefinition
4676matstsebah 
4678matstsebeth 
4690matsuwq 
4552micad (misad) 
547omenah 
5982Ummah 
5324natsab 
5333netsiyb 
8490tiymarah (timarah) 

Greek word for Pillar(s)

Strong’s #Greek wordDefinition
4769stulos 

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25:2

Stones of Remembrance-1: Noah’s Altar

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Stones of Remembrance-1: Noah’s Altar

 Read Genesis, chapters 1 through 8

So, I guess God likes BBQ as much as the rest of us. Lol! It is a pleasant aroma, isn’t it? Thank you for joining me on this great adventure!!!!!!! Studying the Bible is going to be work, but with a great reward. I hope you are up to the task. I pray I am as well. If you would like to be informed when a new post for this study is posted, please click on the blue follow button under my profile (on the right side of this screen). There should also be a button that pops up at the bottom of the screen when you scroll up.

I’ve thought a lot about why Noah’s altar is the first one to start us out. It certainly couldn’t be more relevant for our day. The Bible tells us that the “last days” shall be as the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37). Therefore I feel like God really wants us to pay close attention to all the details and compare similarities. This might be a great time to research all the places in the Bible where Noah appears (https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Noah). I feel like the study of Noah’s altar is like the sounding of a trumpet in our day, to help us to be ready. And just as Noah was “taken up” in the ark, so shall believers in Christ be taken up at some point (pre, mid, or post) the Great Tribulation of the last days. (Have you studied the three viewpoints of the rapture? You may be interested in Perry Stone’s perspective, or Joel Richardson’s, and you might find these websites interesting: https://www.midtribulationrapture.com/index.html and https://www.gotquestions.org/midtribulationism.html). I’m personally praying that I may escape all that is about to happen (Luke 21:34-36; Romans 2:3; 1 Corinthians 10:13), that I may be ready, watching, and worthy to stand before the LORD if He should come today! How do I make myself ready? I first have asked Jesus to come and live in me, forgive my sins and wash me clean of them, and I fill my lamp with oil daily by being in the word and prayer, and living for Jesus instead of chasing after worldly desires. I pray that I will know His voice when He calls. I pray for a spirit that yields to the desires of the Father and not my flesh. I pray to be a blessing in this world, which means I pray that I will be a friend to you and that my words will encourage you, and make you to seek the Lord in your life.

I want to begin our studies in Genesis, chapter One. I believe that reading the Bible through with this theme in mind is a great way to read the Bible through.

Write Genesis 1:1-5 in a notebook:

Thinking about verse 1… Have you ever heard of the “Chaotic Earth” or “Gap” theory?  Research it.

http://www.doctrinalstudies.com/pdf/D051009.pdf

http://www.doctrinalstudies.com/pdf/D160315.pdf

Let us test the things we’ve heard (1 John 4:1; 1 Thes 5:21), and study to show ourselves approved, workers who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). 

This gray area (gap, perhaps, in verse one), some believe, is the golden age, from where all myths and legends originate.  The first thing I want for us to do is investigate the original Hebrew for these first verses to see where there might be room for such theory in the word of God.

This is a terrific resource for study: https://biblehub.com/text/genesis/1-1.htm. When you view that page, click the arrow to continue to verse two, etc. Did you notice the little Hebrew word that isn’t translated into anything in English (on this website)?  Here is a neat explanation of that little Hebrew word here: https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/a-little-word-with-a-big-meaning/

Please notice the word “was” in verse 2.  The Hebrew word which has been translated into “was” here, also appears elsewhere in scripture (111 times), and is usually translated into these words: become, has become, became, have, has been, etc. (https://biblehub.com/hebrew/hayetah_1961.htm).  So what happens to the nuance of that sentence when we use the word “became” instead of “was?”

And now notice the word “darkness.” The Hebrew word used is CHOSHEK. The Word Study Old Testament dictionary defines this word literally as darkness or obscurity, but also figuratively as falsehood, ignorance, blindness, hiddenness, judgment, misery, destruction, death, sorrow, and wickedness.  It has a negative spiritual connotation.  Exodus 10:21-22 and Isaiah 45:7.  Choshek accompanied God’s appearance on Mount Sinai (Exodus 14:20; Deut. 4:11; 5:23).  It can refer to the darkness of the grave (1 Sam. 2:9; Job 10:21; 18:18; 34:22; Ps. 88:12; Eccl. 6:4).   (http://www.doctrinalstudies.com/pdf/D051009.pdf)

Matthew 4:16             2 Corinthians 4:6                     Acts 26:18

Isaiah 9:2                     1 Peter 2:9                              Matthew 10:27

John 1:5                       Ephesians 5:8                          Mark 4:22/Luke 8:17

Luke 1:79                     John 8:12                                 Luke 12:3

The Apostle John expounds on the Light of Genesis 1 verse 3.  And he does it again in Revelation 21:23-24.  If the “light” is a person (John 1:1-14), then it stands to reason that the “darkness” could be also.  In this particular passage there is a conjunction added to the beginning of the word so that it isn’t just darkness, but and darkness.  The deep is also the same reference as Sheol, Tartarus, Gehenna, the Bottomless Pit, the Abyss, the Lake of Fire, and Outer Darkness – chambers of the underworld. Look up Strongs 8415 and the word it comes from 1949. Was Satan here on the earth trying to interfere with what God wanted to do? (2 Peter 2:4)  See this article: https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/sheol-hell-torment-abyss-tartarus-gehenna-fire-darkness/. This is also another resource you may want to visit: https://www.abarim-publications.com/NaLi/2darkness.html.

