A Discharge of Blood: Leviticus 15 meets Luke 8

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Leviticus 15

Yesterday I wrote about the Levitical laws about leprosy and Jesus healing the leper… Now we come to Leviticus 15, the Levitical laws about bodily discharges and menstruation and other discharges of blood. Ugh.

I’ve never been a leper, but I’ve had plenty of times of menstruation over the past thirty-plus years!

First I was reminded of Genesis 31:34-35 which takes on a whole new depth of meaning in light of these laws – which hadn’t yet been given, in writing at least. “Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods.”

But then I was reminded of the woman who had suffered with a discharge of blood for twelve years. You can read her story in Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8.

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.

Luke 8:43-47 ESV

How lonely she must have been. How desperate for healing. Twelve years is a long, long time. And how terrified she must’ve been that she might get in big trouble for touching the rabbi.

Yet, Jesus was not angry with her for touching Him. Rather He spoke these tender words to her,

“Daughter, your faith
has made you well; go in peace.”

Luke 8:47

Are we tender like that with those who need healing – or do we join in ostracizing them and putting them outside the camp?

Do we go to Jesus and grab hold of the fringe of His garment when we need healing ourselves?

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, there are men and women in our midst who need healing. Help us to see their need and respond tenderly to them. Help us to introduce them to Jesus, the only one who can heal them. Father, we all need healing in various areas of our life – healing from bitterness, healing from emotional pain, healing from physical ailments. We come to You, the Great Physician, and lay all of our needs at Your feet. Help us to reach out to You and cling tightly to You. It is in the Almighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Touch the Hem – Sam Cooke

He Touched Me

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Leviticus 11-14

Last Sunday morning, as I was sitting in our church women’s Sunday school class, I was overwhelmed by the deep sense of love and community that I felt from the women gathered there. Earlier that week I had been told that I had a stress fracture in my right foot, and I’d have to use a boot for several weeks until it healed. The women gathered there were all asking about me and listening intently to what I had to say. I found genuinely seen and heard and cared for.

It’s hard to explain, but it’s something I had never experienced before being a part of the body of Christ. These women loved me for just exactly who I was – not some fake, cleaned-up version of myself … but me.

Reading about the Levitical laws for those afflicted with leprosy broke my heart. Listen to these verses and imagine how that must have felt,

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

Leviticus 13:45-46 ESV

And now imagine this scene between a leprous man and Jesus.

When [Jesus] came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.”

And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:1-3 ESV

He touched him. He could’ve just said the word. He could’ve told him to go wash himself far away in the river … or go roll around in the dust outside the camp … But, no, Jesus touched him. Intentionally.

Jesus didn’t have to worry about becoming unclean. The leprous man’s disease couldn’t contaminate Him – and neither can yours.

Jesus came close to me. He touched me and cleansed me and made me whole. Has He done that for you? He can.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your loving touch and care for me. Thank You for bringing me in from outside the camp, for welcoming me in while I was a stranger, lonely and alone. Thank You for making me a member of Your body, filling me with purpose and meaning and hope for a brighter tomorrow. I pray for the many people in our world who are still living their lives outside the camp. Alone. Please send Christians into their lives to welcome them in and to share the hope of the gospel with them. In the name of Jesus – the Ultimate Welcomer – I pray. Amen.

He Touched Me – Gaither Vocal Band

Unity in the Body of Christ

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Leviticus 8

At the consecration of Aaron and his sons, the Lord tells Moses to assemble all the congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting, so they can see this blessed event.

Moses washes Aaron and his sons with water and dresses them in their sacred robes and ephods and turbans. Moses pours anointing oil onto their heads as well as on the tabernacle and the altar and its utensils.

And he poured some of
the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him.

Leviticus 8:12 ESV

This passage reminded of Psalm 133.

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Psalm 133:1-3 ESV

Dear Heavenly Father, what a beautiful gift it is to dwell in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray for unity within my local body of believers as well as unity of purpose in the global body of Your church. I pray that our unity would dwell within Your truth and holiness. Make us Your priests, anointing and washing others in the water of the Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. By the grace of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

There is One Gospel by City Alight

God is a Creative God

Read through the Bible in 2 Years: Exodus 30-31

This morning I took my youngest two children out for our annual “last day of school” donut breakfast. My youngest son is just finishing up his sophomore year of high school and my daughter just finished her freshman year in college. Where has the time gone? Will you please bear with me for just a moment as I take a trip down memory lane, looking back over 22 years of homeschooling?

My firstborn daughter was born creative … and bossy. Ever since she could speak, she’s been gathering children around her to tell them a story or make a craft or work on a project together.

