Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday 7-26-10

Numbers 13-15

This text is so rich, and as I read it, it seemed that verse after verse was speaking volumes to me. From the spies various reports, to the peoples rebellion and wanting to go back to Egypt, my heart was convicted and stirred in numerous ways. Never the less I want to look at what I believe are three key character traits and values any leader needs, well any Christian leader that is.

First in Numbers 14 we see that God was going to destroy the Israelites and work through Moses to bring about His promises. But Moses speaks with God and reminds God of what He has already done to bring the Israelites this far. Moses keeps God's glory the center of his reason for serving and leading. It is central for any Christian leader to have a passion for God's glory in order to be able to truly and freely serve God.

Secondly, Moses believed God for what He said. When the various reports of the land, and the verdict came back that yes, it was a good land, but, no, the Israelites could not take the land. Moses faith in that God's promise did not waver, he remained steadfast that they should go in and take the land. It is crucial for a Christian leader to believe God, and stand fast upon God's word even when other contradict or discourage.

Thirdly, even when God made it clear to Moses that he would not be allowed to enter the promised land with Joshua and Caleb. Moses did not give up, or throw in the towel, because Moses wasn't just "in the ministry" (if I may use that term) for himself. It was not about making much of Moses, or seeing what all he could get out of it. Likewise it must be crucial for a leader to be one who has and does serve, to be one who is sold out for the kingdom of God.

May our lives make much of Him, and not ourselves!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday 7-21-10

"Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death." Leviticus 24:16

As I read this, it occurred to me just how serious sin is to God. To often I have esteemed sin as "not a big deal" or "covered by grace." Now while the later is true, I so often seem to underappreciate that my sin is covered by grace because I don't have a right view of sin. When I became saved my "position" changed from being an enemy of God to being a child of God. Likewise my "position" with sin definitely changed in one aspect, that is it is no longer my task master. But in another it is not fully changed, it is changing by God's grace and that is that I am coming to be at odds with my sin. 

The other thing I see quite clearly is that God takes His name seriously. It is not a little thing to blaspheme or take His name lightly. Yet every time I sin, that is precisely what I do.. oh how I need Him more and more. I need His grace and His power, I do not want my life to take His name and run it through the muck. May my life exalt Him and magnify Him!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday 7-19-10

"'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement." Leviticus 17:11

Before I comment on this verse, and share what God showed me through it. I just wanted to share what a blessing reading through the Old Testament has been to me. So many only read from Psalms and Proverbs when it comes to the Old Testament. I for one, have only grow in appreciation for the New Testament by reading the Old. To be able to walk with men like Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah and so many more, to see their struggles, their success and failures. I have learned so much from reading about these men, and reading what these men wrote. My theology has been deeply shaped by the Old Testament, such as God's passion for God's glory.. no where can this be seen greater than through the history of the Israelites. The necessity of walking with a pure heart before God, as we see that David did. To glean the timeless wisdom and biblical principles left for me in Proverbs. How can we forget the Old Testament? How can so many modern Christians throw away the very foundation of our faith? Lord make me one who studies and preaches the whole counsel of your Word.

Now onto Leviticus 17:11, here is a very rich verse, and one which could so easily be overlooked. Through this verse is a very foundational answer to a question which many seem to have no answer for. The question being "Why, did Jesus' blood have to shed for the remission of sins?" Very simply put, the punishment for sin is the eternal wrath of God being poured out forever. The only way out from bearing the wrath of God for eternity is to have a sacrifice which is perfect, because anything less could not bring us into right standing with God. And since the life of the flesh is in the blood, the blood of a perfect being would have to be spilled in order to fulfill the requirement for salvation. Jesus Christ was and is the only such sacrifice that ever could have been. So here in Leviticus 17:11 we see that there had to be death of one to result in the life of another. And we know from Hebrews 10, that the blood of bulls and goats could not save us. So really Leviticus 17:11, is pointing to the Cross!! Because life must be taken and blood must be spilled in order to atone for a soul. Thank you Jesus for coming to die, and atone for my soul and redeem me unto yourself. Thank you for shedding your blood, for none other could have for me.

Saturday 7-17-10

There was not so much a specific verse or passage, but rather I was reading in Leviticus (12-16). It became quite clear to me, that God did not give the law of the Old Testament to make anyone's life miserable. It was not as if God was attempting to suck all the joy and happiness out of the Israelites lives. Far from it, rather He gave the law that we might see and savor Christ Jesus. It is not as if God gave the law so that the Israelites could keep it, and so that the cross would not be needed. For the law was given to be our school teacher, to bring us to the cross. Yet so many are quick to throw away the law, once they come to the cross. 

In fact in so many, the law is looked down upon as if it was something bad. God doesn't give us commands like "flee fornication" or "treat the young women as sisters, in all purity," to make our lives miserable. God knows (for He created us as such), that the only thing which can satisfy us and bring us true joy is Himself. It is loving for Him to tell me to "flee fornication," because He knows that my wicked and deceitful heart is easily deceived.  I guess what I am getting at is that it is loving for God to want me to be 100% infatuated and completely sold out for Him. Because sexual immorality, money, cars, computers, entertainment, friends, anything and everything that this world has to offer, cannot and I say again cannot satisfy me. Only God can, and Father may I look only to you for joy and satisfaction. May all that I have and am be yours and be used for your glory.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday 7-04-10

"Then God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." - Exodus 20:1-6

As I read these verses this afternoon, I saw them in a much different light. No longer was God trying to make the lives of the Israelites miserable, no longer were these just pointless rules that we are to follow. These laws were given that we might see Jesus as our ultimate treasure, as the most desirable treasure that ever has, does or will exist. But the law cannot make us perfect, and the law in and of it'self could never make us NOT "fall short of the glory of God." But Romans 7 says that the law is not sin, in fact it says that the law is a good thing. Why? Because God is passionate for His glory, and He wants us join with Him in that passion for His glory. The law was given, to point to grace, and through grace we come to see and savor Christ. We come to know what true satisfaction and joy is like, and we only come to know such things through the cross. 

And if God has drawn us out of sin, and we no longer serve the flesh. (Romans 6) Then we should find great joy through Christ our Savior. Sin only holds an attraction to us, because we do not have a proper view of Jesus. 1 Corinthians says that we see "through a glass dimly," so if we want to see and savor Jesus. We should be as the man described in Psalm 1, who does not "walk with the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the the scoffers." But rather this man is one whose delight is in the law of the Lord and he "meditates [on it (the law)] day and night."