Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why “I Promise To Do Better” Doesn’t Work

Choosing To Cheat: Who Wins when Family and Work Collide
Andy Stanley, Multnomah Publishers, Inc., Sisters, Oregon, USA, 2003

Why “I Promise To Do Better” Doesn’t Work
I honestly can’t remember why I ordered this book. I am sure someone recommended it to me, given the fact that not only have I been an accomplished cheater, but my wife and I are heavily involved in our church’s “marriage mentoring” ministry.
I read it in two days. Andy Stanley is an accomplished writer and I have a feeling it comes naturally. I am not suggesting he does not put a lot of work into his writing, but only that he may not have spent hours studying and taking courses on how to be a top-notch writer. I’m sure that’s something I’ll ask him if we ever meet.
Choosing To Cheat surprises its readers in two ways.  First, sorry to disappoint you – it’s really not about having a romantic affair, not directly anyway.  Secondly, Stanley comes out and tells you early in the process (and keep in mind he’s a Christian pastor) that it’s okay to cheat and you even have to. Wow. Now you’re ready to ready the book.
The author tells you about the most important and most complex cheating situation one can have in life – that between ones loved ones (think spouse, children) and ones work. And unless you’ve figured out how to make that situation a perfect win-win one, Stanley tells you, you’re cheating one of them and the bets are on that it’s your family. But it gets worse. If you’re cheating here, the author says you are on a collision course if you haven’t had a crash already. He has a perfect “holding the rock” analogy he shares. And the bottom line is “picking up a rock that shattered into fragments after it got dropped and trying to put together again is next to impossible”.
Stanley is careful not to make assumptions about your own specific situation, but neither does he let you off the hook. Your excuses just won’t fly. Especially when he gives you a step-by-step guide to making a commitment and following through with your employer.
Choosing To Cheat is the kind of book you want to give your workaholic spouse, your married children, your adult grandchildren and your friends. I thought of providing a copy to every couple we mentored. But we’d all be making a big mistake, if we first didn’t take this author’s wise advice and apply it to our own “cheating”.  Highly recommended.

--  Ken B. Godevenos, Accord Resolution Services Inc., Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 15/11/27  (you can buy the book right here:

Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?


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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Can't Believe I Walked In That


Sacred Dung: Grace to Turn Bad Things Into Good Things
John D. Duncan, Austin Brothers Publishing, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 2015
I Can’t Believe I Walked In That!

This is John Duncan’s third book in his “Sacred” trilogy.  In the first one, Sacred Space, he shared with us how to find a) the silence we need in order to survive in this crazy world, b) the speech that we need to be able to converse with God, and c) the ear we must cultivate to hear God. In his second book, Sacred Grit, he takes us to a training ground for the Christian life if we plan to finish well.
In Sacred Dung, he is basically telling us: There are good things and there are bad things. Good things happen to good people and bad people. And more importantly, bad things also happen to bad people; and most importantly, they happen to good people, too.  But for the Christian who has been prepared in the Sacred Space, and trained and equipped with Sacred Grit – dealing with the Sacred Dung is possible, beneficial, and is exactly what God wants of us while we’re walking this earth.
To accomplish this, Duncan takes us through some teaching on Sacred Refuse, showing us the need to move away from focusing on the past and start looking to the future.  He shows us how to eradicate the darkness that has befallen us (or that we have fallen into) and start to shed light into the available crevices. He also points out that the party’s over if we cannot “dump the dung” – we may as well “Kiss life goodbye” and “Turn out the lights”. But he doesn’t just say that – he tells us where and how to start the dumping process.
When we come across dung in our lives, we must realize that it is in essence our wilderness, our desert.  We all hit one sooner or later. The author shows us how to move from loss to gain.
In the process, John Duncan helps each of us realize what many of us refuse to accept. With some wonderfully written examples, he convinces us that we cannot predict the future, neither can we control, nor force, life. Surprises happen.  Some are good but some are bad.
I’ve tried to refrain from giving away the author’s wonderful quotes, allowing readers to discover them for themselves, but I had to get this one in: “Sacred dung invites us into God’s light in the darkness, into His oasis of grace in the wilderness, and into His healing grace in the agony of the soul.”  We come out of the wilderness and away from the dung remarkably different and yes, better, people. The book is proof that no matter what, God is good – not just some of the time, but really “all the time” – even in our dung.  There, God does His best work on our lives.
In the latter part of the book, Duncan shows us how God turns hurt to healing sharing some of his own life with us, as well as the lives of others.  That alone is a great solace to any one of us.  But he takes the reader beyond that point of focus on his/her own hurt and healing. He talks about “stitches coming out” but “scars remaining”.  And for many, those scars are often hidden.  He says they’re “unseen, unknown, invisible” to others.  But we are to assume they are there and act accordingly towards others.  Here’s the way it should work – God graces us so that we can grace others.  God heals us, allowing us to use our experiences, to help others heal.
If you like great quotes, John has his own, but he also draws on some terrific and very applicable ones from the great poets and writers of history. And he also likes talking right to the reader – something that takes a little getting used to, but it works well for him.
Speaking of quotes, I just must leave you with this last one from the author near the end of Sacred Dung: “All you have to do in the dung is hold your nose and open your eyes to see God’s presence, protection, and power; to see His strength as a refuge for you by faith, under grace, and in the hope of His joy.”
If you’ve stepped in the dung, or are doing so now, this book has the potential of helping you dump it and staying out of it.  If you’ve never been there, keep living, you will be and this book can help you navigate your feet away from it when that time comes, for it will.

