Author Archives: cazehner

About cazehner

I'm a woman who loves God's Word, the Bible. And I love sharing what it is God reveals to me through his Word. I pray that everything I write is consistent with Scripture, and that everyone who reads this blog will be drawn closer to the Savior. I am praying for you.

February 19; It’s Not Just About Food

Leviticus 11-13

In these chapters we read the instructions God gave the Jews for following the Law. Much of it has to do with keeping God’s chosen people healthy. It’s not just an exhaustive list of rules. Following the rules resulted in a robust, long-lifed, group of people who were more robust and lived longer than their neighbors. Following the rules made God’s people stand apart from the crowd.

Let’s see what these chapters have to do with our walk with God in 2019.

Chapter 11 teaches that the disease of sin can be ingested if we aren’t careful. Just like the Jews were told to avoid certain disease-carrying animals, we are told to flee sin, guard our hearts and minds, think pure thoughts, come out from among them and be separate. The Jews were instructed to not even touch an unclean animal, much less eat it.

Some of us don’t necessarily participate in blatant acts of sin. But I wonder if we’re not guilty of getting close enough to bump into it, or have it rub off on us. Do we understand if sin touches us, it makes us unclean? I believe God would have us consider what it is we are taking in, in the music we listen to, to the books we read and shows we watch, to the places we go and the people we hang with. How close can we get to sin without it effecting us? I think God is telling us to be aware that sin is a fatal disease we can catch if we eat the whole hog, or if we just touch it to see how it feels. The solution? Don’t go there.

Chapter 12 tells us we are born unclean. The Bible makes it clear we are all born with a sin nature, a will to sin. But we also see time and again that God forgives sin. The women here in Leviticus were instructed to make atonement for their uncleanness in a very public way. I think one reason God instituted the baptism ceremony is because of that same idea – a public declaration that “I am clean by the work of Jesus on the cross.” Buried in sin. Alive in Christ. And we want the world to know.

And chapter 13 instructs us to examine ourselves, not to allow a “tiny sin” to exist in our lives, because “tiny sins” grow into infectious diseases resulting in separation from God in this life and eternity. It tells us that sin isn’t simply skin deep, not a zit that will go away on its own.

God is telling us sin is a cancer that destroys us from the inside. It’s leprous, ugly, and like leprosy caused finger and toes to fall of, rendering the diseased person crippled, sin causes us to lose our witness, rendering us crippled in our usefulness to God. I believe God is instructing us to take an inventory every day of our lives, search our hearts on a regular basis, identify the plank in our eye and remove it. If we don’t, we’ve got to know that it won’t get better on its own.

I hope you’ll read these chapters today. When God is talking about things to avoid,  a disease, or an uncleanness, consider the sin that would entangle you today. Hear God’s solution to your sin problem. Don’t just look at this as a list of do’s and don’t’s for a people long gone. Let God speak to your heart about your walk with Him today.

It’s not just about food, or child-bearing, or leprosy. God wrote this for you.

 

February 18; My Heart’s Not In It

Leviticus 8-10

Aaron was a dad. And like any parent I’m pretty sure that when he stood before Israel as their priest with his sons at his side, there was a great sense of satisfaction and joy at having his sons follow in his footsteps.

If you are a parent, I’d imagine you’ve experienced the same when your son or daughter followed in your footsteps and decided to follow Jesus, maybe joined in a ministry with you. Can there be a greater satisfaction than having your child serve God next to you?

But sadly for Aaron, that joy didn’t last long. Two of his sons paid the ultimate price for disobedience when God struck them dead, right in front of their dad. To make matters worse, Aaron had to decide whether to throw himself on the dead bodies of his children or honor God. He chose God.

But that doesn’t mean his heart wasn’t broken.

At the end of chapter 10, we are at the dinner table with Aaron and his two remaining sons. It wasn’t just a meal. It was part of the sin offering as commanded by God for the people of Israel. The priests (Aaron and sons) were to eat part of the offering in a holy place. What was left of the offering after they had eaten was to be burned up.

They sat there, but they couldn’t bring themselves to eat. Their hearts weren’t in it. So they packed up the left-overs and burned them. The fact that they burned the whole thing made Moses mad. Hadn’t they learned what God felt about disobedience? Aren’t two dead sons enough for us to get the message?

