Who reads Leviticus?

When was the last time you were reading through Leviticus and you got passionate about God? Or Deuteronomy? Do you spend all your time thinking about the burnt offerings or the sacrifices that Israel had to make? Maybe you do, but if you are like most Christians I know, you’re probably thinking, Are you kidding me? Those are the boring books. Who does their devotions in Leviticus?

Honestly, that’s been my attitude for the majority of my life. And I’m ashamed of how I’ve despised the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that, all scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness; that every part of the Bible is useful for the maturing of the man of God. But, most of us would have to admit that our actions and attitudes toward some parts of the Bible declare our scorn for God’s Word.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He pursued God. He loved God. He wanted to serve Him. In the Psalms, David wrote, O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97

You might object that he liked it because He was under the law and we aren’t. But realize, David understood that the law was only a shadow. In Psalm 51 he wrote, For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. David knew that the law was not an end in of itself. He understood that the heart of God was more than regulations, yet he loved God’s regulations just the same.

One more thought, if we think that some parts of the Bible are boring, do we meditate on the parts of the Bible we think are more interesting? I know I don’t. I fail every day.

Do you spend time meditating on the Word of God? Do you love the Word of God? Do you spend time in the Old Testament? God tells us that the people in the Old Testament were recorded so that we could learn from them. I challenge you, as I challenge myself, take the time to meditate on Scripture today. Maybe even flip back to the Pentatuch or one of those weirdly named prophets. Take a chance, read through an Old Testament book. Ask God to teach you something through His Word. Ask God to help you love His Word more.

Try it and you won’t regret it, I have no doubt.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:65

Break the snakes

There are many good things in life that God gives us. He gives us certain things for certain times in our lives. Sometimes, the things that God has given us, loose their effectiveness. They were great for a time, but now God wants us to continue on. One example of something that lost its effectiveness was the brazen serpent in the Old testament.

You see, at one time, the Israelites were very disobedient and ungrateful to God. God allowed judgment to come upon them in the form of deadly snakes. When the people repented, God told Moses to make a brass snake. Anyone who looked at it, would be healed as a result of their obedience. (Numbers 21)

Years later, the Israelites still had the brass snake. You might think, Oh, thats nice, they have a piece of their history. But that was not all. They had started to worship the snake. They were burning incense to it, and treating it like a deity. God was not pleased, and when Hezekiah destroyed it because of their worship, God was pleased. (2 Kings 18:4)

Hezekiah looked at it and called it, Nehushtan or a thing of brass. Hezekiah had a proper view of the brass snake. He called it a thing. An item. It had no importance. God had used it in the past, but it was God that was special, not the thing He used.

Perhaps there are some brass serpents in your life. Think for a moment, what has God used greatly in your life? What has he used to help you grow the most? Perhaps it was a book you read, or a speaker you heard? I know in my life, I have often elevated people or tools that have helped me in my walk with God. Some of my attitude was a healthy respect, but there were times when it was in a sense an actual worship.

I would like to challenge you, if you find yourself in need of anything, realize that it is God that you need. When God works through your pastor, dont allow yourself to worship him. Look beyond the creation, and see the Creator who is the true provider. Dont ever ascribe worship or anything like it to Gods creation. God alone is worthy of our worship.

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2

Stepping out lately?

We will always have friends at college or the workplace, or at some other place. Many times we have friends of convenience. Its nice when theyre around, but its no great loss when theyre gone. Successful friendships dont happen by accident.

Marriages do not endure without commitment. Parent-child relationships dont continue after the child is an adult unless an effort is made on both sides. Relationships take work. A good friend of mine likes to sing a song that says, Ill start walkin your way, and you start walkin mine. In truth, thats friendship. Effort that is made on both sides.

So, what about your relationship with God?

Are walkin His way? Or are you walking away? James 4:8 says, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. As Christians, do we really think about what God did for us. Do we realize? Think about this, God died for you before you were ever born.

He definitely put the effort in. What else is greater than to die for a friend?

Now its your turn.

Will you make the effort? Will you decide to grow closer to God? Hes waiting for you. Hes calling out to you. Hes watching you. Waiting for you to make the slightest move towards Him.

Wont you make an effort to cleanse your life of sin and have an intimate fulfilling relationship with your Creator? The God of the universe loves you. Hes waiting to have a closer relationship with you. How long will you make Him wait?

Silence speaks

Do you enjoy silence? Most people don’t. It seems to be a characteristic of our society that we as a people do not enjoy silence. No matter where you go there are tv’s on, radios blaring, people live with their ipods constantly on and their headphones constantly in their ears. How much time do we actually spend in reflection and thought?

If we spend time alone, in silence, we would have to live with ourselves. We would have to contemplate our ideas, our focuses, our morals, our actions. We would have to think about out responsibilities. Personally, I think our society is mostly a Godless society because they can so easily distract themselves from their conscience and the calling of the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, we can allow ourselves to become a part of the world system. We can succumb to the mentality and lifestyle of the world. Just like a lost person, we can distract ourselves from what really matters. In this post, I’d just like to challenge you, to spend some time in God’s Word. Spend some time in silence, with God. Pray to Him. I challenge you to examine yourself. Are you distracting yourself from your heart condition?

