The Choice is Yours

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 26 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 19 – 21; Proverbs 13; Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0213 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “The Choice Is Yours” and “First Things First

“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;” – (Leviticus 26:3)

“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;” – (Leviticus 26:14)

In our passage today, in Leviticus 26, the Lord places a choice before His people. In verses 3 – 13, God promises all kinds of wonderful things to His people if they would continue to love Him, and be faithful to Him. Beginning in verse 14, the Lord explains what will happen to them if they forsake Him. You will notice that the latter portion is much larger than the former. God goes to much greater lengths to clearly explain and warn the people of what would happen to them if they were to disobey.

First, let’s look at the blessings. God promised to:

1 Provide for them.

“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.” – (Leviticus 26:4-5)

Everything they needed, and even much of what they could desire, God promised to give them.

2 Protect them from their enemies, and from natural calamities.

“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – (Leviticus 26:6-8)

3 They would proliferate (multiply)

“For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.” – (Leviticus 26:9)

4 They would be in partnership with God.

“And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” – (Leviticus 26:10-13)

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Almost sounds too good to be true, but it was. God held up to His end of the bargain. Unfortunately, the people of Israel didn’t choose to continue to follow the Lord. Slowly, but surely, they began to get away from the comands of God, and go their own way. Eventually the land was filled with idolatry, apostacy, and immorality; and then God was forced to do the things that are listed in verses 14 – 46. The provision and protection that God had once given them was removed, and the people suffered the consequences of their choices.

God has a lot of the same promises to Christians today. He said that He would meet our needs, and that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Yet, many of His churches and children today are forsaking Him, just as the Israelites did. Why are we so foolish? Let’s draw nigh unto God; let’s love Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives. He has our best interests in mind. Choose God. He is the wise choice.


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The Mind of the Lord

samplesermon

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 24 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 17 – 18; Proverbs 12; Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0212 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.” (Leviticus 24:12)

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

In our reading passage today in Leviticus 24:10 – 16, we read about a man who had a mother who was an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, but his father was an Egyptian, presumably one of the mixed multitude that followed the Jews out of Egypt. The story tells us that this man (the son) “blasphemed the name of Lord and cursed”. The Israelites brought the man that cursed to Moses, but they were not sure what should be done to this young man by way of punishment, so they put him in prison (“in ward”) until they could find out “the mind of the Lord”. In other words, they were trying to discover God’s will.

My thought this morning has little to do with the fact that the man blasphemed. Nor does it have anything to do with the mixed nationalities of his parents. What caught my attention was the fact that Moses and the Israelites did not react hastily to the situation, they waited until they knew what God wanted them to do. They want to make sure they had “the mind of the Lord”.

What a great lesson this is to all of us reading this passage today. So many times when faced with new or difficult problems, we react rashly before we carefully discern the will of God regarding the situation. Proverbs 3:5 and 6 states:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

There is a recipe for discerning the will of God that contains four ingredients:

1  Wait – don’t do anything until you know for sure that you are doing the will of God. Too many of us rush into a decision before we have had a chance to determine what God wants us to do. My children would sometimes come to me asking for permission to go with a friend somewhere, and sometimes they would need an answer right away, and in those cases the answer would always be no. Why? Because I didn’t want to be rushed into making a bad decision.

2  Study – Go to God’s Word and see what it says about the problem you are facing or the decision you need to make. Bible principle will answer so many questions before they are even asked.

3  Pray – Ask God to give you wisdom to help you specifically apply His word to your unique situation. In our story today, the specific situation that Moses faced had not clearly been addressed in the Law, so they needed God’s help to figure out what to do in this unique set of circumstances.

4  Counsel – Seek the wisdom of others who may have already faced the situation that you are facing. Seek the he help of those who are students of the Word, and have the ability to discern God’s will through study and prayer. “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

We may be tempted to think that the punishment for this young man’s crime was kind of harsh, but at least we know that the decision to stone him did not come from Moses or one of the other elders of Israel; it came from God. Moses and the men of Israel made sure that they were doing exactly what God wanted them to do.


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Take Time To Remember

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 22 – 23 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 15 – 16; Proverbs 11; Psalms 56 – 60

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0211 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – (Leviticus 23:4)

In chapter 23 in the Book of Leviticus, we see the Lord giving His instructions regarding special days that would be set apart from other days. On these holy days, or “holidays” the people were commanded to stop their normal routine, and refrain from doing any kind of work. God wanted their focus to be on Him during these days. The special days (or in some cases weeks) listed in the chapter were as follows:

1  The Sabbath – every Saturday the people were to take a break from their work in order to rest. God rested the seventh day after He created the earth, so in some ways the Sabbath was memorial of God’s work at creation.

2  The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread – a memorial to God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. It seems to be that God wants us to remember some things. We are quick to forget the provision and protection that God has given us.

3  The Feast of First fruits – this Feast took place on the day after the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast was an acknowledgement that the whole barley harvest belonged to the Lord.

4  The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost – This was a dedication of the wheat harvest. It took place in May/June 50 days after the Sabbath before the Feast of First fruits.

5  The Feast of Trumpets – 1st day of seventh month – it consecrated the entire seventh month as a Sabbatical month.

6  The Day of Atonement – 10th day of the seventh month – this was the day the priest went in to the Holy of Holies to offer for his own sins, and the sins of the nation.

7  The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Booths or Ingathering) – beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month – commemorated the time that God provided for Israel as they wandered the wilderness in tents after being delivered from Egypt. This feast is also a celebration of the fall harvest.

All of these special days and feasts were designed to help the children of Israel to remember things that should be important to them. God wants His children to remember all of the wonderful things that He has done for us. We tend to get very discontented when we forget all of the blessings that God has provided in our lives.

I believe it is important to continue these traditions in our lives today. We may not observe the same days, but there ought to be some special days in our lives where we take time out to remember. And, I believe we should be very careful to come apart on the Lord’s Day – Sunday –  that one day out of seven for the purpose of resting the body, and reflection upon Christ. We are all busy people, or at least, we should be; but we need to take time out to remember. We need to take time to remember God on a daily basis by spending time with in our devotions. We also need to keep the Lord’s day holy and separated from the normal routines of the week. And there also needs to be some special days in the calendar year when we set apart time to remember important blessings from God.

There also ought to be special days that we set apart time for reasons other than spiritual. Families should observe special days, like birthdays and anniversaries. We ought to go out of our way to remember the important events and people in our lives.

Added Thought from the passage

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” – (Leviticus 23:22)

In the middle of this passage dealing with special days and feasts, God instructs the people of Israel to remember the poor. They were to intentionally leave some of the fruit from the harvest in the fields so that poor folks could come by and gather it. Today, we need to also remember that there are people less fortunate than ourselves that need some help. God has blessed many of us tremendously with financial blessings, and we need to remember to share some of what the Lord has given us with others. Just a thought.


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There Is A Fountain

muka-Gospodina

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 11 – 12; Proverbs 9; Psalms 46 – 50)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 25

Read the “0209 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this morning’s passage – “It’s Still in the Book

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

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12)

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”– (Hebrews 9:22)

In Leviticus chapter 16, we learn about The Day of Atonement. This was the one day in the year that the high priest, which at this time was Aaron, would be permitted by God to go into the most holy place, called The Holy of Holies. On this day the priest would go into the most holy place where the ark of God was, and where the presence of God dwelt between the cherubims on the top of the mercy seat, which was the covering for the ark. He would go in first with the blood of a bullock which he offered for his own sins and for the sins of his family; and then he would go in with the blood of a goat which was for the sins of all of the congregation of Israel. This was the only day that he was allowed to enter into the presence of God. If he attempted to go in at any other time; or if he did not go in with the right heart, his offering would not be accepted and he would be smitten by God.

This Day of Atonement served as a sort of temporary appeasement of God for the sins of the people. The New Testament is very clear that the sacrifice of an animal could never really atone for man’s sins. It did remind man and God annually, however, that there would someday be the perfect sacrifice; the Sinless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. He would someday come, and shed all of His blood for the sins of all men. The Old Testament Day of Atonement was merely a picture of the only true sacrifice that could be accepted by a Holy God. His blood was shed for you and me. I love the hymn, “There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood”. It reminds us of the awesome love that God has for us; and, praise God, sinners are still being plunged beneath that flood in order to have their sins completely and permanently cleansed and forgiven.

Have you applied the payment that the Lord Jesus made to your eternal account yet. He made a deposit 2000 years ago of His precious, perfect blood in order to pay the price for your sins and mine. I received that payment, by faith, over twenty years ago. I pray that if you haven’t done so yet, that you will receive it today.

