Sunday, February 26, 2012


Forging ahead in my quest to read the Bible in a year, I'm in the book of Leviticus, and I'll tell you what, it's going to be mighty hard to find a spiritual high reading this. Such detail about sacrifices -- involving blood, entrails, fat and all that -- ugh. Although I must admit I can almost relate, as I imagine the enticing aromas from burning fatty portions of meat on the altar of sacrifice. I've been known to burn a thing or two in my life...and when it's meat, outdoors on the grill, mmm-mm, it smells mighty fine...for a while. Once it's totally blackened it smells like something charred, something on fire. Quick, call 911!

My burnt offerings are not intentional, and probably are not a sweet aroma to the Lord, but still. In the days of Biblical antiquity a burnt offering pleased the Sovereign Lord God. Today, it's not necessary to bring offerings of that sort to God. He made the final offering for us, sacrificing Jesus, His son, Himself. All we need to do is confess our sins, call out to Jesus and be forgiven, cleansed. Then our name will be written in the Lamb's book of life. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How To Go On

Jesus disciples forsook him. Even Simon Peter, who vowed that he would never -- did indeed, deny knowing Jesus. He and his comrades didn't turn and flee because they wanted to, it was only because they didn't know how to go on. And we, like Peter, who call ourselves disciples, followers of Jesus, react when we face crisis. Sometimes the reaction is to run. Sometimes we are paralyzed. But eventually we fall at Jesus' feet...and he lifts us...and he shows us how to go on.

And for that,
I love you O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;

So shall I be saved from my enemies.  (Psalm 18:1-2)

Our enemies?
                  depression, anxiety, stress
              shortcomings, weaknesses, sin
              poverty, hunger, desires, needs
     acqauintances, neighbors, friends, family, foes 

Too often we make enemies because of misunderstanding. The tower of Babel looms large, but, as for me, I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; and I will be saved from my enemies...real and imagined. Amen.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Matthew 18:3

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

Matthew 19:14 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Oswald  Chambers has an enlightening insight on these verses -- Become as little children with openhearted, unprejudiced minds in relation to God... He goes on to say, the most serious minded Christian is the one who has just become a Christian; the mature saint is just like a young child, absolutely simple and joyful and gay. Read the sermon on the Mount -- Do not worry about your life. The Christianity of Jesus Christ refuses to be careworn. Our Lord is indicating that we have to be carefully careless about everything saving our relationship to Him. Fuss is always a sign of fever. A great many people mistake perspiration in service for inspiration in devotion. The characteristic of a man who has come to God is that you cannot get him to take anyone seriously but God." (from The Place of Help by Oswald Chambers)

My hope, prayer, and heart's desire, Lord, is to be like a child, expectant, full of wonder, free from self-consciousness, trusting. Help me to trust in you like I trusted my dad when I was a little kid. He always took care of me, got me what I needed, solved problems, and protected me. How much more can you, and will you, do for me, Abba, Father, Daddy, God? Amen.

When I was a little kid I didn't try to figure out how to live, I just lived. Mom and Dad took care of everything. Who knew you could go back to that? Simply trust in a child...with the absolute most perfect mom and dad. He's both, you know!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Get Your Own Straw

Reading Exodus today -- Chapters 5 and 6. Pharoah is ticked. These darn Israelites apparently have too much time on their hands if they want to go off and pay homage to their God. Let's remedy that. Require the same quota of bricks daily, but don't give them any straw. Apparently they have time to get their own straw.

I can't stand injustice. I can't stand misunderstandings. Yet both are prevalent in my life, in yours, in our world. I assumed my hyper sensitivity toward injustice, my distain for those who treat other unjustly was a good, maybe even godly, trait. But here's what Oswald Chambers has to say about it:

Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it.

And then this: Much that we call the trial of our faith is the inevitable result of being alive.

Speaking of justice and injustice. How many times must we forgive someone who sins against us? Seven times? No, 70 times other words there is no end to the number of times we should forgive. 

In Matthew 18 you can read the the story of the unforgiving servant. Though his own great debt had been forgiven, he was not willing to forgive a much smaller debt from someone else. It did not go well for that man when his master found out that he did not pay it forward. He was thrown back in prison.

The story concludes with Jesus' words, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Psalm 15

Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever. (Psalm 15:1-5 NLT)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Old Versus New

Previously when I read through the Bible in a year, I always read straight through, Genesis to Revelation. And I'm not gonna lie, theNew Testament is easier. There is some horrific stuff in the Old Testament, hard to get through. Most likely because the story of redemption isn't a pretty one. First off anything that needs redeemed is in a bad place to begin with. And, I suppose, every redeemer has to do some self-sacrificing in order to accomplish his or her mission. Think of an antiquer restoring a valuable piece, or an architect renovating an old house, or a construction worker shoring up a dilapidated barn. How much harder to redeem a fallen, falling apart, sinful person. Let's face it, the human race (my people and yours) are scoundrels -- not totally our fault. God gave us this self-centered heart and then (what was He thinking?) He gave us free will. The picture in the Old Testament is clear, people don't choose well and even the best of them do some terrible bad things. King David for example.

All that to say, I'm glad to be following a reading program that mixes Old readings and New, Psalms and Proverbs added in. Today, I finished Genesis, continued in Matthew, read Psalm 14 and Proverbs 4:20-24. Good words from Proverbs to meditate on today, "...give attention to (God's) words...keep them in your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to their flesh."