Friday, February 29, 2008

humility and grace

My one-year Bible doesn't have an entry for February 29, so I just read Proverbs 29 this morning.  One topic that has been on my mind recently is pride/humility, and verse twenty three addresses this issue quite simply:
29:23 Pride ends in humiliation,
      while humility brings honor.
I think I have always struggled with pride, though as a young boy and teenager I was more or less naive to it.  Maybe when I was in high school and college I became more aware of my narcissism and egotism.  (It's ironic because the simple acknowledgement of pride in this blog is a stinger to my pride.)  But a little over two years ago, I had an Awakening where the Lord convicted me of some other egregious sin, and I decided at that point to follow whole heartedly after Christ.  Since that point He has slowly but surely convicted me of other "lesser" evils in my life to refine me more into His image.  Recently, I have felt stronger and stronger conviction about my thought life (some might call it daydreaming), not about sexual purity, but about pride.  I have realized that it is easy to relish compliments from others, or to imagine situations where I receive praise from an important person for a job well done.  Now, you might think, "There's nothing wrong with getting praise, where praise is due."  But verse five addresses that:
29:5 To flatter friends
      is to lay a trap for their feet.
Granted, flattery and appropriate praise are not the same, but the point is - it's dangerous!  And if it is dangerous in reality, then I assume it is especially dangerous in virtuality.  Moreover, Christ's perspective was quite different:
Phil. 2:3 Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
      he took the humble position of a slave
      and was born as a human being.
      When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal's death on a cross.
And on top of Christ's example, we have yet another imperative with an explanation:
James 4:6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,
   "God opposes the proud
      but favors the humble."
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Ah, so that's where the grace comes in.  The other thing I've realized is that there is no stinkin way that I can be humble on my own.  If I want to be humble like Christ, then I need Christ to give me His humility.  It is only by His Grace that I can come to Him in faith and be justified before a Holy God.  It is only by His Grace that I can come to Him in faith and ask Him to sanctify me wholly, with one aspect being humility.  It is only by His Grace that I can come to Him in faith and be used by Him to accomplish His will.
Eph. 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace that allows me to be part of your Kingdom.  Father, I pray that you will give me humility so that I can be close to you.  I don't want to be stiff-armed in the head; I want to be able to hug you, and I know that only happens when I'm humble.  Jesus, thank you for demonstrating humility by not clinging to the pleasure of residence in Heaven and becoming a servant in true human nature.  Jesus, I beg you to rid me of my pride and give me humility.  Holy Spirit, I pray that you will produce Fruit in my life, to the glory of the Father.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

confession and vows

Plain and simple - when you mess up, it is appropriate to confess to the offended party and try to make up for it (if possible):
5:5 Then the Lord said to Moses, 6 "Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people—men or women—betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. 7 They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged.
So, when I say or do something wrong with my wife, I dang-well better appologize and try to make up for it, not only because I've offended her, but because I've offended Yahweh.  Ouch!
We talked about Samson this past Sunday in our Bible Life Group, and one of the topics we discussed was the voluntary vow of a Nazirite.  In my opinion, the Nazirite way of life is similar to the sanctification process in the Christian's life.  That is, the committed individual will voluntarily restrict themselves of "common" things to be set apart for God's use.  That is why I am careful with what I consume orally, visually, and auditorily - I want to keep myself clean before Yahweh.  That's another reason why it is so important to read the Scriptures each and every day! (Who knows, maybe I'll be a Nazirite and stop shaving my face and cutting my hair, too.  I'm just kidding.)
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I have betrayed you by doing wrong to another person.  Lord, help me live a life that is pleasing to you by honoring each person as made in your image.  God, I pray that I will live a life of devotion to you.  Lord, please use me for your purpose, according to your plan.  I pray that I will be a holy man of integrity marked with discipline, boldness, and humility.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