And by the way: remember how the high priest could only go into God’s presence once per year. Things are different now. God has ripped the veil that separated a Holy God from a sinful people through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now we can enter into His presence anytime we want; all because of the precious blood of Jesus.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – (Hebrews 4:16)


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Leprosy in the House

Mold-Removal-Remediation-Kahului-Maui-1

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 14 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 9 – 10; Proverbs 8; Psalms 41 – 45

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

“When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;” – (Leviticus 14:34)

As we continue reading in chapter 14 of the Book of Leviticus, we come across this curious passage that deals with leprosy within a house. This leprosy spoken of here would not be what is commonly called leprosy today (Hansen’s Disease); but rather this leprosy that appears on the walls of a house seems to be a type of mold or mildew. I remember when I was in Bible College down in Longview, Texas, there was a man there that was on the staff of the college that had purchased a beautiful home, but shortly after moving in they discovered that there was a mold problem in the house. Now I’m told that some types of mold can be very dangerous, and can cause many physical problems for people that come in contact with it. Anyway, this dear brother and his family had to eventually move out of the house for several months until the mold was completely removed from it. From what I understand this was no easy undertaking either. I believe if I remember correctly, that most of the drywall had to be removed and replaced after the framework was cleansed.

We have had a little trouble with mold in our old house in Galloway as well. We had to completely “gut” two of our bathrooms during our time there. One thing that I have learned about mold is that, like leprosy, it starts out very small; and often can be growing within the walls, as well as without. In fact, it probably grows better inside the walls where there is no light and perhaps a little moisture. In the right conditions, and if left untreated, it will quickly spread. It must be removed early and completely.

Even though this leprosy is not the same physical disease that was spoken of involving humans, it is still a picture of sin. We must be careful that we are vigilant about keeping sin out of our homes. We must watch for it, and remove it as quickly as possible; and then strive to keep the area as clean as we possibly can. If sin is allowed to multiply and grow, it will eventually destroy our homes from within. When it gets that bad, it will require much more than a little cleaning. We will have to “gut” areas, or possibly the whole home. It will take major reconstruction to fix the problem. Don’t let sin gain this kind of a foothold in your home. Nip it in the bud as early as you can.

I want to challenge to think for a moment about your home. Ask God if there is anything in your home that needs to be removed and cleansed. If there is, do it now, before it grows into a huge problem that may not be easily fixed.

Added Thought from Chapter 15

“And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.” (Leviticus 15:25)

“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” – (Luke 8:43-48)

Notice in chapter 15 the instructions given regarding a woman who had “an issue of blood” that continued beyond the normal period. She was to be separated from everybody, and had to constantly wash everything she came in contact with. Notice the New Testament reference (above) of the woman that was healed by the Lord Jesus after having an issue of blood for twelve years. I am not sure if she strictly observed all of the rules mentioned in Leviticus involving her separation, but I am very sure that her disease was not only very debilitating physically, but also caused her a great deal of problems with her relationships with people. I am sure she was somewhat isolated from family and friends. Can you imagine finally being pronounced “clean” by the Lord Jesus Himself, after twelve long years. By the way, Jesus wasn’t troubled at all by the touch of this “unclean” woman. Sometimes we have to rub shoulders with people that are “unclean” in order to help them. Just a thought.


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Unclean

leper

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 7 – 8; Proverbs 7; Psalms 36 – 40)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 19

Read the “0207 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” – (Leviticus 13:45-46)

This morning we have been reading all about the plague of leprosy from Leviticus 13. Leprosy was certainly a horrible disease which, I believe, was fatal in almost all cases. If a person was determined by the priests to be a leper, he was separated from all others in the congregation, including his family, and was required to live outside the camp presumably among other lepers. If they were ever in a situation where they were in a close proximity with non-lepers, they were required to cry out unclean, unclean, so as to warn the people to keep their distance. This policy may seem to be harsh to us, but it was the only way to keep leprosy from spreading throughout the entire congregation of Israel.

Leprosy in the Bible is a picture, or type, of sin. Sin is like leprosy in many ways. It starts out on the inside, but eventually works its way out to the outside. It starts out small, but soon covers the entire body. If not dealt with, it will also spread to everybody. It causes us to be separated from God, and the people we love; and it leads eventually to death. We are all sinners, so we should all be able to relate to this dreaded disease. Fortunately for us there is a cure, a cleansing for this spiritual leprosy that we are plagued with. It is called the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the song says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” What a blessing it is to know that there is a cure for the penalty of sin in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we are unclean in our flesh, He comes near to us and cleanses us from our sin. Praise the Lord!

One more thought regarding the leprosy of sin. God spared no precaution in trying to keep the people away from leprosy, and He feels the same way today about sin. He wants us to stay as far away from sin as possible. We are supposed make much of sin, instead of trying to minimize it. Don’t try to justify the sin in your life; do your best to eradicate it. We will never be able to remove the presence of sin in our life altogether. There is no such thing as “sinless perfection”; but we can get as close to God as possible, and through our closeness to God, see sin as He sees it. Maybe then we will strive to keep sin as distant from us as Israel attempted to keep leprosy from their congregation. This does not mean we loathe the sinner; we are commanded to love them, and pray for them, and do everything we can do to help them get to the cure; just as somebody helped us


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Creeping Things

Today’s Passage –Leviticus 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6; Proverbs 6; Psalms 31 – 35)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0206 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.” – (Leviticus 11:43)

How would you like to wake up with one of those creepy crawly things (above) on top of you? I thank the Lord that this particular bug is not native to our area. It is found far away from here in the Philippines. Remind me to never go there. The worst that we have to deal with here in Galloway Twp. is the Camel Cricket (below), which is an ugly looking critter, but is also harmless.

In our passage this morning, God is explaining to the children of Israel which animals, fish, and bugs were safe for them to eat, and or touch. Frankly, I am not sure about the reasons why God declared certain animals to be clean, and others to be an “abomination”.  The people of God just had to obey the law by faith, believing that the omniscient God that created the universe knew better about what was best for them.

We know that in the New Testament period we are not under law regarding any of these things, and we will not face judgment for touching or eating any of these animals, etc. However, I can’t help but think that God had  good reasons for banning these critters from the menus of the Israelites.

My thought this morning is not regarding what we should or shouldn’t eat, however. I got to thinking about all of the “creeping things” that God wants us to stay away from today. There are a lot of things out there that will hurt us if we “touch” them or partake of them. For instance, many of the philosophies that spew out this world system are “creeping things” that shouldn’t be touched, and certainly shouldn’t be allowed to enter into our minds. There are also many doctrinal heresies coming from some so-called theologians that attack the very foundation of our belief system. We should steer clear of these “creeping things” as well. There are also some pretty “creepy people” out there that should be avoided. People who have an ungodly perspective on living. I am not saying that we shouldn’t love these people and try to reach them with the gospel, but we shouldn’t run with them either, allowing their lifestyles and doctrines to influence us.

The “creeping things” today are not the same as in Moses’ day, but they are to be avoided nonetheless.


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Strange Fire

strange-fire

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 3 – 4; Proverbs 5; Psalms 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0205 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” (Leviticus 10:1-2)

This is a very scary passage of Scripture. God kills the two sons of Aaron for offering “strange fire” before the Lord. This story reminds me of when God killed Uzza for putting his hand upon the ark of God in an attempt to steady it and keep it from falling off of the cart that it was being transported on. (See 1 Chronicles 13) On the surface, these accounts make God seem to be unfair in that He kills people over minor infractions, but let’s consider this “strange fire” passage before us in Leviticus.

Why was God so upset about the “strange fire”?

1 They were supposed to take the fire from off of the brazen altar and use it to burn the incense. Apparently, they had violated God’s clear command and had taken a short-cut to accomplish their purpose. God does not like when people do His work in their own way. (See Exodus 30:9; 34 – 38)

2 Though we cannot be sure, it appears from the context that they may have been drunken when they were serving in the Tabernacle. Notice what God commands Moses in verses 8 – 11, just after this event takes place:

“And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 10:8-11)

God is very serious about His service. People who minister for the Lord need to be extremely careful that they are serving God His way, and that they are giving Him their absolute best. God may not kill us today for taking the ministry lightly, but just think about all of the people who will suffer spiritually when we serve God in our flesh and don’t give Him our best effort.


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Ignorant But Not Innocent.

