Unparalleled Productivity For Christ

As I look through my bullet journal back at this past year, it would be an understatement to say it did not go the way I planned. I never painted the house or garage; I only read 14 out of 20 books I had planned to read; and I certainly did not get down to a weight of 170 lbs. by December 31st. Many things happened along the way that made my list impossible to accomplish. I needed a ton of dental work because I listened to the advice of my former dentist and let things go until it was unbearable. Added duties were placed on me as I was installed as an Elder at the church I attend; which led to other duties I freely gave myself in this category. Add the many trips back to my hometown to help my father who was diagnosed with Leukemia and passed away in September.

I did manage to read the entire Bible in a year.

But that’s not to say that many things were not accomplished. Accomplishing a list isn’t quite the epitome of success. Therefore, let me explain.

The Clarity of Christ

One of the books that I haven’t finished is the 40 day devotional, “Act Like Men” by James MacDonald. As good as the book is for most men, it started off a little flat, and to be honest I haven’t really spent much time soaking it; until I read this morning on chapter 23: The Clarity of Christ. In it MacDonald clearly states why Jesus Christ was the personification of quality manhood: because of the impact He made while on earth when urgency tempered with clarity brought about great results. In the book, MacDonald said that Jesus was all about clarity:

  • Jesus was clear about timing.
  • Jesus was clear about conflict.
  • Jesus was clear about compassion.
  • Jesus was clear about His mission.
  • Jesus was clear about family.
  • Jesus was clear about commitment.
  • Jesus was clear about His own identity.

“The list above could be much longer. In summary, Christ knew who He was, why He came, what was worth His time, how long He had, and exactly what to do to advance His mission.” (MacDonald, 156)

MacDonald, James. Act Like Men: 40 Days to Biblical Manhood. 1st ed., Chicago, Moody Publishers, 2014.

To sum up his point:

The urgency of Christ + the clarity of Christ = unparalleled productivity for Christ.

What is even more remarkable that MacDonald doesn’t mention in the book, at least up until this point, is that none of those categories melded or blended into each other, thus working against each other. Jesus’ timing, conflict, compassion, mission, family, commitment, or identity never worked against each other. They were all in one way or another — individually part of a whole. Let me explain.

Take Jesus’ family for instance. Even though He loved His mother and made sure that she would be taken care of after His death by the Apostle John (Luke 14:26), He never allowed His mission to be tampered by His family. In Matthew 12:49-50 when Mary and his brothers were outside wanting to see Him, He pointed to His disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers; for whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother, sister, and mother.” It was as if Jesus was saying, ‘I am already with my mother and brothers.’ Not only that, He never allowed His mother to hamper His timing either as seen during the wedding in Cana when they ran out of wine (John 2:1-5). “My hour has not yet come” was His response to her. Her response to those waiting on tables, “Whatever He says — do it.” The ball was in his court, not hers.

This is also seen in the conflict that came against Him by the Pharisees, Sadducees, High Priest, and all of Rome. Even though it seemed like all hell was against Him, none of it derailed His ministry, mission, compassion, or commitment. It was as if He was able to compartmentalize each individual component, while at the same time fulfilling all the Father’s requests. On the outside one cannot even argue that Judas Iscariot and the leaders of Israel stopped the plans of Christ from fulfilling His objective by murdering Him, because it was the Father’s will that Jesus would die on the cross. Not only that, but every person of the Trinity raised Him from the dead. Nothing could stop His purposes and mission. Not even hell itself.

Even Jesus’ compassion for the destitute and hungry never clouded His clarity for His mission. Those whom He fed in John 6:1-14 were the same ones that crossed the Sea of Galilee to find Jesus to make Him a king (John 6:16) because He made food from nothing (John 6:26-27). Jesus sticks to His mission and teaches a hard lesson that was unbearable for them to hear and left Him (John 6:66).

The urgency was now. The clarity is how.

What should this say about my clarity?

It is an amazing thing when we realize that the mission the Lord gave us, the one we signed up for, is the whole made up of individual parts, not to be clouded by each other but work together as a unit for God’s glory? It’s as if the individual parts of our lives are the hands and feet of Christ within ourselves. My mission is my marriage, my career, my ministry, my talents, my treasure, my commitments, my goals, my family, my conflicts, and my identity. When any of those negate the mission, there’s problems. When will I ever learn that my fleshly ways, my fleshly plans, my fleshly desires, and my fleshly goals are not the same as God’s for my life? With that said, why can’t my ways, my plans, my desires, and my goals be the same as God’s? Isn’t that what clarity is all about; to think like Christ (Philippians 2:5), be like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), to live is Christ (Gal 2:20; Philippians 1:21), to walk as Christ (Colossians 2:6) to suffer with Christ (2 Timothy 3:12)?

