Category Archives: Devotional Studies Through the Bible

Excerpt From Devotions From Leviticus: Living a life of holiness


“So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.” 

Leviticus 5:5

Some of my favorite gleanings from the Word of God is the clear picture of the unchanging character of mankind. What we struggle with today is that which we struggled with yesterday. The result of sin and the way it manifests itself in us has not changed at its root. This is why the Scriptures never lose their relevance. In this chapter we see the sin of withholding information, the sin of touching something unclean, the sin of speaking thoughtlessly, and the sin of mishandling the Lord’s holy things. The guilt offerings covered in Leviticus chapter five also required more than just the blood of the animal sacrifice. These offerings required a verbal confession as well as restitution to be made to the one the offense was against.

Leviticus chapter five begins with the sin of someone not testifying as a witness when they had testimony concerning a case. The Lord points out to us that this is a matter of guilt even if we didn’t realize we had testimony concerning a case until after the trial began or even years after it ended. The moment we realize we have testimony concerning a situation we are guilty of not speaking out and our guilt remains until we make what we know known. In the Jewish Study Bible, Baruch J. Schwartz shares in the commentary that the guilt offerings in Leviticus chapter five “aim to counter the notion that duties weaken with time and eventually cease to exist.” He goes on to say that, “the opposite is the case: severity of negligence whether physical impurity or of moral or legal obligation, intensifies the longer it lasts.”

We live in the day of the NDA, the non disclosure agreement. According to nondisclosureagreement.com, “Non-disclosure agreements are legal contracts that prohibit someone from sharing information deemed confidential. The confidential information is defined in the agreement which includes, but not limited to, proprietary information, trade secrets, and any other details which may include personal information or events.” We can sign all the legal agreements we want here on this earth, but it will not hold in heaven. If we have testimony that is truth that alters the judgment concerning a case of any kind we are obligated to the One who judges all to speak up and speak out. We are accountable and there is no time limitation on accountability to our Everlasting Father the Eternal God.

We live in a day when people swear thoughtlessly with their lips and speak thoughtlessly with promises they never intended to keep. This sin is intensified because today that thoughtless speech is typed out and posted on a world wide web that literally travels the globe. Once that click is made to share that careless and thoughtless word, there is no way for the one who spoke it to take it back. Whether it was a promise to do good or a threat to do evil we can’t erase it today, even if we realized we were the ignorant ones when we spoke it. In this day of social media, when we become aware of new facts and discover our wrong, we can’t fix it with a simple apology. We can try, but we cannot trace and erase how far thoughtless speech spreads.

Moving on to touching that which is unclean, we as Christians could brush right on past this one as we are not bound by these particular laws concerning carcasses, or we can take Leviticus 5:2 and see it from a relevant perspective. A carcass is a dead thing. In Ephesians 2:1-2 we read, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” In Hebrews 6:1-2 we read, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.” In Matthew Henry’s  Concise Commentary he writes concerning Leviticus 5:2 and says, “Though his touching the unclean thing only made him ceremonially defiled, yet neglecting to wash himself according to the law, was either carelessness or contempt, and contracted moral guilt. As soon as God, by his Spirit, convinces our consciences of any sin or duty, we must follow the conviction, as not ashamed to own our former mistake.” 

In 1 Peter 1:14 we are encouraged, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.” Our God makes concessions for the fact that we are flesh. He gives us room to fail out of our ignorance, but our ignorance is not an excuse to remain in that failure once the truth has been made known to us. Sometimes we just do not realize that we have been hanging around dead things. Sometimes we don’t recognize our dead works for what they are, but once we do He gives grace to forgive us our sin and He also gives grace that we might repent and take action to make restitution for the damage our ignorance caused us and those around us. 

Our God even gives us grace when it is His holy things that we have damaged. In Leviticus 5:15-16 we read, “If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the Lord’s holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord: a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.” The phrase “holy things” in this verse is the Hebrew word qodesh and it means apartness or sacredness. The Strong’s Concordance adds that it is a consecrated thing, dedicated thing, hallowed thing, holiness, most holy day, portion, thing, saint. 

In 1 Peter 1:15-16 the scriptures go on to say, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Then in 2 Peter 2:9-10 we read, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” The holy things of the Lord are not just pieces of furniture and utensils and altars and incense that are found in the temple, they are also the people of God. 

We do not have to intentionally hurt someone to be guilty of hurting them. We do not have to intentionally act unfaithfully to be guilty of doing so. Our lack of intent does not make the sin, nor the hurt it possibly caused, any less. Leviticus 5:17 reminds us that the guilt is there even if we are unaware of our sin. Therefore the moment we become aware we have a choice, we can humble ourselves, repent, and follow through with confession and restitution or we can allow our pride to keep us in our guilt. In our guilt we remain unforgiven and separated from the Lord, our sin unatoned for, and as a result the consequences of our actions continue to ripple through our life affecting not just us, but everything and everyone around us.

