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A great book on the Holy Spirit is Charles Stanley's "The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life"

A powerful book on the Holy Spirit is "The Holy Sprit and You" by Dennis & Rita Bennett.

The Bennett's other book "Nine o' Clock in the Morning" is another good book on the Holy Spirit.

This whole sacrifice system seems so strange to me. Wouldn't the priests be covered in blood from the slaughter? Are there any pictures that more accurately portray this? How does burning flesh and burning grain produce a good smell to God? Wouldn't the continual killing and splattering of blood produce an awful smell?

"Flying Closer To The Flame: A Passion For the Holy Spirit" by Chuck (Charles R.) Swindoll is the best I've read on our Holy Spirit...great insight, very helpful and a pleasure to read.

V7 of the psalm stood out to me today "Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes"

Because I have a boss at the moment who is a bit of a bully and as my colleagues put it, doesn;t care who she climbs on to get to the top. I've felt a lot recently like she's setting out a smear campaign against me whilst being nice as pie to my face (and i'm normally very trusting) I've prayed and worried too about what to do about her scheming withour resorting to that kind of behaviour myself and so this was a very timely verse to me. The Message puts it in an even clearer way for me "Don't bother with those who climb the ladder who elbow their way to the top" so my action point for next week will be to not fret about it, or complain to my friends, to not try to make up for what she is saying to people, but to just do the right thing, keep Jesus in my mind and get on with getting on with God, and focus on him instead.

Jim, like you I have often cringed at the thought about the stench that would result from continually throwing sacrificial blood on top of more blood within the Tabernacle tent. I read somewhere that God insisted that the altar never be allowed to go out and there always be something burning on it because it was a pleasing aroma to the Lord, and we assume that the smell of meat being cooked and cakes being grilled accompanied with the burning of incense, which the Lord also found pleasing, would cover up the smell of blood. I realize that being a priest was the highest status position among the Israeli people, but the life of the shepherd or vineyard grower/wine maker would sure be a cleaner, nicer, easier and more appealing life in my opinion.

I noticed from today’s readings how God ordered that the best sanitation that was available at that time be observed. He ordered the priests to wash in the laver and to rinse out their garments if they got blood on them. They were ordered to change clothing during the preparation of the sacrifice and they were to take the waste outside of the tent to dispose of it. In addition, the meat and the unleavened bread sprinkled with oil were to be eaten only the day it was cooked but the bread made with yeast could be saved and eaten the next day. They were to eat nothing that was three days old, and that makes very good sense as they were in a hot climate without and means of refrigeration.

God also instructed the priests to provide food for their male descendents, and they in turn would provide food for the women and children that were considered their “property” in those days. We see the same thing when Jesus fed the thousands on two occasions with just a few fish and loaves of bread. When they counted how many they fed, they counted only the men and then said plus the women and children.

God bless,
Pat

I have been struck by the verses that say not to eat the fat of the animals. This is a healthy diet to follow-not eating alot of fat. Maybe we should adhere to this law today and not eat so much fat-keep our arteries from getting all clogged up :). I also was struck by not drinking blood and understands the reasons that Mike posted. But Jesus instructed us at the Last supper to partake of His Body and Blood in remembrance of Him. I don't get the why of that ?

Jim,

Regarding the "smell" and how it is pleasing to God. In the Hebrew the word "aroma" as a metaphor means "delight".

I don't think the Leviticus passages have anything to do with the actual smell. (Consider this an anthropomorphism). But that God delights when the sacrifices are being done and His people are "truly" seeking His acceptance, joy, peace, forgiveness and restoration. (Outlined in previous two day's of posts). It is not the actual sacrifices that are pleasing to God - it is the intention and desire of man with which they are doing the sacrifices that pleases God. They are being obediant and fulfilling the needs of man through God.
======================================================
Cheryl,

While it is probably good health-wise to not eat (too much) fat, I think there is some symbolism here.

fat - represented "the richness of life" in OT.
Blood - represented "life" itself.

Israelites were to partake of neither because they represented things that only God can provide. God provides life. God provides the "richness of life". (All things come from God). I am sure the Israelites understood the symbolism - and that being the reason why these items were expended (consumed, sprinkled, poured out) on the altar. They were symbolically "of God".

As to Last Supper. Drinking from a "cup" in Jewish custom is to be in agreement/acceptance wth the contents of the cup. Hence - cups were drunk to seal marriage arrangements, treaties, border disputes, etc. In Psalms it speaks of God's "cup" of blessings and His "cup" of wrath. All thes examples indicate it is what the contents represent - not the actual contents that is of importance.

