Do you need a favor?

Where would you turn? Do you want favor? Who would you ask? Do you have favor? Where did it come from? Has God given you favor? Favor with friends? Favor with family? Favor with leadership? Favor with teammates? Favor? Where do you want it? Where do you need it? Do you realize how to find it?

Are you willing to take the long-term view? Are you willing to wait for it? Are you willing to trust in God’s timing?

OR… are you into I need it now type of mentality? Instant gratification! Instant meals! Instant messages! Instant cash! Instant loans! Instant tan! Instant …..?

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! God was in the beginning! God is right here, right now! God will be for all eternity! He is Immanuel with us!

Turn to God in your need! Trust in Him to give you answers! Trust in Him to provide wisdom and discernment! Trust in His perfect timing! He is rarely early, never late, He is right on time!

So let’s look to spend our lives…here on earth and throughout eternity with Him and in His favor thanks to His Son who made the way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Let’s walk out each day with Jesus who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever think or imagine!

A Lifetime of Favour — Day 63: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 30:1-7, Mark 12:13-27, Leviticus 11, Leviticus 12

1. The long view of life … Psalm 30:1-7

1I will exalt you, Lord,for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,and you healed me. 3You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;you spared me from going down to the pit. 4Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;praise his holy name. 5For his anger lasts only a moment,but his favor lasts a lifetime;weeping may stay for the night,but rejoicing comes in the morning. 6When I felt secure, I said,“I will never be shaken.” 7 Lord, when you favored me,you made my royal mountain stand firm;but when you hid your face,I was dismayed. –from Psalm 30

Realize that in this world you will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Realize it is for a season and won’t last forever! There is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes teach us…

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

–from Ecclesiastes 3

So don’t lose hope! Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Have faith in the truth that God’s favor lasts a lifetime!

Today’s devotional speaks to our reading from Psalms with the following…

Are you going through a difficult time? Do you wonder whether it will last forever?

God’s ‘favour lasts a lifetime’ (v.5). As David looked back on his life, he was filled with thankfulness and ‘praise’ (v.4). Yes, he had been through some very difficult times. But God ‘lifted [him] out of the depths and did not let [his] enemies gloat over [him]’ (v.1). When he called to God for help, God ‘healed’ him (v.2).

‘God, my God, I yelled for help

       and you put me together.

God, you pulled me out of the grave,

       gave me another chance at life

       when I was down-and-out’ (vv.2–3, MSG).

David had times when God was angry with him (v.5) and where God hid his face from him (v.7b). (After all, David did commit adultery and murder.) Yet, as he looked back on his life he was able to see that the moments of trial and testing were in the context of a lifetime of God’s favour.

–from Day 63: Bible In One Year 2017

2. The long view of eternity … Mark 12:13-27

13Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”“Caesar’s,” they replied. 17Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”And they were amazed at him. 18Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19“Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 24Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” –from Mark 12

We are here on earth but for a season! The important thing for us to learn where will we decide to spend eternity! Will you choose Jesus and get to spend eternity with God? Will you choose to not receive the gift and love and grace of Jesus and doom yourself to spend eternity apart from God? We are eternal beings and that is for sure! What we need to decide if how we will spend eternity! Which final destination will we decide to be a part of? What experience would you want to have? Eternity with God? Eternity apart from God? God is love remember? So would you want eternity with love or apart from love? We each have to choose for ourselves! And that decision will have eternal impact! This life is not the end, but in this life we get to decide how we will spend the rest of it!

Today’s devotional speaks to our reading from Mark with the following…

What happens to people when they die? Is death really the end? You may have lost a family member or close friend and you wonder whether you will ever see them again. Where are they now? Are they gone forever? Are they just asleep? Or are they, in some way, alive?

Jesus’ opponents were constantly trying to catch him out with their questions (v.13).

First, they tried to trap him over money. However, even they recognised that Jesus was ‘a man of integrity’. They knew that Jesus spoke the truth, whether or not it was popular (v.14). Jesus avoided the trap and gave an amazing answer (vv.15–17). (See BiOY Day 34.)

Next, they asked Jesus a hypothetical question to test him. This one was about life after death. There was an internal debate in Judaism between the Pharisees and the Sadducees about whether or not there was life after death. [The way I remember the distinction is that it was the Pharisees (‘far I see’) who did believe in the resurrection, whereas the Sadducees (‘sad you see’) did not.]

Jesus pointed out that the Sadducees were wrong for two reasons: First, they did ‘not know the Scriptures’, and second, they did not know ‘the power of God’ (v.24).