In essence Aaron said,”I’ve done everything required of me today for the sins of the people. I’ve honored God above my sons. But my sadness has taken away my appetite for food. Would God want me to just go through the motions?” Moses knew the answer was, “No.”

And God doesn’t want us to just go through the motions, either. I think of the privilege of gathering around the Communion Table to remember Jesus, His cross, and His resurrection. I wonder how many times I’ve gone through the motions when my heart wasn’t in it, when sin put up that wall between me and my Savior. I wonder how many times I’ve reached in and pulled out a tiny cracker, knowing I shouldn’t, but afraid of what people might think if I let it pass by me.

It’s not just the Lord’s Table I’m thinking about. Aaron has something to say about any act of service or expression of worship. Going through the motions isn’t obedience. God is not interested in sacrifices if our hearts aren’t in it. Man notices and judges us based on what we do. God sees the heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God so I can serve and honor You like You deserve.

February 17; Guilty By Accident

Leviticus 5-7

I’ve been sitting here thinking about accidental sins, after reading these chapters in Leviticus. God tells us He takes those sins seriously. I confess I not only don’t take them seriously, I don’t give them a thought. I might have to reconsider that position.

J. Vernon McGee, in his Commentary on Leviticus 1-14 says this on page 64:

“We can’t be out in the world without becoming unclean by seeing things and hearing things and thinking things. We are unclean. We may not even realize that we have come in contact with the unclean. It may be hidden from us so we are not even aware of it. But we are not to rush into God’s presence until we are cleansed.” (Thomas Nelson Publishers; Nashville, TN; 1991)

I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery and inadvertently read the cover of a magazine and saw the picture of a half -naked famous person. I didn’t pick it up to get a better look. I didn’t buy the magazine. In fact, I haven’t even thought about it until now.

The question I find myself asking is, can I be pure before my holy God with that picture in my mind? If I had gone on an internet site to purposefully view pictures like that I would have no problem identifying that as sin. But, God forgive me, I have that picture in my mind whether I meant to or not.

I John 1:9 tells us if we confess our sins God will be faithful to forgive our sins. But what if we don’t know we’ve sinned? Does God forgive sin even if we don’t confess? Are we guilty of sin when we sin, or when we know we’ve sinned?

Dear God, I am a sinner. I have pictures in my mind, thoughts going through my head, careless words coming out of my mouth, blowing off things I know I should do. I see things, hear things, think things that offend you. I sin. So, God, I ask you to forgive me the sins I commit without even knowing. Forgive anything that makes me impure. And if there are specific things you want me to deal with, please bring them to mind. I may sin accidentally, but I’m asking you to forgive me on purpose.

February 16; It’s Not All We Have

Leviticus 1-4

“Religion is man’s attempt to make peace with God on his own terms. Redemption is God’s offer of peace through Jesus Christ.” (With the Word; Warren Wiersbe; Thomas Nelson Publishers; 1991; page 72)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

What we read in Leviticus are instructions for sacrifices to God. Blood was shed daily, and the Jews had to follow these instructions religiously. It was all they had in order to please God.

But it’s not all we have after the cross. What we read in Leviticus, what the Old Testament Jews were required to do, demonstrates what Jesus did when He died once and for all, when He fulfilled every requirement for our sin debt.

I am not religious. I’m not even what you might call “spiritual.” I am a woman with a relationship with God Almighty. I am a woman who has accepted what the blood of thousands of goats and bulls could not do. I am a woman redeemed by the precious blood of my Savior, Jesus the Christ.

I am a woman at peace with God. On His terms.

As I read through the book of Leviticus I want to see Jesus. I’ll not get caught up in the details of the sacrifices without connecting them to what Jesus did for me. I have so much more than what the Jews had there in the wilderness. I have Jesus!

And that’s all I need.

February 15; God Is In The House!

Exodus 39-40

The Tabernacle was completed in five months. All the pieces fit, and it must have been quite a sight. The sparkling gold and silver, the royal blues and purples must have made a stark contrast against the backdrop of the wilderness.

Aaron and sons were dressed in their new priestly garments, complete with precious jewels. It must have inspired awe in everyone fortunate enough to have been a witness to it all.

But the most important, most impressive thing about the tabernacle didn’t happen until 40:34. The tabernacle was just an empty, albeit beautiful, tent until God showed up. What made this tent stand out from all the other ornate structures in the world was God Himself.