Baby_boy

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 1 – 2; Proverbs 4; Psalms 21 – 25

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0204 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:” – (Leviticus 5:3-5 )

I read today’s passage once through, but I struggled with what I should write about, so I went back to read it again. The second time around I noticed in chapter five that God was instructing the Israelites regarding sins of ignorance. I had to think about how a person could sin without knowing it, but it didn’t take long to figure out that we sin ignorantly all the time. Think about it. We do all kinds of things that are wrong and cause harm, without intending to do so. Also, we have done many things in the past, perhaps before we were saved, that we didn’t even know were wrong. The Bible says that even the thought of foolishness is sin. How many of us ever considered when we were yet unsaved that our thoughts were just as sinful as our actions. We may have been ignorant while doing these things, or thinking these things, but we were not innocent. Plus, there is the fact that some actions may be permissible for some, but wrong for others. The Bible says,”Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – (James 4:17)

The bottom line is that we are sinful creatures. Not only do we intentially sin, but we also do many sinful things without fully realizing it. In our passage, God gave the children of Israel a solution for this dilemma. He told them that when they found out about their guilt, they were simply to confess it, and then offer a sacrifice for it. Praise God, today we do not have to offer up sacrifices to God for our sin because the Lord Jesus took care of all of the sacrifices necessary to atone for our sin when He was sacrificed once for all on the Cross of Calvary. But, I think it is still imperative for us to confess to God our sin when we find out about it, and then thank Him for the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that atones for it.

The idea here is that we need to stop trying to pretend that we are not guilty. We need to lower our defenses, and fire our “inner lawyer”, and get to the place where we recognize that we are full of sin, completely guilty before God, and totally unworthy and undeserving of His love and forgiveness. Stop trying to pretend that you are above sin, or that you have arrived at some kind of spiritual plateau where you are somehow better than other people. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. On my best day, I am still full of sins, most of which I am too dull spiritually to even recognize; but that’s OK, because I have a Saviour that I have completely trusted to save me from the eternal penalty of my sin, and I also trust Him daily to forgive and restore me to a place of fellowship with Him. Thank God for Jesus!

One more quick thought, If just now you have come to the place where you realize that you are a bigger sinner than you thought you were, yet you also understand that God still loves you and forgives you anyway; why don’t you cut the other sinners around you some slack; they’re struggling with the same sinful condition that you are. Just a thought.

Oh, and by the way, the baby pictured above is also not innocent, but the blood of Jesus atones for his sin, and protects him until he comes to the maturity level where he realizes that he is guilty before God. There will come a day when he will know that he is a sinner, and then he will be accountable for his sin. He will then have to either receive or reject the atonement made by the Lord for his sin.


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What’s The Difference

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Today’s Passage – Leviticus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 13 – 14; Proverbs 10; Psalms 51 – 55)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0210 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” – (Leviticus 19:2)

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – (Leviticus 20:26)

In the passages we have read from Leviticus today, we see that God intended there to be a difference in the people of Israel from the world that surrounded them; or actually, would surround them when they finally entered into the land of Canaan where God was bringing them. God warns them not to be like the people of the land. God was removing them (the Canaanites, etc.) from the land because of their sinful lifestyles. God’s people would have to be different, or God would expel them out of the land as well.

In the three chapters that we have read today there are many different commandments from the Lord regarding how they were to be a holy people, set apart from the rest of the world. I will not take the time to deal with all of them, but I will mention a few here in this devotion. Think about the world we live in today as we examine these thoughts; and see if we, as Christians, are as “set apart” as we should be. Let’s take a quick look at how the children of Israel were to be different:

1  They were to be different morally. Much of chapter 20 deals with sexual sins such as adultery, homosexuality, and even bestiality. God says that the previous inhabitants of the land were all guilty of these things. The people in our world today are also very perverted in their ability to live morally pure lives. We live in the era of “if it feels good, do it.” God says that His children are to be different.

2  They were to be different in their compassion for others. They were to make provisions in their crops for the poor and the stranger. God reminds them that they were strangers at one time. He wanted them to leave the corners of their fields, and the gleanings for people who needed help. How concerned are we today about helping people? Many of us have been blessed of God with abundance. God wants us to share part of that blessing with others. I think the key here is that God wants us to remember that it all comes from him anyway. We are often like the kid who was eating with his dad at McDonalds. When his dad reached for a french fry out of his son’s meal, the son pulled them away. Not very wise considering the dad supplied the meal in the first place, and would be the supplier of many future meals.

3  They were also to be different in their faith. The people of the land were very superstitious. They worshipped all kinds of “gods” and idols. Some were even guilty of sacrificing their own children. God wanted the people of Israel to stay far away from all of that stuff. No wizards; no witches; no familiar spirits; no divination; no astrologers; no soothsayers; none of that junk. God wants his children to be wholly dependent upon Him; and He does not want to share His glory; or His worship with anybody, or anything else. We have a lot of “idols” in our society today also, don’t we. They may not be little statues, but they are there none the less. An idol is anything that comes between us and God.

4  They were to be different in their respect for the older folks. I think that we are getting away from this in our world as well. There used to be a time in America when Granddad and Grandma were the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. They were deeply revered and respected by their children and grandchildren. It isn’t like that any more; but we need to get back to it. Today, even young children will mock their elders, and answer back to them. Christian parents need to be very careful that they do not tolerate such behavior in their children.

5  They were to be different in their business dealings. They were to be fair and honest with people; never cheating them with unjust balances and such. The world today is replete with people who will are trying to steal money away from others. There are myriads of scams out their designed to rob others. God’s people should never be involved in any business dealing that is not providing a good product or service at a fair price.

These were just a few thoughts from the passage. There are many more examples contained in the text. But how do we fare today in this present world that we live in? Are we any different from them? Or are we just like them with the exception of the “fish emblems” on our cars. As time goes by, there ought to be more and more of a striking difference between God’s people and the people of this world. Just a thought.


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It Is Finished!

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Today’s Passage – Leviticus 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 23 – 24; Proverbs 3; Psalms 16 – 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

“And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:” – (Leviticus 4:33-34)

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” – (Luke 23:34)

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” – (John 19:30)

I must confess that as I was reading the 4 chapters from Leviticus this morning, I kept thinking to myself: “what am I going to write about from this passage?”. The four chapters are all about the Old Testament offerings. We read about the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. I have been a student of the Bible for many years, and I still don’t have all of the Old Testament offerings straight in my head. I really was not looking forward to writing a devotion on one or all of these Old Testament sacrifices. But, then I read the “second miler” passage for this morning from Luke 23. I read where Jesus said, “Forgive them”, and I thought about when He said in John’s gospel, “It is finished”; and then I got excited. I realized that I don’t have to know  all of the details of the Old Testament sacrificial system because all of those sacrifices and offerings pictured and pointed to one thing: the sacrifice that Christ would make on the Cross of Calvary. It truly is finished! We don’t have to run down to the Tabernacle or Temple every time that we sin. We do not have to keep it all straight, because Jesus Christ paid for it all when He died for our sins. Praise God!

The next thing that I thought about this morning was that I don’t fully appreciate what the Lord did for me on the Cross. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to live in Old Testament Israel. It certainly would have been very burdensome to live under the Law; and it was also impossible to live it perfectly. Do you think that even the best of the Israelites did everything the way they were supposed to. Do you think that every time they committed a sin of ignorance (and didn’t get caught) they went down to the priests with a sacrifice. I doubt it. But then that must have led to a lot of guilt, because they knew in their hearts that they were not fully obeying the Lord. What a relief it is to know that all sin: every sin, whether they be sins of ignorance or not, are forgiven. They are all under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel like speaking in tongues right now! (just kidding) Praise God for Jesus!!!!

Oh Oh! I just got another thought: a thought about sacrifices. There is one more sacrifice that I should consider today: the living sacrifice. I am to present my body a living sacrifice to the Lord. I am no longer my own: I am bought with a price, and I belong to Him; and that is my reasonable service. It is the least that I can do to live for the Lord since He was willing to die for me.

All of those thoughts from what I thought at first to be a dry and tedious portion of Scripture. Thank God for the Book of Leviticus!

Did you also notice with many of these offerings or sacrifices for sin that the man that committed the sin was the one who had to kill the animal? That makes it very personal. I do not like to kill things. I guess I am a little squeemish. I don’t even like to kill bugs. When I find one in the house, I usually bring it outside. For me to have to kill an animal every time I sin, would certainly be enough to cause me to not want to sin anymore.

Now think about the Lord Jesus. Did you ever think that every time you sin, it is like you personally crucifying the Lord. It is you and me that are piercing His brow and His side. It is you and me that are driving the nails into His hands and feet. Think about it. If every time you sin, you thought about having to slay the Lord of glory to atone for it, wouldn’t that deter you from wanting to sin anymore. I guess that is what the Bible means when it says the love of Christ constrains us. He loved us so much He was willing to die for our sins, and it was our sin, my sin that put Him on that cross. Think about it.


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The Choice Is Yours

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 26 – 27 

“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;” – (Leviticus 26:3)

“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;” – (Leviticus 26:14)

In our passage today, in Leviticus 26, the Lord places a choice before His people. In verses 3 – 13, God promises all kinds of wonderful things to His people if they would continue to love Him, and be faithful to Him. Beginning in verse 14, the Lord explains what will happen to them if they forsake Him. You will notice that the latter portion is much larger than the former. God goes to much greater lengths to clearly explain and warn the people of what would happen to them if they were to disobey.

