Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
One of the hardest things for a person to do sometimes is to forgive another for a wrong done. Part of our heart as a Child of God is that we forgive because we are forgiven. If we cannot forgive another then God may not forgive us.
Jonah was a prophet from Gath Hepher who had restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea. He listened to God and spoke His Word so that others would remember God but he was not always the good and faithful servant as required to be a prophet. There was a time where Jonah was disobedient because he did not want an enemy saved and turned to God. His desire to have God only in Israel and Judea outweighed his designated mission of returning Nineveh to God.
Jonah heard God’s command but blatantly ignored it by going the opposite way and catching a boat to hide from God. We all know that we cannot hide from the All Powerful Father but he thought he could. Jonah’s unwillingness to be obedient caused the ship to nearly sink. He was thrown overboard and the sea calmed down only for Jonah to be swallowed by a large fish. While inside the large sea creature, Jonah repented and agreed to do God’s bidding but there was still doubt in his mind.
After Jonah delivered the message as ordered, there was a jealousy that turned to anger. He had set up shelter for himself but it did not cover his head fully so God placed a leafy plant over him. But because God knew Jonah was not right in his heart with forgiveness for the people, God removed the shelter of the plant.
God was trying to teach Jonah a lesson in forgiveness. Because his heart was heavy with grief and jealousy, God took away the one thing Jonah needed at the time. Jonah’s heart was in the wrong place as he only had concern for his well-being and not the souls of the Ninevites. When God turned away from Jonah, He was teaching him that how he felt about the Ninevites was wrong and that we all deserve God’s Love and forgiveness.
God loves everyone. When we cannot forgive or show God’s compassion towards others we are not showing God’s Unconditional Love as we should. When we are unforgiving, God is unforgiving to us. Jonah had to realize this so that his heart could be set right and go on doing God’s will throughout all the land.
If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we are loving them as God loves us. This love makes it easier to forgive. Those who do not know God cannot forgive no matter the circumstance. They become embittered with unkind thoughts. Though justice still must be done, a forgiving heart may touch the person who wronged in ways that only God can change. We can be God’s instruments of change but without an unrepentant, forgiving heart, our work means nothing.
Brothers and Sisters this completes this month’s concentration on Disobedience. Jonah learned to listen before it was too late. His problem was he did not want to share God with an enemy but had a change of heart. Lot’s wife and Aaron’s sons were not as fortunate dying quickly before restitution could be made. There was no returning for Saul even when he tried repenting, the power hunger was much to great for him to conquer. Saul’s disobedience set the example for future generations and he had to live with the decision made. He could have tried to change and been a better leader for and with God’s people, instead he chose death which caused the death of his sons on the battlefield and the eventual destruction of his line altogether.
What must we do? Listen, trust and obey God’s Word in all things. If we fall short we can return but we must choose to do so. Forgive even in the worst of circumstances. Show and share God’s Love with others.
In God’s Loving Arms,
Rob, Servant of God
What happens to people who think they can do whatever they please and think that it pleases God. In the case of Aaron’s oldest sons, they thought they could please God but instead it caused their death. God had made everything perfectly clear on how and when the sacrifices were to be done. But the two sons were disobedient by trying to make an unauthorized sacrifice.
But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aaron, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before Adonai, something he had not ordered them to do. At this, fire came forth from the presence of Adonai and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of Adonai. Moses said to Aaron, “This is what Adonai said:
‘Through those who are near me I will be consecrated,
and before all the people I will be glorified.’” Leviticus 10:1-3
God’s Consuming Fire
God is a Jealous, Demanding, Disciplinarian who is filled with all-consuming Love and Compassion for His people. He is Protector, Healer, Father. We fear Him and Love Him with a fervent desire to be with Him and He with us. When we disobey or think we are doing right even though we are not, God is displeased and He does not hesitate to let us know.
Theory: The Sons Could Have Been Drunk
By verse eight, The Lord was speaking to Aaron and it could have been to warn against being intoxicated in God’s presence.
And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.” Leviticus 10:8-12
It is possible the sons had over celebrated and thought they were supposed to do what they did. My guess is that they had clouded their thoughts with the strong drink that God warned Aaron about above. God also speaks of distinguishing between the things of God and the things of the world to give God the proper respect.
To be in God’s presence one must have a clear mind in order to hear and feel God’s Word.
Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. Leviticus 9:22-24
The statute of having a clear mind away from alcohol was probably in place prior to this but it was cemented in because the of the sons.
What can we learn from this little episode outside of what has been spoken? Since God desires a personal relationship with us we cannot have it clouded by things of this world that would distort His Word and presence in our lives. God tells us to keep His Word on (and in) our hearts and minds so that we will be level headed and prepared to listen when we pray to Him. All those little details of troubles and praises that we take to God in prayer should be spoken and set aside so we are not disrupted by them when God answers. If we continue to dwell on the negatives the only thing we get is the negative. If we focus on the positives we run the risk of the positive becoming a negative. If we focus on God then we will be able to discern His guidance for us.
