God is Holy

Scripture: The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
Leviticus 19:1,2 NIV

Observation: God is Holy.

Application: I’ve read through Leviticus and I’ve not really been expecting to get any good instruction from the book. For the most part it’s a book of “dont’s.” Yesterday I had an occasion to sit and talk awhile with my lead pastor and his wife about our daily reading; we are all reading the same passages daily as a church. We laughed about some of the “silly” do’s and dont’s in Leviticus. I know that much of the book is written to keep the Israelites from harm but I’ve thought it’s a bunch of antiquated rules that no longer apply…or so I thought. After we had some light-hearted talk about the book my lead pastor became serious. He told us that because God is Holy, He cannot be in the presence of sin or imperfection. It’s impossible for Him and imperfection to exist together. It can’t happen. Leviticus is a book given by God to man to make it possible for us imperfect beings to fellowship with Him. Whoa, the boring, sometimes almost laughable book of the bible was written for a noble purpose, to bring King and subject together. The Levitical list is specific and detailed and it leaves no room for error. Unfortunately we, man, don’t have the ability to adhere to the vast list of regulations. God saw that and so He sent us Christ to bridge the gap between himself and us. Christ’s blood covers our inability to be perfect, it covers our sin. Now, we too can have fellowship with God. Today God verified my lead pastor’s words and showed me in the first two passages of verse 19 why Leviticus was written. It was written because we are sinful and God is Holy. It’s a book that is a reminder of how much God loves us. He sent Christ to accomplish the “unaccomplishable” and make it possible for us to be with God.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing me how much you love me through the book of Leviticus. Thank you for Christ who covers my failings and allows me to come into fellowship with you. I love you. Amen

Doug

Merry CHRISTmas

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Doug

What a life!!! Already victorious!!!

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church, Andover, KS

Scripture: Matthew 4: 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Observation: The devil had tempted Jesus in each of the three ways mentioned in  1 John 2:6: the lust of the flesh (turning stone into bread to satisfy hunger), the lust of the eyes (look at all the kingdoms I will give you if you worship me), and the pride of life (prove you are God, the Son.)
Jesus proved victorious in each. And He used only what was available to us—The Word!
Jesus had been tempted in the exact same points as Eve in the garden. (Gen 3: 6 ) When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,…) Eve had been tempted with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The devil’s tactics have not changed.
As Jesus overcame Satan in these same temptations, He proved Himself to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. Paul wrote, “He Who knew no sin…” It was not because He had not been tempted or tested.
From Genesis to the time of Jesus and to this very day, the devil’s tactics have not changed, but neither has the victory available to us in the life of Christ!

Application: When I was born into the family of man, with the life of Adam inside me, I came to understand it was a life that was already defeated; but when I was born again with the life of Christ inside, I am discovering that His life has been and continues to be a victorious life.

Prayer: Lord, Your Word tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And “all things” includes overcoming temptation. Amen.

Be Alert

Scripture: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 NIV

Observation: Jesus teaches his disciples about the signs of the end of the age.

Application: Jesus has taught James, John, Peter, and Andrew at length about the signs of the end of the age. Jesus knows and he speaks to the disciples of all of the signs and occurrences that must take place before his return. One would think that he would know the exact time and date and hour of his own return but he clearly states here that only the Father knows. If Jesus doesn’t know when than neither will we. Therefore, we must, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” Mark 13:33 NIV

Prayer: Father, I ask in Jesus’ name for your help in staying prepared for your son’s return. Help me to stay vigilant. Amen

Doug

God Wins

Scripture: But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Revelation 19:20 NIV

Observation: The Antichrist and his False Prophet are defeated and thrown into the lake of burning sulfur.

Application: I don’t understand how anyone can continue to defy and deny God after reading John’s Revelation. There is no escaping God’s judgement and placing faith in anyone other than his son Jesus is an exercise in futility. The fact if the matter is in the end, God wins and Satan loses! We can all be on the winning side. We have but to accept Christ’s sacrifice.

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Christ to atone for my sin. Thank you. Amen

Doug

The Source

Scripture: The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these: “As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.  Daniel 2:26-29 NIV

Observation: King Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel the task of telling him what he, (the king), had dreamed and what it meant. If Daniel were to fail
at this all the wise men in the kingdom, including he and his three friends, would be put to death. Daniel was under tremendous pressure to produce a positive result. He never thought twice, the first thing he did was to ask of the Lord for he knew that was where his strength and wisdom had come from. When asked by the king if he had been successful, Daniel gave all the credit and glory to God in heaven. Only an all-knowing God could do what King Nebuchadnezzar had demanded.

Application: I know that often times I feel overwhelmed by life. This year has been especially stressful. I need to be more like Daniel. I need to seek first of God in all situations. His wisdom and his strength will give me the ability to cope and will comfort and ease the stressful times that I find myself in.

Prayer: Father, I need to be more of a Daniel in everyday life. I need to lean on you for understanding and strength to cope with life’s difficult situations. Help me to remember that you are where my strength comes from and to give you all the praise and glory and honor. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Do Not Satisfy Your Itching Ears

Scripture: In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:1-4 NIV

Observation: Paul is giving final instructions to Timothy in closing this letter.