First, let’s look at the blessings. God promised to:

1 Provide for them.

“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.” – (Leviticus 26:4-5)

Everything they needed, and even much of what they could desire, God promised to give them.

2  Protect them from their enemies, and from natural calamities.

“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – (Leviticus 26:6-8)

3  They would proliferate (multiply)

“For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.” – (Leviticus 26:9)

4  They would be in partnership with God.

“And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” – (Leviticus 26:10-13)

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Almost sounds too good to be true, but it was. God held up to His end of the bargain. Unfortunately, the people of Israel didn’t choose to continue to follow the Lord. Slowly, but surely, they began to get away from the comands of God, and go their own way. Eventually the land was filled with idolatry, apostacy, and immorality; and then God was forced to do the things that are listed in verses 14 – 46. The provision and protection that God had once given them was removed, and the people suffered the consequences of their choices.

God has a lot of the same promises to Christians today. He said that He would meet our needs, and that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Yet, many of His churches and children today are forsaking Him, just as the Israelites did. Why are we so foolish? Let’s draw nigh unto God; let’s love Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives. He has our best interests in mind. Choose God. He is the wise choice.


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What’s the Difference

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 13 – 14Proverbs 10Psalm 51 – 55

Scripture Memorization for January – Proverbs 4

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read a great article by Pastor Chappell – “You Pick Five

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” – (Leviticus 19:2)

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – (Leviticus 20:26)

In the passages which we have read from Leviticus today, we see that God intended there to be a difference in the people of Israel from the world that surrounded them; or actually would surround them when they finally entered into the land of Canaan where God was bringing them. God warns them not to be like the people of the land. God was removing them (the Canaanites, etc.) from the land because of their sinful lifestyles. God’s people would have to be different, or God would expel them out of the land as well.

In the three chapters that we have read today there are many different commandments from the Lord regarding how they were to be a holy people, set apart from the rest of the world. I will not take the time to deal with all of them, but I will mention a few here in this devotion. Think about the world we live in today as we examine these thoughts; and see if we, as Christians, are as “set apart” as we should be. Let’s take a quick look at how the children of Israel were to be different:

1  They were to be different morally. Much of chapter 20 deals with sexual sins such as adultery, homosexuality, and even bestiality. God says that the previous inhabitants of the land were all guilty of these things. The people in our world today are also very perverted in their ability to live morally pure lives. We live in the era of “if it feels good, do it.” God says that His children are to be different.

2  They were to be different in their compassion for others. They were to make provisions in their crops for the poor and the stranger. God reminds them that they were strangers at one time. He wanted them to leave the corners of their fields, and the gleanings for people who needed help. How concerned are we today about helping people? Many of us have been blessed of God with abundance. God wants us to share part of that blessing with others. I think the key here is that God wants us to remember that it all comes from him anyway. We are often like the kid who was eating with his dad at McDonalds. When his dad reached for a french fry out of his son’s meal, the son pulled them away. Not very wise considering the dad supplied the meal in the first place, and would be the supplier of many future meals.

3  They were also to be different in their faith. The people of the land were very superstitious. They worshipped all kinds of “gods” and idols. Some were even guilty of sacrificing their own children. God wanted the people of Israel to stay far away from all of that stuff. No wizards; no witches; no familiar spirits; no divination; no astrologers; no soothsayers; none of that junk. God wants his children to be wholly dependent upon Him; and He does not want to share His glory; or His worship with anybody, or anything else. We have a lot of “idols” in our society today also, don’t we. They may not be little statues, but they are there none the less. An idol is anything that comes between us and God.

4  They were to be different in their respect for the older folks. I think that we are getting away from this in our world as well. There used to be a time in America when Granddad and Grandma were the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. They were deeply revered and respected by their children and grandchildren. It isn’t like that any more; but we need to get back to it. Today, even young children will mock their elders, and answer back to them. Christian parents need to be very careful that they do not tolerate such behavior in their children.

5  They were to be different in their business dealings. They were to be fair and honest with people; never cheating them with unjust balances and such. The world today is replete with people who will are trying to steal money away from others. There are myriads of scams out their designed to rob others. God’s people should never be involved in any business dealing that is not providing a good product or service at a fair price.

These were just a few thoughts from the passage. There are many more examples contained in the text. But how do we fare today in this present world that we live in? Are we any different from them? Or are we just like them with the exception of the “fish emblems” on our cars. As time goes by, there ought to be more and more of a striking difference between God’s people and the people of this world. Just a thought.


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Abomination

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 11 – 12Proverbs 9Psalm 46 – 50

Scripture Memorization for January – Proverbs 4

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read a previous post from this passage – “There Is A Fountain

Read a great article by Pastor Chappell – “You Pick Five

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” – (Leviticus 18:22)

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” – (Romans 1:26-27)

In chapter 18 of Leviticus, God gives His people His laws regarding marriage and sexual purity. He goes into great detail explaining who they could not “uncover”. He also specifically forbids a man lying with another man. It was very clear to the saints of old that sodomy was a sin, and was to be removed from a godly society. However, in recent years, the sin of sodomy, or homosexuality, has become a very unpopular sin to preach against in our churches. Our modern culture has gone beyond just tolerating this “abomination”, and has even promoted it in many  ways. Many of our pulpits have been intimidated into silence, choosing to just leave this particular sin alone. It is not “politically correct” anymore to preach against homosexuality.  Some “churches” have even ordained “gay” ministers. God help us. This is clearly a fulfillment of what God said in Romans 1 about the state of mankind as they get further and further away from Biblical principal, and closer and closer to the return of Christ. And the fact that our churches no longer talk about it is also a fulfillment of what God says in 2 Timothy 3:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Well, I don’t want to be “wishy-washy” about this subject. God has not changed His mind about it, so neither should I as a preacher – Homosexuality is clearly sin, and as such should be preached against with the same spirit and zeal that we might preach against any other sin. By the way, fornication and adultery are also still in the book, and should also be preached against in these modern times. However, as much as we need to be clear in our condemning of the sin, we must also be just as clear in informing the sinner of God’s love for them. I believe homosexuals can be saved; along with adulterers, fornicaters, liars, and any other type of sinner. I believe we all fall into one of those categories. I do realize that there will come a time that if a person continues in their sin, and also continues to reject Christ, their conscience will be seared, and their mind will become reprobate; and when a person gets to that point they will have no desire to repent of their sin, and come to Christ. But I also believe that the vast majority of the people that are living in sin, even sexual sin, still have a conscience , and can still come to Christ for forgiveness. However, once a person becomes saved, they must foresake the sin that they repented of. Jesus did tell the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more”.

One more thing – the rainbow is God’s symbol. It does not belong to the gay rights crowd.


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Unclean

Today’s Passage –Leviticus 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 7 – 8Proverbs 7Psalms 36 – 40

Scripture Memorization for January – Proverbs 4

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read a Great Article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “A Hidden Message in Jesus’ Genealogy

“And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” – (Leviticus 13:45-46)

This morning we have been reading all about the plague of leprosy from Leviticus 13. Leprosy was certainly a horrible disease which, I believe, was fatal in almost all cases. If a person was determined by the priests to be a leper, he was separated from all others in the congregation, including his family, and was required to live outside the camp presumably among other lepers. If they were ever in a situation where they were in a close proximity with non-lepers, they were required to cry out unclean, unclean, so as to warn the people to keep their distance. This policy may seem to be harsh to us, but it was the only way to keep leprosy from spreading throughout the entire congregation of Israel.

Leprosy in the Bible is a picture, or type, of sin. Sin is like leprosy in many ways. It starts out on the inside, but eventually works its way out to the outside. It starts out small, but soon covers the entire body. If not dealt with, it will also spread to everybody. It causes us to be separated from God, and the people we love; and it leads eventually to death. We are all sinners, so we should all be able to relate to this dreaded disease. Fortunately for us there is a cure, a cleansing for this spiritual leprosy that we are plagued with. It is called the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the song says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” What a blessing it is to know that there is a cure for the penalty of sin in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we are unclean in our flesh, He comes near to us and cleanses us from our sin. Praise the Lord!

One more thought regarding the leprosy of sin. God spared no precaution in trying to keep the people away from leprosy, and He feels the same way today about sin. He wants us to stay as far away from sin as possible. We are supposed make much of sin, instead of trying to minimize it. Don’t try to justify the sin in your life; do your best to eradicate it. We will never be able to remove the presence of sin in our life altogether. There is no such thing as “sinless perfection”; but we can get as close to God as possible, and through our closeness to God, see sin as He sees it. Maybe then we will strive to keep sin as distant from us as Israel attempted to keep leprosy from their congregation. This does not mean we loathe the sinner; we are commanded to love them, and pray for them, and do everything we can do to help them get to the cure; just as somebody helped us


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Creeping Things

Today’s Passage –Leviticus 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6Proverbs 6Psalm 31 – 35

Scripture Memorization for January – Proverbs 4

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read a Great Article by Pastor Cary Schmidt – “When You’re Spiritually Numb?”

“Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.” – (Leviticus 11:43)

How would you like to wake up with one of those creepy crawly things (above) on top of you? I thank the Lord that this particular bug is not native to our area. It is found far away from here in the Philippines. Remind me to never go there. The worst that we have to deal with here in Galloway Twp. is the Camel Cricket (below), which is an ugly looking critter, but is also harmless.

In our passage this morning, God is explaining to the children of Israel which animals, fish, and bugs were safe for them to eat, and or touch. Frankly, I am not sure about the reasons why God declared certain animals to be clean, and others to be an “abomination”.  The people of God just had to obey the law by faith, believing that the omniscient God that created the universe knew better about what was best for them.

We know that in the New Testament period we are not under law regarding any of these things, and we will not face judgment for touching or eating any of these animals, etc. However, I can’t help but think that God had  good reasons for banning these critters from the menus of the Israelites.

My thought this morning is not regarding what we should or shouldn’t eat, however. I got to thinking about all of the “creeping things” that God wants us to stay away from today. There are a lot of things out there that will hurt us if we “touch” them or partake of them. For instance, many of the philosophies that spew out this world system are “creeping things” that shouldn’t be touched, and certainly shouldn’t be allowed to enter into our minds. There are also many doctrinal heresies coming from some so-called theologians that attack the very foundation of our belief system. We should steer clear of these “creeping things” as well. There are also some pretty “creepy people”out there that should be avoided. People who have an ungodly perspective on living. I am not saying that we shouldn’t love these people and try to reach them with the gospel, but we shouldn’t run with them either, allowing their lifestyles and doctrines to influence us.

The “creeping things” today are not the same as in Moses’ day, but they are to be avoided nonetheless.


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It Is Finished!

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –Luke 23 – 24Proverbs 3 Psalm 16 – 20

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

“And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:” – (Leviticus 4:33-34)

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” – (Luke 23:34)

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” – (John 19:30)

I must confess that as I was reading the 4 chapters from Leviticus this morning, I kept thinking to myself: “what am I going to write about from this passage”. The four chapters are all about the Old Testament offerings. We read about the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. I have been a student of the Bible for many years, and I still don’t have all of the Old Testament offerings straight in my head. I really was not looking forward to writing a devotion this morning on one or all of these Old Testament sacrifices. But then I read the “second miler” passage for this morning from Luke 23. I read where Jesus said, “Forgive them”, and I thought about when He said in John’s gospel, “It is finished”; and then it when I got excited. I realized that I don’t have to know  all of the details of the Old Testament sacrificial system because all of those sacrifices and offerings pictured and pointed to one thing: the sacrifice that Christ would make on the Cross of Calvary. It truly is finished! We don’t have to run down to the Tabernacle or Temple every time that we sin. We do not have to keep it all straight, because Jesus Christ paid for it all when He died for our sins. Praise God!

The next thing that I thought about this morning was that I don’t fully appreciate what the Lord did for me on the Cross. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to live in Old Testament Israel. It certainly would have been very burdensome to live under the Law; and it was also impossible to live it perfectly. Do you think that even the best of the Israelites did everything the way they were supposed to. Do you think that every time they committed a sin of ignorance (and didn’t get caught) they went down to the priests with a sacrifice. I doubt it. But then that must have led to a lot of guilt, because they knew in their hearts that they were not fully obeying the Lord. What a relief it is to know that all sin: every sin, whether they be sins of ignorance or not, are forgiven. They are all under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel like speaking in tongues right now! (just kidding) Praise God for Jesus!!!!

Oh Oh! I just got another thought: a thought about sacrifices. There is one more sacrifice that I should consider today: the living sacrifice. I am to present my body a living sacrifice to the Lord. I am no longer my own: I am bought with a price, and I belong to Him; and that is my reasonable service. It is the least that I can do to live for the Lord since He was willing to die for me.

All of those thoughts from what I thought at first to be a dry and tedious portion of Scripture. Thank God for the Book of Leviticus!

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First Things First

Today’s Passages – Leviticus 26 – 27

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.” – (Leviticus 27:30)

I really do not understand why the subject of giving back to God is such a difficult one for many people. Everything we own ultimately belongs to God anyway. We are merely custodians, or stewards, of His possessions. The principle of tithing has been around for a long time, well before the Law was established. You will remember that Abraham gave tithes to Melchisedec, and Jacob promised God that he would give Him the tenth all that God blessed him with. Jesus even commented that the Pharisees were right when they gave their tithes on mint and anise, and cummin. I do not believe, however, that the New Testament Christian is under any law to give ten percent of his or her income to the church. We do live in the age of grace, and all such laws have been nailed to the cross. Having said that, though, when I teach new believers regarding principles of stewardship, I will tell them that the tithe is a good place to begin in giving. They often look at me as if I am crazy, and I guess if you were to judge me by the world’s standards, I am. But, think about it. What better way is there for a young believer to declare that they acknowledge God’s ownership of their money and possessions; and there is also no better way for them to demonstrate their dependence upon the blessing of God. To many new Christians, this is a tremendous leap of faith, and unfortunately, some will never take it.

I remember when I first trusted Christ. My wife and I were only married a few years, and as is typical with many young, married couples, my financial situation was a mess. Wouldn’t you know it, the first church service that I attended as a new believer, the pastor preached on tithing. I was sure that all that these people wanted was my money. Slowly, however, God began to impress upon my heart that I needed to trust Him and to put Him first in my life, and if I was going to do that, it would mean that I would have to trust Him with my money. We started tithing, fearfully at first, but God has always kept His end of the deal. He has been faithful to take good care of me and my family. There has always been food on the table, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head; and their have even been many wonderful “desires” thrown in along the way. God is good.

Recently, my son and his wife purchased a beautiful home in a nice part of our community. He paid less than half of what his neighbor paid for a similar house ten years ago. We have other young couples in our church who are about to purchase homes, and I know that they will be similarly blessed. Why? Because they have learned to put God first. They have recognized that God can be trusted to take care of them. All of these couples that I am thinking about right now give far above the tithe by the way. Like the Macedonian Christians of Paul’s day, “they gave their own selves to the Lord”. And God is blessing them abundantly.

Friend, you can trust God. Keep first things first in your life; and the first thing needs to be God.


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Build Or Break? – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 22 – 23

Second Milers also read – John 13 – 14; Proverbs 11; Psalm 51 – 55

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Good morning. I want to delve somewhat into Psalm 51. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Of course his sin found him out, and he wrote Psalm 51 of what he was going through and praying for. But before we go there, John chapter 8 tells the story of a woman caught in the very act of adultery. The scribes and Pharisees took her to Jesus. They told Jesus what the law said, and then asked if they should stone her. After a few minutes of writing in the sand, He stood up and answered them saying, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And as Mike Warnke tells it: they dropped their rocks and split.

In the end, there was only the woman and Jesus. It will be the same with us when we sin. It’s going to be me or you and Jesus. That’s what the Bible says in John 8:9…

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

God knew what the woman did. God knew what the scribes and Pharisees did. God knows what you and I did. God gave us a conscience. David told God, in Psalm 51:3, that his sin was ever before him. David cried out to God for mercy, to have his transgressions blotted out, and to be washed throughly and be cleansed from his iniquity and sin.

Certain signs followed him while David was in this fallen state. He could not hear the joy or gladness going on around him (vs. 8). He knew God had seen what he did (vs. 9). He could feel the broken fellowship with the Lord (vs. 11). He had no joy or security in God’s salvation (vs. 12). He lacked in teaching God’s Word and soul winning (vs. 13). And he could not sing praises to God (vs. 14).

David was in a mess, and this was someone of whom God called a man after Mine own heart. But God doesn’t make mistakes. The first four verses in Psalm 51 say it all…

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” (Psalm 51:1-4)

1John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Back in John chapter 8…

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:10-11).

Can you imagine how the woman, and David felt to have there sins forgiven and restored to fellowship with the Lord? All the joy, gladness, and singing. Praising God for His wonderful works. Can you imagine that? You don’t have to. To borrow a slogan from Lance Inc…

Don’t go ’round hungry!”

Peace. (Mark 9:50)


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What’s The Difference?

