Tuesday, February 20, 2018

FEBRUARY 20 "DON'T FORGET YOUR OWN SIN OFFERING!"

Moses, as directed by God of course, instructs Aaron to bring his sin offering too! " Oh yeah, that's right, I have sin also....I almost forgot!"  It's easy as a Priest/Pastor to become focused on other people's sins, as that is what we often have to deal with. The danger is we become focused on other people's sins and can forget that we also have sin. This can create two problems. The first problem is it can create a frustration in us and lack of empathy towards those that are sinning. Secondly it can cause us to be out of touch with our own sin. The more we concentrate on other people's sins, the less we are aware of our own sins. Moses, wisely instructs Aaron to bring an offering for his own sins. Aaron is the Leader, he is the Priest, he is the Holy one being used by God, but he must also be reminded that he too has sin. This is not just an issue that can cause the demise of leaders, but also that of a churches, marriages and ministries. The more we talk and focus about other people's sins the less aware. we become of our own; the more harsh and rigid we become towards others. The other relevant point to this passage is that Moses also gets Aaron's sons involved in the offering of Aaron's sins. This is not in anyway done to demean Aaron in front of his sons, but to let his sons know that even dad, the great High Priest has sin. This not only helps Aaron, but it helps his sons who are also Priests; who will also struggle with sin and failings through out their lives, even though they are priests. It will also prevent Aaron from putting to heavy a yoke on his children that even he, could never abide by. We often put a yoke of perfection on our children that we ourselves never even came close too. We want them to be perfect in school, nothing but A's, but yet when we were kids our performance was not even near what we are holding them to. You say, "yeah, well that's why, I want them to be better than I was", but the problem is, you cannot live out the life you wish you had lived, through your children. It would have been easy and probably what Aaron would have done, had not Moses intervened. Aaron, in thinking of his past failures and his family name would have put an undue and unreasonable yoke upon his sons to be the perfect Priests, even though he was far from it himself. And every time his sons sinned and failed as people and as Priests they would have felt condemned and hypocritical. Moses nips this in the butt, right from the start, by having Aaron make an offering for his own sins and getting the sons involved. This one act saves both Aaron and his sons from much future hardship, that surely would have hit, had Moses not instructed Aaron to do this one act of humility.  It was good for Aaron's sons to know his father also struggled and sometimes, gave in to sin. Many families today would be doing much better if leaders still instructed parents to make an offering for their sins before their children. No to humiliate, but to bring humility and to keep parents from putting to heavy a yoke of perfection upon their children, when they themselves are full of sin. This keeps the parents humble and keeps the children from thinking "what's wrong with me?"

Monday, February 19, 2018

FEBRUARY 19 "WAIT..., YOU'RE GONNA EAT MY SACRIFICE?!"

This is a transition stage for the Israelite's as it is for a congregation that is transitioning to support it's Priest/Pastor.  Moses is trying to explain to the Israelites that "The Lord" wants them to make a sacrifice. A sacrifice that will cost them financially. "Well, I guess if it's for The Lord". Imagine their response when Moses says, "well it's for The Lord, but The Lord told me to give the breast and the thigh to Aaron and his sons".  "Oh I see what's going on here, this is a scam, you say, The Lord, wants....but then coincidentally the offering goes straight to your brother, how convenient! We give and he and his sons just feed off of our sacrificial giving, why he might as well not even work!"  That's when Moses has to break the news to them..."ughhhh, actually, that's the plan, that your offerings support Aaron and his sons, they are going to be Priests". We can read over this quickly and  not think twice about the resentment and opposition Moses faced with this new offering. Can you imagine as this hard working man, comes and sacrifices a valuable Ram and then he comes by later and he's watching Aaron and his sons chow down on his Ram, that he sacrificed, that cost him and they're enjoying it.....as they look up, with grease dripping down their beard, "thanks bro, great Ram, tastes great, thanks man!" In his mind he must think this is ridiculous, we've been had by Moses and he and Aaron are pulling a scam on us". But yet, it's there, in the Word of God for us to read, how can we deny this is not God's doing, how can we deny, this is not what God wants. People, congregation members 'till this very day have a hard time accepting that the Priest, the Pastor, should eat off the backs of their hard work and offerings, but the tragedy is, a congregation that does not accept this teaching will never prosper. A congregation that thinks it's Pastor should go out and work a regular job just like them is in for some hard and despairing times a head of them.  And the sad thing is, they will never quite get, why they are not prospering, why they are not moving forward and the very reason will be right in front of the. Every Sunday. The tired, burnt out dishonored Pastor that stands right before them. Until a church values and esteems the office of Priest/Pastor, they are not moving forward and this was fundamental that the Israelites understood this before the moved on with their destiny.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