For some reason I keep thinking of Job in my spirit as I review this.  Where was Satan in Job 1:7 & 2:2?  Gen. 1:2

God confronted Satan, knowing his thoughts that he had set his wicked heart on the servant Job, who was unlike anyone else on the earth.  What were Job’s character traits in verse 8?  In the same way Satan set his wicked heart on the creation and Adam and Eve, who were like nothing else God had ever created.  They were made in God’s own likeness.

God made a garden for Adam (Gen.2:8), God made a hedge around Job (vs 10).

Satan accused God, saying Job only loved Him because God had blessed him and made his life easy.  In the garden Satan accused Eve of being naïve, and God of having secrets.  Satan is the ultimate busy-body who sows discord among the brethren.  God gave man the freewill to choose, good or evil.  And it’s important for us to realize that our lives, our birthright has been challenged from the very beginning.  It is important for us to understand that there is a battle going on here.

If there is a prophecy in Genesis 3:15 about the “seed” of the serpent and the “seed” of the woman, that the serpent’s seed will bruise the heel of the woman’s seed, but that her seed will crush the serpent’s head, and that this is speaking of the Christ as the woman’s seed (Jesus’ geneology traces back to Adam and Eve (Luke 3:23-37) through their son Seth, and Satan as the serpent, then it leaves the door open for the theory that Satan spawned a race of beings. This is 100% conjecture on my part, but I’m also just throwing out a thought, that Cain’s story could also be a sort of parable and a prophecy of the same. Two begotten, one with a good heart and one with a dark heart. One approved by God and one warned of the evil in his heart. The one, with evil crouching at his door, is consumed with hate for the goodness of his brother and he kills him (as Christ was killed). In fact, the Bible says that Satan entered into Judas, and then Jesus commanded him to go and do quickly what was in his heart to do (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). There is a mark associated with Cain (Genesis 4:15), as there is also a mark associated with the Beast of Revelation 13:16-18. God made Cain a vagabond and a fugitive on the earth (the word Nod means wandering), and where does Satan say he comes from when he presents himself before the throne of God – Job 1:6-7 and 2:1-2 – as a wandering nomad with no home. Why did Jesus use parables in His ministry? I believe for the same reason that the whole Old Testament is a book of parables – true stories with hidden meanings – so that only those with righteous souls, who search for the Lord with all of their hearts will find what they are really saying.

Notice Cain’s descendents (Genesis 4:16-25): Enoch built a city (a kingdom of his own) and called the name of the city Enoch (could his city be in the area of Memphis or Cairo and the great pyramids of Giza?) Below is a fascinating interview with Ken Klein (he made several documentaries) which investigates the origin of the great pyramids. It begins with some alien stuff that I’m not sure about and honestly makes me uncomfortable, but if you fast forward to about a quarter way into it, it gets interesting. I am not convinced that his theory that Enoch-of-Seth built it though (no documents, no writings on the wall, nothing has been found inside to support his thesis), and I’m also questioning that it could be the altar and pillar of Isaiah 19:19-20 for a few reasons, and I’ll get into all of that in a later chapter of this study, so you’ll want follow so you don’t miss anything, but his explorations of the pyramids themselves, and the details that he brings to light about them are what is incredibly fascinating.

This last video came from https://www.youtube.com/user/kenkleinproductions. The following is the link to his productions collection: https://www.kenkleinproductions.net/Films.cfm, however the links at this website take you to Vimeo, where the films are no longer available.

Using the DuckDuck search engine, type in “Enoch and the Great Pyramid” to find many interesting websites on the subject.

Four (or is it 5) generations from Enoch-(of-Cain) were these descendants who had amazing knowledge of things: Jabal, knew about geography and survival skills, as a dweller in tents and expert in husbandry; Jubal, was a gifted musician and perhaps the inventor of the listed musical instruments (which in those days was a way of passing along history, myths, and legends); and Tubal-Cain, who was an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron – which were needed for building and hunting and warfare. These, I suspect, were the people who would want to preserve knowledge, and make sure it was flood-proof and fire-proof. Why would God’s people be afraid of vital information perishing in a flood or a fire? Why would they think God would not teach them all that they needed to know again after a catastrophic event? Man, and evil beings have always been attracted to knowledge, for instance, the tree of knowledge in the garden. The fallen ones are the ones who would want to preserve knowledge and be afraid of God destroying things. Fallen ones would also be interested in marking a “portal” to the heavens (in my humble opinion).

There are interestingly three ages of man, history tells us: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age. The Bronze age was approximately in 3300 to 1200 BC (BCE). Interestingly this age ended abruptly with a simultaneous collapse of several prominent civilizations (The History Channel – http://www.history.com). The Iron Age was approximately 1200 to 600 years Before Christ, a long time after Enoch’s descendants walked the earth.

