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ANGEL JOY

Luke 15:10 “‘In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’”

ONE REPENTING

Don’t you just love that?  The angels are rejoicing when ONE sinner repents.  He didn’t say hundreds or thousands.  Just ONE!  Remember, Jesus had witnessed this.  He had been in heaven and watched the angels rejoice.  He was speaking not only with the all the wisdom of God, but from eye witness experience.

I wonder what the angels think when they see this.  They don’t understand repentance like we do.  They are heavenly beings and have lived with God since their creation.  They have never had to repent.  But I am sure when they see the Father smile at the repentance of His children, they smile too.

TEACHING MOMENT

I am sure it won’t be long until your little Susie comes to you and says she is sorry for something she has done.  When you forgive her and smile, as I know you will do, bring up this verse. Tell her right now in heaven the angels are smiling too.  That’s a thought she won’t soon forget.

Helping our children learn the value of repentance is key to their growth as a believer and follower of Christ.  Every believer must be a repenter.  They go together.  And the repenting never stops.  I wish it could, but until we reach heaven and are free from the presence of sin, we will need to stay “confessed up.”

Are you “confessed up”?  Are you a consistent repenter?  Maybe this verse will help today.  Just think each time you repent you make the angels smile.  That should quicken your repentance time.

Father, I thank You for forgiving me each and every time I come to you and repent.  I am sorry for how frequently I do that, but I know You want me to.  Smile angels!

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BUT I SAID “LORD”

Luke 13:27 “‘and He will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from me, all you evildoers.”’” 

GOING TO HEAVEN

Jesus was asked who would be saved, and as usual, He launched into a story.  In this story He told His disciples that there would be many who would “think” they are saved but aren’t.  How can that happen?  How can someone think they are going to heaven and not get in? Unfortunately, it happens far too often.

So, what is the secret to getting into heaven?  There’s no secret.  It’s simple. You simply have to admit you are a sinner, believe Jesus is God’s Son and died for you, and finally confess with your lips He is Lord.  Too many people think just going to church or doing good things will get them there. Nope.  Those won’t do it.

TEACHING MOMENT

 There is nothing more important than making sure your children understand this. Going to church since they were born does not get them into heaven.  Singing in the children’s choir or having all the badges on their AWANA vest will not save them.  Only the drawing of the Holy Spirit and accepting Christ as their Savior does that.

But let me rush to say this – being saved isn’t all about going to heaven. Heaven is the icing on the cake. Living for Him here is totally worth it. Living a joy-filled life is worth it. Living in peace is worth it. Heaven is our reward for trusting Him. I can’t wait to go, but I enjoy living heavenly here.

Mom and Dad, are you settled about your eternal destiny?  Have you confirmed your entry to heaven?  If you haven’t, do that now.  Make sure you are going!  And do all you can to make sure your children are “signed up” too.

Father, I am looking forward to spending eternity with You.  Heaven is my true home and can’t wait to “come home.”  But while I am here, help me live heavenly.

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IT MUST BE PERFECT

Leviticus 22:21 “‘When a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a special vow or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.’”

NO JUNK

 Think how difficult this must have been.  For anyone to offer a sacrifice for a peace offering, it had to be a perfect male specimen.  No defect, no injuries, NO imperfections at all.  But God commanded this.  Why? Sacrifice shouldn’t be easy.  It should take diligent thought.  It should take effort.

Aren’t you grateful, though, that the ONE perfect sacrifice was offered for us all?  Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, was examined by God and found to be worthy of sacrifice.  He was unblemished.  He was pure. He was THE ONLY acceptable sacrifice.

TEACHING MOMENT

If you really want to teach this to your kids, try this.  Tell them you have a gift for them.  Wrap it nicely.  But inside put something that is broken or dirty.  Notice their reaction when they see it.  I doubt they will be grateful or even accept it.  Now, don’t leave it there.  Have a better gift ready.  Give it to them and watch their second reaction.

