Tag Archives: lost

Matthew 18 – Value

“Value” is an interesting word.  We talk about how valuable something is, or how something has value, or is a value.  Yet,  that value is not really standard.  The saying goes that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  What is important / significant / valuable to one person is worthless to another.  One person sees “high art” another sees “junk”.  One sees “junk” and another sees “potential”.  Even the value of money is dependent upon the person and situation.  To some people, money is everything!  They seek after it even at the cost of the people around them.  To others, money is nothing but a tool… and not a very good one at that!

So it should be no surprise that what Christ or God values can be very different than what we value.  The disciples came to Jesus at one point and asked Him, “Who then is the greatest (has the most value) in the kingdom of heaven?”  Jesus response is, unexpectedly, a child.  One must have faith as a child, and anyone who receives a child in His name, receives Him.

What’s more, anyone who causes a child to stumble (away from God) has done such a grave danger that he may as well have been drowned… not that Christ is condoning murder.  This is such an issue that Jesus give His disciples the analogy that if their eye causes them to stumble, they need to pluck it out.

The analogy of value seems to continue with the picture of the flock of sheep.  When one sheep wanders off, Christ says that He will leave the entire flock of sheep to seek out the ONE that is lost!  He values each person so much, that He would leave everything else behind to rescue one lost soul.  If that doesn’t define our value to Him, i don’t know what will.

He goes on even further.  We must value others enough to not only discipline them, and kick them out when they refuse to accept the truth, but we must also forgive them as well!  So when a man / woman sins against you, hurts you, and your pride, you must be willing to forgive; not just 7 times, but 7, 70 times (or as many as it takes).  Yet that forgiveness does not preclude discipline and even to the removal of the offender.  Why, because God values His creation, even to the point of understanding the need for discipline and the removal of the cancerous.

Do we value His whole creation?  Or do we only care about those who directly affect us?

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Leviticus 7 – Error II

This was the second time that i had to rip out a page from by project Bible.  I have actually been posting about a day behind my writing for the last 4 or 5 days.  I do my chapter copying, but then i’m just so exhausted from going to bed 10:30-11:00 pm and getting up at 5:00 am (after being up for 30 min to an hour in the middle of the night with a crying baby) that after i finish my chapter (generally 6:00-6:45 am) i go back  to sleep until 7:00 am instead of doing my post.

Well, yesterday i was supposed to finish ch. 7, so today i started chapter 8.  About halfway through, i realized that i had never finished chapter 7!  I had gotten to around verse 25 yesterday when i was so exhausted that i stopped to sleep and was going to go back and finish it later in the day.  Needless to say, i was more than a little annoyed, but what could i do about it.  There was no way to simply paste in the missing verses, so i had to tear out the page, redo some of the work that i had lost, and finished the second half of chapter 7.  On a positive note, now my writing and my posts are on the same page!

Well, Leviticus 7 is not anything overly new.  There are more instructions for the priests concerning the sacrifices and when, where, and how to do what needs to be done.  One thing i did note however, is that this chapter includes a whole lot about what of the offerings belongs to the priest.  Every few verses it seems that there is a statement that this portion belongs to the priests, or that piece is for Aaron and his sons forever.  It’s not that those things haven’t been stated in previous chapters.  This chapter just seems to have a whole lot more to say.

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Exodus 30 – Incense & Anointing

What is the significance of scent, of aroma and of oils?  Why is it so important?  It seems to be important to the LORD, and in part i understand it.  Yet on the other hand i know that there is a part to it that i really just don’t grasp.  Scents can have a stressing or a calming effect on a person depending very much on what the scent is.  They can be irritating, soothing, or both at the same time.  In the major prophets when God is talking about the people of Israel, there are numerous times when He makes a statement similar to this; “Your sacrifices are offensive to my nostrils.”  Instead of being an aroma, pleasing to Him as is it’s intended purpose, it becomes noxious and vulgar.

Now, i can understand this to some extent as many strong perfumes and candles tend to give me headaches.  Also, at one point in my life when i worked as a cashier at a clothing store there was a regular customer who always made it a point to go through my line.  She appeared to be an older lady, and she would, whenever she had the chance, stop and talk with me for as long as she could.  It was kind of an uncomfortable situation under normal circumstances, but she also wore extremely strong and noxious perfume.  It was so bad that the majority of times, after talking with her for about five minutes or so, my head would be spinning so much i would have to lean on the counter to keep from falling over.

But that’s not what God was referring to when He spoke of their sacrifices being noxious in His nostrils.  He was referring to how the people would bring their sacrifices to the temple on the right days, but then would live as if YHWH meant nothing at all other times.  Their sins and offenses meant nothing to them as long as they came and made their appropriate sacrifices.  That is not how these sacrifices and incense are supposed to work.  They are supposed to enhance the sacrifice and make it more pleasing and acceptable to Him.

