The scripture for today, February 22, is Ephesians 2:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Cover-KINDLE“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Another place in the New Testament, 2nd Corinthians 6:16, says we are the temple of God. A lot of things in worship under the Law of Moses were a literal version of what Christians some day would enjoy in a spiritual and deeper sense.

We have no need for the temple in Jerusalem, for now God dwells in Christians. We have no need for the altar of sacrifice at that temple because Jesus was our final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:4-12). We have no need for the cymbals, harps and lyres played in worship, because Christians play on the strings of their hearts (Ephesians 5:19). We have no need for the priestly system in the Law of Moses because all Christians are priests (1st Peter 2:5). And how do we serve as priests? Romans 12:1 explains it: “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.”

What a concept! God does not dwell in temples or church buildings!
     He dwells in Christians.
          He lives and moves through Christians.
               What a privilege.
                    What a responsibility.

The scripture for today, February 14, is Colossians 2:14 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

WORSHIP THE FIRST-CENTURY WAY-COVER-KINDLE“[God] having canceled the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

This amazing scripture tells us that the Old Law of Moses was nailed to the cross. Why? Because it was against us; that is, it was impossible for us to keep perfectly. The Law of Moses wasn’t just ten commandments. It was over 600. Try reading Leviticus in the Old Testament. That’s where most of the old law (“the written code with its regulations”) is.

It’s tedious. It regulated nearly every part of everyone’s daily life. It involved what we could and couldn’t eat, having to kill animals to die in our place whenever we sinned, stoning adulterers to death, having a separate priesthood, tithing, reporting to priests if we had an open sore, use of candles, having to go to the Temple in Jerusalem 3 times a year, and on and on.

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament was written to help us understand that God’s new Law of Grace is much more spiritual.

Hebrews was written about the time the Temple in Jerusalem was permanently destroyed, thus making it impossible to obey several things in the old law. And a little time later the Jewish genealogies were destroyed, thus making it impossible to prove who was a Levite and eligible to be a priest.

The Old Testament of the Bible is not the same as the Law of Moses. The Law is a small part of the Old Testament. The rest of it is praise and wisdom, accounts of people who did or did not try to follow God, warnings and prophecies of good and bad. These are examples to us today.

Let us not neglect the Old Testament as so many people do. It includes the Law of Moses to help us know what to stay away from it in favor of the Law of Grace. If God wanted us to continue any part of it, he repeated it in the New Testament. It is full of examples that we need to know about. And it is full of prophecies of a Savior who would save them and us some day ~ Jesus. Thank God for the Old Testament.

0-BOOK 5-FLOOD GATES-Cover-PrintThe scripture for today, December 18, is Hebrews 12:18ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“You have not come to a mountain [Sinai] that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storms; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.’ The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ “

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a NEW COVENANT….”

The first paragraph refers to the mountain on which Moses received what was called the Law of Moses ~ not just 10 commandments, but over 600 ~ over a 40-day period. The second paragraph refers to a different mountain where the Temple was later built in Jerusalem.

Then it shows that Jesus took it beyond the physical so that the Christian Jerusalem has come out of heaven where angels and the living God dwell (Revelation 21).

Why would anyone want to dip into the old Law of Moses to get justification to do showy things in worship? And why would anyone want to rebuild the old Temple in Jerusalem when the new Jerusalem is in heaven? Let us not think of what pleases us, but what pleases God.

The scripture for today, December 13, is Ecclesiastes 12:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Old Testament Survey-Cover-Kindle“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

When the King James Version was published in the early 1600s, they italicized all words that were not in the original language of the Bible. The word “duty” above was not in the original.Translators inserted it to help us understand the original. But perhaps in this case it did not help. Fearing God is the whole of man ~ not our duty, but our essence.

Fearing the Lord is a gift. Isaiah 11:2 predicted regarding Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him ~
“…the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,”
“…the Spirit of counsel and of power,”
“…the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”

Solomon had tried everything to find happiness, as he explained in his book of Ecclesiastes ~ Pleasure (ch. 2), hard work (ch. 3), advancement (ch. 4), riches (ch. 5). None brought him true happiness. Eventually, he concluded that only one thing can bring that happiness deep down inside where no one and no situation in life can touch it ~ God. God is the whole of man ~ if we let Him be.

Why? Ecclesiastes 3:11 explains it richly: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Another way to view this is “There is a God-shaped emptiness in the heart of man.” Fill your mind with the Word of God. Then God will fill your heart and being, and make you feel full.

The scripture for today, November 12, is Leviticus 11:12 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BOOK 5-FLOOD GATES-Cover-Print“Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.”

This is just one of the over 600 laws in the Law of Moses. They were intricate laws governing both their worship and their everyday life. This one chapter in Leviticus says in part they could not eat camels or coneys or rabbits or pigs. They could not eat eagles, vultures, kites, ravens, owls, gulls, hawks, osprey, storks, herons, hoopoes or bats. But they could eat locusts, katydids, crickets and grasshoppers. And this is just part of chapter 11!

Why did God give so many intricate laws to the Jews? To give them a chance to keep them all perfectly so they could be perfect. In the mean time, God did not give any laws to the Gentiles; He let them try whatever means they could on their own to become perfect. But during the same time period, both the Jews and Gentiles proved to themselves that it was impossible to keep their religions perfectly and thus be perfect themselves.

Now Jesus was ready to come. He lived the Jewish law perfectly, then nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Now we live under a law of grace, and his commandments revolve around loving God and loving each other.

Aren’t we fortunate to live in the Christian era?

