“Why does the Bible talk so much about blood?” February 24

 

Animal sacrifices, circumcision, murder, the blood of Christ ... why does the Bible talk so much about BLOOD?Animal sacrifices, circumcision, murder, the blood of Christ … why does the Bible talk so much about BLOOD?

What about the different kinds of laws? Leviticus talks a great deal about the ceremonial laws including the blood sacrifices, but what about the moral laws having to do with sexual sin covered in chapter 18? Why is it one set of laws still applies and another doesn’t?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 17 & 18
Psalm 27.1-3
Proverbs 10.9
Mark 4.21-41

 

Why does the Bible talk so much about blood?

 

Leviticus 17 & 18:

The Sacrificial Law

 

Blood … blood … blood … why does the Bible talk so much about blood?

When Adam and Eve sinned against Him, God Himself shed the blood of animals and symbolically covered their sins by covering their nakedness with the skins (Gen. 3.21).

When God confronted Cain for murdering his brother, He said, the voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Ex. 4.10).

God commanded animal sacrifices to cover the people’s sins and we see here in chapter 17 that He took it very seriously when that blood was offered to demonic gods (vv. 3-4, 7).

God commanded the men of Israel to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant they had with Him (Gen. 17.9-14) … more blood. And not everyone understood; in Exodus 4 Moses’ wife called him a “bloody husband” when her son was circumcised (Ex. 4.25-26).

Then there were commands not to eat meat with the blood, commands to sprinkle blood, and just before the exodus, blood was applied to the frame of the door to protect God’s people (Ex. 12.7, 22).

And the New Testament is full of references to the blood of Christ and its significance. Continue reading

Read Through the Bible: “Beginnings, Wisdom & Educated Fools” January 1

 

Bible in a Year: Beginnings, Wisdom & Educated Fools _ You don't have to be a believer for long to realize that God's truth often clashes with the world's interpretation of truth, whether it's theology and science, the source of true wisdom, or how we view God. But each of us has to decide, "What will be our source of truth?"

 

Happy New Year Everyone,

Whether you’ve been following me for a long time or you’re new to the blog, I’m glad you’re here.

Every time we set out on this adventure through the Bible, we’ll be changed … no matter how many times we’ve read it before or if it’s our first serious attempt.

Maybe you’re a new believer or have always wanted to read through the Bible? No matter what your reason, you’re in the right place!

Welcome, to the “Bible in a Year” at Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible, adding practical commentary as we go along. To keep it interesting, we read some in the Old Testament, some in the New, a portion of a Psalm and a verse or two in Proverbs each day.

 

Why Read Through the Bible?

 

If you’re a newcomer or merely contemplating “why” or “if” you should join us in this journey through the Bible, let me share with you some thoughts from Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

In the opening chapter Whitney outlines three ways that God grows us spiritually. The first is through people. God uses our friends and family, our co-workers, our pastors and teachers, parents and children, and even our enemies to grow us.

“As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27.17).

The second is through circumstances: financial problems, relational problems, world events, natural phenomenon like the weather, sickness, and all kinds of tests and trials.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8.28-29).

The third is through the spiritual disciplines like Bible intake, prayer, fasting, service, worship, journaling and others. Whitney uses the stories of the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Lk. 18.35-42) and the tax collector Zacchaeus (Lk. 19.1-10) to explain the importance of the spiritual disciplines.

Bartimaeus, when he heard that Jesus was approaching, over the objections of others in the crowd, cried out repeatedly for Jesus to have mercy on him. And Zacchaeus, a wealthy but short tax collector, climbed up into a sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus. Both of them, unashamedly, placed themselves in His path. And in both cases Jesus stopped and responded to their desire for an encounter with Him.

When we practice the spiritual disciplines we do much the same thing. We place ourselves in Jesus’ path and, just as He did with Bartimaeus and Zachaeus, He responds to us and communes with us.

Once Zachaeus encountered Christ, he was a changed man. He promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to repay with interest all the taxes he had wrongfully collected. Just like Zachaeus when we spend time with Jesus through His Word, He changes us from the inside out and we grow in Christ likeness.

“… discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4.7b-8).

So, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll decide to join me. Simply add your email address here.

 

Let’s Get Started!

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 1 & 2
Psalm 1
Proverbs 1.1-7
Matthew 1.1-25

 

Beginnings, Wisdom & Educated Fools

 

Genesis 1 & 2:

In the Beginning

 

I love the book of Genesis. It contains this wonderful sweeping view of history, as well as, so many foundational truths that have application for our lives each and every day!

In chapter 1 we see the creation account—God’s wonderful record of His six-days of creating the world and everything in it. Man has since put forth his theories of evolution, of the “big bang,” of “carbon dating,” and the like. But God already gave us “the truth.” It is truth because God has proclaimed it, but more and more scientists are willing to admit that much of what has been called science in this area has little to substantiate it. In fact, many facts have to be ignored or explained away for one to believe much of what has been put forth in the name of science.

You don’t have to be a believer for long to realize that God’s truth often clashes with the world’s interpretation of truth, whether it’s theology and science, the source of true wisdom, or how we view God. But each of us has to decide, “What will be our source of truth?” Will it be fallen man or God’s inspired Word?

I’m not against true science, but I believe all true science backs up God’s truth. In reality, those theories which oppose God’s Word are really belief systems—secular religion—and take much more “faith” to believe than the truth! If you want more information about this subject you can go to a number of websites including the Institute for Creation Research.

So what do we learn from Genesis 1 & 2? Continue reading

“What is the key to the Christian life?” November 17

 

Key to the Christian Life

What is the key to the Christian life?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 25 & 26
Psalm 128.1-6
Proverbs 28.25
Hebrews 11.17-40

 

What is the key to the Christian life?

 

Hebrews 11.17-40:

Hall of Fame of Faith

 

As we continue through the “Hall of Fame of Faith,” notice that all the Old Testament saints listed throughout this chapter received the blessings of God “by faith.” They didn’t achieve great things for God because of any inherent goodness in them, nor did they receive it because of their own bravery or intelligence or any other characteristic, but rather, through faith. The same is true today.

In fact, faith runs through all our readings today: faith to be saved (Eph. 2.8-9), faith to trust God’s ways in our Proverbs reading, faith to live the Christian life (2 Cor. 5.7), faith in prayer (Jas. 1.6, 5.15), faith to keep us from the pride we see condemned throughout Proverbs, and more …

We are to do all that we do in faith. In fact, Scripture says, anything not done in faith is sin (Rom. 14.23). We might even say that faith is the key to the Christian life. Over and over again we must put our faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, the Holy Spirit’s power, and the Father’s faithfulness in our lives.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Ezekiel 25 & 26:

Those Who Put Their Faith in Him

 

In these two chapters God was declaring his intent to bring judgment on the pagan nations around Judah and Israel. But even while He brought judgment on those nations, He always responded in mercy to anyone who put his or her faith in Him. We see a great example of this in our New Testament reading in Hebrews where we are told that Rehab, a harlot, was saved because she put her faith and trust in the One True God (Heb. 11.31).  Continue reading

“Unborn Babies, Ungodly Friends & Turning the World Upside Down” July 12

 

Unborn Babies, Ungodly Friends & Turning the World Upside Down - As a nation we will answer to God for our failure to defend the fatherless. Pray that our nation as a whole and our leaders, in particular, would repent and change. In the meantime, let's commit to do all we can for the most innocent and helpless of the fatherless, our unborn babies. Can being unequally yoked in marriage, in business, and in our close friendships affect our walk with God?As a nation we will answer to God for our failure to defend the fatherless. Pray that our nation as a whole and our leaders, in particular, would repent and change. In the meantime, let’s commit to do all we can for the most innocent and helpless of the fatherless, our unborn babies.

Can being unequally yoked in marriage, in business, and in our close friendships affect our walk with God?

With all the evil in the world, can believers still turn the world upside down?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 19 & 20
Psalm 82.1-8
Proverbs 20.29-30
Acts 17.1-15

 

Unborn Babies, Ungodly Friends & Turning the World Upside Down

 

Psalm 82.1-8:

Our Failure to Defend the Fatherless

 

The word “god” here refers to world leaders. All authority comes from Him and ultimately all the world’s leaders will answer to Him. This phrase from our reading in 2 Chronicles comes to mind, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD …  therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you.”

