Monthly Archives: February 2019

Leviticus 24-25; Acts 12; Psalms 25-26

“‘Count off seven groups of seven years, or forty-nine years. During that time there will be seven years of rest for the land. On the Day of Cleansing, you must blow the horn of a male sheep; this will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the horn through the whole country. 10 Make the fiftieth year a special year, and announce freedom for all the people living in your country. This time will be called Jubilee (Hebrew word for a horn of a male sheep.) (Lev. 25:8-10) NCV

54 “‘Even if no one buys him back, at the year of Jubilee, he and his children will become free. 55 This is because the people of Israel are servants to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 25:54-55) NCV

The readings for today had me thinking of the word “freedom” and how important it is to God. It was He who declared the fiftieth year as a year of celebration for the Israelites. On the Day of Atonement, after seven years of seven, the rams horn would be blown, and it would be the beginning of a year of freedom—freedom from slavery, freedom from debts, freedom from bondages, and atonement for sin. Of course, as you read the verses there were still transactions that needed to be followed through. But in the end was redemption!

It is such a picture of Jesus! Through no work of our own, He paid our debt! He forgave our sins! He released us from bondage—all because we are the children of God. There are no transactions, nothing more needs to be done. He paid the price once, for all who choose to believe.

And then there’s Peter:

So Peter was kept in jail, but the church prayed earnestly to God for him. (Acts 12:5)

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Other soldiers were guarding the door of the jail. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shined in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Hurry! Get up!” the angel said. And the chains fell off Peter’s hands. (Acts 12:6-7) NCV

Freedom! Peter was physically set free from prison. I am not sure this was the outcome he expected. I thought of all the emotional chains God has broken from me. Chains of shame, chains of guilt, chains of sin, and chains of rejection . . . I could go on. They were chains that held me in prison as well. Prison. It was never a place God intended to keep Peter. It was never a place God intended to keep me.

Acts 12:5 confirms the importance of corporate prayer. God heard their cries and in answer to their prayers He supernaturally released Peter—to their utter amazement. I loved Rhoda’s response—at first she didn’t believe it was him but then she was so excited she forgot to open the door and let him in. I think I would have been overwhelmed at how God answered that prayer myself! There have been times when the realization hit me that God had answered my prayers—big prayers. It’s happened to me twice. My reaction both times was to start laughing in delight with tears streaming down my face at the same time, a mixture of joy and gratitude. I don’t know if I can even adequately describe the emotion I felt, but I think Rhoda running to tell the others out of excitement is a pretty good picture of it.

15 My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help.
He will keep me from any traps.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
because I am lonely and hurting.
17 My troubles have grown larger;
free me from my problems.
18 Look at my suffering and troubles,
and take away all my sins. (Ps 25:15-18) NCV

Heavenly Father, I surrender myself to you alone for in you is great freedom. Jesus paid much too high a price for me to have that freedom. Help me to always keep looking to you when anything that might ensnare me comes my way. I am so thankful I can come to you immediately to be forgiven of my sins; it isn’t only once a year, or every 50 years. I can be set free because Jesus already paid my debt. Thank you for the chains that you have supernaturally removed from my soul. I am eternally grateful for all you have done in my life. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Leviticus 21-23; Acts 11; Psalm 24

So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 22:31 (ESV)

Rules, laws, sacrifices, feasts, commands, cleansing, standards, offerings, holiness.

All of these proved as a reminder of all God had brought the nation of Israel through. The Passover, the sojourning, the escape from slavery in Egypt – all by God’s faithful and generous provision.

More importantly, these chapters and pages point Israel to look to the future.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?

And who shall stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not lift up his soul to what is false

Psalm 24:3,4 (ESV)

They offered hope. God was on their side. All these rules verified that they were set apart for Him.

But, the great news is that the salvation was not only for the Jews. They had grown so protective of their faith and traditions that they were even hesitant at first to accept Gentiles into their newly understood Christian faith after Christ’s resurrection.

God explained, opened their eyes, and the gospel exploded across the landscape. The world would never be the same.

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch . . . preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Acts 11:19-21 (ESV)

We are not saved for our own benefit alone, but to share that message far and wide.

  • We are forgiven to forgive
  • Shown mercy to give mercy
  • Loved to love
  • Given grace to be gracious
  • Told the gospel to tell it again

It should never stop with us, our own habits and practices. It should spread throughout our home, neighborhood, community, nation with a fervency that could never be restrained.

The gospel was powerful good news then and remains so today.

Dear God, Your ways remain so far above my ways. I cannot begin to measure your holiness. May I never stop reaching for You and encouraging others to do the same. I need You, Lord! ~Amen

~Erin (6intow)

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Leviticus 19-20; Acts 10; Ps. 13

Now when you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. It shall be eaten the same day you offerit, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire. So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an offense; it will not be accepted. Leviticus 19:5-7

Isn’t interesting that the peace offerings of the Law were no longer acceptable on the third day? The purpose of this offering is “so that you may be accepted.” The sacrifice which makes us acceptable to God is no longer needed on the third day, the sacrifice is complete and we need it no longer. Could God have painted a more poignant picture of what was to come. I was completely blown away yet again at how even the Law points to Jesus. On the third day there is no longer need for a sacrifice. In fact any sacrifice left on the third day is detestable. On the third day the sacrifice is complete and peace has been made.

