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Fellow readers,

There has been something on my heart for some time that has come up again since trying to read the Bible each day. I've been a Christian all of my life, raised in a very "emotional" Christian setting, know all the buzz words, etc. Maybe this is why I'm finding the Bible, dare I say, boring!?!? Reading through like this has been so difficult because even the most exciting material is something I've heard over and over again, through church, Christian radio, etc. I've never "felt" anything special, even though I am so thankful for the Christian path my life has taken. Christian music seems boring and ordinary, and the buzz words are useless and sound fake. Has anyone else experienced this? I can't imagine it's just me. I so badly want to get excited about this, but it's so difficult.

Thank you,
-Bob

Bob,

One question” Have you read through the Bible before or have you just read specific passages? I’m not sure how long you have been with us, but I have written about how boring reading the Bible can be, at least it was (past tense) for me. Boring was the name of the game when I began reading 17/18 years ago. However, each and every year I continued, the parts that felt like dry desert sand, began to blossom and bloom.

My first year there were only three passages that spoke to me, two in the Book of Psalms and one in Galatians. My motivation for reading the scripture probably was not common or conventional. After have spent 20 years cursing out folks who read the Bible, specifically black folk, and NOT attending or setting foot in a church, no matter the function, I found myself and my life totally bankrupt. Lets just say this, I “tried” some of the things I saw in the Bible as lifestyle choices only out of a dare, which was,

“You can stand and argue all day whether there is a God or not. Try it, find something in it and “work it,” If it is a success, keep it, if not throw the Bible in the trash.” About three four years after that encounter and that challenge, I accepted salvation; however, it still took me about three more years to set foot in a church.

Because I came out of homes and churches that were abusive who used the scriptures to manipulate and justify their behavior, I was determined to know the Bible for myself and not fall into the same pattern of abusive behavior that defined my childhood.

I hope that someone will come along who has had the same experience you are having and give you some insight and direction. Your experience sounds like a lot of P.Ks (preacher’s kid) I know. I wonder if that saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” is working in your life. Whatever it is, God can destroy any stronghold. Matter of fact just admitting your dilemma, probably means you are headed for a BIG breakthrough.

Bob,

Your post makes comments on Mark, Leviticus, etc. seem not so important.

First, let me say that it takes great courage to post like this and not do it anonymously. Others may have the same question (with variations) running through their minds. I think you may be doing a great service tonight.

I am going to take a different tact than Ramona, but in no way do I want a reply from you - my prayer is that you will commune with God to find the answers to your situation. As a special request, I would ask for ALL here to also pray for you so that you find the answers you seek.

The good news is:
Matt 7:7
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Go to God through Jesus Christ; ask him your questions. Go as humbly as a child, having a heart with no guile that is open to the truth, and be completely honest with the Father.

Some people I know have been Christians a long time, and they just got jaded. "The adversary" has a plan, and while he cannot take away our salvation, he can destroy our testimony if we allow it. The methods (attacks) are constant and unrelenting, especially if a weakness is perceived. If this is the case with you, you should pray for the Holy Spirit to move in you and spark a revival in your faith and Belief in Christ. Some call it a "quickening".

Salvation is a personal thing, but it may be that you were never truly saved. Again, that is between you and God. You need to pray and ask him to reveal that to you. The good news is:

"WHOMSOEVER WILL"

If you find that to be the case, it can be fixed immediately, by acknowledging God, Repenting of your sins, Accepting Christ's Sacrifice as the atonement(covering) for your sins - doing all this with an open heart AND submitting your will to His will. Let Jesus guide your life.

Submission of My Will, giving myself completely to the Father, was the bigeest stumbling block for me. I was too proud to do that. It took two weeks of prayer, before I got it right - before I became so broken, so sorrowful, so honest, so willing to let Him lead my life. If I had quit on that first night of saying "the prayer" - I would not be a "child of God" an "heir to Heaven". I am convicted about that sentiment.

As Ramona said, your post alone reveals the Holy Spirit is convicting you or the Father is Drawing you. Go to Him, tonight if possible and ASK (ask,seek,knock) for the answer(s) to your plight.

I will pray for you.

Dear Bob,

No, you are not the only one. I recognise your problem. I have some of the symptoms.

My take on it is that we humans like to systematize things because it helps us to keep everything (including God) under control. That is why the Law did not work in the end. Fulfilling the law became an empty ritual, the Priests and the Scribes and Pharisees piled on more layers of rules and rituals which were intended to help, but only made it worse. Big parts of the church is in a similar situation. Running a system. Using all the right words, rituals, teaching programmes. But empty in some essential way.

