Category Archives: 1-Year Bible

March 2, 2021

Leviticus 25:47-27:13

The law of the Kinsman Redeemer meant that anyone in the family (a kinsman, relative) could redeem land or even a loved one. This is pictured beautifully in the book of Ruth which paints a glorious prophecy of the way Jesus redeemed the church.

The laws of blessing and cursing are given in Leviticus 26 – the Israelites couldn’t say that God didn’t make it perfectly clear, He would bless obedience, and He would punish disobedience.

Leviticus 26:3-4a (NKJV) “‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will…”

I will give you rain, fruit, peace in the land; I will rid the land of evil beasts, chase your enemies, look on you favorably, multiply you, set my Tabernacle among you…and ultimately the beautiful promise of v. 12:

Leviticus 26:12 (NKJV) “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”

And then there’s the other promise:

Leviticus 26:14–16a (NKJV) “But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you…”

The list of chastening is vast, leading ultimately to the expulsion from the land, if the Jews persisted in defiant disobedience, but they would not be utterly cast away. It’s important for us to keep in mind that this is the Old Covenant and not the New. Although God still promises to bless obedience today, the blessings are not ultimately of this world, the health, wealth, and prosperity are primarily in the world to come (in heaven) they are eternal.

Of course, God is always ready to pardon and restore (Leviticus 26:40-43)

Warren Wiersbe summarized the chapter as follows:

Covenant (1–13). God used the word covenant eight times in this chapter. It reminded the people of their special relationship with Him and the responsibilities belonging to that relationship. If they obeyed the terms of the covenant, they would remain in the Promised Land and enjoy His blessings. God does not promise material success to His new covenant people today, but He does promise to be with us and meet our every need.

Chastening (14–39). God’s covenant included both blessing and chastening, for God will not share His goodness with rebellious children. Enjoying the gifts while insulting the Giver is both selfish and idolatrous. We should obey God, not to “deserve” His blessings or even to avoid His chastenings, but to show our love to Him and our desire to please His heart.

Confession (40–46). A gracious God always leaves the door open for restoration. That is one loving purpose of His chastening hand (Heb. 12:1–13). The people may break their promises to God (v. 15), but God will never break His promises to His people (v. 44). God forgets our sins but remembers His covenant! This is not an excuse for sin, but it is an encouragement for sinners to repent and return to the Lord.

Leviticus 27 begins with the valuation of vows. A bit easier for me to understand in the New Living Translation:

Leviticus 27:1–2 (NLT) “The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the LORD by paying the value of that person.”

Mark 10:32-35

Again, Jesus predicts His cross and resurrection, and again, the guys ignore the cross in every way; a couple of them even start jockeying for position. It’s ironic, Jesus came as a complete act of humiliation and His Apostles at this point, are only interested in exaltation. Jesus uses this as another teaching moment. He explains the fact that the non-believers want to rule over others, but those in the Kingdom of God are called to SERVE others. As a matter of fact, if you want to be great – be a servant, and if you want to be first (the greatest), be the slave of all! Of course Jesus is our example and leader in every way.

Mark 10:45 (NKJV) “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mark 10 closes with blind Bartimaeus teaching us how to pray – he heard there was hope that Jesus might hear him, and he cried out for mercy. They told him to be quiet, but he yelled even louder. He caught Jesus’ attention who came to him, spoke with him…and answered by healing him. (See Mark 10:52)

Don’t ever let anyone silence you in prayer – keep crying out to God, He’s blessed by persevering faith!

How would you answer Jesus’ question?

Mark 10:51a (NKJV) “So Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’”

Psalm 45:1-17

This Psalm was most likely written for a royal wedding and is clearly Messianic in nature, referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is gracious, He is the Mighty One, He is majestic in battle, He is the King of kings, and He is God. 

Psalm 45:6-7 is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9 in reference to Jesus being greater than the angels (notice that Jesus is referred to as God).

The rest of this section points to the beauty of the bride desired by the King and the glory she will enjoy forever and ever. May she never look back with longing eyes towards her former family.

Proverbs 10:22

Proverbs 10:22 (NKV) “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”

When I read this, I think of the church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-9) they weren’t rich materially, but were they rich spiritually.

If you had to choose between the two (where you could only have one) – which would you choose? 1 million dollars? Or peace of mind? 2 million dollars? Or a life of love? 

For the Christian, these type of riches start now (peace and love), we get glimpses, small slivers, ultimately looking forward to that day when there will be no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

March 1, 2021

Leviticus 24:1-25:46

The LORD spoke to Moses, instructing him to command the children of Israel to bring pure oil of pressed olives to keep the light in the lampstand of the tabernacle burning continually. Although this was a very specific and practical contribution, I’ve also seen it symbolically as the prayers of the people. I like to connect it to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Gethsemane means “olive press”) and it was there whereJesus frequently prayed. I believe that as God’s people faithfully pray, the light keeps shining and the anointing remains on the congregation – the lampstand burns continually.

Then there’s the showbread, symbolizing Jesus the bread of life, as well as the 12 Tribes of Israel…always in the presence of God. It’s good to know that although there may be times when God seems silent, He is never, ever absent. We are ALWAYS in His presence!

It’s hard for us to imagine the death penalty for someone who blasphemed the name of God with his lips in a moment of anger, but that’s only because we’ve drifted so far from the absolute reverence God deserves. Today we no longer have this law, but we should have the utmost reverence for God’s holy name. It should break our hearts when we hear people take God’s name in vain. Jesus taught us to pray in:

Matthew 6:9 (NKJV) ”In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”

The legislation of Leviticus 24:17-21 are laws of pure justice. Jesus taught us that although it may be practiced and legislated in a society, it’s not to be practiced personally (Matthew 5:38-42).

In Leviticus 25 we have the laws of the Sabbath for the land. God commanded the children of Israel to work the land agriculturally for 6 years, but then to take the 7th year off. This would be good, not only for them to rest, but also for the soil, and even the animals. God promised to provide for the people if only they trusted Him.

Unfortunately when the children of Israel were given the land they never practiced this commandment to give the land rest (they were greedy and refused to trust God). This was one of the reasons they were taken into captivity, we read in:

2 Chronicles 36:20–21 (NKJV) “And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

They had been clearly warned (see Leviticus 26:33-35).

God’s commands are to be obeyed; rest and trust are important to Him because He loves us. God help us to be hard workers, yes, but not disobedient workaholics.

Then there’s the year of Jubilee, that was to be celebrated every 50th year. In that year, not only was the land to rest, but any land that had been sold was to be returned to the original owners. 

When the children of Israel were given the land, each tribe inherited property that was to remain in the “family.” If a family experienced financial difficulties they were allowed to sell the land, but just to make sure it didn’t get too far and over time create an economic imbalance in the nation, it was to be returned to the tribe of its original inheritance. (exceptions were made for “city property” – land within walled cities).