Verse 3 says, “Defend the poor and fatherless …” If there is any area where our leaders, the political movers and shakers, the media, and people as a whole, have lost any fear of the Lord, it’s in this area.

We may be defending the poor, though not necessarily wisely, but we have horribly ignored the second part, that of defending the fatherless. Instead, as a nation, by making abortion a woman’s right, we have decided to simply destroy many of the “fatherless” as an inconvenience! Pray that the fear of God would once more rule our country!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

2 Chronicles 19 & 20:

Rebuked by God for the People with Whom He Associated

 

Verses 19.1-2, “Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely to his house in Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you.'”

Here was a man who loved God and obeyed Him in many areas, but God was greatly displeased with him because of the people with whom he associated!  Continue reading

“On Wax, Cracks & Happy Hearts” June 26

 

heart

If you did a heart check, how would you describe your heart attitude this past week? In your relationships with others? How about before Sunday worship? How have you approached God privately? Do you worship God in spirit and in truth? Do you obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 15 & 16
Psalm 78.12-16
Proverbs 19.22-24
Acts 7.44-60

 

Wax, Cracks & Happy Hearts

 

1 Chronicles 15 & 16:

By the Way … Bless Me

In Chapter 15 we find David once again preparing to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, but this time he does it in a way that is honoring to God. Whether he spent time reading the scrolls or talking to the priests, he had learned the importance of following God’s instructions for moving it.

Sometimes we, too, have a heart to do something for God, but we jump out there and do it without really seeking to understand if it’s the way He wants it done or if it’s even His will. Instead of prayerfully seeking Him, we go do our own thing and then ask God to bless our plan.

Everything the Israelites did in regard to the ark was part of their worship, recognizing that He is God and remembering to reverence Him.

 

In Spirit and Truth

When it comes to worship, we can be thankful that we have a new and better covenant as the book of Hebrews tells us. We are no longer under the ceremonial law with all of its restrictions and prohibitions (like “don’t touch the ark, unless you’re a Levite”). But the Old Testament laws were given so that we might better understand who God is.
In this case, that He is a holy God and should be honored as such.  Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “What is the ‘fear of the Lord’?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 22 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

This week’s question: “Who among you fears the Lord?” (Isaiah 50.10).

What an important question! As Hawkins points out, very few today live with a genuine fear of the Lord. Fewer still could explain what that means.

He goes on to say that we live in a “no fear” culture. The idea of fearing God makes many professing believers uncomfortable. As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help remembering that a church (not a doctrinally sound one) I attended many years ago, went so far as to remove the term “fear the Lord,” from one of the songs they sang.

 

So what does it mean to “fear the Lord”?

Hawkins says:

Does fearing the Lord mean living in a constant state of fright or concern that if we say something or do something wrong, God will zap us with some big bolt of retribution? Nothing could be further from biblical truth. The most common biblical word for fear means to stand in awe before God with such reverence and respect that that reverence becomes the controlling motivation of our lives.

(T)his fear is not the fear that He might put His hand of retribution on you, but the fear that He might take from you His hand of blessing and anointing.

How has this lack affected the church?

Without having God on the throne, without having a priority to honor and glorify Him, without living in a spiritually healthy fear of Him, we are allowing the New Testament gospel to be pushed aside by the New Trendy gospel. The New Testament gospel emphasizes self-denial, but the New Trendy gospel emphasizes self-fulfillment. The New Testament gospel is focused on Christ and His life, death, resurrection, and plan for man’s redemption, but the New Trendy gospel is focused on man and his desire for happiness and purpose. These two gospels are in diametric opposition to each other. The question of Isaiah will never be asked among those with a new trendy mind-set.

How can we learn to live in the fear of the Lord? The words of Solomon in Psalm 2.1-5 summarize it very well:

¹ My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

Blessings,
Donna

 

Next week’s question: “Is it true?” (Daniel 3.14).

Last week’s question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6.8). Read it here.

 

 

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.

Blessings,
Donna

 

 NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup

Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they bring glory to God.