-- Ken B. Godevenos, Accord Resolution Services Inc., Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 15/11/25

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

We All Finish, but Where & How Is The Issue


Sacred Grit: Faith To Push Through When You Feel Like Giving Up
John D. Duncan, Austin Brothers Publishing, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 2015

This is John Duncan’s second book in his “Sacred” trilogy.  In the first one, Sacred Space, he shared with us how to find a) the silence we need in order to survive in this crazy world, b) the speech that we need to be able to converse with God, and c) the ear we must cultivate to hear God.
In Sacred Grit, he takes us to a training ground for the Christian life.  If we’re going to finish well, we must be trained to expect and overcome three things.  Like a soldier in on the front lines, we have to face and deal with “sacred fear”.  Like an athlete in the arena we have to prepare to withstand “sacred agony”.  And like a farmer in the field of life, we have to welcome “sacred sweat” if we are to bear fruit.  It is only then that the “sacred grit” we seek and so dearly need to survive the Christian life can see us through to the end, having achieved all that we were meant to accomplish.
Participants to a recent trip to Israel were told that if we were to survive the trip, most of which took place in the country’s desert, we had to train quit hard long before we even hopped on the plane to get there.  He had to overcome the fear of being in the Middle East, get in the physical condition needed to handle the heat and terrain, including the climbing of mountains and cliffs, and to bring the proper clothing because we would indeed be sweating.  We were more ready for our trip than John Wayne was for filming the movie, True Grit.  And the rewards were extraordinary – visually, socially, mentally, and above all, spiritually.  That’s what Sacred Grit does for the Christian who wants to live a victorious and meaningful life.
Like the book’s cover picture and the picture of a single poppy growing out of the rocks that I took in the Negev desert of Israel,  the Christian is capable of breaking through the hard rock challenges of life – physical, social, mental, and spiritual -- and indeed “finishing well” and “winning the race of life” for his Lord.  With “sacred grit” he/she has the potential of becoming, or doing, something beautiful for others, and even for him/herself to marvel at, through the grace of God.
Duncan helps us turn our fear into courage, our failures into successes, and our faith into one that produces fruit.  For those who think that Duncan would never understand the darkness they live in, he has this to say:  “ . . . even in darkness you have potential to do your very best work in the eyes of God, especially if you open your eyes to God’s vision.”
His first two books together show us how getting “sacred space” and embracing “sacred grit” helps us pursue holiness, please God more, and draw us closer to Christ as we learn to trust Him more.
Duncan is brutally honest with his readers. As much as he’d like to tell us that the Christian life “is as easy as sipping lemonade on the front porch”, he must tell us that it works us hard inside and out, and it works stuff out of us.  He says it wearies us on some days and pushes us to our limits on others.  Finally, it will ‘grace’ us but not before it causes us to sweat.
And I love one of his key conclusions with respect to the hard labor that’s required of us.  He says that while we are definitely not alone, for God is with us, we will often very much feel alone out there under the hot sun in the middle of the field. This isn’t your typical feel good book.  It wasn’t meant to be.  It was intended to show you why you can’t make it without resilience and how to get it.
Already I’ve been able to help a dear friend and myself with one of the author’s quotes I liked very much.  John writes, “Your greatest ministry will take place alone, away from the eyes of watchers, and only in the eyes of God who, for all practical purposes, is the One who matters anyway.” If one truly accepts that, he/she is well on their way to significance.
The way the world is going today, if there are two things we need – they’re “sacred space” to get our bearings and “sacred grit” to get to our destination. 

--   Ken B. Godevenos, Accord Resolution Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario. 15/11/21 

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why We May Be Failing To Hear God

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Patience After Patience
Exodus 24:16-18: And the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.  And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop.  And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

What can we glean from these three verses?

Perhaps a good place to start is to make sure we have an understanding of what the “glory of the Lord” may mean.  Matt Slick, President & Founder, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, defines it this way:

The phrase "glory of the Lord" occurs 38 times in the NASB, 36 in the KJV.  Glory is synonymous with splendor, honor, praise, worthiness, etc.  The phrase is used to describe the manifestation of God’s greatness (Exodus 16:10) and is seen as a consuming fire (Exodus 24:17), a cloud (1 Kings 8:11), radiance (Ezekiel 1:26-28), and brightness (Ezekiel 10:4).  It fills the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) and can be seen (Numbers 16:42) and can bring fear (Luke 2:9).

From our text under study here in Exodus it appears that the “glory of the Lord” moves about, and in this case, it rested on Mount Sinai.  This reminds me of two things.  First, I think of a quote, from the book, Experiencing God, by Henry & Richard Blackaby, and Claude King.  It went like this, “Watch to see where God is working and join Him” based on John 5:17,19,20. We need to find out where God’s glory is being manifested and both worship and serve in that arena. Secondly, in this passage, His glory rested on a mountain – a mountain that Moses had to climb. Many of us today just want to have His glory where we are – down here in the easy-going, soft, self-fulfilling life that we live.  God says, “No, you’ll find me on the mountain and it’s hard work getting up here.” How hard is it finding God’s “glory”?  Well, I think the next phrase tells us.

Even though God’s glory rested on Mount Sinai, a cloud covered it for six whole days. Moses had obeyed.  He made the trip up the Mountain, but he still had to wait for God’s timing for leader of Israelites in the desert to hear from Him. How would your patience, or mine, have handled that? If we answer, “not well” – perhaps we’re not ready to hearken to what He has to say to us.

And then God calls Moses on the seventh day – seven whole days after Moses was summoned to make the trip up the Mountain.  Moses obeyed; he did everything he had to, and God still made him wait.  If we question God’s action in that regard, we still need to do some work on Who God is and How He operates.  Not to mention reconsidering exactly who we are.

Meanwhile, half way down the Mountain, the other 72 leaders and elders that had joined Moses and Joshua for the first leg of the trip, saw, from below, the glory of the Lord as a consuming fire at the top of the mountain.  Can you imagine what went through their heads?  Was it possible that they thought Moses and Joshua were simply called up higher to be sacrificed in a burning fire?  If not, will they ever return and what will they be like?  And so on.  I am sure, that at the least, they would have been filled with great awe and perhaps considerable fear.  Think of your possible reaction if that had been your pastor and the head of your church’s board of directors?

And then we read, that after God called Moses (on the seventh day) from the midst of the cloud, Moses walked into the cloud (I believe without Joshua) as he continued to get closer to God.  Great, at last, we’ll have some action.  Things will happen now, won’t they?  “We need things to happen now, God.”  But they didn’t.  In fact, our text says, “Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights” after that point in time.

Here’s the lesson.  If we really want God’s wisdom, His direction, and His help – we must realize, understand, and accept the fact that we have absolutely no control over how He gives them to us.  Sometimes He acts quickly, sometimes in “a little while”, and sometimes it seems forever.  But He’s fully aware of time, and knows that although He’s not bound by it, we are concerned with it.  Until we get to the point where we can honestly believe that His timing is absolutely best, designed to both take the ultimate advantage of circumstances into account, as well as providing us with the ultimate opportunity to grow in patience and in our faith, we will always struggle with when God speaks.  I pray you get ‘there’ sooner rather than later.
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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Moving on Up" in Your Relationship With God.

Moses Ordered To Go To Where God Was On The Mountain

Exodus 24:13-15: Now the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and commandment which I have written for their instruction.”  So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.  But to the elders he said, “Wait here for us until we return to you.  And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal mater, let him approach them.” Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.
It is interesting to note exactly what God said to Moses at this point. First, as close as we get to God moving upwards on the spiritual mountain on which He resides, God wants us to get closer. He wants us to take a risk (if we consider it so) and be “moving on up” to where He is.  And to “remain there.” For how long you may ask? I believe it is until He sends you off to do something specific for Him involving His people and His Kingdom.

Did Moses think he might never come back? I doubt it. God told him he would be getting the stone tablets with the law and the commandments that God had written for the instruction of the people.  Moses was to bring those back down the mountain. He was assured of his return to his people.

