February 20, 2020

What I Read Today;

Galatians 6; Luke 7; Isaiah 18; Psalm 51; Leviticus 27 & Numbers 1

The Catholic Church practices Confession.  They consider it one of their sacraments.  Nothing spoken inside the confessional is to be spoken of by the priest outside of the confessional.  Priests have gone to jail to preserve the sanctity of the confessional.

I am not a Roman Catholic.  However, I wish that the rest of Christendom would practice the idea of the confessional.  In particular, the idea that an individual’s reputation should be protected by keeping things private that need to remain private.

When I read the first 10 verses in Galatians 6, I hear Paul telling us that our interactions with each other must be done in Christian Love.   Our mission, when talking about sin, is not to point out each other’s failings and then broadcast it all over Twitter.

In my word study bible, I looked up the word, restore.  One of the definitions used is, “To refit, repair, mend that which is broken.”  The description goes on to say, “Spoken figuratively of a person in error, to restore, set right.”

I understand that the Old Testament Prophets would stand on the street corners and shout at the nation.  I also know that they would call out segments of society.  I understand the church today has a role to play in performing that task today.

But, in the one on one situations, God calls us to treat sinners with compassion and mercy.  I’ve heard the phrase, “speaking the truth in love,” used many times.  I usually wince when I hear it.  People think that if you use that phrase, it gives you a license to attack.

Think back to your childhood.  Did you ever have a stuffed animal that ripped?  As a small boy, I had a stuffed bear that was given to me by my parents.  I loved that bear.  At night in the dark, I would hold onto it when the shadows would scare me.  Every time a rip would occur, my mother would carefully restitch the seam.  She would hand it back to me as good as new.  I can’t tell you how many repair jobs that bear went through.

When we are dealing with people, our mission should be to repair the broken seams.  To heal the wounds caused by sin in our world.  To restore them with the power of the Gospel.  Just like my mother would repair her child’s stuffed animal.  Our mission is to restore the broken people’s relationship with God.

God didn’t send us on a mission to point out people’s sin or broadcast people’s failures.  He sent us on a mission to heal!

There is a community out there that needs the healing love of God.  It’s our job to provide the repair work necessary to restore them and heal them.

Do you have your needle and thread with you?

February 19, 2020

What I Read Today;

Galatians 5; Luke 6; Isaiah 17; Psalm 50; Leviticus 25-26

Some people would like prayer to return to our schools.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure about the idea of forcing non-Christians to pray is all that great an idea.  Others would like to see the Bible taught or the Ten Commandments posted.

While all of that sounds great, I guess, I think that I would rather that we read Luke 6:27-38 every day.

Instead of the Ten Commandments what if we taught these ten teachings of Jesus:

  1. Love your enemies
  2. Do good to those who hate you
  3. Bless those who curse you
  4. Pray for those who abuse you
  5. If anyone strikes you turn the other cheek
  6. If anyone takes your coat give them your shirt
  7. Give to everyone who begs from you
  8. Expect nothing in return
  9. Don’t judge
  10. Be Merciful

How different would our world be if we practiced these teachings in our individual daily lives?

February 18, 2020

What I Read Today;

Galatians 4; Luke 5; Isaiah 16; Psalm 49; Leviticus 23-24

Is there anything you would not do for your children?  If they called you in the middle of the night needing help, would you roll over and go back to sleep or would you get up and go help?  If they were a thousand miles away and needed help, would you move heaven and earth to help them, or would you ignore them?

Does it matter if they are 6 or 60?

Galatians 4 tells us how we became children of God.  Paul tells us that Jesus came to redeem us so that God could adopt us.

I knew a couple who spent thousands of dollars to adopt a child from Asia.  They got a call that they needed to be there within a couple of days, so they paid the outrageous plane ticker fare and flew to pick up there son.  He’s in his teens now.

I know another woman who has fostered several children.  Each one calls her mom.  She told me the story of paying to “buy” one who had been brought from a foreign country and had basically lived as a slave.  She was in her teens but had never attended school.  Today she’s finished high school and is getting married.

God did the same thing for you and me. He bought us with his own blood.  He’s given us hope when we had none.  We were slaves to sin. Now we are children of God.

Our adoption is complete.  We can now call God our father.

February 17, 2020

What I Read Today;

Galatians 3; Luke 4; Isaiah 15; Psalm 48; Leviticus 21-22

I am struck by three key points in Psalm 48.

First, what an incredible God we serve.  Verses 1-3 describe the greatness of our God.  Consider the grandeur of nature and the beauty of all that is in it.  Stop and consider the incredible power of our God as you walk through your day!

Second, have you ever sat and just pondered the incredible love our God shows us?  Verses 9-11 give us a glimpse of what the astonishing love of God looks like.  Stop and think about the love that God has shown you in your life!

