Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bible Reading for January 1-2

Saturday 1-2-10 - 2 Samuel 13
Sunday 1-3-10 - 2 Samuel 14

Thursday, April 23, 2009


We have decided to suspend the blog for a while. We want to encourage everyone to continue reading the daily Bible readings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leviticus 3

Leviticus 3 deals with the Peace Offering or the Fellowship Offering. This offering was to be made on top of the Burnt Offering. The Fellowship Offering was not to take the place of the Burnt Offering. Unlike the Burnt Offering which was to be offered completely to the Lord, the Fellowship Offering was a meal that was to be shared. God was offered the fat portions which in that day would be the choicest parts and the other consumed by the priests and worshiper.

There are several eternal truths that can be taken from this passage. First, Jesus has been sacrificed for our sins. Therefore, the whole offering has been paid for us. Therefore, we can have Fellowship with the Lord because of what Jesus has done. Our sacrifice to the Lord today is to give our best to Him. Some people think they are doing enough by giving clothes they no longer want to the poor. I even heard of some folks who send their used tea bags to missionaries. This is not giving our best to the Lord. Giving the Lord our best effort, and sacrificially giving our time, talent and treasure will bring a richer fellowship with Him.

“Lord, help us to give You our best and to enjoy Your fellowship today. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

Leviticus 2

Leviticus 2 records the requirements of the Grain Offering. This offering symbolized the dedication of one’s labor to the Lord. There are three different grains described in this passage: uncooked grains, cooked grains and grain offerings of firstfruits. The difference between cooked and uncooked may have been a way to make sure the poor were included. Some could not afford the ovens or the pans to cook the grain.

There were ingredients that were allowed and some that were not. Olive oil was to be included. This would symbolize the working of God in one’s life. Yeast was not allowed in the grain offering but was allowed in the first fruit offering. Salt was commanded to be used in the offerings. Salt in that day was a preservative. It was also used in a ritual to seal covenants. The salt represented the lasting commitment of our vows and promises.

As the people brought grains that represented their labor we need to realize the importance of our work and that all we have is to be given to God.

“Lord, help me to always have the right ingredients in my life to please You. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leviticus 1

The Book of Leviticus has been the cause of many people who decided to read through the Bible to quit. Genesis and Exodus have plenty of interesting stories, but Leviticus is written more like a law book. Before you quit think of all we learn from this book. Leviticus emphasizes the holiness of God that Jesus will remind us, “Be ye holy as your father in heaven is holy.” We learn of the fragrant smell of a sacrificial offering and many other eternal truths will be gained by studying the book of Leviticus.

Chapter 1 tells about the whole burnt offering. Leviticus obviously follows Exodus. We are left in Exodus with the glory of the Lord filling the Tent of Meeting. Leviticus picks right up and has God calling to Moses from the Tent. God called to Moses from the burning bush and from Mt. Sinai, and now from the Tent of Meeting. I like the name for the Tabernacle. It is important to remember that the people of Israel were to go there to meet with God. Though many scholars believe that the sin offering may have been the first offering to be made, it is significant that the Book of Leviticus begins with the whole burnt offering. This offering was to be completely sacrificed to the Lord. No meal to follow for the Priests and the one making the sacrifice as there will be with other offerings.

It is significant for us to offer ourselves completely to the Lord. I heard that Luther Rice attended a worship service and when the offering plate was passed he did not have any money to put in and so he put a note in the plate that read, “I give myself.” Luther Rice went on to be one of our first Baptist missionaries. That is the spirit of the sacrifices. When the blood of the animal was spilling it would be a stark reminder that because of his sin he deserved to have his blood spilt instead of the animal. Of course, it took the spilling of Jesus’ blood to completely cover our sin.

“Please accept our gratitude for sending Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for us. Let us live a life completely devoted to You. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”

Friday, April 17, 2009

Matthew 19

Matthew 19 begins with a question from the Pharisees about divorce. Jesus puts the correct interpretation on Moses certificate for divorce. It was not God’s original plan for man and woman to divorce, but because of our sin that caused it. Jesus did give one reason for divorce and that was marital unfaithfulness. If one really takes a deeper look at this passage they will find that Jesus is more of a pro-marriage advocate than being so anti-divorce. Jesus always holds his disciples to high standards. Living in a faithful marriage is the standard God desired from the beginning. Unfortunately, our sin sometimes keeps us from attaining this high standard. It is good to know that Jesus forgives us of our sins, but we should never cease from attempting to live holy lives. I do find it interesting that Jesus gives an exception clause to us if we are married to a spouse who is unfaithful. In my 30 plus years of being a pastor I have unfortunately seen many of my parishioners divorce. When it all shakes out 9 out of 10 of the time there was an affair or a want to be affair. Usually when couples are struggling if both parties want to work it out and no outside party is involved then the couple can work it out. A few times I have seen an abusive spouse who just would not change and those folks made marriage impossible, but most are not that severe.

Jesus then had children come to him and the disciples tried to send them away, but Jesus welcomed them. Jesus said, “… do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Jesus spoke in the present tense. I smile every time someone says “youth are the future of our church.” Or, “children are our future.” Jesus made it plain that children and youth are our present.

Then Matthew records a rich young man coming up to Jesus and wanting to follow him. Jesus asked him to give away all his possessions and come follow him. The rich man could not do it. Then Jesus said those famous words, “… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Some have pointed out that there actually was a gate that was referred to as the eye of the needle in which one could possibly squeeze a bended camel through. Whether that is what Jesus is referring to or not, I don’t know, but whatever it was with man it was impossible. The disciples were astonished that Jesus would refer to the rich like this because the common theology of the day was that the rich were blessed. Jesus made it plain that salvation was impossible without God. Humanity cannot save themselves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Matthew 16-17

The narrative section continues in these two chapters as these two chapters contain two of the most revealing stories of who Jesus is. The first revealing story is when Simon Peter confesses that Jesus is Lord. Now when Jesus says "Upon this rock, I will build my church," Jesus is referring to the confession that He is the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God. Some of our brothers and sisters in Rome have interpreted this verse for papal authority, but it was the confession of Peter. However, Peter did not quite understand what that confession meant. He had no idea of the suffering that leads to life that Jesus had to endure. So he opened his mouth foolishly, and rebuked Jesus, who quickly called him "Satan." Pretty harsh words! Then Jesus reveals who he is to three of his disciples in the Transfiguration. Again Peter opens his mouth foolishly, and offers to build huts for Elijah, Jesus, and Moses. Of course Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets, which are referred to constantly in Matthew, and this transfiguration shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of both the law and the prophets.

One thing that really stood out to me is how to act in the presence of God. Peter, like so many of us, did not know what to do when faced with even a little bit of the glory of God. Sometimes, it is best to be silent when faced with the presence of God, and to allow his spirit to move and speak into your life.

"God, help us to be still. Help us to recognize your presence, and be silent in the face of your glory. Amen."