Living Appropriately–Exodus 22 Continued

Some issues are not as neat as others.  The Israelites were now a free people and needed to act responsibly socially as well as consider their dealings with life and property.  The way they dealt with sex, idolatry and sorcery could have long term implications as they entered Canaan where those things were both present and prevalent.

God called his people to be different.  They were to act in an appropriate way, even when the inappropriate was legal.  Witchcraft, sorcery, inappropriate sexual relationships all destroyed the culture and the ability to worship God and be selfless.  That is why God said no.

In our culture, we are called to be different as well.  There are many things our culture allows—that are simply inappropriate.  When we live our lives, we have to live in a way that honors God. If the things that we do dishonor him, their legality becomes unimportant.  God said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

God Bless You

 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.

18 “Do not allow a sorceress to live.

19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death.

20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.[e]

21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.

22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

 

No Free Land–Genesis 23

Their are no free gifts from strangers. Abraham knew God was giving him and his lineage the land of Canaan. But before that was to be a reality, Sarah died. He needed a place to bury her. The MEN in Canaan were glad to give him land–but then Abraham would be in league with the people of the land not with God.

Abraham paid a fair price to bury his wife. The men of the land had nothing to hold over him. We as a people need that same separation in our lives. We can be in the world, but we need to stay separate. Not weird, not withdrawn, simply not indebted to the world or its many entrapments.

If we can only be indebted to God, then we are free to speak the truth about God to the World. We are not bound by fear or deed. Then we can be free to see God do amazing things while we are traveling through. Help me Lord to get free and stay that way, during this amazing journey.

God Bless You

The Hittites replied to Abraham,

Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land

and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”

Ephron answered Abraham,

“Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”

Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.

So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded

to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city.

Wow You Are Not Kidding!–Genesis 15 Final

There Abram stood looking at the Stars and listening to God promise him the Land of Canaan and many descendants…and he asked the most transparent question imaginable–So how do I know what you promise will really happen…?  God says, “Son go get a Heifer, a goat and a lamb!”  Covenants, in those days, were not nicely drafted components of a contract.  Instead, Covenants were life and death promises that required absolute performance or absolute sacrifice. 

Specifically, the parties would cut an animal into quarters and lay them out on the ground walk between the quarters to signify that failure to perform on the covenant would require like treatment of the failing party! Ouch! Here God took 3 animals as if to say not only me, but the entire trinity makes this covenant.  The Heifer representing the father, the lamb representing the son and the Goat (Scape goat) representing the Holy spirit! God was serious.

That is the same level of commitment God has made to us.  If we will follow him he promises to redeem us from the sin we are enslaved to and restore us to a family relationship with him.  Take comfort, believer–God is not kidding!!!

God Bless You

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Praying to a Loving Father–1 John 5 Final

Pray according to his will…it is what every Father wants.  He wants to give us the desires of our heart.  He wants us, however, to know him.  He wants us to know what not to ask him about.  In his eyes, there are no small requests.  But, he does not want us to ask for things that go against his very nature.

God is not a stick in the mud.  He created the world and its beauty.  He wants us, however, to follow him so that we can experience it in freedom.  Don’t ask God to let you run the show…he loves you too much.  Don’t ask him to make you great at your sin or dependencies.  Do not ask him to put you in harm’s way.  No child would ask these things of their dad.  It is OK , however to ask him to promote you, protect you and provide for your needs–that is his sweet spot.  He is not only good at it; but, he loves to do it.  He truly wants your desires to be eternal–so he can give them to you all day–every day!!!

God Bless You

 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

Confession is Great for the Soul–1 John 1 final

I heard in a sermon a few weeks ago that no one simply drifts into a great life.  We were designed by God to be intentional and God Like.  That is why sin has had such a terrible impact upon us and upon the world as a whole.  The natural man defaults away from God and drifts toward a selfish and empty life.  Even with eternity in the balance, men choose to be separated from God naturally.

But God chose differently.  Through his spirit, we are drawn back to him.  In that, if we confess our sin–our natural desire to be Lord of our own life, and follow his lead and begin the personal relationship with him as Lord of our lives–our affirmative decision to surrender allows him to forgive us and restore our eternal life and journey with him.

While simple, it is by no means easy.  we have to choose each day to follow him and not run our own show.  But, when we choose that life–we have a Great Life Indeed!

God Bless You

This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

An Eye Witness’s Joy–1 John 1 Part 1

We sometimes forget that the New Testament was written by the guys that hung out with Jesus.  Their accounts were given and their encouragement shared because they were there and saw God on earth.  It had to be amazing to walk with Jesus every day.  To see the miracles, to hear the messages and to watch the sacrifice–left an indelible mark on the men he chose.  John, his beloved disciple stood by him to the end and through the resurrection.  He adopted Mary.

When we read this word, we are able to enjoy the first hand account of God’s love for us.  We should be changed when we hide the news of his amazing life and grace in our hearts.  He was the Lord God–He brought us life and light and a future. We should never doubt his impact on our lives and the lives of all who know him. We need to take hold of the amazing view we get of God through those that went before.  Thanks Lord for showing us who you are!

God Bless You

 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning,[a] whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy

The New Covenant–Hebrews 10

There is so much rhetoric about the old and new covenants in the Bible and theological circles. To greatly simplify–God set a placeholder for his people–It was a series of visible ways to describe the process to come.  He gave them laws, he set up a system of sacrifices, he gave them priests and prophets to bridge the gaps between God and man.  All of these things were done to prepare for the coming of Christ.  Once He arrived, those other things became obsolete.

We could never keep the law in its entirety.  We could never wipe away our sins with sacrifices.  We could never have a meaningful relationship with God by going through a priest or prophet. 

The new covenant whites the laws on our heart–We want to follow the Lord because we love him not because we believe the rules wil save us.  We are freed from making sacrifices, because he did that for us.  Finally we are granted direct access to God–forever and no longer need an intermediary.  The new covenant is personal and requires only that we trust God and follow him.  God makes it simple, bu, he never promises it will be easy–Follow him daily and closely.

God Bless You

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

16
“This is the new covenant I will make
with my people on that day,[c] says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[d]

17 Then he says,

“I will never again remember
their sins and lawless deeds.”[e]

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices