Monthly Archives: February 2016

Feb 22 – God Speaks Through Scripture

Leviticus 26&27

I know that the Old Testament was written about and to real flesh and blood people. I know the crops spoken of were real plants, the rain wet droplets, disease, and war, and bread were things you could touch, taste, and experience in the flesh. God is talking to His material kingdom of Abraham’s ancestors in these pages of the Bible.

But I think we miss something beautiful if we don’t recognize there is a spiritual application in every word, too. And reading the first part of chapter 26 thrilled my soul this morning as though God were talking right to me here in 2016. Here’s what I heard Him say:

If you obey Me, Connie, I will give you exactly what you need to bear fruit for My kingdom as you lead people to their Savior (vs 4). Your ability to reap souls will last season upon season, their numbers strengthening you to continue in the work  (5). I’ll give you peace in your soul so you can sleep at night (6). We’ll defeat sin in your life (7&8). If you obey Me, I’ll be right with you, Connie, and I’ll make you fruitful in My work (9). You’ll leave your past behind and become a new person through the blood of Jesus (10). I WILL LIVE RIGHT INSIDE YOU. I won’t reject you (11). I’ll walk with you. I’ll be your God. You will be my child (12). I freed you from the chains of sin so you wouldn’t be a slave to it. I broke the hold sin had over you. And you, Connie, can stand straight, hold your head high, and do the work I have for you with confidence in Me (13).

Wow! I love reading the Bible because it is alive and active and powerful and relevant and personal.

Thank You, God, for speaking to me this morning through the words You inspired men to write thousands of years ago. Thank You for forgiving me. May I obey You. May I go into this day with confidence that You are going to do a great work in my life for Jesus’ sake. And may hearts be drawn to their Savior because I’ve been faithful to You.

Feb 21 – Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

Leviticus 24&25

“If anyone curse his God, then he will bear his sin.” (24:15)

That is what God said concerning a man who, when fighting with another man, blasphemed God and cursed. As a result of his blaspheming, the man was stoned to death. You just don’t curse God, even in a fit of anger.

Now a days we don’t automatically kill a person who damns someone while using God’s Holy Name. But that doesn’t mean what comes out of our mouths is any less serious this side of the cross.

Scripture tells us there is only one unforgivable sin: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. And the Bible teaches that those who do will have to pay for their own sins.

The atheist blasphemes The Holy Spirit as long as he tries to deny God’s existence. The sinner blasphemes God as long as she ignores Him. Even ones who call themselves Christians can blaspheme God by not obeying or believing Scripture. And I believe if anyone dies in the state of blasphemy, they will face God on their own.

And, from what I read here in Leviticus, how we use the Holy Name of God is serious business. What we do with that Name is life and death.

A children’s chorus from my youth comes to mind:

Oh, Be careful little mouth what you say.

Be careful little mouth what you say.

For the Father up above is looking down in love.

So be careful little mouth what you say.

God is reminding me today that He is to be taken seriously. He is Holy. His Name is Holy. And I need to wear His Name, and use His Name with respect and honor.

Holy God, I pray for those reading this blog who have yet to bow before you and repent of sin. I pray that they will quit blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and accept your gift of grace. I also pray for your children, Father. May we honor you with our lives, including our mouths. And may people be drawn to you because of the way we represent You.

Feb 20 – No Work For The Wicked

Leviticus 22-23

When God was setting down the rules for the special sabbaths the Jews were to observe throughout the year, He always gave the instruction that no laborious work was to be done on those days. It seems very important that the people understood there was to be no work, because that direction is repeated often in the verses we read today.

Got me to pondering. God must have wanted their full attention during these times of sacrifices and celebrations. It reminds me of the encounter Jesus had with Mary and Martha recorded in Luke 10. Martha was busy preparing the meal while Jesus Himself was speaking in the next room. Scripture says Martha was distracted, and Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet chose the better part.

So in my walk with the Lord this side of the cross, what can I glean from what I read today? God seems to be asking me what it is I allow to distract me during my time with Him. Where does my mind wander when I read His Word or pray?

