Cut It Off! – February 28, 2019

Leviticus 22.17-23.44; Mark 9.30-10.12; Psalm 44.1-8; Proverbs 10.19

Sin is often something we just assume is a part of our lives. We know we never act sinless, so just grow accustomed to having sinful behaviors be a part of what happens day in and day out. Too often, we do not even try to avoid it … we just accept it and the things that cause it. Jesus says this is not the best practice. We need to get rid of those things that create sin in and around is, even if it means a drastic change to accomplish this. How are you focused on ridding yourself of sin?

Questions:

Why does God give the Israelites festivals to observe throughout the year?

Why does Jesus want to keep his location a secret while he is teaching his disciples? What about his teaching topic would have been important for Jesus to have his disciple’s undivided attention?

What would your ancestors tell you about God at work in their lives? What will you tell your descendants?

“Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Describe a time when you wish you would have kept this advice.

Be Holy – February 27, 2019

Leviticus 20.22-22.16; Mark 9.1-29; Psalm 43.1-5; Proverbs 10.18

“Be holy because I am holy” says God. What is your reaction when you hear this? To me, it seems near impossible–I know how non-holy I really am. But at the same time, there is a certain sense of desire that is ignited in me when I hear these words. God, I believe, would not ask us to be something we cannot be. He’s not setting us up for certain failure. So I trust that he can make me holy. In what ways has he been making you holy?

Questions:

God reminds us that we are to keep his decrees and put them into practice. What is the difference between understanding or assenting to the decrees of God and actually putting them into practice? How are you putting his decrees into practice?

How do you think you would have reacted had you been on the mountain and seen Jesus, Moses and Elijah all together? How does your reaction compare to Peter’s?

Discouraged? What are ways you can put your hope in God in spite of this discouragement?

While it is often our first reaction–to slander someone else so as to bring them down to our level–doing so makes you a fool. How is this the case?

If You Want to Follow Me – February 26, 2019

Leviticus 19.1-20.21; Mark 8.11-38; Psalm 42.1-11; Proverbs 10.17

Give up your own way. Take up your cross. Follow Jesus. Seems simple enough on paper, but are we willing to put it into practice?

Questions:

The people of Israel are told to not pick up grain on the edges of their fields in order to provide for those in need. What are ways we “leave the edges” for others who need it today? What are ways we can do that more?

Why is our first reaction to people who have different ideas often a concerted effort to invalidate their way of thinking?

What things in your life demonstrate your longing for God?

How have you seen ignoring correction cause you or someone you know to go astray?

Purified by the Blood – February 25, 2019

Leviticus 16.29-18.30; Mark 7.24-8.10; Psalm 41.1-13; Proverbs 10.15-16

You begin to understand the sacrifice of Jesus more when you read in Leviticus (of all places!) God say: “It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.” (16.11, NLT) How does this fact help change your perception about why Jesus had to give his blood for you? How does this change the value you place on this sacrifice, a life given for you?

Questions:

Both in Egypt (the land the people of Israel were leaving) and in Canaan (the land where the people were going), God’s people are told not to imitate the lifestyle of those who lived in those lands. What would God tell us about living in the world we now live, if he were re-writing this passage for us?

Why could Jesus not keep it a secret where he was staying, even when he tried?

How have you shown kindness to the poor and what joys have you discovered as a result of this action?

How do your earnings as a godly person enhance your life?

Be Filled – February 24, 2019

Leviticus 15.1-16.28; Mark 7.1-23; Psalm 40.11-17; Proverbs 10.13-14

A prayer: Lord, may all those who come to this site indeed find joy and happiness in their search for you. May you grant them wisdom as they discover more and more ways to draw closer to you and may your peace fill their lives. Amen.

Questions:

When you read through Leviticus, you find repeated examples of how appearing before the Lord is a big deal and not something to be taken lightly. In what ways might we diminish the gravity of appearing before the Lord and how can we ensure we are taking proper steps to do so in full recognition of his power and glory?

How do we finding ourselves “honoring” God with all the right actions, yet failing to do so with our hearts? What can we do to change that?

When is the last time you cried out: “Lord, rescue me!” How did he rescue you?

If wise people treasure knowledge, what are you doing to learn more, especially about God?

Patiently Waiting – February 23, 2019

Leviticus 14.1-57; Mark 6.30-56; Psalm 40.1-10; Proverbs 10.11-12

With the invention of new technology, we can talk to anyone anywhere at any moment. We can even see people as we are talking to them! We do not have to wait for a store to open in order to purchase something (Amazon.com, anyone?) and often do not have to wait more than a day to receive our purchase (Again, Amazon.com). (To my point: the only time I go to a brick and mortar bookstore is because I want to pick up my book TODAY, not tomorrow.) So in an instantaneous society, does waiting for the Lord even make sense anymore? If your answer is “No,” you probably need to slow down a bit. Be patient … he will hear your cry.

Questions:

How often do we think of not only our own holiness, but also the spaces we occupy when we attempt to be faithful to God? How well does your space reflect God’s glory and presence?

“You feed them.” In what ways do you think Jesus knew exactly what would happen in this story and was just testing his apostles? How can we also be encouraged to act in faith on God’s instructions?

Do you share the good news of God and the things he has done for you or keep them hidden/unspoken? How can you share this good news more?

Many of the proverbs we are reading contrast wisdom and following God with folly and doing evil. Which side of this equation do you desire to follow? How?

Rushing for Nothing – February 22, 2019

Leviticus 13.1-59; Mark 6.1-29; Psalm 39.1-13; Proverbs 10.10

We rush too much! Our life on earth is brief, yet we spend it going as fast as we can, failing to appreciate the moments we have been given. When even the Psalmist points out that our “busy rushing ends in nothing,” we rush too much. Take a moment today to stop, sit quietly, and reflect on God’s goodness.

Questions:

Those who were unclean were also sent out of camp, left in isolation. How painful would it have been to not only be considered “unclean,” but also removed from those you loved and who cared for you the most?

Why do you think it would have been difficult for Jesus’ disciples to go out two-by-two taking nothing but a walking stick? How difficult would this be for you to do?

What are ways you can be reminded of how short life really is? How will you respond to this fact?

Describe a time that you gave a bold reproof that lead to peace in a tense or difficult situation.