What each of us needs is an Acts 2 experience, and our personal Acts 9 experience. We need a personal encounter with the Spirit of God. We need to experience His Spirit living in us, as Jesus promised. It has to be real for us personally. As you are experiencing, knowing all the jargon, the theology, the systems and rituals does not bring it alive.

And there is no system or ritual to fix the problem. But as Ramona has said, you are on the right track by having asked the question. And maybe a way forward for you will be an experience of persistent prayer like John's. But it is a personal thing. God knows you and He will meet you where you are. (But, of course, you have all these clichés off pat already!)

And you already have piles of all the right books! Nevertheless, ;-) a book recently helped me perceive the reality of the spiritual layer of our existence and what is meant by the 'heart', the core of our being that God really needs to be able to deal with, to mend and to heal. The book is by John Eldredge: "Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive". The title includes the key words. We have died in the system. Jesus came to bring us new life. Well, you know that. You have been told that many times. But are missing the actual experience. John Eldredge explains how that has happened to us and shows some of the ways back to life.

Blessings,
Andrew

Hi Bob, my heart goes out to you because i have often thought that i take the Bible and God almost forgranted as i seem to have known the truth all my life..iv often wished i could have had a saul conversion instead where the Lord just struck me down and the truth was a revelation not something iv always known..its difficult to say these things out loud because it makes me feel so ungrateful for the precious gift of a Christian upbringing.A book that helped me a lot recently was "the Purpose Driven Life" and now im finding that reading every day is providing me with the discipline i lacked and opening up the Bible in a new way.You obviously have so much knowledge and learning but i will pray from my heart that you will meet with God and it will all become a very personal relationship and you will be filled with joy and peace ( not just the words but the real stuff itself :-)

God bless,
Stef.

NOTE: (sorry about the length—I am sharing what was really blessed me)

Please check out a wonderful website called, hebrew4christians.com.

In particular, check out this link to a particular page of that website dealing with the sacrifices of Leviticus: hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Parashah/Archives/Vayikra/vayikra.html

This page starts off with this very interesting comment:

“The book of Leviticus is called Vayikra (meaning, “And He called”) in the Torah, and is also known as the Book of Sacrifices. It opens with God calling to Moses from the Ohel Mo’ed (Tent of Meeting) regarding the laws of korbanot, the animal and meal offerings that may be given to the Lord.”

PLEASE GO THERE. I BELIEVE YOU WILL FIND IT VERY INSTRUCTIVE.

~~~

I also would like to add these notes from some Bibles that I regularly read.

FULL LIFE STUDY BIBLE – from Leviticus

Burnt offering – The Hebrew term for burnt offering means “that which goes up” to God. The entire offering was burned up, signifying that complete consecration to God was essential to true worship. At the same time, forgiveness was involved…, emphasizing that before worshipers could devote themselves to God, they had to be cleansed from sin (cf. Matthew 5:23-24). According to the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the burnt offering (Hebrews 10:5-10).

Grain offering – The grain offering was a gift presented to God as an act of worship, symbolizing the dedication to God of the fruit of a person’s labor. It implied that all human work should be done for the Lord and that one’s daily food should be received with thanksgiving to Him (cf. I Corinthians 10:31).

Fellowship offering –The fellowship offering was brought before God in order to have fellowship with Him, to express thanksgiving (Leviticus 7:12-16; 22:29) or to make a vow (Leviticus 7:16). (1) For the offender, it involved commitment to the covenant and celebrated peace and reconciliation between God and the worshiper. (2) This offering points forward to the peace and fellowship that believers have with God and other believers on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross (cf. Colossians 1:20; I John 1:3), and then to the final communion when we will all sit down with God in His kingdom (Psalm 22:26; Luke 14:15; Revelation 19:6-10).

Sin offering – God required a sin offering in order that those who sinned in ignorance, in weakness or unintentionally (Leviticus 4:2) could receive forgiveness. Deliberately defiant sins, on the other hand, were to be punished by death (Numbers 15:30-31; Hebrews 10:28).
A guilt offering (similar to the sin offering) was used for those who were guilty of a sin or injury for which full restoration could be made (Leviticus 6:2-6…); sin offerings were necessary for ritual cleansing as well.

~~~

There is a further note from this Bible on these offerings:

When more than one kind of offering was presented (as in Numbers 7:16-17), the procedure was usually as follows: (1) sin offering or guilt offering, (2) burnt offering, (3) fellowship offering and grain offering (along with a drink offering). This sequence furnishes part of the spiritual significance of the sacrificial system.
First, sin had to be dealt with (sin offering or guilt offering).
Second, the worshiper committed himself completely to God (burnt offering or grain offering).
Third, fellowship or communion between the Lord, the priest and the worshiper (fellowship offering) was established.