It’s not about doing MORE.

We do the things that are important to us, don’t we?

It’s not about doing more for the kingdom of God, but doing what you personally were called to do. It’s about living as though your calling is a part of you. It is not about balancing your life; its about not allowing your individual parts of your life to affect each other, but to work together for the mission of preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15) and making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Share the gospel while with your family. Share the gospel at work tactfully when you are on break. Let your enemies know who you are and Who you belong to and stand for in truth with love. Back up all your works with loving actions and well-intentioned motives.

You’ll be amazed at what God can do.

The Value of Not Giving Up

If you live in the Midwest, hopefully you watched the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, December 17th. It was the game that the NFL is calling “Largest Comeback in NFL History.” If this highlight reel is still available on YouTube, I implore you to watch it, because in it are some valuable lessons we can learn as Christians.

Recap of the Game

Just in case in the future that the replay is taken off YouTube, let’s see what happened those amazing four quarters.

The game starts off with the Vikings getting pummeled and hammered by the Colts. The first quarter ends with the Colts leading the Vikings 17 to 0 after a field goal and a disastrous punt return deflection with led to a touchdown and extra point. The Vikings were visibly shaken and enter the second quarter,17 points down.

Things get even worse in the second quarter for Minnesota. Field goal after field goal, including a touchdown and extra point, the Vikings trail the Colts with a 33 point deficit. No matter what they did to try to move the ball up the field, they had setback after setback. In the confusion, mistakes were made, anger set in, and no matter what they did they could not get points on the board. It seemed hopeless.

Just over eight minutes into the third quarter, Cousins throws a pass into the corner of the end zone to A.J. Osborne for touchdown just after a fantastic run in. Fans instantly woke up and there was still some hope even though they were down 26 points. No shut-out today as fans were on their feet cheering and giving high-fives.

But, even though the Colts were on top by a long shot, they scored a 52 yard field goal; the crowed hushed, adding three more points to the disheartening deficit. The camera panned over to the Minnesota Vikings coach as he seemed to be the only one calm and collected on the sidelines.

Then with 1:07 left in the third quarter after several pressing drives, the Vikings scored another touchdown as Ham struggles and fights his way through a powerful defense, not giving up, to score another touchdown. After the extra point, the score is 36 to 14 in favor of the Indianapolis Colts. It was at this time I joined in cheering with the Minnesota fans wanting them so badly to win this game. You could tell that the Colts were extremely confident, even cocky at times knowing they had the game in the bag at the end of the third quarter.

At the start of the fourth quarter the crowd was on fire even though their home team was down by 22 points. They were not giving up yet, and neither was their team. With several short drives and steady press, Jefferson scores another 6 for Minnesota, decreasing the deficit needed to tie the game. With the extra point, the score was 36 to 21, the Colts still leading. I’m sure by now the coach was wondering about that extra point that was needed to tie the game if it got to that point.

At this time, the Colts weren’t as cocky as they started. But that was about to change with just over 8 minutes left. Cuzzins threw a bomb into the end zone to gain some quick points, but right into the opposing team’s hands. The crowd went quiet, and the Colts regained their eagerness to end this game.

Thankfully, the Colts didn’t answer back with any extra points the Vikings needed already. With 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, Minnesota scores again with another touchdown and extra point. The crowd goes crazy and the score: 36 to 28, everyone on their feet. The whole stadium was electrified.

At 3:23 left, the Colts clearly fumbled the ball as a run up the middle was stopped by the home team; the ball scooped up by Sullivan, of the Vikings and trotted into the end zone. The crowd went nuts!!! But what should have been a 36 / 34 game was still separated by 8 points as the touchdown was called back. The fans and the announcers saw it. It was a clear fumble, but not so for the Ref. This wasn’t the only play that was called back on him as Sullivan rips off his helmet fuming as he challenged the call.

Minnesota not giving up after that tragic call, they pressed on and then scored a little over a minute later with 2:15 left in the time. Dalvin Cook catches and runs 64 yards, defeating tackle after grab and everything coming after him. The score was 36 to 34. The Vikings coach makes the call — go for two points. And they did! Cousins threw to T.J. Hockenson and tied the game! The crowd went absolutely crazy. The whole stadium sounded like the game winning touchdown of the Superbowl. It was incredible.

By now each team pressed very hard to score points with the remaining time left. But the Vikings managed to tie the game at 36 and still had overtime to conquer. Each team having chances to score, but no avail although fighting as if their lives depended on it. Then, down to the wire with 5 seconds left, Vikings Kicker, Sullivan, made an amazing 40 yard field goal ending the game 39 to 36 winning the victory. What an amazing game.