So, did Cain’s descendants die off completely in the flood, or could some of them have survived the flood? Did the Nephilim, the giants, all die off in the flood, or did some survive the flood? Genesis 6:4 seems to concur that there were survivors after the flood. Why, might we wonder, did God allow survivors? I go back to the garden and the two trees. Choice. Free will.

What if the gods of Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, Babylonian, etc. “mythology” aren’t myths after all?  What if they are really the sons of Cain, who received their amazing gifts of knowlege from fallen angels, or were they the Nephilim, and everything we’ve ever read about them (being myths) is actually myth itself? The stories of them have no doubt been greatly convoluted and extravagantly exaggerated, but could there be a hint of truth to the fables?

Check out this website which lists all the “other gods” mentioned in the Bible: (https://www.abarim-publications.com/NaLi/Other_gods_Bible.html). They also have a list of all the giants too (https://www.abarim-publications.com/NaLi/Giants_Bible.html).

  • At this point in my personal studies is where I happened to find Skywatch TV on one of the religious networks on my TV. Derek and Sharon Gilbert teach quite a lot about the little g gods, the titans of old, and have also written several books on the topic. I encourage you to go look them up and consider prayerfully what they have to say. It is extremely interesting and scholarly information. Here is the link to another one of their videos: Giants of the Underworld.

Derek and Sharon Gilbert do an excellent, in-depth Bible Study called, Unraveling Revelation.  You can view an episode of that series (( HERE )) <–this link will open in a new window and take you to their channel on Rumble. All of their programming is also available for free on their TV and phone apps, available for Roku, Android, and iPhone. 

Also, Timothy Alberino has authored a book titled, Birthright, which I recommend.  If you are not a reader you can find Rumble interviews (( HERE )).  He has been a guest on SkywatchTV, Prophecy Watchers, and others.

What do the Hebrew words for “sorry” and “grieved” mean in Gen. 6:7

When the Bible says that God was sorry that He had made man, and that He was sorry that He had made man on the earth, what are your thoughts?  Was God disappointed in man?  Angry with man?  Or was He sorry to see how completely corrupted man’s DNA had become through the cunning of the evil one?  Noah was the only human that “was perfect in his generations.”  Noah was the only uncorrupted human DNA left on the earth.  When God saved Noah, He saved His seed from the brink of extinction. Is our DNA being manipulated today? Is there anyone alive today who’s DNA has not been corrupted? Our food is genetically modified. The animals we eat may also be altered with horomones, etc. Have immunizations altered our DNA? Hmmmm, food for thought.

Who are the daughters of men? Could they be the daughters of Cain – the son who became jealous and angry with Abel and God (Gen. 4:5-8; Ephesians 4:26-27; Romans 12:18-19; James 3:14-16)? Was it eventually all women, including Noah’s wife?  We know that somehow the giants survived the flood as Gen. 6:4 tells us they were here afterward, and were living in Canaan (Numbers 13).

Who are the “sons of God?” Were they fallen angels (Job 1:6 & 2:1; Luke 10:18; John 12:31-32; Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 9:1; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 12:3-9), who brought into existence the race of “giants” (Nephilim)? …The “mighty men who were of old, men of renown?” …the corrupt beings (6:2,4,13)?

Are these Nephilim the serpent’s “seed” (Gen. 3:15)? Were angels created with the ability to “be fruitful” or to “become one flesh” (Matthew 22:30)? Did they have knowledge of another way to make children? Perhaps Satan counterfeited what he saw (at the time of the curse upon him) would be God’s technology for placing a baby into the womb of Mary? The thing is, when God creates, His creation is perfectly “good,” but when Satan counterfeits, it all becomes chaos, violent, and ugly. Wheat vs tares. Could the Nephilim, when they died, be demons today?

(The Book of Enoch could shed some light on this. The Book of Enoch is not considered “inspired” to be included in the Bible, but is valued for its historical content, and passages of the Bible do refer to its writings, such as Jude 1:6-7 and 2 Peter 2:4. What is interesting is that there is evidence of “giant’s” all over the world. There are curious stone structures all over the world that one has to wonder how they could have been built, if not for giants, and what were they built for? L.A. Marzulli has been on the trail of the Nephilim for many years, and has documented many, many, many of the strange stone structures on many continents. You can find the DVD’s and books of his research at ProphecyWatchers.com). And Derek and Sharon Gilbert have written books, such as Giants, Gods, and Dragons, and Veneration, which delve into this topic. Perhaps one explanation for the similar structures being all over the world is found in the 10th and 11th chapters of Genesis, the tower of Babel (11:9), and Peleg (10:25). I wonder if God broke the continents apart at that time. The families of the Canaanites were dispersed (Noah’s son Ham being the father of the Canaanites, and Nimrod being his grandson). All the inhabitents of the earth would have had the shared knowledge of the building of the tower of Babel. They would have wanted to preserve their collected knowlege of the celestial maps and the seasons. Meh, it’s a good theory anyway.

