Sin Is Dark – Be The Light

Grim_reaper

Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 3

I began my collegiate career as an accounting major. Shockingly, my first class was Accounting 101 and I failed my first test – I was shocked! This was the basic stuff, simple debits and credits – this wasn’t supposed to happen. I went to the teacher and he said words that forever changed my life, “Perhaps an accounting career isn’t for you.”

I did what every confused college student would do, I called Mom. Mom did a self analysis of the job market and realized I had a higher probability of getting  a job as a nurse, so that was her recommendation. Once again, I was excited, guided and I enrolled in a bunch of labs my second semester – Biology, Chemistry and Anatomy, Oh My! I remember looking at my lab partner in Anatomy and she could barely wait to cut into that disgusting, formaldehyde smelling, slimy frog. I was literally ill. It was that moment that I knew the medical field wasn’t for me.

So I’m having this flashback as I’m reading Leviticus 3. This chapter gives a vivid description of the peace offering and its not a very pretty picture – at least to us. This pleased God and the reason sacrifice was necessary is because of sin, they didn’t have Jesus yet; God’s perfect sacrifice to cover their sin. This particular offering speaks of the communion and fellowship of believers with God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. The only way you and I can come to God is through Jesus Christ. He is the Way!

God never accepted the blood of bulls and goats as the final payment for sin, but He required that blood be shed. It was an atonement to cover over the sins until Christ came. In other words, God saved “on credit” in the Old Testament. When Christ came, as the hymn accurately states it, “Jesus paid it all.” This is true as far as the past is concerned, and as far as the present is concerned, and as far as the future is concerned.

Furthermore, I am reading this in the early morning of Halloween. Today is a day when my neighborhood will be busy with Zombies, Grim Reapers, and little Freddie’s. As you now know I’m not a fan of bloody gore and shouldn’t surprise you that I’m not a fan of Halloween either. I don’t like the dark side of this day – God is light in the darkness. Darkness represents sin and sin is disgusting, stinky, and slimy to God. Whether its killing animals who are without defect or our surrendered lives, there is no question that we need a savior – He gave one to us. Let’s give him our best today and be light in the darkness on this Halloween day.

Picture Perfect

bread

Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 2

Bread. My parents had an eight track tape that I remember listening to called, “The Best of Bread.” My favorite song on that album was the song, “If.” The first line of that song was, “If a picture paints a thousand words, than why can’t I paint you. The words will never show, the you I’ve come to know.”

The offerings in Leviticus speak of the person of Christ and of the work of Christ. The burnt offering in chapter 1 was a picture of Christ in depth as well as in death. The meal offering reveals the humanity of Jesus in all its perfection and loveliness. Somehow, some way, the song lyrics I haven’t heard for decades comes back to me and reminds me of my relationship with Christ, “The words will never show, the you I’ve come to know.”

Perhaps that is what God is doing in this book. He’s trying to take the picture of his son Jesus and describe him, or paint a picture of Him, in a way that we can conceptualize who He is. He’s complex and no one ever walked this planet who what like Him. How do you put that into words. Then to put another twist on it, “It’s prophesy!” This was written thousands of years before Jesus even came to earth.

This is evidence of the trinity – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I used to get all hung up on this, “How can God be three persons in one?” God created the earth and then Jesus shows up and then the Holy Spirit enters the picture?… NO! They were there all along. God is revealing them to us in the Old Testament and Leviticus 2 is describing it here.

Have you ever imagined trying to explain Christ to someone? Sure there is the Sunday school version, “All you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll go to heaven,” but it’s not that simple is it?

God is using a word picture and this chapter happens to be a meal offering that God is describing. There is no shedding of blood, so that alone makes this one different and there are two important aspects of this offering: the ingredients which are included and the ingredients which are excluded. Essentially it is the picture the perfect humanity of Christ.

New Beginnings and a Treasure Hunt

Treasure

Today’s Devotional: Leviticus 1

Welcome! I have been on this chapter-a-day journey through the bible since early July 2013. I created this blog and Facebook page the day after I met Elina and Nikki, whom I didn’t know very well at the time. We immediately bonded as sisters in Christ. We were practically strangers, but they shared biblical wisdom to help me out of a pit I recently climbed into, it was if God put them in my life at that perfect time and the very next morning I prayed to thank God for my Godly Girlfriends and that was the day Godly Girlfriends began.