Warren Wiersbe, “There was an economic purpose, for God had a concern for the poor and afflicted (vv. 25, 35, 39, 47). Had Israel obeyed the law of the Year of Jubilee, it would have helped to balance the economy, and the rich would have had difficulty exploiting the poor.”

And then there’s slavery. Got Questions answers a common misunderstanding about Biblical slavery:

“The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.” (see full article)

Mark 10:13-31

As a pastor, I must say…the children melt my heart. After service I have the privilege of praying for people, and sometimes the children will come up – it brings so much joy. I can’t imagine anyone saying there’s no time for them, but that’s what the Apostles said on that day. Jesus rebuked the Apostles and taught them that the Kingdom of God is made up of those who have the faith of a child, and all believers are actually children of God (1 John 3:1).

The Rich Young Ruler came to Jesus knowing he needed more than religion, he knew something was missing, he saw something in Christ that attracted him, but in the end, he went away, choosing riches over righteousness. Part of his problem was he didn’t realize the deity of Christ. When Jesus asked him why he called Him good, Jesus wasn’t denying His deity, He was declaring it, for Jesus often called Himself good (Matthew 20:15; John 10:11, 14). If the Rich Young Ruler knew that Jesus was God, I have a hunch he would have been willing to follow Him.

In those days the rich were considered to be blessed by God and, for the most part, in good standing with Him, especially among the Jews. But Jesus teaches us, through His dealing with the Rich Young Ruler that that’s not always the case and it’s hard for a rich man to go to heaven. 

Jesus said in: 

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

This should stop me in my tracks when I’m tempted to make some moves to make more money, maybe it would be better to learn to live within my means.

Peter asks the Lord about any rewards they might be entitled to, since they had left all to serve and follow Christ. Jesus promises blessing on earth and rewards in heaven, but He wouldn’t leave out the fact that there’s a cross before the crown.

Warren Wiersbe, “You never lose when you give everything to Jesus. He blesses you in this life and in the life to come.”

Psalm 44:9-26

Have you ever felt like you’re losing the battle, that God doesn’t seem to be working things out the way He should, even though you’ve been doing your best to follow Him?

That’s exactly how the Psalmist felt. He tells God all about it – – but he continues to pray.

Psalm 44:23–26 (NKJV) “Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever. 24 Why do You hide Your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our body clings to the ground. 26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.”

Paul the Apostle quoted Psalm 44:22 in Romans 8:36 and revealed the fact that Christians follow Christ in this way, that we are led as sheep to the slaughter, we will suffer, but even in that, we are more than conquerors and nothing can separate us from the love of God…nothing. Let’s trust His purposes and promises even in the pain…and let’s keep praying.

Proverbs 10:20-21

Proverbs 10:20 (NKJV) “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little.”

So valuable are the words of truth and wisdom that flow forth from the righteous – consider our conversation, things like the Gospel where preaching can save a soul, keep one out of jail, keep you in the Word, bless you in multiple ways – it’s not just silver, it’s “choice” silver, sterling silver, it’s the best “silver” of all!

Charles Bridges said, “Our words should be choice silver, refined of this world’s dross, shining with heavenly brightness.”

It’s too bad that nowadays the silver-tongued person is connected to the person of eloquence, when in all reality the silver-tongued person is the wise one who speaks God’s truth…from a godly heart.

We see the antithesis in the second half of the passage – “But the heart of the wicked is worth little.” Keep in mind, words flow from the heart. Jesus said in:

Luke 6:45, (NKJV) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” 

Proverbs 10:21 (NKJV) The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.

What a contrast – how some feed others…that they may live. While the the fool refuses to be fed or led, they can’t give it out and they won’t even take it in; they don’t offer any contributions to the lives of others…and they themselves die in the process.

Schultens, “They die of famine in the middle of the rich pastures of the Gospel”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 28, 2021

Leviticus 22:17-23:44

This section begins with God communicating to the children of Israel that they were not to offer to God their “leftovers.” Their sacrifices were to be without blemish and without defect – we even read in:

Leviticus 22:20–21 (NKJV) “Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf. 21 And whoever offers a sacrifice…it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.”

The children of Israel were commanded not to offer the bruised, or crushed, or torn, or cut (Leviticus 22:24). Imagine you had a lamb that was on it’s last leg, on the verge of dying, so when it’s time for a sin offering you figure, “Well that one’s almost gone anyway…” and you give it to God lackadaisically instead of sacrificially. We can easily be that way with God – instead of donating a new couch to the church, we donate the used couch. Instead of giving to God first, we give God the leftovers. Let’s give to God the ‘fat of the firstborn,’ and the ‘best of the best.’” 

When the children of Israel fell far away from God, He rebuked the leaders for this very thing, something addressed in Malachi 1:6-14. We read some specifics in:

Malachi 1:8 (NKJV) “‘And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?’ Says the LORD of hosts.”

Malachi 1:13–14 (NKJV) “You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the LORD of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the LORD. 14 “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—for I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, ‘And My name is to be feared among the nations.’”

Leviticus 23 covers the 7 Holy Days of Israel (Feast Days)

Warren Wiersbe has a simple breakdown of the 7 Holy Days and their symbolism:

1. Passover – Christ, the Lamb, who died for us. John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7

2. Unleavened Bread – The Christian life of fellowship, separation from sin, and feeding on Christ. 1 Cor. 5:6–8

3. Firstfruits – The Resurrection of Christ. 1 Cor. 15:20–23

4. Pentecost – The Coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1ff.

5. Trumpets – The Gathering together of God’s people. Isa. 27:12–13; Matt. 24:29–31; 1 Thess. 4:13–18

6. Day of Atonement – The future cleansing of God’s people. Zech. 13:1–2; Rom. 14:10

7. Tabernacles – The future joy of God’s people in His kingdom. Zech. 14:16–21

If you’d like  an inexpensive but solid resource on this I would highly recommend Rose Publishing’s, “Feast of the Bible” laminated handout.

Here’s a link to the item on Amazon:

And here’s a chart that I’ve previously share with you that I’ve found to be very helpful:


Mark 9:30-10:12

Once again, Jesus predicts His death and resurrection; and once again the disciples don’t understand, due to preconceived ideas (Mark 9:30-32). The disciples were under the impression that Jesus was just about to set up His Kingdom on earth, and they had been disputing who would be the greatest (imagine that).  Once again, Jesus teaches them:

Mark 9:35 (NKJV) “And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

The fallen world, our fallen nature, and fallen angels (demons) all equate greatness with promotion, with being the top gun, ruling over others. But the truth of heaven is inverted, that the one esteemed in God’s eyes, is the one willing to serve, and even willing to serve any and ALL.

In the church today some may consider the pastor as the “greatest,” but that’s not the way it is, that’s not how it works, God looks not at the position but at the heart – “Is that person willing to serve any and all?” As a matter of fact, Jesus seemed to especially esteem children’s ministry which can take place at home or elsewhere – when you give just a cup of water or fishy crackers to a little one, you’ve blessed the heart of God.