In God’s Word, He promises to give us peace if we think on Him. Do you have peace? Even if you do, are you thinking on Him. I challenge you, turn off the world and bask in God’s presence. Sometimes you have to rest from all you are doing, before you find that you have not been with God like you should be.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." – Isaiah 26:3

Lying, to yourself?

Have you ever told a little white lie? There may have been a situation where you thought that it was the only solution. You may have said to yourself, Its no big deal. It cant harm anyone. You may have stretched the truth, left part of it out, or simply told a blatant lie. Your lie may have gone unnoticed by man, but it did not go unnoticed by God. Whatever your noble or ignoble reason for the lie, it was sin, and sin always has its consequences.

In 1 Samuel 21, David told a lie. He told a Ahimelech, a priest, that He had been sent on urgent business by the king. We see the consequences of Davids sin,later, in 1 Samuel 22. Saul comes and demands the priest to tell him what happened. As a direct or indirect result of Davids lie, 85 priests were murdered, as well as countless others. Davids sin did have consequences.

Our sin also has consequences. Galatians 6:7 reads, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Whatever sin we participate in, we have open the door to other sin. If we think that we can tell a small lie and not reap the consequences, we are lying to ourselves. We will reap consequences, and as with David, others may also.

Galatians continues in verse 8 with these words, For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. If we choose to sin, no matter how small we think the sin is, we will reap the consequences. However, if we choose to resist the flesh and follow after righteousness, we will reap the abundant life Christ has for us.

I would like to challenge you, sow to the Spirit. If you have a sin that you regard as small, dont allow it to remain in your life. It will bring consequences that are far out of your control. As a wise man once said, You can choose your sin, but it is not often that you can choose the consequences of it.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. -James 1:15

Do you take breaks? Jesus did.

Ever feel like you can’t take a break. Your mind is full, and you are pressured. You feel this enormous responsibility pressing on you and it seems as if the whole world is depending on you. The projects, tasks, responsibilities are piling up, and you can’t take a break, because if you do, things couldn’t possibly go on. But the truth is, they could.

When we find ourselves stressed and worn out from doing God’s work, we need to relax, take a break, and go to Him. I would like to share a quick example of a time when the disciples needed a break. In Mark 6:7 Jesus had sent the disciples out to preach repentance. When they came back to Jesus, they found themselves very busy. Jesus says in verse 30, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while." Why, the verse continues and tells us, "for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."

These disciples had worked hard. They were giving of themselves. But they had gotten so busy, they needed some time alone with Christ. There were so many people they didn’t have time to eat. When Jesus and his disciples left, they left by ship. By the time they got to the end of their journey, the people had outrun them to the place, and it was time to minister. Even though the disciples took a break, the ministry still succeeded.

I would like to challenge you, be prepared to take a break. If you are serving and helping, and you find yourself with no time, Jesus may call you to come apart and rest awhile. If He does, obey Him. Don’t pride fully think that your ministry can’t go on without you. Christ can take care of the ministry, it’s His ministry after all! I’m not saying you should be lazy and take breaks all the time, but that you should realize that there are times when God wants us to come apart to Him and rest. If He asked you, would you have the faith to come apart and rest awhile?

Jesus did.

"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone." – Matthew 14:23

Do you cast aside your garment?

Have you ever been in that place of desperation where you needed something, and you needed it badly? When you are in that situation, who do you cry out to? When you need help, who do you go to? Do you go to your family, your friends, your pastor, psychologist, etc.? When we have a need met or an obstacle removed from our life, we can find comfort and solace in others. But we can find a solution to our situation only in one person. And that person is Christ.

In Mark 10 we find the story of a blind man called Bartimaeus. He wanted to have his sight. When he found out that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out. His earnest cry was heard by others, and they told him to be quiet. When they did, the Bible says he, "cried the more a great deal." He cried out to God for mercy. He kept calling, and calling. When Jesus heard him, he commanded that Bartimaeus be called.

When Jesus asked for him to be called, the blind man responded in an unusual way. Verse 50 reads, "And he casting away his garment rose, and came to Jesus." Think about that, how easily could a blind man find his coat? If it was beyond reach, it most likely was going to be almost impossible to find, especially in the street. This man not only cried out and went to Jesus, but he did so in faith. What a testimony!

When we need something, do we go to Christ alone? Do we cry out to Him, over and over again. Do we cry out in desperation and with no reserves?

I would like to challenge you. Whatever you need in your life, go to Christ. Cry out to Him. Go to Him. But more than all this, go to Him in faith. It is our faith that will enable us to receive the mercy from our Lord. If we go to Christ in faith for something we need to accomplish His will, he will say to us, like He said to Bartimaeus:

"Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole." – Mark 10:52

Are you loving yourself?

In 2 Timothy 3:2 we find a passage that talks about evil men in the end times. It says, "For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . ." Think about the idea of these people loving themselves. They don’t care about others, about God, about anything other than what pleases them. Is this love?

