My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Just Judge

I finished reading through Leviticus this week, and I have to admit, I didn't enjoy the book any more than I expected to. One good thing, though, is that reading through the weight of the law put me in a proper perspective to appreciate Pastor's sermon on grace on Sunday (and God further emphasized the power of covenant over law to me when I skimmed through the book of Hebrews this morning). Sometimes I struggle to reconcile the God of love--the intimate Father whose voice I recognize--with the rule-imposing, strike-them-down-with-plague God in Exodus and Leviticus. I know that He is the same throughout history, but it's often hard for me to see His love through the burden of the law.

Perhaps because I'm a woman and therefore concerned about God's relation to women, or perhaps because I love babies, the requirements for a woman's purification after childbirth in Leviticus 12 grabbed my attention. My heart hurt to read that the time required for purification after childbirth was doubled when the woman had a female child. Is this really how You see us, God? Were women so far beneath Your esteem that our very births were cursed?

Fortunately for me, the Lord led me to an online blog that gave me a new perspective. One of the things that the author suggested was that the issue with the birth wasn't so much about a curse as it was about future gender roles. The purification sacrifice that the woman had to offer to be clean again was the same regardless of whether she gave birth to a boy or a girl; she didn't have to bring a bigger sacrifice for having a female child.

However, the time she was "unclean" was time she spent bonding with her newborn infant. The male child would enter into the covenant through circumcision eight days after his birth, and then embark on a journey into manhood with all the duties and responsibilities that entailed--duties and responsibilities he would learn from his father and from other men in his life. The female child, however, would be more dependent on her mother to teach her how to become a woman. The time allotted for a mother to bond with her female child was longer, setting up the foundation for their future relationship.

In the end, I learned that what I thought was God's displeasure against women was actually His blessing. How true this is in my own life. I complain against a perceived burden only to discover in time that it is really a blessing.

Billy Humphreys from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, said something recently talking about the story of the unjust judge that really blessed me. The paraphrased version is this: If an unjust judge would finally grant justice to a widow because of her persistence, how much more will a God established in justice respond to the prayers of His bride?

He's just, He's faithful, and He loves you. Don't stop praying.

Friday, August 21, 2009

speak up already!

I'm reading in Leviticus at the moment, and one thing that struck me was early in chapter 5, which reads:
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. (Lev. 5:1)

This is one of the instructions that God gave to Moses when the two of them met together before the Tent of Meeting just after Moses received the Ten Commandments for the second time. God, in His mercy, was setting up a way for His people to walk with Him, despite the weight of the curse on their lives.

What's interesting to me, though, is that this particular "offense" wasn't based on what someone said, but on what they did not say. God viewed silence as sternly as He did outright deception.

Kinda like witnessing, huh? The terror's coming, and the blood is on the hands of the corporate church as a whole for our lethargic and dismissive attitude.

Thank the Lord for grace. He continues to give us opportunities to make up for the ones we squander because He is love at His core. Love by definition. Love in His entirety.

I've come away sobered and challenged again to speak, and pray that the Word would go forth with boldness. He will release His Word in power and authority through those who take the time to listen and snatch the opportunity to speak. My heart is so convicted yet again for the tendency I have to lose focus in the petty things (even when I think I'm not). Am I wrapped up in the "persecution" of that person who makes it a priority to disagree with me at any given opportunity, or am I meditating on Scripture, thanking the Lord for the lesson in humility, and moving forward in grace?

Don't miss a chance to speak up. May God grant unto you a spirit of boldness and power.

Much love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Spirit flame,
burn through my ashes
that i may offer passion.
my worship's on the altar
ready for refining
longing for life.

rain Your word.
water my garden
and i will scale the walls
with fruit to feed the nations,
open to the hungry,
calling for the shamed.

this is my sacrifice--
that which is holy,
that which is perfect and pleasing before You.
this is my offering--
my yearning devotion,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sin or standard?

I was 'trolling' through a friend's pictures on facebook recently. Actually, I suppose you could call this person more like an acquaintance now because we haven't had an actual conversation in years, nor do we live in the same area anymore. At any rate, a few of the pictures seemed to indicate that my friend no longer held some of the standards I once thought we shared.

With some chagrin, I must admit to jumping to snap conclusions and quietly judging my former friend in my heart. I also must 'fess up to feeling a fleeting dart of self-righteous pride, because I hadn't waivered in my convictions, unlike some people. And of course, there was that underlying disappointment, as though my friend had let me down personally for not believing just like I did.

As you may imagine, the Holy Spirit dealt with me pretty quickly on that one...

What came out of our little chat was me musing over the nature of sin versus standards. Of course, our desire should be to live as close to Jesus as we can, and not to try and live as close to the line as we can. The Lord's requirements for how we are to live our lives vary according to our specific callings and ministries. However, we can get caught up in judging each other when one person's version of "living close" is different than ours.

Some friends and I were discussing Hebrews 10 last night, and gripped with the sobering reality of verses 26-27:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Heb. 10:26-27)

Obviously, the Lord is very serious about deliberate sin, and our attitude toward sin. But where do we draw the line between sin and standards? Do we sin when we break a personal standard that might not be a requirement of someone else, or is sin, sin across the board? What do you think? And do you have a list of absolutes for your own life?