Tag: sacrifice

May 14 Help me choose obedience

photo by Good Hand Security products

obedience-to-god-3-638

 

Father, let me learn the lesson of Saul from this passage of scripture.  Let me remember that to obey is better than sacrifice.

Father, what You want is obedience: meaning I put what You tell me above all else.  I hold true to Your Word no matter what other people think or say.  I do not bow to peer pressure.  I do not change what You have sent me to do because I am afraid.

Saul weakened in the face of the opinion and pressure of the people, and did not obey completely.  He even reasoned a way to convince himself he had indeed obeyed.  But the prophet Samuel saw the truth of it and confronted him.  Saul’s disobedience cost him the leadership of Israel.  He would soon be replaced as king.

I need to remember that it is not how often I pray, or whether I make monetary donations to ministries, or give my time in mission work.  The question is whether I have done what You have told me.

Help me hear You clearly, Lord.  And empower me to be strong enough to follow through completely.  Give me whatever I need, so I can stand in the end, and say I was truly obedient.  Amen

I Samuel 15:1-35 

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May 3 Breath of Life

What an interesting picture You painted for the man I call “Nic at night:” the Pharisee who came to You at night to ask questions.  When he asked about being part of the Kingdom of God, You said to enter the Kingdom of God, one “must be born of water and the Spirit.”

breathofGodOne birth is from a watery darkness, the other a spiritual darkness.  Our physical birth is from a dark, water-filled womb into the light of the sun here on earth.  Our spiritual birth is from the dark realm of the evil one into the Light of the Son and into the kingdom of God.

Adam and Eve are the only humans born only of the Spirit.  You created their bodies and breathed Your breath into them, giving them physical AND spiritual life.

The Hebrew word “ruach” is translated as breath and spirit.  They were spiritually alive and were able to walk and talk and have relationship with You.

When they sinned, the punishment was physical and spiritual death.  Physically, their bodies would die.  And spiritually, they were separated from You and no longer had the same intimate fellowship with You.

Every human being since them was born by water, but is not spiritually alive until Your “ruach,” Your breath or spirit enters them.  This happens at their spiritual birth.

Probably the most well known scripture is in today’s reading.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This is Your provision for that spiritual birth.

When a person believes the truth of Your sacrifice and accepts that offer of Your sacrifice paying for their sin, Your “‘ruach,” Your Holy Spirit enters into them.

person-864804_640Thank You Father for Your great love.  Thank You for having a plan of spiritual birth giving me eternal life even after sin had entered the world and affected every human being.

Thank You for being willing to make the tremendous sacrifice for me to be able to join the Kingdom of God.  Amen

John 3:1-21

May 1 I believe

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 

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In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves!

You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You.  You are the Only Way.  Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware.  You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God.  He saw the Spirit rest on You so he could know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John.  They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed.  Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save.  But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call.

I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation, but there are so many who do not.

Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin.  That penalty is death, eternal separation from You.  You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John.

Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples.

Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible.

Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them.  Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation.  And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You.  Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  I can’t wait!  Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 14 Your Word over deception and lies

“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.  See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads.”

enemy-God-greatI live at a time in the history of earth, when You have permitted satan to have limited power here.  With lies and deception, vain philosophies and worldly desires he confuses people and leads them astray.

He holds up the pride of accomplishment and the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh as the pinnacle of human achievement.  He elevates satisfaction and pleasure with material gain no matter the cost in human suffering.

And he stalks those who would seek to lead a godly life and bring You glory; hoping to derail their efforts and sideline them completely.

When I was born, I was automatically on satan’s team because of my sin nature.  Because Adam sinned, all sinned.  There is only one way to be reconciled to You and be on Your team:  accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus’ blood paid the price, the penalty for my sin.   Once on Your team, satan can never have me on his team again.  And because that makes him mad, he tries to ruin my team efforts or keep me off the field entirely.

I admit sometimes I am still misled by satan’s lies.  He deceives me to believe that I am not worthy, or good enough to be on Your team.  If he gets me discouraged enough, depressed, despairing, or distracted, I may just sit myself on the sideline.  He is cunning in his ways to deceive.  And he plots against Your players on all fronts: personally, professionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

But Lord, Your armor is the best.  Your protection: absolute.

Thank You that I can protect my mind, my thoughts, from the evil one and use my faith as a shield.