Finally, verses 12-14 tell the story of what God has promised us.  He has given us a glimpse into our heavenly home.  When things get rough today, focus on the fact that our world is temporary.  That soon enough, we will be with God in that place where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more disease, and no more struggle.  Today focus on the promises of our faithful God!


February 16, 2020

What I Read Today;

Galatians 2; Luke 3; Isaiah 14; Psalm 47; Leviticus 19-20

Galatians 2 is all about one thing.  Grace.

Grace.  That singular word that causes so much confusion.

Grace.  The idea that God loved me so much that he rescued me.

Grace.  The idea that Jesus willingly put on himself the sin and shame that I should have been prosecuted for.

Grace.  The mystery of God.

Grace.  The idea that we can’t save ourselves, so God saved us.

Grace.  The fact that God comes to all people no matter what they’ve done or said.

Grace is what God is all about.  He holds out the hand of grace and mercy to everyone who exists.  God offers to wipe away all the guilt and shame.  He offers his love to all who will receive it.

Grace.  The incredible mercy and love Jesus has showered on all of us.

February 15, 2020

What I Read Today;

Galatians 1; Luke 2; Isaiah 13; Psalm 46; Leviticus 17-18

God is about to spend a lot of time talking about sex.  It’s funny, A lot of people will become uncomfortable reading God’s word.  Yet those same people have no problem watching scenes on television that would have been rated X 40 or 50 years ago.

God spent a lot of time talking about sex because he could see the devastation that our sexual immorality would cause.  He could see how far some of us would fall.  Families are devastated when one spouse cheats on another.  Children will be scarred for life.

We don’t need to review the statistics to see the damage our sexual ethic has caused.  Spend five minutes on the internet, and you can see how far we’ve fallen.

Our immortality has caused our society, problems that will take generations to sort out.  That is why God gave Moses the words of Leviticus 18.  It was a warning.  A warning that has been declared old fashioned and out of place.

If God’s warning is out of place, then explain to me how it is that we are now seeing sexual assaults on the rise?  Why are we as divorce rates rise we see the deterioration of children’s behavior in our classrooms?

God created us as sexual beings.  But that was to be confined in the context of a marriage.  We decided we were smarter than God.  Look where that’s gotten us.

We need to return to the idea that it is wrong to cheat on our spouses.  We need to regain some personnel responsibility when conducting our personnel lives.  We need to make clear that it is never acceptable to force someone to have sex for us when we hold positions of power.  We need to find a way to get the message to young men that you are responsible for the children you create and that it is never OK to abandon that child.  We need to come back to God’s word to have an honest discussion about what is right and what is wrong.

Our children depend on us!

February 14, 2020

What I Read Today;

Leviticus 15-16; Psalm 45; Isaiah 12; Luke 1; 2 Corinthians 13

As we go through the book of Leviticus, we witness all of the ceremonies dedicated to sin, fellowship, and guilt.  We hear about holiness and the priesthood.  We listen as we read about ceremonial cleanliness.

Then we come to the day of atonement.

In spite of our best efforts, we are still not clean.  Even if we follow every jot and tittle of the Levitical law, we won’t be perfect. Our consciences will be screaming at us, accusing us every time we mess up.  That’s who we are.

God is trying to show us in the Day of Atonement, how incredibly difficult it is for us to get behind the curtain and fellowship with God.  He’s pointing out that only certain people can actually get to be in his presence.  Look at the procedure for entering into the Sanctuary, otherwise known as the Holy of Holies.

  1. Only on a specific day
  2. The priest must atone for his own sin through the sacrifice of a young bull
  3. The priest must bath in water
  4. The priest must put on his priestly garments
  5. The priest then must make a sacrifice for the congregation of two male goats and a separate burnt offering of a ram for a burnt-offering
  6. He made atonement for himself and his house then the congregation.
  7. He had to perform the ceremony for the rams, declaring one an offering and the other the scapegoat who would carry the sins out of the camp
  8. The priest would bring the incense inside the curtain so that a cloud of incense would cover the mercy seat.
  9. He would put the blood of the bull in front of the mercy seat and before the mercy seat
  10. He would then slaughter the goat for the people
  11. No one could be inside the tent while this was happening.
  12. When he was finished, he had to bath again
  13. The person who led the goat outside the camp had to bath
  14. The person who burned the offering had to bath himself

Why all this?

Because we are sinful.  No matter how well we live our lives, we don’t measure up to God’s standards.

But we don’t do these rituals anymore?  Why is that?

Because these rituals were pointing the people to the one who would set them free from sin and shame.  The ceremonies were pointing to Jesus.

We can enter the holy place now and experience the presence of a Holy God because Jesus paid for our sins.  He took the punishment so that we didn’t have to.