Lessons to be learned

Now, this article isn’t about football, even though until this point it has been; it is the value of not giving up. Everything seemed to be against the Vikings, yet they still won. There are some lessons to be learned that we as Christians can learn from, and at the very least use as an example of what is taught in Scripture.

Don’t look at the scoreboard

When you are playing a game and down by a significant amount, you always have that urge to look overhead at that constant neon reminder of by how much. What is the scoreboard in the Christian’s life? It is what we make it out to be. We look around at other people and how their ministries are doing. They seem to have it all together, doing well, and even thriving; yet I am still struggling to make it, people don’t know who I am, and I have no books written while this other guy just finished his fifth one. It’s so easy to judge how we are doing against other people.

The truth is we really don’t know what they had to do to get to where they are. Even more than that, they may not be doing good as you think they are. I’ve known some authors that on the surface things look fantastic, but their marriages are falling apart, their kids are disobedient brats, and suicidal. Some are taking anti-depressants where others are addicted to alcohol. There are some authors who hire a ghostwriter for $50K and some notes and they whip up a book.

The races that Paul talks about are the races in which we are not competing against other people, but ourselves.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV

Because in the reality of it all, most of us are our own worst enemy.

Stand fast in the Lord

When things look at their worst, we are told in Scripture to stand fast. To stand in the Lord and be immoveable. That’s what the Viking’s defense did.

Stand fast in the Greek Lexicon (Strong’s G4739) it states: to stand firm, to persevere, to persist, to keep one’s standing. Jesus didn’t tell us to stop when things were at their worst. He told us to stand. Not to stand around and contemplate our navels, but to stand fast.

As Christians we are made to stand, and able to stand through the power of God (Romans 14:4). We are told in Scripture to watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave and strong (1 Corinthians 16:13). Most importantly, we are to stand fast and firm in the Lord and in the power of His might (Galatians 5:1; Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8).

Keep moving forward

But, part of standing fast in the faith is persevering, and we are also told to move forward. The Apostle Paul pulls no punches when describing to the Philippians what true saving faith is like:

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Philippians 1:27-30 NKJV

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to other people (Mark 16:15); make fishers of men (Mark 1:17); seek the Lord where He may be found (Isaiah 55:6; Acts 17:27). These are action verbs and we as Christians are called to action, not sit on the bench or the sidelines. Throughout the book of John the word believe was synonymous with action. Believing in a parachute is not holding on to it before jumping out of a crashing plane — you have to put it on.

Continue to work as a team.

In football, your enemy is not your teammates. So is your enemy not your brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to continue to work as a team, and in that effort we will see victory. Each of us has skills, gifts, and talents; and how we use those to glorify Christ and to see others saved. Getting angry and pointing fingers does not help the cause of Christ.

Each of us has a position to play in the family of God. Not all can be Quarterbacks or Wide Receivers. Some need to block and take hits, while others give them.

We also need to remember that there are players that never are seen, those on the sideline giving water, stretching out players, and even doing math like accountants. Those in the booth watching over helping to make plays and paying attention to every detail. It’s when we work together as a team is when we can win.

We all start off the same — with nothing.

Just as in football, the score always starts at 0-0. We enter this world with nothing, and we leave with nothing. When you become a Christian, you start at zero. You are a new creature in Christ. Old things have passed away, and have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your sins are washed away clean. From this moment on, you strive down the field of battle getting hit, making strides, to reach the goal and be victorious.

It doesn’t matter how we start; what matters is how we finish.

Therefore, since we all start at 0-0, it doesn’t matter how we start, but how we finish that counts. Hero’s are not made by giving up the fight. Hero’s don’t lay down their weapons and retreat. They continue to fight to the finish. It’s hard, difficult, and never easy. Unlike football players, we don’t go to the locker room and take our pads off. We are constantly in the fight and on the field.

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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–

– Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV

Why Did God Kill the Firstborn in Egypt to End the Plagues?

Though this may seem like a cut-and-dry question that can be answered with a few cuts and pastes of articles through the years; there is more to this question that really meets the eye. This question is pretty multifaceted and needed to correct some misconceptions about God and His place in the grand scheme of things. 

GOD DOESN’T MURDER

For starters, God doesn’t murder anyone. For even the sixth commandment says, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13 NKJV) Some translations say to kill. According to Websters 1828 dictionary, murder means:

“The act of unlawfully killing a human being with premeditated malice, by a person of sound mind. To constitute murder in law, the person killing another must be of sound mind or in possession of his reason, and the act must be done with malice prepense, aforethought or premeditated; but malice may be implied, as well as express.” 

Of malice, this dictionary also says: 

“Extreme enmity of heart, or malevolence; a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification or from a spirit of revenge; unprovoked malignity or spite.”

