Tag Archives: holy

Leviticus 19-20; Hebrews 7

I know people who are generous. I know people who are stingy. I know people who are encouraging. I know people who are deceptive. I know people who are patient. I know people who are easily ruffled. I think about traits that mark an impression and define a life and lifestyle.

How will my children remember me?

How will my words or actions influence a stranger?

Whether my life is lived in a big way or a small way, it will leave a mark that seems temporary, but one that has a potential to affect generations. (Lord, help me steward well what you’ve entrusted me.)

The Lord speaks of being set apart as holy in Leviticus.

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy. (Leviticus 20:7-8, NLT)

I find comfort in these words as they point to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the Lord who makes me holy. He is at work within me, transforming me.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. (Hebrews 7:26-27, NLT)

I don’t expect my kids to master any topic in a first reading. Learning takes practice. I’m so grateful for a gracious God who will walk with me all the years of my life to guide and correct me and love me all the while–on my good days, on my bad days.

Lord God, thank you for your words in my hands, that I can turn to you for instruction and wisdom. Thank you for your great patience in my life, the hard tests and tasks that transform me. Thank you for relationship–that I can be close to you and know I am loved.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 19; Psalm 56-57; Isaiah 8-9:7; James 2

Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish and on which no yoke has been laid.  You shall give it to the priest Eleazar, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Numbers 19:2-3 NRSV

The Old Testament has quite a few rituals recorded there that God demanded as part of His desire to reveal His authority and His holiness.  I could never get a handle on them all but as I got older, not only do I get them, but I under the new covenant I see what we have been given through Jesus.

 

But the Old Testament also gives us promises.  I love those promises – they are hope to me whenever I read them and those hopes are real because of Jesus.

For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life. – Psalm 56:13 NRSV

Even on Sunday morning, as our church started a series on the Apostles Creed – I was reminded that God is the ultimately authority and is holy.  While He is also a generous God who gave us Jesus, and because of Jesus we can call Him, Abba Father, I am to remember that He is my Father and with all the authority and holiness that comes with that.

 

But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread – Isaiah 8:13 NRSV

 

So my walk has to be holy too.  I get now why Jesus called us to be perfect and holy.  In the little things, they matter, because God matters and what I believe about God matters. In my fund-raising ministry I might be tempted to favour those with more wealth, but God calls me to obey Him.

 

My brothers and sisters,[a] do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? – James 2:2 NRSV

Lord, I want and need to show my world that deep inside, not just on the outside, I am a follower of Jesus.  I know that when I made the decision to follow You, I invited you to change me from the inside out.  There is no way I want to fake my decision, to act my way through my faith – I want to be real.  I need you Father to help me, I need your strong-arm to guide me and I need your wisdom to teach me.  May those who look on my life say that You really matter to me.  For Your glory and Your honour I pray.  Amen

evanlaar

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Leviticus 16; Psalm 19; Proverbs 30; 1 Timothy 1

Sometimes when I concentrate so much on my friendship with God, I forget I am made holy only through the blood of Jesus.  For God is a holy God and for the people in the New Testament and in the Old Testament who forgot that, died.

The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died. – Leviticus 16:1 NRSV

This Old Testament example must have made Aaron scared to even enter the tabernacle to serve God.  He had to come to a place where he understood that holiness was given to him in order for him to serve, but it did not cancel his sin.

I hear people say that we do not need the Old Testament anymore – but look at the words they are missing that declare God’s Word…

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. – Psalm 19:7-9 NRSV

The Scriptures are just that – holy – of more benefit to me than the air I breathe.  I need God’s Word to see His holiness, to see a way out of my sin.  It provides a direction that is true – a fountain of lasting hopes.  By them I discover my need for a Saviour.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. – Proverbs 30:5  NRSV

I found this promise is echoed in the New Testament too – His Word is holy, His commandment is holy and just and good.

This is really important to me – I know that Jesus is the Word – and in Jesus I have hope.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope – 1 Timothy 1:1  NRSV

The Old Testament still wraps it up nicely – I am Holy, and besides me there is no saviour.

Lord God, Father, You are holy, You are true.  Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to be a Saviour to all who want to follow You.  May Your Word continue to strengthen me, guide me, lead me and may I yield to You in all that You ask of me.  I love You – thank you for seeing no sin in me because of Jesus and for accepting me into Your presence to be loved and to love You right back.  I want to be holy as You are holy.

evanlaar

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Leviticus 8-11; Psalm 110; Hebrews 4

Set apart and holy.