Matthew Henry tells us that everything concerning the tabernacle, and the priestly garments were merely shadows of what was to come. The substance, Henry says, is Christ and the grace of the Gospel. “When therefore the substance has come, it is a jest to be fond of the shadow.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary In One Volume, Zondervan Publishing House, 1961, Grand Rapids, Michigan; page 114)

Let’s never be so concerned about what worship looks and feels like that we forget WHO we worship. Let’s not be as concerned about what our church buildings look like, as we are about why we gather there. Let’s not get caught up in the history of the Bible, or theological details about insignificant differences, and neglect the God of the Bible. Henry says it’s a joke to get caught up in the shadow.

Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus. Let’s celebrate the fact that when our sins are covered by His blood…

God is in the house!

 

February 14; Counting Nails

Exodus 36:8-38:31

Our church is in the middle of a building project, and right now we are in the process of getting down to the nuts and bolts. Seriously.

The architect, builder, and our building committee are deciding how many nails, screws, washers, etc. we will need to put up the structure. What color and kind of paint, flooring, trim, windows, doors, etc., etc., etc.  There isn’t an inch of the projected building that hasn’t been discussed. I’m not on that committee, thankfully. It sounds tedious.

Like reading these chapters in Exodus. Why do I care how many hooks held up the curtains of the tabernacle?

Because God does.

I am reminded that as God and I continue to build this life, this tabernacle called Connie, He is interested in every detail. It’s all important to Him, from my thoughts to my actions, from the way I interact with people to the way I speak to Him, from temptations I face to my will to win over them.

Just like with Moses, God has given me the blueprint. He’s gone over the plans. He’s gotten down to the nuts and bolts required to build a beautiful life He can live in on this earth.

He’s told me things like “put on the whole armor of God,” “resist the devil,” “flee youthful lusts,” “think on things that are pure, holy… praiseworthy,” don’t forsake the regular meeting with fellow believers,” “love your neighbor,” “do good to those who mistreat me,” “trust Him,” “love Him,” “obey Him.”

If God was that interested in the minute details of the tabernacle in the desert, a structure that would decay and disappear, how much more is He interested in me?

And shouldn’t I be as intentional about following His plan as the Israelites were?

So if God wants to get down to the nuts and bolts of my life, if He wants to reveal a sin or point me in a new direction, I’m in. Count those nails, Lord. And if I come up short, help me to do and be what I need, to be able to present you with a tabernacle of Your design, a life you deserve.

February 13; Busy Hands. Joyful Hearts.

Exodus 33:7-36:7

I’m part of the sewing ministry at our church. And I don’t sew!

Our little group has made draw-string bags for several agencies, including homeless shelters, and the foster care system. We’ve made and filled diaper bags for the Pregnancy Support Center. We’ve made blankets for veterans going on Honor Flight, and wheelchair bags for nursing homes and the VA. We’ve even made dolls and wordless books for mission trips. And those are only the things I can think of off the top of my head.

I don’t sew. But I can string a bag with the best of them. (well, after learning how NOT to prick myself with the safety-pin)

Our group consists of between eight and twenty women who gather at the church once a month to work on the latest project. The sewers plug in their machines along the wall. Those who iron set their station up next to the kitchen. The rest of us sit around round tables with our scissors or string. And we keep busy for about two hours.

But if you walked in on us, you might think you’ve walked into a party. There is always laughter as we sit and talk to each other like schoolgirls.

Sometimes you might walk in and think you walked in on a church service, if someone is sharing a hurt. There’ve been tears shed at sewing, too.

That’s what I’m kind of picturing here as I read about the people creating the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Did the women put their spinning wheels in a circle and enjoy some laughter as they spun their yarn? Did the embroiders sit together and discuss parenting, or share a recipe or two while they worked? If they were anything like our sewing ministry, they most likely found joy in doing the work of the Lord together.

I think God gave us a pretty good picture of a healthy church here in Exodus: Individuals using their gifts collectively to do the work God had for them to do.

I hope you are busy doing what God asks of you. But may I suggest you not do it alone? Gather with other like-minded people and work together. The job certainly is the focus. But the fellowship is a bonus blessing.

Busy hands. Joyful hearts. It’s a pretty great combination.