My second child, a son who was adopted as an infant, has always been super verbal with a fantastic memory for all things movie, TV, sports, and music related. He actually spoke at a younger age than his siblings, despite being adopted from Russia as a six-month-old!

My third child – my little princess – has always been an incredibly thoughtful, caring child. She has a fantastic eye for details. She’s the first one to notice a new haircut or shirt.

My youngest child didn’t start talking until he was almost two-and-a-half, but he loves to learn. He’s my book-smart child, enjoying workbooks and math and school stuff.

If you follow my blog for long enough, you’ll notice several things that I’m especially passionate about with regards to my faith, things that jump out at me again and again as I read through the Scriptures.

  • God’s heart for the nations.
  • God’s perfect timing – that He is a “that very day” kind of God.
  • And God’s purpose for each person that He has uniquely created.

Well, here it is again. God has a unique purpose for Moses – to lead and speak – and He has an equally important, though completely different purpose for Bezalel and Oholiab – to craft the things which God has designed.

“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.”

Exodus 31:2-6 ESV

“According to all that
I have commanded you,
they shall do.”

Exodus 31:11b ESV

Once again I am reminded that God has designed each person on earth intentionally. Moses, Bezalel, and Oholiab each have a purpose. Even though their purposes are very different, none of their roles are more or less important than another. If Moses doesn’t keep his end of the deal, then Bezalel and Oholiab won’t know what to do … but if Bezalel and Oholiab don’t implement what Moses says, then the tabernacle won’t get built.

Likewise, my four children have each been created for a special purpose.

Our school system tends to heap praise upon the book-smart kids, while overlooking the kind, thoughtful, detail-oriented ones. Our culture elevates the importance of the extroverted speakers and leaders, forgetting the essential roles of the quiet, hard-working, faithful followers.

Let me wrap up today with this word of encouragement: God has a purpose for each of you and each of your children.

Are you a quiet, creative type with an impeccable attention to detail? Use that gift! You’re an essential part of God’s body. Don’t be ashamed to stay behind the scenes and serve the body!

Are you a bold, leader type with a big-picture vision? Use that gift! You’re an essential part of God’s body. Don’t be ashamed to shine and lead and share!

Don’t be afraid to be
who God created you to be

Heavenly Father, Thank You so much for each of my children. Each of them has been fearfully and wonderfully made, intentionally woven together by Your perfect hand. You make no mistake. You don’t make junk. Help me as a mother to encourage each of my children to pursue their unique callings, not to be ashamed of who You made them to be. Please protect my family from the traps of comparison and favoritism, and help us all to enjoy the beautiful variety of Your creative plans and purposes. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

If you’d like to learn more about God’s creative purposes in making each of His children “Unique and United,” I’d love to share more with you. Listen to part 1 and part 2. If you’re a member of a women’s ministry in your area, I’d love to share with you in person! Check out my “speaking ministry” page to contact me.

Fighting on our Knees with Our Hands Lifted High: A Lesson from Exodus 17

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Exodus 16-17

“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Exodus 17:8-16 ESV

There are so many things I can learn from this short passage.

1. Joshua and the soldiers in the army had a job to do – but it wasn’t the same job that Moses, Aaron, and Hur. Joshua and his soldiers were to go and actively fight in the battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur were to go on top of the mountain far from the fighting and fight in prayer. God gives different people different jobs to do. We must each do what God has called us to do. Don’t look at the brother or sister next to you and think, “Why aren’t you on the front lines of this fight?” Moses had his time to lead the Israelites through the Red Sea and Moses had his time to go on a mountain and pray.

2. Aaron and Hur’s supporting roles were vital to Moses’s success. Just like Jesus sent out his followers two by two (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1), God sent Aaron and Hur to help Moses in the fight – not by standing next to Moses holding up their own arms, but standing next to Moses holding up his arms. If you’ve been called to lead, don’t minimize your need for sisters and brothers to partner with you. If you’ve been called to provide support, don’t minimize the essential nature of your role! Your leaders need your prayers, you’re encouragement, and your partnership in there fight! I’m personally so thankful for those faithful sisters who pray for me, who speak encouraging words to me, and who walk next to me in this daily battle.

3. Our battle’s victory is ultimately won in the spiritual realm. There are real battles being fought – both in the physical realm and in the spiritual realm – but the victory is in the Lord’s hands.

Some physical battles here on earth will be lost. Your loved one might lose their fight with cancer. Your much fought for marriage might end in divorce. Your child might fail that class or lose that friendship.

