Monthly Archives: February, 2012

Leap Year

Hi.  There is no reading today so I thought I would explain Leap Year.  Today is February 29!.

The Calendar is designed to match the Solar Year.  A Solar year is the time it takes for the Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun (about a year).  The EXACT time it takes is

  • 365 days
  • 5 hours
  • 48 Minutes
  • 46 Seconds

So the Calendar and the Solar year are a bit different.  It does not seem like a lot BUT after 4 years we add a whole quarter day.  Over the course of a century it adds a whole 25 days!  SO think about what that would do to the seasons!

Now think about how that would affect the FEASTS that are designed from the Lord.  Leap Year is VERY IMPORTANT!

Our Leap Day fixes the problem within an 11 Minute, 14 second margin.  Not Bad!  So to fix that we skip 3 Leap years a century.

The Egyptians are the ones that originally decided on a Leap Year, and the Romans later adopted then idea.  The real word for Leap Day is called “Intercalary”.

So Happy Intercalary Day!

Numbers 11-13

  • Quail from the Lord
  • Miriam and Aaron oppose Moses
  • 12 Spies

Click here

Chapter 11:  The first verse that caught my eye was verse 2,

 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.

 AGAIN, prayer and intercession was very powerful!   Then verse 11,

He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?

Is this what Pastors say every night when they see the congregation making bad choice after bad choice?  Ha.

  Then Verse 18 “We were better off in Egypt!”  Now we need to remember that there are two types of people here in the dessert, the Israelites and the Egyptians that followed (refer to Exodus 12:38)  However, it seems they are both complaining.  I think all our eyebrows went up an inch when we read of their complaining.  Should we title this chapter “What are they thinking??”.   People,  we are only 3 Days into the Journey. (again)

Everything we read in the Old Testament has a place in the New Testament and vice versa.  Chapter 11 is no exception.  Is it just me or when you think of the Holy Spirit we think of The Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down after Jesus ascended to Heaven.  If that is our (or my)  vision for the Holy Spirit we need to take a step back and examine our hearts for what the Holy Spirit is and is not.  It is NOT a product of the Lord, it IS the Lord and if the Lord has always been, then the Holy Spirit has always been too. 

 ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was  formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

So in Chapter 11 God brought down the Spirit and 70 men stood prophesying.  What is that anyway? I thought prophesying was “future telling”.  It is not.  It is speaking with the authority of the Lord.  It is being a vessel for the Lord to communicate.  Can that be “future telling” well sure if that is the message from the Lord, but often it is just giving a Word or a Message from the Spirit. 

 When Elad and Meded were with the Spirit (note the capitalization) Joshua was like “Hey Moses, that is your job, not theirs”. And Moses said something so beautiful, he said “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them”.  A cross reference that interested me in my Bible was Mark 9:38-40.  The same thing happened in the NT.  :)

Chapter 12  To refresh your memory of who these people are: Moses, Miraim and Aaron are brothers and sisters.  So we have a little sibling rivalry going on.    Moses wife was Etheopian.  Moses was in a mixed cultural marriage.  Miriam seems a little racist here.    My Bible says that Moses was humble about the situation, another Bible version used the word meek.  God loves meekness! (not weakness but meekness…huge difference..the meek will inherit the world! Meek means having the Power to Control yourself)

DO I need to point out AGAIN Moses prayer in these circumstances in 12:13.  AND….

Chapter 13:This would be a great place to print off the Exodus Map.  Let me see if I get this.  The Lord frees them from Slavery, feeds them Manna everyday, leads them with a pillar of cloud and a fire by night, the whole time saying I am going to bring you to the Land I promised you flowing with Milk and Honey….they are standing in Kadesh-barnea(find it on the map). Follow the map as you read.    They are right there!! On the edge of the promise land (oh how many of us have been there and messed up just as they are about to)  Basically it is theirs for the taking.  How do we know, because God said so!!!!!!!

(The Covenant in Gensis 15:)  “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,  Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,  Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

SO the 12 men go in (Circle in your Bible verse 6 and 8 Caleb and Hosea who is Joshua) and it is EXACLTY as the Lord promised.  Exactly. I mean the grapes are so plentiful that it took 2 to carry! SO what happens next?   “Are you Kidding me?? (wait, adjust your mirror so your face is right on it)  Ummmmm no, too nervous, scared, obstacles in the way,  some Giants in front of me, not sure, what if.   Caleb is the only one with faith: Verse 30 “Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said ” We SHOULD go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it“ .