In Matthew 5:22-24 Jesus taught, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” The Lord has made it so easy for us to make it right. In James 5:16 we read,  “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” Then in 1 John 1:9 we are told, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is no reason, no excuse, to walk around guilty before the Lord and guilty before one another when our God has made the way for us to be forgiven and reconciled.

Oh Father,

It is so hard sometimes to admit that we have hurt someone by our silence. It’s hard sometimes to admit that we have sinned against someone by our words, especially if it was unintentional. It is hard sometimes to admit that we have been hanging around and messing around and wasting time with dead things. It is hard sometimes to admit that we are guilty of mishandling Your holy things. It’s hard, but if we are ever to be who You have called us to be we must be willing to admit it, confess it, and carry out the action needed to address it and make restitution for it. Oh Father, might we be bold and courageous enough to face ourselves so that we can face You. My Jesus, I know that I have been guilty and I know that as I grow and mature in You that You are going to open my eyes to more and more of my actions and words that have sinned against you against others so that I, as well as those affected by my words and actions, can be set free and forgiven. Give me the strength and the confidence to see the truth You reveal to me and the heart to follow through in the power of Your Spirit.

My Jesus, I love you and it’s in Your name I pray, 

Amen

Taking Responsibility

“Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty;” 

Leviticus 4:13

We usually want to point our fingers at others and disassociate ourselves from those we believe are committing acts of sin. In the United States we divide ourselves up in the us and them categories whether it be in politics or religion or lack thereof. We pick sides and we want only our perceived guilty side to take the blame and rarely does anyone in authority step up and choose to take responsibility for the choices of those living under their authority. 

In 2020, here in the US, we have the Baby Boomers versus the Millennials with the Generation Z coming up quickly behind them. We have the Baby Boomers being blamed for criticizing and demeaning the Millennials for all that is going wrong in the world while the Millennials point the fingers back to the Boomers. What we don’t often see is the Baby Boomers, who are now the “elders” of our families, churches, and even our nation taking responsibility for what is deemed wrong in our homes, in our churches, and in our nation.

In the days of the nation of Israel’s birth when the Lord was giving these instructions for the sin offerings for the people we see that the elders were to take responsibility and action for the sin of the congregation. When it was discovered that the assembly was not walking in accordance with the command of the Lord the elders were not to stand up and point fingers at the people. They were, instead, to take the sin of the congregation upon themselves and bring it before the Lord.

It was the responsibility of the elders to teach the congregation. It was the responsibility of the elders to be the guides and the coaches and the examples to the generations that followed them. If error was found in the congregation it was not automatically assumed that it was rebelliousness of the youth but it was deemed as something unknown now becoming known and it was dealt with according to the law of God. 

The sin offering for the unintentional sin of the congregation once again would be the largest and most costly offering, a bull. The blood of the bull would also be taken and placed on the horns of the altar before the Lord which was in the tent of meeting. The blood of this offering would also be sprinkled before the Lord in front of the veil. This offering was as serious as the offering of the priest for it was just as far reaching. The elders took responsibility for the entire congregation’s sin and therefore in their forgiveness the entire congregation was forgiven. This is the grace and mercy of our God at work.

It is possible for an entire nation to be led astray and into wrong thinking and wrong actions by having the wrong perspective due to the lack of instruction of a few. Elders assuming something should be known and therefore not purposely teaching it snowballs into a generation being completely ignorant of those particular things. This ignorance leads to error and sometimes it takes a while for that error to become known. 

It is also possible for us to be living and teaching error, but be unaware that we are doing so because we cannot see it within ourselves. However, when the fruit of our lives and teaching begins to be manifested through the lives of those who live around us and learn from us, then we can finally see through them that there is error coming from us. The mercy and grace of our God makes a way for us to address this error without it leading to blaming and choosing sides and wrongful prosecutions. The elders simply acknowledge it, own it, bring it before the Lord, and it is forgiven and we change and move on in our forgiveness and knowledge. 

When our children were young there were many times and many things that I would see them say and do that I would react to and wonder why in the world they were behaving that way or saying something that way. Then I would hear it or recognize it afterward coming from myself. I had never recognized it in myself before. I had never seen it as erroneous or unkind or even annoying when it came from myself, but when I watched it lived out in them it was different. In those moments I had a choice to make. I could continue to blame and discipline them or I could take personal responsibility. I have learned that taking personal responsibility as “the elder” has never failed to change them as well as me. 

In 1 Peter 5:1-5 we read, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

Could it be in the days of the giving of Leviticus that the younger could easily submit to the elder because they knew the elder was taking responsibility for them before God. The elder could in return be humble to the younger because they recognized that the younger simply lived out what they themselves had modeled before them. There was to be no finger pointing or blaming among the people. They were all to know and understand that we all are in need of the mercy and grace of the Lord our God. Here in Leviticus 4:13-21 all pride was laid aside and the elders humbled themselves before the Lord taking responsibility for the sin of the congregation and in this act of obedient faith the entire nation would find forgiveness. 