Are these large humans mentioned anywhere else in scripture (Ezekiel 32:27; Numbers 13:33; “Rephaim” Deut. 2:11,20,21; 3:11; 2 Sam. 21:19; Josh. 11:22)?

Were angels intended to marry (Matthew 22:30)?

Isn’t it curious that our months, days, planets, and many of the constellations are named after mythological entities? Is it possible that they aren’t “myths” after all?

What might be the rulers, powers, principalities, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12)?

As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, and ____________________________________________________________________________ (Matthew 24:38) (Luke 17:26-27).

What was the earth filled with (Gen. 6:11,13)?

What does Noah’s name mean?

What does it mean to be perfect in one’s generations as Noah was (Gen. 6:9)?

What were the names of Noah’s sons (Gen. 9:18)?

What did his son Ham see and do to his father in Gen. 9:22, 24? Please research this, because the wording in the Hebrew suggests an act of incest. Keep an eye out going forward in this study for perverted sexual activities and who it is connected with. Is Ham the reason that there were giants in the land “and also afterwards?” Genesis 6:4

Who was Ham the father of (Gen. 9:22)?

Where did the Canaanites go to live (Gen. 10:18-19)?

What do the Hebrew words for “sorry” and “grieved” mean in Gen. 6:7?

Was man almost at the point of extinction? Was Noah the last man alive with pure DNA? Did God save humanity from the brink of extinction in order to preserve the “seed of the woman?”

Highlight CURSED in verse 9:25 and BLESSED in verse 9:26. Why was Ham cursed?

Who did Noah bless?

Look on the map and find Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey. Turkey is the area shown in white with light gray bodies of water just above and below it. Going south from the center of Turkey you can see the darker gray areas and Israel, which is cut off on the bottom of the map. If you follow the eastern border of Turkey, and continue on the squiggly line, it leads to the Persian Gulf. That squiggly line divides Iran from Iraq.

Did you know that the highest point of Mount Ararat is 16,854’ above sea level? That’s a no kidding mountain. Mount McKinley in Alaska, renamed Denali, is North America’s tallest mountain at 20,310 ft. above sea level. Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevadas in California stands at 14,500 ft. Mount Rainier in Washington State is 14,417 ft. Pike’s Peak sits at 14,115 foot, and the Grand Teton, sits at 13,775 feet. That makes Ararat taller than any mountains in the lower 48 – just to give some perspective. The tallest mountain in the world is of course Mount Everest in the Himalayas. It towers into the heavens at 29,029 ft. After the Himalayas are the Andes Mountains, and then the Alaskan.

What time of year was it when Noah and the ark began to float, and when it was able to be exited (https://biblicalcalendarproof.net/articles/noahs-flood-and-gods-calendar)? I’m sure no matter what time of year it was, that it was cold up there where the ark landed. I’ll bet Noah didn’t stay up in that mountain for long.

Do you remember what Noah planted after he left the ark, perhaps at the foot of Mount Ararat?

Piece of trivia: Turkey and Iran have an ideal climate for grape cultivation, and both are the most massive producers of grapes in the world today (according to WorldAtlas.com), so if we have the chance to nibble a grape from Turkey, how cool to think they might be a descendant of the very grapes Noah planted.

As you are reading your Bible for this Bible study, be on the lookout for every time a mountain is mentioned in scripture. Highlight every time you see one and draw a little diagram of a mountain in the margin of your Bible. 🗻

Draw a rock in the margin of your Bible every time a rock, or stone, or pillar, or rock pile is mentioned. 🪨

Watch also for names given to God. You can circle them if you’d like. The first title for “God” in the Bible is the Hebrew word Elohim. It appears in Genesis 1:1. It is Strong’s #430. In this first usage it is a masculine noun in plural form. In Genesis 2, LORD is added to God to become “LORD God” in English. LORD is Strong’s #3068 and is the Hebrew word Yahweh. It is the covenant name of God connecting Him with His people Israel. The Jewish people never pronounced this name, and only used the consonant letters when writing the name. They often substituted Adonai (Strong’s #136) in its place out of reverence. By Genesis chapter four, “the LORD” is starting to be used. Noah built his altar to “the LORD” Yahweh.

What does the Bible say the flood is an antitype (foreshadowing) of in 1 Peter 3: 18-22; Romans 6:4-5; John 3:5?

Personal application: How does all of this apply to me?

Have you ever felt alone in a crowd? Ever been in a situation like Noah, where you might have felt like a square peg in a round hole? Perhaps persecuted and battered verbally for being so goody-goody? Perhaps you sometimes feel utterly alone, a total misfit in society, with no one to really hang out with, except perhaps maybe your family; where you feel surrounded by evil, violent people whom you definitely can’t trust?  Noah had no friends.  His descendant Abraham had no friends.  His ancestor Adam had no friends.  He only had his family. But, these men all had one friend in common – Proverbs 18:24; Luke 7:34; Hebrews 13:5; and John 15:14, the same friend we also have in common with them  (https://www.gotquestions.org/friend-stick-closer-brother.html).

Have you ever felt God calling you to do something and as you submitted to His will endured great criticism from just about everyone around you? Did you let it dissuade you, or make you more determined?

Have you ever been on the side of evil, violent people who persecuted faithful believers (Saul/Paul, Acts 22)? Would you consider yourself perfect in your generations, or a sin sick person from a long line of sin sick persons? Has God delivered you from the familial curses passed down to you from sin sick ancestors? Has God ever knocked you off your high horse and showed Himself to you in such a way that it led to your spiritual salvation? Have you been born again? Water baptized? Received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Do you know if you were to die today where you would go…heaven or hell? Why?

The word of God tells us that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6)! There is no one good. No one righteous. No one deserving of God’s mercy. There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). We must confess Him in order to have eternal life (Romans 10:9-10). His sacrifice saves us, if we will accept it, reach out and take His free gift. Have you reached out and taken His free gift?

A very bold woman once asked me if I were to die today would I know where I was going? The Holy Spirit would not let her words fall to the ground until I made a decision. I’m so eternally grateful that God put her in my path, that she had the courage to be obedient to the feeling in her heart, and I want to be that person for you. Not only has God given me peace in my Spirit that I belong to Him, but Jesus has, over time, made me a better person. He has washed my sins away and turned my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. I make mistakes from time to time, but my Savior always gently disciplines me and sets my feet back on the right path.

Would you like someone to pray with you to receive Jesus as your Savior? You are welcome to leave a comment and I will pray for you, but there are also people you can call who will pray with you. Please call 1-888-NEED-HIM, there is someone waiting and available who will pray with you at any time of the day or night.


Project (an altar that I can build):

I had the idea to make a little altar of my own that would help me to remember Noah’s altar in the scriptures, and also give me a way to start a little converstation with others if they should happen to see my altar and ask what that rock, or pile of rocks means. For this chapter, Noah’s Altar, I thought to make a time capsule from a waterproof container (perhaps a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, or an ammo box, or a large geocache container). Fill it with a hand-written copy of my testimony of salvation, along with a small Bible (with the Roman’s Road verses marked in it (or printed out and tucked in at the first address – which is Romans 3:16-19). I thought to also make a copy of the old hymn, Amazing Grace, and tuck that in there too. Once I had everything assembled I could go bury the container somewhere in my yard, perhaps under a tree, or by my fence at the corner, or maybe in one of the flower beds, Once buried I could place a stone on top of it with the name “Elohe Yeshua” (God of my salvation) painted on the stone with a good weather-resistant, outdoor acrylic paint.

Wouldn’t it be neat if perhaps someday, when I’m dead and gone, someone, perhaps new owners of the house, found my little time capsule? I will pray my little altar is a blessing to the finder, and life-changing for them. Will you make one with me?

“He only is my Rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. He only is my Rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:2, 6

“The LORD is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold).  For who is God except the LORD?  And who is a Rock, except our God?”  Psalm 18:2, 31

“‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock of my salvation.” Psalm 89:26

“I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”
Psalm 77:11-12 (KJV)

Holy Bible

Mrs H’s Refreshing and Oh Sooooo Yummy Hibiscus Tea

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Mrs H’s Refreshing and Oh Sooooo Yummy Hibiscus Tea

As promised…

I preface my post here by first telling you, I used to be an iced tea (black tea) drinker for many, many years.  I drank it all day long.  It replaced my Coke/Pepsi addiction, which I had for many, many years before that.  I gave up sodas because they just have waaaaay too much sugar in them, plus the carbonation had an adverse effect on my digestive system after I had my kids.  Sweet tea took over as my thirst quencher after that, until I decided that the pink stuff I was using to sweeten it wasn’t good for me either. I only used it because sugar rots your teeth. I eventually learned to like unsweet tea, until I discovered agave nectar – but they don’t usually have that at restaurants. Okay, honey then.

After a recent surgery my doctor visited my hospital room and saw my small cup of iced tea on my dining tray. He wagged his finger at me and said, you better lay off that stuff. It’s is very dehydrating.  Well darnit! That was the first iced tea I’d had in months. When I started chemo I defaulted to drinking water ONLY. Chemo is very dehydrating, and I worked really really hard to keep myself hydrated through all my treatments, but there were weeks after each treatment when water just didn’t taste good at all.  Food didn’t taste good.  Nothing tasted good.  I switched from drinking my water out of a metal cup, to drinking it out of glass, and that seemed to help, but it was just plain hard some days to choke water down.  My doctor suggested flavored pedialyte, so I got some of that, and I drank lots of Pom (pomegranate juice), and watermelon water – the no sugar added brand. 

And then I discovered hibiscus tea.  What a wonderful little beverage.  My dearest neighbor had it at her farmstand one Saturday morning, and her husband mixed me up what he called a “suicide.”  Remember those?  That’s funny, because that’s exactly what we called them also, when I was a teenager.  It’s when you fill your glass with a shot of every soda pop variety in the dispenser.  Well the only two things my neighbor had to mix together were the hibiscus tea (which had basil leaves and mint in it) and lemonade with slices of real lemon.  It was fantastic.  It sure is great to finally have my taste buds back.  So I’ve started making my own versions of hibiscus tea, and that’s what I drink now all day every day. It’s how I stay hydrated through these last chemo treatments, and during these HOT summer months.