I am not trying to defend their decision but here are some reasons as to WHY they may have made their decision. 

  • Descendants of Anak (a freakishly large group of people…possible the origin of Goliath )
  • The Amalekites lived there (All the way back to Genesis 36 ESAU’s descendants.  Remember Him!  These were awful awful people, their history of barbaric attacks are disgusting to say the least)  No one wants to meet up with them.
  • The Nephilim.  Not sure what this is.  Was mentioned back in Genesis 6 (long time ago).  Evidently something Large!  Possible they were fallen angles with Satan.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? ” Romans 8:31

 

Numbers 8-10

Man, yesterday I prayed “Lord give me SOMETHING to write about”.  Today I am “Lord…I can’t write all that!”   I feel like I am back in Genesis.  So much to chew on. Which was your favorite chapter today 8, 9, or 10?

Click here for reading.

Chapter 8:Setting apart the Levites.  When I read this today I read it as “I am the priests (believers become God’s priesthood, his ambassadors on this earth).  In chapter 8 there are 2 things going on.  There is purification on the inside and purification on the outside.  The sacrifice, the blood, purifies us on the inside (first, nothing else makes us right but blood).  Chapter 8 is loaded with a special phrase in the Bible, I recommend underlining it.  Underline any scripture that starts with After( You will see in chapter 8 there is:   After the….After you…After that….) Anyway, first the blood purifies us on the inside, we are “atoned” then we purify the outside.  It takes a physical act (pray about that…what are you changing in your life to be closer to God).  Then finally, in verse 22 “After that”the Levites came to do the work at the tent of meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons (The High Priest…who is our High Priest today)  Well, that is what Chapter 8 meant to me anyway.  You?

Chapter 9:The Passover. (If you are new to the Blog go back to Exodus 11-13ish)  In the overview,  I said there would be much complaining.  Are you ready for it?  Here is where it starts. “….but why can’t we??…it wasn’t our fault we went into a house with a dead body”.  This is the very second Passover in History and people are asking for a “bend in the rules” to favor their circumstances already. (Got your mirror out?? Go ahead say it…”are you kidding me”) 

Anyway, the Passover is being celebrated and God has said this numerous times already in the scripture Verse 12:They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones” when referring to the sacrifice animal.  My Bible has  a cross reference to John 19:36  Read John 19:28-37.  It is a must read.

Chapter 10:  …are you ready?? Since Feb 4th(21 days ago) we have been camped out! (2 years for them)  It has been an amazing 21 days you must admit.  But now we are ready,  right?    Ok, the cloud lifts, the trumpets blow (look at verse 9, anyone who may have read the Bible in the past might be thinking of Jericho…if this is your first time, Ohhhh wait for it) …and we go.  

We are following the Lord, not asking the Lord to follow us.

See map below.  We are leaving Mt. Sinai (10) heading towards Kadesh Barnea (12)

Bible map 2

Numbers 7

Chapter 7

OK.  That was the reading today.  I will be the first to say it, it was boring.  I really hate saying that but I want to be honest. 

However,  He wrote it for a reason, and maybe it really spoke to someone.  For me,  it all came down to the last 2 paragraphs.

1.  They are in the middle of the desert.  Resources were low.  And yet they still brought what was asked from the Lord.  They all brought equally, regardless of the size of the tribe.

2.Everyone contributed.  Everyone. Could you imagine if EVERYONE today participated in God’s leading.

3.  Maybe it was just me but I noticed the sequence.  Everyone brought offerings and sacrifices before the Lord, as we are to today too, then the Lord spoke (to Moses).

I had a story in my head that I heard at Church one day.  We have a connection with God through our Holy Spirit.  Each sin is like a brick (small or big, it is still a brick) So in our life we may have this Brick WALL  between us and God.  How can you hear through a brick wall?  This is why I sometimes cannot “hear” God.  Either I am  not even trying to listen or because I never got rid of the bricks, one by one we have to confess them AND repent from doing it again and the bricks will come down.  And we will see that He is always right there on the other side.

