Friday, February 26, 2010

distractions: focusing on the wrong things

Numbers 11-14, Mark 5

First distraction: focusing on the meat they used to eat in Egypt instead of the daily supply of manna from the Lord.  The crazy thing is, the manna actually tasted pretty good.  You have to guard yourself against remembering the "tasty" things of this evil world, and you have to intentionally remember how good the Lord is.  I think the Lord's Supper is a practical application of this.

Second distraction: focusing on the size of the Giants in the Promise Land instead of the size of the Lord who Promised the Land.  When you hold a bottle cap close to your face, it can appear bigger than the moon.  But of course, it is because the moon is so far away.  We need to daily draw near to God so that we can see how big He is!

As I consider the intimidating task of graduating and getting a job, the Lord encouraged me this morning with the parallel of walking with Him daily in the wilderness, and He will defeat the Giants in the land.

11:23 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!"
14:8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. ... 17 "Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, 18 'The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. ...

Heavenly Father, you are so kind and gracious to me.  You have brought me out of Egypt, and you have sustained me with Manna.  I pray that I will enjoy Christ more every day, and that I will see how great and powerful you are!  You are mighty to save, and you will bring me ultimately into your presence!  May I obey you and serve you in love today.  I praise you and bless you.  You are my God and King.  I love you, and I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Numbers 9-10

Well, I got into the lab this morning to get rolling on experiments, and found that someone had cranked up the temperature on the oven and melted the lids to my ICP vials.  I rinsed the vials and lids yesterday, so I set the oven to 50 degrees Celsius and left the door slightly open to dry them by this morning.  I guess someone else needed it set to 180 Celsius and didn't notice THAT MY LIDS WERE IN THERE!  I still don't know who did it, but I realize that this is one of those situations where you have to make a choice: do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?  I see that it was partially my fault, because I should have put a GIANT sign on the oven explaining my situation because you have to spell everything out these days since apparently no one has any common sense anymore.  So, I need to forgive the person before I even know who did it or why, and I need to let the Lord handle it.  If I give it to Him, I am sure that He will be faithful to the promise of Romans 8:28-29, and He will ultimately use this frustrating situation for good.  I can probably find some replacement vials somewhere in the department, anyway, so it only cost me a couple of hours.  Who knows, maybe I will be able to show forgiveness and share the Gospel with someone through this situation.

As I reflect on it now, it does seem pretty silly to get worked up over melting some lids compared to Christ being crucified for all of my haneous sins.

Heavenly Father, may my attitude be transformed to be consistent with the attitude of your Son Jesus, in whom you are fully pleased.  Please forgive me for my unholy attitude, and make me clean.  Please use this situation to sanctify me and advance your Kingdom.  May I be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading, and may the Holy Spirit grow the fruit of the Spirit in me today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

first Sacrifice

Numbers 7-8, Mark 4

I think it is interesting that Judah (not the firstborn) was the brother that volunteered to Joseph to be kept as a slave on behalf of Benjamin.  I think it is also interesting that Judah (not the firstborn) was the first tribe to offer dedication sacrifices after the Tabernacle and altar were constructed.  Of course, (it seems to me) that these instances are types of Christ, who is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!

And then there is this, seemingly tangential note at the end of chapter seven:

7:89 Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark's cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord spoke to him from there.

Isn't that awesome!  If Moses could hear God audibly, then shouldn't we (who have been cleansed by Christ's eternal sacrifice and who have the Holy Spirit within us) be able to "hear" from God through our spirits?  This is very encouraging to me to pray to the Lord and expect Him to answer.

Heavenly Father, you are good, and you are holy.  You are righteous and mighty.  You are merciful and faithful.  You are eternal and unknowable.  But you have revealed yourself to us through your Scriptures, through Christ, through your Holy Spirit, and through your Church.  Lord, thank you for the sacrifice of Christ, which washes away my sins and allows me to enter your presence.  Oh Lord, I want to hear you speak!  Lord, please speak through my spirit!  Lord, please cleanse my heart and my mind, and may I respond in obedience to your voice.  I love you, Lord.  I pray that I will be your servant today.  May it be to me according to your Word.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Numbers 5-6

When God made His covenant with Abraham, He told him that through him, all the families of the earth will be blessed.

We are blessed to be a blessing.

6:24 'May the Lord bless you
      and protect you.
 25 May the Lord smile on you
      and be gracious to you.
 26 May the Lord show you his favor
      and give you his peace.'

 27 Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them."

Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me with forgiveness and life through Christ.  Thank you for blessing me with a sweet wife and a happy son.  Thank you for blessing me with Christian parents who taught me your Word.  Thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to study and grow professionally.  Lord, I pray that I will leverage these blessings toward blessing other people, so that they may know your grace, favor, and peace.  I love you, Lord.  May your Name be praised among the nations.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Levitical dedication and responsibilities

Numbers 3-4

The Levitical males were considered a substitute for all of the firstborn males of the other tribes of Israel.  Also, they were given specific responsibilities in caring for the Tabernacle.  I think this is analagous to Spiritual Gifts for caring for the Church.  It seems like we should be more concerned about helping people discover and use their gifts for building up the Body.

Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to participate in your Building project.  Lord Jesus, please give us compassion and brokenness for your Body.  Holy Spirit, please make us aware of the gifts that you have given us, and give us power as we use them to advance your Kingdom.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, February 19, 2010

fear of the Lord

Leviticus 25-26

Our fear of the Lord should govern our behavior:
25:17 Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God. ... 36 Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative. ... 43 Show your fear of God by not treating them harshly.
I am still wrestling with the New Covenant interpretation and application of this passage:

26:3 "If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. 5 Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.

 6 "I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. 7 In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.

 9 "I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest! 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.

Heavenly Father, please teach me to fear you.  You are awesome and holy, and I don't fear you like I should.  Lord Jesus, please turn my heart toward you.  Holy Spirit, please convict me of sin and guide me in truth.  Lord God, please take me into the good land.  I pray that you will produce your fruit in me, and that I will be a warrior against evil.  I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Holy Festivals

Leviticus 23-24

Holiness is not drudgery, it is a series of festivals celebrating the Lord's holiness:
  • Passover
  • Unleavened Bread
  • First Harvest
  • Harvest (Weeks or Pentecost)
  • Trumpets
  • Day of Atonement
  • Shelters (Tabernacles or Ingathering)
Hmm... seven of them... interesting... each a type of an aspect of the New Covenant reality.

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are good.  You are kind, you are generous, and you are holy!  I love you, and I want my life to be a festival of celebrating your unconditional love that redeems us from sin and death and brings you glory.  May my life be a canvass of your love.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

priestly identity

Leviticus 21-22

21:6 [The priests] must be set apart as holy to their God and must never bring shame on the name of God. They must be holy, for they are the ones who present the special gifts to the Lord, gifts of food for their God. ... 8 You must treat them as holy because they offer up food to your God. You must consider them holy because I, the Lord, am holy, and I make you holy.

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."

I think it is helpful to think about Matt. 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 in the context of our priestly identity.  We should act holy because God is holy, and we should consider ourselves holy because God is holy.  We should obey Him because He is Yahweh, the God who has rescued and redeemed us from sin and death!

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are Yahweh!  Thank you for saving me and making me a priest.  I pray that I will serve you honorably so that others might know your kindness and praise you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the High Priest.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What do you think the Lord desires from us?

Leviticus 19-20

19:2... You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
20:7 So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.
20:24 But I have promised you, 'You will possess their land because I will give it to you as your possession—a land flowing with milk and honey.' I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from all other people.
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.


Why then, are we so wrapped up in the things of this world?

Heavenly Father, please teach me to fear you and your holiness.  Holy Spirit, please convict me of sin and lead me in repentance.  Lord Jesus, please purify me.  Lord, please forgive me for desiring the things of this world instead of you.  Lord, please give me brokenness for not wanting the things that you want.  Please lead me to walk with you in purity.  You have promised a land flowing with milk and honey; Lord, I believe that you will take me there.  I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sacrifice 101

Leviticus 17-18, Matthew 27

God explained the fundamental principle of sacrifice:

Lev 17:11 for the life of an animal is in the blood. I have provided the blood for you to make atonement for your lives on the Altar; it is the blood, the life, that makes atonement.

Indeed, He provided His own Son, Jesus, as the spotless Sacrifice to take away the sins of the world:

Matt 27:45-46 From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" ... 50But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last. 51-53At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What's more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus' resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.) 54The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, "This has to be the Son of God!"

Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifice of Christ, which makes atonement for my life.  His life was spent for mine; I pray that my life will be spent for His.  You have redeemed me by the blood of the Lamb; you have purchased my freedom; and you have credited righteousness to me because of Christ.  I praise you and thank you for your glorious work.  May your name be praised among the nations.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Leviticus 13

This Sunday, we are going to study the passage in 1 Cor. 5 where Paul told the Corinthian church to expel a Brother from their fellowship because he was openly and unrepentantly living in a lifestyle sin.  I think the subject of infectious skin diseases and mold/mildews relates:  if you don't remove the infection, then it will spread to the rest of the body/clothing.