When I sit in church do I play a game on my phone? Do I take my baby into the service where, not only I am distracted by her crying and cooing, people around me are distracted by her, too? Do I worry about the roast in the crockpot? Think about the big game this afternoon? Or go over in my mind that strategic plan for work?

God gave us six days to be busy. He asks for one day out of the week when we focus only on Him. One day. And sometimes I think He’d appreciate the one hour we are in church, if our focus was truly on Him alone.

Reading these chapters in Leviticus today helped me understand how important it is to God that we give Him our undivided attention in our worship of Him. It’s a choice, my friend. It’s an act of will, that I put every thought out of my mind except the thought of God, His Holiness, His love, His interest in me, and His demand to be worshiped above anything or anyone in my life.

I hope you are planning to attend the worship service in your church tomorrow. Will you put aside any distraction and choose the better part? Let’s prepare to worship God tomorrow as He deserves. No work. No distractions.

Just God. And you focusing only on Him.

 

 

 

Feb 19 – Politics. Ugh.

Leviticus 19-21

I’m going to be honest. I hate politics. You can imagine how much I am enjoying watching the news these days. I try to watch the debates, truly. But I get so frustrated not only with the candidates but with the people asking the idiotic questions to try to get the candidates to sling some dirt at each other.

Ugh. So when reading in Leviticus this morning, I wasn’t all that pleased that what jumped out at me was political. Ok, God. I’ll address it. But I’m not happy about it.

Socialism is the word of the day. Where before, the ideology was masked in the form of the Democratic Party policy of big government, taxing and spending, people are at least being honest about what it is they propose. Socialism. Give our money to the government and trust the all-wise, all-knowing elite to distribute it equally.

Please don’t tell me you believe in that.

I digress. Is it a shame that there are homeless, jobless, uninsured and needy citizens of our country? Absolutely. It’s sad that our government has made such a mess of things. But the shame shouldn’t be on the government (although it is), because the government shouldn’t be taking on the responsibility of the individual. Look where that’s gotten us.

When I read Scripture like Leviticus 19:9-10, telling us how to care for the needy, I see two things. 1) those who have share, 2) those who don’t have get out there and work.

I see no one having their possessions taken away so someone else could get something for free.

God, in these verses, is speaking to His Old Testament children. But I believe He’s speaking to us, too. Every Bible believing fellowship should have an outreach program. Ideally, there should be no one on welfare attending our churches, no unemployed. The church should be helping the people in that church.

I am as frustrated with the system as anyone. But, personally, I will never vote for anyone who even hints at a platform of socialism. I’m convinced we need to get our government out of our pockets and our decisions, and put the responsibility back on the individual.

That idea didn’t originate with me. It’s how God told His children to live. I’m pretty sure He knows how things should go better than any U.S. politician.

Dear God, I pray for the United States of America as we elect a new President. Father, I ask that You would speak to the hearts of Your children, may we be vocal about the things You lay on our hearts. May we stand up for the truth of Scripture. And may we vote according to Your leading. I pray that a godly man will live in the White House for the next four years. If that happens, it will be because Your children put aside politics and sought Your will. Then, Lord, may your Church be that avenue You can use to care for our citizens.

 

Feb 18 – Acceptance

Leviticus 16-18

God demands certain things concerning sexual relationships. He goes into great detail here in chapter 18 so no one can “accidentally” sleep with someone they shouldn’t. Read the list. It is a sin to have sex with a blood relative: a parent, a child, a half-sibling, a  niece, nephew, aunt, step-parent, grandchild. Having sex with a blood relative can send you to jail yet today.

God is also specific about the sin of having sex with an animal. I would think we can all agree that these sexual acts are sin, an abomination.

So how can anyone read 18:22 and not think the same thing? Homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture.

Someone recently told me the world would be a better place if everyone was more like Jesus, loving and accepting of everyone. But did Jesus accept everyone? What about the Sadducees and Pharisees? What about the rich young man who walked away from Jesus? What about Judas who betrayed Him?

