The Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land. Joshua has just been ordained to take over from Moses, and Eleazar has taken over Aaron’s priestly position.
Now there is a charge once again to observe the feasts and the offerings to God. They can never say they didn’t know what to do.
As you read this passage, think Jesus. All of these rituals are to point them to the reality of what Jesus will mean someday. He is the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world.
One more thing. When we see the emphasis on offerings, it’s important to remember that God still wants our offerings.
Now we give money and not grain, but our offerings are still significant to Him. With our offerings we honor Him, and with our offerings we show that we have gratitude for all He has given us.
When we give of our earnings, we are giving part of our life. We are saying that we acknowledge God as our provider and we believe that he will continue to provide.
And He will, if we believe Him.
Mark 8: 22-38
There are some pretty tough words here from Jesus. He tells His disciples about His mission – how He will suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed and after three days rise again. “Stating the matter plainly.”(V 32).
Then Peter takes Him aside and rebukes Him. Even though Jesus is sharing His mission, I’m sure that the disciples couldn’t understand it. How could they? This is a totally new concept.
The response is brutal! “Get behind me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”(V 33). Then He goes on to remind the disciples that they too have to give up their lives to God in order to be His disciples. What a far cry from the selfishness we often display.
Recently, my husband and I had the privilege of spending some time with a young couple who are living this more than just about anybody I know. These college pals of our son’s are missionaries to an island off the coast of Madagascar. The island is heretofore unreached for Christ, so they are gingerly developing trust in the people, living as they live, and showing God’s love and concern before any doctrine.
In their next assignment to the island, they and their two year old son will live in a makeshift house, without electricity or running water. The only way to get to the island is by boat, which consists of a canoe with a sail on it.
They will have a solar panel which will allow them to charge their computer and Kindle, but no internet or phone service. They will have a satellite phone for emergencies, but it’s too expensive to use otherwise.
Once a month they will go to the larger island for supplies, send out emails, and phone home, but the rest of the time, they will stay on the island, isolated from the rest of society.
When you encounter people like these, the “take up your cross” precept takes on a whole new level. These are young, educated people who could easily be making it up the ladder in our lavish society, but God’s call is clear, and they are willing to give it all up. They are joyously proceeding with the mission. Boy, do they inspire me!
Most of us are not called to such extremes, but we are all called to take up our cross. We are all called to say, “yes” to His mission, and to put Him above all else. That means more time for Him, more money into the Kingdom, and more obedience in whatever He says. It may, and probably will be, inconvenient sometimes. But going to His cross was inconvenient for Jesus.
Today I am spending more time than usual in prayer. I want to make sure that I am being obedient in all that he has called me to do. My life is His, and I want to fulfill all that He has planned for me.
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