Tag Archives: life in the Spirit

Treasures from Leviticus… Say What!?

I’ve got to admit that reading through Leviticus is not one of favorite pastimes, but I want to be acquainted with the whole counsel of scripture, so I do it anyway. It recently came up in my yearly bible reading plan, and I actually found myself complaining to God about it. Rather than deciding to skip it, I decided to ask him to help me get through it and find something valuable for my spiritual walk. Who knows? Besides the clear references to Messiah Jesus in feasts of the Lord in chapter 23, I could possibly find some other nuggets of truth for daily living. I realize that the temple was a shadow of Jesus’ sacrifice. The book of Hebrews seems to connect the dots fairly well. However, there is still so much I struggle to get through in this book. Take all the blood for example. When you read it, you realize what a bloody place that temple had to have been. The pathway to the Holy of Holies was covered with blood. For a woman who gags over raw meat, it’s just not a pleasant read. Yet, Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. The penalty for sin is death and separation from our holy and perfect God (Rom. 6:23). In the Old Testament, the priest laid his hands on the animals, and the animals bore the penalty for the people. When Jesus laid down his life, the sacrifice was made once for all, and animal sacrifice became unnecessary. Interestingly, the temple was destroyed within a generation of Jesus’ death, and sacrifices have not been made in Israel since then. He was the perfect, spotless Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Because of his sacrifice, we can come boldly before his throne (Heb.4:16).

Under the old covenant, only the high priest could come into his presence only once a year, and he ran the risk of dying if he failed to follow every detail of instruction on atoning for sin. However, now “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10). I find that completely amazing! In a world that is so tainted by sin and evil, we have been washed and made holy— even as he is holy. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Co. 5:21). That just blows my mind. Can you believe that you are the righteousness of God? That you are holy? I have a hard time wrapping my head around that, because I know how weak I am. I fail daily, and yet my amazing and gracious Lord sees me without spot or blemish. Wow! I truly do stand amazed!

This morning as I read chapter 14 of Leviticus, I found myself pondering verse 14. The verse pertains to lepers who had been cleansed. Many believe leprosy to be a picture of sin. The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. When I did a little research I saw that Moses had done the same thing to Aaron and his sons when they began making sacrifices in the wilderness tabernacle. After the sacrifice had been made, the blood was applied to these very specific areas. Obviously, we hear with our ears. Faith comes from hearing (Rom. 10:17), and Jesus often ended his messages with “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Obviously, our hearing has to be redeemed so that we can hear his message. The world’s message is loud and clear, but hearing and understanding spiritual things does not come naturally. In these Leviticus passages, the blood was mixed with oil to anoint the ears. Oil in the Old Testament seems to represent the Holy Spirit; so not only do we need redemption to hear his voice, we need his Spirit. These things are foreign to those who have not been redeemed.

After anointing the right ear, the priest would anoint the thumb of the right hand and the toe of their right foot. As I thought about this, it seems the hands represent doing. Redemption involves a change in what we believe, but “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20). Those who have been set free become his instruments of grace to a lost and dying world. This is not about following a bunch of rules, but putting action to our love for God and others.

Finally, the priest would anoint the foot of the cleansed person, which would seem to represent going or walking. Galatians 5:16 tells us that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. It is so easy to follow our own desires and once again, without his Spirit, we cannot do it. We must daily surrender our flesh to his Spirit, and keep in step with him. Those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb are empowered to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). As his children, we are called to be his hands and feet in this world. We should reflect his goodness and grace in all we say and do. Thank God it is not dependent on us, but his finished work on the cross and his Spirit. When we fall in love with the one who loved us and gave his life for us, we will be forever changed. He imparts his Spirit into us, and as we daily surrender to him, we will listen for his voice, do his will, and walk in his ways to impact this dark world for his kingdom.

Oh Father, I am so grateful for your provision. Thank you for sending Jesus to take the penalty for my sin, and for sending your Spirit to empower me to walk in your ways rather than mine. Thank for the love, joy and peace that flow from walking in your Spirit. You have freed me from myself! Hallelujah! I praise you and ask that you will help me to daily yield my ears, my hands and my feet to you so that my life will make an eternal difference in this world. Amen

Lord, don’t you care?