As the Israelites would move to follow the Lord (cloud by day, fire by night), it was necessary for them to strike and setup the Tent of Meeting upon departure and arrival.  So, Yahweh gave specific instructions:
  1. the Kohathites would carry all of the "most holy things" from the Tent of Meeting
  2. the Gershonites would carry all of the curtains from the tabernacle and the Tent of Meeting
  3. the Merarites would carry all of the poles, posts, and other structural components
This passage assures me that God has a plan and purpose for each person.  We all work together in the Body of Christ to accomplish His will.
Heavenly Father, thank you for having a good idea, a good plan, and a good way to accomplish your agenda.  God, I pray that you will use me to accomplish your work.  Lord, please purify me and teach me to be obedient so that I may be a vessel for your use.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Perhaps a consequence of my civil engineering training, I was intrigued this morning by the specific marching orders and camping layout prescribed by God.  So, I sketched a conceptual plan-view of the Israelite's camp and marching order.  I think it is fascinating that the tribe of Judah is listed first ("coincidentally," Christ is the firstfruit of resurrection), and all of Jacob and Rachel's offspring camped together.
I think about all the scales of order in the universe - combinations of:


sub-atomic particles







geo. formations




solar systems










Heavenly Father, I know that you are a God of details.  I know you care about the details of my life because you created the fractal nature of the universe.  God, I know that you have a good plan for my life, and I pray that you will exact your will for me.  May I be careful to follow the order you have prescribed.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, February 25, 2008

obedience or disobedience

26:3 "If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will ..." [bless you incredibly...] "11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.
On the contrary, 26:14-39 explains all the bad stuff that would happen if the Israelites turned from Him, and the bad news is that they end up experiencing all that stuff.  But, God is faithful, and verses 40-46 explain that He will forgive them when they repent, and He will never destroy them completely because of His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We talked about Samson in our Bible Life Group yesterday, and I think the comparison of Samson to Samuel and John the Baptist is interesting.  All three were Nazirites from birth; the latter two were faithful to that call and essentially proved verses 3-13.  Samson, however, was nearly entirely disobedient, and I think he was a symbol of the nation of Israel, which, as we know from Hebrews, is an example for us Christians. 
Here's the truth that is explained in Scripture here and the truth that I've experienced in my life.  When you live the Christian life of obedience by faith, then you experience the abundant life Christ promised - full of joy, peace, love, and purpose.  But when you live a life of disobedience, you are on the receiving end of discipline and difficulties that God allows to occur as wake-up calls.
I feel like I'm really trying to obey God these days.  I really want Him to be my boss in everything.  I want to be completely obedient to Him and see His name glorified among the nations.  I want to live like a Nazirite - completely devoted to God.  I will deny myself certain "freedoms" for the sake of keeping my relationships with God and my wife pure.  I will be careful what I watch on television and what I see on the Internet, not because I'm following a list of rules and regulations, but because my relationships with God and my wife mean more to me than recreation/entertainment that might compromise the purity of those relationships.  Besides, there are plenty of alternative choices that are way more constructive (e.g., throwing the Frisbee, going for a walk, etc.).
Heavenly Father, help me love you.  Please turn my heart toward you.  I want to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  I pray that my whole day would be totally devoted to you, and I pray that every aspect of my life would be completely devoted to you and honor your name.  Please be my God, I want to be part of your people.  God, please correct me when I'm wrong, and give me much grace.  It is only by your grace that I may stand; I am nothing without you.  I pray that I would be connected to the vine and produce much fruit, that the Master Gardner may receive all the praise.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Do you see a pattern here?
22:2 "... I am the Lord."
22:3 "... I am the Lord."
22:8 "... I am the Lord."
22:9 "... I am the Lord who makes [the priests] holy."
22:16 "... I am the Lord who makes [the priests] holy."
22:30 "... I am the Lord."
22:31 "You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord. 32 Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who makes you holy. 33 It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord."
After reading chapter 22, I came to the realization that holiness is not attained by a sincerely devoted human, but rather, holiness is received from Yahweh!  So, the efforts that I listed yesterday are a necessary condition for growth in holiness, but the sufficient condition is God's grace.
Another cool thing is the parallel between Leviticus 23 in the OT and John 18 through Acts 2 in the NT.  My friend Mike pointed this out to me a couple of days ago:
  1. Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread -  Jesus's Crucifixion
  2. Festival of Firstfruits -  Jesus's Resurrection
  3. Festival of Harvest (50 days after Firstfruits) -  Holy Spirit indwelling Believers at Pentecost
Perhaps the remaining festivals have the following analogies:
  1. Festival of Trumpets -  Christ's return
  2. Day of Atonement -  Final Judgement
  3. Festival of Shelters -  eternal residence with God in Heaven
Heavenly Father, thank you for desiring me to be holy like you.  God, you are the definition of holiness.  Lord, I beg you to make me holy.  Please change the way I think and act so that you will be pleased with your good work in me.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The word "holy" appears 71 times in the book of Leviticus (NLT), and 13 of them appear in today's reading.  Here are some of the highlights:
19:2 ... You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
20:7-8 So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God.  Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.
20:26 You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.
21:8 ... You must consider [the priests] holy because I, the Lord, am holy, and I make you holy.
21:15 "... for I am the Lord who makes him holy."
21:23 "... I am the Lord who makes them holy."
I had a great meeting with a Brother from our congregation last night.  Not only do we have similarities in vocation and leadership in small groups within our congregation, but we also share a passion for a balance between idealistic theology and the practical application thereof.  Thus, extending the previous paragraph of holiness quotes, I pose the question: "What does it mean to 'be holy'?"
Paul answers this question semi-practically in Phil. 1:9-11 (as my Brother Kyle pointed out last night):
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
But, to be even more specific (and to practice what we discussed last night), I resolve, by God's infinite Grace, to
  1. not say anything derogatory about anyone or disrespectful to anyone
  2. not enjoy the viewing of anyone other than my wife
  3. (and this is the kicker) not to think of myself as better than other people because of any reason
And, if that is not specific enough, then I will apply the above principles to the following locations/situations, respectively:
  1. to my wife, to my parents, to my boss, to my friends
  2. while walking to the bus stop, while watching television, while surfing the web
  3. with my wife, with my parents, with my friends, with my Bible study group, with homeless people on the side of the road
Heavenly Father, according to the riches of your Grace, may it be so.  May I be holy as you are holy; I beg you to make me holy.  I ask you in the name of the Holiest person ever, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