Oh Father,

Your grace and mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. As I study through the book of Leviticus I don’t see legalism, I see provision for forgiveness. I see a God who loved us in spite of ourselves and knew how we would fail Him again and again, but made a way for us to have a relationship with Him anyway. I see a Holy God who takes responsibility for His people. I see a Creator who does not point fingers or cast blame, but instead takes the sin of others upon Himself. Jesus, thank You for being the example that we can follow. You look past our ignorance and offer us forgiveness in our repentance. You do not hold our lack of knowledge against us, but meet us where we are and lead us to Yourself. May we in our forgiveness and knowledge of Your truth do likewise for others and lead them to You.

My Jesus, I love You and it is in Your name I pray,

Amen

A Little More From Devotions From Leviticus

“Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt”

Leviticus 2:13

The fact that the Lord requires that every grain offering be seasoned with salt is such an interesting concept. It’s one of those verses in Scripture that makes you stop and wonder what in the world is the big deal about salt? The term “covenant of salt” is only used three times in Scripture. We see it here in Leviticus 2:13, then in Numbers 18:19, and finally in 2 Chronicles 13:5. As I pondered the importance of salt and it’s references in Scripture I opened my search to just the word “salt” instead of covenant of salt. I discovered the word “salt” is used forty-one times in the NASB translation of the Bible, and at least fourteen of those occurrences were in reference to a location, the Salt Sea. Therefore, I looked into the Salt Sea.

The Salt Sea is also known as the Dead Sea. This sea was given as a boundary to the land that the Lord promised to Abraham and his descendants and to this very day it remains a west border of the nation of Israel. What I found very interesting about the Salt Sea was that it is currently 430.5 meters (1,410 feet) below sea level. It is the lowest elevation of land on earth. It is actually not a sea at all, but is a lake with the Jordan River its only tributary. 

As I pondered these facts the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:13 came to my mind, “You are the salt of the earth.” We often take this verse and its use of salt to say that we, as believers, are to be the purifiers of the earth, but what if we were to take this verse and its use of salt and see it from another perspective. What if we considered the fact that the salt that Jesus most likely would have been referring to would have been coming from the Salt Sea, the lowest point on earth. What if instead of us seeing salt as its purifying agent we saw it for its lowliness? What if we connected this lowliness with humility?

What if the salt of the covenant was to remain humble before our God. To remember that we are low and all that we are and all that we have comes from one source, our Creator, our YHWH, our God. What if every time the Lord refers to salt in the Word we also choose to connect it as a reminder to be humble before Him. Every offering was to be seasoned with salt. Every offering was to be brought before the Lord with humility. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

The physical properties of salt do act as a purifier and as a means to preserve from corruption. The Encyclopedia Britannica also states that “Covenants were ordinarily made over a sacrificial meal, in which salt was a necessary element. The preservative qualities of salt made it a peculiarly fitting symbol of an enduring compact, sealing it with an obligation to fidelity. The word salt thus acquired connotations of high esteem and honour in ancient and modern languages” (https://www.britannica.com/science/salt). Salt was used as a symbol and as a necessity. It is both spiritual and practical. Would not our willing habitual readiness to remain humble before our God keep us from corruption and lead us to maintain the integrity of our lives? Humility is both spiritual and practical. 

Let’s consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:13 again, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” We are the humble of the earth, but if the humble become full of pride, how can they be made humble again? They are no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. As believers, we are not to walk around all high and mighty, but we are to remain humble and low so that we can be used by God to lift others up, just as He lifted us up. 

Colossians 4:6 teaches us, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” 1 Peter 5:4-7 teaches, “and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Let every offering be seasoned with salt. Let every offering be seasoned with humility. 

We need not ever forget that we can bow low before our God and lay all things at His feet knowing that our supply for every need flows from Him. This was, after all, the whole point of the gift offerings. They were an opportunity to bring any and every need and all praise and thanks before the Lord. For these offerings to mean anything they have to come in humility. Humility is an attitude of our heart and the Lord sees our hearts. As the Salt Sea is the lowest elevation on earth, we who have been born again, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, should be the most humbled people on earth, for we know what we have been forgiven and the holiness of the One who has forgiven us.

Oh Father,

It is so easy to find ourselves puffing up with pride, even as we appear to be bringing an offering to You. Our lips and actions can claim to honor You while our heart remains far from you. My Jesus, help me to never forget that You are my God. In Isaiah 66:2 You declare, “For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being, but to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Lord, I know that Your hand has made all things and I do desire to be someone on which You can look. Lord, I so tremble at Your word. May the truth of Your word teach me to be humble and contrite of spirit so that I will not choose my own way, but will walk in Yours. 