If you are new to the linkup let me know in the comments so I can say hello and follow you back.


Don’t forget to sign up to receive the blogs everyday by clicking the links below:

 

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Sign up for special “Christian Living” posts on various subjects. Also sign up here to receive notices of the LINKUP and our study through The Jesus Code by O.S. Hawkins.

 

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November 17 “Faith, faith & more faith” + LINKUP

man with raised finger pointing upFaith runs through all our readings today: faith to be saved, faith to trust God’s ways, faith to live the Christian life, faith in prayer, faith to keep us from pride, and more …

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 25 & 26
Psalm 128.1-6
Proverbs 28.25
Hebrews 11.17-40

Ezekiel 25 & 26:

All who put their faith in Him

In these two chapters God was declaring his intent to bring judgment on the pagan nations around Judah and Israel. But even while He brought judgment on those nations which had no covenant relationship with Him, He always responded in mercy to anyone who put his or her faith in Him. We see a great example of this in our New Testament reading in Hebrews where we are told that Rehab, a harlot, was saved because she put her faith and trust in the One True God (Heb. 11.31).

 

Psalm 128.1-6:

The fear of the Lord

Verse 1, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.”

This is a reverential fear of the Lord, an acknowledgment that He is God. He is the Potter; we are the clay. It’s an understanding that His way is good and that He has the right and the authority to command His creations to live as He sees fit. Continue reading

September 28 “Could it happen to you?”

assuming, shocked man with hands on faceI can’t imagine anything worse than believing you’re alright with God and when you stand before Him, hear these words, “I never knew you.” Could it happen to you?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 47 & 48
Psalm 111.7-10
Proverbs 26.11-12
Galatians 6.1-18

 

 

Isaiah 47 & 48:

Trusting in self, false gods or sorceries

In chapter 47, the Babylonians thought they were strong and secure and untouchable. They trusted in themselves, their false gods and their sorceries. They had set themselves against God and would soon be judged.

Like the Babylonians many today are busy enjoying their ease and success and power. Many of them have set themselves against God. They belittle His people as weak and God as merely a crutch. They want to make their own rules. Their first commandment is “Thou shalt not be intolerant of anything I want to do!” Even when they claim to believe in Him, they pervert the Word of God, twisting it to make it say the opposite of what it does.

They wrongly interpret God’s patience and tolerance.

“They have lied about the LORD and said, ‘He won’t bother us! No disasters will come upon us. There will be no war or famine’” (Jer. 5.12 NLT).

Instead of seeing God’s patience and mercy as an opportunity to repent, they decide there will never be a day of accounting. Continue reading

August 31 “Our sin’s effect on our children”

imagesCAYZFQ3Z

Often when we harbor some sin, we console ourselves by claiming it only affects us. But whether we sin or whether we choose righteousness, we never do it in isolation. Our sin’s effect on our children and others can be profound and long lasting.

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 11 & 12
Psalm 103.15-22
Proverbs 24.13-14
1 Corinthians 11.1-16

Ecclesiastes 11 & 12:

Life is short. Spend it well.

Chapter 12.13-14:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

We might sum up the book of Ecclesiastes by saying. Life is short. Spend it well. Enjoy the journey and above all, fear God and keep His commandments. Continue reading

July 12 “In defense of our unborn babies”

imagesCA9L1C1J

As a nation we will answer to God for our failure to defend the fatherless. Pray that our nation as a whole and our leaders, in particular, would repent and change. In the meantime, let’s commit to do all we can for the most innocent and helpless of the fatherless, our unborn babies.

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 19 & 20
Psalm 82.1-8
Proverbs 20.29-30
Acts 17.1-15

2 Chronicles 19 & 20:

Rebuked by God for the people he associated with

Verses 19.1-2, “Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely to his house in Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you.'”

Here was a man who loved God and obeyed Him in many areas, but God was greatly displeased with him because of the people he associated with!

But, notice that he didn’t respond to the prophet in pride or anger. It appears he had a teachable attitude. I believe he repented and recommitted himself to doing God’s will.

God still corrects and rebukes His children through the reading and preaching of the Word and, at times, through people. How do you respond when rebuked by God? Continue reading