Thank You that I have a weapon: Your Word, to use against his lies and deceiving ways.

And thank You for fighting with me, to give me victory!

Father, make Your enemies like refuse on the ground; “like tumbleweeds that blow along, like chaff before the wind” that is blown and dissipates till it is no more. Consume Your enemies “like a fire consumes the forest or sets a mountain ablaze” as You “pursue and terrify them with Your hurricane power.”

“They will perish in disgrace, O Lord.  And know that You alone, are the Most High, over all the earth.”  Amen

Psalm 83:1-18

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited and reconciled, into fellowship with You.  Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through.  Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world!  You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence.  And eventually died physically.  They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers.  Yet sin continued. As did sacrifices as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people.  Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth.

You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes.  They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever.

I am eternally blessed to be Your child.  Thank You.  Amen

Numbers 16:1-40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

cross-1448946_640

Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin.

This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it.  Then, when they become aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed in a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death.  These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty.  Death is the penalty.  The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord!  You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news.  There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin!  The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world.  All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep,”  You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  For within You is the fountain of life.

And when I have You, I have life!   Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Jan 30 Salvation Lamb – Passover

What a beautiful depiction of Your amazing Salvation plan!

stained-glass-1626287_1280You delivered the Hebrews physically from the Pharaoh by the same way You deliver me into eternal life: by the blood of the lamb!

The last plague to fall on Pharaoh and Egypt was the death of their firstborn. And the Hebrew people were told to take a lamb from their flock, a male without defect, sacrifice it at a certain hour, and smear the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe of their house. When the Angel of death saw the blood, he would pass over those people within and they would be saved from physical death that night.

It was an exact representation of what would happen centuries later when Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life.

He was the spotless lamb, killed at that same hour, on that same day of the year that Hebrews celebrated down through generations: Passover. The blood He shed paid the price for our sin so we can be justified or reunited to You, a holy God.

When we appropriate that blood (or accept it as the free gift to pay the penalty for our sin), eternal death will pass over us, and we will remain to live with You forever!

Until that time of judgment when eternal life and eternal death are meted out, I echo David’s words to proclaim my trust in You. I acknowledge that You are “good and upright”, that “Your ways are loving and faithful.” And I ask that You would “deliver me from my enemies” and “keep me from shame.”

Show me more about You and the depth of Your love every day, and “teach me to walk in Your paths” – wherever You would lead me – without stumbling or turning away to the left or the right. Let me learn how Your truth should determine my actions, my words and my attitudes. Help me love my brother and my neighbor as myself.

I thank You for forgiving my sin as I continue to confess it before You: my disobedience, unjust actions, shortcomings and wrong attitudes. Instruct me and guide me every day, giving me strength to hold my tongue when I should, and courage to speak when I should.

I believe You have given me specific gifts and talents; help me use those to glorify You and to bless others. Bring people and resources to me that will empower and support these gifts. Help me be a guiding light for those who see me live my life, pointing them to You.

“My eyes are ever on You”, my Lamb, my Savior, my Lord. Amen

Exodus 11:1-12:13; Psalm 25:1-15

Nov 23 Mold me, make me holy

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Father, You gave Ezekiel a recap of the physical sacrifices that were to be offered to You, when and where and how in specific detail.  For You are a Holy God and the offerings and sacrifices provided atonement and consecration for Your people then.

Now comes Peter writing to remind believers that now they “are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices…”  The Israelites had to go to a specific place, the Temple, and have their sacrifices presented by priests.  But now believers’ bodies are the “temple” and believers, themselves, are the priests.  And the sacrifices offered are the spiritual sacrifices of praise, and a contrite heart.

You are Holy because of who You are.  But believers are made holy not by the sacrifices of goats and lambs with flour and oil; but “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”  Believers “purify yourselves by obeying the truth…born again…through the living and enduring Word of God.”

Further, Peter tells me to be holy in all I do: to “prepare [my] mind for action; be self-controlled.”   And “as an obedient child, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”  “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”

How do I do this?

Psalm 119 answers this, and so it has become my prayer.  “Teach me, O Lord, to follow Your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.  Give me understanding and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart.  Direct me in the path of Your commands; for there I find delight. 

Turn my heart toward Your statues and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word.”

Father, let me live and walk and worship according to these Words.  Let me be taught by You.  Break down whatever habits or tendencies I have that war against Your precepts or keep me from following Your path wholeheartedly.