10 You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. Leviticus 10:10, NLT.

You are arrayed in holy garments,
    and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. Psalm 110:3b, NLT.

Refreshed and rested.

But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.
    He will be victorious. Psalm 110:7, NLT

For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,

“In my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”

even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. Hebrews 4:2-3, NLT

A priesthood.

The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
    “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4, NLT

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:14-15, NLT

A God that it’s all about.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13, NLT

16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16, NLT

Sweet Jesus on every page of this reading. These words like worship–my heart stirs. Quiet morning, pre-dawn, refreshed and rested in His presence.

So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7, NLT.

Thankful for Today.

Courtney (66books365)

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Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-13

 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!”

Acts 2:13

I work at a church, so my wife and I often have front row seats to some interesting spiritual ‘stuff’ – for lack of a better word. 

The Holy Spirit, what he* does, when he does it, etc. is a tricky subject, and it’s easy to step on toes. Everyone’s particular opinions tend to be a mix of what they grew up with, what they’ve been taught, and what they’ve personally experienced. I tend to be much more operative out of what I’ve been taught, and to be honest what I’ve experienced (in terms of the miraculous) have been somewhat limited. I’m also a skeptic by nature, I don’t believe things right away, and it can be a fault. I probably have missed out on countless miracles as I searched for a rational explanation. Ultimately I came back to God because there were things happening around me that I couldn’t explain anymore without Him.

In any event, there was something that happened at church last week that sort of challenged some of the ‘boxes’ I had put the Holy Spirit into. And in the process of praying and thinking through the experience afterwards I came to a conclusion: I don’t really know how you’re supposed to determine whether or not something is from the Holy Spirit or not.

Do I just go on how it feels? Seems dangerous.

The exec. Pastor that oversees me and has been mentoring me a bit shares this quote often, not sure if it’s his or not, “One of the most dangerous thing about being human is you can always choose to interpret data a different way”. 

Seems to apply to ‘spiritual’ events as well.

So I started thinking I needed to establish some criteria on how I sort of filter these sorts of things in the odd circumstances, but also in the everyday. Like when someone tells me the church should be doing a certain program, is that from the Spirit? or just someone’s opinion?

I came up with these three things, you might have a few more, and these might change for me over time, but it’s a starting point for me: 

Where’s the fruit? (Matt 7:16, Luke 6:44, Matt. 7:20 etc.)

Does it bring Glory and Honor to Jesus? (1 Cor. 10:31)

Is it done out of love? (John 13:35)

Again, not an exhaustive list, and certainly room for interpretation, but these are my three quick checks. If it doesn’t pass these three, chances are it’s not a work of the Spirit.

Is the message, prophecy, tongues, etc. done out of love for another? Is there other fruit in this person’s life or ministry to back up this message? Does it bring glory to Jesus? That’s where I start. 

And if applied to the following passages in Acts, we see Peter preach boldly, thousands get saved, glory given to God, and ongoing fruit in the lives of the disciples. I never want to miss out on what the Spirit of God is doing in the midst of his people today, but I want to remain sound in what I affirm and live by. There were many people in Acts who missed out on God’s goodness because they couldn’t believe what was happening through God’s Spirit poured out on men (Gentiles nonetheless!)

Lord would you allow my walk with you to become so close, that I would constantly bring you glory, love others, and bear fruit as I obey your statutes? Lord allow me the gift of repentance for the times I’ve missed out on your Spirit’s work in the world, open my eyes to see your glory in the midst of your people.

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I Kings 15, Colossians 2, Ezekiel 45, Psalms 99-101

Dear readers,

For I would that ye know withersoever thou goest, that I will be in prayer for you.  My purpose in writing to you is so ye may be comforted in the assurance that our faithful God is always there strengthening thee along the way.  For it is written in Colossians 2:9-10 “For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ.  He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.”

He hast shown me through His words in Col 2:14, that the charges against me have been blotted out and nailed to the cross thus forgiving me of all my trespasses.  I am strengthened all the more because of his never-ending love and FORGIVENESS!

