Category Archives: Leviticus

Leviticus 11-12; Psalm 13-14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

In summarizing the reading from Leviticus 11, I came away realizing I may not be as diligent in my walk with God when it comes to defiling my character. There is a lesson in mortality as the penalty of sin that is illustrated here. The law demanded constant watchfulness. In the same spirit I believe I need to watch and pray.

I would also like to give you my general thoughts on Psalm 13.  I have had times when God seemed distant. Not really sure why even though I could come up with a few thoughts that we may all agree on. There are other times when everything is right and yet God is far away, does not speak, I seek Him but He seems to be hiding.

This is David in Psalm 13. Out of the depths of his heart he repeats five times the haunting cry, “How long?” and “How much longer?” Psalm 13 tells me what to do when God seems distant.

Enough with the summaries, here are three short and to the point orders.

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 GNT

I spent some time with the second point – “pray at all times.” This is about maintaining an attitude of prayer, being aware of God’s presence and staying in constant communion and close relationship with the giver of joy.

It is my posture of unceasing dependence on God. I am abiding in, trusting in, depending on and acknowledging His presence in my life at all times.

 Father, You are my joy. When I spend time with You my life is filled with joy. “I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.” How many times has something not supposed to go right and yet You stepped in and made sure I was safe, cared for and protected. For all those times I missed You doing what You do best, I thank you. You are the difference in my life and You matter most. I love You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Lev. 10; Psalms 11,12; Proverbs 25; 1 Thess. 4

“You must distinguigh between what is sacred and what it common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean.  And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.”  Leviticus 10:10&11 NLT

The Israelites were set apart to do God’s work. I think on Courtney’s post from March 26.  She described Bezalel’s job as Holy Work.  This has stayed with me.  It has helped me to remember that there is purpose in the seemingly meaningless tasks.  The laundry, the dinner, the cleaning…the things that no one sees.  Than there are the hidden ugly places of my heart.  I don’t always want to do the hard and holy work of letting the Holy Spirit work on these areas.  When I do I am more freed up to love and serve.

“Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you.  You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.  For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.  Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1&2, 11&12 NLT

The Lord has chosen me.  It’s easy to get caught up in comparing myself to others.  But, this just derails me from my purpose.  Sometimes I wish I had a different story, especialy when I’m in the middle of it.   And I can’t always see how God is going to use it.  But, I know that he will use it for good, if I let him.  If I surrender it to him.

“I trust in the Lord for protection.  So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right.  The foundations of law and order have collapsed.  What can the righteous do?”  But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven.  He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” Psalms 11:1-4 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to learn to trust you more.  Forgive me for when my heart is far away from you.  Give me fresh eyes to see your goodness.  Amen.

“The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.  Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.” Psalms 12:6-8 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Leviticus 26-27; Numbers 1; Acts 13

In the beginning of Leviticus 26, God encouraged the people of Israel to obey Him by expressing the great rewards they would receive from their obedience. And then He said this:

Leviticus 26:13 (ESV)

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

He then shifted gears, and spent far more words warning of the consequences – the pain – they would experience if they disobeyed. The pain of acting in pride. The pain of acting in their own strength, in their own understanding, and in their own power.

The pain of forgetting God.

I think that’s why the transition between the promises of blessing to the promises of pain was a reminder of what God had done for the people to deliver them from bondage.

The single biggest factor in our obedience is remembering what God has done for us. If I could just remember how God has delivered me before, I’d have no trouble believing Him for this time. If I could remember how God answered my prayers before, I’d have no trouble asking Him for what I need now. If I remembered God’s faithfulness in the last trial, I’d find it easier to be faithful to Him in the current one.

But I forget. My fear takes over. Insecurity, pride, frustration, and the temptation to take matters into my own hands causes me to act like more like the Israelites than I’d like to admit. And it lasts longer than I’d like to admit, too. Because, while God offers so many promises and incentives for obedience, I find that I tend to respond far more to painful consequences than positive incentives.

I don’t think I’m alone in that. In fact, I think that’s why God spent more time talking about the painful consequences than the pleasurable ones. Because we tend to change only when the pain of staying the way we are becomes greater than the pain of change. That’s why pain is God’s biggest tool in our lives. He gets us out of the mess by pain.  And then, when we repent, as He promises in last section of the chapter, He can restore us and lavish on us the blessings of obedience that He’d promised in the first place.

If only I didn’t have to learn the hard way.

If only I could be faithful in seeking Him
before I find myself stressed out and overwhelmed.

If only I could decide to be kind
before my mouth gets me into trouble.

If only I could give forgiveness
before bitterness affects my other relationships.

If only I could learn to eat right
before I outgrow all my clothes.

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. What’s the key? Remembering God.

Father, forgive me for trusting in myself and what makes sense to me instead of obeying your directions for my life. Help me to remember what You’ve done for me, how You’ve proven Yourself to me, and how You’ve proven your ways are better than mine. I want to be faithful to you just as you’ve been faithful to me. I want to be motivated by Your promises, not the by the pain of ignoring you. Help me to live in Your presence and in the light of Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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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 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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