FEBRUARY 18 "DON'T LET THE FIRE GO OUT"

     We can get very deep an analytic about all the requirements of the altar and rightly so, or we can completely ignore them, BUT there is even one that I can figure out, that speaks loud and clear and that is... "The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out."   God ignited the fire and it was up to the people to now tend to that fire and it was their responsibility to keep the fire going and NEVER to let it go out?  I wonder what would have happened if they had?  This is obviously a foreshadowing of the Holy Spirit being born in us, Jesus said, "John has come to baptize with water but I will baptize in the Holy Ghost and FIRE!  God will ignite the life of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit and we must keep the fire burning and never let it go out.  The priests were to tend to the fire daily, add wood as needed and maintain the fire. God could have made it not only that he would supernaturally ignite the fire but also that it would be self perpetuated, but HE DID NOT!  You maintain the fire daily!  This is the main purpose behind this blog and the One Year Club, it is the maintaining of the fire, the tending to the fire daily and making sure it NEVER goes out.  There have been days, weeks, months and years where my flame was flickering to nothing and I feared my flame going out and tended desperately to that flickering flame.  In Isaiah, The Lord says, "a smoldering flask I will not put out". God will never be the one guilty of putting out our flame, if it goes out it is because we have not tended to it.  So what happens if it does go out? I would not want to find out...will God re-ignite it? He may or he may not.  I know people who used to have Faith in God, walk in his ways who no longer have faith nor believe anymore. It is better to make sure you follow God's command "NEVER" to let the flame go out, rather than be negligent and hope that God re-ignites it, do you really want to play with fire like that? (No pun intended). You know when your flame is flickering down to nothing and the slightest strong breeze (trial) that blows on you will snuff it out; get to work today, add wood, burn some fat, do what you need to do to get the flame up and running once again!


Saturday, February 17, 2018

FEBRUARY 17 "l'll GIVE WHAT THE LORD LEADS ME TO GIVE"

God makes sure to tell Moses, "make sure for the offering, they give a Ram without defect and of proper value".  We want to be quite spiritual about our giving, "I will give as the Lord leads" but it's interesting how The Lord so often leads us to give such skimpy amounts".  I can't tell you what "The Lord is leading you to give" in your deceitful, I mean, pure heart, but I can tell you what His written Word tells us to give and it is never just "whatever".  God, who knows people, makes it a point to warn Moses about what people will try to do in their offering, and that is, they will try to give something in the offering that will not cost them and God tells Moses, "don't accept it!".  It needs to be a Ram without defect and it ALSO needs to be the right value. Practically speaking, it would be a good idea to bring a defected Ram, after all, the Ram is just going to get sacrificed, why bring a healthy one? However, God wants it to cost, he wants our offering to cost us.  We are not free to give as we choose and then try to coax the Pastor or church to hold a rummage sale to try to collect money for the church needs.  I wonder what would happen if they had brought a defected Ram for the offering, and the defected Ram made its way past Moses, some how? Well, what would happen is their sins would not be covered because it was a "sin offering" and there was a specific amount designated for that. God would not honor his part of the deal since you did not honor your part. So then the same applies, that if we give every Sunday, as we feel lead, but never give "the first fruits, the tenth" of our income, what's the sense in giving? God promises to rebuke the devour if we give "The Tenth & offerings" not if we just give whatever we please. "I'll give what I want and what I think I can afford!", you say...Well, go ahead, but your giving is in vain, because it's not accomplishing  what giving is supposed to accomplish.  We give in obedience, yes, but we give also that the devour may be rebuked, we give so that God's covering would be upon us and that God would make all Grace abound towards us, that in all things at all times, we would have all that we need and there would be excess. However, if we give what we want, how we feel, then God does not honor his part of the deal and we might as well not give, because we are now just throwing away money. We will not get any blessing back from it.  If you are going to give then you might as well give the right amount, the designated amount, the Ram without defect, of proper value, otherwise, your giving is in vain and that's worse, than not giving at all!

Friday, February 16, 2018

FEBRUARY 16 "AS A RESULT OF YOUR ACTIONS, JESUS...."