In those days children were not esteemed, so Jesus issues a heavy warning to those who cause children to stumble – that it would be better for that person to tie 1,000 pound stone around their necks and be cast into the sea, than to face the judgment of God for what they’ve done to that child. We are to value and cherish our children…let’s be extremely careful how we treat them – let’s not belittle them, disrespect them, and treat them in such a way that we’ve broken their spirit, or they’d never want to be a Christian.

Jesus then connects this to hell and the Lake of Fire, even though this place is not limited to child molestors. This place is for those who choose any sin over salvation. In order to be granted the gift of heaven, we must be willing to acknowledge our sin, let go of it, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For that reason we are to deal drastically with sin. Jesus is not telling us to literally chop off our hand, or foot, or to literally pluck out our eye, but we are to treat sin as cancer and urgently perform spiritual surgery – get rid of it!

Mark 9:49 is difficult to interpret – about 15 possibilities have been proposed. The fire, contextually speaking, may refer to the fact that Jesus has just warned about the fires of hell which are never quenched. A healthy fear of hell can propel us to be those living sacrifices. Salt is a seasoning, a preservative, and creates thirst. As we live our lives obediently, we will have these effects on society. (see also Leviticus 2:13; Matthew 5:13)

The Pharisees come to Jesus with a question about divorce, they were testing Him. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Jesus puts the question back in their lap, and they say divorce is ok, looking only to the surface of the Scriptures…but Jesus goes deeper. Jesus takes them back to the original marriage, the origin of marriage and reveals the fact that there was a concession in the Mosaic law because of the hardness of man’s heart, but the Master’s law is, “What God has joined together, let not man separate!” (the only exception being adultery and abandonment -see also 1 Corinthians 7:15)

I’ve always considered this (in one sense) the foundation of marriage, the foundational truth of marriage. The more you believe it was GOD who joined you together, the deeper and stronger your foundation will be. If your foundation is deep, you can build a skyscraper. The less you believe it was GOD who put you together when you said “I do,” the more shallow your foundation will be, and this will be reflected in your marriage and marriage commitment. God honors our vows and calls it “Holy Matrimony,” He makes us one, til death do us part.

Divorce for trivial reasons might be allowed by the law of the land, but it doesn’t line up with the heart of God for marriage – He’s made us one, and we are to remain one – this type of love, is true-love and blessed by God.

Psalm 44:1-8

It’s a blessing to look back, to see what God has done in generations past, and then to look forward, pray and ask that God would do it for us as well; that He would once again move in our generation.

This contemplation of the sons of Korah is that type of Psalm, knowing that it wasn’t the people who gave Israel the land, it wasn’t their own arm, or their own sword, it was God’s favor, it was God’s right arm! So they pray:

Psalm 44:4–5 (NKJV) “You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. 5 Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.”

It doesn’t mean we do nothing, we do, but we fight from victory (not for victory).

Proverbs 10:19

Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV) “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

Bishop Butler said this takes place when, “…conversation is, merely the exercise of the tongue; no other human faculty has any part in it.” 

It’s when our mouth is running, but our brains aren’t thinking, and our hearts aren’t loving. My heart goes out to people, who have no concept of Ecclesiastes 3:7, “there is a time to keep silence.” You would think it’s easy to know when, we should stop talking, but some people never learn.

True story of a lady who approached D.L. Moody with the words, “My talent is to speak my mind.” John Wesley wisely responded by saying, “I’m sure God wouldn’t object if you buried that talent.”

Ecclesiastes 5:3b, “…a fool’s voice is known by his many words.”

It was said of an old sanctified Christian, “The older he grew, the less he spoke, and the more he said.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 27, 2021

Leviticus 20:22-22:16

As was mentioned earlier, the reason the Canaanites were being expelled from the land was that they were guilty of the atrocities mentioned in previous chapters – sins which included incest, homosexuality, abortion, beastiality, sorcery and the like, and to make matters worse, these things were done unashamedly. God reminds the Israelites of this, and warns them that if they practiced such things, they too would be vomited from the land.

Leviticus 20:22–23 (NKJV) “You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. 23 And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.”

God calls His people to be holy, set apart for Him:

Leviticus 20:26 (NKJV) “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.”

Warren Wiersbe, “Privilege always brings responsibility. If the nation was to be sanctified, the spiritual leaders had to set the example. God had a word for the priests (1–9), the high priest (10–15), and those who could not be priests (16–24).”

The LORD required more from the priests, the sons of Levi – they were to remain clean and undefiled, as they represented God to the people, and the people to God. God was meticulous in His mandates to them, from the bodies they touched, their hair, beards, and brides. Their families were to be holy as well. (Leviticus 21:1-9)

The High Priest was called even “higher.” (Leviticus 21:10-15) The High Priest was not allowed to tear his clothes in grief or touch the bodies of his parents if they passed (this was not the case for the Levites/other priests – Leviticus 21:1-3).

Leviticus 21:16-24 reveals the fact that no man was allowed to serve as High Priest of Israel who had any defects – whatsoever.

Although there are qualifications in the New Covenant for Pastors and Elders, those qualifications deal primarily in character, with the only exception being the Pastor’s gift of teaching (1 Timothy 3:1-12). I thank God for His grace in my life. I happen to be a man with many defects, flaws, and failures, and yet the Lord allows me to be involved in the ministry. (1 Corinthians 15:10) 

As an overall summary of the Levitical laws, Halley’s Bible Handbook offers the following, These Laws Were the Laws of God – Some of the laws in the Pentateuch are similar to the laws of Hammurabi (from the time of the Patriarchs), with which Moses no doubt was well-acquainted. And though Moses may have been influenced by his Egyptian training and by Babylonian tradition, yet over and over he repeats, “This is what the Lord says!” These laws were not dreamed up by Moses or by a legal think-tank, or arrived at democratically—they were given to Israel by God Himself.

Some of these laws may seem severe to us. But if we could transport ourselves back to Moses’ world and time, they probably wold not seem severe enough. On the whole, the “Law of Moses,” in its insistence on personal morality and personal equality, and in its consideration for old and young, for slave and enemy, for animals and health and food, was far purer, more rational, humane, and democratic than anything else in ancient legislation.

Moses’ Law was designed by God as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24 KJV), since it showed that no one was able to fully keep the Law. And some of the provisions of the Law were accommodations, “because your hearts were hard” (Matthew 19:8).”

Leviticus 22:1-16 once again emphasizes God’s holiness and His call for leaders in ministry to be holy – and then, with that as a backdrop, He deals with exactly who was allowed to eat of the offerings. You might remember that whenever a person brought an offering to the LORD, a portion of most of those offerings was to be given to the priest, who was allowed to share it with his family, but not with anyone who was unclean or an “outsider.” Anyone who was ineligible or unclean and ate of these offerings was to be put to death.