My Jesus I love you and it is in Your name I pray,

Amen

Devotions From Leviticus Preview

Read Leviticus Chapter One

“And the priest shall offer all of it, and offer it up in smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.”

Leviticus 1:13

The book of Leviticus picks up as a continuation of the book of Exodus. The beautiful hand of our God has delivered His truth to us in clear and distinct patterns. Our God is always a God of order. In Exodus 25-27 God gave Moses the pattern for the tabernacle. In Exodus 36-40 Israel, under Moses instruction, directs the people on the construction of the tabernacle. In Exodus 28-29 God gives Moses a pattern for the priest. Now as we begin the book of Leviticus we will see God give Moses a pattern for the sacrifices and as well as the ordination for the priests. We begin with the pattern for the sacrifices.

This book jumps right in with a word from the Lord as He begins explaining about offerings. The book of Leviticus begins with the gift offerings. These were offerings that an individual would bring to the tabernacle for a personal purpose at any time it pressed on them to bring it. These offerings could come as a result of praise they wanted to offer to the Lord in thanksgiving, or as a result of a promise they kept, or as a way of coming to God in a time of distress, and so on. The gift offering was a “just because” offering to the Lord. 

The first gift offering that we learn about is the burnt offering. The burnt offering was nothing new to the people. In Genesis 8:20 we read of Noah offering a burnt offering to the Lord after the flood waters receded and they were able to leave the ark. In Genesis 22 the Lord asks Abraham to offer Issac as a burnt offering. The importance behind a burnt offering is that it was all to be laid upon the altar. None of it was to be saved or eaten by anyone, not even the priest. 

We also see that this burnt offering was to be brought to the Lord alive. The burnt offering was to be slain on the side of the altar, washed with water, and arranged on the altar. It was the responsibility of the one bringing the offering to slay it and to wash it, but it would be the priest who would arrange it on the altar and prepare the fire for it. 

When we look in the book Romans we see how this burnt offering relates to us today in Christ. In Romans 12:1 we read, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” In Romans 8:13 we are taught, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” What we see clearly in the book of Romans is that it is our responsibility to present ourselves as an offering to God.

The book of Romans is not alone in this teaching. Jesus Himself taught us while He was here in the flesh before His death, burial, and resurrection that we have to take responsibility to bring our own self to the altar, “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” (Luke 9:23). The burnt offering in Leviticus chapter one was not a one time offering. It was a continuous offering that was brought as many times as needed. In Ephesians 4:22-24 we read that, “in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Notice, once again, whose responsibility it is to lay aside our old self. It is ours. In Christ we have been given the right to be free and the power to choose to be free. Our freedom is found when we lay ourselves down, when we bring ourselves to the altar of our God and present our bodies as living sacrifices to Him. 

It was the responsibility of the one bringing the sacrifice to present it alive, to slay it, and it was also their responsibility to wash it. In John 13 Jesus is washing the disciples feet and Peter responds that he should be washing the feet of Jesus not the other way around and Jesus explains Peter’s need for Him to wash his feet Peter then asks for Jesus to wash him everywhere, but in verse ten, “Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’” Jesus has bathed us, we are bathed in His blood, yet we still need to keep our feet clean. We do this by staying washed in the Word (Ephesians 5:26). This once again, is our responsibility. We also see this in Romans 12:2, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is our responsibility to read the Word of God, to study the Word of God, to meditate on the Word of God, and to obey the Word of God. This is how we are washed.

Now do we remember whose responsibility it was to arrange the pieces and provide the fire? The responsibility to arrange the pieces and provide the fire belonged to the priest. Who is our priest? Yes, it is Jesus! In the New Covenant Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our eternal High Priest. The book of Hebrews teaches us this truth over and over again. I will go ahead and give you a heads up and let you know that we will be spending a lot of time in Hebrews as we go through the book of Leviticus. Now, what does this mean to us?

Dear Friend, it is indeed our responsibility to present ourselves as the sacrifice. It is indeed our responsibility to continue to put our old selves to death. However it was Jesus who first came to prepare the way. It was Jesus who first set us free and gave us life that we might even be able to come to the altar. It will be Jesus standing right there to arrange and present our request to God when we come to the altar. He is there to do all the work. All we have to do is come. 

Oh Father,

Thank you for sending Jesus to serve as my High Priest. Thank you for coming and living and dying on my behalf and then rising in victory. Thank you for seeking me out. Thank you for loving me to Yourself. Thank you for setting me free from sin and fear of death. I am able to bring myself to the altar and present myself to you as a living sacrifice because I know that in You alone is life. I lay myself down. I choose to daily take up my cross, to put to death my flesh, to lay aside my old self and allow You alone to arrange my life and my days. My very breath is in Your hands and I give you praise with all that my lungs can contain. I choose to worship You with all that I am and desire for You alone to lead my way all my days. 

