Tag Archive: sin

Candy Wrappers

Day 45 Leviticus 5-7

When you mention reading the bible in a year it’s Leviticus that everyone says might trip you up or stop you in your tracks.  Knowing this I’ve been doing a lot of additional research into the meaning and purpose of the book in an attempt to help alleviate this general feeling of “Er.. WHAT?!”   It really hasn’t helped much… I tried to read about the rituals described in todays verses over a bowl of breakfast cereal and found that eating  breakfast and Leviticus don’t mix well.  What is up with all this bloodshed of unblemished perfect goats and sheep?!  This sweet little Christian girl is having issues with the ritualistic gore.  My God asked for THIS?!  Killing an animal for meat is one thing, killing and burning the entire animal  seems so foreign, wrong almost.  Heaven help the county fair blue ribbon lamb back then.. she won’t even get to be lamb chops (suddenly I have this image of Rhonda and Vicky’s county fair lambs with pink painted hooves).  There is so much ritual between man and God… when today all I have to do is call out his name and he’s THERE.  Am I being sacrilegious  questioning all this?  Is this proof of my lack of knowledge as a Christian?  No It just highlights how much of my relationship with my Creator I’ve taken for granted. 

    Leviticus for me is an opportunity to take stock of what I truly have in Christ.  The laws God sets up with Moses have many purposes but one overshadows them all.. It clearly highlights the desperate need for a Messiah.  The word that every commentator mentions in juxtaposition to Leviticus is holiness.  It is God’s ultimate holiness and our lack of it that separates us.  The shedding of the blood closed that gap so that man and God could have that relationship. Ritual sacrifice was acknowledging that we missed the mark when it came to holiness.  Yes the goats, the lambs and the birds were innocent… More so was Jesus.  Daily the Israelites saw the sacrifices die for their sins.  Once did Christ die for mine.  .  . and I was not there to witness it.   How does that get processed in my brain differently?

   I remember reading in a cheesy magazine that to help limit the amount of candy you eat you should buy smaller packaged pieces of candy.  As you eat the candy leave the wrappers out to remind you of what you’ve eaten.. at the moment I have a small empty M&M  package and a small empty Nerds candy box I stole from my boys’ Valentine’s booty.  If I eat any more I’ll get REALLY sick and so the wrappers sit by the computer to remind me of what I’ve already consumed.  The trash can is two feet to my right. and here the wrappers sit.  What the heck does this have to do with ritual animal sacrifice and Jesus?!  Ok, so hear me out.   perhaps the Israelites were lucky in a way because they had a better understanding of just how big the gulf was between them and God.  The sacrifices served as a daily reminder of that, while I who live in daily communion with God tend to take the ultimate sacrifice of Crist for granted. My sin tends to take a backseat, and my gratitude for such sin’s forgiveness is a bit wimpy as a Christian.  Is there room in my heart for the harsh and strange things described in Leviticus?  As I read each and every detail of what it took to be atoned for our sins, I think of Christ and his atonement for my sins.  it’s not a guilt thing.. more of an appreciation thing. 

  Leviticus is hard work for me to read, all the more room for me to be moved and changed by it.   Thank you Lord for your ultimate sacrifice.  Your Holiness is incomprehensible to me…I think there is value in being reminded of that.  Your Love is the ultimate and most perfect love.


Book of Sin, House of Sinners

Day 23 Genesis 32-34

Jacob means the deceiver.. and deceive he did.  The bible is NOT some sugar-coated fairytale of perfect people.  Jacob cheated his brother, lied to his father, his family was a mess because of his favoritism, even in the face of reconciliation with Esau (which I have to give Esau some credit for) he lied then just so save his butt.  His deceitfulness was passed onto his children whos wrath over the rape of their sister was WAY over the top and uncalled for.  Yet this is the Jacob who is bestowed with the name Israel…  Really, THIS guy gets to have a country named after him?! Because really, he didn’t do much of anything all that impressive.  Thus far, the bible is a book of sin and sin and sin, or as my brother put it moral ambiguity.  God it is such a wonder You didn’t pack up and move on!  I’m sure there is some alien race out on a different planet  that is much better than us!  Vulcans, yeah, I bet their bible is a bit more squeaky clean than ours.. or do they not believe in God?

     I read this passage this morning before church and it must have been at the forefront of my mind.  I LOVE worshiping with this congregation.  Mostly because they seem to keep it real.  Not a soul there claims to be without sin at some point in their lives.  Some have been through multiple divorces, drug abuse, illegal gang activity, prison. They wear it on their faces, some have the scars and the tatoos that prove where they’ve been in life. Yet here we all are laying it out before God.  I’m not saying we’re perfect now either, those seeking perfection in their church don’t last long with us. It’s fascinating to me what image some seem to think  a church needs to fulfill.  Even more intriguing is the idea that church is full of hypocrites. .  .  Well if you think church and the bible is full of perfect people, or at least people who think they are perfect then I can see where they are coming from.  We as humans are by nature imperfect.  So if the bible were to be an honest book, which I believe it is then the people in the bible will all be imperfect as well, minus only one: Jesus. 

     God honors those who come to Him, even when we’ve sinned.  We’ll see this again and again… That’s the lesson I took from Jacob, the man who wrestled with God, the man granted the name of a nation.

Asking why is the wrong question

Day 4 Job 1-5

So basically according to Job’s friend Job’s pain and anguish must be a punishment from God for something Job did.  I believe in natural consequences of our actions, but I do NOT believe God punishes us like this!  Yes bad things happen, horrible things happen but it’s not our Creator punishing us for our sin (even if Pat Robertson wants to say otherwise).  God can allow bad things to happen, but for a greater good we can not comprehend when we are experiencing them.  here is the sad part, I’ve totally heard other Christians giving advice like Job’s first friend… “Oh you just found out you have Crohns?  it must be your sin  that caused it, you should repent.”  What?!  No… lesson of the day for me?  Don’t give advice like Job’s friend number one, you’re wrong..