13:45 "Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' 46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.

The quarantine is not punishment; it is promoting a healthy body.  In our modern society, we bend over backwards to ensure the freedom of the individual at the cost of the welfare of the whole.  This is wrong, especially applied to the Church.

Heavenly Father, please show me any "skin diseases" or "mold" in my life.  Father, please cleanse me and make me holy like your Son.  Lord Jesus, please illuminate my mind and shine your light through me.  May I be pure in heart so that I can see you.  Holy Spirit, please give me power, boldness, and sensitivity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ today.  I ask in His name.  Amen.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

watch and be faithful

Leviticus 11-12, Matthew 26:1-25

Matt. 24:42 "So you, too, must keep watch! For you don't know what day your Lord is coming.

Then the Lord gives a couple of parables in chapter 25 to explain watchfulness and faithfulness.

Heavenly Father, please teach me to fear you.  Lord, please forgive me of my lack of self-control.  Please forgive me of my pride and complacency.  Father, please break my heard for what breaks yours.  Lord, please turn my emotions to want you more than anything.  Lord Jesus, please strengthen my spirit, and help me exercise my spirit and crucify my flesh.  Lord, please set my mind on you today.  Lord, may I be a faithful servant who is watching and expecting your return.  Holy Spirit, please give me power to be a witness of Jesus Christ today.  I ask in His name, amen.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

sin is a big deal

Leviticus 6-7, Matthew 25:1-30

As I think about all of these rules about burnt-offerings, grain-offerings, peace-offerings, sin-offerings, and guilt-offerings, it occurred to me that sin is a big deal to God.  I am afraid that it is very easy to become complacent in our walk with the Lord.  As the Lord delivers us from sin, we feel relief from that particular sin, so we might not realize that we need to turn around and ask the Lord to show us the next one that He wants to deliver us from.  It is a big deal because sin separates us from God - eternally for those who do not place their faith in Christ alone, and relationally for those who have trusted Christ for salvation.  The Lord wants us to be close to Him, and He has made a way for us to be right with Him - through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel is not just for someone to pray a prayer once for all eternity, the Gospel is for daily living!

1 Jn 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Heavenly Father, please forgive me of my sin. Thank you for providing the way for me to be reconciled to you through Christ's perfect sacrifice.  Lord, please open my eyes to the spiritual condition of my heart, and show me what you need to deal with next so that I can be holy like you are holy.  Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness.  Holy Spirit, please convict me of sin and lead me to walk in repentance.  May your love and grace abound, as they always do.  I praise you for your kindness, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  amen.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

holiness, love, and merciful presence

Exodus 34-35

I have heard it reiterated several times over the past two weeks that the principle attribute of God is His holiness.  He is complete and perfect in and of Himself, He needs nothing, and His character is fully good.  He is set apart, His identity as Creator is fundamentally distinct from His creation, and He has integrity among His character, words, and actions.  We summarize these truths by saying that He is Holy.

I am reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, and the Lord is using it to remind me that I need to be focused on loving Him.  Everything that I do should be motivated out of my love for Him.  I pray that everything that I do will be an expression of love for the Lord.

 Ex 34:5 Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. 6 The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,

   "Yahweh! The Lord!
      The God of compassion and mercy!
   I am slow to anger
      and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
 7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
      I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. ...

I want to want to be in His holy presence.  I want to know Him so that I can love Him more deeply.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the mercy and grace that you have already shown me.  Lord, please cleanse me so that I can come into your presence and be changed.  Lord Jesus, I want to abide in you.  Holy Spirit, please empower me to be a witness of Christ today.  May your name be praised among the nations.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

meeting God

Exodus 29-30, Matthew 21:18-46

Ex 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.

30:6 Place the incense altar just outside the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant, in front of the Ark's cover—the place of atonement—that covers the tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. I will meet with you there.

I am reminded of Psalm 24:3-5:

 3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
      Who may stand in his holy place?
 4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
      who do not worship idols
      and never tell lies.
 5 They will receive the Lord's blessing
      and have a right relationship with God their savior.

Heavenly Father, I am only pure by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Lord, please cleanse my hands, heart, and mind.  I pray that my life will be a fragrant incense offering to you and that you will meet with me.  I want to know you, and I pray that others will see that you are Yahweh.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.