Monday, February 19, 2018

Mon.’s Devo - The Soil

Read: Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5
Once God had given them instructions for the different offerings, they did them just as the Lord had instructed. First, Moses consecrated Aaron and his sons by washing them, putting on their new priestly clothes, and anointing Aaron’s head. This is the picture of salvation. We are washed from our sins by the blood of Jesus, then we are given the robe of righteousness and the armor of God as given in Ephesians 6. Lastly, God’s anoints us for his service.
The priests first offered sacrifices for their own sins. Moses took the blood from the sacrifice and put it on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. This was to symbolize their hearing being sanctified so they could hear God’s voice, the works of their hands being sanctified so they could do the works of God, and their walk being sanctified. He also sprinkled blood on all sides of the altar. Moses placed some of the fat and the bread in the hands of the priest and had them wave them before the Lord. The wave offering was done up and down then side to side, making the sign of the cross. The ordination listed seven days where the priests were to stay at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting day and night. This is the place we are to be our whole lives - at the door of God. Jesus is that door and we are to abide in him all our lives.
On the eighth day they were to offer a sacrifice and the Lord would appear to them. On the eighth millennium, we will tabernacle with the Lord and see him face to face. We will see him in his glory.
In Mark, Jesus leveled the field. He showed no favorites - even family. He honored his mother and father but he knew his mission and his mother knew his mission also.
Jesus gave his most important parable about the seed and the sower. Every other teaching hinges on this parable because if you do not have good soil, nothing you read or hear about the truth will stick or bear fruit. But if you do have good soil, you will be given more and more seed and you will prosper in every way.
Lord, help us to have fertile soil to plant your seed.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sun.’s Devo - The Stronger Man

Read: Leviticus 6:1-7:27; Mark 3:7-30; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 10:3-4
Jesus told the Pharisees that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with everything you have and the second greatest was to love your neighbor as yourself. Yesterday, we read about what we are to do if we sin against God, but today we are reading about what to do if we sin against people.
If we lie, cheat, steal or find someones lost property we are to return it. We are to give them a fifth of its worth if we are guilty in any way. Then a guilt offering was to be made to be forgiven of God for defrauding one of God’s people.
The different offerings represent different prayers we pray to God. The sin offering is a prayer of salvation. When we pray this prayer our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. The guilt offering is a prayer of repentance we pray as we struggle against the strongholds and sinful patterns in our lives. The fellowship offering is our prayers of relationship with God. It is when we just talk to him and listen. We enter into God’s presence with praise and thanksgiving. A freewill offering or a vow is a promise we make to the Lord which he does not take lightly. It is important that we do what we tell the Lord we will do.
One thing they were told repeatedly was to not eat meat with blood in it. That would mean that the sacrifice was still alive. I think that it means if you are offering something to the Lord, it can not still have strings attached to you. It must be dead to you and something you totally give with no regrets. Lot’s wife is a great example of this. Sodom was not dead in her heart so it was hard for her to leave. She proved this when she could not just walk away from it. When we offer something to the Lord, we have to be able to walk away and not return to it.
In Mark, Jesus is in his most popular part of his ministry. The only way he could get away from the crowd was to launch out in a small boat and preach from there. It was worse than a Beatle’s concert in the sixties. He and his disciples couldn’t even go to someone’s house and eat because of the crowd. When his family saw this they said he was crazy and when the teachers of the law saw this they said he was possessed by Beelzebub.
This is so true about people who become sold out to the Lord. First, their family thinks they are crazy and going off the deep end. Then the “religious” church attributes it to confusion and Satan.
Jesus didn’t address his family, but he did address the religious leaders. He explained that a kingdom can not be divided against himself. Then he said, “No one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man.” What he was saying was that he was the stronger man who had entered Satan’s territory where Satan had stricken people with sickness, pain and filled them with his spirit, Jesus was now coming in and tying Satan up and taking sickness, pain and demons from them. Then they are ready to receive forgiveness and be spiritually saved.
Jesus was the super hero who everyone called the villain.
Lord, help us to have discernment to know what is evil and what is of you. Thank you for all the rejection you went through to set us free from the lies of the devil.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sat.’s Devo - The New Wine