blood and consequences

Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  
Leviticus 17:11 "for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord."
Ephesians 1:7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Romans 3:22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
It's so logical: everyone has sinned; the penalty for our sin is death; Christ's blood (i.e., life) was spent to pay our penalty; and our broken relationship with God can be mended by believing into Jesus!
Consequently, we are to live differently:
Leviticus 18:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 "Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. 3 So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. 4 You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. 5 If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.
It is out of our relationship with the true God and knowing Him (Yahweh) that we will not live like people of the world.  Rather, we will live in obedience by grace, and in so doing, we will realize His Life!
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to me.  Jesus, thank you for paying my death penalty!  Holy Spirit, thank you for filling me with your presence and leading me to walk in obedience.  I pray that I will please you today, and I ask this in the name of the one who purchased my freedom, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


There is some really graphic stuff in that section of Scripture.  Anyone who thinks Scripture is too abstract or not true to life should read that section; it's so honest that it makes you feel awkward.
But, today there is also one of my favorite passages in Leviticus:
14:3 ... If the priest finds that someone has been healed of a serious skin disease, 4 he will perform a purification ceremony, using two live birds that are ceremonially clean, a stick of cedar, some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch. 5 The priest will order that one bird be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with fresh water. 6 He will take the live bird, the cedar stick, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop branch, and dip them into the blood of the bird that was slaughtered over the fresh water. 7 The priest will then sprinkle the blood of the dead bird seven times on the person being purified of the skin disease. When the priest has purified the person, he will release the live bird in the open field to fly away.
What a beautiful picture of redemption!  In my mind, the bird that was sacrificed clearly represents Christ. The clay pot filled with fresh water could represent Christ's humanity and purity (or humanity and divinity).  The cedar wood could represent the Cross at Calvary; the scarlet wool could represent His perfect love that bound Him to that Cross. The hyssop could symbolize Christ's humility (for hyssop is a common shrub), the events at the foot of the Cross (offering a wine-soaked sponge to Christ on the end of a hyssop branch, and the powerful aroma that Christ's Sacrifice was to appease a Holy God (hyssop is quite aromatic).  And, of course, it is the application of His shed blood that does set us free!
Heavenly Father, thank you for Christ's atoning sacrifice that allows me to be set free.  I pray that I will not take your love for granted, but Lord, please let me honor you.  Please guide me, and may I keep in step with your Spirit.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Leviticus 11-13

clean and unclean animals ... purification after childbirth ... infectious skin diseases ... eeeyuuuchhh!

Here's the bottom line - each and every person in the whole world is morally UNCLEAN! So who cares? Well, here's the friction:

13:46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.

You see, we can never be part of God's community because He is perfectly holy, and we are disgusting and filthy (morally). We are in desperate need of The Great High Priest to clean us up and make us holy!

13:17 ... If the affected areas have indeed turned white, the priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean by declaring, 'You are clean!'