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 19 – 21

Second Milers also read – John 11 – 12; Proverbs 10; Psalms 46 – 50

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” – (Leviticus 19:2)

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – (Leviticus 20:26)

In the passages which we have read from Leviticus today, we see that God intended there to be a difference in the people of Israel from the world that surrounded them; or actually would surround them when they finally entered into the land of Canaan where God was bringing them. God warns them not to be like the people of the land. God was removing them (the Canaanites, etc.) from the land because of their sinful lifestyles. God’s people would have to be different, or God would expel them out of the land as well.

In the three chapters that we have read today there are many different commandments from the Lord regarding how they were to be a holy people, set apart from the rest of the world. I will not take the time to deal with all of them, but I will mention a few here in this devotion. Think about the world we live in today as we examine these thoughts; and see if we, as Christians, are as “set apart” as we should be. Let’s take a quick look at how the children of Israel were to be different:

1  They were to be different morally. Much of chapter 20 deals with sexual sins such as adultery, homosexuality, and even bestiality. God says that the previous inhabitants of the land were all guilty of these things. The people in our world today are also very perverted in their ability to live morally pure lives. We live in the era of “if it feels good, do it.” God says that His children are to be different.

2  They were to be different in their compassion for others. They were to make provisions in their crops for the poor and the stranger. God reminds them that they were strangers at one time. He wanted them to leave the corners of their fields, and the gleanings for people who needed help. How concerned are we today about helping people? Many of us have been blessed of God with abundance. God wants us to share part of that blessing with others. I think the key here is that God wants us to remember that it all comes from him anyway. We are often like the kid who was eating with his dad at McDonalds. When his dad reached for a french fry out of his son’s meal, the son pulled them away. Not very wise considering the dad supplied the meal in the first place, and would be the supplier of many future meals.

3  They were also to be different in their faith. The people of the land were very superstitious. They worshipped all kinds of “gods” and idols. Some were even guilty of sacrificing their own children. God wanted the people of Israel to stay far away from all of that stuff. No wizards; no witches; no familiar spirits; no divination; no astrologers; no soothsayers; none of that junk. God wants his children to be wholly dependent upon Him; and He does not want to share His glory; or His worship with anybody, or anything else. We have a lot of “idols” in our society today also, don’t we. They may not be little statues, but they are there none the less. An idol is anything that comes between us and God.

4  They were to be different in their respect for the older folks. I think that we are getting away from this in our world as well. There used to be a time in America when Granddad and Grandma were the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. They were deeply revered and respected by their children and grandchildren. It isn’t like that any more; but we need to get back to it. Today, even young children will mock their elders, and answer back to them. Christian parents need to be very careful that they do not tolerate such behavior in their children.

5  They were to be different in their business dealings. They were to be fair and honest with people; never cheating them with unjust balances and such. The world today is replete with people who will are trying to steal money away from others. There are myriads of scams out their designed to rob others. God’s people should never be involved in any business dealing that is not providing a good product or service at a fair price.

These were just a few thoughts from the passage. There are many more examples contained in the text. But how do we fare today in this present world that we live in? Are we any different from them? Or are we just like them with the exception of the “fish emblems” on our cars. As time goes by, there ought to be more and more of a striking difference between God’s people and the people of this world. Just a thought.


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It’s Still in the Book

Today’s Passages – Leviticus 16 – 18

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” – (Leviticus 18:22)

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” – (Romans 1:26-27)

In chapter 18 of Leviticus, God gives His people His laws regarding marriage and sexual purity. He goes into great detail explaining who they could not “uncover”. He also specifically forbids a man lying with another man. It was very clear to the saints of old that sodomy was a sin, and was to be removed from a godly society. However, in recent years, the sin of sodomy, or homosexuality, has become a very unpopular sin to preach against in our churches. Our modern culture has gone beyond just tolerating this “abomination”, and has even promoted it in many  ways. Many of our pulpits have been intimidated into silence, choosing to just leave this particular sin alone. It is not “politically correct” anymore to preach against homosexuality.  Some “churches” have even ordained “gay” ministers. God help us. This is clearly a fulfillment of what God said in Romans 1 about the state of mankind as they get further and further away from Biblical principal, and closer and closer to the return of Christ. And the fact that our churches no longer talk about it is also a fulfillment of what God says in 2 Timothy 3:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Well, I don’t want to be “wishy-washy” about this subject. God has not changed His mind about it, so neither should I as a preacher – Homosexuality is clearly sin, and as such should be preached against with the same spirit and zeal that we might preach against any other sin. By the way, fornication and adultery are also still in the book, and should also be preached against in these modern times. However, as much as we need to be clear in our condemning of the sin, we must also be just as clear in informing the sinner of God’s love for them. I believe homosexuals can be saved; along with adulterers, fornicaters, liars, and any other type of sinner. I believe we all fall into one of those categories. I do realize that there will come a time that if a person continues in their sin, and also continues to reject Christ, their conscience will be seared, and their mind will become reprobate; and when a person gets to that point they will have no desire to repent of their sin, and come to Christ. But I also believe that the vast majority of the people that are living in sin, even sexual sin, still have a conscience , and can still come to Christ for forgiveness. However, once a person becomes saved, they must foresake the sin that they repented of. Jesus did tell the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more”.

One more thing – the rainbow is God’s symbol. It does not belong to the gay rights crowd.


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Unclean!

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 13

(Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6; Proverbs 7; Psalms 31 – 35)

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Watch “Growth Points 008 – Keep It Real” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” (Leviticus 13:45 – 46)

This morning we have been reading all about the plague of leprosy from Leviticus 13. Leprosy was certainly a horrible disease which, I believe, was fatal in almost all cases. If a person was determined by the priests to be a leper, he was separated from all others in the congregation, including his family, and was required to live outside the camp presumably among other lepers. If they were ever in a situation where they were in a close proximity with non-lepers, they were required to cry out unclean, unclean, so as to warn the people to keep their distance. This policy may seem to be harsh to us, but it was the only way to keep leprosy from spreading throughout the entire congregation of Israel.

Leprosy in the Bible is a picture, or type, of sin. Sin is like leprosy in many ways. It starts out on the inside, but eventually works its way out to the outside. It starts out small, but soon covers the entire body. If not dealt with, it will also spread to everybody. It causes us to be separated from God, and the people we love; and it leads eventually to death. We are all sinners, so we should all be able to relate to this dreaded disease. Fortunately for us there is a cure, a cleansing for this spiritual leprosy that we are plagued with. It is called the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the song says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” What a blessing it is to know that there is a cure for the penalty of sin in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we are unclean in our flesh, He comes near to us and cleanses us from our sin. Praise the Lord!

One more thought regarding the leprosy of sin. God spared no precaution in trying to keep the people away from leprosy, and He feels the same way today about sin. He wants us to stay as far away from sin as possible. We are supposed make much of sin, instead of trying to minimize it. Don’t try to justify the sin in your life; do your best to eradicate it. We will never be able to remove the presence of sin in our life altogether. There is no such thing as “sinless perfection”; but we can get as close to God as possible, and through our closeness to God, see sin as He sees it. Maybe then we will strive to keep sin as distant from us as Israel attempted to keep leprosy from their congregation. This does not mean we loathe the sinner; we are commanded to love them, and pray for them, and do everything we can do to help them get to the cure; just as somebody helped us.


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Creeping Things

Listen to yesterday’s choir specials and messages

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 11 – 12

(Second Milers also read – John 3 – 4; Proverbs 6; Psalms 26 – 30)

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

“Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.” – (Leviticus 11:43)

How would you like to wake up with one of those creepy crawly things (above) on top of you? I thank the Lord that this particular bug is not native to our area. It is found far away from here in the Philippines. Remind me to never go there. The worst that we have to deal with here in Galloway Twp. is the Camel Cricket (below), which is an ugly looking critter, but is also harmless.

In our passage this morning, God is explaining to the children of Israel which animals, fish, and bugs were safe for them to eat, and or touch. Frankly, I am not sure about the reasons why God declared certain animals to be clean, and others to be an “abomination”.  The people of God just had to obey the law by faith, believing that the omniscient God that created the universe knew better about what was best for them.

We know that in the New Testament period we are not under law regarding any of these things, and we will not face judgment for touching or eating any of these animals, etc. However, I can’t help but think that God had  good reasons for banning these critters from the menus of the Israelites.

My thought this morning is not regarding what we should or shouldn’t eat, however. I got to thinking about all of the “creeping things” that God wants us to stay away from today. There are a lot of things out there that will hurt us if we “touch” them or partake of them. For instance, many of the philosophies that spew out this world system are “creeping things” that shouldn’t be touched, and certainly shouldn’t be allowed to enter into our minds. There are also many doctrinal heresies coming from some so-called theologians that attack the very foundation of our belief system. We should steer clear of these “creeping things” as well. There are also some pretty “creepy people”out there that should be avoided. People who have an ungodly perspective on living. I am not saying that we shouldn’t love these people and try to reach them with the gospel, but we shouldn’t run with them either, allowing their lifestyles and doctrines to influence us.

