What is the big picture reason? What is the purpose driven reason? What is the driving idea? What is the motivating factor? What is the goal? What is the end result? What are you living for?
Do you know what you were created for? Do you know why you were created? Do you know what you are capable of? Do you know how far you could go?
God created you on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose! God desires to live out this life in relationship with you! God desires to walk through this life with you! He loves you and wants to walk out that love through having a relationship with you! Are you willing to have a relationship with Him? Are you willing to open the door and all Jesus into your heart? He will never leave you nor abandon you! God is love! And Love is…
So will you receive the gift of love from God? Will you accept the gift of grace from God? Will you allow His mercies to be brand new each day? Will you allow Him to be your rock and your fortress? This is the day that the Lord has made, so will you rejoice and be glad in it!
Being a celebrity doesn’t mean you don’t feel lonely! Being famous doesn’t mean you don’t feel lonely! Being in a crowd doesn’t mean you won’t feel lonely! Ever been with a lot people and in the midst of that felt alone?
Don’t you want to have real love? Don’t you want to have a real relationship?
With a relationship with God you never have to be feeling unloved or alone ever again! With a relationship with God you will find meaning and purpose everyday!
Devotional, Psalm 28, Mark 11:1-25, Leviticus 7:11-38, Leviticus 8
Today’s devotional has an interesting way to get us thinking and starting before we jump into God’s Word:
How can you and I have a relationship with the Creator of the universe? How in practice can we begin to communicate with God? What is the basis of this relationship? –from Day 61: Bible In One Year 2017
1. Develop a pattern of prayer … Psalm 28:1-9
1To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
3Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.
4Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve.
5Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again.
6Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
8The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Spend time with God! Take time to read and even listen to His Word! The Bible.com or it’s app allow you to hear God’s Word read to you. You can read along or you can close your eyes and hear it spoken to or over you. Ask God to speak to you through His Word! Ask God even before you begin to prepare you for this day ahead to and speak wisdom into your life through His Word and even through devotionals. Praying is just speaking with God! Whether you speak quietly to Him in your mind or you speak it out loud, He can hear you! You can’t really have a relationship with someone who you aren’t communicating to right? So why not start speaking to God? It’s not like you need special words since God understands all languages! It’s not like there are special rules about how to pray, however, Jesus did give us hope and instruction on a way to pray with the Lord’s prayer(Matthew 6:9-13)! I have found it can be helpful in terms of a flow to give my cares and concerns and talk to God but there are other times where I just talk to Him like a friend sitting in the seat of my car as I drive down the road (usually without my lips moving).
Today’s devotional speaks to these verses as follows:
Prayer is a key way to develop a relationship with God by speaking with him. There is no set way to do this. There are hundreds of different prayers in the Bible. Sometimes, it is helpful to follow a pattern (such as the Lord’s Prayer). Another pattern that I have found helpful is using the mnemonic ‘ACTS’. These elements are often found in the prayers we see in Scripture.
The context of this psalm is fear – possibly the fear of premature death. David may be facing illness or deep despair. He fears that he might die in disgrace and go down ‘to the pit’ (v.1).
His prayer to God includes the following:
A: Lord I adore you
‘Praise be to the Lord’ (v.6a); even in the midst of a difficult situation, David chose to praise God. Whatever the circumstances, praise God for who he is and what he has done. We see another example of this in the New Testament passage as the people worship Jesus (Mark 11:9–10).
C: I confess
‘Hear my cry for mercy’ (Psalm 28:2a); ask God’s forgiveness for anything that you have done wrong. This is also a moment to forgive anyone you need to forgive. As Jesus says in todays’ New Testament passage, ‘When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins’ (Mark 11:25).
T: I will give you thanks
‘My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him’ (Psalm 28:7c). Thank God for health, family, friends and so on. The importance of thanksgiving can also be seen in the Old Testament reading for today (see Leviticus 7:12–15).
S: Hear my supplication
‘… as I call to you for help’ (Psalm 28:2a). Pray for yourself, for your friends and for others. Interestingly David says, ‘I lift up my hands’ (v.2b). This seems to be almost synonymous with prayer. Hands raised in worship is not a modern idea; it is actually one of the most ancient forms of prayer.
