Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 – Feb. 21 – Keeping Faith Alive

Study from God’s word: Lev. 1: 1 – 17; Lev. 6: 8 – 13; Num. 28: 1-8; Lev. 17: 8-9; Lev. 2: 1-10; Lev. 2: 11-13, 14-16; Lev. 6: 14-23; Num. 15: 1-12; Num. 15: 13-21; … Passage for Reflection: Leviticus 6: 13 … NIV The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

My Journal for Today: Today my trek through the times of Moses from my Daily Bible reading had me looking at the sacrifices and offerings which God established to help in the removal of guilt (i.e., the expiation of sin) from a people who were born into sin and needed the removal or payment (i.e., propitiation) of that sin on a continual basis. The Day of Atonement, for example, was an annual feast (now called “Yom Kippur”) where the people were given an opportunity to confess and have atonement for their sins through the sacrifices and offerings brought to God’s altar on that day. And a blood sacrifice was necessary for that to be accomplished through these ceremonies. But God knew that His people needed more than an annual feast to keep the fires of worship burning for God so that He could pour His grace out for His chosen people.

And one thing Dr. Smith did in this study of the sacrifices and offerings the people was to highlight what was required of the Priests for devotion and worship, keeping the fire of the altar lit and burning continuously (see the focus verse for today in Lev. 6: 13). Why did God order the Priesthood to keep the worship altar fire burning? Well, I’d bet that you know the answer to that one. It’s because God knows how hard it is for His children to keep their minds/hearts focused and burning in worship to our God, Who is our protector, provider, and the essence of our purpose. God knows – and we’ve seen – just how weak of purpose we can be in our continual worship of our God. But we need to remember that we, as Christians, are now God’s Priesthood (see 1st Pet. 2: 9); and thereby we need to keep that fire of devotion burning in our hearts, where God now resides, forever.

Did any of you make New Year’s resolutions this year; … maybe to lose weight; … perhaps to exercise more and more regularly; … maybe to have a deeper and more devoted quiet time with God each morning? How’re you doing? Well, if you are like many of us, it’s easy to let the demands of the flesh or of the world interrupt our commitment; and our focus and attention to our Godly goals wane, breaking through and letting the fires of devotion dwindle and then to die. Do I sense a confession of “Amen!” to that?

Well, God, knowing how easy it would be for His children, who had a heart described by Jeremiah (see Jer. 17: 9) as “deceitful … beyond cure,” commanded the Priests, the spiritual leaders for God’s people to keep the flame on the altar of worship burning – continually - to remind the people to hold their worship out for God on a daily basis. It is far easier to keep a fire burning than to have to restart it when it has died out, … isn’t it? And once someone has developed a habit of regular devotion, worship, or Bible study, it would be a lot easier to keep it going daily than to let the habit dwindle and die and then have to restart and re-establish the habit again. But unfortunately the latter is the way most New Year’s resolutions go, … don’t they?

So, where do we go with this very human tendency to let the fires of purpose die in our lives? Well, if we know that we need to have a regular and deeper devotional life with God, when and how are we going to relight the fire and keep it burning? Would it be better to wait until tomorrow or begin again today? And if the answer is today, as we know would be better, what do we need to do set the fire of our worship/devotion of God ablaze for His glory?

At the beginning of this year, I did an inventory of my life and determined a number of disciplines which were honoring to God, … disciplines which I needed to keep going or to get going. I listed them and began on a 40 days of commitment to document and report [to a select accountability group] how I was doing on these disciplines as part of my daily devotion to God.

Well, I was able to do the 40 days; but then I realized that if I didn’t keep this fire burning in the way I had started it – on a daily basis, my own default sin nature would likely let it burn out sometime down the road. So, I made a commitment on Day 40 to make it a 365 day commitment to the Lord and report every day to my select group how I was doing on my list of offerings of purpose. If you are in the group who get this devotional journal with my daily listing of behavioral entries, you would know that I’m still doing my listings daily. And I’m reporting this to praise God for giving me the enabling grace to keep this fire of devotion to Him burning (see 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9).

Have I waxed and waned on some of the individual disciplines? Yes, I have; but I immediately know it as I report it daily; and I can – and have – rekindled that fire to keep it burning. Recognizing how weak I can be, this is my way of following through with my behavioral and devotional offerings daily; … to keep the fires of worship burning in my heart for God. And I recognize that this may not be a way that you can or will keep your worship fires for God burning. However, I maintain that you’re going to need to do something, on a daily basis, to do it; because we do have a flesh which will pull us away from God. And we have an arch enemy, Satan, who will pour gas on those fleshly embers so that our fleshly choices will draw us away from keeping the fires of devotion lit and burning for God.

How are you keeping your fires of commitment burning – every day - for God?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to keep my fires burning each day; no, each moment, for You! Amen

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