Blood Sacrifice

I attended a ladies camp in2014 and it was a wonderful experience. I knew all the ladies who attended; they were all from our church. It was comfortable and anointed. Then in 2014 a friend of mine decided the two of us would attend a camp hosted by ladies from a church in Port Elizabeth. We didn’t know any of them. I did not think it was a good idea, but my friend wouldn’t take no for an answer and almost dragged me to the camp. I arrived feeling way out of my depth but I tried very hard to pretend to be at ease. I don’t think I was successful at all. This first evening, during praise and worship, one of the ladies came to me and asked if I needed prayer. She prayed for me and we are still friends. I met other ladies at that camp who have become very important role players in my life. Beautiful, sincere, caring and Godly people.

God also showed me at that camp that I was wearing a mask and He made it clear that I was to get rid of that mask. It was a very liberating camp and I am able to look back and see how a lot of things in my life at present stem from attending that camp. He did it with dignity and with compassion and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable once I yielded to Him. The other important thing I learned at that camp was that nothing happens by accident and that I should never look at seemingly random incidents as such. I learned to join the dots. Just like one of those pictures that teach children to follow number sequences and a picture emerges once all the dots are connected.

If we look at all the prophecies in the Old Testament we see a pattern emerging and by the time the New Testament we are ready for the Messiah to save the Jewish nation. There is also a trail of blood which flows through the Bible.

Genesis 3:21, Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Was this the first blood sacrifice? Did God slaughter the animal the skins originated from and did it’s blood atone for their sin?

When Cain murdered Abel, the Lord said to Cain in Genesis 4:10-11, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”

After the great flood when Noah and his family were allowed out of the ark, Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings to the Lord. With that offering came the sign of the rainbow.

Moses was given all the laws and commandments concerning blood sacrifice and the correct ways of making offerings. The Holy of Holies in the temple was covered with a veil and only the High Priest was allowed to enter into it once a year, on the day of atonement, to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense. The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant. On this day the sins of the people were atoned for. There is a tradition that says when the High Priest entered he had a rope tied to his foot and bells attached to his waist. If he was unworthy of entering and God struck him dead, the sound of the bells would indicate him falling to the floor and he could be pulled out using the rope, as nobody else was allowed to enter. I don’t know if any priests actually died in the process.

When Jesus came to earth and was crucified, He became the last and ultimate sacrifice.

Matthew 27:51, And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

The Holy of Holies was now made accessible by the blood of Jesus so that every person who believes in Jesus has the honour of being able to appear before God personally. We have been redeemed by the blood that Jesus shed for us. We don’t have to go through a priest, we can go directly to God in Jesus name. We have been made free because all the dots have been joined. No more blood sacrifices, no condemnation and no guilt. Jesus died once for all. Amen

Sacrifice of Praise

I have realized that, “a sacrifice of praise” means way more than I ever realized. Hebrews 13:15-16, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to god, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

This morning I blew my shofar, not because I had a feeling of victory or because I had overcome anything. I just knew that I had to do something to strengthen my own faith. We often see preachers and pastors who preach victory and we think that everything looks so great, but I think that a lot of the time they are also struggling with issues of their own. I remember someone saying that feelings don’t have brains. I’ve always thought about the context in which he used it because he was saying that you shouldn’t get swept up in the moment when the Holy Spirit moves. I think that maybe he never experienced the Holy Spirit in practice because it doesn’t matter what my brain tells me, I am not resistant to that call. What I do feel though, is that if I am feeling defeated or depressed or just overwhelmed with a situation, I must not rely on my feelings. I cannot decide that God is not helping me, or doesn’t love me just because I don’t feel His presence.

Isaiah 40:28-29, “Have you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths that faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not  be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 55:8-9, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” So God does things His way and most of the time we don’t understand what His ways are. We have to get to know God’s Word so that we can get a little bit closer to knowing His thoughts and His ways. Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Verse 105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Verse 133, “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.”