This chapter also deals with the anointing oil.  The anointing oil has been a fascinating thing to me.  It is used to consecrate and make holy.  It is used to define and explain the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.  It is used as a symbol of purification and for healing.  It is all of this and more.  In this chapter the anointing oil and the process of it being made is described in part.  Yet, it is still a mystery.  Some of the ingredients have been lost in time, or in the least their names have changed and we don’t know what they are anymore.  Even if we did know what they were, it would be easy for us in the church today (in our ignorance of God’s Holiness and the importance of His commands) to abuse its use and bring curses down upon ourselves.  For those same reasons i am glad that the true pronunciation of the name YHWH has been lost.

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Genesis 39 – God’s Blessing

Well, it looks like i labeled yesterday’s chapter 39 instead of 38.  It’s fixed now, but if you were confused as  to why Genesis 39 didn’t have anything to do with Judah and his family, that’s because it doesn’t.  It was supposed to be Genesis 38.  Well, now on to the real Genesis 39.

Why does it seem at times that God’s blessing is immediately proceeded by some sort of trial or struggle?  At times through my life it has felt like the moment things start going right and smoothly, that is the moment it all starts to fall apart.  It feels like i just start to bounce back from one problem and… BANG!  I’m hit by the next.

That’s what appears to be happening here in Joseph’s life.  Joseph was a good young man, but his brother’s were jealous of him and his father’s favoritism towards him.  So they tried to make him miserable.  In turn God blesses him with dreams foretelling a future in which his brothers will bow down to him.  At which point his brothers decide to kill him, then at the last minute sell him as a slave.  So he gets sent down to Egypt and is sold into the household of an important leader.  Joseph does the right thing and God blesses Him.  Joseph continues to do  the right thing and as a result of doing the right thing he ends up accused of something he didn’t do with no way to defend himself.  So now he’s in a maximum security foreign prison with no hope of release.  I mean honestly, how much lower can a guy get? So what does he do?  He does the right thing.  He does his job well, and he becomes the most respected prisoner in that foreign maximum security facility.

Where is that going to get him.  Every time he does  the right thing and begins to excel beyond his situation, he loses out.  He drops deeper and deeper, like a man falling in a pit trying to climb out and each time he finally starts to make progress, he falls deeper in.

For those who already know, we know where this is going.  For those who don’t, this isn’t the end.  At one point in my life as i saw this happening, God spoke to me.  He told me that He loved me and not to worry.  Do you know what my automatic reaction was?  My reaction was, “Oh great, NOW what’s going to happen?”  You see, this had become my mentality.  This is how i had begun to see God and how He worked.  I began to believe that as soon as God began to bless me, it was just a predecessor to another trial… to another struggle, and i began to lose hope.

I know better now, but this is still how i feel sometimes.  I know a number of you can relate.  If that’s where you are.  You feel like it doesn’t matter how much you try… how much you do the right thing time, and time, and time, and time, and time again, and it seems like it’s a waste of time and life.  Well it’s not.  There is hope.  There is always hope.  It may not feel like it but God does love you, and He is taking care of you.  It’s never as bad as it seems, so just trust Him!  (I know, easier said than done sometimes, but do it anyways.)

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Genesis 25 – Chosen Path

I was tempted to title this chapter “Loose Ends” due to the beginning of the chapter being dedicated to tying up the loose ends of Abraham’s life.  He got married a third time, and had six more children.  He ended up sending them away to the east with gifts and giving all that he had to Isaac before dying and being buried.  As i was going through though, the realization came to me that these children weren’t just loose ends.  They were as much children of Abraham as Isaac and Ishmael.  So while the Bible doesn’t focus on them as much, they had just as much of God’s blessing as Ishmael.  They were still blessed.  They would still become great nations, but their lives simply don’t continue through the story as the others do.  They are not key characters, but neither are they simply loose ends.  They are still the children of Abraham.

The best i could come up with is “Chosen Path”.  This chapter is about multiple paths.  It is about the options and opportunities taken and lost.  No one in this chapter is insignificant in and of themselves.  God simply chose His route.  There were multiple paths and roads to choose from, but of Abraham’s eight children God chose Isaac, then Jacob of Isaac’s two.  Esau squandered his opportunity, …for a bowl of stew and a slice of bread.  Ultimately though, it’s about God’s choice.  It’s not that the others were of less value or worth, they were just not chosen.

How about us?  Do we disregard someone because they have come from a different path?  Do we recognize that all people are God’s children, or do we get so caught up in the fact that they come from a different path that we automatically reject or push them away?  What is more important to God, that they came from a different (wrong?) path, or that they find the Chosen One?

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