     AS A RESULT, "Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places". Imagine, this man's disobedience actually put an an end to what Jesus had previously been able to do; not only that but it forced Jesus to remain outside in lonely places. I wonder what is the result of our disobedience? What have we stopped Jesus from doing? What have we hindered? Often we can get caught on the idea that God is sovereign therefore I can do whatever I want and God will make it work out.  Of course this releases me of all responsibility of having to "listen" and puts everything on God. We like this false theology....BUT read this passage, Jesus gave this man specific instructions for a reason, AS A RESULT of this man not listening, no longer could Jesus enter a city, "way to go dufus", we might say, but how often have we done the same? What will you say today, what will you do, where will you go, how will you react, even after the Holy Spirit has urged you NOT TO, that will hinder Jesus' influence in that place?  "Aghhhhh, God will find a way, it will all work out", no, that avenue will be shut, that place of influence will be done with, that door will now close, that revival will cease. We don't have to be psychics to please God, we just have to obey him when he says, "don't do that, don't say that, please do this" that's all we have to do. "Jesus sent him away with a strong warning, see that you don't tell this to anyone..."  Jesus knew what the ramifications would be if this man did go tell everyone and Jesus knew he would not be able to reverse it either! Next time you're in a predicament that is similar, just think..."AS A RESULT Jesus ____________________ (and you fill in the blank).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

FEBRUARY 15 "SO GLAD WE DON'T HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE...OR DO WE?"

     WOW, imagine having to live like this??? I'm so glad we don't have to live like this anymore....imagine having to wait on God to move.  In our text we read that "...in all the travels of the Israelite s whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out-until the day if lifted".  I mean, how restrictive is that?  Well that was the Old Testament and now we are in the New Testament and I can come and go as I please, I can go here and there and God will just follow me around like a lost puppy dog, so glad "I am free in Christ" and not under oppressive legalism of the Old Testament. Of course that was all just facetious talk...The principles of God are forever enduring.  Jesus himself reiterated in the Gospels, "do not say tomorrow I will go here and do thus....". This principle is very, very applicable to the Christian life today. Wait on God, don't move a head of God and don't lag behind either. No we don't have a cloud hanging over our lives to guide us, we have better, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We do have the liberty to motion forward, but always remember when the Holy Spirit checks you, stop in your tracks, you have either gone a head or are going in the completely wrong direction.  The Apostle Paul writes, "we were going in one direction but the Holy Spirit forbade us and we went in another" (paraphrased by me).  In the normal on goings of life it's not so much about praying whether or not I should have Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes for breakfast, but it is more in keeping an open heart and mental disposition towards God that when we are moving a head, lagging behind or going in a completely in a different direction that He can check us and we will halt in our tracks. Be very careful about thinking you can just get up and leave and go and do whatever you want when ever you want, if you believe that, you have missed the principle being taught here and enforced through out the N.T.  Our life is not our own, it has been bought with a ransom and God really does have a divine plan and though we do not have to stop and pray at every decision, we must be open to his will, his place, his timing and if ever there's a conflict, that we would yield and either cancel our plans or rearrange them, even as the Apostle Paul did.  Nobody has a blue print laid out before them that maps out God's perfect will and direction; it is a matter of decision from day to day, move when God moves, wait when he does not and be sure, he will get you to that intended destination!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

FEBRUARY 14 "HAPPY VALENTINES DAY WOMEN!"

It's in interesting that Jesus first appears, as the resurrected Jesus, to ladies. Jesus always had a unique place and purpose for women in His ministry; just one more aspect of the uniqueness of Jesus' movement, ie: Christianity. They were 2nd class citizens and still are, in the Middle East. Yet He came accepting them, ministering to them, even Samaritan women. Jesus saw the unique qualities of women that He had put in them when He created them. The greatest event that ever happened for the rights of women, was Christianity. Nobody understood the value of women more than Jesus and no movement has fought for woman's rights more than Christianity. No, not supreme rights over her own body, ie: Abortion, but neither man or woman has supreme rights over their own body. My question is, when we see that Christianity was and is and has always been at the forefront of Woman's Rights and Liberation; why is it that today's Feminist would not be caught dead in a CHRISTIAN Church. Why is it that Feminists oppose right wing fundamentalists and stick so far to the Left, when it comes to politics? I can only think of one logical answer and that is the modern day feminist movement has an  opposing, antagonistic spirit, to that of Christianity. In any logical sense, any well grounded and good hearted Feminist would embrace Jesus and Christianity. If a woman came up to me after church and told me she was a Feminist, I would say, "so am I and I am because Jesus was and I do value the contribution that women make to society, the family and most certainly the Church of Jesus Christ, BTW I love women, my mom was a woman and my wife happens to be one too, so I'm glad you're here!" I have been in quite a few churches and every church I have been in, that is doing well, has a core of women in that Church, that were it not for them, that church would be in trouble. I don't think men are as much into Valentines Day as Women (actually, not even close) and here we are, FEBRUARY 14th, Valentines Day, in our One Year Bible and Jesus is resurrected and although Jesus is a Man's Man in every way, He chooses to first reveal himself to the women who so faithfully followed him and anointed his body for death and who carefully tended to Him after his death. HAPPY VALENTINES!"