How many times does it take you before you finally see it?


Ever gone somewhere multiple times and then all of a sudden you see something so incredible that you ask how long has that been there and find out it has always been there? Ever looked at something many times and then eventually noticed something amazing and wondered how you missed it before? Ever seen those 3D pictures at a family member or friend’s house and then eventually see it? Ever wondered why it took you so long to get something that you have gotten to see or hear or do? Do you remember when you finally had that aha moment?

Do you see Him

What about reading something many times and then one day you realize something special as it speaks right into your very situation? What about hearing a message on something you knew and then you hear it in a way that transforms the rest of your life because now you have the right perspective?

Do you remember that feeling when your eyes were finally opened? Do you remember when your ears were finally opened? Do you remember when your mind finally comprehended?

It was like being blind and then being able to see. It was like being deaf and then getting to hear.

Do you ever try to help others see it? Do you ever try to help other people heart it? Do you ever try to get other people to get it and receive it?

Remember the story of the man sowing seeds? Do you remember the types of ground the seed landed on? Do you remember how not all seeds had the same results? The seeds are the Word of God! The soil is the various states of the human heart.

Some may not get it and think it is crazy talk as we read in 1 Corinthians…

22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. from 1 Corinthians 1

Yet others receive it and have their lives transformed as we read in 1 Corinthians…

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. –from 1 Corinthians 1

Jesus didn’t come to condemn us but that through Him the world would be saved! Jesus came to pay the ultimate price so that we would have a way to be reconciled back to God!


Today's devotional...

My Eyes Were Opened — Day 60: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Proverbs 6:12-19, Mark 10:32-52, Leviticus 5:14-19, Leviticus 6, Leviticus 7:1-10

1. See God’s reaction to evil … Proverbs 6:12-19

12A troublemaker and a villain,who goes about with a corrupt mouth, 13who winks maliciously with his eye,signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, 14who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict. 15Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. 16There are six things the Lord hates,seven that are detestable to him: 17haughty eyes,a lying tongue,hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked schemes,feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. –from Proverbs 6

How will you choose to live? How will you choose your motive? How will you live towards others? Will you do onto others as you would have them do onto you? Don’t be blatantly and disdainfully proud! Don’t be arrogant, disdainful and setting oneself above others! Be humble! Consider your words and the power they have to build up and to tear down! Don’t allow a lying tongue to ruin your life! Don’t try to justify the lies! Speak life and truth! Don’t allow bitterness and anger to drive you into killing someone! Remember Cain and Abel? Align your heart to God’s will and plans! Don’t go about planning evil in your heart! Don’t go about scheming evil or ways to sin! Look to resist the temptations of the devil! Resist him and he will flee! Don’t be quick to rush into evil! Be a person of integrity! Don’t try to change things by lying about someone! Tell the truth because the truth will set you free! Be a peacemaker! Don’t be looking to stir up conflict and trouble! Don’t be a troublemaker! Don’t be an instigator!

Today’s devotional speaks to this first reading as follows…

You cannot fully understand the cross unless you understand why it was necessary.

See God’s hostile reaction to sin. The writer of Proverbs lists things that ‘the Lord hates’ and that are ‘detestable to him’ (v.16a) – arrogance, lies, murder, evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family’ (vv.16–19, MSG).

God is love. God is also just and holy. The kind of sin listed here causes enormous damage to our lives, the lives of others and to society. Take, for example, a person ‘who stirs up dissention’ (v.19). Think how much damage can be done by one person bringing division in a family or in the church, neighbourhood or nation.

God’s hatred is not like ours: it contains no element of spite, pettiness or hypocrisy – but it is the reaction of the altogether holy and loving God to sin. His anger is his loving and holy hostility to evil.

When we realise the extent of God’s hostility to sin that led to the cross, the only real response we can make is to turn to God in prayer to ask for forgiveness and help.

–from Day 60 – Bible In One Year 2017

2. See the results of the cross .. Mark 10:32-52

32They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33“We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” 35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 37They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” 38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” 39“We can,” they answered.Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” 41When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 46Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

–from Mark 10

So if you were asked what you wanted from God, what would you answer? Would you be like Solomon who asked for wisdom? Would you be like James and John and ask for a seat of importance or authority? Would you be like the blind man who wanted to be able to see? Would you like to have eyes to be able to see things like God sees things? Would you like to have eyes that can see beyond the physical and be able to have the understanding wisdom from God? What would you ask of God?