So it was like I had this new baby, but didn’t know what to do with it. I knew one thing for sure, I wasn’t plugged into God’s Word, a bible study, or any discipline that would help me grow and deepen my relationship with Christ. So I thought if I wasn’t, perhaps others would benefit from an online day-to-day reading plan – and here we are.

Friendships are developed, strengthened, and maintained through commonalities and shared experiences. I would say wherever you are in live or physically reside on the planet, if you are a follower of Christ we have commonality. This blog makes our relationship a bit one sided on my part because I’m sharing my stories, revealing my heart and expressing my insights, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Communicate with a comment on this blog or a post on our Facebook page or if you run into great quotes, pictures, stories, so please pass them along.

All that to say, “Welcome to Leviticus 1!” It’s a fresh start, a new beginning and an opportunity for you to continue your walk with the Lord alongside of me; not only getting to know me better, but, more importantly, for you to deepen your relationship with Christ. Like anything, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. I see God at work in my heart and in my life like I have never seen Him before.

In Leviticus 1 is a new day for God too. He has moved off of Mount Sinai and into the Tabernacle and what a new beginning this is for the Iraelites. Leviticus is the book of worship. Sacrifice, ceremony, ritual, liturgy, instructions, washings, convocations, holy days, observances, conditions, and warnings crowd this book. All these physical exercises were given to teach spiritual truths.

I have heard that the book of Leviticus is not the best reading, but you know what? It’s in God’s Word for a very special reason. If you like a good treasure hunt, let’s find the treasures in Leviticus together.

God Takes Up Residence

Heart home

Today’s Devotional: Exodus 40.

Another milestone day. Today we conclude our study through Exodus and what a finish. Verse 34 says, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle,” and so it is with our hearts.

When God is so dominant in our lives and we allow His Holy Spirit to fill our hearts, there is no room for anything else and THAT is what true fulfillment looks like. It is a peace beyond all understanding and a  confidence that you can’t find anywhere else.

We risk getting all religious and churchy to get there though. We think that the only way to truly fill our hearts with God is to get busy in religious activities and begin a lifestyle that is so rigid and rule-bound that we exhaust ourselves. What I’m talking about is a relationship with God. Think about it – What happens when you are in a relationship with someone? You think about them constantly, you go out of your way to serve them and you communicate about everything.

Some of my friends know my deepest, darkest secrets… So does God.

I have friends going through some tough times and I want to be there for them because I love and care about them… So does God about you and me.

When I have ‘stuff’ in my life, my friends check-in because they’re worried about me and what to see how I’m doing… God does more than just check-ins, He’s in the valleys with us too.

I call on a friend when I need sounding-board to make a good decision or clarify a situation before I react to it… so should I with God, FIRST!

You see, I love the visual of the cloud covering the tabernacle and being so filled with God that even Moses couldn’t get in. That picture for me is God filling my heart and there is no room for Sarah to get in. You know I’m bound to work all things out for MY own selfish agenda, prone to tell God what I want and beg Him to give me the desires of MY heart. Even worse, I will try to justify ugly self as not being so bad or better than so-and-so. Truth is, when there is no room for me, I’m better for it.

I pray God takes up residence in our hearts this week and WE LET HIM. God takes over to the point where there just isn’t room for us to control or manipulate our circumstances for our own outcomes and desires. Allowing our lives to be a product of His outcomes and His desires. What a powerful conclusion to the book of Exodus and powerful beginning to our day and week.

May God fully bless you and fill every crevice of our hearts.

Window Of Your Heart

window

Today’s Devotion: Exodus 39.

Today we learn about the exquisite details of Aaron’s robe – one that would give the best dresser on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards a run for their money. There is so much detail, color, gold, and special patterns in the design that I can only imagine what it looks like. This chapter has my imagination running wild so here’s my story:

I remember going to church with my family on Sunday’s and, out of boredom, I would analyze every detail of the church. I would study the slivers of specially cut stained glass in the huge sanctuary windows, I would watch “the man in a dress” parade up and down the stairs to and from the pulpit. I observed the choir in their V-shaped sashes draped over their shoulders responding in a very formal way to the baton of the choir directors wand. I often wondered why human beings acted so different in church. These people would visit our farm and act “normal”, but in church, the transformation in their behavior kind of freaked me out.

I was reminded of this reading Exodus 39. We are coming to the end of the book of Exodus and after reading about the tabernacle and God’s incredible expectations around the conduct that He expected of people using the tabernacle. Now I see why people acted differently – it was out of respect for God.

You see, when I would watch everyone in church doing their thing in an “out of character” sort of way, I thought it was all for show. Fast-forward a few decades and as an adult I now realize that it wasn’t for show at all – it was worship demonstrating respect and honor to God.