If you are behind:

IT is OK!  Listen, no one is going to hand you a trophy for finishing  on time.  The important part is that you are IN the Word.  However, if you really want to be with the accountability group…Skim over Leviticus and go back to it on a rainy day when sports are cancelled and you had that time earmarked for a sideline.

ALL OF THIS WILL BE REPEATED IN DEUTERONOMY!  Yes!  ALL OF IT.

Leviticus is written to the Priesthood (the Levites), WE Christians are now the Priesthood.

  • Leviticus 1-6: There are offerings and sacrifices that are to be made for our sin, communion and fellowship for a better relationship with the Lord. (Look in the handouts for a chart)
  • Leviticus 7: THERE IS LIFE IN THE BLOOD.  Blood is sacred since it is the shedding of the blood that SEALS a covenant.
  • Leviticus 8-10: Getting the priests ready (the Tabernacle is under construction)
  • Leviticus 11-15: Keep the camp clean of things that can grow and fester. (you can make a modern translation of that I am sure)
  • Leviticus 16:  At the time of a sin offering when Atonement is made for our sins….let go of the guilt!  You are FORGIVEN!
  • 17-22: Various Laws.  These were written for the men of the tribes.  We have them written on our hearts 🙂 .
  • Leviticus 23-25: Feasts. I love the feasts.  Look in handouts.  5 of the 7 are fulfilled.  Amen!
  • Leviticus 28-27: If you obey as a nation…then and if you DISOBEY as a nation then….. (ouch that hurt huh)

OK.  So that is Leviticus in a nutshell.  SET YOURSELF APART FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.  If I didn’t know you, would I know you were a Christian?  Not by your words but by your very presence!  You know what I am talking about…do you radiate Christ because you are so different from the other camps!

Now Numbers!

  • Numbers 1-2.  They take a census for the army, they have been sitting at the camp for 2 years.  They learned about what it means to be HOLY.  Time to go fight for the Promise Land
  • Numbers 3-5.  The Roles of the Levites
  • Numbers 6 : A Nazarite Vow.  (This is where we are today) 

Tomorrow again is going to drag a bit.  HOWEVER when we get to Numbers 10 you are going to want to be on this Journey with us. 

      On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.  Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran.  They set out, this first time, at the LORD’s command through Moses.  Numbers 10:11

Numbers 5-6

Click here for Chapters.

Chapter 5

This week I read in a new Bible, it’s a Holman.  It titles my sections much differently.  My NIV said “The Test for an Unfaithful Wife”, the Holman said “The Jealousy Ritual”.  But regardless both versions said the same thing to me, you take it to the Priest (Jesus)  and He will take you to the Lord.  We will always have a trial where God will consider us guilty if we have sinned, even secretly.  It’s called Judgement.  If not here on earth, one day at the Final Judgement.

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 2 12-16)

So let’s put this chapter 5 in perspective.  IF a woman feared the Lord, and believed, then she would believe what was written on the scroll.  She would confess and repent and not have to go through the ritual of the bitter water, because she would believe the curse to be true.  HOWEVER, a non believer would not confess and repent and not believe the bitter water and would still try to hide her sin.

Think of Salvation.  Do we believe or do we still think we can hide or even atone our own sin?  A non-believer does not believe in the Lord.  The non-believer is the one that drinks of the bitter water that will end in curse.

We,  as Gentiles,  may not be of the “law” as it was given to the Jews,  but God wrote it in our hearts called a conscience.  We know right from wrong, that is a gift God instilled in us.  But the last verse in Romans is important, God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.  That is exactly what was happening here.  God was  judging the woman’s faithfulness through the priest.

Chapter 6 The Nazirite Vow. (Love Love Love studying this)

This is a voluntary vow one could make to devote themselves to serve the Lord.  Nazirite in Hebrew means consecration, devotion and separation. The Vow would be a short time period or a lifetime vow. I find this so appropriate to read during the Lent season, a wonderful reminder that if we are called to fast, or sacrifice something unto the Lord (not all of us are)  it is about setting ourself apart, a devotion to the Lord, it is not about giving up chocolate so our butts thin out (that is called a diet).  Honor the Lord in your devotion.