Wow! Could this passage be any more cool? The Law in itself is so dreary and oppressive, but woven within it is the hope of our salvation and peace. On the third day a sacrifice to make peace with God is no longer needed. I would say that two things come to mind in terms of application. First, we can rest complete and whole in the finished work of Christ the perfect sacrifice. We do not need to offer anything up for on the third day He rose again, conquered death and threw open the gates to God. It is finished! I just hope I never get over it. The second point that comes to mind is that we also tend to try to hold onto sacrifice after it is no longer needed. We all return to other things to make us acceptable when we already are. It is absurd and an offense to the perfect sacrifice of Christ for us to offer up anything else.

Father thank you that through Your sacrifice we are made eternally acceptable to you. Thank you for Jesus, the unblemished Lamb who takes away the sins of the world who has conquered sin and death once and for all and given us eternal life. We need nothing else. Amen!

M Hipsley (From the archives. Originally published on 66 Books in a Year on February 8, 2009.)

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Leviticus 15-18; Acts 9

To be honest, I never thought much about the word scapegoat until today.

“Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord.Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord … 21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. (Leviticus 16:6-10; 21-22 NLT).

I thought about how people choose another to be the scapegoat in communities and circumstances, banishing and blaming someone.

Saul, pre-Paul, was a hater and hunter of Christians, but he had a transforming encounter with the Lord (I am particularly moved by his blindness and then vision not only restored but with added Kingdom focus) that changed him, igniting him with passion.

21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” (Acts 9:21, NLT)

Jesus has the power to change everything and equip us for tasks we never imagined. He desires change in us, turning from former ways, to follow him with whole hearts. His easy yoke. His burden, light. Free. New.

Father God, I’m grateful when you look at me, you see my heart. You know the plans you have for me. You sing over me. Jesus took the sin of the world so that I can be a daughter. When I look at what my life was before Christ, I am amazed at your transforming work. Thank you that when I look up at the stars at night, I can actually see them, but even more, that you have given me a Kingdom focus. I pray I always keep my eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 12-14; Acts 8

I think I take it for granted that the priests in the Old Testament were taught everything they needed to know by God. The fact that He spent two chapters on leprosy amazes me this morning as I think about the specifics of how God can instruct us on things we know nothing about.

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,  “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous[b] disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. – Leviticus 13:1-2  ESV

I cannot think of a current individual living today who asked God to reveal the secrets of the universe to them, but my favourite from a past generation was George Washington Carver who asked God to reveal the secrets of the peanut. He obtain 300 different uses for the peanut and credits God for giving each one to him.

He would begin each day with prayer that God would reveal secrets to him about plants and vegetables.  It is reported that once Carver prayed, “Mr. Creator, show me the secrets of your universe.” “Little man, you’re not big enough to know the secrets of My universe, but I’ll show you the secret of the peanut,” was the reply.

I think I need to live in this hope again.  I also think I need to see Jesus able to work, actually, get involved in transformational work when it comes to people. I know that it is hard to visualize enemies coming into our church and finding a relationship with Jesus. More difficult to have someone in the church becoming a deadly betrayer even though none could be worse than Judas was to Jesus. That cannot be the end of the story.

Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. – Acts 8:3  ESV

I am reminded of this in the life of Saul who later is transformed and called Paul. Even a deadly persecutor, and maybe in my world today,  it could be people group in the Middle East, as an example, can become great allies and partners in the cause of Christ. That is the way God works. That is the kind of power He has.

Father, why do I settle for so little? Why is my prayer life so timid? You are amazing. May I change the way I see You today for who You really are – a revealer of the secrets of the universe and the transformation power behind lives changed! Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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Leviticus 8-11; Acts 7

“So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.” Leviticus 8:36 NLT

Moses and Aaron were obedient to God’s call on their life. They might not have always understood it, but they kept showing up.

“After that, Aaron raised his hands to the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.” Leviticus 9:22-24 NLT

They saw the fruits of their labor. Glory was revealed to them.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.” Leviticus 10:3 NLT

How many times have I been tempted to give up before God’s plan is revealed? Or I spend too much time questioning his calling on my life, instead of walking faithfully where I am?

God found Moses where he was. He sent him back to people who once rejected him. His willingness to walk into hurt and pain, lead him and others to victory that they wouldn’t have otherwise known.

Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am God of your ancestors- the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.’ So God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior. And by means of many wonders and miraculous signs, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness for forty years.” Acts 7:30-36 NLT

Dear Father, I pray that I would take time to listen to your voice and guidance. Give me faith to move forward when I don’t understand your plan. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)


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Leviticus 4-7; Acts 6

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying…” Leviticus 4:1; Lev. 5:14; Lev 6:1, 8, 19, 24; Lev. 7:22, 28, ESV

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

Laws…They are written to protect and to guide. They are there for our good. So why do I struggle with the Laws that God has given us? I read the old Testament laws and wonder how I would have responded at the time. Just reading them can be so overwhelming. How must the Israelites have felt? Hearing over and over again of the specific tasks and rules.

But isn’t that the point?

I am utterly overwhelmed without God. I love how all the rules started with…“The Lord Spoke to Moses, saying.” The Lord was present, the Lord was with them, the Lord was leading them and the Lord was promising to never forsake them. The point was to overwhelm because I am hopeless without Him…I am desperately in need of Him. I cannot follow the rules alone.

“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7 , ESV

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

The story doesn’t end with the rules. The story ends with the Savior. His work has changed my life, not the rules. His presence has brought healing and hope, not the rules. His presence changes everything! And…I can follow the rules because I know the God who authored them…I know His heart and I trust His leading and I trust His forgiveness when I fall short.

Father thank you for your wisdom and presence. Thank you for providing a way for us to follow you. Thank you for your grace and mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for showing me through the laws that you are the only way to salvation. Amen.

Mandy Baldwin

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