Jesus knew why He came! Jesus knew what He would have to endure! Jesus knew that He would raise again victorious making a way where there hadn’t been a way for us all to have the opportunity to receive the gift and be reconciled unto God!

Today’s devotional speaks to this first reading as follows…

If Jesus asked you, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, how would you reply? In this passage Jesus asks this question twice (v.36,51). The disciples give the wrong answer (v.37). Bartimaeus gives the right answer: ‘I want to see’ (v.51).

Some people simply do not see it. Some have described the death of Jesus as ‘unexpected and tragic’. But in fact it was planned, prophesied and predicted.

This passage in Mark’s Gospel (vv.32–34) is the third and most detailed prediction Jesus gave about his death. It shows us that Jesus expected his own death and even his resurrection (vv.33–34). His death was not unexpected. It was a deliberate choice. It would end not in tragedy, but in triumph.

Further, he had a clear understanding of the purpose of his death and the results: ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (v.45).

The background to Jesus’ understanding of his own death includes Isaiah 53 – one of the ‘suffering servant’ passages. We see here clear evidence that Jesus saw his own death in terms of this ‘suffering servant’.

Suffering

Why did Jesus come into this world? He understood that the whole purpose of his mission was to suffer. This is the reason he ‘came’ (Mark 10:45b). He came to give his life for you and me.

Servant

Jesus uses the expression ‘to serve’ (v.45a). He saw himself as ‘the servant’. He came not to be served, but ‘to serve’. The expression ‘to give his life’ (v.45b) echoes the words of the servant in Isaiah 53:10 (‘makes his life an offering for sin’) and Isaiah 53:12 (‘he poured out his life unto death’).

Saviour

The word ‘ransom’ (Mark 10:45b) is used of prisoners of war and slaves. It means the price paid for redemption (Numbers 18:15–16). It is paid to set the captives free. Jesus’ death on the cross saves you and me by setting us free.

Substitute

The word translated ‘for’ in Mark 10:45 is the Greek word anti which means ‘in place of’, and it suggests the idea of substitution. It is this idea of suffering in our place that so strongly underlies Isaiah 53. By using these words Jesus showed that he believed that his death was not accidental or for his own sin, but suffering ‘in the place of’ others who would otherwise have had to suffer.

The word ‘many’ (Mark 10:45) is used in Isaiah 53:11–12 to describe the beneficiaries of the servant sacrifice. It is the key word in Isaiah 53.

Further, Jesus understood his own death in the light of the metaphor of the cup (Mark 10:38) in the Old Testament. The Old Testament speaks of the cup of God’s ‘wrath’ against sin. Jesus speaks of ‘the cup I drink’ (v.38). He saw himself as drinking the cup of God’s hostile reaction against sin on our behalf.

By his death and resurrection Jesus defeated sin, evil and death. As a result, we can be forgiven, set free from our guilt, shame and addictions. You can be sure of the ultimate triumph of good over evil. You need not fear the future. Death itself has been defeated.

When Jesus asked his disciples, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, they gave the wrong answer. They wanted position (v.37). It’s always a temptation for Christian leaders to compete with one another for the most prominent position.

We are called to follow Jesus, serving him and each other. Spiritual ambition is not wrong, but it is possible to have the wrong sort of spiritual ambition. This could be as subtle as seeking our own glory rather than being ambitious for Jesus. Jesus says, ‘Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant’ (v.43).

Of course, for most of us, most of the time, our motives are mixed. Where we, like the disciples, are tempted to seek our own position, prospects, promotion, pay and popularity, Jesus says four words to us: ‘Not so with you’ (v.43). We are called to serve because it is the pattern of Jesus to serve.

The clothes of authentic discipleship are not the purple robes of an emperor, but the crown of thorns of our Saviour. It is about a cross, not a throne. It is a life laid down for others.

Let’s follow the example of Bartimaeus who cried out to Jesus for mercy (v.47). Jesus always responds when we cry for mercy. Bartimaeus asked for his sight. His eyes were opened and he saw Jesus.

Ask God today to open your eyes to see Jesus and understand all that he has done for you through his death on the cross for you.