The Spirit Filled Bible makes this note in Exodus 12:

THE BLOOD. Developing the Importance of Blood Sacrifice. Exodus gives a more developed understanding of the importance of blood sacrifices. Sacrifice is seen as the means of deliverance for the individual, the family, and the nation. The blood of sacrificial animals was used regularly as an offering for sins as well as to consecrate the instruments of worship (Exodus 20:24). It is first called “the blood of the covenant” in Exodus 24:5-8.

It is in the Mosaic covenant and the Levitical priesthood that we see the most detailed administration of the blood of sacrifices. This developed significance of the role of the blood points toward the blood of Christ and its application for our redemption, justification, and sanctification (Hebrews 9:14).

~~~

Finally, during my recent reading of Exodus 12, I found these verses which really spoke to me:

JUST BEFORE THE 10TH PLAGUE OF KILLING OF FIRSTBORN OF EGYPT; SETTING STAGE FOR PASSOVER

7
And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel (crosspiece at top of the door) of the houses where they shall eat it [lamb without blemish, a male of the first year, killed at twilight].

46
In one house it [lamb] shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.

Notice in verse 7 that the blood is applied to the door of the house on two side doorposts and on the top crosspiece of the door:
*** = in this picture represents blood and where applied

***

*** ***

Notice that it looks like a CROSS

Notice this from verse 46:
A. you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house
B. nor shall you break one of its bones.

A. The lamb in Exodus just prior to the Passover is not strictly a sin offering. Recall that the sin offering required that the rest of the offering be taken outside the camp and burned there.

Thus, I take this verse in Exodus to be a picture for us today. We, as New Testament believers, are always to keep Christ in our homes as the Center and Lord. We are to eat and partake of Him. We are never to “put” or “leave” Him outside of our lives or families.

Jesus said, “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” (John 6:55-56, NKJV)

B. Notice the strict command that “none of the bones shall be broken”. This command was literally fulfilled in the body of the Lord Jesus through God’s will using pagan Romans. Note this from John 19:32, 33, 36 (NKJV):

32
Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.
33
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
36
For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” [taken from Exodus 12:46].

ISN’T IT JUST AMAZING TO WATCH THE FATHER ORCHESTRATE HISTORY IN SUCH A PRECISE MANNER to accomplish His will and to SHOW US HIS GREAT LOVE?

Vance

Some wondering thoughts:


SIN
2398 Strongs’ Numbering System
חטא
châṭâ'
BDB (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions):
1) to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness


Unintentional sin not planned sin, very interesting. These sacrifices and rituals were designed for the “stuff” that happens along the way. Since we are creatures that hate to admit we “missed the mark,” so to speak, a person would have to operate in “Truth” to realize that they have missed it BEFORE the consequences show up in ones’ life or the life of the community. All sin gives fruit to its own rewards. To have a life rooted in Truth one must deal truthfully with oneself and not be restrained by what family, community, country and “Church” thinks. Many jobs require inventories, even if it is only of supplies, material and human resource; but how often do we take an inventory of ourselves based on the standard and rule of God’s Laws? It is not about what others say, or even ourselves, it is about what God says. Anything else is sin.

I also understand that one can know the Truth, but that doesn’t mean one applies Truth rightly. Like soap, Truth, the Word, does you no good unless applied according to directions.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

I have three sons---26, 23 and 19. They have grown up in first generation Christ centered home. Having come from a non 'biblical' environment (didn't see a Bible until I was 21) my wife and I were anxious to immerse our sons in the Scriptures. I think we have done a pretty good job. All our sons are walking closely with the Lord and discovering their own 'voice' for who they want to be as followers.
They have not always enjoyed all the "Christianize' that goes with growing up around the church and bible, etc. But they have recently been exposed to the teachings of Rob Bell pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grandville, Michigan. Rob is the author of a book called Velvet Elvis. Rob is a biblical scholar and is not quick to make application without first understanding the culture within which the Word was written. He writes in such an engaging way and exhorts his readers to pummel the Bible (as you read it) with questions. My sons started reading with new Bibles this year. I wish you could see their fresh passion for the Bible and for God, especially as they have been 'given permission' to ask the questions they were always afraid to ask. And in asking the questions they are discovering reasonable answers that they can actually live with. They are no longer bored or apathetic. We don't have to 'remind' them or 'coax' them to 'have a quiet time, or 'are you reading your bible? or have you had your devotions? What a burden to have to live under.

