Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012 … Is Our Worship Real?

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 14-15 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalms – Book 4 – Psalms 90-106 To study these psalms, go to this link -

Numbers 14: 39-45: … [False Repentance] … 39 When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the LORD promised. Surely we have sinned!”
41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the LORD’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43 for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.”
44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.

My Journal for Today: Today’s chronological read was rather voluminous, taking me beyond two chapters of Numbers and into a section of Psalms referred to as “Book 4,” where one of the songs of Moses, Psalm 90, is documented along with a number of other songs he wrote. And from this rather extensive read/study today, the section which God emboldened for me is copied above for your edification and meditation – if you’re so led.

Moses was dealing with a lot at this time in the history of God’s chosen people; and finally, as we read in Numbers 14, the people had seemingly come to a conviction of their sinfulness and decided to do something about their ill-begotten lack of faith and sinful decisions. However, as we read above, Moses recognized that the alleged repentance of God’s people was not the “real-deal;” and they were striking out – on their own – trying to make it right with God.

And since it was included in today’s reading plan, if you go to Psalm 90-106, you can read in a number of the Psalms attributed to Moses. But in Psalm 90, linked here, we read of Moses singing his plea that God will, with His mercy and grace, open the minds/hearts of the people so that they can see what real repentance is all about. But again, in our highlight passage above from Numbers 14: 39-45, we see that Moses discerns that the people’s enthusiasm for repentance is misdirected and they are going off on their own rather than following the God’s leading, which at this time is coming through Moses.

So, the people ignore Moses’ leading; and they rush off to worship God by exhibiting their worship in their own, self-conceived manner, not following the dictates of God’s direction – through Moses – to make their worship conform to God’s directions. Moses recognizes that the way the people are trying to worship will not be effective and God-honoring; and that, unfortunately, is the plight of many of us today who’re not living out our lives worshipping God as HE desires. We’re trying to build our own styles of worship, which conform to worldly designs of what worship is all about but do not present lives of living worship (see Romans 12: 1-2) before the Lord.

And is it NOT surprising that such self-directed pursuits of “worship” are met with worldly defeat just as we read happened to the Israelites. After going off to worship God in their own style, they were swept aside by the Amalekites and the Canaanites. Christians today want to set up their own forms and styles of worship to make them FEEL GOOD; and they attempt to do so in ways that are entertaining and exciting. But God sees through our “seeker friendly” and “selfishly designed” methods of worship; and we can see that God’s Church is losing out in many of its battles with the world. And I don’t think I need to document the reality of how the Christian world is being decimated in our culture in our warfare against the world’s big guns of p0rnography, drugs, gambling, abortion, and the ever-present search for worldly power.

How can mankind call themselves seekers after God by going off to their palaces of worship on Sundays, and getting a self-induced “high” from the delusion of worshipping God? And then these same, self-labeled “christians” go off on Monday and succumb to the world’s ungodly pursuits of pleasure and painlessness. BUT … God sees through it all; and unfortunately He’s going to let us die out in our misdirected and misled formats of worship and false-repentance just as the Lord let His chosen people die out in the dessert as they traversed to the promised-land.

But I am encouraged that God always protects the remnant of true believers, as he did with the families of Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, who remained true in their lives of worship to their God. And if we can retain true-hearts of worship, traveling through life (i.e., our wilderness) toward our promised-land of Heaven, God is going to direct and protect us just as He did the true believers and followers of the One, True God.

My Prayer Today: … Lord help us to worship YOU in Spirit and in Truth. Amen

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28, 2012 … What I Really Need Is …

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 11-13 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 11: 1-6: … [Grumbling and Complaining] … 1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

My Journal for Today: Wow! Today, when I went mining into God’s word for His wisdom (as Job described in Chapter 28 of his book) I found some real valuable jewels, rich stories on which I could blog. There is the powerful story of Moses’ siblings confronting him about his choice of a wife in Chapter 12; and then there was the wonderful story of the spies going out into the promised-land and bringing back their findings to Moses. Both of these stories have rich applications for us as believers and followers of God. However, when I first read through Chapter 11 of Numbers, right at the outset, there was the account of the people becoming grumblers. So, I’ve copied the beginning of that story above in Numbers 11: 1-6 for your consideration and my comments below.

Oh, dealing with God’s children must’ve been so, so frustrating for Moses, him being their Prophet, shepherd, and leader. Of course, Moses had the advantage of being in daily and direct communication with God there in the Tabernacle. BUT … those people had seen – and should’ve remembered – lesson after lesson of God’s mercy and grace and loving power. There was the miraculous deliverance from Egypt. There was the transmission of God’s will through His law. And there was God’s provision of manna for the people in their privation as they traversed through the wilderness toward God’s promised-land.

BUT … in spite of all that God had done, the people just didn’t get it, did they? God meets their needs; and what do they want? … Yeah, … more … much more! And even when God gives them more, as you can read in Chapter 11 of Numbers, what do they want [?]; … yeah, … even more. Does that remind you of anyone?

[A Prayer Pause] … Ok, Lord, I get it! You’re putting up a mirror of truth from Your word so that I will see that I’m no different than these grumbling Israelites. >>> I get it, Lord!! …

I seem to always ignore the truth of God’s clear word in my New Covenant Testament. For example, I read His clear promises in Romans 8: 28 and 2nd Peter 1: 3 and Phil. 4: 19; and yet I keep desiring more to satisfy my grumbling heart.

And my God keeps meeting my needs … every day and in every way. Oh, … I’m so weak of faith; and yes, I know – and believe – the truth of 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 … that my God’s grace is sufficient to shore me up in my times of self-pity and weakness. Yet, I still complain at times.

I don’t know about you; but I am so like those grumbling Israelites. And the promised land is out there, … just waiting for me … as I traverse through this wilderness of life to get there. Oh, how I need to heed the words and truth of Paul, when he wrote - with so much love – to the Philippians (in Phil. 3: 13-14), "… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

If I can just look into the mirror of truth which God is putting up in front of my life every day … today … and remember what I know in my head, … exercising the faith that comes from believing it, … I will grumble less and follow more from faith. I need to pray as did the daddy in Luke 9: 24“I do believe [Lord]; help me overcome my unbelief!”

My Prayer Today: … Yes, Lord, that is my prayer today … that I follow You …in faith … without grumbling, taking my concerns directly to You and knowing that You ALWAYS give me what I need … in spite of what I want. I do believe You, Lord; … help me in my unbelief! Amen

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012 … God’s Standards for Worship

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 8-10 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 9: 1-14: … [The Second Passover]… Use this link to review this passage for my comments below ...

My Journal for Today: Today I was reading through the three chapters in Numbers to which I’ve linked you above; and the segment in Numbers 9: 1-14 drew my attention for meditation and comment; but since that passage is a bit long to copy/paste above for my blog today, I’ve also linked it for you to seek out and read. And if you’re going to read along with me, I’d ask that you please review this passage carefully.

And when you do read through and meditate on this passage, you’ll see that God was giving His people follow-up instructions in the Passover worship and remembrance so that they would be able to properly worship the God Who had delivered them from Egypt. And their Passover celebration needed to have the preparation of purity and the reverence of holiness God had instructed them to carry out a year earlier, … this being the celebration of the second Passover since they had left Egypt (see also Exodus, Chapter 12 and Leviticus 23:5, 6).