If we read the book of Ecclesiastes, we will find a common theme: "All is vanity." Solomon loved God for a while, but later in life he sought pleasure other things. In the end, he found pleasure in nothing. I think he sums it up best when he says in Ecclesiastes 2:17, "I hated life."

Clearly, it is not in a person’s best interest to try to please himself with the things of the world. So those men in 2 Timothy don’t really know what love is. The word for ‘love’ used in 2 Timothy is the word that means ‘feeling.’ They like to make themselves feel good. Making oneself feel good temporarily, does not work in someone’s best interest and is not love.

Let me give you an illustration of true love for oneself. In Ephesians 5, Paul is encouraging husbands to love their wives properly. He says in verse 28, "He that loveth his wife loveth himself." The word for love here, means a love that is real. A love that motivates someone to action. Think about the idea presented in the verse: the man who loves his wife, is really loving himself. Why would that be? I would submit to you that it is in the man’s best interest to act out of love for his wife. So when he treats her right, he is doing himself a favor.

Let’s take that principle and apply it to the 2 Timothy verse. These men love themselves, with a feeling kind of love. If you look in the Bible, you will not find someone who lived a life for earthly pleasure, and enjoyed long-lasting benefits. It just doesn’t happen. What we do find, is that when a person submits to God and serves Him, they are blessed. They achieve true joy. True peace. And true benefits.

I would like to share with you. You are only truly loving yourself when you are completely surrendered to God. When you give up all your worldly pleasures and seek God alone. We will find true joy and satisfaction in our Creator. So let us serve Him. Not because we will truly love ourselves, but because He is worthy. Because He is our Creator. We were created to fulfill our purpose of pleasing Him. So let us please Him. In doing so, we are acting in our best interest, and truly loving ourselves.

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." – Revelation 4:11

Are you truly loving yourself?

So it was a very great trembling

Do you ever fall short of complete victory in your life? It would seem that no matter how hard you fight, you keep loosing your battle. God wants us to live a victorious life. He wants us to succeed. In order for us to win our battles, we must step out in faith that He is willing to work the victory through us.

In 1 Samuel chapter 16 we find an account of a a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. 1 Samuel 14:6 tells us how it began, “And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for

there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” Jonathan had faith that God could work the victory through them. Jonathan knew that God had the power to give victory. With that faith, Jonathan and one other guy took on an entire garrison.

In a later verse we find that Jonathan and his armorbearor killed about 20 men, I’m sure they could have easily kept going, but the circumstances change. In verse 15 we find, “There was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.” Did you catch that? The Philisines were so scared that they were shaking. And they were shaking so much that the earth began to shake!

In verse 16 we find that the Philistines were fleeing the battle and killing each other! King Saul learns of this and then he joins in fighting the Philistines. Other Israelites who had been cowering in fear joined in! And verse 23 says, “So the LORD saved Israel that day.”

I would like to challenge you, step out in faith in your spiritual battles. I don’t know what sin or shortcoming you need deliverance from, but whatever it is, trust God that He can give you the victory. Believe what He says. Just like Jonathan and his armorbearor stepped out in faith, you can step out in faith. You can gain victory over any sin or downfall in your life. Just like Jonathan’s victory encouraged others, your victory may too. As other’s see how God has used you, their faith will increase. Will you step out in faith? If you do, God can use your actions to encourage others, and work a great victory. Will you believe in God’s ability to give you the victory today?

“And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – Leviticus 6:8

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

The things of God

Remember being a little kid and wanting to understand something that your parents or another adult was doing? You may have tried to figure out what to do, but epically failed. You had seen them do it before, and you understood a little, but not much at all. In order for you to understand adult things, as a little kid, you needed an adult to explain things to you. Our relationship with God is just like that. If we want to understand the things of God, we must receive and operate in the Holy Spirit that God has provided for us.

1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." In short this verse is saying, just like only humans understand human things, only God understands His things. It says in order for us to understand the things of God, we must be using the Spirit of God. If Paul ended with that, we would have no hope, but he continues.

In the next verse he says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God." He says we have received this spirit so we could know what God has given us. You see, we can’t understand any thing that pertains to God unless we are using the Spirit which He has provided. So knowing that, we cannot use our natural human spirit (understanding) to understand and explain and learn from the Bible. We must ask God to give us the Spirit He has provided so we can understand.

Think about when you became saved. You probably were not studying the Bible like a textbook. Or maybe you were. But at some moment you began to realize that the Holy Spirit was working on your heart. You could have rejected His leading, and tried to think up how you could be saved through logic, but you didn’t, you allowed Him to convict you, (he used emotions) and you allowed him to explain to you, (logically, through a person or a Bible or both) and you responded. You see, God uses logic and emotions, but they must be in their proper place. If we try to put them above the understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit, they are not in the right place, and we will not be able to understand the things of God.

I would like to challenge you. Next time you read your Bible, ask God to help you understand it. Don’t try to figure out the Bible in your own head. You can’t. You can’t know God stuff without God explaining it to you. God wants to explain His blessings to you through His Holy Spirit. He says that he has offered His spirit to us. Why? So, "we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. " Do you want to understand everything God has given you? Ask God to start explaining!

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. " – 1 Corinthians 2:10