Good Morning Lord. Here I am sitting at your feet waiting to partake in the good part of life. Everything else is temporary, and yet too often I get a wrapped up in things that will not last. Help me to live for your eternal kingdom today by loving You and others first. There are many things that have to be done, but just help me to see life through your eyes, so I know what is truly important. When I put too much emphasis on circumstances, it can make me question your goodness. I think about the story of Martha and Mary.

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I used to see myself as a Mary, and it’s true that I love You fervently! But nothing in this passage indicates that Martha didn’t love You just as much as Mary. The difference is that she let the demands of life take precedence over the eternal, and when circumstances became the most important thing, she suddenly questioned your goodness. “Lord, do You not care…?” is one of the most telling lines in scripture. It’s a question I used to ask all the time when things weren’t going my way. I would never go so far as to mouth the words, but each time something negative happened—when people didn’t meet my expectations, or when negative things happened, I would sure wonder whether or not you cared. Then the worst trial of my whole life happened, and in the midst of that I realized that You not only care, but You share in my suffering. You care immensely, but your agenda is so much greater than merely making my life pleasant. You have used suffering to teach me so much! I have found your goodness in the midst of extreme pain, but I had to choose to seek You rather than instant relief. In those dark times, sitting at your feet offered the only peace and comfort.

Now that life is a little easier, I find myself acting a lot more like Martha than Mary again. “To do” lists tend to run my day rather than your Spirit, and I find myself anxious and bothered about many things. I know it is possible to live in this world, but not be controlled by it, yet I seem stuck serving “urgent” demands rather than waiting on You. I know part of the answer is figuring out what is truly urgent, and the other part is making the decision to sit at your feet and tune everything else out at the beginning of each day. Some days my efforts are just pathetic. I’m like a horse raring to get out of the gate, and trying to look away for a minute to focus on something else. I have it backwards! The race I should be running is towards You, not life demands. I need to keep my eyes focused on You. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).

Father, today I ask You to help me lay aside every weight, every urgent “to do” on my list, and run towards You. I know that is my calling. My relationship with You is the most important thing, “the good part,” that can’t be taken away. So help me focus on the eternal side of life rather than the temporary (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Thank You that I actually know there is a good, eternal part to life. I can’t imagine how people live without knowing there is more to life than things that pass away—it seems so futile and hopeless. What an awesome honor and privilege to understand there is more, and to be called your child! Yet I focus on the lesser things in spite of what I know and the One I know. Forgive me Lord, and right now I choose the better part that can’t be taken away. Amen

Come to Me and find rest. You are weary and heavy laden because of your choices (Mt. 11:28). You wear yourself out over lesser things. In my presence there is rest and peace that the world cannot comprehend. You know it, and have experienced it many times. I am not standing over you ready to condemn. I am standing before you asking you to come and partake of the living water that gives true satisfaction. There is nothing that can compare. I long to help you find rest for your soul. Taste and see that I am good! (Ps. 34:8). There is nothing that compares to Me, so remember all the benefits of knowing Me (Ps. 103), and come into my presence. You need your time with Me! It will give you strength and wisdom to face each day. Without Me, you can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). Remember that and come freely. Do not come out of guilt or obligation, but out of love and passion—just as Mary did. Sit at my feet and partake of eternal truths that you will need to overcome the problems of life. Sit at my feet and bask in my goodness. Breathe deeply and experience my great love. It will carry you through the day in a state of rest rather than anxiety. That is my desire for you. It is not about doing, it is about being with Me. Come dear child, come.

