Archive for February, 2012

February 29th, 2012

Go the Extra Mile

“‘If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.’” Leviticus 25:35 (ESV)

Are you compelled to go the extra mile for others even when it hurts? Do you have that kind of heart for people? Going the extra mile to portray the love of Christ may invade your plans or even delay your personal agenda. “‘And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles’” Matt 5:41 (ESV). Consider the impact you can make by simply living to add value to others. Ready to go the extra mile?

The Roman law in Jesus’ day gave a soldier the right to force a civilian to carry his equipment for a mile. It did not matter if the civilian had other plans or was going in the opposite direction. By law, the civilian had to carry the heavy load for a mile if selected by the soldier. That was the law as well as the clear expectation.

Jesus illuminated the path for the believer to go beyond the expectation and to be willing to go the extra mile. Can you imagine the expression on the face of a Roman soldier when the mile was almost complete and the civilian announced that he would be glad to carry the equipment another mile? That makes me wonder how many Roman soldiers will be in heaven because of the civilians who portrayed the servitude of Christ by going the extra mile. I can picture a soldier asking the believer what would motivate him to go the extra mile. The believer would then share how Jesus had transformed his life personally and transformed his perception of others.

Be willing to go the extra mile for a stranger or a close relative this week!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 52:  Leviticus 24-25)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Leviticus, Selflessness, Servitude.
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February 28th, 2012

Practice the Sabbath

“‘Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.’” Leviticus 23:3 (ESV)

God instructed Moses to speak to the people of Israel about the appointed feasts that were to be proclaimed as holy convocations. The appointed feasts included: the Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths. These holy convocations were intentional ways to express devotion, thanksgiving, gratitude, and worship unto the Lord.

The Sabbath is the seventh day, which is Saturday. As Christians, we gather for corporate worship on Sunday of each week in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross on a Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday. We come together on the first day of the week to worship God with our fellow believers.

How do we practice the Sabbath now that we operate under the new covenant of grace? God established the Sabbath and modeled Sabbath rest. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11 ESV).

Practice a weekly Sabbath by setting aside one day each week to allow God to put you back together. Rest. Reflect. Refrain from producing and racing toward a deadline. Un-string your bow and cultivate a day of personal renewal. Choose a day each week to get off of the race track and pull onto pit road in order to make a pit stop. Allow God to restore you and to refill your tank.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 51:  Leviticus 22-23)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Leviticus, Rest, Sabbath.
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February 27th, 2012

Love Others

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 19:9-10 (ESV)

We are by nature self-absorbed, self-centered, and self-focused. When anything happens around us our first question is: How will this affect me? In many ways, we act as though the earth really does rotate around us. The reality of our fallen nature pops up from time to time like a ground hog trying to catch a glimpse of daylight.

Jesus acknowledges the presence of our self-love. We truly love ourselves. As one of my colleagues would often say, “Sometimes you just have to be good to yourself!” We have no problem being good to ourselves do we? We value comfort. We value pleasure. We value looking good and feeling good and sleeping good.

As we begin viewing others from God’s perspective, we will begin to value others the way God values them. The resulting choice will be to love others as we love ourselves. In other words, we will begin to treat others the way we want to be treated. We will love others with the same kind of love that we desire to receive.

  • “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” James 2:8 (NIV)

James identifies that we are doing right when we love others as we love ourselves. Longing to do right is not enough. Putting our faith in action by loving others brings honor to God.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 50: Leviticus 19-21)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Leviticus, Love, Others.
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February 26th, 2012

Scapegoat

“And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.” Leviticus 16:8-10 (ESV)

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the high priest would enter the holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of his family and for all the people. One goat would be chosen to be sacrificed for the Lord and one goat would become the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10). The blood from the goat sacrificed as a sin offering would be sprinkled throughout the altar, sanctuary, and tent of meeting to remove defilement of the past year. The high priest would then place his hands on the head of the scapegoat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people to it. The scapegoat, also known as the goat of removal, would be led away from the people into the desert to picture the removal of sins.

Jesus bore our sins on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus took our punishment for sin to satisfy God’s justice. In His mercy, Christ was sacrificed to remove our sins. Our sin debt has been paid in full and our salvation purchased through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus became our scapegoat to take away our sins.

Have you confessed your sins? Have your received God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins? Spend some time thanking Jesus for the removal of your sins.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 49: Leviticus 16-18)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, February 26th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Leviticus, Scapegoat.
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February 25th, 2012

Separate Yourself

“‘Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.’” Leviticus 15:31 (ESV)

Sin is an intruder. Sin disrupts fellowship with God, sin erodes peace with God, and sin inhibits the will of God. God is holy, righteous, and pure. We are selfish, sinful, and separated from God until we have a life changing experiencing by placing our trust in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Once we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are to embrace a lifestyle of moral purity and be set apart unto the Lord’s work. In Christ, our life is reoriented to the will of God and to the ways of God.

  • “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” Psalm 24:3-4 (ESV)
  • “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:14 (ESV)

God instructed Moses and Aaron to prevent defiling the tabernacle in their midst. God gave them specific instructions related to how to deal with uncleanness within the camp. God values purity and order. He required that His people abide by the rules and regulations He established in order to enjoy His abiding presence. God gave detailed instructions on how to deal with leprosy, mildew, and intimate marital relations. Cleanliness, purification, and holiness are features that God demands.