Explain how this applies to how we give to God. Just as He gave us His best – Jesus Christ, we need to give our best to Him.  He expects us to give our all.  He wants us to be all in for Him.  Teach your children to do that as you do the same.

Are you “sacrificing” your best for Him?  Are you holding back?  Don’t do that.  Give it all to Him. Show your children what it looks like to be completely “in” for Him. They will be watching.

Lord, help me to give You ALL I have.  Let me give my very best to You.  You deserve nothing less.

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SO THAT EXPLAINS IT!

Leviticus 17:14a “‘For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life.’” 

LIFE IN THE BLOOD

Some people wonder why the Jews sacrificed animals and spilled their blood on the altar.  Some wonder why Jesus had to shed His blood on a cross.  This verse explains it.  Life is in the blood.  A sacrificed life is required for the remission of sins.  The sad part about the animal sacrifices was that this had to continue. The joyous part about Christ’s sacrifice was that it was a one time for all time thing.  Done! Finished! Complete!

Christ hung on the cross once.  Christ died once.  Christ was the only One who could have delivered us because His life was pure. His blood was pure.  His sacrifice fulfilled the Law completely.  Nothing else could have done that.  Nothing!

TEACHING MOMENT

 The next time (and believe me there will be a next time) your little Johnny or Susie cleans their room halfway, talk about Christ’s complete sacrifice.  A half-cleaned room is NOT clean.  If Christ has just “offered” to die for us we would not have been forgiven.  We have to go all in, not part way.

Completion is important.  Finishing the task is important.  In fact, Christ’s last words on the cross were, “It is finished.”  He knew He had to give His life blood completely and wholly to satisfy His Father. He gave His all so we could have it all – all of glory, all of forgiveness, all of eternity.  Wow!

Are you holding back?  Are you not giving all of your life to Him?  Let Him have it all today.  He will give it back, but in much better shape.  He will cleanse it with His blood.  It will have His seal of approval on it that never expires.  What a bargain!

Lord, You are too good to me.  I so thankful You have completely forgiven me and not just part way.  I am so thankful Christ’s sacrifice paid the price forever.

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GOD’S OPTIONS

Leviticus 12:8 “‘But if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'”

HE MEETS US WHERE WE ARE

 This may seem trivial to you today.  This chapter deals with the purification of a woman after childbirth.  The sacrifice was different depending on whether she had a son or a daughter.  But the part that hit me was the concession the Lord made if she could not afford a lamb to sacrifice.  He allowed two birds which would have been much cheaper.

Now the “cheaper” sacrifice didn’t make the sacrifice cheap.  It just made it more affordable.  God isn’t interested so much in the cost of our sacrifice as He is in the heart of our sacrifice.  The woman with less could still give the sacrifice that was appropriate.  God always accepts us right where we are.

TEACHING MOMENT

 Children love to give to others, at least most do. Sometimes they want to give much more than they are able.  That’s okay, but we need to steer them toward giving according to their means.  Giving more than they can afford could become a burden and lead to resentment.  We certainly don’t want that.

We should teach them to give to the Lord in the same way.  There may be a time, though, when the Lord asks them to give sacrificially.  He may ask them to give up something for Him. That brings a whole other kind of reaction.  That can truly be joyous.  Just teach them to give.

What has the Lord asked you to give today?  Is there something He has asked you to sacrifice? Can you do it?  Give it to the Lord.  Just give.  He can take your gift and multiply it.  Give as He would have you give, not how you want to.  Giving is a privilege.  Enjoy it.

Lord, thank You for allowing me to give.  Thank You for blessing me with the ability to give.  Let me be that role model of giving for my children.

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JUST A TOUCH

Leviticus 6:18b “‘Whoever touches them will become consecrated.’”

A HOLY TOUCH

The Lord said over and over that whomever touched the offerings would be holy or consecrated (set apart).  Just touching the offering would cause this.  Not eating it!  Not the act of performing the offering.  Just touching it.  Hmmmm, how is that possible?

