Two Black Stones
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December 2017

A Story of Two Black Stones

I like the action scenes in the Bible: fighting lions, slaying giants, setting fields on fire, sneaking into enemy camps; there is a side of me that craves the adventure, and so those stories get me out of bed in the morning, ready to relive the excitement, eager to learn how to be brave.

Exodus has been full of action so far, but I have reached the section that covers how to make clothes for the priests and it's just not as gripping. So, as I settled in with my cup of coffee this morning, I journaled: 

"Lord, teach me from your word today."

And He answered my prayer with a story of two black stones.

When God gave Moses his instructions for the Tabernacle, they were lavish. Layer upon layer of gold and linen, purple, blue, and scarlet, patterns and decorative sashes, braids and embroidery, and light.
Light that would  never be allowed to falter. Surfaces designed to reflect light, pure oil of pressed olives to fuel the lamps, and an entire night shift of priests to keep them burning constantly. The place of God's presence must always have light.

And then God told Moses to find some onyx. In rooms of precious metals and finely woven curtains, placed in settings of gold on the most ornately decorated tunic in all Israel, resting on the very shoulders of the highest priest,
God wanted black.

It caused me to scratch my head, so I kept reading:

"Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel...Aaron will carry these names as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the Lord." 
-Exodus 28:9,12

The high priest carried a burden when he entered the Most Holy Place, he mediated for the sins of his people, and he bore a symbol: their names etched into black stone, resting on his shoulders, like their guilt.

It stood out to me because of this:

"Under the old covenant, the priest stands...offering
the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered Himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all of time. 

Then He sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand. There He waits...for by that one offering He forever made perfect those who are being made holy."
-Hebrews 10:11-14

Aaron walked out of the Most Holy Place each year still bearing the black stones his shoulders carried when he walked in. They stayed, ever reminding of the constant deficit. As soon as a sacrifice was made, sin crept back onto the ledger, and all Aaron's sacrifices could only keep the debt at bay. He could not erase the guilt - not his people's, not his own.

And so daily as he donned the ephod, the weight of two black stones, twelve names, 600,000 men, and his own flawed heart settled onto his shoulders and
all he could do was never enough.

And then Jesus came. 

All the bleakest situations only await that sentence to become the best of stories. On His shoulders, he took not twelve names, but every name; not just Israel's guilt, but all the world's; not a symbol that could be shed when the tunic came off, but the permanent burden of our darkness. And He did not sacrifice an animal as a stop-gap. The time for symbols was over. So He hefted our failures onto His shoulders, and ended it by offering Himself.

"A single sacrifice, good for all time."

And this is the reassurance my heart finds the sweetest:


From Beka's Journal

Other Updates

Cody passed the commercial written exam and completed his third semester here at Moody Aviation! Now He's studying and preparing for the heaviest and most challenging section:
Instrument flight. He begins January 15. Please pray for him as he prepares to learn an entirely new way of flying and for a restful break so that he is fresh for the workload.
One of the airstrips Cody and his classmates flew into during their extended cross country trip.
We are working with our music pastor to put together a worship concert out in the community this Spring! It should be an opportunity to share some new music Beka has written and we are hoping it will be a challenge and encouragement to those who come.

We are getting such a kick out of our college group and we continue to seek opportunities to go deeper with them. We've finished 2 Samuel and Proverbs, and now we are working off a list of questions we designed to draw the group out and encourage them to share more of their growth and struggles with us and with each other. Pray for our lives to challenge them toward the Lord and to build in them a desire to know and walk with Him closely.
Girls Night! Making Christmas ornaments for one our of couples getting married this month!

We will be in Florida January 4-14 to visit! Please pray for us as we balance family time and connecting with everyone else! We're planning an open house.

If you're interested in catching up, come by! We'd love to see you.

We got Cody to the dentist and found out several of his old fillings are degraded and require replacing. Please pray for him as he has to go through several appointments to get the work done. His first is tomorrow.

Finally, as our hearts so easily accumulate burdens and grow discouraged, pray for us to set our eyes on the One who shouldered our failures and transforms our story. The One who calls us perfect even as we are being made holy.


Thank you for being our team!

Thank you for praying for us and to all who gave to help us pay our unexpected bill last month!

Thank you for taking the time to keep up with our story, and thank you to those who regularly give so that we can be here in flight training! You are so appreciated!!

Merry Christmas!


Cody & Beka

Our mailing address is:
Ethnos360 Aviation
312 W 1st St
Sanford, FL 32771

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