But we can trust that the battle belongs to the Lord. No one and no thing can thwart His plans. Sometimes all that we can do is pray and wait with our hands raised and our knees bowed, but that is where the greatest power lies. The Israelites didn’t win the war because they had a better army. They won the war because the Lord had ordained the victory. So, whether the physical battle is won or lost, the battle belongs to the Lord.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV

Heavenly Father, the battle belongs to you. The victory belongs to you. It is not by our own might but by your spirit that the battle will be won. Help us to trust You when the earthly battles we are fighting don’t go the way we want them to. You are our banner. You are who goes before us and fights for us. Help us to trust you in all things and to pray to You faithfully. Help us to help each other – lifting up our arms and lifting one another’s arms, remembering that the fervent prayers of a righteous person are powerful and avail much. In the Powerful name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

You’ve Already Won by Shane and Shane
Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham

Living like Jesus

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Matthew 20

Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:26b-28 ESV

Being a disciple is more than just being a student. Being a disciple is modeling your life after your teacher.

Jesus modeled for us what it meant to serve, giving up his own life — not just preaching and healing and multiplying bread — but being a servant even to the point of death.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to get your husband a glass of water from the kitchen. If you’re like me, it’s hard to clean up after your kids. If you’re like me, it’s hard to put down Facebook and to pick up the phone and make a real live call to a needy friend.

But … I do it even though it’s hard, because I want others to be able to model their lives after mine, as I model my life after my Master’s.

My children are watching me. My sisters are watching me. Those who don’t know Christ yet are watching me. You are watching me.

Am I the real deal? I want to be.

Am I perfect? No, I’m not. Only God is perfect. But I’m not who I was…. And I pray that my changed life is evidence of Christ in me and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

I am no longer my own. I’ve been bought with a price and Christ has changed me from the inside out. I want to be a walking billboard that says, “I’M A NEW CREATION! CHRIST HAS MADE ME NEW! THE OLD IS GONE! BEHOLD THE NEW HAS COME!”

Heavenly Father, make us more like your son. Help us to die to ourselves and live for You. Help us to remember that Jesus died for us and that we have the power through the Holy Spirit to overwhelmingly conquer! Teach us to be servants – Servants of Christ and Servants of our neighbor. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Perfect Master and Teacher and King. Amen.

If Your Brother (or Sister) Sins against You

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Matthew 18

So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:14-17 ESV

Yesterday we looked at not causing someone else to stumble or be offended by our actions. Today we will look at what to do when someone else sins against us.

Earlier this week I had someone ask me how to handle a conflict she was having with a sister serving in her church’s children’s ministry. I’m copying my answer here in hopes that it will help you, too!

When a sister in Christ has hurt you, you should approach her with gentleness, humility, and love. Begin by speaking words of genuine encouragement, such as, “I’m so thankful for your service to our children. I appreciate you teaching the children to sing and worship. I want us to work together in a spirit of unity and love.”

Examine your own heart and motives. Often we see pride in others more easily than we see pride in our own hearts. Love thinks the best of the other person. Don’t assume that her motives are wrong.

Sometimes the women that I’m working with or leading are too eager to speak words of complaints or criticism, but slow to offer help. I love it when people come to me with offers to help!!!

Here are some other passages you can read to prepare for a difficult discussion with a brother or sister.

Leviticus 19:17-18
Proverbs 27:5-6
Colossians 3:12-17
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
Ephesians 4:29-32

Here’s a link to a bunch of wonderful downloads from Peacemaker Ministries and Relational Wisdom

Not to Give Offense

Read Through the Bible in 2 years: Matthew 17-18

Today I wanted to put chapters 17 and 18 together because in Matthew 17:24-27 Jesus was explaining to Peter that though he was free from giving the tax since He is God’s Son, he would still pay the tax so that he would not give offense to the Jewish leaders. Then in Matthew 18:6, Jesus warns the people about causing others to sin.

“When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Matthew 17:24-27 ESV

That word “offend” in Matthew 17:27 is the same Greek word as”causes to sin” in Matthew 18:6, 8, and 9 — skandalizō.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.”

Matthew 18:5-9 ESV
Many thanks to the Blue Letter Bible app 💙

We need to be careful how we ourselves live, because we want to honor God in all we do, but also because we don’t want to cause others to stumble. Let’s keep a careful watch over what we say and what we do, that we may be a help and not a hindrance to our brothers and sisters. This might mean limiting our freedoms.

Remember, Jesus was free from paying that temple tax because He was the Son of God, yet He paid it, so He wouldn’t cause others to stumble. Likewise, God might be calling you to not do something out of love for your weaker brother.

Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 are great passages to read for more on this topic.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, thank you for all of your mercy and your grace towards me. I pray that I would pay careful attention to how I walk so that I would not cause anyone else to stumble. I pray that I would be a helping hand and not a stumbling block. Thank you for forgiving me through the blood of the lamb. Please give me your strength to do what is right. It is in the name of Jesus that I pray. Amen.