Jesus was saying to drink from the cup in "remembrance" of Him. To understand that His Blood was shed to permanently atone for sins - just like it was shed in Temple sacrifices. His shed blood was the establishment of a New Covenant. So the consumption of the wine at that table - and for us today - is symbolic of our acceptance of that content and the purpose for which it was done.

Since it was not actual "blood" and has never been so - it does not violate the concept of consuming "blood".

[Repost from last year]

Mark,
Mark 3:13
"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him."

Once again God takes the initiative. He chose them and they came.

Mark 3:21
"When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

I am pretty sure the Greek for family here translates "those near him" but that obscures the point:

How many times today is someone lauded for totally devoting (immersing) him or herself to their career? Actor, musician, businessman, politician, etc.

But if someone totally dedicates themselves to Christ and immerses himself in the bible - they are called "fanatics" or "zealots"?

Mark 3:7-30
Up to now the Romans have seen Jesus with authority (power) and knowledge (insightful regarding mankind even down to their thoughts) - both attributes granted by the Father.

Now Mark is emphasizing the crowds around Jesus. Romans were used to spectacles and large events to popularize a theme or person - but Mark is telling them this is not all good.

The crowds emphasized the wrong part of Jesus' ministry - the signs and wonders over the "message".

Crowds physically hindered the progression of the ministry.

And in large crowds there is invariably the "bad element" (unclean spirits here) hindering the message being put out, and those that want to say negative things about the "star" based on their own agenda.

How many times in my secular life did I hear a rock star or group say 'they came to see the show - and don't give a hoot to my music or what I am trying to say'? The crowd in Jesus' time was wanting a show - "healings".

Jesus would often have to separate Himself from the crowds - a boat, the mountainside, in a house. Thus hindering His ministry.

Why did Jesus silence the unclean (evil) spirits. I don't think it was just because He did not need their testimony - as he already had the prophets, John's, the Father's and His own. But there should be no mistaking Jesus as having anything to do with "worship" (falling down before Him) of such spirits and people being confused that He was from the "prince" of the air" (a god).

Finally, the commentators, the teachers of the law - whose prominence and monetary security depended on establishment of the status quo - ascribed Jesus' works to being in league with satan. Do they believe this - I doubt it - or Jesus would not warn them here. There is no need to warn one who is already over the line. I think, perhaps, they are just throwing "mud" hoping something sticks to the wall.

But they were close to it. So what is the "unpardonable sin"?

Rejecting and blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do that one cannot reject, and is guilty of eternal sin.

"All the work of the Holy Spirit is designed to exalt and declare and define the work of Jesus. So to reject the Holy Spirit, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, is to reject the Spirit's witness of Christ." - Ray Stedman

You reject the above, you reject Christ, and you reject the Father who sent Him. I think this applies in the final sense - as you go through life you may reject the Sprit and ultimately come to Christ - but if you die in this condition - that is the eternal sin - and "damnation" is your sentence.

[I need to revist these last few paragraphs in some later gospels - but they will do for now:)]


In Mark 3:10-11 I was struck by all the people pressing toward Jesus,
"For He had healed so many that all who had distressing bodily diseases kept falling upon Him and pressing upon Him in order that they might touch Him. And the spirits, the unclean ones, as often as they might see Him, fell down before Him and kept screaming out, You are the Son of God".
I picture a scene like that of Night of the Living Dead, all these zombie like ppl just scrambling after Him with outsretched arms. Must have been quite a sight!

very interesting how the demons were screaming out you are the Son of God! and He rebuked them. Also intersting how some of the people accused Him of being insane or the devil himself!

In v. 29 we see the unforgiveable sin. the one and only, denying the holy spirit. Its not a word you can speak, but coming to a place or saying no so much and so often that one's heart is so hardened that they've said no too many times. it is impossible now to ever turn back. No doubt many of the pharisees had come to this place. wow, what a terrifying thought!
In Prov 29:1 it says: 'A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy".