i would recommend Velvet Elvis to all our readers. I suspect some will 'react' to Rob's approach but that's okay because the Bible may just begin to make more sense when we approach it as a authentic seeker.
By the way, when Rob Bell and his team started Mars Hill I believe they spent the first year teaching through the book of Leviticus and this was to a congregation of 20 somethings....

Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers. Your perspectives seem logical and are encouraging. I'm not going to give up, and will keep this all in mind when I hit the "dry spots". This blog is really a great resource. The interactive nature will be very helpful over time.

Thanks again,
-Bob

Leviticus

I am glad Mike posted the summaries of the "offerings". Notice the progression and order:

In order: You "volunarily" come to the Lord for atonement, worship, and fellowship, but then God COMMANDED them to do the Sin and Guilt offerings.

The first three offerings have that sweet aroma, but the last two do not. Surrender to God, worship, and fellowship are pleasing to God - the aroma goes up.

The act of sin is not pleasing. God can not even look upon Sin. It does not go up to God, in fact, the excess blood is poured down.

Mark

At the end of ch. 2 and beginning of ch. 3 there is the discussion of the Sabbath in the secular world, and then inside the synagouge.

Always amazing that as much as the Pharisees proclaimed to know and understand the Law, in their zeal to nail Jesus with breaking the Law - they got it wrong.

In the fields, Deut 23:24-25 says:
"If you enter your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but do not put any in your basket. If you enter your neighbor's grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to his standing grain."

The disciples were not hoarding for future consumption, nor harvesting any grain. they were picking (or "plucking") as the "LAW" allowed. The Law was not meant to provide hardships to servants of God. Hence the story of David and the passage Mark 2:27.
======================================================
In the synagouge, Jesus asked a pointed question, to which the reply was silence.

Mark 5:5
"He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts,.."

The Greek tenses here make "looked around" as a momentary flash of anger (righteous)based on a settled disposition toward sin,evil and hypocrisy. It was not a reaction to their hypocrisy, but rather how God views sin, evil, hypocrisy - with anger. Distressed (or "being greived") is in the present tense type that connotes 'continuing distress'. Jesus was distressed at that moment and would continue to be distressed at their "stubborn hearts".

But it goes further, The Greek word used here for distressed or "being grieved" is: "Sullupeo". This is the only use of the Word in the N.T. Herodotus, the Greek historian used it to "describe the emotions of certain citizens who offered their condolences to a man whose brother had just died (6.39)."

So Christ was not distressed internally over the situation he was distressed or grieving FOR their stubborn hearts, and would continue to be distressed (even to this day?) The stubborn hearts that are 'dead in sin'. A truly compassionate picture when viewed in this manner.

Psalm 36

verse 2:
"For in his own eyes he flatters himself
too much to detect or hate his sin."

Before Salvation, this was the perfect picture of my life and how I ignored sin.

I rationalized or explained away all my actions. To achieve my ends, I would do or say anything as long as it was legal. Even that was not true because I gambled illegally, but rationalized that as a stupid law for an action that hurt nobody else.

If I could not acknowledge sin, how could I ever hate it.

As God was drawing me and I read his Word, it was like a sharp sword cutting through all my "rational" defenses. I came to realize what sin was, and how much it offends God. Sin is 'that which is not pleasing to God'.

I began to see what my life was about, and how it was not pleasing to God. Yet, in his mercy and grace - he provided an out for me and for all sinners. I wish I could say, that at that moment, I hit my knees and was saved. But it took weeks of turmoil and wrestling with "my flesh", before I came to Christ. I had plenty of thoughts to dissuade me: 'You enjoy your vices! You are doing what you want! Are you going to submit your will to another! You wimp! God just wants to contol you. No one will ever know if you keep SOME of your vices' etc.

Whether a reader wants to assume the thoughts came from my internal mind, or from "the adversary through his minions". The point is there was a struggle. However the more I read the "WORD" the more convicted I became, and finally accepted Christ as my Savior.


Dear Bob,I'm a first timer here on this blog and I have to say this...The love and patience of Jesus truly shows up in all the commentators here...here I saw laughter,pain,hope...Welcome on board and I do hope you will have a deeper revelation of God as you go on.
I wanted to ask what did make it right for David to eat consecrated bread that was only for the priests...and give some to his companions...but something inside me said to chew and swallow what I have now first:)God bless you all

Found the readings today profoundly engaging. The simularities between OT sacrifices and the death of Jesus Christ hit me quit hard. I realise that no matter how deep sin whispers into my heart, all I have to do is place my hand on Jesus and it all goes away.

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