And it’s interesting to note from this study that some of the men could not meet God’s ceremonial standards for the Passover feast; and since God’s standards of holiness and worship never change, these men were not allowed to carry out the Passover celebration at the designated time for that worship. But did God shut them out from their heartfelt desire to celebrate Passover? NO! God mercifully established for these men a “PLAN B” for Passover; and they were able to purify themselves and come back a month later and worship Passover in the way God had designed for their worship.

I think now of the instructions we, as Christians, are given to celebrate the Eucharist (i.e., Communion) properly. And the Apostle Paul gave such instructions for God’s Church in the remembrance of the Lord’s Supper in 1st Corinthians 11: 17-34. Let me link you there so that you can review these instructions from God’s word.

God doesn’t want to exclude any serious worshipper from worshipping Himself; but God does have standards for coming into His Holy presence for worship, especially those celebrations of remembrance which God, Himself, has established for His people – whether it be Old Testament or New. Therefore, we should – when we come to worship our Lord – purify our hearts and minds in preparation as we come to the Holy of Holies for remembrance and worship.

I believe many Christians take Communion at the Lord’s Supper without being in the proper state of mind/heart to do so. Sometimes it’s because Communion – in some denominations/traditions – is taken so often and there is no preparation or reminder for the believers to be in the right state of mind/heart to carry out the ritual which God Himself has established for His special times of worship. But all too often it’s simply a matter of the worshipper not being in the humble and pure state of mind which he/she should be to come before the Lord to celebrate and remember what God has done for us.

Therefore, I hope we all rekindle our remembrance of our God from this study … that those specially established ceremonies for worship, … like Passover for the Jews and Communion for Christians (and there are certainly others). Each of these special times of worship should be undertaken with the care and preparation which matches the standards of what God has done to deserve our remembering His glory, His mercy, and His holiness.

As Jesus, Himself, said at the establishment of the first Communion supper, “This [i.e., taking the bread and the cup] … do in remembrance of Me.”

My Prayer Today: … Amen and Amen!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012 … Consecrating the Temple and Communing with God

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 7 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 7: 1-3: … [Consecrating the Tabernacle]… 1 When Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings. He also anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils. 2 Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of families who were the tribal leaders in charge of those who were counted, made offerings. 3 They brought as their gifts before the LORD six covered carts and twelve oxen—an ox from each leader and a cart from every two. These they presented before the tabernacle.

Numbers 7: 89: … [God’s Communion with Moses] … When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the LORD spoke to him.

My Journal for Today: Today I was only led to read one chapter of Numbers, chapter 7; and there is a lot of repetition as you read how each leader of the twelve tribes of Israel presented their consecration offerings to God in the Tent of meetings – i.e., the Tabernacle. And yes, it is interesting to note how important this offering – very significant and generous – was to the ongoing work of God’s Priesthood so that God could interact with His people on their journey to the promised land by traveling with them and communing with them through Moses and the High Priests.

I could easily see an important point upon which to elaborate about the offerings and how they were necessary for God’s anointed, the Levites, to do the work of maintaining the tabernacle as well as the system of worship which God had established. All of this has interesting parallels with how important are Christians give our free-will offerings to God’s established New Covenant Tabernacle – the Church. And the offering of God’s people, in and through God’s Church today, is certainly a much overlooked and devalued part of our life of worship as Christians, … wouldn’t you agree?

However, it was not until I got to the last verse in Chapter 7 of Numbers that God seem to highlight what His word was saying to me today. And that’s the reason why I’ve copied Verse 89 of Chapter 7 in bold relief above. And I believe God was communicating to me (well, maybe not in actual words, but very definitely in meditative interpretation), something like … “Bill, I live in the Tabernacle of your heart; and I want to commune with you there every moment of your life. I’m here for you; and you can know Me through My inspired word.” … Yep, … that’s what I got from verse 89 this morning!

Moses came into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle; and he heard God speak to him. I come to my God every day in my “Tent of Meetings,” i.e., my heart; and God speaks to me. Oh, for sure, God doesn’t commune with me in the same way He spoke to Moses – who probably heard God speaking … even audibly (that had to have been impressive, don’t you think?!).

May I give my witness of testimony as to how God communes with me in the Tabernacle of my heart? For example, … my time with Him this morning was very much like it is almost every morning when I genuinely come to my special, quiet place to be alone with my God, pursuing His wisdom, His will, and His way for my life by delving into His word. And everyday, as I dig into His word – that repository of God’s mind and wisdom – I pray for Him to reveal more of Himself to me through His word. If you’re following along with me in my daily journaling, it may seem like what I’m doing, ie.., the discipline of this study of the word of God, may seem artificial and contrived – i.e., a chronological reading plan. However, there is NOTHING contrived about every “jot and tittle” of God’s word. Our Bible is all of what is promised and proposed in Isaiah 55: 11 and 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17. And if you’ve ever mediated through all of Psalm 119 and Job, chapter 28, you know that digging deeply into God’s word will reveal the very mind of God and produce for us gems of wisdom which are beyond human value. As the Mastercard commercial touts … “PRICELESS!!!”

So, when I Tabernacle with my God every day – yes, every morning – I know, like Moses must’ve known in faith, that our omnipotent/omniscient God is going to be there to speak to me, to reveal Himself, to give me His light and His love directly through His word. And like He did this very morning, when I read, study, and meditate on His word, portions of His masterwork jump out at me, giving me insights into God Himself or shining a light on my path as is promised in Psalm 119: 105.

Delving into God’s word and drilling it into my heart, helps to arm me for the battles of life, sharpening my Spirit-sword (see Eph. 6: 17 and Heb. 4: 12.

Getting God’s word into my mind with discipline and diligence – in faith – helps me to become confident in knowing God’s way and being successful in carrying out God’s will. That’s the 2nd Tim. 3: 17principle which God taught Joshua after Moses had died (see Joshua 1: 8). I want to be successful in following my God as Jesus commanded in Luke 9: 23; and that will only allow me to avoid sin and selfishness in my life IF I bury God’s word so deeply in my heart so as to root out my sin nature (see Psalm 119: 9-11).

And how did I know the powerful direction of all of those verses which I’ve referenced above? Well, they have become part of me; and when I come under pressure, they well up in my consciousness to give me strength and peace and power. That’s why I keep coming back for re-consecration - daily - to the Tabernacle which resides in my heart and which is blessed even further by my giving my offering of will and work so as to keep the Temple pure and empowered.

That is what Moses experienced by going to commune with God in the Lord’s consecrated Holy of Holies; and that is what I experience when I come to be with God – in His word – every day in this quiet place in my heart where God resides. And I pray that for you, too!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for being here ever day when I come to be with You in Your word. Amen

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25, 2012 … The Blessing

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 5-6 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 6: 22-27: … [God’s Benediction and Blessing>… 22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.’ “Say to them:
24 ‘ … The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.
27 ‘ So they will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’ ”

My Journal for Today: Today, in my Bible reading plan, I was led to study/meditate through Chapters 5-6 of Numbers; and at the end of Chapter 6, the above copied passage jumped off the page into my heart. Yes, this is a very recognized passage from scripture which you may have heard in your past as THE BENEDICTION (or spoken blessing) which Pastors or Priests often use to close Sunday services, weddings, funerals, and other special gatherings of God’s people.