Lord this passage really got me riled up, Job’s friend’s advice was so wrong but i see it here and now… it’s like Westboro Babtist Church who picket the funerals of service members claiming soldiers died because of homosexuality… I’m furious about that!  You allow horrible things to happen on this earth to the bad and to good alike. I believe in repentance but I don’t think the meaning of life is trying to determine what we’re being punished for, I think we need to seek you in any circumstance, and try and figure out what good we can make of it. 

  Lord I feel very blessed, which makes me uneasy about the story of Job… help me to let go of that which really isn’t mine to begin with.  Keep me under your wing no matter what life hands me.  Like those I met in Uganda, though they had next to nothing, know much more pain and suffering than I, they trusted You, loved You and worshiped You like nothing I’d ever seen before.  May THEY be my teacher,  May THEY be the example I seek. May I always seek you through all of life’s experiences.  If there is no answer to the question “why” then lead me from it, guide me instead to the question, “what am I going to do with what I’ve got that glorifies my Creator?”

First Covenant

Day 3 January 3rd

Genesis 8-11

The word that stuck in my head this morning was covenant.   God’s special promise to all living creatures to never again flood the entire earth. All covenants have a sign.. this one is a rainbow, a clear message that says, “I still promise.”

In 8:21 he acknowledges that mankind is “bent towards evil ways but I guess he’s willing to work with that from now on.  Not that it’s acceptable, just workable (really with as bad as humans can get now, wowza they must have been awful during Noah’s time).

Genesis 9:6-7 is interesting, slightly, given the virtual total destruction God brought over the entire earth, now to say that Human life is precious because we reflect God’s very nature.. So we’re bent towards evil YET we reflect God’s righteousness (always doing right).  I think we  posses the ability to comprehend righteousness, but are incapable of achieving it.   I’ve frequently said life (or church, work, family the list goes on and on) would be perfect if humans weren’t there to muck it up.

Last thing.. Noah cursing Canaan for looking at his drunk naked body, then blessing Canaan’s brother’s for covering him up. Oooo, that is really messed up.  It’s not that what Canaan did was all that great, but neither is getting drunk and passing out naked.  It’s great that the other bros did the respectable thing and So yeah Noah should have said thank you, and perhaps sorry.  Here is what I take issue with, it’s so clearly pitting brother against brother.  To Curse one and bless the other.  Noah is setting up some dangerous family issues here, and it’s a theme we’ll see over and over and over again. I know the passages are more of a history lesson about the region’s different settlements than painting an accurate family tree, but the divisions we see established by “Noah” from early on CEARLY still exists today.  Who are the Canaanites today?  Who are the Sons of Shem and Japheth?

Lord,  I can sense that knowledge of right from wrong through the fog of selfish sin.  If I could just set my path straight towards you, and free myself from distractions.  I’ll never be without distractions, without sin.  So I’m that much more thankful that you are the God of second chances.  We don’t deserve it.  Like Luke looking at Darth Vader  you see the good in us (yes I just quoted a Star Wars movie to the Creator of the Universe, I dare say he chuckled).  Thank you for never giving up.

Abel-like offerings

Genesis 4-7 

   God’s start with mankind seemed really rocky.  I don’t think it’s God’s fault, or rather if he is all knowing then theoretically he could have predicted all this so perhaps it is his fault.  But it was the humans that distanced themselves from their Creator, not the other way around, so it’s the human’s fault.    This reminds me of the paradox of parenting. When a child makes a mistake, whose “fault” is it, the child or the parent? Often God’s interactions with humans remind me of my struggles parenting… God is an interesting parenting role model though… he’s certainly a “let them fail and learn on their own” kind of Dad. It’s not like he doesn’t try to tell us what’s right and what’s wrong it’s just that sometimes we’re hell-bent on doing what’s wrong. Because of our sin we experience a separation from God (thus the need for Christ’s intervention).  In Genesis 5:21-24 there was a man who “walked steadily with God.”   His name was Enoch, Great-grandfather to Noah.  Enoch doesn’t die, God just takes him, was Enoch therefore without sin?  Who knows, well God knows, but this occurred so early in Earth’s history we get three verses on the guy and that’s it.  

     Through today’s tales of murder, giants,  and floods, it was Enoch that stood out to me.  I’d be hard pressed to described my walk with God as “steady,”  more like “fleeting.”  What is it that’s preventing me from walking steadily with the Lord?  I could come up with all sorts of excuses, laundry ironically jumps to mind first, but just the general day-to-day life really.  But do I really get off so easily blaming my circumstances? No.   I dare say Enoch had day-to-day duties to attend to as well.  My mind goes back to Cain and Able’s  first offering, we can’t just offer God some of our life, we have to offer Him the best of us…

Lord, your Word is wonderous, and I have largely ignored it.  Thank you for hanging in there with me. Help me to understand what giving you an Able-like offering looks like in my life.

Day 1 January 1

Genesis 1-3
There seems to be layers to the creation story. First a broad overview and then narrowing in on God’s relationship with Adam and Eve. I never picked up on the fact that there were two trees… The tree of knowledge of good and evil and then the tree of life. If was because of the tree of life they were kicked out of Eden… those that ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil were not allowed to eat from the tree of life.
When we are confronted for our sins, because of our knowledge of good and evil we automatically pass the blame off to others.
Lord help me to break that habit, to own up to my mistakes instead of trying to blame others.