Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1 Corinthians 13 - Love Did I miss something?

So if you have grown up in the south and been to a wedding you have more than likely heard some, if not all, of first corinthians 13 read. I know for me I had almost written that chapter off as I knew it. I am married and me and my wife had talked about this passage for a long time. However, there is a key part of this passage that the Lord showed me last night during our Journey group that I was completely missing.

Most people, especially me, always looked to this passage on how I should love my bride. And granted this is a really good passage for that. However, the context of this book of scripture is not that at all, rather Paul is writing to a church that is facing some major challenges. This passage is focused on how do we love each other in this way. This was a new concept to me last week as I started reading through this passage. However, if we are to live out our faith we must love each other.

Here's where the Lord pierced me though last night. How are we ever going to approach any other human being on this earth if we don't approach our savior with that love. Many times in my prayer life I go to God with little patience, little gratitude and kindness, a lot of pride, and 9 out of 10 times it is self seeking. I think for a lot of us we tend to forget that this same sort of love (which Christ so evidently gives) is how we are to approach our savior. If we want to show everyone around us the love of Christ, we must approach our relationship with Christ with the love described in 1 Corinthians 13.

I hope that this challenges you to work for the next days/weeks/months on growing in intimacy with Christ. I invite you to join our Journey group as we go through Alvin Reid's free e-book Pursuing God: a 40 day guide to personal revival.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Blasphemer, me?

We all know that blasphemy is one I those uuuuhhhhh/gasp/ooohhh sins we read about in the bible. However, we see the clear cut consequences of blaspheming in Leviticus 24. Being the nerd that I am I started doing a little research on the word blasphemy and once again the Lord illuminated the gospel of Christ in this old testament passage.

Holman's bible dictionary defines blasphemy as the "actual pronunciation of the name of God along with an attitude of disrespect.". Wow, pretty rough sounding right? To be actually speaking about God with a cold, hard heart. Makes sense then what happens to the person who commits this offense in Leviticus. They get stoned to death. It's also important to note that before the offender is stones everyone who heard the blaspheming comes and lays their hands on his head as to pass his sin back.

First off, thank you God for Jesus Christ who put us under the umbrella of Grace, otherwise the number of stones on earth would probably be limited. Secondly, when I think about being under grace it is easy to forget the magnitude of what we do every day. If we, as the church, are the bride of Christ and represent His righteousness in this dark world; we proclaim/represent/stand for The Lord Jesus Christ in all we do. Pretty much our lives are a continual pronunciation of God and what he does for us.

Now for that "gulp" moment that hit me; how many times a day do I make a comment, have a thought, or give a look that does not respect our Lord? As I have said many times on my blog, we may be the only Jesus some people ever see, and if we are not representing Him in His 100% awesomeness then we are pronunciating the name of God with an attitude of disrespect. Now, the beauty of this whole thing is we cannot represent His awesomeness without asking for His help.

I also think it is important to know that what we say and how we act can have a direct impact on people. If you see in this story those that heard this man blaspheme places their hand on his head as to pass this sin back to him. There are probably many people who look at faith the same way, in that we speak of our lives in one manner and live them in a different manner. This causes people to put their hands on our head and basically pass on a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The goodness of God is so evident here though, because while we all deserve to be stoned to death, Jesus took all of our stonings. He took them with love, not out of anything else but love for His church. All that we have to do us surrender our lives to Him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Infectious Diseases & Mildew

As I have continued on in the book of Leviticus, again I am in awe of God's word. The whole bible, not just the new testament. When you dig into the old testament and ask the Lord to show you amazing things, he does. I just finished reading through Leviticus 13 & 14 where God gives instructions on how to handle infectious skin diseases and mildew. There is an awesome picture of the gospel and the Holy Spirit in these 2 old testament chapters.

First we'll look at infectious diseases. If you read in chapter 13 when a person comes to the priest with red skin, burns, or boils he will examine them for a few things. First how deep are they, and secondly has the hair turned white. When I first read through this I was kind of like, what does this have to do with anything; but God showed me what in a mighty way. These different symptoms are just like the symptoms of sin in our life. When looking at how deep the spot was; that is like looking at how deep the sin is in our lives. For believers I think this is at the time of repentance. If the sin has not gotten "beneath the skin" per say and we have repented all is good. We recognizes the sin before it was destructive.