Read: Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 10:1-2
God gave them laws concerning sins committed in innocence. He starts with the priesthood and the leaders. Because the priests represented God, their sin brought guilt on the people. If the whole community sinned and then found out their error and repented, they were to offer the bull and the priest was to sprinkle the blood seven times on the front of the curtain so the people could see it and know that they were released from their sin.
When a government leader sinned unintentionally, the atonement was different. A male goat, instead of a bull was offered and the whole thing was less public. The blood was applied to the horn of the altar and the bull was not taken outside the camp so everyone could see it.
If a common person sinned unintentionally, a female goat was offered. The rest was done as it was for the government leader.
In today’s society these four groups would describe the spiritual leaders, the Christian community, the unbelieving government officials and the unbelievers.
God also gave them laws about accountability. If you heard or saw someone sin and didn’t confront it you were as guilty as the one who committed the sin.
In Leviticus 5:15 God dealt with the believer who innocently committed a sin and realized his fault. He was to not only offer a blood atonement for his sin, but he was to make restitution. He was to pay adding a fifth to it. God makes it clear that to sin against the law was to sin against God. As Christians, we are not only to repent but make things more than right with whoever we hurt.
In Mark, Jesus picked his third disciple who was Levi, the tax collector. Levi was a Jewish tax collector which means that he willingly worked for the Roman government and he over-taxed his own people. The only friends he could have were the other tax-collectors and the prostitutes which is why they were all at his house.
Jesus was accused of eating with sinners and not fasting by the religious leaders. His response was the parable about the new wine in new wine skins and the new patch on old clothes. What he was doing by choosing the poor and needy sinners over the self-righteous religious was illustrating the new wine he was bringing. He was pouring his new kingdom into new wine skins - doing it a new way. Instead of going to the priests and Pharisees, he went to the common people and brought them the good news. The priests and Pharisees were the old garments that could not receive the good news - the new patch.
Jesus came to fulfill the Sabbath which is the day when God will restore everything. Jesus did most of his healing and miracles on this day because in the last millennium, the last Sabbath, everyone will be healed and God will wipe every tear for their eyes. Death will be defeated and everyone will be made whole.
Lord, help us to walk filled with the new wine. Help us to shift with you and see your kingdom come in a new way.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fri.’s Devo - Walking By Faith

Read: Leviticus 1:1-3:17; Mark 1:29-2:12; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 9:13-18
Welcome to Leviticus which is the laws concerning the Levites. I love Leviticus because it is a book to Christians. Today we read about the burnt offering, the meat offering of flour, and the peace offering. Jesus was all of these offerings. He was the burnt offering on the cross. He was a perfect lamb from his own people or flock. Jesus was the sacrifice that was laid upon the wood altar of the cross. He was a sweet savor to the Lord.
The meat offering is really bread because the Word is our bread and our meat. Mixed with the oil of the Holy Spirit, it brings us life. Jesus was the bread that was unleavened (without sin). It was to be seasoned with salt. Jesus spoke of salt in the sermon on the mount. He said that we are the salt of the earth and if we lose that savor then it is not good for anything but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Salt in the Greek means prudence. Prudence means that you have sound judgment and can advise others. It also means that you are a careful manager of your money. When we aren’t prudent, then the world sees us as hypocrites and our testimony is ruined.
The peace offering is our sacrifice of thanksgiving. Jesus freely gave up his life as an offering of praise to his Father and we can offer that same thanksgiving of praise for what he did for us. Colossians 1:20 tells us that Jesus made peace through his blood on the cross to reconcile all things unto himself.
Yesterday, we read where Jesus made his first two disciples, Simon (Peter) and James. It was the Sabbath and Jesus had just left the synagogue. He went to Simon’s house to find his mother in bed with a fever. Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her out of the bed, healed. Once the Sabbath was over at sunset, people flocked to his house to be healed and delivered.
Jesus healed a man with leprosy. We know that this man was a Jew because Jesus told him to go and show the priests and not tell anyone, but the man didn’t go to the priests, he told everyone instead.
The priests had come up with their own litmus test of what the Messiah would have to do to be the true Messiah. In their man-made laws, the Messiah would 1. heal a Jewish leper, 2. heal a man born blind, and 3. heal a deaf and dumb man. Jesus wanted his miracle to be a sign to them that he was here. This man’s testimony brought so many people, Jesus had to retreat to the Gentile town of Capernaum. He did get a few days of rest before they found out where he was and flocked there. The scribes were there to watch and decide if he was the Messiah. When Jesus forgave the sins of the man with the palsy, they accused Jesus of speaking blasphemy. Jesus asked them which was easier - to say his sins were forgiven or to heal him. To show them that he could back his words up with power, he healed the man and he took up his bed and walked home.
As the church, we have been able to speak the truth but we have not backed it up with power. That is our next step. All we have to do is pray the prayer of faith, Jesus will do the rest.
Lord, give us boldness to step out in what you tell us to do without having to know what the outcome is going to be. Help us to walk by faith.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thurs.’s Devo - The Garments of the Priest