It was possible because it belonged to the Lord. The moment that offering was presented to the Lord, it became His and whatever is His is holy.  Another hmmmm moment – as a believer, you are His. Therefore, YOU are holy.  Isn’t that incredible?

TEACHING MOMENT

 Children need to learn that, once they become believers, they are holy.  Now, you are going to have to explain that to them.  They see “holy” as something beyond their reach.  They may see God as holy or even the Pastor as holy, but not themselves.  But they are!

As parents, our job is to present our children to the Lord.  We are virtually “offering” our children to the Lord.  Once He touches them (through salvation) they become holy, as He is. Then our job is do all we can to keep them that way through prayer, the Word and giving them the example to follow.

Have you been touched?  Have you been made holy?  Then live like it.  Live holy. Speak holy.  It’s not that hard – if you let the Lord do it.  He will be “your holy.”  He will live holy through you. He will speak holy through you.

Holy Father, touch me today and make me holy.  I long to live in holiness.  I want others to see Your holiness in me.

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GOOD WORDS TO HEAR

Luke 3:21-22 “21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’”

 JUST OBEY

I love to baptize believers.  There is something joyous about lying them back in the waters and seeing the smile begin to erupt on their faces as they are coming up out of the waters.  It’s almost as if they are hearing God say, “You are My beloved child, in you I am well-pleased.”

Now, I have yet to see a dove come down on anyone I have baptized.  That would be cool though.  But I know the Holy Spirit is there because, as believers, He is dwelling in them as I baptize them.  So, all the elements of Christ’s baptism are there – people watching (public baptism), waters to immerse, the Holy Spirit and the Father’s pleasure.

TEACHING MOMENT

The next time your children get to see a baptism at church read them this passage. Talk about how Christ was obedient to the Father and gave us the example to follow.  Jesus did NOT need baptism to save Him.  He was the Savior.  He was obeying His Father in heaven and as a result, the Father showed His pleasure.

Perhaps your child is contemplating getting baptized.  They have asked Christ into their heart and are ready for that step of obedience.  Encourage that.  Have them talk with your Pastor.  But encourage that.  Don’t think they need to wait until they are older.  Let them hear those words “I am well pleased” from the Father.

How about you?  Have you followed the Lord in baptism?  If not, let me encourage you today to get that done.  The joy you will receive from the Lord for obeying Him in this will far outweigh any fear you feel in getting up in front of others.  Trust Him and He will whisper to you too, “You are My beloved child, in you I am well-pleased.”

Father God, I did not see a dove descend from heaven when I was baptized, but I still remember the day.  Thank You for blessing me.  Thank You for allowing me to be obedient.

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FORGIVENESS

Leviticus 4:1-3 “1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, 3 if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.”’” 

NO MORE OFFERINGS

Can you just picture the blood?  Sacrifice after sacrifice was being presented.  Blood was poured and sprinkled.  Priests were steadily busy butchering and cutting the sacrifices.  It must have been tiresome.  It must have been messy.  They would have stayed busy enough with just my sacrifices for my sins.  I can’t imagine doing that for an entire nation.

Thanks be to God we don’t have that system anymore.  One sacrifice, Jesus Christ, paid the price for all our sins for all times.  We just have to accept it.  Only one slain lamb was necessary.  Only one divine drop of blood was needed.  No more sacrifices.  No more offerings of blood on an altar.

TEACHING MOMENT

Do some math with your children.  Google it.  I bet you can find some numbers to discuss with your child about the amount of blood that was spilled on the altar.  One bull would average about 6 gallons of blood.  Hold up a gallon jug.  Imagine six of those full of blood being poured out on the table.  Now imagine hundreds of those a day.

Now for the good part.  Tell them how Jesus’ blood was so perfect and pure that it satisfied all of God’s requirements for sacrifices.  His shed blood on the cross, even though it did not come close to the amount of blood on the altar, was just enough for everyone’s sins to be forgiven. Hold up a teaspoon and compare it to the gallon jug.  This is not a scientific comparison (lol), but they will get the picture.  His blood was powerful.