Learning to FOLLOW

Lord, I want every bit of my life to reflect You! The only way for that to happen is for a radical change to occur. The status quo has to go! Polite little quiet times are not enough. I want my entire life to show the world how great You are. I won’t be satisfied with checking off a list of “to do’s;” my only satisfaction will come from abiding in your presence moment by moment. I want to hear your voice. Please take me deeper than my shallow mind can conjure up, and let my spirit stay in communion with You constantly. Paul would not have said pray without ceasing if it were not possible. Strengthen me to do that! But let it be communion with You, not just mindless babbling from me. I need You desperately, and ask You to come and fill me with yourself.

Child, I see your thirst. I am a good Father and never refuse a thirsty child. I have given you my Spirit, and you need only to stir up the gift I have given you (2 Tim. 1:6). Enter into my presence with thanksgiving and praise (Ps. 100:4). That is where you will find refreshing for your thirsty soul. Keep your gaze ever upon me, because I am the author and perfector of your faith (Heb.12: 2). This means you can’t conjure up whatever it is you think you need. You must completely depend on Me. You stay so frustrated with yourself, and that is simply a waste of energy. Walking in the Spirit is a matter of following my lead. Remember those times you went dancing and were told that you were leading? That’s what you do every day. Yes, I am still with you, but I cannot lead you to those places of refreshing until you stop trying to lead! I will hold you. I will rejoice over you with singing (Zep. 3:17), but you must learn to follow if you want Me to lead. Part of your problem is your natural personality bent, and a lot of it comes from your experiences in life. Just remember that I am not like any person you have ever known. I am worthy to lead, and will lead you beside that still water your soul so desires. Come to Me! Hold my hand, and I will do more than you ever dreamed. I love you so my child. Trust me and come.

 
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn. 7:37-39)

Take the Shackles Off my Feet!

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)

Good Morning Sweet Lord! You are everything to me. Let me live in the light of your presence today, and don’t let temporary things overshadow the eternal. I am so grateful to be your child, and know that without You my life would be meaningless and miserable. The very thought makes me shudder, and it makes my heart hurt even more for those who don’t know You. Help me to shine for You today, and to love people in a way that makes them want to know You. Forgive the times I go about working for my kingdom instead of yours. In my busyness and preoccupation with worldly matters, please don’t ever let me be a hindrance to the Gospel. Give me eyes to see and a sensitive heart to reach out to a lost and dying world.

This morning Lord, I ask You for wisdom. In spite of all my attempts to order my life and time, there are constant interruptions and unexpected things that completely change the order of the day. Help me see those as from You rather than irritating hindrances to my plans. You are sovereign over it all, and so I ask that when the unexpected occurs, You help me be wise and sensitive to your Spirit. I give You this day, and ask for wisdom and grace to represent You well. Amen

Little One, you know I promise wisdom to those who ask in faith (Jas. 1:5-6).  Run to Me, and honor Me above all else. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Pr. 9:10) and that means that as you make my kingdom purposes your priority you will be wise. When you care more about my agenda than yours, or any others person’s that is wisdom. Do not worry about the approval of people, but live to please Me. It is a rare occasion when it is possible to do both (Gal. 1:10). Just as it is not possible to serve God and Mammon, it is not possible to live in complete abandon to Me and still please people. You will serve people, but that does not mean you allow them to control you. Fear of man is a snare (Pr. 29:25). When you worry about what people think, you become enslaved to their opinions and are no longer free to serve Me. You have let negativity from others stop the flow of my Spirit in your life. You think that they have put roadblocks in your path, but they have no power over my plans for you. Trust Me! Serve Me! Seek opportunities to minister day-by-day and moment-by-moment. Do not worry about people, and let Me guide you in the way you should go. You will hear my voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Is. 30:21). You cannot hear that voice if you are worried about the opinions of people. You know Me, and you know My Word. You have my Spirit, so walk in it. I have provided all you need for life and godliness. You have my very nature (1 Pet. 1:3-4), so do not allow anyone to hinder what I have called you to do. Keep your eyes on Me, and find your strength in quietness and trust (Is. 30:15). There is no need for you to strive. I have it all in my hands, and am faithful to complete what I have planned for your life (Ph. 1:6). Rest in that knowledge and you will have wisdom that the world cannot comprehend.