Leviticus 22:9 (NKJV) “They shall therefore keep My ordinance, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby, if they profane it: I the LORD sanctify them.”

Mark 9:1-29

As Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up the mountain, He is transfigured before them. Luke tells us that it was “as He prayed…” (Luke 9:29). Once again, the disciples were sleeping while Jesus was praying (I think there’s a message here). Eventually they were awakened to get a glimpse of His glory unveiled. They woke to see Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah, representatives of the Law and the Prophets. Peter didn’t know what to say, so he suggested they make 3 tabernacles (1 for each of them) he wanted to stay on the mountain. The Father interrupted Peter – with a word of correction, pointing Him to Jesus only, “This is My beloved Son, hear Him.” Peter writes about this glorious event in 2 Peter 1:16-18.

On the way down the mountain Jesus answers their question about the prophecy of Elijah in Malachi 4:5-6. Jesus essentially tells them that Elijah will come again before His Second Coming (see Revelation 11), but in another sense, Elijah had come, John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).

As often is the case, the demon-possessed valley follows the mountaintop experience, and sure enough, Jesus is met with a Satanic situation, great multitudes were there where a boy was demon-possessed, and the disciples could not cast it out. Jesus was frustrated by their lack of faith and proceeded to cast out the demon. Later the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the demon, to which He responds in:

Mark 9:29 (NKJV) “So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”

Warren Wiersbe, “The nine disciples who were left behind had neglected their spiritual disciplines and lost their power (v. 29; 6:7). When you find yourself defeated, turn to Him for victory and discover where you went wrong.”

“O Lord, please give me wisdom in this, how would You have me to fast? We are in desperate need of Your power. Your words to this father resonate deep within me, as well as his response to Your words…”

Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV) “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”

Psalm 43:1-5

It’s one thing to have a man against you, it’s another thing to have a nation against you (Psalm 43:1).

The Psalmist was in the middle of a war and he felt that God was far from him.

Pastor Chuck Smith said, “Today when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we might say, ‘Why am I so depressed or anxious?’ Usually we feel that way because we’ve lost sight of God, or we’ve removed Him from the equation. We’re trying to figure out a solution apart from him. But David has the answer, ‘Hope in God…the help of my countenance.’”

It’s okay to talk to yourself, to ask those questions, to search your heart, but make sure to end the conversation by encouraging or strengthening yourself in the LORD (1 Samuel 30:6).

Psalm 43:2a (NKJV) “For You are the God of my strength…”

Psalm 43:5 (NKJV) “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

Proverbs 10:18

Proverbs 10:18 (NKJV) “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”

Because you’re a follower of Christ there will be those who hate you, but they may not say it to your face. Usually if we’re hated by someone they will eventually slander us behind our backs – the Bible describes such people as fools.

We have a parallel passage in:

Proverbs 26:26 (NKJV) “Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.”

We can’t prevent it from happening to us, but may it never be true of us – may we never be hating, lying, slandering fools – oh the damage it does! I read an account of an author by the name of Theodore Reinking who faced execution in 1646 because he had slandered King Christian IV of Denmark with a book he’d written. King Christian offered him the option of either eating his book of being executed. Reinking tore the book into shreds, soaked it in soup…and started eating away until he had devoured every page.

We’re not so fortunate however, it’s not that easy – because once those words go out, they can never truly be taken back.

It’s easy to make a mountain out of a molehill, all you have to do is just keep adding dirt – – and my, how people will hurt. Be careful little tongue what you say…

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 26, 2021

Leviticus 19:1-20:21

We now enter into a variety of laws issued to Israel, knit together with the common thread of theology, that the LORD is their God.

Leviticus 19:2 (NKJV) “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’”

We repeatedly see throughout this section, God’s clear commands followed by such phrases as, “I am the LORD your God,” (Leviticus 19:10, 25, 34, 36; 20:7 and “I am the LORD,” (Leviticus 19:13, 16, 18, 28, 30, 37).

We’re to be different because of who our Lord is. God’s people are called to consecration, we’re to go against the flow of the world. There is to be an aggressive cooperation between us and the LORD. We consecrate ourselves to God and He sanctifies us to Himself.

Leviticus 20:7–8 (NKJV) “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. 8 And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”

Many of the commandments here are duplicates, and/or give more details, while there are some which are new. It doesn’t take a theologian to be able to study these laws and determine which are timeless principles for all, and which are precepts for that day.

In this legislation, God perfectly provided for certain segments of the poor by commanding the reapers not to glean all of the harvest, but to allow the poor to follow after them  (Leviticus 19:9-10). This makes a respectable way for the poor to have food, but it wasn’t just handouts. There’s a difference between the poor who can’t work due to disability and the poor who won’t work due to laziness.

Isn’t it interesting the way God sees the value of correction? We read in:

Leviticus 19:17 (NKJV) “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”

We are to love the LORD and love our neighbor:

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV) “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

We are to revere our parents (Leviticus 19:3) and give honor to the elderly (Leviticus 19:32)

There are many warnings and commandments against any type of divination, soothsayings, sorcery, or mediums (Leviticus 19:26, 31) in the Scriptures. God knows the damage this does, how this type of activity opens doors to demons. Over the years I’ve seen many people oppressed by darkness due to drugs, fortune tellers, mediums, santeria, or astrology.

People often ask me about tattoos and I usually respond by saying it’s not a full-on green light, or a never, ever red-light…it’s more of a yellow light – caution. Sure, the prohibition is not repeated in the New Testament, but such a decision should be bathed in prayer over time. What do you want to permanently put on your body (which is God’s body)? Why? And if a young person is still living under their parent’s roof, they must abide by their parents personal conviction. To be honest, I may have gotten a tattoo by now, but my wife doesn’t have a peace about it, and I completely understand. Over the years I’ve seen godly people who love the Lord, get tattoos that honor the Lord, and I’ve seen godly people respectfully disagree on this issue. Let’s make sure not to judge others on this (Romans 14:4) for we all know, that God doesn’t focus on the outside, He’s much more concerned with the inside.

Mark 8:11-38

It’s rather ironic, because the words and works of Jesus were signs for all the people to see, and here come the Pharisees asking for a sign! The signs were all around them, even right in front of them. Jesus warned His disciples to beware of this type of leaven (hypocrisy, blindness).

When Jesus healed the blind man, it wasn’t instantly, it was a process, and oftentimes the Lord heals in this way…be patient, it takes time.

The most important question anyone will every ask or answer is “Who do you say Jesus is?” The world has various opinions, just as they did back then, but it’s a personal question that every individual must answer in their own hearts. The world back then was thinking Jesus had come in the spirit of the prophets of old (they didn’t believe in reincarnation) or that men like John the Baptist or Elijah had returned. Some see Jesus as a random Rabbi, a passing prophet, a typical teacher among many others, just a good man. In all reality, none of these options are valid, for Jesus claimed to be God. If Jesus claimed to be God the only options are that He was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. We know the latter is true.

