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

 

Sacrifice 

Numbers 19:2
“This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.'”

A heifer is a cow. One that is entirely red in color would be extremely rare, and as a result quite valuable. As part of Israel’s purification process they were to take a red heifer and offer it outside the city. Once it’s blood was symbolically sprinkled on behalf of the people, the priests were to wash with water and stay away from things that would defile them, making them unfit for service. Anyone who became defiled would need to go through a purification process that required both cleansing and a period of time. It is not difficult to see the symbolism here, or to relate this to the work of Christ and the walk of the believer.

Jesus is the represented by the red heifer, sacrificed outside the city. His blood was shed as a means of providing cleansing for sin. Once we receive Christ, we need a regular washing with water, which comes through the daily reading of God’s Word. If we desire to remain pure and useful for ministry, we need to avoid things that will make us unclean. If we happen to stumble into an area of sin, the solution is to go back to the cross where we confess our guilt, and get into the Word where we are strengthened to overcome sin. Take whatever time is necessary to be restored that we might once again become effective in ministering to others.

Pastor Jim

 

Leaven

Leviticus 2:11
“No grain offering which you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the Lord made by fire.”


Leaven is a substance (such as yeast) that makes dough rise and become light before it is baked. Because it is a small ingredient in the dough and has the tendency to spread through the whole lump, it is used in Scripture to illustrate sin. Sin always starts small, but never stays that way. When a person falls into a “big sin,” it is because they started out making little compromises. As a result, it was a forbidden component in the grain offered to the Lord.

The New Testament declares that because of the work of Christ, we no longer are required to bring offerings to an altar and make sacrifices to God. Instead, we are to become a living sacrifice. Our whole life is to be devoted to the Lord. We should give our private life, family life, public life and church life as a sacrifice to God, and look for ways to honor and serve Him. If this living sacrifice is to be a sweet aroma to the Lord, we need to remove the leaven. In other words, we need to deal with sin as God reveals it. The New Testaments model for dealing with sin is that God reveals it through His word, we confess it in prayer, and He empowers us by His Spirit, to have victory over it in our lives.

If you are struggling in an area of sin, it is important that you address it before it spreads and becomes so large that it begins to destroy your relationship with God and others. The way to address it is to confess it to the Lord and to a trustworthy brother or sister in Christ. James spoke of the value of confessing our sin to one another, so we can pray for one another.

Don’t let sin reign in your life. Take it to the cross and be forgiven and set free.

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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Living Stone 

1 Peter 2:5
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”

Peter describes Christians as Living Stones. This simple phrase reveals the miraculous nature of our salvation. Individuals can no more have their sins forgiven than a stone can come to life. However, what is impossible with men, is possible for God. We, who are dead in sin, are made alive through faith in Christ. Peter adds to the miracle of salvation by explaining, once we have been made alive, we now have a divine purpose, “we are being built up a spiritual house.” God is shaping us into the people He created us to be, that we might experience abundant life and have an impact upon others, for the kingdom of heaven. We, who were once without God and without hope in this world, have been made alive and given a life of purpose. How should we respond ?

“. . . to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Peter explains that one of the primary purposes of our life, is to offer up spiritual sacrifices that have been approved by God. In other words, there are things God desires in return for the salvation He has freely given. First, we are told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. This is done when we willingly surrender ourselves to Christ, and seek to live in accordance with His Word. A living sacrifice is one who reads the Bible and does what it says. Peter goes on to speak of abstaining from fleshly lusts, obeying authority, and following after the example of Christ. The living sacrifice looks to the Word, and seeks to put these things into practice in his life. Are there any fleshly lusts you have been toying with, instead of abstaining from? Perhaps your eyes have been looking, your lips speaking, or you ears hearing, things that they shouldn’t be. The right thing to do, as a living stone, is offer yourself back to God.

Another acceptable spiritual sacrifice is worship. Worship falls into at least three categories, and we should be consistently involved in all three. First, we worship God for who He is. No matter what our circumstances might be, God has not changed, and He is worthy of praise for being God. The Bible describes Him as dwelling in unapproachable light, being surrounded by companies of angels that declare His holiness and majesty. We should join Heaven’s chorus and offer praise. Second, we worship God for what He has done. When life hits us hard, we are able to look back to the cross where the Son of God died for us. We look at His bleeding hands and feet, and we are reminded of His love for us; a love that understands our weakness and knows our pain. Looking to the cross will fill us with faith, enabling us to press forward, despite the trials. Finally, we worship because of what He promises to do. The Bible is filled with promises for the child of God. Each of them stronger than any obstacle in our way. We must learn to look to the promises and to cling to them. Paul, referring to the promises of God, said they were all “yes and amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20), meaning that every promise of God is certain to come true.

Christian, it is time to offer up spiritual sacrifices, no matter what you are facing, give God your highest praise.

Pastor Jim

 

The Verdict 

Ezra 3:2
“Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.”

Central to returning to the Lord, was the Altar. With it, sacrifices could be offered in accordance with the Law of God. Without it, man would still be striving on his own, attempting to build his way to God. The altar, tragically, involved the sacrifice of the innocent in place of the guilty. This method of atonement was offensive to some; not because of the death of the innocent, but because of the declaration that those offering the sacrifice are guilty.

Long ago, the Cross replaced the altar as the means by which man could access God. The method changed, but the statement it makes remains the same. Man is guilty before God and sacrifice must be made on his behalf. Jesus, Himself, became the sacrifice for us. His blood was shed on our behalf so every guilty sinner might have access to God through Him. Rather than being offended by the fact that you are called a sinner, why not accept the pardon He provides. After all, if you don’t think you are a sinner, you are the only one who believes that.

Pastor Jim

 

Daily News

2 Chronicles 31:3
“The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord.”

God established a worship schedule for Israel that included annual feasts, weekly Sabbaths, and daily sacrifices. It was important for the people to gather on Passover to celebrate, but it was not enough. It was necessary to meet on the Sabbath, but it was not enough. For them to carry on a healthy relationship with God, they needed to start the morning with offering and end the day with sacrifice.

I recently heard a man declare he did not need to go to church because it wasn’t Christmas. I think most Christians would agree, going to church once a year is not enough to carry on a healthy walk with God. Unfortunately, many of the same Christians treat their relationship with God as though it were a weekly exercise. The only time their Bibles are opened is at church on Sunday morning. Just as Israel needed daily attention to their relationship with God, we need to give daily attention to ours.

I have found the most helpful habit to develop is to have morning devotions. I purposefully rise early, grab a cup of tea and sit down with my Bible. Taking a few minutes to read through the Word and think upon the things that I have read, helps to give me clear direction on how to honor the Lord with my life. This time also provides strength for what the Bible calls “the inner man.” The more time we take to feed on the Word, the more strength we will have to face the opposition of the day, and to impact others for the Kingdom of God.

Take time this morning to offer the sacrifice of time and spend it in the Word of God.

Pastor Jim