Enrich me through Your unfailing love.  I lift my hands to You.  Amen

Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; I Peter 1:13-2:10; Psalm 119:33-48

Nov 10 Let Your light shine through us and overcome the darkness

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Father, I wonder if You see in my country what You saw in the rebellion and idolatry of Israel and Judah.

The list You make certainly seems familiar.  Of Israel You said she treated parents with contempt, oppressed and mistreated the defenseless, despised what is holy and desecrated the Sabbath, were liars, murderers, idolaters, lewd, lustful, immoral, killed for bribes, extorted unjust gain, committed robbery; all while forgetting You.  This list looks like the television line up for today’s entertainment!

Your judgment will be just on my country too.

But one thing was missing from Israel.  “You looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before You in the gap on behalf of the land so You would not have to destroy it, but You found no one.”

Father, I believe many today hear the call to build up the wall around our country.  It has been torn down by our sin and our turning from You.  But many are praying for the revival and healing of our country.  We cry out, distressed over the idolatry, over the evil that has taken root here.

We see that what is evil has been called good, and that our leaders and role models have fallen and led us away from You.  Father, I am grieved that my generation has exalted self over You.  And that we have allowed our freedoms to warp our sense of right and wrong.

Father, I pray for Your mercy and for Your healing.  Let Your light overcome the darkness that is covering this land.

I stand in the gap of the broken wall as a guard, sounding the alarm; that the time is late.  And the people need to awaken to the truth.  Your Truth.  And turn away from the evil that entices us.

Father, You have made a way for each person to be reconciled to You.  Sacrifices do not need to be made daily in a temple any longer.  You made the perfect sacrifice, once, for all.

Father, let those of us who pray for our country be enough.  See us, and do not destroy.  Let our fate be different from that of Israel.  Let there be spiritual revival in my country and in its people!  Amen

Ezekiel 22:1-31; Hebrews 10:1-17

May 3 Breath of Life

What an interesting picture You painted for the man I call ‘Nic at night’: the Pharisee who came to You at night to ask questions. When he asked about being part of the Kingdom of God, You said to enter the Kingdom of God, one “must be born of water and the Spirit.”

One birth is from a watery darkness, the other a spiritual darkness. Our physical birth is from a dark, water-filled womb into the light of the sun here on earth. Our spiritual birth is from the dark realm of the evil one into the Light of the Son and into the kingdom of God.

breathofGodAdam and Eve are the only humans born only of the Spirit. You created their bodies and breathed Your breath into them, giving them physical AND spiritual life. The Hebrew word ‘ruach’ is translated as breath and spirit. They were spiritually alive and were able to walk and talk and have relationship with You. When they sinned, the punishment was physical and spiritual death. Physically, their bodies would die. And spiritually, they were separated from You and no longer had the same intimate fellowship with You.

Every human being since them was born by water, but is not spiritually alive until Your ‘ruach’, Your breath or spirit enters them. This happens at their spiritual birth.

Probably the most well known scripture is in today’s reading. “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is Your provision for that spiritual birth. When a person believes the truth of Your sacrifice and accepts that offer of Your sacrifice paying for their sin, Your ‘ruach’, Your Holy Spirit enters into them.

person-864804_640

Thank You Father for Your great love. Thank You for having a plan of spiritual birth giving me eternal life even after sin had entered the world and affected every human being. Thank You for being willing to make the tremendous sacrifice for me to be able to join the Kingdom of God. Amen

John 3:1-21

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

cross-1448946_640

Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin. This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it. Then, when they are made aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed as a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death. These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty. Death is the penalty. The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord! You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news! There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world. All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep”, You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. For within You is the fountain of life! And when I have You, I have life! Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Dec 1 Help me love what’s eternal

Father, thank You for giving me Your Word so I will know how to live. Thank You that it usually does keep me from sin. But, if I mess up, thanks to You I have an advocate. Your atoning sacrifice bore the punishment and paid the price, “not only for [my sin], but for the sins of the whole world”.

