Tag Archives: Leviticus

How to Live an Invitation

Amy Carroll

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)

Walking into the building, I kept my head down and peered around the room from under my lashes. The butterflies in my stomach took flight as I assessed the unfamiliar surroundings. The room was filled with strangers and mysterious equipment, making my hands slick and my heart pound.

I was a foreigner in a new land: the gym.

You might laugh, but have you ever had similar feelings in a new situation? Even though I’m seasoned in many settings, the first time I visited my gym, I remembered the feelings of being the outsider. The newbie who doesn’t know the culture, secrets to fitting in or how things work.

Being a “foreigner” is uncomfortable, but when we pass that stage and become a “native,” it’s easy to forget those feelings and become oblivious to the needs and feelings of a newcomer.

Even though I’m fully integrated into my church family, that first foray into the gym brought flashbacks of visiting churches after our move. I remembered the discomfort of walking into rooms full of people I didn’t know, wondering if anyone would speak to me. It was difficult to navigate unfamiliar surroundings, trying to pick up on the unique vibe and vocabulary of each place.

Those were the days when my “house” hadn’t achieved the status of “home.” I walked my neighborhood and wondered about the people behind the doors. Would I be accepted here? Maybe even loved? In those early months, every place and every interaction held the starchy, scratchy newness of jeans just off the shelf. How I ached for the warm softness of the worn and familiar.

On the day my new neighbor Nikki visited and brought a pie, things began to shift. Her children were the same age as mine, and as they ran off to play, Nikki’s kindness and happy smile opened a door into a new place of belonging. Even before I earned “native” status, she treated me as a friend. Nikki lived the powerful truth in our key verse: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born” (Leviticus 19:34a).

God created us for expanding community, and He calls us to live a life of welcome.

When we remember our days as a newcomer, our time as “foreigners in Egypt,” we can live life with one hand joined and the other open. One hand holds the hand of the precious community God gives us — neighbors, family, friends, and brothers and sisters in faith — while keeping the other hand free to draw newcomers into the circle.

The hand joined to our community keeps us close and connected. It’s where we commit to live our truest self, working through the messiness that inevitably arises with close living. It’s the people we eat with, pray with, play with and love. When we have the blessing of a tight-knit group, sometimes it’s easiest to close the circle, joining both hands with those we know well. But God asks us to keep one hand free, always looking for one more new friend to draw into the loop.

My awkward first visit to the gym lifted my eyes from my everyday busyness and engagement with my well-established loved ones. Now I’m trying to be a walking invitation to the “foreigners” around me. “Come join us!” my heart cries.

Let’s go with a heart of invitation to work, school, church, the neighborhood party … and maybe, even the gym.

God, help me shake the complacency of being a “native.” Lift my eyes to see people around me who are new and in need of my kindness. Show me how to reach out to others in love to draw them into my circle, living a life of invitation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 3:10-11, “Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.” (MSG)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Is there someone new in your neighborhood, workplace or church who needs to feel welcomed?

Pray and watch for a way to reach out and make them feel included. Follow through one day this week, then savor the joy of bringing encouragement to someone else.

© 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Unintentional Sin

Boyd Bailey

“If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people do not realize it, they are still guilty.” Leviticus 4:13

Unintentional sin still has very real consequences. For example, I can forget to report extra income to the Internal Revenue service, but I still owe the taxes and interest on the overdue obligation. Or, I can make a flippant remark to my spouse or children as a weak attempt at humor not realizing how badly I hurt their feelings. My good intentions mean well, however the consequences of sinful actions still need genuine forgiveness.

It’s not enough to say, “I didn’t mean to”, or “That’s not what I meant”. Inadvertent actions that bruise relationships, question our integrity, or violate the Lord’s commands require a response of confession and repentance. It’s woefully inadequate to blame memory loss or ignorance on behavior that assumes things are ok when sin is present.

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

This is especially true with children for they need behavioral boundaries. Parental love defines and enforces limitations with their little ones (soon to be big ones!). Children need to understand in their formative years that respect, honesty and obedience are rewarded but disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience are punished. Grace gives good guidelines.

Perhaps with your older children you draw up a one page “contract” that clearly defines appropriate attitudes and actions. Access to their cell phone and car can be contingent on carrying out the commitments outlined in the agreement. Other family members can witness what’s written down with their supportive signature and prayers. Indeed, intentional actions that create clarity and accountability impede unintentional sinning.

“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, Amplified Bible).

Furthermore, what intentional guidelines do you have in place to preclude unintentional sin in your life? Educating yourself in the ways of God is fundamental, as defined in His word. Spend time listening to the Lord and to friends who hold you accountable with caring questions like, “Is your company compliant with government regulations?” “Are your motivations in alignment with Almighty God’s agenda? Be intentional to be right.

“Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).

Prayer: How can I be intentional with my attitude & actions not to be guilty of unintentional sin?

Related Readings: Psalm 90:8; Ezekiel 45:20; Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 9:7

Post/Tweet today: Intentional actions that create clarity and accountability impede unintentional consequences. #unintentionalsin

© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

Standing Apart from Everyone Else

Wendy Blight

“You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” Leviticus 20:26 (NIV 1984)

Our daughter got the call … the invitation she had been waiting for. It was the party everyone wanted to go to and she’d been invited!

She was so excited. However, one step remained: securing her parents’ permission. She knew it would be difficult. But she was sure once she explained the significance of the invitation, we would say “yes.”

We did not.

Everyone else is going. I will be the only one not there. It’s not fair!” To which, we firmly replied, “We are not like everyone else. There will be no parental supervision. You absolutely may not go.”

This happened often throughout our daughter’s middle and high school years. And because she could not always do what everyone else did, she often felt left out.