Now, if the spot has gotten below the skin that is the same as sin in our lives that has taken a deeper root, at the point we reach repentance. Same thing goes for the white hair (which I think means a dead hair). That sort of sin has already started to choke the life out of us. We see that when the priest would see these sort of areas he would have the person come back the next day to check for spreading. If it had not spread the person would be placed in isolation for 7 days. I think this is exactly how we should approach this type of major rooted sin in our lives. We need to isolate ourselves from the world and it's temptations and spend time with the Lord. I believe that the Holy Spirit is kind of like that priest in Leviticus, helping us realize the infectious disease that is sin in our lives.

Now for the unclean. I haven't read what happens to the unclean, maybe it is coming or maybe not but here is what I think about that. When the person comes back and their spots are spreading and getting worse that person is unclean. I think this represents those who claim to know Jesus but have habitual rooted sin in their lives. For those people that the sin continues to grow to new areas of their life they are unclean. They have not been washed by the blood of the lamb, they are not followers of Christ.

Now for the mildew, it has almost the same thought process for me, only this time it refers to a house. I think this is extremely important, especially for the men in our culture. The way I see it this mildew is like sin, only it is a man's sin that is beginning to damage his house. If we come to the point of repentance and take the bad stones (influences) out an scrape the mildew off we have a chance to save the house. I see this scraping of the mildew off as that point when a husband confesses to God and his spouse. It's like scraping the mildew off. It's painful and makes him extremely vulnerable. Likewise, if we don't come to the point of repentance, and the son begins to infect our families it will ultimately lead to the destruction of the household.

Thank You Jesus for making us clean from the infectious disease that is sin!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Lamb of God

I have been on a quest since the beginning of the year to read the bible front to back, and thanks to my handy bible app I have a pretty good guide to keep track of it. I actually use a program that is supposed to get you to read the entire bible in 90 days. I will not even get close to hitting that mark however it provides a great guide. I just finished reading the 9th chapter in Leviticus and God really spoke to me as I was sitting here rocking my 8 month old.

Through the first 9 chapters of Leviticus it talks about all the different sacrifices required. The one that really stuck out to me was the sin offering. Jesus was the Lamb of God and took the place of all of these different sacrifices, but this one really got to me. It says in Leviticus 8

"He then presented the bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. Moses slaughtered the bull and took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on all the horns of the altar to purify the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. So he consecrated it to make atonement for it. Moses also took all the fat around the inner parts, the covering of the liver, and both kidneys and their fat, and burned it on the altar. But the bull with its hide and its flesh and its offal he burned up outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses." (Leviticus 8:14-17 NIV84)

This sounds like just another day at the office for the high priest. Slaughtering a bull and separating the good stuff to be sacrificed from the bad stuff to be taken outside of the camp and burned. But, as any good red blooded southern man I have actually done this same process on a deer. Let me tell you, if you have ever done this you know that it is not a quick and easy process. And to separate the fat from everything else would take forever. I think we see this for a couple of reasons.

First, I think it gives us a clear picture that our sanctification process takes time. It's not something that happens overnight. Just like for Aaron and his sons. I bet it took them a full day to do one of the sin offerings. God continues to separate the good from the bad in our lives (detail below) all the time.

Secondly, and this was what blew my mind; I think it shows exactly what happens as we go though the process of sanctification. They way that my small brain reads this is that when Aaron was going through and separating the fat from the organs he was basically saying, ok this is the stuff that will be pleasing to God and everything else needs to be disposed of. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior he comes in and separates the good from the bad with surgical precision. He shows us our spiritual gifts that have been given to us by God. I believe those are the good things. He also points out the sin in our lives, which is obviously the bad stuff. He takes the sin and disposes of it, through his death on the cross. He takes the good stuff and shows us how we can use our gifts to glorify Him.

My hope and prayer is that the Lord never stops cutting on me and showing me both the good and bad things in my life and how I can use the good to Glorify Him and overcome the bad.