Read: Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12
Aaron’s garment had gold hammered down to a thread and woven into the fabric. I can’t imagine the splendor when the sun hit the gold in his garment making him look like he glimmered and shone. It was all to show the glory of Jesus as our High Priest. I’ve explained the stones of the tribes in previous blogs but I want to explain the bells and the pomegranates. The Torah has 365 laws in it and every pomegranate has 365 seeds so the pomegranates represents the law. The bells are the praises that are always accompanying the priests appearance. Praise, and reminding God of his promises will bring his presence into your situation.
Aaron’s priests all wore white linen to show their consecration and holy life.
When all the components were finished for the tabernacle and its worship, God told them to set it all up on the first day of the first month of the year. If we are talking the civil calendar then that would be Tishri One, the first day of the world, Roshashana. Fifteen days later would be the Feast of Tabernacles. If it is the first day of the religious calendar then it is Nisan or Abib One which is the month of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. I couldn’t find out which one it was but both are important to what was happening. They were about to start sacrificing their first sacrifices and beginning their corporate worship so I would think it was the month of Passover.
Today we start reading Mark. Mark was written to the Romans and describes Jesus as the Servant. Knowing this, it is interesting that he quotes Isaiah right off the bat. Isaiah was the prophet who described Jesus as the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. Isaiah also prophesied that one would come who would be Jesus’ messenger to prepare the way before him. He called the people to repentance so their hearts would be ready to receive their Messiah.
Once John introduced Jesus and baptized him, his ministry was pretty much over. He was arrested and put in prison where he stayed until his promotion to heaven.
I love Mark’s no-nonsense approach to his story. He gets right to the point and introduces John, Jesus, and his first disciples all in the first chapter. He even establishes his power over the demonic world. Jesus has entered the building!
Lord, may we walk as priests on the earth.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wed.’s Devo - The Furniture of the Tabernacle

Read: Exodus 37:1-38:31; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 9:9-10
Bezalel was to construct the two angels on top of the ark of the covenant out of one solid block of gold. It would have been much easier to cast this, but God wanted it hammered. It was to have two rings on either side to slip the poles into for carrying. No one was to touch the ark. Inside was some manna, the two tablets of the law and Aaron’s rod that budded. The two angels represented the presence of God over our lives. The box represented the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in us. The manna represents God’s provision; the tablets represent the Word of God that we hide in our hearts and the rod represents God’s stamp of identity and authority that he has placed on us as his children.
The table of shewbread was overlaid with gold and held the plates and dishes and poles and pitcher for the pouring out of the drink offerings. This was where the priests would eat the bread of God’s presence. This table stands for the place where we eat the Word of God and receive our daily spiritual bread.
The lamp stand was also hammered out of gold. It had six branches extending from the sides of the lamp stand. The lamp stand represents God and the six branches are the six spirits of God mentioned in Isaiah 11:2. They are the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. They are coupled together for a reason. The lamp stand was to shed light on the Word. It represents revelation.
The altar of incense was overlaid with gold and had a horn at each of the four courses. The horns stand for mercy. The altar of incense was the place where the priest would light incense as a symbol of their prayers for the people.
The altar of burnt offering was made of wood. It measured 5 cubits by 5 cubits. Five is the number for grace. It also had four horns for mercy. The bronze altar was for sacrificing. It was made of wood because it represented the cross.
The basin was made of mirrors so that the priests could see themselves as they washed their hands. We are to face our sins and faults and allow the water of the Word to purify our hearts.
In Matthew, we have the resurrection. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had gone to the tomb to look. They witnessed the earthquake, the angel of the Lord and the rolling away of the stone. They saw the angle of the Lord in all his glory. He told them to go to Galilee. They were not the only ones to witness this - the soldiers saw it all too. They were bribed not to tell what they saw but Mary and Mary couldn’t keep the good news to their selves.
Jesus met them in Galilee and gave them the great commission.
Lord, help us to be like the two Mary’s who believe what you say even if it seems impossible.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tues.’s Devo - The Cross

Read: Exodus 35:10-36:38; Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm 34:1-10a; Proverbs 9:7-8
Everything about the tabernacle was an expression of who God is. Everyone who wanted to help got to be a part of expressing God to the people. They brought their gifts, volunteered their skills and gifts and did what they could do so that the plan that God had given Moses could be finished and manifested on the earth. This is how the Body of Christ is suppose to function.
In Matthew, Jesus was taken to the cross. On the way they drafted Simon to carry his cross. They crucified Jesus, parted his garments and casts lots for them. Then they sat down to watch him die. They had made a sign which said, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” and put it over his head. Then they mocked him. They reminded him of all the prophecies he had given them that hadn’t taken place. They wanted him to know he was a failure in their eyes.
The sky went dark from the sixth hour till the ninth and at the ninth hour when the light came back, Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He was referring them to Psalm 22 which is the picture of what was going on at that time. So what went on for three hours during the darkness? I think that Psalms 18, which is the same as 2 Samuel 22, is the answer. It talks about how God shrouded himself in darkness and came down and rescued Jesus from his enemies. He supported him and led him to a place of safety. This thing I know for sure: God never forsook Jesus on the cross! God who is ever present and all knowing can never forsake us. He can look on sin because he does it every day. God is not afraid of evil.
Lord, help us to overcome evil with good.