I can remember this blessing being spoken by the Pastor to my wife and myself and the friends present at our wedding just before the Pastor introduced us as “Mr. and Mrs. Bill Berry;” and we kissed to seal the vows we had made before God in that special ceremony. And the horrible irony of that was … that, though the traditional words from the Bible felt nice at the time, they really didn’t hold any heartfelt meaning – at least for yours truly; because Christ was not in either of us at the time we got married in a Christian church. And if you know my testimony, my subsequent infidelity of the vows we had taken that day became a pattern in my life for over a decade before, in brokenness, I confessed my sabotage of the marriage vows which we had taken, got my mind/heart right before God, and experienced our marriage being healed and restored into the commitment of righteousness demanded and expected by God in a marriage. So, now our marriage vows have been renewed and we can read those words of benediction above and be assured that our marriage has been blessed in the way that God’s priesthood was to pronounce this blessing over God’s anointed ones, … His chosen children, the Israelites.

And when you meditate on the blessing above, you should realize that this blessing was to be pronounced over the Israelites who were willing (and able) to carry out the commitment of those who had taken the vows of a “Nazarite.” If you go back and read Numbers 6: 1-21, you will see what the Nazarite commitment was all about. It was a service vow to God which was taken by those who were very serious about their relationship with Yahweh. And when they made this commitment, and kept the tenants of the vow they made to God, the Lord blessed them in the way you read in the benediction blessing documented above in our highlight segment for today.

And please note that this well documented and familiar blessing from God – spoken over those who are fully committed to serve God – has three components in the benediction.

FIRST there is the blessing of PROTECTION: “The LORD bless you and keep you.” God promises His protection over those who are fully surrendered and also totally committed to following Him. But notice that this blessing is only given to those who live out their lives, keeping their vow to do what Christ commanded of His disciples in Luke 9: 23 and what Paul later exhorted believers to do in Romans 12: 1-2. And it is those who can take that kind of vow of commitment to follow God and to serve Him who can expect the umbrella blessing of God’s blessing of protection. But … does that mean that the totally surrendered Christian will never have any troubles. No, … it simply, but powerfully, means that God’s committed believers/children will always have God’s blessing of protection – even to provide them with eternal life should we lose our physical lives serving our Lord.

SECONDLY, God’s blessing is one of PROVIDENCE: “The LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.” And here we read that God will provide all the obedient and committed believer needs no matter what difficult circumstances are encounters by the faithful followers of our LORD. That’s what we read in Christ’s new covenant promises written by the Lord’s Apostles, … by Paul in 1st Cor. 10: 13 as well as by Peter in 2nd Peter 1: 1-3. In a nutshell, God blesses His obedient servants with everything we need to take on the vow of commitment which is required of all who claim the name “Christian” in this world.

And FINALLY, God’s blessing is one of providing the believer with His PEACE: “The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.” And when I read this, I can’t help but think. “Hey, Lord, if You promise Your peace to me, why is my world so wracked with peace-LESS-ness or turmoil?” But then I remember that God doesn’t mean in His blessing and promise that I won’t have turmoil or troubles in my life. No, His promise is to give me the grace of His fruit of peace in the midst of life’s challenges. And in that regard I think about the promises of both an OT and a NT passage. And I charge you to go back and study these: Isaiah 26: 3 and Phil. 4: 6-7 where God promises (i.e., blesses) His committed believers with HIS inexplicable PEACE, which is His Spirit-given fruit (see Gal. 5: 22), bolsters us with His enabling grace to deal with the troubles of life (see also 2nd Cor. 12: 9).

And so, if I’m willing to be a “Nazarite” believer and make a vow of surrender and service to my Lord, … being obedient to that vow by my living sacrifice, … knowing that my God’s grace is always sufficient, no matter the trials of life, … God will pronounce His blessing and His benediction over me and my life … FOREVER. And that benediction, as spoken by God to the Nazarite-Israielites, also covers me through my faith in the blood-covering sacrifice of THE NAZARENE, … my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for Your blessing. May I live to show it’s power in my life and be a beacon of benediction and blessing to others. Amen

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012 … Anointing the Priesthood

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 3-4 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 3: 5-10; … 10 [bold/underlined] : … [God Calls His Priesthood] … 5 The Lord said to Moses,6 "Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him.7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle.8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle.9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death."

My Journal for Today: There is a simple, but powerful, premise which should never be ignored when studying God’s word; and that is the redundancy principle. Quite simply, when God repeats something, especially in the detail we see in Numbers, Chapter 3, concerning the establishment of God’s Priesthood, we should take notice and see if/where the passage applies in our own lives.

Earlier this month in these blogs (specifically on Feb. 15, 2012), I was studying this same scenario in Leviticus, Chapter 8, where God set aside the tribe of Levi, the Levites, as His servant Priests, with Aaron and his sons becoming the High Priests. You can go to this link to study that journal entry if you like. I’ll not go into the great descriptive detail here about this matter. But in that 2/15 blog, I showed the Old – to – New Covenant comparisons with God’s anointing ALL BELIEVERS as a Royal Priesthood after the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God (see 1st Peter 2: 5, 9).

Yes, now we, who know we’re born again believers in Christ as our Messiah, Lord, and Savior, are now the anointed priesthood for God’s people; and this role in the Tabernacle (i.e, in Christ) is to be taken VERY SERIOUSLY. You can go back and read what I wrote about concerning these matters in the earlier 2/15 blog [using the link above]; but I will just say here that God has made a serious point about His Priesthood by repeating the description of the establishment and appointed roles of God’s priests to be His servants and witnesses in the Tabernacle; and this means – at least to this humble student of God’s word – that I’m to take my role in the a royal Priesthood very seriously, … being God’s representative to believers and the people’s representative to God when they need His service. I am now grafted into the role of Levite in the New Covenant; and if you’re a Christian, so have you.

I hope all who read here with me are reading and meditating on this subject with the seriousness of implication which these passages have for us as Christians. As God’s Priest, what am I going to do TODAY to serve Him as He tabernacles in my heart?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I am one of Your Priesthood; and may I take this role seriously as I am being trained to serve You as a witness to Your children. Amen

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 … Packing for Paradise

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 1-2 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 1: 1-4; … 17-19 : … [God Calls His Children to Order] 1 The LORD spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: 2 “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. 3 You and Aaron are to count according to their divisions all the men in Israel who are twenty years old or more and able to serve in the army. 4 One man from each tribe, each of them the head of his family, is to help you.
>>> 17 Moses and Aaron took these men whose names had been specified, 18 and they called the whole community together on the first day of the second month. The people registered their ancestry by their clans and families, and the men twenty years old or more were listed by name, one by one, 19 as the LORD commanded Moses.

Numbers 2: 1-2, 17 : … [God Readies His Tribes for the Journey] 1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 2 “The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.”
>>> 17 Then the tent of meeting and the camp of the Levites will set out in the middle of the camps. They will set out in the same order as they encamp, each in their own place under their standard.
>>> 34 So the Israelites did everything the LORD commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards, and that is the way they set out, each of them with their clan and family.

My Journal for Today: Well, … the chronological reading plan moves out of all those rules in Leviticus into the Book of Numbers; and now we begin to see the monumental task ahead for Moses, Aaron, and God’s people to get packed and to journey TOGETHER through the wilderness to where God’s promise was taking His chosen people, the Israelites.

And if one studies and meditates, as I have this morning, on all of God’s organizational orders in Numbers, chapters 1-2, you have to be impressed with how God laid out the packing and pecking orders for the journey. From just in the passages which I’ve copied above, you see that the people had to be counted/documented, ordered into tribes, and placed strategically for the journey in a specific encampment order. And did you note that all of the tribes, which were ordered by family and tribal banner to help them identify and stay ordered for the journey, were placed carefully around the exterior of God’s ordering for the travels ahead. And note where God places the Tabernacle, the Ark where the Lord was to reside during the journey, as well as the leadership of the people; yes, … right in the center of the encampment. This, of course, placed all the people, in this social/geographical arrangement, where they all could see that God was at the center of everything, leading His children, under the guidance of Moses and the Levites. God had His Tabernacle where it could be prominent and protected and where everyone could see where God was leading His people … i.e., toward the promised land.