Our local grocery store sells the dried hibiscus flowers by the bag in the Mexican products section, so I stay stocked up with several bags on hand, and I make about a half-gallon of the stuff every other day.  I keep lemons and limes on hand, and I grow my own mint and basil (my sweet neighbor grows balsamic basil and it is the best).  I’m trying to grow my own balsamic basil, but until it gets big enough to harvest I just snag it from her at her farmstand on Saturdays.

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My Method

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I start by tossing a couple small handfuls (approximately 1 heaping cup) of the flowers into a short drinking tumbler, cover it with a strainer to hold the flowers in the glass while I run the water into the glass and over the flowers. The strainer also keeps the flowers from escaping while I’m dumping out the water from the glass. I rinse and dump and rinse and dump about 3 times. This gets all the dirt out of the flowers.

Next, I fill a small saucepan a little over half full with filtered water – approximately 2 cups.  I actually use hydrogen/alkaline water that I buy locally in 5 gallon containers.  Then I bring the water just almost to a boil, to the point where I see the steam rising and small bubbles forming. I dump the rinsed flowers into it, give it a stir, and then turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes, until the water has turned a deep dark red color. I then take it off the heat and let it cool completely. 

Once cooled, I set up my half-gallon mason jar with a canning funnel and set the strainer inside. The funnel keeps the strainer in place while I pour the simmered tea through the strainer into the jar.  I then refil my saucepot with filtered water and let the flowers soak again just a little more, so I get all the last bit of goodie out of them.  I pour that second tea water into the jar, catching the flowers in the strainer.  I like to toss the spent flowers into my garden. They make great compost. Finally, I fill the jar all the rest of the way full with just plain filtered water.

I like to add my sliced lemon, sliced lime, mint leaves, a sprig of basil, or whatever other fruit (sliced strawberries, orange wedges, watermelon slices, sliced cherries or grapes), to my jar of tea and let it all mingle for several hours overnight before I drink it.  If you just like lemon, do that.  Or just mint.  Or just lime.  It’s all good. You could even make ice cubes out of the tea so it doesn’t delute as you’re drinking it. Or freeze grapes and use them in place of ice cubes.

I twist on my lid and place my tea in the refrigerator.  And hopefully I’ve made this new batch while I still had a huge glass of the old batch left to tide me over until this new batch is ready the next day.

I like mine sweetened, and over ice.  I mostly use agave nectar to sweeten my tea, but I have been known to use maple syrup, date syrup, and honey — raw, unfiltered local honey is the best!!!!!!!! 

I only sweeten by the glassful.  I do not sweeten the whole half-gallon. 

So, there you go. Now it’s your turn to go grab yourself some dried hibiscus flowers, whatever fruit you like, and a sweetener that you prefer, and whip yourself up a batch of this lip-smacking yumminess! Stay hydrated this summer my friends, in the most delicious way!!!!!!! And if you know someone who is going through cancer treatment, be a blessing and take them a nice big jar of this wonderful beverage. If you are feeling especially generous you can include a bag of the dried flowers and a lemon so they can make another batch when they run out. People did so many wonderful things like this for me and each and every one of them were a blessing. May God bless you for all that you do.

“No longer drink water only, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”

1 Timothy 5:23

“Happy Resurrection Day” Treasure Hunt 2021

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“Happy Resurrection Day” Treasure Hunt 2021

He is risen, risen indeed!  And before He departed He raised His hands and blessed His apostles and all those who were with them, and gave them (and us) a GREAT COMMISSION…

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.”  Matthew 28:17

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”   Mark 16:15-16

This is the theme I felt compelled to share with my grandchildren this year.

Easter Sunday Morning I made our sort-of traditional dinner (Lamb Chops, Ritz Chicken casserole, Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts in Hollandaise Sauce with bacon and toasted slivered almonds, Sweet Pea salad, Hot Cross Buns, Garlic Butter Smash Potatoes – loaded with onions, cheese, bacon, and sour cream, and for dessert…a Strawberry Cobbler).  I had the hot dishes warming in the oven when family arrived, so that the kids could do the Egg Hunt part of it all right away, because I knew they were really excited about it, and then we sat down to dinner to satisfy our hungry bellies before we continued with the rest of the fun.

Oh my goodness, I could hardly wait for them to arrive that morning. I had spent weeks preparing for this moment.  I was nervous though too, hoping it would all work out as planned. 

When I heard the car doors closing out front,  I ran to greet them at the door, and welcomed all their super-tight, I’ve-missed-you-sooooo-much grandma hugs and kisses.  “Are you ready for some fun?” I asked.  Oh yes, for sure, they seemed just as excited as I was. So, I led them through the house to where I had their plastic buckets waiting for them by the back door.  As we arrived there I pointed to my wall hanging and asked them if they liked my pretty “CHURCH.”  I wanted to make sure they saw it.  I think they liked it, but honestly they were so distracted with hunting for eggs I was slightly worried that they were going to miss an important clue.  Oh well.  I supposed that if I had to help trigger their memory later that would be fine.  We stepped outside the door to gasps and squeals as they caught glimpses of all the colorful eggs strewn to kingdom come all over the lawn.  There in front of them was the lawn sign that said, “You’ve been egged…” 

We read the sign together and then the girls, pausing for permission, got the green flag to GO! Like racecars lined up at the starting line, engines revving, grandma waved them off and there they went as quickly as their little legs would carry them.  One girl ran right, the other ran left, like two little humming birds buzzing around, literally just blurs against the green lawn.  I had to put my camera into “sports” mode so the pictures wouldn’t all be just a blur. I barely got a handful of shots before the eggs were completely gathered.  Lol!  The girls sat down in the lawn and dumped out their buckets wanting to see what was inside all the eggs.