OK, back to the Bible, Parents could nazarite vow their kids for life. This was probably the case with Samson…part of the whole Hair thing.   Ohhh Samson… he broke is Vow huh.  Touching the dead Lion and all. I guess he really wanted that honey.   During the time of the vow they were to

  •  abstain from any alcohol,
  • their hair or beard could not be shaved,
  • and they could not touch a dead body (not even a family member).

(A reading from the New Testament) But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.

John is John the Baptist in the first Chapter of Luke.  That might explain why John is always described at church service as “a hippie” looking guy.  I picture a ZZ Top guitar player when I think of John.  Most likely he was Nazarite Vowed for Life.

Well some great readings are coming up so I leave you with a blessing:

“The LORD bless you
and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” ‘(Numbers 6)

Read that blessing again, thinking about each verse.  That is beautiful!

Numbers 3-4

  • The Role of the Levites

(Did anyone’s Bible have a picture yesterday of the layout of the Tribes around the Tabernacle?  Chapter 2 verse 3?  Judah is at the ONLY  entrance into the Tabernacle.  Judah is at the Gate.  Who comes from the Line of Judah?….hint…starts with a J)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matt 7:13)

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:9

Click here for Reading

Chapter 3 verse 11: The LORD also said to Moses,  “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine,  for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD.”

 The LORD said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai,  “Count the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more.”  So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the LORD.

In Exodus 13 God instructed the Israelites to dedicate all their firstborn to the Lord at the time of Passover.  It was a substitute for the saving their lives at the the ”Passover” when the plague was set on the Egyptians.   So here God says, replace all the first borns this time with the men of the Levites for a specific job.  So They take a census of the Levite men (remember this was not done in yesterday’s reading because they are not one of the 12 now) 

OK, so they came up with 22,000 (verse 39).  Then the Lord said says…. ok, go back and count the Israelites that we would have had dedicated.  That number comes to 22,273 (verse 43).  Not good.  Remember, we always need something in exchange for redemption…”we are always bought at a price”, (Jesus was that price).  So what happens to the other 273, can they be redeemed??

OK, back in Exodus 30.  There was a paragraph I just didn’t write on while blogging (because I did not understand it to be honest).  Click here if you want to read it.   Well, now I understand it.  The Atonement Money.  So we can redeem the extra 273…that is why the shekels are being paid.

Numbers 1-2

  • The First Census
  • Arrangement of the Tribes.

Click here for Num 1-2

Was it riveting or what!  OK, here is the deal: as un-fascinating as that may have been it was still really important AND some cool stuff in there so let’s look at it.

What is going on here?  Verse 2 says:

“Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. 3You and Aaron are to number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army.

Why?

For the same reasons we list every name that is enlisting in our war today…Because Every Person Matters.  They are organizing their camps SO THAT they can go forward to conquer the Promise Land.  Geneology record is VERY important to the Hebrew Nations so that they can ensure they are from the line of Abraham.

 God will be leading about 3 million ( 603,550 men plus family) people 220 miles, and He knows there will be obstacles along the way.  So this is important.  Right from the beginning in Verse 3 he calls them “the  Army”.  So we learn that 603,550 men age 20 and older are censused.  Another reason God does this is because we are headed to the Promise land and the census will help with the division of land.

OK, from verse 5 to 15 there are 12 heads of the families mentioned. (I know I counted).  But wait, down in Verse 49 it says:

 The LORD had said to Moses: “You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites.

So we have 12 sections,  not including the Levites.  So that makes 13.  But I thought there were 12 tribes of Israel?

Go back to Genesis 48, seems like forever ago,  but it was only back to January 28, less than a month ago.  Remember Joseph married an Egyptian wife (a Gentile) , and had 2 sons named Manasseh and Ephraim.  Do you remember what happened on Jacob’s death bed, He blessed them as if they were his own.  (think about all that for a minute)  So under the name Joseph 2 tribes are branched out.  Are you following?  I want you to stop and think about this a little deeper.  Ask yourself “So are the 12 tribes that are about to head out to the Promise land all Hebrew?  NO!  Are you following.  Me and you were ALWAYS grafted into the way to SALVATION.