All of this, I believe is a picture of how God wants His New Covenant CHURCH to be at the center of our world as we sojourn to His promised land … and that is, of course, heaven. God wants His church, the physical representation of His tabernacle in the world today, to be at the center of His world as we journey in this land where we must travel through the trials of life. And we know and can see what God’s primary enemy, Satan (and his system, the world), is doing everything that can be done to tear down the walls of protection for God’s church in the world. In fact, Satan is doing all he can to infiltrate His church and get into the Holy of Holies, which has been implanted into the hearts of God’s people.

But God’s Tabernacle, in the Person of God’s Spirit, is still at the center of the encampment of His true sojourners as they trek to the Promised Land. He resides in the center of my Spiritual being, my heart; and as long as I keep my heart protected and at the center of my Spiritual well-being, I will be able to follow my God as He leads me to His promised land, which is my destination, just as was depicted by the organizations of Numbers 1-2.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, keep my heart of heart, Your Holy of Holies, protected and at the center of my being as I travel through life, following You. Amen

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012 … God Smiles on Obedience

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 26-27 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 26: 3-5 : … [Obedience and Blessing] 3 “‘If you follow My decrees and are careful to obey My commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
Leviticus 26: 14-17 : … [Disobedience and Cursing] 14 “‘But if you will not listen to Me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject My decrees and abhor My laws and fail to carry out all My commands and so violate My covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

My Journal for Today: Reading and meditating onward in Leviticus, today in Chapters 26-27, we read about God’s promises to His people concerning their obedience OR their disobedience. And in Verse 13 of Leviticus 26, God openly reminds His children of how HE, their God and keeper, had delivered them. His word: ... 13 I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.

Certainly God’s chosen people, the Israelites, could not deny God’s deliverance, … nor His promises. So, if you were followers of Moses and Aaron in those days, which plan (reviewing the choices copied for you above) would you choose. >>> DUH!!! >>> No brainer, right?! … But if you’ve read the rest of the Old Testament, you know what happened. God’s people … over … and over … and over … and over again were disobedient.

But are those of us who’ve been grafted into God’s family, … His chosen people via the New Covenant and our belief in the hope and promises of the Lamb of God, any different than these Old Covenant believers? Unfortunately, I think not!

Personally, given the choices above – God’s promised outcomes for obedience and disobedience - I’m choosing the first one. But then I look at who I am and my track record for obedience in faith; and I see – IN ME – the truth of Paul’s declaration as a New Covenant Prophet (see Romans 3: 23 that “… for all have fallen short of the glory of God.” I, like all of us, do fall short; but then I’m shored up by the rest of Romans 3: 22-24, which states, 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Note that I, as an occasional disobedient sinner, because I have faith in the redeeming grace of my Lord and Savior, Jesus, The Messiah, am covered by His blood and New Covenant. But does this give me license to sin in the face of His grace. Hardly!! … And that was also covered by the Apostle Paul to the same Roman believers. Go back and read and meditate on all of Romans 6 [linked here for your study]; and you will see that it is only when we follow Jesus’ command to His disciples in Luke 9: 23 (and I hope you know that one by heart), that we will find our true purpose and experience all of God’s reward for our obedience.

So, I’m going to pray here that I recognize that God only smiles on our obedience. Yes, He will forgive our disobedience; but personally I’d rather keep Him smiling and receive the benefits of obedience to His commands and promises.

How about you?

My Prayer Today: … LORD, help me to be an obedient follower and disciple so that I my feel You smiling on me in this life and into the next. Amen

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012 … God Owns It All

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 24-25 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 25: 23-24 : … [Stewardship] 23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you reside in My land as foreigners and strangers. 24 Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

My Journal for Today: In my reading/study of Leviticus, Chapters 24-25 this morning - about God’s instructions concerning stewardship and prudent management of God’s providence, verse 23 of Chapter 25 jumped out at me as a good highlight point for my meditation, … certainly speaking to my heart – with conviction - about stewardship.

STEWARDSHIP is a concept, which, from God’s instructions to His people in Leviticus, was obviously very important; but I’m afraid it’s a biblical idea which has very impotent application in our world today. Oh, I’m sure, if I were to ask the average Christian, “Do you believe God is in control and owns everything?” Most, if not a strong majority, would say, “Absolutely!” So, f I asked you, “What would you say?”

Is God the owner and in control of ALL THINGS in your life? And if we answered “YES” to that question, what is the evidence of our being effective stewards of God’s providence? And to that question, I would have to say that many of us would find it hard to come up with evidence of application in our lives.

We have a two year-old grandson right now; and when he’s playing with a toy, if you take it away from him, he will scream, … LOUDLY … ”MINE!!,” demanding that we give it back to him. It’s just in his nature that anything given to him is HIS and no one else’s. And that’s in our spiritual DNA as well, isn’t it?

If someone were to steal something from me, I would likely FEEL bad, …feeling that I LOST what was MINE. And I would FEEL that way because I FELT that I was the owner of that thing – whatever it was. I would not be FEELING badly because that thing, which was lost to me, was God’s and it had been misappropriated from my Lord. No, I would FEEL bad because I would likely FEEL that the thing which was stolen was MINE. So, at age 60+, my FEELINGS are really not that much different from our 2 year old grandson, are they? And I’m afraid that’s the situation with most Christians these days.

Stewardship – i.e., KNOWING that God owns it all and we are HIS managers – is not a concept that is in broad application in our world these days by Christians. In real life, we FEEL that we’re the owners of that house which has MY name on the deed, … not God’s. If someone steals something from me, I FEEL that the thief has stolen from ME, … not God. I don’t manage the resources which come into my life like they’re God’s. No, I FEEL the stuff in my life is MINE!

It is said that we could do a stewardship analysis in anyone’s life by taking a look at one’s calendar and their check-book records or online banking statement. If I were to audit your calendar, how much time would I find allotted to God’s priorities? If that audit included a look at your spending practices, how much would I find set aside to carry out God’s work or purposes and how much of your expenditures would I find for your own selfish desires? Am I meddling here?

So, as you read through Chapters 24-25 of Leviticus along with me today, are you doing a self-inventory of your stewardship of God’s providence? If you are, how’re you doing?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I do so want to be a good steward of Your providence. Help me to let all that is MINE … be YOURS. Amen

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012 … Purity in Priestly Practices

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 22-23 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 22: 1 - 3 : … [Purity of the Priesthood] 1 The Lord said to Moses,2 "Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane My holy Name. I am the Lord. >>> … 3 "Say to them: 'For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the Lord, that person must be cut off from My presence. I am the Lord.

My Journal for Today: Here I am today, led to read in Leviticus 22 – 23 in my chronological Bible reading plan; and we have more instructions being chronicled in God’s Book of the Law, concerning the Priesthood and the Festivals of worship which the priests and the people were to carry out on an annual basis. And in these instructions, one cannot help but be impressed with how much detail God, through Moses, was giving the people, and especially His Priesthood, about their practices and principles of worship.