The Scriptures

Jesus affirms the absolute certainty of the resurrection of the dead. Since the Sadducees only really believed in the authority of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) Jesus bases his argument on them and quotes from Exodus 3:6: ‘Now about the dead rising – have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living’ (Mark 12:26–27). In other words, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still living now!

The Power of God

In 1 Corinthians 15, there is the most sustained and in-depth argument of the New Testament on the subject of the resurrection of the dead. Paul emphasises again and again the power of God, which the Sadducees denied. He writes that the body is sown ‘in weakness’, yet it is raised as a resurrection body after death, ‘in power’ (1 Corinthians 15:43). God ‘gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (vv.56–57).

The wonderful truth is that the same power which was at work in raising Christ from the dead is at work in you now, bringing you more into the likeness of Christ (see Ephesians 1:19–20), and also in the future, in bringing your body to be a resurrection body in the new creation.

Therefore, everyone who has died in Christ is still living now. You will see them again. Even though the separation is so hard, all the struggles of this life have to be seen in terms of eternity. God takes the long view.

–from Day 63: Bible In One Year 2017

3. The long view of history … Leviticus 11:1-12:8

Clean and Unclean Food

1The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.
4“ ‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 6The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 7And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9“ ‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean. 11And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. 12Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.
13“ ‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15any kind of raven, 16the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.
20“ ‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. 21There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.
24“ ‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.
26“ ‘Every animal that does not have a divided hoof or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. 27Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 28Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. These animals are unclean for you.
29“ ‘Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean. 33If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. 34Any food you are allowed to eat that has come into contact with water from any such pot is unclean, and any liquid that is drunk from such a pot is unclean. 35Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean. 36A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean. 37If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be planted, they remain clean. 38But if water has been put on the seed and a carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39“ ‘If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches its carcass will be unclean till evening. 40Anyone who eats some of its carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.
41“ ‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. 42You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. 43Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
46“ ‘These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. 47You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’ ” –from Leviticus 11

Purification After Childbirth

1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.
6“ ‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. 7He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.
“ ‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. 8But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’ ” –from Leviticus 12

As I read and listen to today’s reading, I considered Peter up on the roof…

Peter’s Vision

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. –from Acts 10

and also from Matthew where we learn that it isn’t what goes into a person that makes them unclean, but what comes out of it…

What Defiles a Person

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

–from Matthew 15

and finally what Paul taught about not living in a way that would cause others to falter or get tripped up…

Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols

8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.[a]

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things cameand through whom we live.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. –from 1 Corinthians 8

So we always need to consider the Old and New Testament together as the one foreshadows the latter.

Today’s devotional speaks to our reading from Leviticus with the following…

What on earth is the point of all these regulations in Leviticus? Why are they in the Bible?

As always, we understand the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament and, in particular, through the lens of Jesus. God had a long-term plan. He was preparing the world for the coming of Christ.

The New Testament tells us that all these seemingly strange regulations that we read about in today’s passage are only ‘a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’ (Colossians 2:17). The purpose of the regulations was to teach about holiness – ‘I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:44).

Peter quotes this verse in his first letter when encouraging holy living amongst the early Christians. He writes, ‘As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”’ (1 Peter 1:14–16).

Yet the New Testament also tells us that God has now made us holy through Christ. Therefore, the apostle Paul also says, ‘Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink’ (Colossians 2:16). All these regulations have now been superseded through the coming of Jesus.

Many of the regulations were probably there for very practical reasons. For example, the eating of pigs (as carriers of disease) may well have been banned chiefly as a danger to health. Similarly, the rules of decontamination, strict as they are, take account of practical necessities. God wants you to eat wisely and healthily!

Purification after childbirth was not about moral uncleanness but ceremonial uncleanness (Leviticus 12:2). The cleansing was from the ‘flow of blood’ (v.7), not from any guilt attached to marital intercourse or childbirth. These regulations may actually have been a great blessing to women who had recently given birth. The extended period of separation from wider society would have protected her from having to return to the hustle and bustle of normal life too quickly after childbirth.

This passage also gives us a clue to Jesus’ background. It shows the poverty from which he came; Mary could not ‘afford a lamb’ (v.8). When Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem ‘for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses’ they offered ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons’ (v.8; Luke 2:22–24).

God had a long-term plan for the birth of his son under these laws. God was working all the way through history to prepare the ground for Jesus. Jesus was born under the law. He fulfilled the law and brought all these regulations to an end on the cross. He rose from the dead and made it possible for us too, one day, to rise from the dead and to become, along with Jesus, heirs of God (Galatians 4:4–7).

–from Day 63: Bible In One Year 2017




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