The scripture for today, October 19, is Hebrews 10:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Oldoldstory-COVER-KINDLE“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus….”

The entire book of Hebrews explains in detail how the Jewish Old Testament Law of Moses with its 600 laws was replaced by the New Testament law of Jesus’ Grace, not just for Jews, but for every nation on earth.

The Jewish temple had two rooms, and no ordinary Jew was ever allowed to enter either. The main room in front was called the Holy Place. The smaller room in the back was called the Most Holy Place. Only Levites (male descendants of the Jewish tribe of Levi) were allowed to enter the Holy Place. Only the high priest, a Levite descendant of Aaron, Moses’ brother) was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place, and even then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16 explains that on that Day, the high priest was to kill a goat and sprinkle its blood inside the Most Holy Place for the atonement (forgiveness) of the people.

The Jewish temple was destroyed about the time the book of Hebrews was written. This book explains that we no longer need an earthly high priest and an earthly Most Holy Place. Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 7:24-26) The Most Holy Place is heaven and open to all Christians throughout the world (Hebrews 9:24-26).

Hebrews 9:12-14 explains, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who areceremonially unclean sanctify them so they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ ~ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God ~ cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

God created the pattern in the Old Testament, and the spiritual reality in the New Testament. How amazing!

The scripture for today, September 14, is Hebrews 9:14f as found in the New Testament of the Bible.

0-BOOK 5-FLOOD GATES-Cover-Print“How much more then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts [sins] that lead to death so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant [testament] that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance ~ now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant [testament].”

This is a very interesting passage. Just previous to this, the author was talking about the blood of bulls and goats being sacrificed for sins under the old Law of Moses [Testament]. But now that the Son of God, the Lamb of God, had been sacrificed for our sins, we no longer need any more blood sacrifices.

Further, Jesus’ sacrifice was retroactive! It reached back to the faithful who lived under the first/old covenant [Testament] and set them free from their sins too.

Aren’t you glad God did away with the old Law of Moses with all its 600+ rules and regulations, and its requirement for animal blood sacrifices, and brought us a law of grace? What a God! What a Savior! Jesus did all this to save us from hell.

Have a day of gratitude.

The scripture for today is found in Genesis 9:12f in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Bkgd-desert-rainbow“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

On the technical side, how can it be that there was never a rainbow before Noah’s time? Genesis 2:5b-6 explains, “The Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

Up until the time of Noah, people lived to be several hundred years old. Christian scientists have said that before the flood the earth had a constant cloud covering with a thick ozone layer that created the greenhouse effect of vapors, and protected man from the aging process.

So rainbows were not possible when the sun could never break through the ever-present clouds. It was because of a terrible world-wide cataclysm that the beauty of the rainbow was made possible.

On the faith side of this story, we see a man who had such faith in God that, although he probably had never seen rain, believed it would happen. Such amazing faith! Later, after the lives of his family members were saved, God gave him one more reward ~ the rainbow ~ that he could not only enjoy himself, but he could share with the world and all of us, Noah’s descendants.

Out of disaster came beauty.

The scripture for today, February 14, is Colossians 2:14 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

New Testament Parchment“[God] having canceled the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

This amazing scripture tells us that the Old Law of Moses was nailed to the cross. Why? Because it was against us; that is, it was impossible for us to keep perfectly. The Law of Moses wasn’t just ten commandments. It was over 600. Try reading Leviticus in the Old Testament. That’s where most of the old law (“the written code with its regulations”) is.

It’s tedious. It regulated nearly every part of everyone’s daily life. It involved what we could and couldn’t eat, having to kill animals to die in our place whenever we sinned, stoning adulterers to death, having a separate priesthood, tithing, reporting to priests if we had an open sore, use of candles, having to go to the Temple in Jerusalem 3 times a year, and on and on.

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament was written to help us understand that God’s new Law of Grace is much more spiritual. Hebrews was written just before the Temple in Jerusalem was permanently destroyed, thus making it impossible to obey several things in the old law. And a little time later the Jewish genealogies were destroyed, thus making it impossible to prove who was a Levite and eligible to be a priest.

The Old Testament of the Bible is not the same as the Law of Moses. The Law is a small part of the Old Testament. The rest of it is praise and wisdom, accounts of people who did or did not try to follow God, warnings and prophecies of good and bad. These are examples to us today.

Let us not neglect the Old Testament as so many people do. It includes the Law of Moses to help us know what to stay away from in favor of the Law of Grace. If God wanted us to continue any part of it, he repeated it in the New Testament. It is full of examples that we need to know about. And it is full of prophecies of a Savior who would save them and us some day ~ Jesus. Thank God for the Old Testament.

The scripture for today, November 19, is Ezekiel 11:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

WORSHIP THE FIRST-CENTURY WAY-COVER-KINDLE“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Although the 600+ commandments in the Old Testament Law of Moses were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), God has always had laws to keep us safe. In the New Testament era he does not have a lot of laws, but he still has them.

What is our worship like? Is it full of things God never asked us to do? Does our worship elevate God or ourselves? When we’re done worshiping, do we say, “We were so great!” or “God is so great!”?

We add all kinds of things to our worship that were commanded only under the Law of Moses, or things we think would “add to the effectiveness” of our worship. If, for example, it’s okay to add things to our singing and praying because then they would sound better, then it is okay to add lemon pie to the Lord’s Supper because then it would taste better.

Again, the question: Who are we worshiping and trying to please? God or ourselves? Do we deep down have a heart of stone, but put on our halo and say, “Surely not me”?