And I’ve singled out another of the instructions to Aaron and his descendents, concerning how serious it was that the priesthood be perfected in their worship practices because the royal Priesthood had to represent God to man and man to God. And the God of His chosen people wanted to insure that HIS people were called out to be separate from all the pagan people with whom His chosen ones would have to confront in their future. Worship of the one, true, living God … YAHWEH – JEHOVAH … was to reflect His holiness; and therefore His Priests had to be appointed and anointed to handle this worship with perfected practices. And the people were to come to the festivals of remembrance and celebration, outlined in Leviticus 23 with great reverence and very strict religious regularity and regulations.

Now I shift gears to remember, as I’m reading through the above passages, as well as the rest of the two chapters I was led to re-study today, that I AM PART OF GOD’S ROYAL PRIESTHOOD [documented for Christians in 1st Peter 2: 9-10, to which I’ll link you here for repeated reflection].

And by now, because I’ve brought it up several times during our read in Leviticus, we – who are gloriously under a NEW COVENANT – the perfect covenant from the perfect Lamb of God – our Lord, Jesus. And we must realize that, though we don’t have to live under the ceremonious religious practices of the Old Covenant, we do have to recognize that we are to be living reflections of God’s royal priesthood because God’s tabernacle is in the heart of Christians; and we are to be living sacrifices, worshipping our God by the way we live our lives. I’ve touted it before this month, dear ones; but have you memorized and/or internalized Paul’s instructions concerning New Covenant worship in Romans 12: 1-2, also linked here for those who don’t have it memorized.

We, my brothers or sisters, are PRIESTS – grafted descendents of Aaron’s Royal Priesthood; and everyday and in every moment of our lives, we are to be reflections of ALL of the festivals of worship described in Lev. 23. And as God’s royal priesthood, we are to take – VERY SERIOUSLY – what the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 12: 1-2.

SO … self inventory time (as reminded we are to do in 2nd Cor. 13: 5)! And in asking myself, … “Bill, are you being an willing and able priest, representing God to all to whom you witness your faith; and are you leading a life which is a festival of worship to the One, true, and holy God?” … I have to admit that I’m not taking my duties as a PRIEST of God seriously enough. And when I’m honest, I must say that I need to come under the truth of 1st John 1: 9 and cleanse myself for my priestly practices of living worship today.

How about you?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I come to the Holy of Holies, which You have opened for me as Your priest, wearing the Robes of Righteousness which You, Lord, give freely for me; and I’m an consecrated for worship by Your blood and my confession this day, ready to be Your priest of living worship.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19, 2012 … The Legacy of Love

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 19-21 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 19: 9-10; … 18 : … [Priestly Preparation for Atonement] 9 "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.” >>> … 18 [After a series of specific laws from God to be followed by His chosen ones] … “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
Matthew 22: 34-40; … 18 : … [Christ on the Legacy of Love]34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” >>> 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ [Deut. 6: 5] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ [Lev. 19: 18] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
John 13: 34-35 : … [Again, Christ on Our Legacy as Christians]… [Jesus] 34 “A new command I give you: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

My Journal for Today: Today, God’s word jumped out at me from Leviticus 19 in my chronological reading plan, especially the passage I copied above from verses 9-10 and verse 18. It immediately reminded me of those passages in the New Testament where Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees to declare the greatest of God’s Law. And without hesitation, Jesus gave His Law of Love to the people, letting God’s people know exactly how they were to live and how this living would be a legacy of loving.

And that is the message we all need to contemplate, internalize, and live on a 24/7 basis. It is God’s commandment to a legacy of love for all of His children; and it comes right from the Old Covenant, fulfilled by Christ in the New Covenant. And in today’s passage in Leviticus, God, through Moses, even gave His chosen ones a word picture of how they (and we) should live their (our) lives. Note the instruction of Leviticus 19: 9-10 where God commanded how the people were to glean the harvest from the promised land, … but leaving the left-over fruit which was on the field from the harvest, as well as the fruit from the edges of the fields … so that those who were not as capable could come behind the workers and be able thrive from the gleanings of the fields.

And that was what – in essence – Jesus was saying to His attackers and followers in Matt. 22 and John 13 above. He was saying that we, as Christians, ought to be showing so much of God’s love to God’s people and all whose lives we touch that those who come after us will have plenty of God’s left-over love upon which they can thrive.

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is my legacy of God’s love?” What am I leaving in the fields for those who come after me? Am I living with such an abundance of God’s love that all who know me can thrive on the leavings of God’s love from harvest of living in my life?

If you were to write in a word – or at most, a short phrase – on a 3X5 card what others can – or will – glean from your legacy of God’s love in your life, … what would you write? In my attempt to declare my legacy of God’s love in a word, I think I would write “ALOGOSPHOBIA” on my card, which is a word I made up to describe my obsessive-compulsive fear of not having God’s word in my life.

Before I was a Christian, I was driven by a fear of not having love and physical affection imparted to me by others; and that fear drove me to try to pursue God’s love in all the wrong places, mostly through the selfish pursuit of sexual pleasures. But when Christ came into my life and I sampled His fruit of love through His word, I couldn’t (and still can’t) get enough of it. And I began to see that God’s Spirit had replanted a new compulsion in my life and that is the obsessive drive to go deep into God’s word. That’s why I’m here this morning, digging into God’s truth and trying to find the fruit of His love; … and that’s where I get my LOVE FIX every day from God. AND, my friend, I will pray below that those who come after me will find and develop the same drive to find God’s love in their lives through His word.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, my others, especially my family, catch the love-bug from Your word, and take enough from the fields I harvest from You through Your truth to be able to live their lives with Your love. Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18, 2012 - Atonement

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 16-18 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 16: 1-5; … 34 : … [Priestly Preparation for Atonement] 1 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the LORD. 2 The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover. >>> 3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. >>> … 34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses.

My Journal for Today: There are several good lessons to which I’m drawn to comment in this blog for my devotional journal today from these three chapters in Leviticus which I’m led to study and meditate upon today during my chronological reading plan. Certainly the teachings in Leviticus 18 about sexual sin would be grist for my blog, especially since I was called by God many years ago to found and co-lead a ministry to help Christians find healing and restoration from patterns of sexual sin. However, the section upon which I was drawn to blog today is that at the outset of this three chapters, having to do with God’s instructions to Moses and Aaron about how the Day of Atonement was to be carried out annually, especially the preparations Aaron, as the High Priest, was to make to carry out this ritual of propitiation for sins, i.e., the atonement sacrifice.

The Day of Atonement was to be the most necessary and carefully observed of all of the religious remembrances God had set up in the Levitical system for the Israelites. And at this time it was the only way that God’s people could be “covered” for their sinful nature and practices. God was setting up a way for these sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, with their sinful natures, to have their sins “covered” in a carefully calculated celebration of God’s love, mercy, and grace. And if, in preparing for this ceremony of propitiation, Aaron – or any subsequent high priest – were to try to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle for this blood ”covering” ritual, he would die, … Aaron’s preparation showing the people just how serious was this atonement ceremony annually.

I’m drawn to meditate on this today because God is so careful with His Old Testament details when He, The LORD, is painting pictures which foreshadow the coming work of His Messiah for His children. When God is showing His children how their sins can be “covered,” He is painting pictures of what His Son, the Lamb of God, would do with His blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind. And actually this picture of the atoning grace of God, through Christ’s sacrifice, began to be painted with the “covering” of the ark which Noah was asked to build.