It gives me great joy to speak of King Asa in I Kings 15.   For it was he who changed the course of the path from the wicked one of which his father, King Abijam had been upon.  King Asa banished immoral idols and dethroned his grandmother, Maachah from being queen, while burning her obscene Asherah pole she had built.  I rejoice in being aware of the fact that Asa did what was pleasing in God’s eyes.  I pray that I also will remove unclean and wrongful things that are set before me and would continue to have the Lord look upon me with loving favor.

Amidst my scripture reading in the book of Ezekiel, the 45th chapter, it was revealed to me  how many intricate measurement instructions were placed upon the portion division of the land, along with the guidelines placed upon the princes which ruled there.  In verse 4 it says, “This area will be a holy land, set aside for the priests who minister to the LORD in the sanctuary.”   I believe that my God highly desires my praise and my devoted holy worship in every place that I step foot into.  There is a nail that hitteth directly over my head when I read v.9 “Enough, you princes of Israel! Stop all your violence and oppression and do what is JUST AND RIGHT.” It is often that I findeth myself seeing verses such as this and pondering the thought of, “for this is but a sentence in a story telling others what needeth to be done in their lives”.  The message that shone through  upon me in this instance was, ‘simply because I am not a prince does NOT remove my obligation and command to also JUST STOPPETH THE WRONG AND DOETH THE RIGHT!!

Throughout the history of my time upon this earth I am giving faithful witness to the truth that God delights when I do what is right and pleasing in his sight and He filleth my cup with an overflowing joy that causes me to want to give Him praise and stay within those holy boundaries!

Psalms 99:3 “Let them praise your GREAT and AWESOME name.  Your name is holy!” Psalms 100:1-2, 4-5 “Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth!~ Worship the Lord with gladness!!  Come before Him, singing with joy. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.  For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues FOREVER and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”

This peace I leave with you, that after having read this amongst yourselves that ye will likewise greet one another with the same joy and forgiveness that Christ has shown upon myself and each of you dear brethren!

May the grace of God be with you.  Amen.

Live2Love4Him4Ever

~Erica~

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Numbers 25; Psalm 68; Isaiah 15; 1 Peter 3

I ran into a church friend in a parking lot yesterday. I love the deeper bonds I experience with sisters in Christ, that after the hellos and hugs were given, our conversation could go to a much deeper place–and it didn’t seem odd or inappropriate to reveal hearts and hurts to one another. We talked about family.

Lately, thoughts on family and home have been top of mind. My husband and I talked about how we were raised, and how teachings were passed down to us, shaping how we handle conflicts or other issues. We could laugh at some things–like my father-in-law’s firey courage, but other things caused a somber reflection. What values do I want to perpetuate? What things need to stop here?

When I think of family or home, it is described by words like welcome, safe, loved, included. And yet, these are not the words I would use to describe where I came from. They’re what I wanted for myself, and what I want for my children (or anyone who enters my house). And I wonder, if we are to live in but not of the world: Shouldn’t home feel holy? Set apart from the world?

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
    he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. Psalm 68:5-6 NLT

First Peter 3 is where I linger today, with thoughts on family laid out before me. He advises the wife on godliness and beauty; and the husband on how to honor her. This, for all of us:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
    and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
    and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
    against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 NLT

In a bloodline divided, to love like brothers and sisters seemed foreign to me. But God shows me what love looks like, through his own for me, and through sisters and brothers in Christ who know and show love. He puts this lonely one into a bigger, broader community of family. Isn’t this what he wants (for all of us): Unity? Love?

I want that too.

It’s all a work in progress, but I’m so thankful to have God’s Word to guide me. Home, set apart–not an idol or a realm of perfection, but a model of love and forgiveness–where we are not cast aside for our imperfection and brokenness, but spurred by one another, tenderly and humbly.

I asked my kids what words they would use to describe home … I heard things like safe, protected (from my 10 year old) and happy (from my 6 year old). We talked about ways we can live and choices we need to make.

Father God, I’m grateful for this life tapestry you’ve woven–how sisters enter my life to encourage and show me by example how to follow you better. I’m grateful to call you Father–and to know you love me, that I can trust you, and you will not forsake me. I am your child, and you live in me. What love you have lavished upon me. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother–help me, Lord, daily, to follow your call. Thanks (always!) for your patience and guidance.

Courtney (66books365)

Listening to Matthew West’s song, Hello My Name Is

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