This reminds me of the hymn:

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;

No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
The Father calls us to live a holy life, in honor of His perfect Holiness:

11:45 For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.

He has yanked me out of the slimy pit of this world, He has washed me with the powerful blood of Christ Jesus, and He has given me a hope and a future. By His grace, I will honor Him today by living a life of integrity. I will not allow the uncleanliness of this world to rub off on me. I will be careful with what I listen to and especially careful with what I look at. I will be careful what I say and where I go, so that people may know Whom I serve.

Heavenly Father, thank you for curing my diseased heart! Lord, thank you for continuing to work on me to purify me from all unrighteousness, not only objectively at the point of justification, but subjectively through sanctification. Oh God, make me holy as you are holy - only you can do it. I give my life to you, and I ask you to clean me up! May I keep in step with the Spirit today! I ask this in the name of the Great High Priest who has pronounced me clean - Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

presence of the LORD

Moses followed Yahweh's instructions for the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests - he followed God's instructions to the "t".  Consequently, when we obey God in faith, we are blessed with his presence:
22 After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. 23 Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. 24 Fire blazed forth from the Lord's presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.
Tragically, two of Aaron's freshly priested sons did NOT obey, and they experienced the consequences:

Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. 2 So fire blazed forth from the Lord's presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord.  3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord meant when he said,

   'I will display my holiness
      through those who come near me.
   I will display my glory
      before all the people.'"
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your holiness.  LORD, I know that I don't fully understand what it means that you are holy.  LORD, I pray that I would fear you and experience the joy of obedience in faith.  I pray that you will help me lead others away from the fire of judgement.  I ask you this in the name of the Faithful Servant, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Granddad's funeral

My maternal Granddad passed away this Tuesday; the funeral was Thursday the 14th, and I had the great privilege of saying a few words at the service.
If I could summarize my Granddad in a single word, what would it be?  If I could capture his lifestyle and person in a single word, what would it be?  The word CONSISTENCY kept coming to mind.  I asked my wife, and she said, "GENUINE."  I asked my dad, and he said, "CONSISTENT."  My cousin said, "FAITHFUL."  My friend said, "PASSIONATE."  My brother said, "EXCELLENCE."  Another cousin said, "DISCIPLINED."
So, I summarize him with this word - "FAITHFUL."  I perceived him as a FAITHFUL man in three primary aspects:
First, he was faithful to his family.  He was faithful to his wife for 54 years until she died of cancer.  His faithful love for her was a beautiful picture of Christ's faithful love towards the Church.  He was also a faithful father to his two sons and daughter.  He faithfully taught them the Truths of God's Word and demonstrated a picture of our faithful Heavenly Father.  He was also a faithful grandparent, always generous.  How blessed I am to follow in his footsteps!  In fact, Proverbs 20:7 says,
The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.
Second, he was faithful in his vocation.  He served faithfully in the military service during World War II as an airplane mechanic.  After the service, he was faithful to his vocation of farming for 60 years.  The LORD blessed him this year with the largest crop ever!  There are so many physical and spiritual analogies of faithfully planting, watering, cultivating, and harvesting.
Third, and most significantly, he was a faithful disciple of Christ.  He served as a Bible study teacher and deacon in several congregations.  The Bible that he kept next to his recliner was tattered and worn from years of use!  His prayers were so reverent!  It was clear that Christ Jesus, the Faithful One, was molding my Granddad to look like Him.  Perhaps he is now joining with my Grandma and the angels in singing:
"You are worthy, O Lord our God,
      to receive glory and honor and power.
   For you created all things,
      and they exist because you created what you pleased."
I will try to be a man of faithful integrity like my Granddad was, and I will teach my children to live such lives.

this looks interesting...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

relationship with Yahweh

Wow!  All those details from the reading two days ago was the groundwork for the sweet stuff today!
11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting. 12 One day Moses said to the Lord, "You have been telling me, 'Take these people up to the Promised Land.' But you haven't told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, 'I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.' 13 If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people." 14 The Lord replied, "I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you."
Can you believe that we have the opportunity, through Jesus Christ, to talk to Yahweh as a FRIEND?!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, which allows me to stand in your presence as a friend, son, and servant of the Most High God.  Lord, I beg you to look favorably upon me and LET ME KNOW YOUR WAYS so that I may UNDERSTAND YOU MORE FULLY and continue to ENJOY YOUR FAVOR!  Oh God, thank you for your promise that you will walk with me and give me rest.  I am nothing without you!  I need your Rest!  Lord, please use me to honor your name among the nations.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Exodus 30-32

While Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments and a lot of additional extremely detailed instructions, the Israelites drifted away. There is an interesting conversation recorded between God and Moses. Basically, God says He's going to wipe them out and start over, and Moses argues, "But what will the rest of the world think?" First of all, I think it's crazy that Moses argued God out of destroying the Israelites, and second, I think it is interesting that God's fame among the nations was used as the leveraging point. I also think it's interesting that Aaron lied about manufacturing the golden calf - how stupid. Sadly, it's true to life. What's even more sad is that the Israelites had to experience punishment for them to mourn their misbehavior. Again, true to life. One of my former disciplers used to say that pain is the only way we humans learn. I think it's pretty true.

On the topic of pain, I learned this morning that my maternal Granddad passed away last night. I know he was a Christian, so I know that I will see him again in Heaven. It is comforting to know that he is not in pain any longer, which is an answer to prayer. I simply prayed that God's will would be done and that God would either heal him or take him Home. I now pray that God would be glorified in his funeral and that this opportunity would be seized to share the Gospel of Christ. It's amazing how we ask the really deep questions when we experience pain.

Heavenly Father, thank you for my Granddad's life. Thank you for the example he was to me. Lord, thank you for answering my prayers for him. Thank you for the hope of seeing him again because we both have faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for my friends and family who are praying for me during this time. Lord, help me. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who is close by me. Amen.

Monday, February 11, 2008

preistly stuff

Whew! There are a lot of details in these chapters.  One thing's for certain, God is particular about His particulars.
This is my favorite chunk from today's reading:
29:42 "These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them in the Lord's presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you. 43 I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. 44 Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, 46 and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God.
Wow!  Extending this to the NT is pretty sweet!  It is His Holy Spirit inside us that makes our "Tabernacle" holy.  And when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Him and meet with Him each morning and evening, then we will know that He is Yahweh our God!
Question:  Scripture teaches that we are to live as sacrifices, and it also teaches that we are each His temple, but is there any reference to us being an altar?
life application
I need to be consistent in reading my Bible, praying, and praising Him in the mornings and evenings.  Also, I need to continue to seek to live a life of holiness and allow Him to fill me with His glorious presence.
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to us!  Jesus, thank you for being our High Priest and atoning sacrifice!  Lord, please help me live a life of holiness that honors your Name.  Lord, please forgive me for my complacency and distraction in this world.  May I be ever more devoted to your will above anything else.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Having you read chapter 19 immediately before reading 20, I realized that the Ten Commandments are operational procedures corresponding to Yahweh's definition of the relationship (DTR) in 20:2 -
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."
He is our savior!  He has rescued us from the clutches of slavery to sin and death!  It is out of this relationship that He requires us to live a specific way; verse 20:20 explains:
Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."
Oh, that I would have the fear of God in me!  How I wish I feared Him more!
In addition to containing the basis for our USA judicial principles, chapter 21 also contains another great picture of Christ:
5 But the slave may declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don't want to go free.' 6 If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life.
How does that relate to Christ?  Well, try this on for size:
 6 Though he was God,
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
      he took the humble position of a slave
      and was born as a human being.
   When he appeared in human form,
 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal's death on a cross.
 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
      and gave him the name above all other names,
 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
Heavenly Father, I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!  He is your servant who was pierced on the Cross! He is my Master and my Savior!  I want to give you glory.  I bow before you, and I want to humble myself before you.  Father, I beg you to instill in me a fear of You, that I would not dishonor your name and the Grace you have shown me in bringing me out of the house of slavery!  I praise you in the name of your Perfectly Obedient and Eternal Servant, Jesus Christ!  Amen!

glory of the LORD

I was reviewing this passage that I read yesterday, and it is so good that I had to write a blog about it.
Here's the summary: the Israelites grumbled against Moses and God for not having food.  God promised to feed them. The people saw the glory of God and associated His presence with the bread from heaven.
Here's the sweet application: we can experience the glory of God and His presence in our daily pursuit of Christ, the bread from heaven!  In this way, He tests us to see if we will walk in His law (v. 4), and we know that Christ is the fulfillment of all the law!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