Have you recognized the power of His blood in your life? His blood was shed for you.  As a believer, we have forgiveness for ALL our sins through the powerful blood of Jesus.  Will you walk in forgiveness today?

O God, Your one time sacrifice for me is overwhelming.  I thank You for giving Your Son to shed His blood on Calvary for me.  I rest knowing I am forgiven.

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LISTEN UP

Deuteronomy 27:9-10 “9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying, ‘Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the Lord your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the Lord your God, and do His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.’”

YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS

 Two words stood out to me in these verses today.  Can you spot them?  Moses has just given the people the laws by which God will hold them accountable in the Promised Land.  And then he says, “This day you have become a people for the Lord your God.”  THIS DAY!  Wait just a minute!  I thought they were already the Lord’s people.  Didn’t He choose them, and didn’t He lead them out of Egypt?  Didn’t He promise them this land they were about to enter?

Yes, but on this day, Moses was commissioning them through the power of God to be a brand, new nation.  All their past wanderings in the desert were over.  All those who had rebelled against God 40 years earlier were dead.  They were indeed His people at last, and He was ready to usher them into the Promised Land.

TEACHING MOMENT

The same is true for us and our children.  We may grow up knowing all about God.  We may teach our children about God.  We may take them to church and Sunday School.  They may make all the little crafts about Noah and the ark, Moses and the ten commandments or Jesus in the manger.  But until we each surrender our lives to His will and become His child, we are not His people.

Read this passage to your children and tell them that they too must make a decision to follow Christ.  They won’t get into heaven with your faith.  Just as the Israelites had to choose to follow the Lord into the Promised Land, they must choose to follow Christ.  But once they do that, once they accept Him as their Lord and Savior, they are forever His.

Are you following Him today?  Are you surrendered to His Will?  Stop wandering in the desert.  Listen up! Hear the Lord calling you today to be His child.  Allow Him to point you in the direction He has for you today.

Lord, I trust You to guide me each day.  I may not understand all the reasons I am going down this road, but as long as I end up with You in heaven, I am okay.  I love You Lord.

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REMOVE THE MUZZLE

Deuteronomy 25:4 “‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.’” 

 TAKE CARE OF YOUR PASTOR

 You may read this passage and ask yourself, “What does this even mean?” Well, back in those days they used animals to thresh the grain.  They would lay the stalks of wheat or barley on the ground, usually in a prepared place. Then they would walk their ox or donkey or some heavy animal over it to break the grain from the stalk and husk. Muzzling the animal was cruel since it needed to eat too.  Moses was saying to take care of the animal you have asked to feed you through their work.

This verse has been applied for centuries to those who serve in ministry. Basically, don’t starve your Pastors to death by paying them very little while they feed you the Word.  Make sure they are taken care of by the church.  A Pastor should not be concerned with how he can provide for his family.  His only concern should be caring for his flock.

TEACHING MOMENT

 “Okay Carl, how are you going to use this verse to apply to our children today?” Don’t you believe every passage has something to say to us?   Of course, it does.  Find out a need your Pastor has right now.  Then take your children along to meet that need.  He may need new tires on his vehicle.  Arrange to get his keys from his wife or secretary and take your kids with you to get new tires put on his car.

Maybe he has a financial need.  Get your kids involved in giving him a special love offering.  Do it quietly so you don’t bring attention to yourself or your kids.  Teach your kids that giving can be a special blessing when you can do it secretly or anonymously.  Whatever you do to bless your Pastor, do it with your kids.  They won’t soon forget it.

I guarantee there is at least one need in your Pastor’s life that you can meet this week.  It may be a simple gift card to a restaurant or mowing his lawn.  Do it.  Bless him. Don’t muzzle the ox when he is threshing.

Father, I thank You for the Pastors in my life who have fed me.  Show me ways in which I can be a blessing to him and his family today.

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