As her parents, we were establishing boundaries and limits. Our actions, though hard at times, taught her a powerful biblical truth: Because we don’t belong to everyone else, we don’t live like everyone else.

We belong to Someone else; we belong to God.

Because we are His, God has set us apart to be different. He does not want us to squeeze into the mold set by everyone else.

This struggle has existed for thousands of years. Israel desperately tried to fit in with the nations around them. They wanted to be like everyone else. But God refused to allow this. He set Israel apart to be a holy nation. He established boundaries for His children just as we do for our children.

In Leviticus 20:26, God commanded Israel, “You are to be holy to me, because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own” (NIV 1984). God set Israel apart to intentionally distinguish them from everyone else.

God did not do this to punish the Israelites or deprive them. Just the opposite. He specifically chose them for good. Being set apart not only was a privilege but also carried with it amazing blessings, far more than they could ever imagine.

Keeping that in mind, it’s exciting to know God calls us to be holy too. He calls us into a personal and intimate relationship. And when we say “yes,” we receive good gifts just as the Israelites did. God gives us a fresh start with Him … a new life where our past is wiped clean. God sees us through the eyes of His Son, Jesus. We are no longer like everyone else. God sets us apart to live a new life in Him.

My husband and I make those same hard choices for ourselves. A few years ago we stepped out of a dinner club. We felt uncomfortable with the direction the group was taking. It wasn’t easy being left out of some fun parties. The night of those events, I missed being with everyone else. I felt what my daughter felt.

You and I may have to make the same hard choices. We may not be able to watch certain movies with our friends on Girl’s Night. Or we may have to speak up on an issue close to God’s heart, causing us to stand out, rather than fit in.

What I have learned through making the hard choices is they come with a great reward: enjoying the pleasure of our heavenly Father.

We belong to the Creator of heaven and earth. He created us in His image and loves us with an everlasting love. Today, let’s be set apart from others and set apart for HIM by making some hard choices so we may live in the fullness of all He has for us.

Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me and setting me apart to live for You. Keep me from wanting to be like “everyone else.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Write down one choice you can make today to say “no” to everyone else and “yes” to God. Take an action step toward making that happen.

Read 1 Peter 1:15-16. What does it look like in your life to be holy?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 1:15-16, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” (NIV 1984)

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!” (NIV 1984)

© 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Sin of Silence

“‘If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.’”  Leviticus 5:1

 

Responsible people speak up when necessary. Sometimes, it is easier to remain silent, but God has not called us to a path of least resistance. We can stay silent but eventually it will come out. It may come out in angry passive-aggressive reactions related to our uncommunicated observations or it may express itself in built-up resentment or bitterness that eats away at our good nature and steals our joy. Suffering in silence is not God’s design. He wants us to speak up under the influence of His Spirit. Even if the words are hard and direct, God’s Spirit can deliver them in a loving manner.

When you speak up, it means you care. We love the person too much to allow them to hurt themselves and others with self-inflicted attitudes and inappropriate actions. This is especially hard for men. Pride and ego keep us from being vulnerable to rejection or relational controversy, but we owe it to God, to others, and ourselves to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Love compels you to take a relational risk and say something. Be faithful to speak the words, and trust God with the results.

Furthermore, make sure to speak up and defend those who are defenseless. Rise to the defense of widows, orphans, and the poor who are crushed under the weight of the world’s injustice. You may not have to look very far. There may be family members who need your attention. Second, third, and fourth chances are called for to model Christ’s attitude of acceptance. Your reputation may become soiled because you choose to speak up on behalf of a seedy soul, but trust God. We can relate best to sinners because we suffer from the same temptations and sorrows. Christians are sinners saved by the grace of God, no one is beyond God’s reach.

Lastly, speak up for and serve the poor. The poor need a person they can trust. The poor need us to give them a voice against the greedy souls who seek to take advantage of them. They need financial training; they need medical supplies and education; they need nutrition; they need jobs; they need indoor plumbing; they need shoes on their feet and clothes on their backs. Mostly, they need a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The poor are drawn to Jesus when they see God’s people stand up for them. They are attracted to those who care enough to sit in their homes and drink coffee, create jobs, and speak up on their behalf. It may be building Christian schools so that the poor can receive a quality education in a loving environment. It is time some of us break out of our bubble of affluence and expose ourselves to the sufferings of the poor

You sin if you remain silent over those who are defenseless. The Bible says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Taken from August 19th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

Post/Tweet this today: When we speak up in love, it means we care. #speak #love

Click on the free download “How to Have a Quiet Time”… http://bit.ly/KWDrkJ

buy Sildenafil 5mg

Before starting our conversation about Viagra, let us mention some facts about ED. You will be surprised to find out that healthy sex life is more than great pleasure and ability to have children. It is the best and only way to guarantee natural training of the male heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles. It is also the most efficient way of restoring male central nervous system. Normal sex life prevents the development of such severe diseases as stroke, heart attack, canadian pharmacy offers viagra without prescription high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, cancer, neurosis, depression, dementia etc. Now you know that men think the worlds of their erectile function for a reason!

You can buy Viagra in the nearest drugstore if you have a prescription from your doctor. It means, your awkward health disorder becomes public inevitably. Do not be frustrated! Fortunately, you can avoid any publicity at all if you choose to buy Viagra online. Our reliable online pharmacy will offer you top-quality pills from the manufacturer at the best price.

Attention! canadian pharmacy offers viagra without prescription Do not fail to see your doctor before ordering Viagra online! Use the lowest dose of the drug that works. Never overdose your ‘love pills’ – take only 1 pill about 1 hour before intended intercourse. Never take Viagra repeatedly within 24 hours!