These are some of my favorite pictures of Christ in the OT - manna and Massah.
16:17 So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. ...
Jesus is the Bread from Heaven (John 6), and we can find Him in the Word (John 1:1-16) every morning!  Simply believing into Jesus for eternal life is enough for salvation, but there is so much more Life in Christ - so much more that you can never have too much of Jesus!
17:5 The Lord said to Moses, "Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink." So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. 7 Moses named the place Massah (which means "test") and Meribah (which means "arguing") because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, "Is the Lord here with us or not?"
Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation and the Living Water that quenches my spiritual thirst!  It was because of our sin that the Rock was struck by the Cross of Calvary (Isaiah 53).  What is so tragic is that, as in Jesus's day, many religious people ask the question, "Is Yahweh here with us or not?"  I assure you, He is here!  His name is Immanuel!
life application 
Isn't it so true that no sooner does God demonstrate His power and divinely lead me, that at the next point of opposition I begin to grumble and wail.  "Oh me, Oh my. [whine], [sigh], [sniffle], [pout], Why don't you care about me, God?"  And in spite of my poor attitude of ungratefulness and contempt, God is still merciful to me.  Not only has the LORD opened up a door for me to be here in Austin studying something I've been interested in since High School, but He continually gives me Bread to eat and Water to drink to sustain me.  Moreover, He has given me so many opportunities to minister to people around me.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Bread and Water of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you for being my Life supply.  Lord, I pray that I would not test you with stupid questions, but that I would be a bold example of the victorious Christian life, as I am faithful and obedient to your call and keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Lord, Jesus, you are my all in all.  I am nothing without you!  I need you to save me from myself, sin, the Devil, and the world today!  You are my Rock, my shelter, my guard.  I pray that my life will glorify your Name. It is in your Holy Name, Jesus Christ, the only Name by which we may be saved that I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

too much!

Exodus 13-15

There are so many parallels to Christ and the New Covenant in this passage; it's ridiculous!

Yahweh instituted two rituals in 13:1-14 of commemorating the "exodus," and I think they are connected in this way: the seven days of eating unleavened bread represents the perfect, sinless life of obedience of Christ, the Lamb that redeems the firstborn (i.e., Adam specifically, or man generally).

According to 14:4, Yahweh's purpose in stalling the Israelites between the desert and the Red Sea was "to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!" Did you catch that? Yahweh wanted the EGYPTIANS to know His identity! God desires that the whole world (all nations) would know Him and trust Him for salvation! And He uses situations (that appear to be certain defeat to us) to shame the enemy. We must cling to 14:14:
"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."
One such method that Yahweh fights for us as we obey Him is through baptism. Yahweh opens up a miraculous way for us to walk on "firm ground" through the waters of baptism, and He crushes Satan and his forces behind us. As we are faithful to obey, we will see Yahweh defeat the Enemy. And when we are thirsty in the desert, He makes the bitter water sweet. When the Cross of Christ is thrown into our bitter pool, He makes us into a new creation of clean water. (There is also a great picture of justification, sanctification, and glorification in the escape from Egypt, cleansing of the water, and residing at the 12 springs and 70 palms.) Consequently, we will rejoice:

1 ... "I will sing to the Lord,
for he has triumphed gloriously; ...

2 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise him—
my father's God, and I will exalt him!
3 The Lord is a warrior;
Yahweh is his name! ...

6 "Your right hand, O LORD,
is glorious in power.
Your right hand, O LORD,
smashes the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty,
you overthrow those who rise against you. ...

11 "Who is like you among the gods, O Lord
glorious in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
performing great wonders? ...

13 "With your unfailing love you lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them
to your sacred home.
14 The peoples hear and tremble; ...

17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain—
the place, O Lord, reserved for your own dwelling,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever!"