The same goes for when we enter any house of worship or gathering of God fearing brothers and sisters. Leave the world outside so that our focus is on God. Are we all guilty of this? Yes. It is something we must work on by keeping the things of the world (i.e. football or any sport, news, gossip, etc.) outside the presence when worshiping so the focus is on God.
As we continue to strive for a Christ like life let us remember that we cannot let the world get in the way no matter what. The problem is that the world is mostly unavoidable with bills, man- made laws, and taxes, but there are things that are in our control. We put things and words into our bodies that affect our physical and mental health. When these are down so is our spirit. Do be watchful and take care to be the humble/faithful servant/caretaker we are designed to be.
In His Embrace,
Rob, Servant of The Father
The new strain of flu that has surpassed the death toll of SARS is coming to a country near you. I was reading the news and decided to do a little research and what I found really startled me. There have been many diseases and epidemics that started in East Asia because of what they eat. This led to more research but for this I turned to Scripture.
Did you know that there was a Torah before the Torah? Did you know that this Torah was meant for all mankind and can actually be found in many different cultures with certain omissions? There is a law that governs the plants and animals that we can use for food and the unfortunate thing is that the latest virus comes from two of the forbidden animals.
The people of the earth were doing their own thing and cared not for God. How many times in history have we heard that take place? The very first time it happened, God and the heavenly council took drastic action by covering the entire earth with water. This great flood was to remove the sinfulness of the world and start over. Noah, a faithful servant of God, and his family were the only humans kept alive. With one purpose, save two of every kind of animal. Unfortunately the every kind piece somehow also applied to Noah and family because sin was not completely washed away.
Noah and the First Food Law
With the flooding done, Noah was given specific instructions on the food he and his family could consume.
Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all these. You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it. Genesis 9:3-4
In other words, God is saying do not eat something that is still alive nor are you to eat anything that has not been properly prepared (a.k.a. it must be killed, slaughtered, and cooked). Blood is life. To eat or drink the blood which still flows through the veins is considered sinful. Without properly preparing and cooking that which we eat can cause anything that was in the animal to transfer into us. This provides for healthy eating so that viruses and other contagions do not spread by blood or other means.
God had set up many laws and guidelines for living that He imprinted in Adam so they are imprinted (yet distorted) in us. Throughout history God has set written reminders of these laws and guidelines on anything that it could be seen on. Including our hearts and our DNA. One of these governed food. In continuation of the above verse, more on blood is written:
I will certainly demand an accounting for the blood of your lives: I will demand it from every animal and from every human being. I will demand from every human being an accounting for the life of his fellow human being. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in His image did God make man. Genesis 9:5-6
These verses led to the fourth Universal Law of Noah:
Do not eat a limb of a living animal.
Respect the life of all God’s creatures. As intelligent beings, we have a duty not to cause undue pain to other creatures.
Later in Leviticus:
The following you shall abominate among the birds—they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, and the black vulture; the kite, falcons of every variety; all varieties of raven; the ostrich, the nighthawk, the seagull; hawks of every variety; the little owl, the cormorant, and the great owl; the white owl, the pelican, and the bustard; the stork; herons of every variety; the hoopoe, and the bat. Leviticus 11:19
The Human Problem (Yum This Tastes Good)
Just because tastes good going in does not mean it is good for you. There are reasons God set about certain food laws later. One of the suggested reasons has to do with environment and the fact that sin had reentered the world on a global scale.
There are certain delicacies that people eat which may not have immediate bad reactions but over time do more harm than good. Certain bacteria, viruses, and other non-cooperative to good health are in the animals that are specified not to consume in Scripture. Even well-cooked there are negatives even if our bodies change to accept the foods available. When our bodies adjust to these foods our DNA changes to accept these as nourishment. Problem, when DNA changes it replaces our original structure and God is distorted.
There were many years between Noah and Moses. So many that those who were separated in Babel no longer knew God as He desires. God chose a specific people but had to get their human bodies healthy and change their DNA back to the time of Noah. To do this God gave the following:
20 “‘All winged swarming creatures that go on all fours are a detestable thing for you; 21 except that of all winged swarming creatures that go on all fours, you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, enabling them to jump off the ground. 22 Specifically, of these you may eat the various kinds of locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and crickets. 23 But other than that, all winged swarming creatures having four feet are a detestable thing for you. Leviticus 11:20-23
29 “‘The following are unclean for you among the small creatures that swarm on the ground: the weasel, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards, 30 the gecko, the land crocodile, the skink, the sand-lizard and the chameleon. Leviticus 11:29-30
41 “‘Any creature that swarms on the ground is a detestable thing; it is not to be eaten — 42 whatever moves on its stomach, goes on all fours, or has many legs — all creatures that swarm on the ground; you are not to eat them, because they are a detestable thing. Leviticus 11:41-42
Do these sound familiar? They should because they are constantly the subject of attacks by non-Christians to which the answer is Jesus and what He approved. I cannot say for sure but I am guessing that those who believe can eat certain things but are still held to all the Noahide Laws as well as the Ten Commandments. We are bound to them because we are God’s creation. I will cover the Noahide Laws on another time but I can tell you that all of the morality and ethical laws of Moses come directly from the law given to Noah.