But at this point we pushed the pause button on the hunt so we could partake of our feast.  All our tummies were growling.  The girls left their buckets and eggs lie, and we all washed up.  I swiftly set our hot dishes on the table and asked Jo to set out napkins and silverware for everyone.  We all sat down, bowed our heads, and thanked our precious Jesus for giving His life for us, and for blessing our fellowship this beautiful day.

The next part of the fun was to open all the eggs and see what was inside.  The eggs were filled with candy mints (Testamints), Resurrection buttons, and paper items. 

I instructed the girls to set their candy aside and put all their paper items back in their buckets.  They pinned all their Resurrection buttons onto their shirts.  Jo was the winner of the empty egg.  I asked them if they had found a paper heart with their name on it.  Yes, they both had.  Perfect!  These hearts had scriptures written on the other side – Proverbs 23:26/Matthew 22:37-38 /Romans 10:9.  Their dad pulled the scriptures up on his cell phone Bible app and the girls read them out loud together.

“My [daughter], give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.”  Matthew 22:37, 38

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

Will you give your hearts to Jesus, your whole hearts, I asked?  Then I handed them a note.  On the back was a clue where to look for Jesus.

The girls tore off in that direction, with granny hot on their heels.  Lol, no, I was nowhere near their heels.  I was miles behind them panting and yelling for them to wait for me as I hobbled at top granny speed. Ha!  I could hear them screaming in the distance, “We found Him!  We found Him!  We found Jesus!  I got there just in time to snap a photo of them reading the note from Jesus’ right hand.  It said:  Read John 21:12-17/Matthew 25:31-40 …

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”  John 21:12-17

I asked the girls, “Do you know what Jesus meant by “feed my sheep?”  Who are Jesus’ sheep? And what do we feed them?

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:31-40

… and then the note said to “Go and look for the “least of these,” the lost people, who are everywhere, and bring them to Jesus, and give them what they need.  Then open the note in Jesus’ left hand.

So the girls began looking around for the lost people (the paper people) and finally spotted one pinned to the backside of a tree.  They found them all pinned to the backsides of the trees, lots of trees, hiding basically behind every tree.  Some high, some low.  The girls kept looking and finding…Red people, white people, brown people, black people, yellow people.  And all of the people had needs written on them.  The girls brought them all to the feet of Jesus and laid them out, and then began going through the paper items in their buckets to see if they had the things the paper people needed.  They helped each other meet the needs until all the food and clothes, etc. had been given away. 

Then the girls opened the note in Jesus left hand.  It instructed them to take the people to church.  To my delight the girls remembered exactly where the church was.  They grabbed up all the paper people and took them to church, with all of us (parents and grandparents) gasping for air and trailing along after.  We brought Jesus with us and left him just outside the back door.  When the girls arrived at the church there was a bag of jewels beside it, with a note on it that said to read James 1:12.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

I told the girls that each one could take one jewel (from the bag of jewels) for each person they brought to Jesus, helped, and brought to church.  So they counted out their jewels, and as they did I got out crowns for them and let them pick which color they wanted, and told them to use the jewels to decorate their crowns.  So they sat down at the coffee table and stuck their jewels to their crowns while I read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”  1 Corinthians 3:11-15

We talked about how the only works that will survive the fire are the ones we did out of love (1 Corinthians 12:1-4) and true love comes only from Jesus.  “Greater love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for his friends.”  It is the love of Jesus in us that compels us to do His good works and we should always listen to that still small voice that lays things on our hearts to do.  Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? How the religious people were on their way to do religious things, but passed on by the person in front of them who had a need. Only one person helped that person – the good Samaritan.

When the girls were finished, I took a picture of the two of them wearing their beautiful crowns and then asked them to read the scripture written on the inside of the crowns, and to do what it says. 

“the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”   Revelation 4:10-11

They took their crowns outside and tossed them at the feet of Jesus.  Then I told them about there being one last note on the back of Jesus.  They opened this note.  It said, “I’ve seen your good works.  Behold, your reward is under your bed!” 

Now, if I was a truly Godly old woman it would have ended there, but I’m ornery, and didn’t want the fun to end.  So, when they went to go get their rewards they found only empty boxes with a note taped to each that said, “Oooops, I lied, you might try looking [in another spot] for your reward.”  I heard the littlest one say, “Graaaammmaaaaw!” as they stood to their feet and headed to that other location, and there they both again found another empty box and another note attached to it that said, “Oooops, I lied…”  Those notes mercifully led them to the right spots, and soon they appeared with their Easter Baskets in hand, excited to tear into them and see what they got.