You may have noticed above that each time I typed the term “covered” or “covering,” I emphasized it with bold type and quotations. I did that because the same term in Hebrew, ”kaphar.” which we find used in Genesis 6: 14 [linked here] as instructions for the tar or pitch which God instructed Noah to use to cover the ark, which was to save mankind through Noah’s family, is the same term used in Leviticus to describe the ceremony of atonement which was to be used to save God’s people through the “covering” they would received by the atoning blood sacrifice in the Holy of Holies, so carefully offered by Levitical High Priesthood from the line of Aaron.

And we know – or should know and reverently remember – that we Christians are now of that line of royal priesthood, and our sins have been ”covered” - “kaphar” in Hebrew – with the atoning blood of the Lamb of God. That’s why these pictures in Levitcus, no matter how boring they may seem as we read through them over and over, are such rich word pictures of the One Who came and died on that cross so that you and I could have our sinfulness ”covered” FOREVER by the atoning blood sacrifice of God’s perfect Lamb.

Our sins are ”covered”; and we can – with proper cleansing and preparation – enter the Holy of Holies, which now resides in our hearts, anytime and anyplace and we can be cleansed and made right before God’s throne of grace. And that is because of the ”kaphar” of our Lord and Savior on that cross. His blood ”covers” us all; and I am His priest, coming into His Holy of Holies to remember His atoning grace today. Come with me, dear one; and let’s pray >>>

My Prayer Today: … Most Holy,… Lamb of God, we come into Your presence today knowing that You have shed Your blood – once and for all - that our sins are ”covered” forever by Your sacrifice of atoning grace. Amen

Friday, February 17, 2012

February 17, 2012 … God’s Careful Precautions

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 14-15 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 14: 54-47 : … [Skincare and Mold] 54 These are the regulations for any defiling skin disease, for a sore, 55 for defiling molds in fabric or in a house, 56 and for a swelling, a rash or a shiny spot, 57 to determine when something is clean or unclean. … These are the regulations for defiling skin diseases and defiling molds.
LEVITICUS 15: 32-33 … : … [Bodily Discharge and Sexual Intercourse] 32 These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, 33 for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who has sexual relations with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.

My Journal for Today: As one reads through Leviticus, Chapters 14-15 in today’s chronological read of the Bible, you have to be impressed with the details of God’s care for His people; and we must remember that this detail is in the context of the healthcare of those times and in that culture.

Part of God’s watch-care and healthcare precautions were an attempt to help separate God’s chosen people from the health care (or lack thereof) of the other pagan tribes and cultures in those regions, … the “Gentile” cultures. God’s people were being asked to do life God’s way, not in the ways and watch care of the pagans. God was teaching His children to do it the way of their loving, caring, and watching Heavenly Father; and their God would not ask them to do something – anything – which was not for their good. Therefore, if God’s children, obediently followed through with instructions like the ones given to them through Moses, they would remain healthy and hardy. If not? - … Well, you get the picture.

So, should we be doing healthcare exactly as instructed by God’s word in the Old Testament. Well, there are some things which could be incorporated from the Levitical system which would help us out; but generally, since we have God’s updated New Covenant plans for His children, under the watch care and covering of Christ’s blood, we would not have to carry out these legal ways of healthcare. In fact, God has given us – in our times – other, very wonderful, healthcare systems and precautions which are far superior to those in the Old Testament times/cultures.

The primary principle under inspection here is to seek, hear (or read), and follow God as we live our lives. And when we find God’s will for our lives, we live it out, trusting the ways of God to lead us through cultural, as well as healthcare, issues. It’s the working out of the principle of Proverbs 3: 5-6 for our lives as Christians. Find God’s way, primarily through His word, and live out His will. So, do we follow every Levitical law to the letter? No, … that’s not what I’m interpreting here – or God’s will, I believe – would say to us. Those healthcare laws and ways were for God’s children in those times and under their knowledge of the world at that time. Now, we must use what God has given us in the way of healthcare principles to allow us to thrive – in this world and in this time.

The principle of Proverbs 3: 5-6 and others under the watch care of God’s word are not time or culturally limited. And yes, seeking, finding, and knowing God’s will and HIS way, through His word, can be challenging at times for our finite individual and collective minds. BUT, … when Jesus said (in Luke 9: 23) for His disciples to “… deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Me,” … those instructions were for any time, any culture, and any generation. And His watch care for our generation, under the watch care of His word, will always keep us healthy: … physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is our responsibility to seek out HIS will, and HIS way, through HIS word … and then to follow it … obediently and without question. That was God’s over-riding principle of watch care for His children in Leviticus … just as it is now, as Christians, in this 21st century.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I seek Your way. … Shine Your light of truth on my path and then help me to follow Your will … always! Amen

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 16, 2012 … God’s Protection of Worship

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 11-13 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 11: 24-25 : … [Purity for Worship] 24 “‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

My Journal for Today: As I read though Chapters 11-13 of Leviticus this morning, one could get the idea that God felt that those who touched unclean things, women who had babies, or people with skin diseases were sinful because of their circumstances and conditions. But that would be a misinterpretation of these very careful regulations God was imposing – through Aaron and the Priesthood – on God’s children and their worship in the Tent of Meeting, i.e. the Tabernacle.

No, what God was doing with all these careful instructions to protect the conditions of worship was to set the worship of their living God, Jehovah, apart from the worship of the pagan gods in the cultures surrounding God’s chosen people, the Israelites.

And immediately in reading these three chapters, I was drawn back – by the enlightenment of God’s Spirit, I believe - to instructions which the Apostle Paul gave to New Covenant worshippers, those who’ve come to the Living Tabernacle, Jesus Christ, in faith and desire to worship Him forever, having been purified by His blood on the cross. Jesus was/is the reason why we don’t have to have the same protections which are written of in these three chapters of God’s Book of the Law in Leviticus. And Paul exhorted us – Christians – how to prepare ourselves for worship, when God had him write in Romans 12: 1-2, ... 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

My memory also reflected back to the instructions to believers by the Apostle John’s vision, about preparing for the coming BrideGoom, our Savior, Who will be coming for His Bride, the Church, for the wedding feast of The Lamb. The instructions for the preparation of the Bride for the Groom (i.e., our preparations for the worship of the Lamb of God at the wedding feast) are found in Revelation 19: 7-10, where it says, ... 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) … 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” … 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”

And by combining the exhortation of Romans 12 with the instruction of Revelation 19, we can glean God’s desire that we – His chosen Bride - be purified for worship … that we be prepared to bow before God with our lives, … purified by keeping our linens clean (i.e., living righteous lives and avoiding the impurities of this world). We are to live lives of “living sacrifice,” pure and undefiled, which was symbolized by the detailed instructions for purity given to God’s people as they prepared themselves – by their living the way God instructed – to avoid those parts of the world and their own flesh which would render them defiled for worship.

God simply wants His Bride – His chosen church (i.e., that’s you and me, fellow Christian!) – to be in a ready and purified state of “living worship” (as Paul wrote in Rom. 12: 1), having our lines clean and purified for the BrideGroom, Who will come to get His Bride for the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.

Are you ready for Him coming for you, my friend? Are we living lives, purified and prepared for worship on a 24/7 basis in life? I don’t know about you; but I could use some more cleansing of my linens as I prepare for my Groom to come for me.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me prepare for You today by cleansing my linens in the purifying blood of Calvary. Amen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012 … God’s Priesthood – Plan B!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 8-10 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 8: 1-5 : … [Priests Set Aside for Holiness] 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering,[a] the two rams and the basket containing bread made without yeast, 3 and gather the entire assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” 4 Moses did as the LORD commanded him, and the assembly gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting. … 5 Moses said to the assembly, “This is what the LORD has commanded to be done.”
LEVITICUS 10; 1-2; 8-11; … : … [Aaron’s Disobedient Sons] 1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. …
8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses.”