The “creeping things” today are not the same as in Moses’ day, but they are to be avoided nonetheless.


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Believe! – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 5 – 7

(Second Milers also read – Luke 24; Proverbs 4; Psalms 16 – 20)

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Good morning! Did you get to read Luke chapter 24. This is part of the Second Milers reading schedule. If you are doing the regular reading schedule, take a few minutes extra to read Luke 24.

Notice verses 1 through 10. The ladies who went early to the tomb were informed that Jesus was no longer in the tomb: He is risen from the dead. They ran back to tell the apostles and all those who were with them that Jesus was risen from the dead! The tomb is empty! And what was the result? Verse 11:

And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.”

Cleopas and another believer were walking on the road to Emmaus when a “Stranger” joined them. The Stranger asked why they were sad. They started to explain what had happened to Jesus. How they trusted that He would redeem Israel. How the chief priests delivered Him to be crucified. How that this being the third day certain women found the tomb empty and were told by angels that Jesus was risen (verses 13 through 24). And what did Jesus tell them? Verses 25 through 27 say: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Seeing is not necessarily believing; look what happens next…

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.”

Didn’t the women hear the angels tell them that the Lord was risen? Didn’t those in the room hear the women when they said the angels told them Christ was risen? Didn’t the two on the road to Emmaus tell those gathered that they walked with a Stranger who explained all the Scriptures about Jesus? Didn’t the two tell them how they stopped to have dinner with Him and then realized that the Stranger was Jesus: that He was indeed risen from the grave? So why were they terrified at the sight of Jesus in the midst of them? Maybe because they did not truly believe. Jesus showed them his pierced hands and feet, showed them that He could eat real food.

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49).

Do you know what the saddest verse in the Bible is? It is Matthew 13:58:

“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

Believing is faith. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Can you imagine what the church could do if they really believed? Can you imagine how many people would become soul winners because they believe there is a real hell? Can you imagine what the church could do with all the missing tithes when the congregation believes what Malachi 3 says about it. Can you imagine how pleased God would be if believers believed Hebrews 11:6? Can you imagine all the harmony among Christians if they believed the Lord’s commandment that ye love one another? There would be no gossip, no back-biting. Just a lot of Spirit-filled people who would rather edify and help others than say bad things about them.

Can you imagine? Do you have faith? Are you a believer? I gave you what I thought was the saddest verse in the Bible. Do you know what should be the scariest verse to a believer? How about Romans 14:12:

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Time is running out. The blood spilled on the earth cries out for Christ’s return. When He returns will He find faithful men, believers doing His will? Or will He return to a place where He could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Peace. (Luke 24:52-53)


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Paid In Full!

Today’s Passages – Leviticus 1 – 4

(Second Milers also read – Luke 22 – 23; Proverbs 3; Psalms 11 – 15)

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read “Lunch? Today?” by Pastor Paul Chappell

The following is a re-post from February 3, 2011

“And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:” – (Leviticus 4:33-34)

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” – (Luke 23:34)

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” – (John 19:30)

I must confess that as I was reading the 4 chapters from Leviticus this morning, I kept thinking to myself: “what am I going to write about from this passage”. The four chapters are all about the Old Testament offerings. We read about the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. I have been a student of the Bible for many years, and I still don’t have all of the Old Testament offerings straight in my head. I really was not looking forward to writing a devotion this morning on one or all of these Old Testament sacrifices. But then I read the “second miler” passage for this morning from Luke 23. I read where Jesus said, “Forgive them”, and I thought about when He said in John’s gospel, “It is finished”; and then it when I got excited. I realized that I don’t have to know  all of the details of the Old Testament sacrificial system because all of those sacrifices and offerings pictured and pointed to one thing: the sacrifice that Christ would make on the Cross of Calvary. It truly is finished! We don’t have to run down to the Tabernacle or Temple every time that we sin. We do not have to keep it all straight, because Jesus Christ paid for it all when He died for our sins. Praise God!

The next thing that I thought about this morning was that I don’t fully appreciate what the Lord did for me on the Cross. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to live in Old Testament Israel. It certainly would have been very burdensome to live under the Law; and it was also impossible to live it perfectly. Do you think that even the best of the Israelites did everything that they were supposed to? Do you think that every time they committed a sin of ignorance (and didn’t get caught) they went down to the priests with a sacrifice? I doubt it. But then that must have led to a lot of guilt, because they knew in their hearts that they were not fully obeying the Lord. What a relief it is to know that all sin: every sin, whether they be sins of ignorance or not, are forgiven. They are all under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel like speaking in tongues right now! (just kidding) Praise God for Jesus!!!!

Oh Oh! I just got another thought: a thought about sacrifices. There is one more sacrifice that I should consider today: the living sacrifice. I am to present my body a living sacrifice to the Lord. I am no longer my own: I am bought with a price, and I belong to Him; and that is my reasonable service. It is the least that I can do to live for the Lord since He was willing to die for me.

All of those thoughts from what I thought at first to be a dry and tedious portion of Scripture. Thank God for the Book of Leviticus!

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Have You Taken Time Out To Remember?

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 22 – 23; Proverbs 11

(Second Milers also read John 13 & 14; memorize John 3:16)

“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – (Leviticus 23:4)

In chapter 23 in the Book of Leviticus, we see the Lord giving His instructions regarding special days that would be set apart from other days. On these holy days, or “holidays” the people were commanded to stop their normal routine, and refrain from doing any kind of work. God wanted their focus to be on Him during these days. The special days (or in some cases weeks) listed in the chapter were as follows:

1  The Sabbath – every Saturday the people were to take a break from their work in order to rest. God rested the seventh day after He created the earth, so in some ways the Sabbath was memorial of God’s work at creation.

2  The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread – a memorial to God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. It seems to be that God wants us to remember some things. We are quick to forget the provision and protection that God has given us.

3  The Feast of First fruits – this Feast took place on the day after the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast was an acknowledgement that the whole barley harvest belonged to the Lord.

4  The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost – This was a dedication of the wheat harvest. It took place in May/June 50 days after the Sabbath before the Feast of First fruits.

5  The Feast of Trumpets – 1st day of seventh month – it consecrated the entire seventh month as a Sabbatical month.

6  The Day of Atonement – 10th day of the seventh month – this was the day the priest went in to the Holy of Holies to offer for his own sins, and the sins of the nation.

7  The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Booths or Ingathering) – beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month – commemorated the time that God provided for Israel as they wandered the wilderness in tents after being delivered from Egypt. This feast is also a celebration of the fall harvest.

All of these special days and feasts were designed to help the children of Israel to remember things that should be important to them. God wants His children to remember all of the wonderful things that He has done for us. We tend to get very discontented when we forget all of the blessings that God has provided in our lives.

I believe it is important to continue these traditions in our lives today. We may not observe the same days, but there ought to be some special days in our lives where we take time out to remember. And, I believe we should be very careful to come apart on the Lord’s Day – Sunday –  that one day out of seven for the purpose of resting the body, and reflection upon Christ. We are all busy people, or at least, we should be; but we need to take time out to remember. We need to take time to remember God on a daily basis by spending time with in our devotions. We also need to keep the Lord’s day holy and separated from the normal rotines of the week. And there also needs to be some special days in the calendar year when we set apart time toremember important blessings from God.

There also ought to be special days that we set apart time for reasons other than spiritual. Today, many of the couples of our church are taking a day off in order to attend a “couples getaway” in Lancaster, Pa. I believe that this is a wonderful way for these couples to remember the goodnes of God in providing them with a life partner. It is a very healthy thing for married couples to get away regularly to spend time alone together. Pray for our couples, that their marriages will be strengthened as they set apart some time to  remember each other.


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What’s the Difference?

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 19 – 21; Proverbs 10

(Second Milers also read – John 11 & 12; memorize John 3:16)

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” – (Leviticus 19:2)

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – (Leviticus 20:26)

In the passages which we have read from Leviticus today, we see that God intended there to be a difference in the people of Israel from the world that surrounded them; or actually would surround them when they finally entered into the land of Canaan where God was bringing them. God warns them not to be like the people of the land. God was removing them (the Canaanites, etc.) from the land because of their sinful lifestyles. God’s people would have to be different, or God would expel them out of the land as well.

In the three chapters that we have read today there are many different commandments from the Lord regarding how they were to be a holy people, set apart from the rest of the world. I will not take the time to deal with all of them, but I will mention a few here in this devotion. Think about the world we live in today as we examine these thoughts; and see if we, as Christians, are as “set apart” as we should be. Let’s take a quick look at how the children of Israel were to be different:

1  They were to be different morally. Much of chapter 20 deals with sexual sins such as adultery, homosexuality, and even bestiality. God says that the previous inhabitants of the land were all guilty of these things. The people in our world today are also very perverted in their ability to live morally pure lives. We live in the era of “if it feels good, do it.” God says that His children are to be different.