But the question is inevitably posed to all of us:

Mark 8:29, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’”

Bingo! Peter was right on! Christ means “Anointed One” – the One they had been waiting for, prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Jesus is the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King – those were the Old Testament offices which experienced God’s anointing. As Prophet He is the Messenger, as Priest He is the Mediator, and as King He is Master.

But this Christ had a cross. Jesus preps His disciples for the cross He would soon carry, and be crucified on, so Peter swiftly transitions from a spokesman for God, to a spokesman for Satan – my how we fluctuate! Peter’s problem was that he wasn’t mindful of the things of God, and he was confusing his commission as a Christian, so Jesus makes it clear, in His call for us all to take up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34-38).

Make no mistake about it – before the crown, there is a cross, these are the terms of discipleship. The world, the flesh, and the devil will teach and tell us to do our desires, to be what we want, to take the easy road, and follow our heart. But Jesus says, if we want to follow Him – rule #1 – we must deny ourselves. Simply put, we must live our lives in abandoned obedience to God as revealed in His Word.

One of the first passages I ever memorized as a Christian was:

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Psalm 42:11

This Psalm was probably written when David was distant from the tabernacle. We know David was away and on the run for approximately 10 years, so it may have been written during this time. He longed for the day when he could return to God’s prescribed presence and time at the tabernacle.

It had been tough for David – he was desperately thirsty of God.

Psalm 42:1–3 (NKJV) “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”

David was down, depressed, and disquieted (Psalm 42:5, 11) but he encouraged himself with the rope of hope and clung tightly in prayer, believing that he would return one day to the tabernacle. David was confident about God’s love.

Psalm 42:8 (NKJV) “The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.

Proverbs 10:17

Proverbs 10:17 (NKJV) “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.”

He or she with a heart to obey is on the way – the pathway to life. 

But the one with a heart to DISobey – goes astray – the one not interested in instruction, who prefers not, to be taught, will scorn the warning. 

We’ll see this A LOT in the Proverbs. 

We see something similar in

Ecclesiastes 4:13, “Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.”

Charles Bridges, “The more we value discipline, the more we will take note of every practical lesson we learn in the heavenly school. But the person who ignores correction is deaf to the voice that would save him from ruin.” 

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 25, 2021

Leviticus 16:29-18:30

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was the only holy day of Israel in which the people fasted rather than feasted. They were to contemplate their sins and mourn over them (Leviticus 16:29). They were also commanded not to work on this holy day, but to recognize it as a Sabbath. What an important day it was:

Leviticus 16:34 (NKJV) “This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”

While the children of Israel were in the wilderness they had a staple diet of Manna, therefore the eating of the meat of animals was not as common. When they DID slaughter an animal for food, the commandment at this point is to bring a portion to the LORD, it was to take place at the Tabernacle and would be a Peace Offering, also known as a Fellowship Offering, where the Lord had a portion, the Priests had a portion, and the person/family offering the sacrifice had a portion.

God also prohibited the offerings of sacrifices anywhere other than the Tabernacle. This was intended to keep all sacrifices pure and in accordance with the Levitical laws, otherwise altars would be built everywhere there were high places and those altars might be used to offer sacrifices to pagan gods (which tragically did eventually happen in Israel).

The diet of Jews (even today in the orthodox community) was to be kosher, they were not allowed to eat/drink the blood. The reasoning is found in:

Leviticus 17:11 (NKJV) “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

Animals that died “naturally” may have died from disease, so the Lord therefore declared them unclean; in Leviticus 22:8 God prohibited its consumption.

In Leviticus 18 the LORD addresses the perverse practices of the Canaanites and commands His people NOT to do what they did – just as God commands Christians not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). May we never forget that right and wrong are not determined by the world’s laws or cultural relativism – what’s right and wrong is determined by God, our Designer, Maker, and Maintainer who alone knows what’s good for us individually and as a society.

God prohibits all forms of incest and sets boundaries in sexual intimacy. If this area of our lives is not surrendered to the Lord, than the depravity of man will lead to a society of corruption. For that reason we see the digression that took place in Canaan. In Leviticus 18:21 we have the prohibition of sacrificing our children to Molech (the abortion of their days).

Got Questions, “In addition to sexual rituals, Moloch worship included child sacrifice, or “passing children through the fire.” It is believed that idols of Moloch were giant metal statues of a man with a bull’s head. Each image had a hole in the abdomen and possibly outstretched forearms that made a kind of ramp to the hole. A fire was lit in or around the statue. Babies were placed in the statue’s arms or in the hole. When a couple sacrificed their firstborn, they believed that Moloch would ensure financial prosperity for the family and future children.” (click HERE for the full article)

After abortion the issue of homosexuality is addressed.

Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV) “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” 

This is not simply an Old Testament prohibition, it is a command repeated in the New Testament and is binding for all today (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:26-32). I pray that Christians and especially young people would not buy the lie propagated by the culture that such behavior is acceptable to God. I also pray that if anyone reading this is struggling in this area, that you would know that God loves you, and is able to help you overcome. If you’re considering the Christian life, please know that we ALL are called to deny ourselves, and take up our cross in order to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). (And just in case you’re interested, here’s a YouTube link that may be helpful for you from someone who’s been there and was able to overcome)

Sexual immorality. Incest. Abortion. Homosexuality. What’s next? Beastiality (Leviticus 18:23). If we don’t allow God to set our standards, determining what’s right or wrong, than everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes…and that’s exactly what happened in Canaan (Leviticus 18:23). For that reason God was forced to judge this land.

Leviticus 18:24–25 (NKJV) “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.”

Mark 7:24-8:10

This Syro-Phoenician woman teaches us how to pray.

We see that Jesus tested her by not immediately answering. Would she continue to pray? At first it seemed as if Jesus was ignoring her, then it seemed as if Jesus was insulting her, but neither were the case. Jesus was drawing out her faith. This woman didn’t give up, she kept praying with the realization that all we need are the crumbs from our Father’s table! She was given a child-of-the-King’s portion in response to her faith.

May this inspire us as we pray, especially for our children or those oppressed or possessed by demons. Believe and receive.

When Jesus healed the deaf-mute in such a unique way (fingers in his ears, spittle on his tongue) not only is it a demonstration that God is not bound by “patterns,” it was another case of Christ drawing out one’s faith. The man was healed and the synopsis was evident, “…He has done all things well.” (Mark 7:37) Amen!

Although Jesus was/is the Son of God sent from heaven – He is perfectly “down to earth” and practical in His love. The people needed food and He met that need for survival. In the process He demonstrates His infinite love and glory – feeding 4,000 men plus women and children (Matthew 15:38). I can’t even begin to imagine how good that food was that day, from the loving hands of the greatest chef in all eternity.