My Jesus, I love You and it is in Your name I pray,

Amen

*********************

It has begun! This is just the first devotional in Leviticus and the first attempt at this devotion. So apply grace when you read it please. Also know that I have chosen to write these as I would teach them to my children. In my first attempt in Genesis I felt I needed to prove myself as a writer and as one who had studied the Scriptures even though I had no seminary degree. I went back and did the second editions of Genesis and Exodus Part One when my original publisher went under as I had the opportunity and I had grown to realize I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone. I just needed to be obedient to Jesus. The second editions are hopefully easier to read and to get through and all the while still Biblically sound.

If you would like to begin the series with Devotions From Genesis: It’s Not Just Ancient History you can find the books on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2xSH1lw 

If you would like to see reviews of the series you will need to go to the link provided below. My reviews are all under the first editions.

Reviews for Devotions From Genesis: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/1616631503/ref=acr_dpproductdetail_text?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Reviews from Devotions From Exodus Part One: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/1625101082/ref=acr_dpproductdetail_text?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity Review

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Gregory Brown has a new study releasing today. This book from The Bible Teacher’s Guide is another great tool in the hand of anyone seeking to grow in their personal walk with Christ.

If you are looking for a book to cause you to look deeply within yourself and to help examine your heart so that you can begin 2016 in a right relationship with the Creator of the Universe through Jesus Christ His Son, so that you might be able to better know Him and His will for your life, then I would recommend this study.

Brown writes:

One can’t know what is best if he/she doesn’t know the Word of God. It is a necessary component of a mature Christian’s life. They are constantly abounding in the knowledge of the Word of God.

We never peak in understanding the Word of God. The Word of God is “simple enough that a child can understand it but deep enough that a scholar can drown in it.” A mature Christian is not stagnant in his knowledge of the Bible. He is always seeking to abound in it, seeking to understand it more, seeking to teach it more, and seeking to obey it more.

Just as we can never have enough love, we can never have enough knowledge of Scripture. This is a characteristic of mature Christians. As they know God’s Word better, they are better able to discern what is best in all areas of life (cf. 1 Cor 2:15).

This study guide is filled introspective questions. It is written like a commentary on the book of Philippians and it is filled with historical and biblical context. Brown takes you from Philippians 1:1 to Philippians 4:23 and helps you to truly soak in the heart of Paul and the heart of God and the charge that God was using Paul to deliver to those that belong to Him.

Another quote from Brown reads, “Charles Ellicott translated Paul words this way: “My body will be the theatre in which Christ’s glory is displayed.” 38 This is a challenge for us each day. The reality is that Christ’s worthiness and beauty is judged by our lives. We either demonstrate the glory and beauty of Christ or we demean him. The world judges Christ by his followers.
Paul said this about believers: “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We give off the smell of Christ. We magnify him by our lives. He also said to the Corinthians that they were a letter from Christ written for all to read (2 Corinthians 3:3).”

We live in a day here in America where the new mantra is “only God can judge me!” but the simple truth is that we are ALWAYS being judged by one another. Our children and our spouses and those we stand in front of in the grocery store line are watching us and experiencing us. Their experience with us will either cause them to glorify God or will cause them to doubt His very existence.

God created us to be open books for a world to read. Jesus saved us to be the light to the world. Whether we like it or not, we are the BIBLE that everyone that comes in contact with us will read. We are told to hide God’s Word in our heart because out of the heart the mouth speaks. Beloved, what does your everyday mouth testify about your heart?

If you are like me, and need to do some heart cleaning, then turn to the book of Philippians and download Gregory Brown’s study guide and let the water of the Word wash over you.

Here is a few of the chapter titles to give you an idea of how Brown will take you through the book of Philippians and help you ask yourself some pretty tough questions…

Signs of Healthy Church Members (Phil 1:18)

Marks of Spiritual Maturity (Phil 1:911)

Becoming a Mature Witness for Christ (Phil 1:1218)

How to Really Live for Christ (Phil 1:1926)

How to Live Worthy of the Gospel (Phil 1:2730)

How to Maintain Unity in the Church (Phil 2:14)

Unity through the Mind of Christ (Phil 2:511)

Work Out Your Salvation: The Process of Sanctification (Phil 2:1213)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Philippians 4:23

Copper, Chemistry, Conductivity, and Christ

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Another little sneak peak at Devotions from Exodus Part Two…

And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze.

Exodus 27:1-2

We now come to our first piece of furniture that is stationed outside of the veil and outside of the screen door of the tabernacle. This piece of furniture is actually the one most opposite the Holy of Holies. This altar is the first step to entering into the presence of God. When we step outside of the screen of the holy place there is no more furniture of gold.

This altar in Exodus 27 was to be made of acacia wood. As in the pieces of furniture we have already studied, this wood represents our humanity. This altar would be made of wood and it would be overlaid with bronze. Bronze represents judgment. Since the fall of man in Genesis 3 this humanity, this flesh of ours, has been overlaid with judgment because of sin.