I agree with my friend. The world would be a better place if people were more like Jesus. Jesus loved everyone so much He died for them. If He just accepted everyone He wouldn’t have had to go to the cross.

Jesus loved people enough to point out sin in their lives and demanded they repent. Jesus never turned a blind eye to sin that would lead a person to hell. He never glossed over sin or justified it. Jesus called the woman at the well out, then told her to quit sinning.

If I want to be like Jesus, I must love the homosexual enough to identify homosexuality as a sin. The truth is God does love everyone, and accepts anyone who confesses sin and asks His forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive every sin. But asking forgiveness comes before acceptance.

I know this is not a politically correct viewpoint. But I am not accountable to you. I love you in Jesus’ name. And sin is sin.

Feb 17 – Blood and Water

Leviticus 14-15

Don’t you love reading the Bible when something jumps out as though you were reading it for the first time? That’s what happened to me this morning. Today’s chapters include the required sacrifices for making a person healed of leprosy clean before God. Once again God’s instructions are very detailed. It includes lambs and birds and oil and wood and red string…

One of the sacrifices described includes the death of one bird, its blood sprinkled on a live bird. Then the live bird is set free to fly over the open field.

Dear one, isn’t that what happened to you when you accepted the fact that Jesus’ blood was applied to your account? Wasn’t your soul set free to soar just like that bird we read about today? Jesus blood was shed, that blood covered your sins, and you were set free. My heart is soaring just thinking about it.

Oh, there’s more!

As I was reading about how the priests were to go about cleansing a leprous house, another beautiful picture came to mind. Look at 14:51-53. The house was cleansed by running water and the blood!

My mind went immediately to the cross where Jesus died for me. What happened when the soldier pierced Jesus’ side? Out pour water and blood! That was not just some physiological phenomenon. That was God saying Jesus’ death on that cross was no accident. Jesus’ death absolutely fulfills every tiny little detail required to make me clean.

When the water and the blood poured out of Jesus’ side, that was God saying, “I love you, Connie, and I’ve got this covered.”

Dearest Savior, My heart is full this morning as I recognize how connected the Old Testament is to the Gospel. Thank you for showing us in such detail what is required for the forgiveness of sin. Thank you for the men and women who followed your instructions, who sacrificed the lambs, who washed the birds, who put the blood on toes and fingers, who baked the bread. I can’t even list a fraction of what Old Testament forgiveness requires right now. Yet I see quite clearly that what Jesus did for me on the cross was planned and executed perfectly to fulfill every little detail. You didn’t miss a thing. And you did that for me. Thank You for covering me with Your blood. My spirit soars. I worship You.

Feb 16 – Unclean! Unclean!

Leviticus 11-13

I wonder what it was like for a person who had to live outside the camp because he was unclean. God was very specific in his instructions concerning leprosy. The priest had to inspect the infected person, and if any spot no matter how small was identified as leprosy, that person had to live by himself, away from family and friends.

Unclean! Unclean!

Could the leper hear the laughter of the people inside the camp? Could he smell the aroma of dinner cooking over a campfire? Was there dancing and singing inside while he was forced to remain alone and  separated from all the activity? I bet those seven days seemed like an eternity. It would for me.

In a way, I think hell will be like that. Alone, separated, outside the gates of heaven, an eternity to realize their own uncleanness. Will they hear the praises and singing of those who were made clean by the blood of Jesus? And will those happy sounds magnify the shame of  being forced to sit in their disease of sin?

The Old Testament leper could console himself with the hope that after the seven days of exile, a priest could pronounce him clean again, and he could return to the camp. There will be no such hope for those in hell.

Jesus, our High Priest, will have the final say. He will declare clean those of us who have accepted His grace, the forgiveness He bought with His death on Calvary. And He will pronounce “Unclean” everyone who has rejected Him, even those who tried to enter heaven by some other means than the blood of the Savior.

There are two eternities. One is inside the camp where God is. The other is an eternity outside, in darkness and solitude, an eternity of living in uncleanness and regretting every decision that sent them there.

I’m praying for you.