Heavenly Father, you are so good! Your name is Yahweh, and you are perfect and mighty to save. Jesus, you are my salvation and my strength. You are my life supply. Thank you for your good work of changing me from bitter to sweet. May the nations hear of your great Name, and may they trust you for eternal and present salvation. I ask you this in the name of the Sweet Living Water, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Oh, what a glorious picture of Christ!  He is our perfect and spotless Lamb; He is our unleavened (sinless) bread!
Here are a couple of things I noticed this time through:
Exodus 12:21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, "Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. 22 Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down. ... 48 "If there are foreigners living among you who want to celebrate the Lord's Passover, let all their males be circumcised. Only then may they celebrate the Passover with you like any native-born Israelite. But no uncircumcised male may ever eat the Passover meal.
Wow!  The substitutionary death and blood of Christ may be applied to my life (doorpost) via the Cross (hyssop)!  How does that happen?  By obedience in Faith!  It gets better... ANYONE may experience this blessing!  Only first believe.  Once you believe, you may enjoy the blessings of Christ's sacrifice.  (Also, I may be over extending, but I think verse 48 indicates, within the New Testament context, that only those who Believe and are baptized (symbolized by circumcision) may eat the Lord's supper.)
Exodus 12:11 "These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord's Passover.
Why was the meal eaten with haste?  Because they were fixing to get the heck out of Dodge.  Does this have any relevance to the NT Christian?  I think it symbolizes the fact that, at any moment, we could be raptured up with Christ.  Also, the wrath of God in the Last Days (which is very similar to the plagues on Egypt) is coming soon, so we must warn people to cover themselves with Christ's blood.  Today is the day of salvation!  Do not hesitate any longer!
Heavenly Father, thank you for this rich story about your plan of redemption.  Jesus, thank you for your blood that was spilled and applied to my life to prevent me from experiencing eternal death, the consequence of my sin.  Yahweh, thank you for sparing me of your wrath!  May I live a life of dedication to you, and may I be bold in proclaiming the message of Hope and Grace that is received through faith and obedience.  I pray this in the name of the holy, spotless, perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2008

purpose and response

Why ignore the elephant in the room when it's screaming and everyone wants to talk about it?  This passage is tough to swallow, especially when Yahweh told Moses ahead of time that He was going to harden Pharaoh's heart (Ex. 4:21).  Why would Yahweh do something like that?  How could He?
These questions remind me of a few "potter and clay" verses sprinkled throughout the Scriptures (e.g., Isaiah 45:9, Romans 9:21).  Basically, we don't have the right to question Yahweh's motives or methods, but, fortunately for us, Yahweh answers our questions of "How?" and "Why?".
7:10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. ... [They told Pharaoh what Yahweh told them to say, and they performed the miracles and signs that Yahweh told them to perform.]  13 Pharaoh's heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn, and he still refuses to let the people go.
We see that Pharaoh's heart was hardened by his refusal to believe and obey Yahweh.  After several plagues were unleashed on Egypt (and Pharaoh's heart was repeatedly hardened by disobedience), Exodus 9:16 and Romans 9:17 answer the "Why?" question:
Rom. 9:17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, "I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth."
There are two types of responses to Yahweh's revelation, as illustrated by Pharaoh's officials' response to the prophecy of the plague of hail:
20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21 But those who ignored the word of the LORD left their slaves and livestock in the field.
(1) Fear Yahweh, believe Him, repent, and come inside the shelter of His covenant of Grace by Faith,
(2) or experience the brunt of His wrath
Heavenly Father, I praise you for being in control of everything.  I praise you because your Name deserves fame.  Father, please use me to display your power and spread your fame throughout the earth.  I come to you humbly, recognizing my sin and need of a savior.  Jesus, thank you for shedding your blood for me; I want to come into the shelter of your love.  Please give me boldness to share your great love with those around me.  I pray this in the name of my Shelter, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, February 1, 2008

sweet symbolism

Joseph is a picture of Christ.  He suffered unjustly, but God raised him up to the right hand of the throne.  His brothers' lives were saved because he has the life supply.  It wasn't until Jacob gave up his "rights" to his son Benjamin that he discovered the joy of his restored relationship with Joseph.  His family left all of the things behind to abide with Joseph, and his brothers experienced a duality in their relationship with him - as brothers and as servants/slaves.  His brothers were fearful that he might reign in terror, but he assured them that though they intended it for evil, God used the situation for good.
I thought Jacob gave such a weird "blessing" to his sons, because some of them received blessings, but others got a curse!  Why?  So, I read a few commentaries and realized the prophetic nature of the "blessing."  It has, as most Scriptural prophecy does, both an immediate, literal context and a future prophetic meaning.  Jacob's words to each of his sons have specific relevance to each in a personal way, a prophetic explanation of the tribe of Israel each represents, and a foretelling of phases in Israel's existence.
I'm blown away by how rich God's text is!
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your incredible ability to author a text that is outside of time and space that is true and relevant to the situations of people thousands of years ago, and it is directly relevant to my life today!  Lord, thank you for your revealed truth, and thank you for bringing me into the light of life.  Father, may I be so bold in sharing this wonderful message of hope and grace.  I pray this in the name of the one who provided grace with His own blood, Jesus Christ.  Amen.