Is there anything in your life that disrupts your fellowship with God? Confess known sin and embrace a lifestyle of moral purity that reflects the purity of Christ. Separate yourself from sin. Live a life that brings honor to God.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 48: Leviticus 14-15)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 25th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Holiness, Leviticus, Purity.
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February 24th, 2012

Be Holy

“‘For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.’” Leviticus 11:45 (ESV)

Is it possible to stay clean while living in a dirty world? Every possibility for contaminating our lives is available to us. Sin is rampant. We face trials from without and temptation from within. The cultural current is moving in the opposite direction of the Christ honoring flow. We must make a conscious and continuous decision to walk in purity.

  • “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Cor 7:1 (ESV)
  • “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Tim 4:12 (ESV)

Purify yourself and perfect holiness. Purify your heart and set an example for the believers in purity. In Christ, you are positionally pure. In Christ, you are a new creation. Live out practically what you are presently and positionally in Christ. The only way to reign in this life is to allow Christ to reign in your life.

Staying clean while living in a dirty world is only possible in the strength Christ provides. Jesus has already set the example. Jesus has demonstrated the life of purity in a sin-polluted culture. Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death so that you can walk in victory.

Embrace moral purity by yielding to the Lordship of Christ. Make Jesus the Lord of your life. God called you to live a holy life. Now give Jesus His rightful place in your life and allow Him to live His life through you.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 47: Leviticus 11-13)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Holiness, Leviticus.
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February 23rd, 2012

Distinguish the Sacred

“And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying,  ’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 10:8-11 (ESV)

You are made to worship. God has placed within you the desire to worship. If you are not careful and attentive, you can drift into worshiping creation rather than worshiping the Creator. You determine the focus of your worship. It is vital that you not only worship God, but that you worship God His way.

  • “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” Leviticus 10:1-2 (ESV)

Aaron’s sons made a decision to forfeit worshiping God His way. Instead, they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord and God removed them from their priestly service by instant death. As you read this encounter, it appears to be abrupt and extreme. God is demonstrating the value He places on His holiness and the way we worship.

God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us distinguish between that which is holy and common, between the clean and unclean. Guard against becoming too casual in your worship of the One true living God. Revere God and esteem God as you worship Him privately and corporately. Affirm the holiness of God. He alone is worthy!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 46: Leviticus 8-10)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Holiness, Leviticus.
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February 22nd, 2012

Bring Your Offerings

“This is the law of the burnt offering, of the grain offering, of the sin offering, of the guilt offering, of the ordination offering, and of the peace offering, 38 which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, on the day that he commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai.” Leviticus 7:37-38 (ESV)

God values relationships. Having a right relationship with God and having a right relationship with others is your personal responsibility. God has provided the way for you to be right with Him. Placing your faith in the complete work of Jesus on the cross justifies you before God and places you in right standing. God forgives you of your sin, adopts you into His family, and seals you by the Holy Spirit.

Now that you are positionally right with God, you maintain the relationship by knowing God’s will and doing God’s will. You choose to practice instant obedience, confess sin, and continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth. Maintaining a right relationship with God includes having a right relationship with others. Love others, serve others, and forgive others. Share the gift of eternal life with others so that they can have a personal love relationship with Jesus.

  • “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (ESV)

God gave Moses further instructions to develop the sacrificial system so that the people of Israel could have a right relationship with God and with others. They were to participate in the process by bringing their offerings to the tent of meeting. God was very specific about how to deal with sin and how to be made right with Him.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 45: Leviticus 5-7)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Generosity, Leviticus, Responsibility.
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February 21st, 2012

Sin and Sacrifice

“‘If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt, 14  when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting.’” Leviticus 4:13-14 (ESV)

As you read the first four chapters of Leviticus, you detect the theme of sin and sacrifice. God is holy, righteous, and pure. God does not tolerate sin. In His grace, God established the sacrificial system to be implemented by Moses and the priesthood. The system featured specific laws pertaining to specific measures to be taken for specific sins. As you can see, God takes sin seriously.

In order for the people of Israel to enjoy the benefits of their covenant relationship with God, they had to obey the laws established within the sacrificial system. Sin separated them from God. Sin inhibited their fellowship with God and misrepresented His nature and His character. God provided atonement for both sins of omission and sins of commission.

When a person failed to do what God commanded or when a person did something God commanded them not to do, that person sinned. When that sin became known to the person, he would then be required to bring a burnt offering for sins of commission (Lev. 1:3-4) or a sin offering for sins of omission to the entrance of the tent of meeting. The priest would then carry out the process for atonement.

Take a moment to consider your life before our holy God. Ask the Lord to search your heart and to reveal unconfessed sin in your life.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 44: Leviticus 1-4)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Leviticus, Sacrifice, Sin.
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February 20th, 2012

Moving with God

“Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:36-38 (ESV)

God would guide the Israelites by the visible manifestation of the cloud during the day and fire by night. When the cloud lifted and shifted, the Israelites moved. The Tabernacle was constructed in a way that emphasized ease of mobility. This enabled the Israelites to move when God moved.

As God’s workmanship, where did Moses learn that kind of sensitivity to God’s movement? Did he learn it in the palace during his first forty years on the earth or perhaps during the second forty years of his life as a shepherd in the desert? The burning bush experience obviously made an abiding difference in his sensitivity to God’s Presence.

God is always at work. Are you sensitive to His activity? You can experience God’s Presence moment by moment as you commune with Him through prayer and feed on His Word. You can experience God’s Presence as you maintain a posture of expectation and anticipation. You always find what you are looking for. If you are looking for the activity of God, you will find it.

Be sensitive to God’s activity. Be responsive to His invitation to join Him in His activity. Keep your “yes” on the altar to be available for God’s use. Move with God and abide in His perfect will.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 43:  Exodus 39-40)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 20th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Availability, God's Presence, Tabernacle.
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