When God discovered Adam and Eve in the garden in the nakedness of their sin, an innocent animal was slain and its skin was used to cover Adam and Eve. The judgment that fell upon that animal should have been the judgment that fell upon Adam and Eve, but instead God showed mercy to them and allowed this animal to be a temporary substitute. This altar of wood that represents our humanity, is covered in bronze, which represent the judgment that is upon us, and it will be on this altar that animal sacrifices will be made as a temporary substitution for the death that we so rightly deserve.

As I wrote this devotional I wondered why bronze for judgment? The Hebrew word for bronze in Exodus 27:2 is nechosheth and it means brasen, brass, chain, copper, fetter of brass, filthiness, steel. In Isaiah 60:17 and Jeremiah 6:28 this same word is used to describe worthless people. In Ezekiel 16:36 this word is favored to mean corrupt. Bronze is made from mixing two minerals together. It is not a pure metal.

It is believed that during this time bronze was made from mixing copper and tin. Copper is an element that is essential to all living organisms. The main place where copper is found in humans is in our liver, muscles, and bones. Tin as a single atom is not very toxic. However it becomes toxic when it bonds with other atoms becoming organic. The long-term effects from exposure to organic tin are:

– Depressions
– Liver damage
– Malfunctioning of immune systems
– Chromosomal damage
– Shortage of red blood cells
– Brain damage (causing anger, sleeping disorders, forgetfulness and headaches)

(Read more: http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/sn.htm#ixzz3RuoxUHUg)

Tin is kind of like temptation. When temptation remained a single element on this earth it caused no harm to Adam or Eve. We do not know how long the tempter, the serpent of old, slithered around impotent on this earth nor do we know how long the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stood untouched and ignored by Adam and Eve. However, what we do know is that when Adam and Eve connected their own lusts with the enticement of the serpent as he used his lies to build the temptation for the fruit of the tree to dangerous levels, their lust was conceived and sin was birthed and it immediately became toxic.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 

(James 1:13-15)

Copper, silver, and gold are all in group 11 of the periodic table and they all share certain attributes. God created us in His image. He created us to share in His attributes. Thus He purposely and selectively chose to use these precious metals to display His glory and to tell His story.

These three metals are known by their resistance to tarnish, their extreme difficulty in counterfeiting, durability, fungibility, and their reliable store of value unmatched by any other metals known. They also are the most conductive of electricity of all metals. God created us to be a continuous circuit of His life running from Him through us back to Him.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36

Do you know what happens when copper becomes bronze? It loses much of its ability to be conductive. It is as low as 7% as conductive as copper.

Oh beloved, do you see now why bronze is the representative of judgment? Do you see the way that our God uses all of creation to tell His story? Even the metals of the earth and the design of the tabernacle teach us of who He created us to be and how He has a plan to get us back connected to Him.

 

Oh Father,

You are good. You are life. You created us to be connected to You. You created us to be conductive of Your very being, created in Your image for Your glory. We were created to be pure and holy and precious, yet we are now tarnished by the results of our connection to sin. Yet, you sent Your Son here to step in and remove the impurity of sin from us and restore are connection to You so that we, once again, could experience the life of Your Spirit flowing freely through us. Purify us oh Father and make us clean.

My Jesus, I love You, and it is in Your name I pray,

Amen

 

The Mercy Seat for The Mercy Tree

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I awoke this morning singing this song, Mercy Tree by Lacey Sturm. I am currently writing on the Ark of the Covenant as I prepare Devotions From Exodus Part Two for publication.

There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel

Exodus 25:22

Our God has always desired to meet us at His mercy. The Law of God has always rested underneath His mercy. From the very beginning with the fall of man, with the deception of Eve, and the disobedience of Adam, God’s mercy is what came to confront them in the garden, not His wrath. His mercy has always triumphed over judgment, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

I believe the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament held the heart of God on stone. In Genesis 6 we read how the heart of God was grieved that man was so wicked and the intent of his heart was evil all the time… when we take the time to really look at the law of God we can clearly see it is God teaching us His heart and teaching us how to love Him and others. The law of God would bring the judgment of God, and yes, the Ark of the Covenant would contain the commands of God, and it is by these commands that all the world is judged (Romans 11:32), but there was something beautiful and awe inspiring that was to be constructed to sit upon the Ark… it would be called the mercy seat.

Once again mercy would come before judgement.

The mercy seat would be where the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice. It would be by the blood of this sacrifice that God would forgive the sin of the individual person and the entire nation of Israel. If you look back through the prophets and the history of Israel recorded in Kings and Chronicles, you will see that when Israel would fall away from God and into the worship of false idols this would always be her darkest times and this would also be when the feasts, including that of the Passover would be set aside and the law of God would be ignored and even lost.

It’s funny how accustomed we become to mercy… we come to expect it… to feel entitled to receive it.