Eating Right Leads to Good Physical and Spiritual Fitness
Throughout time we humans have experimented with different kinds of food. Our bodies adapted to the foods in the areas we live but there are always drawbacks to everything that is listed as detestable to God. Think of how many civilizations have died out because of their eating and health habits.
If you ask me, I think God is trying to tell us something. Isn’t it about time for the world to listen. Could this latest flu strain be a sign. Think about this: a large portion of a population whose leaders have had those who believe in God persecuted through jail and or murdered. This flu is mainly attacking young adults to 55 or 60 year olds. This affects the elders who have to care for them and leaves children without parents. They are seeking a cure. The cure is simple, eat right and turn to God.
Eating right and caring for the physical has an amazing effect on the spiritual self. The more we return to the habits and character God desires of us, the closer we are to Him and He will take care of us.
I do feel for those who have had to suffer due to the losses and those who are infected. I pray that the doctors and scientists can create a temporary solution that can lead to removing this current strain and help people back to decent health. Once they recover it will be time to reintroduce them to God.
I know this is a lengthy one but a good portion of spiritual fitness really does involve physical fitness. Our physical fitness and challenges are used to bring us closer to God. Some of us may never heal but if our spiritual resolve is stronger than our physical pain, we are on the right track.
May God spread His loving arms around us,
Rob, Servant of God
When we disobey God there are three routes a person can take. One way leads to forgiveness, one way leads to losing God’s favor, and another leads to immediate death. Last Sunday we discussed King Saul’s disobedience that discredited him and he was removed from God’s sight as the anointed one. This week’s discussion on disobedience takes a look into the consequence of a simple statement which has deadly results. Let us see what happened to Ado, the wife of Lot.
A Troubled Mind
Even with all the evil that Sodom and Gomorrah had been accused of and had been proven, Ado had found happiness in the lives of her daughters. There were many warnings and chances for Lot’s family and extended family through his son in laws to get the whole family out of the land but Lot’s married daughters had enjoyed life too much to leave and they also would not leave their husbands even though they were part of the evil in the land.
Lot and Ado’s youngest daughter, Paltith, had been killed by the authorities for being kind to a beggar who was starving (Book of Jasher 19:24-43). Ado had many memories that she would not let go of. Her life was filled with happiness, but she suffered through many incidents and those kept her in the world she knew even when given the chance to start over when saved from destruction.
The Order is Given
When they had brought them out, he said, “Flee for your life! Don’t look behind you, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain, but escape to the hills! Otherwise you will be swept away.” Genesis 19:17
God told the messengers, who were sent to get Lot and family out, very specific orders. He wanted them to leave that life behind so that the family could start over again sharing the Word of God. Lot, seeing that the area they were being directed to was far off and possibly still in the destruction zone, pleads with the messengers:
Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lord! Here, your servant has already found favor in your sight, and you have shown me even greater mercy by saving my life. But I can’t escape to the hills, because I’m afraid the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. Look, there’s a town nearby to flee to, and it’s a small one. Please let me escape there — isn’t it just a small one? — and that way I will stay alive.” Genesis 19:18-20
The family made it to Zoar just in time for God to rain destruction on the cities. Without second thought Ado made a deadly choice.
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a column of salt. Genesis 19:26
What Choice Would You Make
God gave Lot and his family a second chance and the family would have been fine staying in the city. Ado chose to look back out of sadness and concern for the daughters she left behind with their husbands. She probably wanted to see the destruction of her daughter Paltith’s killers. I do feel sorry for her but at the same time she held on to things God wanted left behind. Choices were made and Ado’s disobedience led to her death.
When we choose to follow God we are held accountable for conducting ourselves in a way that is pleasing to God. Being pleasing to God means obeying His Word the best way possible. We all know we cannot do what He asks without messing up so He sent us Jesus. We still have to move forward without looking back and desiring our past. We have to let go of the things that will keep us from God which sometimes means leaving family and friends behind. It also means leaving our worldly ways that distract us from being in communion with God.
Sometimes God asks some very challenging things of us and it is up to us to make the choices that will be pleasing to Him. We are not to look back and desire our past like Ado had done. Granted we might not be turned into a pillar of salt but if we preserve our past in our minds, we fill ourselves with salt that dries us and consumes us leaving no space for God. What choice would you make?
In the Father’s Embrace,
Rob, Servant of God
The messages on the blogs written on this page are within biblical adherence. Though the Scriptures listed in the blogs are directly from the Bible and other related religious writings the explanations and interpretations are in line with Biblical thinking as it relates to today’s world. The use of historical facts are to assist in the validity of the writings. The main writer of this blog site is an Ordained minister in one denomination though the views are related to all denominations so if something is said that does not fall in line with your denominational background, pray for personal discernment and understanding.