Mornings And Evenings 

Numbers 28:4
“The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening”

As a nation, Israel was required to offer sacrifices to the Lord, daily. Each day started and finished with the sweet aroma of a burnt offering being dedicated to God. This is a pretty good pattern for every Christian to follow. Our walk with Christ will be richly enhanced if we start the day by offering ourselves to the Lord and finish by doing the same. The beauty of beginning our day with Jesus is that we receive both direction and strength for what the day holds. Those who spend their mornings in the Word of God can attest to how often they have found that the passage they read had a real life application in their day.  In some cases, it actually led to ministry opportunities in the life of others. The beauty of ending the day with the Lord is we are able to enjoy His mercy and grace for the areas where we have slipped or fallen. We do not have to carry the guilt of sin into the night, nor do we have to continue with whatever ungodly attitude may have been developed in us, through the experiences we encountered that day. Our evening time becomes a time of confession and cleansing, and we can sleep the sleep of the righteous.

Let’s make a commitment to give the Lord our mornings and our evenings, and see what a beautiful transformation takes place in our walk with the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Glamping 

Exodus 25:2
“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”

A few years ago I heard a word I had never heard before, or ever dreamed could be real. That word was “glamping.” “Glamping,” according to the urban dictionary, is “a form of glamorous camping done by urban types.” Those who “glamp” turn tents into elaborate structures with all the comforts of home. Once inside the tent, you are sure to forget you are in the wild. Of all the glamorous tents ever constructed by these wanna be campers, none could compare in beauty or cost to the Tabernacle Israel built in the wilderness. At the current value of an ounce of gold, the Tabernacle would have cost more than $50 million just in materials. The question is, where did all that money come from?

“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”

Moses laid out the building plans for the Tabernacle, then instructed the people to go home and consider what part they would play in the construction of the Tabernacle. Each family was to prayerfully consider their financial condition, in light of the work that God wanted to do. In the end, the people were to give willingly to the work.

I am sure many factors were considered as families got together to examine their finances. They needed to look at their net worth, what expenses they had to cover, and to keep in mind that the future was unknown, and they could not be certain what kind of provision was around the corner. I am sure, in addition to looking at their needs, they also considered some wants. If they gave to the work of the Lord, that would mean they had less to spend on pleasure, amusement or vacations. Another factor they needed to consider, was that by giving to the Lord, they were giving to something bigger than themselves; a work that would continue long after they were gone. So much of our expenses are spent on things that don’t last, giving to the Tabernacle was giving to something that would be used for the furtherance of the kingdom for years to come.

When considering your finances, and what to do with them, it is important to carefully examine what you have, but it is also important to consider what kind of lasting impact you are making for the kingdom of God. Perhaps it is time to prayerfully consider what investments you are making in the furtherance of the Gospel.

Pastor Jim

Offering

Genesis 4:2-5
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

As the drama of Genesis unfolds we are introduced to two sons of Adam and given a glimpse into their lives and occupations. Abel the younger was a shepherd while his older brother Cain was a farmer. It was not their occupations but their character that determined their destinies. We read that Abel brought an offering of the flocks while Cain brought the fruit of the ground and that God respected Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. The question we must answer is why? What was wrong with Cain’s offering?

Two things stand out to me from the story. First off, back in the garden God had already shown that He rejected fig leaves as an acceptable covering for sin. Instead He established a system of substitutionary sacrifice. This system will be further developed throughout Scripture but will never change. We will see it in the levitical system established at Sinai and it will have its ultimate fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Never will the work of our own hands be a sufficient covering for sin.

The second aspect of this story that stands out is the reason a substitute is necessary. Cain brought the fruit of the ground because he did not understand the far reaching effects of sin. He looked at his crops that represented hours of care and labor and thought they were an acceptable offering. This was because he failed to see that they were grown in fallen dirt. As good as those vegetables may have been, at their core they bore marks of the fall. The same is true with all works. My very best efforts are always tainted with sin.

From the beginning God established a way for sinful man to have relationship with Him and from the beginning men have been trying to come their own way. The way to God is paved for us by the cross, entrance is a simple as trusting that Jesus died in our place. Isn’t it time to trust in Christ instead of clinging to your own goodness as a means to access God.

It has been and always will be about His amazing grace

Jim

  

Jim Gallagher

Genesis 4:2-5
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

As the drama of Genesis unfolds, we are introduced to two of the sons of Adam and given a glimpse into their lives and occupations. Abel, the younger, was a shepherd, while his older brother Cain was a farmer. It was not their occupations, but their character that determined their destinies. We read, Abel brought an offering of the flocks, while Cain brought the fruit of the ground; God respected Abel’s…

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The Meeting Place 

Ezekiel 41:4
“…And he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.”

The deepest chamber within the temple housed the Ark of God and the the Mercy Seat. It was here, the high priest would enter only once a year to bring the blood of the sacrifice, and intercede on behalf of the Nation. It was here,  God had originally explained to Moses, they could meet with the Lord and talk to Him about anything.

Exodus 25:22 “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.”

I think it is worth noting,  this chamber is called the Holiest Place. It is only in holiness that we can meet with God. That is particularly concerning when we realize we are not holy. The prophet made it abundantly clear, even our best attempts ar doing good, lack true holiness in the sight of God.
Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind! Have taken us away.”

If God is holy, the meeting place between God and man is holy. We, at our best, are not holy;  we are in need of help. That is where the cross comes in. Under the old covenant, this was solved through sacrifice on the altar. The priest would confess his sins and that of the people, and would enter the holiest place. Now under the new covenant, this is solved by Christ. His sacrifice provides atonement for all our sins. We, like the priest, must accept the sacrifice, by accepting Christ and confessing our sin. When we do, we are forgiven, made holy, and have access to God.