Psalm 41:1-13

David was once again, going through hard times. Isn’t it amazing how many of these Psalms were songs in the “night” (Job 35:10)? I’ve noticed that when we go through spiritual, emotional, and physical suffering, these are opportunities to sing by faith, in order to deepen our walks and strengthen our witness (here we are…studying David’s writings 3,000 years later).

The enemy was trying to take David down, tempting him to lose heart, and to forsake his faith. One of the hardest hits to handle is when a family member or friend betrays us. This happened with David when his son Absalom turned against him along with his good friend Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15-18). This was also a prophecy of how Judas would betray Jesus (John 13:18).

David gave himself to prayer; that God would grant him that victory over the enemy…and He did. God will do the same for us.

Proverbs 10:15-16

Proverbs 10:16 is the root of:

Romans 6:23 (NKJV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Our “labor” in the Lord is simple solid faith in Jesus Christ. At best, all we can “earn” is death (Isaiah 64:6), but when we trust Jesus, we receive the unearned (unmerited favor) gift of salvation. Have you wisely chosen to believe and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior? You can do that right now.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 24, 2021

Leviticus 15:1-16:24

Most teachers believe that verses 1-15 refer to discharges from infections, or perhaps sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, while the other discharges covered in Leviticus 15 are flows from the natural functions of the body.

No doubt sanitation and personal hygiene were factors for these laws, and a woman on her menstrual cycle was protected and given an aspect of rest during what can be some difficult days. 

All in all God was setting His people apart with constant reminders of their call to be holy…it would consume their lives. They didn’t have showers or washing machines, and most did not have multiple changes of clothing back then. Imagine the inconvenience of having to wash both body and clothes, and then the requirements of the law in taking your sacrifice to the Tabernacle and having to go through all the meticulous details described in order to restore your fellowship with God!

Imagine the heartache of the woman with a flow of blood and therefore unclean for 12 years! No one could touch her or even sit on the same couch as her! With greater appreciation we then read that after all those years, Jesus healed her (Matthew 9:20; Mark 5:25).

O how grateful I am for Jesus who fulfilled the requirements of the Law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17; Colossians 2:14)

Again, we must constantly be reminded in covering these civil laws of Israel, that this type of specific legislation does not apply to us under the New Covenant – but there are principles to glean. How many times have we “touched” or gotten too close to sin? I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV) “Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’”

Don’t even touch it.

Leviticus 16 covers Yom Kippur, also know as the Day of Atonement.  Moses reminded Aaron, who was to relay the message to his sons, that entrance into the Most Holy Place was only allowed once a year and that had to be done right, lest they die.

The Most Holy Place was considered the very presence of God (at times the Ark of the Covenant is spoken of as God’s throne). Only the High Priest could enter into the Most Holy place, only on the Day of Atonement (once a year), and only with the right blood applied in the proper way. This would cover the sins of the nation for another year.

The Old Testament High Priests were only shadows of the substance – how one day Jesus would go before us as the true and eternal High Priest, with His own blood and make a way for all of us to enter in to the Most Holy Place by washing away all our sins. We read those words in:

Hebrews 9:11–12 (NKJV) “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Jesus’ blood is so strong to forgive, that now you and I who are Christians can actually enter in to the Most Holy Place with boldness! A careful study of the book of Hebrews makes all this completely clear.

Hebrews 4:14–16 (NKJV) “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Mark 7:1-23

How easily we can drift into the rules and regulations of men, and make them more authoritative than the Word of God. That’s what happened to the Pharisees who had even developed a certain way of washing hands – something they made mandatory for themselves and others. When they criticized Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands according to their standards, Jesus used this opportunity to rebuke them for their hypocritical ways. They had developed a law called Corban, teaching that rather than honoring one’s parents, they could take those resources and give them as an offering to the Temple – Jesus summarized it in:

Mark 7:12-13, “then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

With their lips, they sounded holy, but in their hearts, they were far from God. We all have to take that Spiritual MRI don’t we? We might say the right words the majority of the time, but what’s really going on on the inside? Jesus shared some heavy words in:

Mark 7:6–7 (NKJV) “He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’’”

Jesus went on to teach that it’s not what goes into a man that defiles him, it’s what comes out of a man. Once again we’re reminded that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

Warren Wiersbe put it this way, “Unless we are very careful, religious rituals can create serious problems. They may be given as much authority as God’s Word (v. 7) and even replace God’s Word (v. 9). They may give a false confidence that what you do on the outside will somehow change the inside. But the heart must be changed, and external rituals cannot do that. The heart can be purified only by faith (Acts 15:9).”

Psalm 40:11-17

We continue in this Psalm which reveals that David had sinned (Psalm 40:12). The enemy is trying to capitalize on it and take David down; while God is disciplining him, perhaps allowing the opposition.

So David repents and David prays:

Psalm 40:13 (NKJV) “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me!”

Psalm 40:14 (NKJV) “Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who seek to destroy my life; let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor who wish me evil.”

Let’s keep seeking the Lord (Psalm 40:16) and loving the Lord (Psalm 40:16) that we might bring Him glory and magnify His name (Psalm 40:16). Let’s make it our goal, our heart – not to sin, but if we have sinned, let’s not give up, let’s get up, look up, and lift up our voice to God…He is merciful and ready to pardon, if we are genuinely repentant.

1 John 2:1 (NKJV) “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Proverbs 10:13-14

May God grant us understanding – to look under the law – not just what to do, but why we do what we do. May God teach us those Biblical principles as well as precepts, to know His will in the variety of situations we find ourselves in (Proverbs 10:13).

May we continue to be as teachable as spiritual sponges, and may God by His Spirit tame our tongues (Proverbs 10:14).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 23, 2021

Leviticus 14:1-57

Although there was no cure for leprosy, the law gave the procedures to be followed whenever a leper was cleansed/healed. It would be an extremely laborious process.

Two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Kill one bird in an earthen vessel, in poured out water (or running water). The priest would then take the other items, including the living bird, and dip them in the blood. He was to sprinkle the blood  seven times (the number of completion) on him who was cleansed. The living bird would then be set free. The cleansed man would then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair (including beard and eyebrows), and wash in water. The former leper would then be allowed back into the camp, but not in his tent, quite yet. For after seven days he would do it all again. On the eighth day (number of new beginnings) he would offer a trespass offering, a sin offering, a burnt offering, and a grain offering. The blood of the trespass offering would be used to cleanse the ear, the hand, and the foot of the former leper (cleansing us from what we hear, what we do, and where we go). After that, each of these areas of life would be anointed with holy oil. 

We all need to be forgiven by God (symbolized by the blood) – and – we need to be filled with the power of God (symbolize by the oil).

As always, there was consideration and alteration of the laws for the poor (Leviticus 14:21).

For close to 1400 years this portion of the law would never be used. But it wasn’t in vain, for this law was issued with foresight, that one day the Messiah would come and heal the lepers.