My Journal for Today: Today in the passages of my chronological reading plan which stood out to me, God was teaching about the Priesthood, which was set aside – BY GOD – in a special way, to watch over the flock of God’s people. And in Leviticus, chapters 8-9, we read of the elaborate ordination scheme, in which God made plain that the priesthood was to represent God to man as well as man to God and the Priests were to be the picture of holiness to the people.

But actually this was God’s “Plan B” for the priesthood.

Earlier this year in Exodus 19: 5-6, I read about God’s “Plan A” for His Priesthood, which reads as follows, [God to Moses about His chosen people, the descendants of Joseph] 5 “ ‘ Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you [God’s chosen nation] will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

For you bible students, does that passage ring a bell of connection for you with the New Testament? What about 1st Peter 2: 9-10 [?], which reads … 9 But you [God’s church] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Yes, my fellow disciples of Christ, we – you and me – are God’s PLAN A for His priesthood. And we are the fulfillment of God’s original plan for His chosen people to become a nation of priests, set aside for holiness, and sanctified for God’s glory. But in those OT days, after the establishment of God’s Tabernacle, as God’s sinful peoples were being prepared for their 40-year purging in the wilderness, God knew that He was going to have a Plan B for the Priesthood; and so we have the ordination of the Levites as Priests, set aside by this elaborate ordination ceremony in Leviticus to be God’s representatives to the people and their representatives to God.

But as you read in Chapter 10 of Leviticus, even the first of these ordained priests couldn’t hack it; and Aaron’s sons lapsed into selfishness and disobedience and away from God’s commission of holiness. And we read how God purified the priesthood by fire, consuming those who would not follow His commandments, as His Priesthood, and could not be God’s representative of holiness to others of God’s chosen as well as their representative to Him.

My dear ones, do we see the implication? WE are God’s royal priesthood now that Christ has come to be the Chief Priest. He has ordained and anointed any and all who are truly born-again believers to be His Royal Priesthood; and it is the shed blood of the Lamb of God which has purified us for this New Covenant Priesthood. And we, representing God to man and man to God, must be committed to living in obedience and holiness as God charged Aaron and his sons to be. And if we cannot, we are subject to the penalty experienced by Aaron’s sons and that is the death of our Spiritual life [i.e., our witness as God’s representatives] which is consumed in disobedience and sin. We won’t lose our promised eternal life because of our sinfulness; but we can – and would – lose our effectiveness and power as witnessing Priests if we cannot live up to God’s charge of grace empowered holiness.

BUT … we can be purified priests every day and in every situation of our lives, if we keep short accounts of cleansing with our God through confession/contrition (again see 1st John 1: 9). And when we do, also choosing to receive and use God’s purifying and enabling grace, we can be God’s Royal Priesthood, His PLAN A of holiness to the sin-ridden world, … letting God’s pure light of redemption shine through us to a world which desperately needs more chosen ones in His Priesthood.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, LORD, let me be Your Priest today as I’m cleansed and purified by my confession and Your forgiveness. Amen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012 … Don’t Make Promises Lightly!

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Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 5-7 …
To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 5: 4-6 … : … [Making Vows] 4 or if anyone thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil (in any matter one might carelessly swear about) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt— 5 when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. 6 As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin..

My Journal for Today: Have you ever made a vow or a promise to someone and later realized that you promised too much or made too great a commitment? I know I have; what about you? Well, according to the passage I’ve been shown to highlight and comment on today, making vows is serious business and requires us to take care when we promise to do something and then recognize later we’ve fallen short with our vow.

There are several OT passages which reinforce, by repetition, God’s command to His people about the seriousness of making promises or vows. In Numbers 30: 1, God, through Moses, said to His people, … “This is what the LORD commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” In Deuteronomy 23: 21 – 23 God’s word repeats, … 21 If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.

So, I hope we can see from God’s redundancy of teaching in the Old Testament that when we make/break vows or promises of commitment, that’s an affront – not only to the person to whom we’ve made the vow – but also to God Himself. And certainly this is just an Old Testament command. Jesus, the Messiah Himself, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises from the Old Covenant, Who was the New Covenant to God’s people, taught about making vows as well. In His famous “sermon on the mount,” Jesus taught (in Matt. 5: 33-37), ... 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Are we getting it? I certainly am convicted. How many times have I said to someone – all too casualty – as they seriously asked me to pray for them, “Sure, I’ll pray for you.” And then what did I do … NOT! What about all those years which I was unfaithful to my wife secretly delving into p0rnography, hiding it from my wife, with whom I had made vows of faithfulness in a church before God, family, and friends. And I expect there may be some reading here along with me that are convicted that we all too casually make promises to others upon which we don’t follow through; and sometimes we make such promises, knowing full-well – on the front-end - that we’re not going to keep them. My friends, if we don’t take our vows and promises seriously, we are sinning and are guilty before God’s throne of grace, … AREN’T WE?!!

So, what do we do about it? Well, our highlight passage gives us one follow-up command which we simply must follow when we realize that we’ve sinned by not keeping our promises; and that is to confess. Fortunately, if we are truly believers in the Living Christ; and we’ve come under His cleansing blood, we have the truth and promise of 1st John 1: 9, where God promises to cleanse us of any/all sin … IF … we come to Him with a truly repentant heart, confess, and ask for His forgiveness (and when God promises something we can take it to the heavenly banks). And also in God’s word (in James 5:16) we’re directed to confess to others when they are involved in our sin of broken promises.

But we also should be as proactive as we can in our relationship with God and with others, which leads me to realize that I shouldn’t be telling someone I’m going to pray for them if I’m just trying to court their favor or good will with the baseless promise. No, I’ve learned a way to handle that; and let me leave you with this little discipleship tool. When you’re with someone who asks for your prayer; and you genuinely want to pray for them … BUT … you know that you have a tendency to be forgetful or weak later after you’ve promised you’d pray. Well, I’ve learned from my Pastor to stop right there, wherever you are, and pray for that person openly and verbally, at least fulfilling your desire to pray for them about their concerns. Yes, you might tell them that you’ll do your best to TRY TO pray for them in the future; but at least desiring to pray for them and doing it right there begins the process of bringing their concerns to God. You’ll feel better; and I know, from experience, that you’ll more likely remember to pray for them in the future if you’ve done so personally and verbally on the spot.

But we do need to take very seriously the vows we make to others; and if we’ve breeched those vows, we need to confess that to God and to those whom we’ve wronged with broken promises; … and … we need God’s cleansing grace … not the sacrifices offered in Leviticus … to have our sinful broken vows made right before God and man.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, let my word and promises be true to You and to others in my life. Amen

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012 … All That Sacrifice!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 1-4 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 1: 1-3 … : … [Animal Sacrifice] 1 The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock. >>> 3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD.
LEVITICUS 2: 1; 11-13; … : … [Grain Offering] 1 “‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the LORD, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it …
11 “‘Every grain offering you bring to the LORD must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the LORD. 12 You may bring them to the LORD as an offering of the firstfruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma. 13 Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.

LEVITICUS 3: 1, 5, 6, 11, 17; … : … [Peace Offering] 1 “‘If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the LORD an animal without defect. … 5 Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is lying on the burning wood; it is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
6 “‘If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the LORD, you are to offer a male or female without defect. … 11 The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the LORD.
17 “‘This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.’”