So are we in Jesus line?Do you ever think about that?  Please take a minute to look at Luke 3:23-37.  Hmmmm some of those names are really starting to make sense now, but more importantly skim to the bottom….the son of Adam.  The son of God. The answer is Yes.

Some things to look forward to:

  • Chapter 1 verse 51…”anyone else who approaches it is to be put to death.”   Will that happen? stay tuned.
  •   Names Names Names…eventually some will start to look familiar.
  • The Arrangement of the Tribes.  A whole chapter on that?  What does it matter?

Numbers Overview

The word Numbers in Hebrew is Bamidar, meaning “In the Wilderness“.  Well,  I can relate to that!  It’s funny how before never heard of Numbers to be honest.  We will be in the Wilderness with the Israelites for over 2 weeks.  I encourage us to really dig into our hearts as we read this.  Numbers will bring forth that “Unbelief hinders blessing”.  Something we all struggle with.

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said:   ”Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:12-14)

This book will help us to follow God, and be led by faith.  We will read how patient God can be with us as we learn to trust.  This book starts off right where Leviticus ended, at the base of Mount Sinai.  The Law has been given, the tabernacle has been built, the priests have their jobs, and we are ready to now go forward to the land flowing with milk and honey, the land that was promised to them by God himself.  All He asks is to trust in Him.  Sounds so easy.  So as we move forward we are going to be so tempted to say:

 “What is wrong with these people??”. 

Hey I have an idea….for the book of Numbers, let’s put a mirror near our computer so that when we say that…we are saying to ourselves?  OK, I am back, took me a minute because I have that magnifying side on my mirror…Yikes, where did those lines come from, Looks like Israel wandered on my face for 40 years!

What we just read  last week was all about preparation, how to come in fellowship with the Lord.  How to give God our sins so He can forgive them and let us go forward, closer to Him.  Now in a pillar of cloud and a fire by night we are to follow.  So for the next two weeks we will cover about 40years  and about 220 miles.  A distance that should not have taken that long to travel! (can you relate)

Ash Wednesday

Well, Good Morning!  Today on your calendar it might say ‘Ash Wednesday’.  Many of us may be heading to church today to have ashes put on foreheads in the sign of the cross.  Last year I read a scripture that I would like to share with everyone that touched my heart.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-8)

I think we should be extremely respectful of different styles of worships.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

With that said I think it is only fair to say that Ash Wednesday has NO Biblical origination.  Does that make it bad? No.   Many of our traditions began man-made so I think we need to examine each one personally to see Why we do them.  For example, Hanukkah (celebrated by Jesus himself) was a Tradition from the Maccabees, Advent was created by the Lutherans in Germany many years ago in an anticipation of the Christ, and the Catholics created Ash Wednesday sometime between 6th and 12th  century.  All can be extremely positive reflections of Jesus.

The Catholics will save the Palms from the previous Palm Sunday and burn them.  They will sprinkle what they call “Holy Water” and smoke it with incense.  Now that you have read the Tabernacle you can picture in your head the Laver of Water and the Alter of incense.  (Both symbols were fulfilled by Jesus so we must remember they can be symbols now, but have no value in worship).   

The ashes are referred to often in the Bible as a symbol of repentance.  However, many people (today) think it is the “act” of the ashes that cleanses and causes repentance.

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God! (Romans 11)

 So if you confess and repent of a sin and want to symbolically put the ashes on your head to remind yourself that is was the shedding of the blood of The Christ that now does the cleaning instead of the ashes from a burnt offering, and that we no longer have to sacrifice an animal.  Then celebrate that today.

On the other hand, a word of caution.  It would be extremely sinful to think that anything “done” to the ashes or to our bodies does anything to bring forgiveness.  For if that were true we are living as if Christ has not sacrificed His life for us, and that is extremely sinful.   Tradition and remembrance is “unto the Lord”, so absolutely set apart this day with Ashes, however,  “Self Acts” with the anticipation of forgiveness is legalistic and sinful.

I think the Lenten season could be a holy, set apart time for any family of any denomination, especially for children.  I am planning on doing it with my family for the first time this year.  Whether you celebrate Ash Wednesday or not it is still a time to start preparing or hearts for the tradition of  Good Friday and Easter, the Holiest Days on the Christian Calendar.