John writes of how to live here, and also how to love. He says I am to love my brother and sister.   And I am not to love the world or anything in it. These are tall orders.

sandpapercrossed

Help me love my brother and sister: other believers who You have put in my life.Some of them are so loving to me that it is easy to love them back.   Some believers in my life have been like “iron sharpening iron”. We hone one another to be better and ‘sharper’. But some are like sandpaper to me. We do not get along, and although they may ‘sand off’ some of the rough spots on me, mostly they are just an irritant and cause sore, raw spots that hurt. These people are harder to love. They are the ones I need Your help with. Remind me that each one of them is one of Your amazing creations who You love greatly. I know that You love them; show me how to do the same.

Not loving the world is also a difficult task. While many things in the world are repulsive and easy to avoid, it was these same three things John mentions here that have drawn people into sin since Adam and Eve.

The first two are the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes”. The word “lust” here is ‘a strong desire of any kind, good or bad, but evil if not submitted to the will of God’. So whether it is for intimacy, or pleasure, or just comfort, I would usually rather feel comfort than pain, a full stomach than hunger, warm and safe than cold and fearful. It can be hard to turn away from things that offer me a sense of satisfaction in food, comfort or safety. But I need to be sure my flesh and my eyes are not pulling me to just go my own way and satisfy worldly appetites. Father, show me how to maintain proper limits and boundaries.

The third, “the pride of life” represents a moral arrogance or boasting of superior attitude or vanity. The world holds that the one with the best or the most wins. Your economy is different. It is not the elevation of possessions or self that will give me eternal life with You. Help me live a life of obedience to You and humility toward others.

I believe what John says: “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”. Do not let me invest in what will pass away, but in what is eternal. Amen

I John 2:1-17

Nov 23 Mold me, make me holy

Father, You gave Ezekiel a recap of the physical sacrifices that were to be offered to You, when and where and how in specific detail. For You are a Holy God and the offerings and sacrifices provided atonement and consecration for Your people then.

free-1785964_640Now comes Peter writing to remind believers that now they “are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices…” The Israelites had to go to a specific place, the Temple, and have their sacrifices presented by priests. But now believers’ bodies are the ‘temple’ and believers, themselves, are the priests. And the sacrifices offered are the spiritual sacrifices of praise, and a contrite heart.

You are Holy because of who You are. But believers are made holy not by the sacrifices of goats and lambs with flour and oil; but “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”. Believers “purify yourselves by obeying the truth…born again…through the living and enduring Word of God”.

Further, Peter tells me to be holy in all I do: to “prepare [my] mind for action; be self-controlled”. And “as an obedient child, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance”. “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”

opening clay.jpgHow do I do this?

Psalm 119 answers this, and so it has become my prayer. “Teach me, O Lord, to follow Your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of Your commands; for there I find delight.

Turn my heart toward Your statues and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word.”

Father, let me live and walk and worship according to these Words. Let me be taught by You. Break down whatever habits or tendencies I have that war against Your precepts or keep me from following Your path wholeheartedly. Enrich me through Your unfailing love. I lift my hands to You. Amen

Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; I Peter 1:13-2:10; Psalm 119:33-48

Nov 11 Forewarned and defended by You

“So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.” Father, these two ‘women’ represented Your people. So when You say “all women may take warning and not imitate you” you mean all countries and all peoples can learn not to make the same mistake the Israelites made with idolatry. I pray that my country will learn from Your example here and not imitate the idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem.

grateful-2006926_640Father, do not let this lesson go unnoticed. You are a just God and You judge rightly.   Those people only rejected the law of Moses and were judged. How much more will those be judged who live now and know of Your sacrifice on the cross?

You have made a new way for people today to approach You.   It is a better way! By Your shed blood, I have the privilege of approaching You boldly, with full assurance and confidence. So I draw near to You with a sincere heart, and ask that You would show me how to live, encouraging other believers, worshipping You, acting in love, doing good deeds, and defeating the enemy.

Father, the enemy uses all manner of evil to try to defeat me.   Help me, Lord; do not be silent. Fight against those who are against You and who attack me and my family. Show them that You are victorious while they are clothed with shame and disgrace.   And I will rejoice in my deliverance, extolling my Father with praise! Amen

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-31; Psalm 109: 1-31

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

cross-1448946_640

Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin. This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it. Then, when they are made aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed as a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death. These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty. Death is the penalty. The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord! You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with ‘sinners’ to show them the good news! There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world. All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep”, You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation! Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and “find refuge in the shadow of Your wings”. For “within You is the fountain of life”! And when I have You, I have life! Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9