–from Day 60 – Bible In One Year 2017

All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! But God made a way by His grace and His mercy through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus! Jesus paid it all! He was the sacrificial lamb who paid for all the sins of the world! For us to come under His blood and to receive the forgiveness of our sins, we need to ask Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior!

3. See the reason for his death … Leviticus 5:14-7:10

14The Lord said to Moses: 15“When anyone is unfaithful to the Lord by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the Lord’s holy things, they are to bring to the Lord as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. 16They must make restitution for what they have failed to do in regard to the holy things, pay an additional penalty of a fifth of its value and give it all to the priest. The priest will make atonement for them with the ram as a guilt offering, and they will be forgiven. 17“If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible. 18They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. 19It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of wrongdoing against the Lord.” –from Leviticus 5

1The Lord said to Moses: 2“If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, 3or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. 6And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the Lord, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the Lord, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”

The Burnt Offering

8The Lord said to Moses: 9“Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. 10The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. 11Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. 12The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

The Grain Offering

14“ ‘These are the regulations for the grain offering: Aaron’s sons are to bring it before the Lord, in front of the altar. 15The priest is to take a handful of the finest flour and some olive oil, together with all the incense on the grain offering, and burn the memorialportion on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 16Aaron and his sons shall eat the rest of it, but it is to be eaten without yeast in the sanctuary area; they are to eat it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting. 17It must not be baked with yeast; I have given it as their share of the food offerings presented to me. Like the sin offering and the guilt offering, it is most holy. 18Any male descendant of Aaron may eat it. For all generations to come it is his perpetual share of the food offerings presented to the Lord. Whatever touches them will become holy.’ ”
19The Lord also said to Moses, 20“This is the offering Aaron and his sons are to bring to the Lord on the day he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening. 21It must be prepared with oil on a griddle; bring it well-mixed and present the grain offering broken in pieces as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 22The son who is to succeed him as anointed priest shall prepare it. It is the Lord’s perpetual share and is to be burned completely. 23Every grain offering of a priest shall be burned completely; it must not be eaten.”

The Sin Offering

24The Lord said to Moses, 25“Say to Aaron and his sons: ‘These are the regulations for the sin offering: The sin offering is to be slaughtered before the Lord in the place the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. 26The priest who offers it shall eat it; it is to be eaten in the sanctuary area, in the courtyard of the tent of meeting. 27Whatever touches any of the flesh will become holy, and if any of the blood is spattered on a garment, you must wash it in the sanctuary area. 28The clay pot the meat is cooked in must be broken; but if it is cooked in a bronze pot, the pot is to be scoured and rinsed with water. 29Any male in a priest’s family may eat it; it is most holy. 30But any sin offering whose blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten; it must be burned up.

–from Leviticus 6

1“ ‘These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy: 2The guilt offering is to be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and its blood is to be splashed against the sides of the altar. 3All its fat shall be offered: the fat tail and the fat that covers the internal organs, 4both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which is to be removed with the kidneys. 5The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the Lord. It is a guilt offering. 6Any male in a priest’s family may eat it, but it must be eaten in the sanctuary area; it is most holy. 7“ ‘The same law applies to both the sin offering and the guilt offering: They belong to the priest who makes atonement with them. 8The priest who offers a burnt offering for anyone may keep its hide for himself. 9Every grain offering baked in an oven or cooked in a pan or on a griddle belongs to the priest who offers it, 10and every grain offering, whether mixed with olive oil or dry, belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron. –from Leviticus 7

Today’s devotional speaks to this first reading as follows…

Here again we see the background to Jesus’ understanding of his own death. The ‘guilt offering’ provided a ‘penalty’ (5:15) for sin. It leads to forgiveness (v.16) and involves blood being shed (7:2). This foreshadows what Jesus was going to do on the cross for you and me.

As I began to understand the Old Testament background and the seriousness of my own sin, I began to understand more and more the enormity of the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. When Jesus bore with his own body God’s hostile reaction to my sin, he made it possible for me to be forgiven and to experience life in all its fullness.

My experience was similar to that of blind Bartimaeus. My blindness had not been physical but spiritual. Like him I cried out, ‘Jesus… have mercy on me’ (Mark 10:47–48). I received my sight and followed Jesus. It was not something I earned. It was a gift I received by faith, just as Jesus said to Bartimaeus, ‘Go… your faith has healed [saved] you’ (v.52).

–from Day 60 – Bible In One Year 2017

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! We must come to Him!

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