I admit, once i was confused by Ps 37:4 "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart".
I think I tried this backwards. how wrong of me! I had desires i wanted fulfilled so I sought to delight myself in the Lord in order to get my way. Isnt that in a way trying to manipulate God? :o how dare I! I was rebuked for this by someone, a stranger, and they were right. It was no doubt God rebuking me for my thoughts because this other person who rebuked me couldnt have known my motives. But God did.
It doesnt work this way, but many times i think i tried to do this and that hoping God would reward me with this of that. How very wrong of me, i hate to admit but i have a good feeling i'm not alone on this.
delighting yourself in the Lord is the reward in itself! secondly, the 'hidden desires of our hearts'...these desires are hidden even by ourselves. I may think i know what i want (you know that feeling, if i ONLY had this or that...) but fortunately God knows us better and what we have need of. the things we often think we NEED, we dont. he will give us the 'hidden desires' of our hearts. we dont even know them til God gives them to us. Its truely amazing, i cant even tell you, but when i delight myself in the Lord because i just love him and want to bless Him, He gives unto me and reveals to me deep desires i didnt know i had need of, but once they are given i see, of course! I always desired that deep in my heart! But it was too deep for even me to see. Its just amazing how He works...i cant attempt to explain it.

i love v 7: "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.."

and v. 8 is so true: "Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm." i have NEVER had good come from losing my temper...more like i'm ashamed and embarressed!
I believe a person who is angry, flies in to rages, loses their temper like this needs desperate help! seek the Lord, seek couseling. dont continue like this. if your own children are scared of you, you need help! I think it best if someone like this to NOT even have children!
i grew up in a home like this...let me tell you it was terrifying!! affected my sisters and i deeply and all our lives. My one sister who was most affected by this terrifying thing we witnessed kept finding herslef in relationships with men who had horribly violent, sickening tempers. Its just so awful! I myself avoided relationships all together, always having a deep fear in me of a man hurting me again. I spent a dozen yrs avoiding emotional intimacy/closeness with men because deep down i was that terrifyed lil girl, begging him not to hurt me anymore. It wasnt the physical as much as the emotional abuse from a out-of-control temper that destroyed me! seeing ppl i loved being physically abused, stop it!!!!!!!!!!...no dont hurt her! gosh...i didnt even realize i'm full on sobbing now.
but fortunately God is able to repair and these last few yrs of my life i have been getting healing regarding that...its not something i think of anymore, but wen i think of it, i see how God has healed me and restored the relationship between me and the man that once traumatized me...I dont see him as the same man he was. He is forgiven completely by myself and the Lord. but unfortunately, scars last longer then the actions.
But i thank God sooooo much for delivering me and giving me the gift of forgiveness that i too can forgive others, truley forgive, not just mask it so others think i have. No matter what we've been through God can heal us...i never in my wildest dreams thought God could do in my life what He has done. Ok, as always i've rambled excessively. but wen i think of all the ways God has changed ME, changed OTHERS, HEALED me, restored my inner turmoil, restored my relationships, mended my heart....wow!
then i hear a nonbeliver say, "How do you know a god even exists?" ahahahaha!! man, they just have nooooooo idea!!

Psalm 37:4-6

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
NIV

I think this is interesting given our readings in Leviticus. The desires of our heart are not what we want in the "flesh" - but refer to those things represented by the sacrifices.

The real desires of the heart for all men - what they are searching for is: Acceptance, Joy, Peace, Forgiveness and Restoration. These are the true "needs" of man.

By delighting in, trusting in, and committing to the Lord - we will have righteousness.

I think this all foreshadows Christ - and those who submit there will to the Lords. (the meek).

The discussion of Evil and righteous is one that has an eternal connotation - Righteous will be with God - evil will be separated (not be seen). To be considered evil is to be not of God - ignoring the Spirit, Christ, and the Father. In OT times it would be not believing in the Father and His promises.


Well I know this is a little late and may not even get read. But, I think it is important for those who are sharing innermost feelings and experiences to know that it really does have an impact. At least for me, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I just wanted to thank Jenny and all of the others out there who are opening up to us and sharing such intimate details of their lives.

I am a new "old" Christian (as I like to consider it) - my faith has gone a little stale, but this one year bible blog and the stories and comments from you guys has been helping me to search out the spirit again in my life. Its not always an easy process. It is sitting in front of my computer each morning, but after that it gets a little harder...but, really I just wanted to say to everyone who shares a little bit of their life and struggles with the rest of us - thank you. It is encouraging to draw from your experiences and see how God is continually changing lives. And I believe through each of you he is working again in mine:)

Jenny and all, I think sharing your testimonies of God's work in you is very important and will help others who read them. Sometimes a person feels they are alone in their bad experiences. God loves that you share what He can do when you think all is impossible. Nothing is impossible with God. Praise the Lord! He loves you and so do I.

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