If we want to receive of that mercy, we have to come in the realization that we deserve His judgment (Romans 3:19-20), because only the guilty seek mercy (Luke 18:9-14). To deny that we need the mercy of God is to deny that we are sinners and to deny that we are sinners is to deny the free gift of life that is offered to us. It is to be so blinded by pride that we cannot see the glory of the God that loves us beyond the truth of who we are… and it is to continue to live in the lie.

The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament held the heart of God on stone. The Advent was the coming of the heart of God on flesh. At the appointed time, God exchanged the heart of stone contained in the Ark of the Covenant for a heart of flesh in the body of His Son (Ezekiel 36:26). Our God exchanged the Mercy Seat for the Mercy Tree.

 

 

And at that Mercy Tree once again mercy came before judgment…

And Mary said:

“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.

Luke 1:46-50

***

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:9-11

***

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Luke 22:19-20

***

But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:34

***

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Luke 24:44-49

God always desires to meet us at His mercy…

Beloved, have you met Him there… there at the foot of that Mercy Tree?

Engaging the Enemy

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I have been a published author since 2010. Let me tell you, this author gig is a tough business. If you don’t already have a “stage” in this world… or a long list of capitalized initials behind or in front of your name… your books just kind of sit in a box in your office.

I remember when my daughter was in public school and she was telling one of her teachers about my first book and the teacher said she wanted her to bring her one… when my daughter did and told her what she owed for the book, the woman told her she didn’t want it. My daughter handed the book back to me and was in tears as she told me of the encounter…

I am just a woman from a small town who married young and started out marriage with a family who fell in love with Jesus Christ and His Word… and was given as a gift of the Spirit of God the ability to teach and speak the Scriptures. Trust me it’s not me… it’s all Him.

I have spent the last four years giving away as many books as I could afford to buy, because my heart for writing them was always to share the Word of God and tell of the amazing scarlet thread that flows from Genesis to Revelation and to teach others how the beautiful Gospel of Christ is woven into the Law of God.

Biblical literacy is my heart’s cry for all who profess the name of Christ…

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Hosea 4:6

Now let me share with you how I was able to actually put these books into production…

When the Lord led me to write and submit Devotions From Genesis, It’s Not Just Ancient History my husband and I were barely making ends meat. The economy had plummeted and my husband had lost half his income (but not his job thanks to the amazing company that he works for) and I was a full time homeschooling momma. You can hear a little of that journey here: Money Matters.

When the Publishers sent in their acceptance of my manuscript, they also sent in the price tag it would cost for its publication. This price was not something my husband and I could afford.

So I resounded to be flattered by the acceptance and move on with our lives.

When my Daddy heard about my refusal to go forward due to the cost, he sat down and wrote me out a check to cover the publication and production cost. You see my parents believed in me and they believed that God had a plan for this book and this series. Had my Dad not helped me with Devotions From GenesisDevotions From Exodus Part One, Learning to Live in Freedom, would never had happened.

My Daddy has always been there for me…

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Yep there’s me in my high chair celebrating my Daddy’s birthday. I think anyway. There are too many candles on that cake for it to be mine 😉

And here he is getting ready to walk me down the aisle…

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Now here’s where the enemy comes in…

Three weeks ago my Daddy was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer is in his rib, collar bone, lungs, lymph nodes, adrenal glands, and tailbone. As best that we can tell, the cancer has invaded every week point in my Daddy’s body. In my Daddy’s life he had several bouts with pneumonia, had been thrown out of the back of a truck as a child and broke his collar bone, he broke his tailbone while building our house, he pulled muscles in his chest at work, and also fractured a rib. The cancer has found all these places of weakness and has attacked.

Isn’t that just what that slippery serpent from the pits of hell does. He seeks out where we are weak and he waits in the darkness as he evaluates his perfect strategic attack on us… but though he attacks our weakness this is what we know that our God has said to us:

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

My dad started treatments last week. So far there have not been many outward signs of the inward battle he is actively engaged in. However, today that changed. Today I received a text letting me know that the chemo was having its effect on my Daddy’s body.

So for those of you who see my Daddy on a regular basis… he will look a little different the next time you see him. As I shared this news with my husband he reminded me that my Daddy was in a battle… a real one… and in real battles we walk away with scars… and this was just a scar to show the evidence that my Daddy was indeed fighting.

Not only does this battle come with scars… it also comes with a price. Here is where you can help me if you will…

Do you remember that check that my Daddy wrote that allowed the door to this ministry to be open? Well, my contract states that if I sell a certain number of copies of my book, in either paperback or ebook, I receive a full refund of my author’s publication cost. I would love to be able to receive this refund so that I can return the money to my Daddy.

My Daddy has always given freely to his children and supported us in every way and never expected anything in return. I hope you can understand my heart’s desire to be able to do this for him.

Will you help me?