After one instance of Jesus healing a leper, we read in His words to them in:

Matthew 8:4 (NKJV) “And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’”

It would be a testimony to them (the priests). How accountable they were! As the priests followed every intricate step of this lengthy process they would/should be in awe, for who can heal the lepers?

Similar responsibilities were given to the priests to detect mold in homes, which can be extremely hazardous. I can’t help but think of the many homes, of families today who need the cleansing power of God, lest they also be destroyed. How’s your home today? I hope you now that Jesus can heal our hearts, as well as our homes (our families).

Mark 6:30-56

Ministry was so busy, that Jesus and His disciples didn’t even have time to eat (imagine that). So He leads His disciples to a deserted place, hoping to get some rest for them, but the people find ’em, and their needs were great. So rather than getting the R & R they hoped for, the Lord tends to them compassionately. We read in:

Mark 6:34, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.”

Isn’t it interesting that the first step in tending to the scattered sheep was/is the teaching of the Word? He first met their spiritual need, He then tended to their physical need. May we never underestimate our need for the truth of God’s word, it brings joy to the journey, peace to our path, love and life to our lives, it’s the compass when we’re, the plumb line when we build, the green pastures that sheep most desperately need.

The sun would soon be setting so the disciples suggest to Jesus that He send the people away, that they might go into the nearby towns to buy food. But Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” They didn’t have enough money to buy for everyone one, and definitely didn’t have enough food (they only had 5 loaves and 2 fish) but they gave what they had to Jesus (the key to victory). Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish and ended up feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children (Matthew 14:21) – and there were plenty of leftovers (Mark 6:43). Jesus didn’t do this to dazzle His disciples, He was hoping they would see who He was…but their hearts were hard (Mark 6:52).

The Gospel of John tells us (John 6:15) that at this time the people wanted to make Jesus King, so He sends everyone away and goes to the mountain to pray. As He prays, He sees they guys straining at rowing, for the wind was against them, so He came to them walking on the sea on the fourth watch of the night (3AM). They were afraid, but Jesus stilled their hearts, as well as the storm, and they all marveled beyond measure.

Do I know – do you know that Jesus sees us straining at rowing, struggling to make progress? We may not like the struggle, it doesn’t feel good (it hurts) and we may not like the timing of when He comes to us (we perceive it to be late), but take heart…He WILL come to us walking all over the opposition (under His feet) and we will make it to the other side.

When they came to the other side, the people came to Him, “…and as many as touched Him were made well.” So simple and yet so rare. May we come to Him and stretch out our faith to touch Him.

Psalm 40:1-10

We seem to find ourselves in this place frequently. You would think after all these years (for some of us) we’d of “arrived” by now. But no, not on this side of time, we will struggle, we will feel as we’re in a pit and will need the Lord to pull us up and out. 

When He does (so frequently) we will have a new song of praise (Psalm 40:3) and we are reminded of his wonderful works/innumerable thoughts towards us (Yes, God always has you on His mind).

Psalm 40:5 (NKJV) “Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

Psalm 40:6-8 is a prophecy of Jesus (Hebrews 10:5-9) how in this “scroll of the book, it is written of Him.” It’s all about Jesus (John 5:39). You can open the Bible anywhere and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. In the Old Testament it’s Jesus predicted. In the Gospels it’s Jesus manifested. In the book of Acts it’s Jesus preached. In the Epistles it’s Jesus explained. And in the book of Revelation it’s Jesus Returned.

Psalm 40:10 is how Jesus has given us the final formal word from His Father (Hebrews 1:1-2). It’s also a good source of inspiration for all those who seek to speak His Word to the people He loves.

Proverbs 10:11-12

Proverbs 10:11 (NKJV) “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”

Words of God’s wisdom bring life and that more abundantly, but words from below – words that are merely human or demonic, stir up violence and can even be verbal abuse. Be careful what you say.

Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV) “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”

What do we do when we’re wronged? It says a lot about us. If we fight fire with fire and stir it up, we only prove we’re haters. But if we turn the other cheek, and cover all those sins, it shows we’re lovers, it shows we’re saved.

The fruit of the Spirit is…love (Galatians 5:22)

(see also Proverbs 15:18; 17:9)

1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 22, 2021

Leviticus 13:1-59

Tragically leprosy was a common and extremely feared disease in those days, so God gave Israel the guidelines on how to diagnose leprosy and how to ensure it didn’t spread, through people or objects.

Halley’s Bible Handbook, “These regulations were for the purpose of controlling the spread of infectious skin diseases, of which the most loathsome and dreaded was leprosy. The word translated “leprosy” in the KJV has a range of meanings, including leprosy, skin disease, and even mildew. Primitive as this approach may seem to us, these simple measures undoubtedly saved many lives.”

It’s interesting that the responsibility regarding leprosy was given to the priest, for over time, leprosy became symbolic of sin (see Isaiah 1:4-6). Not that sin caused leprosy, but it has many parallels, especially the fact that leprosy would often begin by dulling the senses. Sin, like leprosy, makes one unclean, sin is deeper than the skin, and sin spreads within our own lives and often into lives of others. Sin also isolates – it breaks our heart to read the command given to the leper:

Leviticus 13:45–46 (NKJV) “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

Imagine the horrible life of isolation, living in a leper colony, outside the city! The leper’s clothes were required to be torn as identification and a constant expression of grief, and if anyone clean came anywhere near the leper, he was required to cry out “unclean, unclean,” while making sure his germs were not spread to others with his hand cuffed over his mouth.

It’s not random, however, to see that the day would come, when the Messiah shows up who not only healed the lepers, but touched them compassionately (Matthew 10:8; Mark 1:40-45). Sin ravages but Jesus is able to heal and cleanse any and all of us from all forms of “leprosy.”

Mark 6:1-29

Jesus was rejected at His hometown of Nazareth. It wasn’t that they weren’t impressed with His teaching, it’s just that they knew Him too well. It’s been said that “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

To call Jesus “the Son of Mary,” was a cultural insult; they may have been pointing to what they thought was Jesus’ illegitimate birth – who was His real father? They paid the price for their lack of faith and Jesus could do no mighty works there, not that God Himself is limited, but we sadly and frequently limit Him through our unbelief.

Jesus then sends out the twelve, two-by-two, giving them power over unclean spirits, commanding them to take nothing with them, so they’d learn the lesson of God’s protection and provision. They weren’t to be picky in their lodging, just grateful, and to those who rejected the message, they were to shake off the very dust of that city, separating themselves from the judgment to come. We read a synopsis of their mission in: 

Mark 6:12-13, “So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.”

It’s tragic to read of the beheading of John the Baptist, simply because he was bold enough to speak the truth in love.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary provides some of the background, “Mark explained that Herod himself had ordered John to be put in prison. According to Josephus, this prison was at the fortress-palace of Machaerus near the northeastern shore of the Dead Sea (The Antiquities of the Jews 18. 5. 2). Herod did this because of Herodias, an ambitious woman who was his second wife. Herod had first married a daughter of the Arabian king, Aretas IV. Then he became enamored with his half-niece Herodias (daughter of his half-brother, Aristobulus) who was married to Herod’s half-brother Philip (her half-uncle; cf. Josephus The Antiquities of the Jews 18. 5. 1–2). They had a daughter, Salome. Herod divorced his wife in order to marry Herodias who had divorced Philip (not the Philip of Luke 3:1). John had repeatedly denounced this marriage as unlawful (Leviticus 18:16; 20:21).”

Herod had a superstitious respect for John, but Herodias harbored a deep bitterness; she was not satisfied with the imprisonment of John the Baptist, so she seized the moment and had her daughter ask for John’s head on a platter, immediately, “AT ONCE” (Mark 6:25). His rash oath in response to what was no doubt a seductive dance made him technically responsible for the death of the greatest prophet of the Old Testament and forerunner to the Messiah. One day he will give an account.

Psalm 39:1-13

David was once again in a very life-threatening situation. Was it a result of his sin? We read his prayer in:

Psalm 39:8 (NKJV) “Deliver me from all my transgressions; do not make me the reproach of the foolish.”

David disciplined himself (he actually talked to himself) to be EXTREMELY careful with his ways and his words (good advice for all of us):

Psalm 39:1 (NKJV) “I said, ‘I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me.”

David was asking God to protect him, to spare his life; he prayed, he wept, he went through a season when it seemed God was silent, even absent…but he never gave up. I have a hunch that part of the reason David was allowed to go through all the valleys he went through, was for us – that we might learn to keep praying, and never lose heart (Luke 18:1). When you’re there, you can offer up this prayer of David who we know was loved by God:

Psalm 39:12–13 (NKJV) “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength, before I go away and am no more.”

Proverbs 10:10

Proverbs 10:10 (NKJV) “He who winks with the eye causes trouble, but a prating fool will fall.”

We usually wink when we’re trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes – it causes trouble. 

Prating is defined as talking foolishly or tediously; have you ever met someone who’s a good “talker” but that’s it? Someone who’s good at foolish talking will eventually fall.

Let’s not be twinkies (deceptive).

Let’s not be “talkie-talkies,” but “walkie-talkies.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

February 21, 2021

Leviticus 11:1-12:8

There are some who believe that these dietary laws were for the health benefit of the children Israel, and there are even some who still hold to these dietary laws today.  But these dietary laws were temporary (Mark 7:14-23; Acts 10:19-18; 1 Timothy 4:1-5) and the civil laws of Israel were not binding for other nations.

Eating or touching the carcass of a dead or unclean animal may indeed spread germs or worse (especially if an animal died from a disease) so concepts of sanitation and protection are definitely behind these laws of God.

But…there’s no doubt that there was more to it. Israel was to be holy, they were to be different. Could they surrender every area of their lives to God, even the very food they consumed? Would they be willing to learn God’s Word and distinguish the difference between what is clean and unclean?

Warren Wiersbe said this about this section of Leviticus, “Chapters 11–15 focus on the concept of “clean” and “unclean” in the areas of food (11), birth (12), disease (13–14), and normal bodily functions (15). Although the laws certainly served a practical hygienic purpose, there was also a spiritual principle involved. As God’s people, Israel had to be separated from everything that God called unclean. Other nations might be able to do those things, but the Jews could not (vv. 44–45). Defilement spreads, and one person’s carelessness could affect many people.”

In chapter 12 of Leviticus we have the laws of childbirth – just as the customary flow of blood would make a woman unclean, the blood of childbirth would as well.

I don’t think I can word it any better than Warren Wiersbe as to why there was a 66 day purification period, and 14 days of uncleanness after a daughter was born, as opposed to the 33 and 7 days after a son was born, “Is a female child twice as unclean as a male child? Of course not, for there were no degrees of uncleanness. God was giving the mother extra time to care for a daughter in a masculine society that preferred sons. He was also giving her time to recuperate before the next pregnancy. A husband to whom she bore a daughter might be anxious to try again for son.”

When Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary brought two turtledoves, revealing the fact that they were not able to bring a more expensive offering (Luke 2:22-24). Yes, Jesus was humble, simple, and poor financially (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Today we are no longer under the Old Covenant, but the call to holiness remains. May we study God’s Word as revealed through His Apostles and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who gives us all our personal convictions. The call to holiness will never change.

Leviticus 11:44a (NKJV) “For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.”

Leviticus 11:45 (NKJV) “For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

Mark 5:21-43

A 12-year old girl was about to die. A woman who had a flow of blood for 12-years was as well.

Dad was desperate, at wits end. As a ruler of the Synagogue, he was risking everything by beseeching the help of the wandering Rabbi – Jesus. But God was moving him, and he was moveable…so He went to Jesus and asked for His help, his little girl was dying.

As they’re on the move, the people are thronging Jesus; He stops in His tracks and asks, “Who touched me?” (for He felt power flow out of Him). The Apostles thought it was a ridiculous question, for Jesus was being touched by many, but this touch was different, this touch was desperate, this touch was one of a firm and fiery faith. Come to discover that after years of being ostracized due to her uncleanness, after having spent all her livelihood on physicians to no avail, with the simple touch of the hem of His garment (a symbol of His glory) she was made well. This story has always inspired me to make my way through the crowd, to be different than they typical casual Christian and to reach out in faith, in prayer, to access the beautiful, wonderful, powerful help, healing, and intervention of Almighty God.

The little girl died in this pause of Christ, and everyone thought it was too late – they didn’t know they were in the presence of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, all in simple stride. Just imagine the joy of their daughter being made whole – something you can’t find in the empty religion of the old wineskins of the Synagogues of those days. Jairus was willing to be made new and God blessed Him and his family.

Friend, whatever you’re facing, please be encouraged with Jesus’ words:

Mark 5:36b (NKJV) “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Psalm 38:1-22

We don’t know the precise circumstances of David’s life at this point, but it appears that he’s experiencing God’s discipline for his sin, and then his enemies rush in to try and capitalize on it, to seize the moment.

But David prays, he even sings (that’s what the Psalms are – Israel’s hymnal).

David also comes clean, he confesses his sin in anguish:

Psalm 38:18 (NKJV) “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.”

That’s all God wants. For me to come clean, confess and forsake the sins that separate me from Him and ruin our lives. Later we’ll read in:

Psalms 86:5 (NKJV) “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”

Proverbs 10:8-9

In v. 8 we see that the wise in heart are receptive, willing to be corrected or commanded, but the prating fool just talks, and talks, and talks foolishness – talking when he ought to be listening.

In v. 9 we have two types of people, clearly contrasted, the wicked pervert and the one who walks with integrity. One walks securely, while the other will be exposed; one will stand, while the other eventually and inevitably falls.

Which will I be? O Lord, grant me grace to be receptive, to be wise and to walk in integrity.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.