“Do you offer God your best?” February 15

 

Are you offering your best to God? Or does He get the leftovers? What do you offer in the way of worship? Do you ever feel like you have little to offer Him? Are you offering your best to God? Or does He get the leftovers? What do you offer in the way of worship? Do you ever feel like you have little to offer Him?

And what about how we live? Do we live worthy of the sacrifice Christ made for us? I’ve included a clip from the movie Saving Private Ryan that always serves to remind me of that question.

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 1 & 2
Psalm 22.22-31
Proverbs 8.32-36
Matthew 27.27-54

 

Do you offer God your best?

 

Leviticus 1 & 2

Our Once and for All Sacrifice

 

Well, here we are starting a new book. Leviticus is the third book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), also called the Books of Moses.

Three of the themes which run through this book are: God’s holiness, mankind’s sinfulness and the need for a sacrifice. Of course, the sacrifices offered here in Old Testament times were only temporary coverings for sin. They point to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ, the only sinless, perfect, once and for all, sacrifice.

 

What We Offer in Return

 

I noticed several things as I read these two chapters. First, twice in chapter one the Israelites were told to bring an animal “without blemish.” These were to be the best of the herd or flock. They were not to say, “Well, we might as well sacrifice this one, he’s probably not going to make it anyway.” They were to give Him their best.

What do you offer up to God? Is it the things you really don’t care about anyway? Or do you say everything I have is Yours, Lord? I’m willing to lay down anything You ask me to lay down?

Do you offer Him the best? The best of your time (often first thing in the morning)? The best of your resources or just what’s left over? The best of your talents?

What do your offer Him in the way of worship? Do you worship wholeheartedly in every area of life or are there rooms in your heart and life where you worship self or some other idol?

The next thing I thought about was in verse 14, “And if … his offering to the Lord is of birds …” This was the offering of a poor man. It was also the offering that Joseph and Mary brought on the eighth day after Jesus was born. In and of ourselves, none of us has anything worthwhile to give God, but His grace is already more than enough. He’s just asking us to give what we have out of our love for Him.

I was struck again by how much preparation went into the sacrificial system of worship.

Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

How much time do you take to prepare your heart for worship, to make sure the sacrifice you offer is clean by confessing any sin? How much time do you take to ask Him to open your heart to His truths, to convict you of sin, to show you where you need to change and grow?

A week or so ago we read about the sacrifice required before Aaron and his sons were ready to go into the Holy of Holies. It was messy and bloody.

Offering ourselves as living sacrifices can be messy and bloody, too, as we allow the Holy Spirit to wield that sharp two-edged sword on our hearts!  Continue reading

“Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin?” February 9

 

Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin? - The Old Testament sacrificial system only provided a temporary covering for sin, like making minimum payments on our sin debt. Even though we no longer sacrifice bulls or lambs, many of us live much the same way, thinking a good deed here or showing up at church once in a while will keep the Creditor off our backs. Only to have the interest, the guilt and consequences of sin, pile up. But there is good news ...Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin?

 

The Old Testament sacrificial system only provided a temporary covering for sin, like making minimum payments on our sin debt. Even though we no longer sacrifice bulls or lambs, many of us live much the same way, thinking a good deed here or showing up at church once in a while will keep the Creditor off our backs. Only to have the interest, the guilt and consequences of sin, pile up. But there is good news …

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 29 & Exodus 30
Psalm 20.6-9
Proverbs 7.6-23
Matthew 25.1-30

 

“Are you trying to make minimum payments on sin?”

 

Exodus 29 & 30

The Final Sacrifice

 

Imagine … this Sunday morning before going in to worship, you have to stop outside the church and sacrifice a bull, then take some of the blood and put it on the altar with your finger and pour the rest of it on the altar. Afterwards you take the fat that covers the intestines, the fatty part of the liver, and the two kidneys and burn them. Then you take the bull’s waste, the skin, and the rest of the flesh out in the parking lot to be burned! All this after baking bread, having oil poured on your head, and taking a ritual bath! (And you thought just getting the family out of the house was hard!)

It’s a funny picture, but a serious subject. Why would God require all of that? And why would He want us to understand? Continue reading

February 24 “Blood, sex & the fear of the Lord”

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

blood

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

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 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 of all kinds 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.

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 dominated by the importance of Christ’s shed blood. Continue reading

February 15 “Life, death & sacrifice”

sacrifice

God asks us to offer up ourselves as living sacrifices (Rom. 12.1). How freely do you give yourself? Do you hold back parts of your heart and life for your own use or do you offer it all to Him?

Also today, read about loving death and rejecting life.

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 1 & 2
Psalm 22.22-31
Proverbs 8.32-36
Matthew 27.27-54

Leviticus 1 & 2

Our once and for all sacrifice

Well, here we are starting a new book. Leviticus is the third book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), also called the Books of Moses.
Three of the themes which run through this book are: God’s holiness, mankind’s sinfulness and the need for a sacrifice. Of course, the sacrifices offered here in Old Testament times were only temporary coverings for sin. They point to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ, the only sinless, perfect, once and for all, sacrifice.

What we offer in return

I noticed several things as I read these two chapters. First, twice in chapter one the Israelites were told to bring an animal “without blemish.” These were to be the best of the herd or flock. They were not to say, “Well, we might as well sacrifice this one, he’s probably not going to make it anyway.” They were to give Him their best. Continue reading

February 9 “Minimum payments on our sin”

minimum payment on our sin

The Old Testament sacrificial system only provided a temporary covering for sin, like making minimum payments on our sin debt. Even though we no longer sacrifice bulls or lambs, many of us live much the same way, thinking a good deed there or showing up at church once in a while will keep the Creditor off our backs. Only to have the interest, the guilt and consequences of sin, pile up. But there is good news …

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 29.1-46 & Exodus 30.1-38
Psalm 20.6-9
Proverbs 7.6-23
Matthew 25.1-30

The Final Sacrifice

Exodus 29.1-46 & Exodus 30.1-38

Imagine … this Sunday morning before going in to worship, you have to stop outside the church and sacrifice a bull, then take some of the blood and put it on the altar with your finger and pour the rest of it on the altar. Afterwards you take the fat that covers the intestines, the fatty part of the liver, and the two kidneys and burn them. Then you take the bull’s waste, the skin, and the rest of the flesh out in the parking lot to be burned! All this after baking bread, having oil poured on your head, and taking a ritual bath! (And you thought just getting the family out of the house was hard!)

It’s a funny picture, but a serious subject. Why would God require all of that? And why would He want us to understand? Because it pictures the seriousness and the cost of sin. Continue reading