–from Day 61: Bible In One Year 2017
It’s important to believe! And when you struggle ask God like the boy’s father who said “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Believe in God! Believe that God hears your prayers! Believe that God will answer your prayers! Believe God’s plan is for good! Believe in Jesus!
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ” 4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,“Hosanna!”“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. 12The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. 15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” 18The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. 20In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
–from Mark 11
Faith in God is powerful! Believing without doubt in your heart has incredible power! Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. In Hebrews 11, we find more details about faith…
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born,because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon,Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword;whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. –from Hebrews 11
and in today’s devotional, we learn…
The great emphasis of the New Testament is that we relate to God by faith. We cannot earn the right to a relationship with God; it is a gift to be received by faith. In this passage we see the importance that Jesus placed on faith. He said, ‘Have faith in God’ (v.22). He says that by faith you can move mountains if you do not doubt in your heart but instead believe (v.23).
Jesus’ relationship with God, particularly through prayer, lies at the heart of each of the incidents we read about today. As Jesus approaches Jerusalem the people worship him. They cry out ‘Hosanna’ (vv.9–10), which was originally both a cry of happiness and a cry for help, meaning ‘save, we pray’ or ‘save now’.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus drives out the money-changers because of his passion for the purity of God’s house. He says, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?”’ (v.17).
The passage ends with Jesus teaching his disciples that lack of forgiveness can be a barrier to prayer and to your relationship with God. He says, ‘And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins’ (v.25).
Jesus says we are not to hold ‘anything against anyone’. There are no limits to forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness destroys relationships.
Forgiveness sometimes takes great courage but it restores relationships and brings great joy. It is said that, ‘The first to apologise is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.’
Intertwined in these events, Jesus demonstrates the power of prayer in the acted parable of the fig tree. From this he teaches his disciples about the importance of faith and fruit in our relationship with God.
The fig tree had leaves but no fruit. Jesus said to it: ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again’ (v.14). I love the way Joyce Meyer applies this parable: ‘If our lives revolve around the church but we have no fruit, we are not living our faith.’ We can read our Bibles, listen to Christian podcasts and go to prayer meetings, but ‘if we do not have time to help anyone else or even show kindness, we are like the fig tree with leaves but no fruit… if we have leaves, we need to also have fruit’.
Jesus uses hyperbole to explain that we must be absolutely confident in God’s readiness to respond to faith. In Rabbinic literature, ‘mountain’ is sometimes used figuratively to denote an obstacle. Jesus seems to be saying that God will come in response to faith to remove seemingly impossible obstacles. He says, ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’ (v.24).
–from Day 61: Bible In One Year 2017
3. Approach God through Jesus … Leviticus 7:11-8:36
11“ ‘These are the regulations for the fellowship offering anyone may present to the Lord: 12“ ‘If they offer it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering they are to offer thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in. 13Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they are to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast. 14They are to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the Lord; it belongs to the priest who splashes the blood of the fellowship offering against the altar. 15The meat of their fellowship offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the day it is offered; they must leave none of it till morning. 16“ ‘If, however, their offering is the result of a vow or is a freewill offering, the sacrifice shall be eaten on the day they offer it, but anything left over may be eaten on the next day. 17Any meat of the sacrifice left over till the third day must be burned up. 18If any meat of the fellowship offering is eaten on the third day, the one who offered it will not be accepted. It will not be reckoned to their credit, for it has become impure; the person who eats any of it will be held responsible. 19“ ‘Meat that touches anything ceremonially unclean must not be eaten; it must be burned up. As for other meat, anyone ceremonially clean may eat it. 20But if anyone who is unclean eats any meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord, they must be cut off from their people. 21Anyone who touches something unclean—whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean creature that moves along the ground—and then eats any of the meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord must be cut off from their people.’ ” 22The Lord said to Moses, 23“Say to the Israelites: ‘Do not eat any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats. 24The fat of an animal found dead or torn by wild animals may be used for any other purpose, but you must not eat it. 25Anyone who eats the fat of an animal from which a food offering may be presented to the Lord must be cut off from their people. 26And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal. 27Anyone who eats blood must be cut off from their people.’ ” 28The Lord said to Moses, 29“Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who brings a fellowship offering to the Lord is to bring part of it as their sacrifice to the Lord. 30With their own hands they are to present the food offering to the Lord; they are to bring the fat, together with the breast, and wave the breast before the Lord as a wave offering. 31The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast belongs to Aaron and his sons. 32You are to give the right thigh of your fellowship offerings to the priest as a contribution. 33The son of Aaron who offers the blood and the fat of the fellowship offering shall have the right thigh as his share. 34From the fellowship offerings of the Israelites, I have taken the breast that is waved and the thigh that is presented and have given them to Aaron the priest and his sons as their perpetual share from the Israelites.’ ” 35This is the portion of the food offerings presented to the Lord that were allotted to Aaron and his sons on the day they were presented to serve the Lord as priests. 36On the day they were anointed, the Lord commanded that the Israelites give this to them as their perpetual share for the generations to come. 37These, then, are the regulations for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the ordination offering and the fellowship offering, 38which the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai in the Desert of Sinai on the day he commanded the Israelites to bring their offerings to the Lord. –from Leviticus 7
The Ordination of Aaron and His Sons
1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams and the basket containing bread made without yeast, 3and gather the entire assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” 4Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the assembly gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
5Moses said to the assembly, “This is what the Lord has commanded to be done.” 6Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. 7He put the tunic on Aaron, tied the sash around him, clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him. He also fastened the ephod with a decorative waistband, which he tied around him. 8He placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. 9Then he placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem, on the front of it, as the Lord commanded Moses.
10Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. 11He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them. 12He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him. 13Then he brought Aaron’s sons forward, put tunics on them, tied sashes around them and fastened caps on them, as the Lord commanded Moses.
14He then presented the bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 15Moses slaughtered the bull and took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on all the horns of the altar to purify the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. So he consecrated it to make atonement for it. 16Moses also took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and both kidneys and their fat, and burned it on the altar. 17But the bull with its hide and its flesh and its intestines he burned up outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.
18He then presented the ram for the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 19Then Moses slaughtered the ram and splashed the blood against the sides of the altar. 20He cut the ram into pieces and burned the head, the pieces and the fat. 21He washed the internal organs and the legs with water and burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.
22He then presented the other ram, the ram for the ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 23Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24Moses also brought Aaron’s sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Then he splashed blood against the sides of the altar. 25After that, he took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, both kidneys and their fat and the right thigh. 26And from the basket of bread made without yeast, which was before the Lord, he took one thick loaf, one thick loaf with olive oil mixed in, and one thin loaf, and he put these on the fat portions and on the right thigh. 27He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and they waved them before the Lord as a wave offering. 28Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering as an ordination offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord. 29Moses also took the breast, which was his share of the ordination ram, and waved it before the Lord as a wave offering, as the Lord commanded Moses.
30Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments.
31Moses then said to Aaron and his sons, “Cook the meat at the entrance to the tent of meeting and eat it there with the bread from the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded: ‘Aaron and his sons are to eat it.’ 32Then burn up the rest of the meat and the bread. 33Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for your ordination will last seven days. 34What has been done today was commanded by the Lord to make atonement for you. 35You must stay at the entrance to the tent of meeting day and night for seven days and do what the Lord requires, so you will not die; for that is what I have been commanded.”
36So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord commanded through Moses.
–from Leviticus 8
In the days before Jesus we needed a priest to pray for us, to bring our concerns, to get answers. With Jesus, we now have direct access to God! Thru Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life we have the ability, the oppportunity, and the way to talk directly with God! He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for you and for me. He is our great high priest!
and in today’s devotional, we learn…
The way to relate to God in the Old Testament was through the priesthood. Because of sin, human beings could not relate directly to God. They needed to go through a priest, and in particular they needed a high priest.
In this passage we see how Aaron was anointed for this task. Moses ‘poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him’ (8:12). Aaron was a forerunner of Jesus Christ. The word Christ means ‘the anointed one’. Aaron’s priesthood was fallible; he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as the people’s. Jesus is the great high priest. Through Jesus you can relate to God with confidence and have a direct relationship with him.
As the writer of Hebrews puts it, ‘Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’ (Hebrews 4:14–16).
In fact, because of Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins, you are in an even better position than the Old Testament priests (compare Hebrews 10:22 with Leviticus 8:30). Through repentance and forgiveness your relationship with God is utterly transformed and you can come directly into God’s presence, just as the Old Testament priests did when they entered the Tent of Meeting. ‘Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience’ (Hebrews 10:22).
–from Day 61: Bible In One Year 2017