This is so typical of God.  He calls us to go up to Him, get more of His instructions, and then get back down to where the work needs to be done.  On our trip we gain insight, we are given further instructions, and we are refreshed to go on doing God’s work on earth.

These tablets that Moses was to bring down carried the commandments that were written and given for “our instruction”.  I just finished reading a book by a Christian cardiologist, and the thought comes to my mind of the fact that so many receive instructions and even prescriptions from their doctors and fail to follow them and end up dead. Why on earth anyone who believes in God and even believes He gave us the Ten Commandments would not follow them is beyond me. We are asking for trouble. And millions who call themselves Christians do just that.

Moses obeys, and taking his servant Joshua (remember Moses is quite old by now), he moves further up the mountain towards God. This was the same Joshua that later became Moses’ successor.  But as David Guzik notes, he started off as a mere “assistant” to begin with.  More about him later in the Scriptures.

But before Moses went further up the mountain, we note that he left instructions for the elders. Yes, he got a new assignment but he also made sure that the responsibilities he was carrying out beforehand would be transferred to his trusted subordinates, Aaron and Hur. (Hur, you will remember was a chief man among the Hebrews in the desert, associated with Aaron in upholding the hands of Moses at Rephidim [Exodus 17:12].) So, he too had proven himself. A good leader always has those that he can count on to carry on the work he has to leave behind in order to serve at a higher level.

So Moses goes up the mountain and the cloud covers the mountain.  Can you imagine how he felt? How did Joshua feel?  How did those left behind feel?  What an experience to be called to come “closer to God”. And yet, each of us has that very opportunity today.  We can get closer to God – but it takes, as I’m learning from Dr. John D. Duncan’s book, Sacred Grit, lots of training to overcome fear, agony, and sweat.  And then it takes availability and willingness to make the trip. But I am sure you’ll find it unbelievably worthwhile.

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A Medical Doctor Wants To Sleep With A Clear Conscience


Medicines That Kill: The Truth About The Hidden Epidemic
James L. Marcum, MD, Tyndale House Publishers Inc., USA, 2013


A Medical Doctor Wants To Sleep With A Clear Conscience

Becoming a doctor was my first choice as a career. I didn’t make it. Still, anything medical grabs my attention and I eat it up. I am also one of those growing millions who are on prescribed medications daily. What more reason did I need to review this book when given the opportunity?
Here is the bottom line: We get sick; we see medical professionals; they prescribe medicines; and we take them. But do our doctors and us really know what we’re taking and what these little pills can really do? Marcum says “no” and he has dozens of illustrations to prove it. His book is full of very alarming statistics that if nothing else should cause every reader to read everything they can and ask their medical caregivers every conceivable question with respect to their prescriptions.
Marcum divides his well-researched dissident account into two parts: The Problem and The Solution. In the former he outlines his credentials (very impressive) and then explains why “death by medicine” could happen to you. He identifies many actual medical mistakes, talks about adverse reactions and what research knows and does not know about them.  Then he turns the camera on us, the “users” and writes about both willful and unintentional misuse of medications. An excellent chapter covers the “slow” death that can occur from some deadly combinations of medicine that many take.  And if you thought “OTC” (over-the-counter) drugs are immune from guilt in this whole affair, you’re very mistaken as this board-certified behavioral cardiologist who cohosts a radio program and hosts two television programs, all about health, while running a thriving practice at the prestigious Chattanooga Heart Institute, clearly shows us. Check out your medicines.
In part two of the book, Dr. Marcum, continues his observations and recommendations based on his personal experience over years of practicing medicine and observing life and death. He pulls no punches.  He is not against medicine; he still prescribes them daily. But he believes there are numerous specific things you can do to prevent being killed by them and he shares these with his readers through chapters entitled, Sometimes You Need To Think; Let’s Get Practical part 1; and Let’s Get Practical part 2.
It is at this point that Marcum then takes his biggest risk with his audience. He says there is more to this story of survival (the “if life won’t kill you, medicines might” struggle) and introduces the role that he has found for faith in an Almighty God, a topic that has become very politically incorrect these days. But Marcum handles it with the sensitivity of a skilled practitioner who also has excellent bedside manners (a rare commodity these days). He lays out the facts clearly and shares from his scientific background as well as his heart.
Finally, let me state clearly as the author makes the point several times in his book – he is not at all recommending that we just stop taking our prescriptions – not at all. We need the right medicines in the right dosages and in un-opposing combinations.  But he introduces a spiritual law that is as strong as any scientific law you can name – it’s the law that says being loved and loving in return is the most potent medicine that the human body can have.  With that, he lets us, the patients, make up our own mind on to what our ‘reaction’ will be to his advice.
In the book’s appendices, the reader gets additional insight into the various Medication Classifications of the Food and Drug Administration; how a medication gets to market; and a listing of the most prescribed medications.  All of which is most interesting and informative.
The book helped me understand the complexities of prescribing, administering and taking drugs – even those that are meant to help us.  The variables and players are just too many to control easily. This reader has already checked all the written material on his medications, developed a series of questions for his next visit to the doctor, and decided on actively pursuing a lifestyle that hopefully will enable him to reduce, if not eliminate, some of those miniature pucks or tiny gelatin-like footballs that just innocently dissolve in his mouth or stomach. A good read and highly recommended. Dr. Marcum can, on my account at least, sleep with a clear conscience having done his job to warn me about medicines that kill.
    -- Ken B. Godevenos, Accord Resolution Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario. 15/11/04