So now many of our churches have become less fancy and I see another behavior; our hearts are connected there. I see hands raised, eyes closed, heads down and souls connected. These people aren’t putting on a show for man either – They are connecting their mind, body, and spirit to God.

In the New Testament – the church is the body of Christ and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to get all ritualistic and formal, yet some still prefer to worship that way. Regardless of the style in which we worship, one thing hasn’t changed – our respect, honor and reverence to a Holy God. As we go to church tomorrow, be reminded that whatever style of worship you participate – its not about the show, it’s about your heart.

 

The Devil Will Devour

Roaring_Lion

Today’s Devotion: Exodus 38.

The construction of the tabernacle continues and this is a big deal. In the New Testament we have Christ and He became our sacrifice. In the Old Testament God is very deliberate about every detail of the tabernacle because it is the only way that the Israelities can to come to God and repent of their sins.

One thing that I wondered as I read Exodus 38 this morning is, “Where is the devil in all of this?”  In all the components of the tabernacle and God’s carefully articulated plan reminds me of the old saying, “The devil is in the details.” In this case…. I don’t think so. There is no mention of him. You don’t read that the devil comes along to confuse God’s instructions, cause delays in the project, cause friction and discord between the workers or mess with God’s order, or is he?

This is only my speculation so you can do with it as you wish, but I have a hunch that the devil is working on the Israelities. There are thousands of people in the desert with Moses. God is giving them a tabernacle because THEY NEED IT! The devil is Bizzzzzzy on those Israelites, God just isn’t giving any attention to him for the time being.

You see, the way I’m personalizing this message is that I get up every morning, go to God’s Word. I pray, study, blog, and allow God’s word expand my biblical world view – Yet – the devil is just waiting his turn. He knows I’m prone to sin so when given the chance to do something contrary to how God teaches me to live my life, he’s ready to pounce. Look at Peter’s warning in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

So even though God isn’t acknowledging the devil in this pages doesn’t mean he isn’t there. Oh, he’s there alright. Not that we want to give the devil any time and attention in our lives either, but we also can’t be naive that he is waiting to take us down with discouragement, disbelief, doubts, fear and any other obstacle he can put in our way to distract us from what is important… God. We need to keep our focus on the Lord, so much so, that there just isn’t a reason to mention the devil or allow him the opportunity to intrude on God’s plan for our lives and construction in our hearts.

God Gets It Done

2012-10-09 09.38.00

Today’s Devotion: Exodus 37.

I’m impressed by how much preparation God has put into the tabernacle. We started reading weeks ago about how God instructed Moses about every intricate detail of the tabernacle and today we read about the construction – The incredible construction project.

Last year I had the opportunity to serve the community of Joplin, MO on a ThriventBuilds Worldwide project. ThriventBuilds is a relationship that Thrivent Financial has with Habitat for Humanity. The City of Joplin was struck by an F5 tornado and 8 miles long and a mile wide stretch of their city was destroyed. I got to build a house, I actually helped build someone’s home.

There is a lot of accuracy and precision that goes into building a home. Logically, if the walls aren’t measured, the roof isn’t carefully constructed or the door/window frames aren’t measured… this would be a big problem.

2 things I learned in Exodus chapter 37:

1 – God finishes what He starts. I have been reading about this tabernacle for weeks and would have just assumed that it would happen. But God gives us construction day and confirms everything that he spoke of is happening.

2 – This is not some project that was schlep together. It’s done with pride, discipline, accuracy, detail and a lot of TLC. If it were not, why would God say in verse 17, “They made the lampstand of pure gold. They hammered out its base and shaft, and made its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them.” Blossoms out of gold!?! Am I the only one who is shocked that this is coming together by a bunch of sniff-necked slaves in the desert?

Here’s the deal. We have an awesome God. He told us what he was going to do over the past 2000 years. He has called His own to live out our days constructing our lives to be more like Him, and He doesn’t miss the Chapter that shows that it actually happens. Your life has a purpose bigger than your own and He knows every intimate detail. I don’t think Bezalel was all joyful and happy the entire time he was crafting the tabernacle. I bet he was sweating, stinky, and probably physically exhausted. But his name is in God’s book as a master craftsman and his handy work is described by God.

I hope you’ll take this perspective and really reflect on what it means to you personally. Read between the lines on why God would spend so much time preparing you for today and each remaining day of your life. This is very assuring to know Philippians 1:6 is true, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Amen