Grandpa had gotten them a huge egg with Easter crafts inside.  I had gotten them each a game – one an Easter finger puppet game and the other an Easter Match-it game.  There were a couple of other goodies too.  Another little note in the bottom of their bags said, “Happy Easter darling! It gave them a list of more things they could do now that their hunt was over:

  • Go “egg” someone’s house
  • Do their Easter crafts
  • Play the Match-it game with sister
  • Put on an Easter Finger-Puppet play for the grown-ups
  • Play the Jesus Ring-toss game outside (it’s what I had used as our JESUS for the hunt)
  • Watch a movie*
  • Eat dessert

*Our choices of movies were:  The Chosen season 1 (DVD), Risen (Pure Flix), Drive Thru History 3-episode Easter Special (TBN/dvr), The History of Easter (TBN/dvr).

The girls did their crafts, put on their finger-puppet play, had several competitions of Jesus ring-toss, and played Match-it while I got dessert together.  We all ate dessert and then watched Risen.  Welllllllllll, the girls actually only watched part of Risen, and then one fell asleep, and the other disappeared to the mancave where the men were watching something else waaaaaaay more entertaining.  Probably Dude Perfect or something.  At one point I do think they meandered to their bedroom to watch the animated movie, Lion of Judah – The Lamb That Saved The World.

I took a dish of our cobbler over to my elderly neighbors, and when I got back my son-in-law was saying his goodbye’s.  He had to get up early for work the next morning so he bid farewell and made his exit .  I drove my daughter and grandchildren home a couple hours later, after we had watched The History of Easter on the TV.  It was the best day!  The girls said it was their favorite Easter ever, buuuuuuttttt they say that every year.  I’m so blessed to have them.  What great, and grateful kids they are.  Easy to love and easy to spoil.

If our Easter celebration sounds like something you’d like to do with your kiddos next year, here are some of my helps:

Preparations

• About 3 weeks before Easter, after I had worked out what I was going to do, I placed an order with Oriental Trading Company.  They ship quickly, but it’s nice to have things well in advance.

• I already had a bunch of plastic Easter eggs that I keep in a plastic tub and use from year to year, but if you don’t have any, you’ll need to purchase those – about 40 per child, various sizes and colors.  And if you want to fill yours with goodies (other than mints and buttons), go grab that stuff as well.

• Make Paper people: Need construction paper, 2 sheets each of red, yellow, black, brown, & white.  I folded my various colored construction papers, accordion style, and then cut paper doll shapes out of them (see diagram below).  On each person I wrote a need (shirt, shoes, pants, dress, Bible, medicine, food, etc.).  Save these “least-of-these people” to hide near the area where you place the Jesus ring-toss figure.

• Make paper items:  Need various colors of construction paper.  Cut out the shapes of one heart for each child, shirts, dresses, pants, medicine, food, etc. and also include the tiny Bibles. You’ll need enough paper items for each paper doll (see diagram above) to have one item.  On each heart write a child’s name so that if one kid finds both hearts they can give it to the one that it belongs to.  Write the scriptures on the back of each heart.

• Put Jesus together.  I used packing tape to hold the footings of the Jesus ring-toss figure in place.  I clipped a clothespin to Him to hold the hearts that the girls gave Him. I taped the notes, in envelopes, to His right and left hand, and His backside.

• I hung my church wall cling near my back door, where our Easter Egg Hunt would begin.  I placed the kids’ Easter buckets in front of the “church” so they would take notice of it. 

• Beside the church I placed a bag of jewels.  On the bag of jewels I put a note that read (take your pick) 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10 & 3:11; James 1:12; and 1 Peter 5:4.     

• Write “Revelation 4:4, 10-11 on the inside of each crown. 

• Put up the “You’ve Been Egged” yard sign just outside the back door (or wherever you plan to hide your eggs).  Remember to leave one egg empty.  You can have a special prize for the kid who gets the empty egg.  And, you can decide later if you want to “Egg” somebody else’s house.  If you decide to, have the kids fill 11 of 12 eggs with little prizes (buttons, mints, or anything you choose – in fact, you could even decide to bless someone (in the spirit of all we’ve learned today) by stuffing the eggs with money and “egging” a house where you know the people and children are very poor, and provide them little trinkets to put in the eggs to keep the game going.

• Fill the eggs.  Fill with all the paper items first, and then with the buttons and the mints, and if you have more eggs, fill them with whatever other items you would like (candy, small toys, coins, etc.).  Remember to leave one egg empty.

• Put together the final prize baskets (my daughter doesn’t like her girls to have too much candy, and since it is for their health I try to behave myself as grandma, which is really really hard, but I understand so I try to honor her wishes.  Grandpa and I fill the prize baskets with toys and minimal sweet things.  A chocolate cross and a package of peeps is about all I am able to get away with.  Grandpa tucks in a few toys and I try to find a small game or two that I think they will enjoy. 

I pray you have a happy Resurrection celebration with your family and are able to make use of my plans.  May we all be watching for the LORD to return and busy about the Lord’s business until that day, especially in these dark LAST DAYS!!!!  God bless you my friends.