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Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Seventy-Four Of Them Saw Evidence of “God’s Appearance”


Exodus 24:9-12: Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they beheld God, and they ate and drank.
After the people had ratified the Covenant between God and them, seventy-four of them went up part way to the mountain and the text says, “they saw the God of Israel”.  To explain this we turn to commentator Chuck Smith who, on this verse, writes,
Now you say, "Wait a minute. What do you mean they saw God?" Because in the gospel of John, John declares, "No man hath seen God at any time, but the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath manifested Him"(John 1:18). What does it mean then, "They saw God"? I don't know, but I have to compare scripture with scripture, and the fact that we read "no man hath seen God at any time but the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." The scripture also declares that you cannot see God and live.

I must assume that when it declares, "and they saw the God of Israel and this crystal sea", that they saw Him perhaps in a vision form, as Isaiah and as Ezekiel, and as others saw God, in a vision form, but did not actually see God Himself, which is impossible for man to do. "No man has seen God at any time."
To support that thinking, I would also rely on the phrase, “there appeared to be”, an indication perhaps that they weren’t actually seeing what they thought they were seeing but only the ‘appearance’ of it.  David Guzik says the following:

It is difficult to say exactly what they saw. Most likely they saw a heavenly vision of God, after the pattern of Isaiah (Isaiah 6) or Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1).  The blue of the sapphire may suggest that the elders saw the sea of glass before the throne of God (Revelation 4:6).

Matthew Henry gives us the most details, including on the reference to the pavement of sapphire,
That is, they had some glimpse of his glory, in light and fire, though they saw no manner of similitude, and his being no man hath seen nor can see, 1 Tim. 6:16. They saw the place where the God of Israel stood (so the Septuagint), something that came near a similitude, but was not; whatever they saw, it was certainly something of which no image nor picture could be made, and yet enough to satisfy them that God was with them of a truth. Nothing is described but that which was under his feet; for our conceptions of God are all below him, and fall infinitely short of being adequate. They saw not so much as God's feet; but at the bottom of the brightness, and as the footstool or pedestal of it, they saw a most rich and splendid pavement, such as they never saw before nor after, as it had been of sapphires, azure or sky-colored. The heavens themselves are the pavement of God's palace, and his throne is above the firmament. See how much better wisdom is than the precious onyx or the sapphires, for wisdom was from eternity God's delight (Prov. 8:30), and lay in his bosom, but the sapphires are the pavement under his feet; there let us put all the wealth of this world, and not in our hearts.
Nadab and Abihu were Aaron’s oldest sons. The text says that God did not touch His visitors. David Guzik suggests, “This indicates that as glorious as this experience was, there was something missing or incomplete in the encounter. This was not a "face-to-face" encounter with God. These elders of Israel could see God, but there was no fellowship or communication between them and God. God allowed the elders of Israel to see such a spectacular vision to impress on them the reality of God's presence. After this experience they would be more likely to trust God when He spoke through Moses.
My reading of the statement puts emphasis on the word against and I am led to believe that while the author may have felt that God could have been upset with them for seeing as much of Him as they did, God actually was not.  Instead He allowed them to eat and drink there. What a glorious picture of God the Father this is.  Just when we think we might be chastised for our actions, God holds back His Hand against us and we are allowed to eat and drink in His presence.
So where are you today? When it comes to being in God’s presence, are you hiding behind some curtain? Are you staying way back down the mountain? Or are you at His feet, knowing perhaps what you deserve, but being ever so grateful of His grace towards you, and thus freely eating and drinking in His presence?
Get out from behind the curtain.  Go to Him confessing your wrongdoing. He will not strike His hand against you, but will let you, as a forgiven sinner and redeemed child of His, remain in His presence -- the place that cannot be surpassed for peace and safety and joy.
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