Application: Is the bible full of prophecy or not? Prophecy fulfilled and prophecy yet to be or is it just a book full of coincidental occurrences? Believers know the answer! Obviously, in this short writing I can’t go into much detail of prophecies made and fulfilled, there are far too many. Some scholars claim that Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection alone fulfilled around 100 Old Testament prophecies. But I think that in today’s reading from 2 Timothy 4, it’s interesting to note what Paul said, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3,4 NIV Hello! That’s right out of today’s headlines: “Another Hollywood Elite Found Another New Religion…blah, blah, blah” I don’t think Paul was actually considered a prophet but he sure spoke prophetic truth here. I like to pick on Hollywood, they’re so easy. Look at what Paul said, ” they will get people to feed them what they want to hear, turn from truth, and accept any myths they can lay hold of.” That pretty much sums up the lot of them, but they aren’t alone. The world is rife with non-believers, and immature Christians that can easily be swayed. We should take heed and see the truth of Paul’s words. If we don’t we run the risk of falling into the same traps that actors, actresses, and intellectual elites gravitate towards. I believe that we must know the truth that in the last days many false teachers will come forth and people of influence, like those mentioned will encourage non and immature believers to stray from belief in the one true God.

Prayer: Father, I know that these are the last days, the proof is all around. I ask in Jesus’ name that you protect my wife, my kids, and me from the evil influences that are so prevalent. Help us to keep our eyes focused on you. Amen

Doug

In the Image of God

Scripture: The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.       1 Samuel 6:4 NIV

Observation: The Philistines send the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel with a sacrifice.

Application: Because the Philistines had taken possession of the Ark after routing the Israelites they were struck with disease and pestilence.  Their priests told them the specific way to return the Ark. As the Philistines were sending the cart carrying the Ark on its way they were also to send a sacrifice of gold to appease the “god of Israel.”  “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.” 1 Samuel 6:4b NIV  Five gold tumors and rats “…because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.” It appears that the Philistine priests advised the people to send gold representations of their diseases and of themselves to appease God.  I don’t know about you but if I worshipped a god that considered me like a rat I believe I’d find a new god.  Praise God that I do.  I worship the creator of all. I worship God who made man in his image, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27 NIV

Prayer: Father, thank you for considering me worthy of being made in your image.  It seems to me that people who don’t know you and worship all manner of creation should be able to see the futility of that worship, especially, when viewed in the light of this passage of scripture.  Amen

Doug

All Men Will Hate You

Scripture: All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  Mark 13:13 NIV

Observation: Jesus is prophesying to his apostles about end times.

Application: The thirteenth chapter of Mark is so filled with prophesy and instruction from Jesus that I believe only a true theologian or student of end times prophesy, neither of which I am, could do it justice.  However, the thirteenth verse did stand out to me. This very thing is happening to us in more and more outrageous ways today.  Christians have become society’s laughing stocks and whipping boys. How sad for Jesus to actually sit with his closest allies and say because of me, you will be hated!  I’m sure his disciples thought he was just speaking of their present, we know he was seeing and speaking of all time, and now it has come to pass, in earnest.  Christians and Christianity are close to becoming outlawed.  Our history is being stripped of its God-loving, Christ following foundation, and Jesus, the God-man that died on a cross for the forgiveness of me and for those that persecute the church, is hated today just exactly as he foretold.  I can’t help it, my feelings get in the way of what I know has to come to be. All of this is prophetic, I know!  But Jesus is my friend and it saddens me when injustice prevails in the name of political correctness. Jesus knew, Jesus knows, it has to be. Time is short. We are hated because of our friend Jesus. We must stand firm, we must be strong.

Prayer: Lord, I’m sad that you are hated because of me and because you are who you are. It’s not right and its not fair.  But, you knew this was going to happen and that it had to happen before all end time prophecy could be fulfilled.  Lord give me the strength to stand firm as I see your church being more and more vilified.  Come quickly Lord. Amen

Doug

Surprise!

Scripture: (On the EAST Judah, Issachar, Zebulun)  All the men assigned to the camp of Judah, according to their divisions, number 186,400. They will set out first.  Numbers 2:9 NIV
(On the SOUTH Reuben, Simeon, Gad)  All the men assigned to the camp of Reuben, according to their divisions, number 151,450. They will set out second.  Numbers 2:16 NIV
(On the WEST Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin)  All the men assigned to the camp of Ephraim, according to their divisions, number 108,100. They will set out third.  Numbers 2:24 NIV
(On the NORTH Dan, Asher, Naphtali)  All the men assigned to the camp of Dan number 157,600. They will set out last, under their standards.  Numbers 2:31 NIV
So the Israelites did everything the Lord commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards, and that is the way they set out, each with his clan and family.  Numbers 2:34 NIV
(The Levites, the priests, camped in the middle around the tabernacle)

Observation: The Israelites are instructed on the exact formation of their encampment around the tabernacle.

Application: This is an exciting day for me. I learned this lesson years ago and have been excited to get to share it here. Read all of Numbers 2 and keep in mind that the Lord is giving exact order and placement of all the Israelite tribes, clan by clan. Basically, they were to set up each camp, radiating out, east, south, west, and north in rectangles. East was a rectangle of 186,400 people, south was a rectangle of 151,450 people, west was a rectangle of 108,100 people, and finally north was a rectangle 157,600 people.  The Levites, the priests, camped in the middle around the tabernacle. I believe that at the heart, because of the almost constant act of sacrifice, blood flowed freely.  We now see that there was a specific order and layout of the Israelite camp with sacrifice in the middle.  Imagine yourself soaring above the camp and looking down on the configuration.  Do you realize what you would see?  You would see God’s plan for salvation, Christ’s crucifixion cross!  To me that is an awesome picture.  I don’t believe that it is an accident. Isn’t God cool?  Who would have thought that the book of Numbers actually foretold of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving us your word and for the depiction of salvation found in the book of Numbers.  I believe that you intentionally set up the Israelite camp as you did just to foretell of Christ. Thank you. Amen

Doug