LEVITICUS 4: 1-3; … : … [Sin Offering] 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands — 3 “‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. … ”

My Journal for Today: Ugh! I know. Leviticus. All those rules and regs that God puts forth in the Old Testament for His chosen people. Seems like boring reading, doesn’t it? But if you haven’t used my link above to read and study through the first four chapters of this book, at least I hope you take in what I’ve copied and pasted above to highlight the presentation, in these first chapters, of some of the sacrificial system which God set up for His followers once they had built and dedicated the Tabernacle, … the place where all these offerings would be brought for sacrifice.

And one has to be impressed with how much blood and work would be produced with over two million people, … nomad cattlemen, shepherds, and farmers, who were asked to bring their best animals and their first-fruits to the Levite Priests for various sacrifices to their God, … the God Who had established residence in their midst, … and the God Who loved them enough to set up a system whereby they could atone for their natural sinfulness and selfishness, allowing them to find redemption in this elaborate scheme of sacrifices and offerings.

AND … they probably did not recognize it in those times; but it also was giving them a picture of the perfect sacrifice Who would come in the perfect Person, the perfect Lamb of God, their promised Messiah, Who would come to BE the fulfillment of all of the sacrifices we read commanded by God to atone for the sins and spiritual enmity of God’s very fallible and sinful people. Ouch! That’s me we’re also talking about, as well!

And we see that the sacrifices demanded of God were to be the best and the most perfect the people had to offer to their God. If it were to be a bull, it was to be a PERFECT bull. If a lamb, a PERFECT lamb was offered. If it were a grain offering, no yeast would be involved and salt would be added to complete the sacrifice as a covenant sacrifice. All the offerings were to be the first and the best the people could bring to the Priests to be able to bring themselves back into a right relationship with a Holy God, Whose relationship with His chosen people demanded perfected blood or provisional sacrifice to the only One Who could redeem them from their sin.

And as New Covenant Christians, having the advantage of “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say, we know that Jesus, The Christ, came to be our perfect sacrifice and atoning offering for the sinfulness which demanded all of these rituals and sacrifices under the Old Covenant. But are we, who’ve been covered by the blood of Jesus, off the hook when it comes to sacrifice to our God? And I harken back to the word of God through the Apostle Paul in one of my favorite, and most convicting, NT passages – Romans 12: 1-2, where we are exhorted (actually COMMANDED) to become “living sacrifices,” with the way we live being our blood sacrifice (i.e., our atoning blood flowing from the way we live) to the Holy God Who has redeemed us and atoned for our sin. God gives us, through the once-and-for-all perfect blood sacrifice of His Son, the sanctifying and enabling grace to live as first fruits and perfected blood sacrifices for God’s holiness. The question is: “Are we living as sacrifices, pleasing to our God.”

My friend, … anytime we choose to avoid sin and come away from the cross and follow what Christ demanded in Luke 9: 23, we become, under the New Covenant, what was symbolized by these commanded sacrifices in Leviticus, Chapters 1-4. So, my fellow Christian, let’s go out today and be living sacrifices for our Lord on His altar of grace with His Tabernacle being with us in our hearts, provided for by the Lamb of God.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, my LORD, may I be a sacrifice of worship in the way I live for you. Amen

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012 … God’s Into The Details

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Exodus, Chapters 39-40 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Exodus 39: 32; 42-43 … : … [Doing God’s Kingdom Work] 32 So all the work on the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses. >>>
42 The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 43 Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded. So Moses blessed them.

EXODUS 40: 1-2; 16-17; … : … [God Says It! – Moses Does it!] 1 Then the LORD said to Moses: 2 “Set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month. >>>
16 Moses did everything just as the LORD commanded him. 17 So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year.

My Journal for Today: I just read through Chapters 39-40 of Exodus; and one thing, documented by the few verses above which I’ve copied/pasted into this journal entry for your study, just jumped out at me; and that point is reflected by the title above: God’s Into The Details!

If you’re reading along with me, let me quote another verse – this one from the NT – which reflects my title point today and this inexorable biblical truth. Jesus said it; and we need to internalize it (from Matt. 10: 29-30): … Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Yes, the God Who saved me is into the details of my life.

He cared enough for His wandering children, the Israelites, that He gave – through Moses – extremely detailed and elaborate instructions on exactly how to build a Tabernacle for Him where He could be with His children, … protect them, guide them, and love on them. And at least here – in this place and in this time – God’s chosen people listened to their God – through their Pastor, Moses - and they did things exactly as God instructed them to do.

Okay, I think this point need not be drawn out and exacted with any more of my wordiness. God shows us the way; and, of course, we do it?

Got it? … GOT IT? … GOT IT?!!

No, … I’m afraid I don’t got it!! … Yes, I do try; but so, so often … I know God’s way and His will; … even having His Word to shine a light on my path; and what do I do? I go off and do it my way rather than following His instructions to the “Nth” detail. I’m just going to leave it here for today; because if I were a betting man, I would wager that any of you readers following along with me have some “fessin-up” to do with regard to being totally and utterly obedient to God’s will for your life – maybe even something you need to own up to right here and now.

But let’s take heart from the truth of 1st John 1: 9, which I hope you have memorized. If not, please go look it up, … be encouraged, and do your “fess-up” to the Lord … right here and now.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, again I pray as I do so often – shine Your light on my path - way brightly - so that I can’ t help but see Your way through the wilderness of life. Amen

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11, 2012 … The Fellowship of Community Service

Exodus 36: 1-7 … : … [God’s Kingdom Work] 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”
2 Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. 3 They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4 So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing 5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.” 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

My Journal for Today
Reading through the Chapters designated for my chronological reading plan this morning, I was re-stricken by the highlight passage above, especially Exodus 36, verses 4-7, where Moses had to order the people to quit giving to the project of building the tabernacle because they had more than enough, from communal effort, to complete the project which honored their God and provided for their communal worship.

God called His people, through Moses, to get this tremendous project done which would house and honor their God as they traveled together though the wilderness; and not only did the people come together to build the tabernacle, they did, by coming together, way more than was required. This reminded me of the work of God’s people, under the leadership of another of God’s called leaders, Nehemiah, when the people came together in Jerusalem to rebuild the walls, which we read about in Nehemiah, Chapters 4-6, especially note chapter/verse 6: 15), where it took a communal effort of God’s people to vigilantly, and with tremendous communal spirit, to rebuild the gates and walls of the city of God in just 52 days.

What a delicious dilemma it would be for any Pastor of a church in today’s world to call God’s flock together under his shepherding to carry out some difficult task and to see God’s people come together with way more people, treasure, talent, and time than would be necessary to carry out the task. It’s just not happening in today’s church, is it?

It is said that if only 50% of the evangelical Christian peoples would come together and tithe (i.e., give 10%) of their gross income in the USA, we wouldn’t need a welfare system in America; because that amount would way more than is needed to take care of ALL the people in need in our country. Yes, right now – in CHRISTIAN AMERICA – less than 5% of the church people tithe on their income to God’s work for His church. Certainly we’re not coming together as God’s chosen to do His kingdom work as His people did in the times of Moses or Nehemiah, are we?

I’ll leave it to you and God if this is a convicting message to anyone who might read this. We certainly need more of the Tabernacle building – wall building communal effort by God’s church people to do so much more for His glory; and that’s just a matter of His chosen ones coming together and doing what HE is calling us to do – again, …TOGETHER – to build His kingdom for His glory.

Sadly enough, … enough said!!!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, may the heart of Your church come together – in Your Name – to work TOGETHER for Your glory!! Amen