If you have received Christ, there is nothing keeping you from the holy meeting place. You may attend there regularly, bringing yourself, your life and your needs before the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Giving 

2 Kings 12:9
“Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the Lord; and the priests who kept the door put there all the money brought into the house of the Lord.”

Young king Jehoash began his reign by repairing the Temple of the Lord. In order to fund the work, he had a large box built with a hole in the top, where people could place their offerings. He instructed the people to give as they “purpose in their hearts.” This freedom allowed each person to go home, sit with his spouse and pray, regarding what portion of their income should be given to the work of the Lord. Once decided, they would simply drop the funds into the box, without any fan fair or recognition. When the money was received, it was set apart for the work of the Lord. This is a very clear illustration of New Testament giving. Paul instructs us that we should give “as we purpose in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 9:7), and Jesus said, “we should not let our left hand know what our right doing” (Matthew 6:3). The New Testament model for giving is one that allows for “freedom.” Each one of us is free to give as we see fit. However, we must guard against misusing this freedom, by failing to take the time to sit before the Lord and determine what part of our income should be given to the work of God. There are at least two common mistakes we make that negatively influence our decision to give.

First, we think, what we have to give, is so inconsequential that it will not make a difference. This is the same thinking that keeps some from serving the Lord. Keep in mind, it was the widow’s mites that received Christ’s praise, not the golden coins of the rich (Luke 21:1-4).Giving is more about you expressing love for Christ, and trusting in His provision, than it is about the dollar amount of the gift.
Second, we often fail to give because we don’t think we can make ends meet with less than we have. We look at the bills, the kids, the desire for a family vacation, and we wonder how we could ever give any portion to the Lord on a regular basis. I think it is important to keep two things in mind. First, we are exhorted to store up treasures in heaven. When we put aside an earthly gift for the work of the Lord, we are storing up a heavenly treasure. Second, God is in the business of doing more with less. I have been amazed at the ways God has blessed me and my family, as we have served Him over the years.

He is Faithful to meet all your needs.

Pastor Jim

 

Best Of The Best

Leviticus 22:20
Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf.”

20140225-070519.jpgI once heard of a farmer whose cow had given birth to twin calves. In his excitement, he decided to dedicate one to the Lord. As the days passed, his wife reminded him of his promise, she inquired if he had decided which calf was the Lord’s. Sadly, one of the calves became ill and the farmer did all he could to nurse the animal back to health. Late into the evening, he returned from the barn, and slumped into a chair. His wife, asked what was the matter, to which he replied, “The Lord’s calf died.” Too often, this is typical of our offering to the Lord. Whatever we have left, do not want, need, or use any longer, is offered to the Lord.

God instructed His people, when they give, they should offer the best. Anything defective might still have a use, but it was not worthy of being presented to the Lord. A lamb with a broken leg, would still make a wonderful meal, but was not the lamb to offer to God. When it comes to giving, we should always seek to give our best. If we are giving of our time to teach a Sunday School class, we should do all we can to be well prepared; that is our offering, and God deserves our best. If we are involved in a men’s or women’s group, we should give ample time to prayer, and to completing the lessons, so we have something of value to bring to the discussion; that is our offering, and God deserves our best. If we are involved in worship, we should practice the songs, pray for the church services, and the people of God; that is our offering, and God deserves our best.

The principle is simple. When we give to God, we want to give our best. Imagine if you were having an important guest over for a meal. Would you serve up the leftovers from the past few meals; stuff the kids picked at, but didn’t finish? Would you toss it down on paper plates? Or would you go out of your way to discover their favorite foods, and do your best to serve them in a manner worthy of their office? Certainly, God deserves more from us than we would give to one another.

Pastor Jim

 

Always Burning

Leviticus 6:13
“A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.”

IMG_1482The Old Testament offerings served a duel purpose. First, they were designed to provide a way for man to have relationship with God. Second, they were designed as types or illustrations of a relationship between man and God through Christ. Paul wrote that these things were written for our “example” (Romans 15:4). An understanding of the Old Testament offerings, helps to illustrate the similarity of those offerings to a healthy relationship with Christ. The burnt offering is a picture of a life fully devoted to the Lord. This offering was brought to the priest morning and night, and completely consumed upon the altar.

Jesus explained, if we want to experience abundant life, it is not found in attempting to save our lives, by holding things back from the Lord. It is in the complete surrender of all to God. The Rich Young Ruler went away sad because he was unwilling to give all to Christ (Mark 10:17-22). By contrast, Paul celebrated that his life was being poured out as an offering on the altar of the Lord (Philippians 2:17).

It interests me that the flames of the altar were always lit, and the burnt offerings were sacrificed twice daily. Every morning and every evening, the air would be filled with the sweet aroma of the burnt offering. One way to ensure you have a healthy and growing relationship with God, is to offer yourself to Him daily. As the morning awakens, it is a good thing to get alone with the Lord and His Word. Start with prayer, and offer yourself to Him for the day. Take your schedule and lay it at His feet, asking for His guiding hand, and leave enough room for Him to redirect, as He sees fit; to use you to impact others for Christ.

When the day comes to an end, it is a good idea to lay the events of the day back on the altar. We often begin our day with great expectations, only to find that we have failed in one way or another. Take the time to confess sin, cry out for His merciful pardon, and sustaining grace.

Pastor Jim