If you already have purchased the books I need as many reviews as possible up on Amazon. I have asked for this many times, and now you know why… it has never been so that I could get my own show on TBN… or make the best sellers list. I have always just wanted to share the Word of God and to sell at least enough books to give back what was given to me… its a validation of sorts.

So if you could please leave a review here, Devotions From Genesis and/or here, Devotions from Exodus Part One. I would be ever so grateful!

 

If nothing else, will you share this post?

Sharing just costs a click…

 

It’s A Giveaway

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The Giveaway has begun! I am excited to have bloggers from around the world, from Australia to Canada, to be a part of  launch team to help promote my book series, Devotions From The Torah.  Some great authors have also offered some of their books to prizes in the giveaway.

Devotions from the Torah is a series of Devotionals that are and will be written from the first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Lord put it on my heart to write  these books to help today’s church, especially the American church, see how relevant these books still are today and how much they can teach us about our Saviour.

I was burdened by the thought process I seen in believers as I would here them say, “well we are in the New Testament, the Old Testament doesn’t really matter” .

Let me tell you, I just thought I knew God until I began to read the Old Testament. I made it to the book of Chronicles and I realized then that I knew about God, but I did not Him at all. I learned that without the Old Testament the New Testament loses so much authority and understanding. Jesus quoted often from the Old Testament Scriptures and if we don’t know the context in which He quotes, then we will not grasp the full impact of His Words. Moses is the writer of the Torah and this is what our Lord had to say about the words written by Moses…

For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

John 5:46-47

I believe my Devotions from the Torah series will be a great tool in the hands of anyone who wants to know more about God… even if you don’t quite believe in Him yet, but are willing to check Him out for yourself… I encourage anyone at any time to open these devotionals up and use them as a guide and a help through the pages of the Torah, the Books of the Law… Genesis and the first 20 chapters of Exodus are ready for you know!

You can find them on Amazon, Barnes & NoblesChristianbooks, and directly from my publishers at Tate,

And you can also enter to win a free copy below through my Launch Team!

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The Devotions from the Torah Launch Team is excited to help Nicole celebrate the release of the first 2 books in this series — Devotions from Genesis and Devotions from Exodus Part One — with a special giveaway of incredible books, several of which will enhance your study of the Torah! This giveaway is a $160 value!

We would like to thank the following companies for their generous sponsorship of this giveaway! Be sure to stop by their websites to say thank you!

Home School Adventure Co.

Knowledge Quest

Great Waters Press

PhyllisSather.com

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. One winner will be selected and announced by noon ET on December 5, 2013. U.S. residents age 18 and older only please. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

Here’s what you could win!



Devotions from Genesis by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn

See for yourself how Genesis, the book of beginnings, is not just ancient history and that the Word of God is still alive and timeless. Nicole Vaughn’s Devotions from Genesis will take you on a journey from the garden of Eden to the courts of Pharaoh in Egypt, allowing you to see your own hurts, struggles, and joys through the lives of patriarchs from Adam to Joseph. You will gain insight into your heart and more importantly, insight into the very heart of God. One day at a time, you will be reminded that you are not alone with these Devotions from Genesis.

Devotions from Exodus Part One by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn

Devotions From Exodus Part One will take you from the bondage of the children of Israel to their freedom. The children of Israel were set free from their bondage in Egypt, and they had to learn how to live in this new freedom. As you study through these first twenty chapters of Exodus, you will see that after God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, he still had to get Egypt out of them. Our deliverance in Christ is no different. God delivers us from the world, but he still has to get the world out of us. We, like the Israelites, are learning to live in this freedom.

Philosophy Adventure: Pre-Socratics (digital download) by Stacy Farrell

Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.



Philippians in 28 Weeks (digital download) by Stacy Farrell

The Bible is banned in many countries. Countless believers have sacrificed their freedom—and many, their lives—to spread the message of God’s love and salvation contained within its pages. Are we exercising our freedom responsibly. Memorize the entire book of Philippians in 28 weeks!

A Child’s Geography: Explore the Holy Land by Ann VoskampIraq, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey…your family probably hears or reads about these names frequently. In an increasingly complex world, it is vitally important that children learn to see the world through their Creator’s eyes. As we explore the Holy Land you and your family will delight in incredible, mysterious landscapes, hidden wonders and beautiful peoples – all created in God’s image.
A Cry from Egypt by Hope Auer

Have you ever wondered what life was like in ancient Egypt? As an Israelite? And a slave? Want your children to understand the Bible is history? Adventure, excitement, love, and faith come together when Jarah and her family fi nd themselves at the culmination of four hundred years of history.



Purposeful Planning eBook by Phyllis Sather

Do you need a plan to keep your family moving in the direction the Lord is leading you? Perhaps you don’t know where the Lord is leading you. Phyllis takes you step-by-step through the process of planning a time together for your family to help determine the path the Lord is choosing for each area of your life. Her family has followed this format for over 12 years and has found that it provides the compass they’ve needed to plan and stay on course.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you!