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,.” Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.” 1 john 3:2, “Beloved, we are now children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we shall know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 2:6, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked.”  And just how did Jesus walk? How did He live? He loved His enemies and prayed for those who spitefully used Him. He loved His neighbor as himself. He forgave. He considered Himself a servant and washed His disciples’ feet. He believed that all things are possible with God. He had faith to heal the sick and cleanse lepers. He drove out demons. He took authority over the devil by quoting scripture. He multiplied bread and fish and He walked on water. When He was arrested, beaten and tortured He never complained or defended Himself. He sweated blood when He prayed because He knew what was coming but He faced it anyway. Because He was fully man it wasn’t any easier for Him than it is for us, and I believe that praise was often a sacrifice to Jesus, but because He knew the effect He praised. Let us praise when we don’t feel like it. Let’s be obedient and see what happens.


Fear or Fiction

Yesterday I received a broadcast mesage warning me against HIV infected blood that has been injected into bananas.  The people who supposedly injected this infected blood into the bananas are out to kill millions of people. The report goes says that “if your fruit has a red weird colour in it” you must know that it has been infected by HIV blood. Its concludes by making the statement “That is satanism.” I totally agree that it is satanism. Wait! Hear me out, don’t stop reading, I’m going to make a point. 

How many of these messages have you received?  How many prayer requests have you received on behalf of missionaries who are about to be beheaded by extremist Buddhists in India? Seriously?  I’ve always thought that Buddhists were peaceful people. And what about the messages about the poor little girl/boy who has cancer and will receive 1 dollar for every time the message is shared?  I normally go to the internet and rsearch these messages and 99% of hem are recorded as being hoaxes. What is the purpose of these messages? I would say mainly to spread fear.  When I think that I could be eating infected fruit I’m going to be fearful of buying fruit that could harm me or my family.  Maybe I shouldn’t buy fruit from street vendors or maybe I should stop eating fruit altogether.  What if they also do it to other fruit and not just bananas?  What if I’ve already inadvertently eaten fruit which is contaminated? People have all these fearful ideas racing through their heads, and fear paralyzes. Now they can’t do their work properly and their reltionships are eventually affected because of the fear. 

Just consider this; Fear is very seldom the spine chilling, nail biting thing that you see in horror movies. Everyday “innocent” fear is way more subtle than that. Fear is that little niggling thought or seed that has been planted in the back of your mind that keeps eating away at you. Let me bare my soul and tell you a story that will illustrate what I mean.

In 1970 I was in second grade at school. In those days in South Africa it was called Sub B. I was a very good reader. My mom had made sure of that and she spent long hours making sure we knew how to read. Its a wonderful legacy as I still love reading. I was in Mrs le Roux’s class. We had a dual medium school and I was in the English class. There were 4 grades in our class – Sub A to Standard 2 – with about 20 children in the whole class. I think there were 7 children in our grade.  We were standing around Mrs le Roux’s table with our reading books and taking turns to read a piece. I was probably bored because I used to red through the whole reading book on the day I received it. Suddenly she shouted, “Alex, look in your book! Stop looking at your big, fat, tummy!”  From that day I concentrated on pulling in my tummy so that nobody would know that I had a “big, fat, tummy”. For the next 40 years the words that she said on that day eat away at my self esteem and eroded my confidence. I had long forgotten the incident but the consequences were still there. I often felt that I wasn’t good enough but I couldn’t understand why I felt that way. 

One morning at about 3 o’clock, I woke up and went to my sitting room.  I sat on the sofa and wrapped in a blanket cried out to God and asked Him what the matter was. Why did I feel this way? There was no logical reason. I was educated and capable yet I was feeling like I lacked something. The Holy Spirit gently guided me back to that classroom where I had been standing 40 years before and replayed everything that had happened. At once I understood that I had accepted the words that had been spoken. I had accepted that I had a big, fat, tummy – even though it had been a lie. As I sat on that sofa with tears streaming down my face, Jesus assured me that I was worthy because He had made me. I felt warm and loved and good enough. It was something I will never forget and it was real and so very personal. I have forgiven Mrs le Roux, she was just doing the best she could in that sitution. Nobody is perfect.

This weed is dying after being treated with a mixture of vinegar and salt. Thats what should happen to the fearful ideas before they can take root in our minds.

Do you see how a small grain of fear, even if it isn’t meant seriously or maliciously can damage someone? That is why I say that these messages are satanism. The devil wants you to be fearful and have all kinds of hang-ups that are going to keep you from being a whole person. 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Let us use our sound minds to spread love, and let us use the power God has given us to touch thos around us in a positive way and not use words that will hurt.

This apple seed has become a little apple tree – good seeds like good thoughts should be allowed to thrive