2  They were to be different in their compassion for others. They were to make provisions in their crops for the poor and the stranger. God reminds them that they were strangers at one time. He wanted them to leave the corners of their fields, and the gleanings for people who needed help. How concerned are we today about helping people. Many of us have been blessed of God with abundance. God wants us to share part of that blessing with others. I think the key here is that God wants us to remember that it all comes from him anyway. We are often like the kid who was eating with his dad at McDonalds. When his dad reached for a french fry out of his son’s meal, the son pulled them away. Not very wise considering the dad supplied the meal in the first place, and would be the supplier of many future meals.

3  They were also to be different in their faith. The people of the land were very superstitious. They worshipped all kinds of “gods” and idols. Some were even guilty of sacrificing their own children. God wanted the people of Israel to stay far away from all of that stuff. No wizards; no witches; no familiar spirits; no divination; no astrologers; no soothsayers; none of that junk. God wants his children to be wholly dependent upon Him; and He does not want to share His glory; or His worship with anybody, or anything else. We have a lot of “idols” in our society today also, don’t we. They may not be little statues, but they are there none the less. An idol is anything that comes between us and God.

4  They were to be different in their respect for the older folks. I think that we are getting away from this in our world as well. There used to be a time in America when Granddad and Grandma were the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. They were deeply revered and respected by their children and grandchildren. It isn’t like that any more; but we need to get back to it. Today, even young children will mock their elders, and answer back to them. Christian parents need to be very careful that they do not tolerate such behavior in their children.

5  They were to be different in their business dealings. They were to be fair and honest with people; never cheating them with unjust balances and such. The world today is replete with people who will are trying to steal money away from others. There are myriads of scams out their designed to rob others. God’s people should never be involved in any business dealing that is not providing a good product or service at a fair price.

These were just a few thoughts from the passage. There are many more examples contained in the text. But how do we fare today in this present world that we live in? Are we any different from them? Or are we just like them with the exception of the “fish emblems” on our cars. As time goes by, there ought to be more and more of a striking difference between God’s people and the people of this world. Just a thought.


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There Is A Fountain

Today’s Reading – Leviticus 16 – 18; Proverbs 9

(Second Milers also read John 9 & 10; Memorize John 3:16)

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

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” – (Hebrews 9:12)
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” – (Hebrews 9:22)

In Leviticus chapter 16, we learn about The Day of Atonement. This was the one day in the year that the high priest, which at this time was Aaron, would be permitted by God to go into the most holy place, called The Holy of Holies. On this day the priest would go into the most holy place where the ark of God was, and where the presence of God dwelt between the cherubims on the top of the mercy seat, which was the covering for the ark. He would go in first with the blood of a bullock which he offered for his own sins and for the sins of his family; and then he would go in with the blood of a goat which was for the sins of all of the congregation of Israel. This was the only day that he was allowed to enter into the presence of God. If he attempted to go in at any other time; or if he did not go in with the right heart, his offering would not be accepted and he would be smitten by God.

This Day of Atonement served as a sort of temporary appeasement of God for the sins of the people. The New Testament is very clear that the sacrifice of an animal could never really atone for man’s sins. It did remind God annually, however, that there would someday be the perfect sacrifice; the Sinless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. He would someday come, and shed all of His blood for the sins of all men. The Old Testament Day of Atonement was merely a picture of the only true sacrifice that could be accepted by a Holy God. His blood was shed for you and me. I love the hymn, “There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood”. It reminds us of the awesome love that God has for us; and, praise God, sinners are still being plunged beneath that flood in order to have their sins completely and permanently cleansed and forgiven.

Have you applied the payment that the Lord Jesus made to your eternal account yet. He made a deposit 2000 years ago of His precious, perfect blood in order to pay the price for your sins and mine. I received that payment, by faith, over twenty years ago. I pray that if you haven’t done so yet, that you will receive it today.

And by the way: remember how the high priest could only go into God’s presence once per year. Things are different now. God has ripped the veil that separated a Holy God from a sinful people through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now we can enter into His presence anytime we want; all because of the precious blood of Jesus.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – (Hebrews 4:16)


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Got Mold?

Today’s Reading – Leviticus 14 – 15; Proverbs 8

(Second Milers also read John 7 & 8; memorize John 3:16)

“When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;” – (Leviticus 14:34)

As we continue reading in chapter 14 of the Book of Leviticus, we come across this curious passage that deals with leprosy within a house. This leprosy spoken of here would not be what is commonly called leprosy today (Hansen’s Disease); but rather this leprosy that appears on the walls of a house seems to be a type of mold or mildew. I remember when I was in Bible College down in Longview, Texas. There was a man there that was on staff at the college that had purchased a beautiful home there, but shortly after moving in they discovered that there was a mold problem in the house. Now I’m told that some types of mold can be very dangerous, and can cause many physical problems for people that come in contact with it. Anyway, this dear brother and his family had to eventually move out of the house for several months until the mold was completely removed from it. From what I understand this was no easy undertaking either. I believe if I remember correctly, that most of the drywall had to be removed and replaced after the framework was cleansed.

We have had a little trouble with mold in our house, here in Galloway, as well. We had to completely “gut” two of our bathrooms during our time here. One thing that I have learned about mold is that, like leprosy, it starts out very small; and often can be growing within the walls, as well as without. In fact, it probably grows better inside the walls where there is no light and perhaps a little moisture. In the right conditions, if left untreated, it will quickly spread. It must be removed early and completely.

Even though tis is not the same physical disease that was spoken of involving humans, it is still a picture of sin. We must be careful that we are vigilant about keeping sin out of our homes. We must watch for it, and remove it as quickly as possible; and then strive to keep the area as clean as we possibly can. If sin is allowed to multiply and grow, it will eventually destroy our homes from within. When it gets that bad, it will require much more than a little cleaning. We will have to “gut” areas, or possibly the whole home. It will take major reconstruction to fix the problem. Don’t let sin gain this kind of a foothold in your home. Nip it in the bud as early as you can.

I want to challenge to think for a moment about your home. Ask God if there is anything in your home that needs to be removed and cleansed. If there is, do it now, before it grows into a huge problem that may not be able to be easily fixed.


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Unclean, Unclean

Leper Colony in India

Today’s Reading – Leviticus 13; Proverbs 7

(Second Milers also read John 5 & 6; memorize John 3:16)

“And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” – (Leviticus 13:45-46)

Sorry about the “no-post” yesterday. Sundays are always crazy days when I am off of my normal routine. Also, be aware that there was a mistake on the “Second Miler” Bible reading schedule. For the last couple of days it was posted that the reading was in the Gospel of Mark. It should have been John’s Gospel. I apologize if this messed you up at all.

This morning we have been reading all about the plague of leprosy from Leviticus 13. Leprosy was certainly a horrible disease which, I believe, was fatal in almost all cases. If a person was determined by the priests to be a leper, he was separated from all others in the congregation, including his family, and was required to live outside the camp presumably among other lepers. If they were ever in a situation where they were in a close proximity with non-lepers, they were required to cry out unclean, unclean, so as to warn the people to keep their distance. This policy may seem to be harsh to us, but it was the only way to keep leprosy from spreading throughout the entire congregation of Israel.

Leprosy in the Bible is a picture, or type, of sin. Sin is like leprosy in many ways. It starts out on the inside, but eventually works its way out to the outside. It starts out small, but soon covers the entire body. If not dealt with, it will also spread to everybody. It causes us to be separated from God, and the people we love; and it leads eventually to death. We are all sinners, so we should all be able to relate to this dreaded disease. Fortunately for us there is a cure, a cleansing for this spiritual leprosy that we are plagued with. It is called the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the song says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” What a blessing it is to know that there is a cure for the penalty of sin in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we are unclean in our flesh, He comes near to us and cleanses us from our sin. Praise the Lord!

One more thought regarding the leprosy of sin. God spared no precaution in trying to keep the people away from leprosy, and He feels the same way today about sin. He wants us to stay as far away from sin as possible. We are supposed make much of sin, instead of trying to minimize it. Don’t try to justify the sin in your life; do your best to eradicate it. We will never be able to remove the presence of sin in our life altogether. There is no such thing as “sinless perfection”; but we can get as close to God as possible, and through our closeness to God, see sin as He sees it. Maybe then we will strive to keep sin as distant from us as Israel attempted to keep leprosy from their congregation. This does not mean we loathe the sinner; we are commanded to love them, and pray for them, and do everything we can do to help them get to the cure; just as somebody helped us.


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