Though God does kill, he doesn’t murder. When God doesn kill someone, He does it because He is executing judgment upon those being killed. God shows no malice towards those judged, or have any gratification, spirit of revenge or spite. This would be the same as if soldiers in war kill soldiers of opposing armies. They don’t murder them, because soldiers don’t get personal gratification from it, nor is it unprovoked. 

God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that they repent: 

“Say to them: ‘[As] I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11 NKJV)

The question, “Does God killing people make Him a murderer?” has already been answered, and would be worth reviewing. 

GOD HATES THE DEATH OF THE INNOCENT

It is true: God hates the death of the innocent; there is no greater innocent human being than those inside the wombs of mothers. 

“These six [things] the LORD hates, Yes, seven [are] an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness [who] speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV)

There is no way of knowing how many Israelites were killed during their enslavement to Egypt. It’s possible that it could be quite a lot. With that said, it is possible that God was enacting judgement for that. 

EGYPT’S FAULT

God gave everyone a chance to repent of their sin when God struck Egypt with ten plagues in the Book of Exodus. The first three plagues including the death of the firstborn, Israel was not exempt from. But why did God strike them with specific plagues? The plagues were direct judgment for the specific gods the Egyptians worshipped. The Got Questions Answer, “What was the meaning and purpose of the ten plagues of Egypt” can answer this. 

So what can we deduct from these plagues? First, God did reveal His glory and judged the people according to their sin nine times previous to killing the firstborn. Nine…times. Trust me, after the first plague I would have repented and did whatever God required. Because it wasn’t just the Nile River that turned to blood, but all rivers, ponds, pools; buckets of water and pitchers of stone (Exodus 7:19). Seven days passed before Moses went to Pharaoh again. We don’t know the time between each individual plague, but I would imagine that they had plenty of time to think about their sin, and time to repent. But this went on even before the plagues; for Pharaoh hardened his heart. 

God commanded Pharaoh to release the Israelites even prior to the plagues when Aaron’s staff turned into a serpent and swallowed up the sorcerer’s serpents as well (Exodus 7:8-13). 

I would contend that God gave Pharaoh grace upon grace upon grace. Read and list all the things Israel suffered from Exodus 1:1 till the end of chapter 14 with the crossing of the Red Sea. The Pharaohs (all Pharaoh’s in question, buecase the slavery and mass murder lasted 400 years) were brutal dictator; even commanded, along with the king of Egypt, that all Israelite males should be killed by throwing them in the river (Exodus 1:15-18, 22).  God gave grace to Egypt because He could have killed every male of Egypt, or even all the children of Egypt. But no, He had all the firstborn males killed. Clearly a percentage of the lives Pharaoh took. The Israelites were a special treasure to the LORD, and that the entire earth was His (Exodus 19:5-6). 

GOD DOES WHAT HE WANTS

Since the entire earth is God’s, and He created all things, including humans. He is the potter, and we are the clay. He can do with us whatever He wills: 

Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? (Isaiah 29:16 NKJV)

“I have raised up one from the north, And he shall come; From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; And he shall come against princes as [though] mortar, As the potter treads clay. (Isaiah 41:25 NKJV)

But now, O LORD, You [are] our Father; We [are] the clay, and You our potter; And all we [are] the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 NKJV)

The precious sons of Zion, Valuable as fine gold, How they are regarded as clay pots, The work of the hands of the potter! (Lamentations 4:2 NKJV)

Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (Romans 9:21 NKJV)

In Job chapters 38 through 41, God describes just how awesome He is, and how He controls everything in the universe. In chapter 42, Job stops questioning God and just accepts how low of a being he himself is compared to the Creator of all. 

Romans chapter 9 in my estimation is one of the most terrifying and yet, merciful books of the entire bible. Why? Because God didn’t have to save anyone, and He would be no less righteous. But, to make His power known, God endured much longsuffering with the vessels of wrath so that mercy could be magnified towards the believing Jews and Gentiles (Romans 9:22-23). 

“What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then [it is] not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.” (Romans 9:14-18 NKJV)

We see God’s mercy in Jeremiah, when God declares judgement on Israel, but even at their worst still reaches His hand out in mercy and says that He would relent disaster upon them if they turn from evil and their wicked ways. 

“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay [is] in the potter’s hand, so [are] you in My hand, O house of Israel! “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy [it], “if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.” (Jeremiah 18:5-8 NKJV)

Please read and watch the Got Questions article and video, “Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?” 

Even today, God relents His wrath against those who repent and put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone has sinned against God and lived in rebellion to Him (Romans 3:23). We know this because when we look at ourselves in the reflection of the ten commandments (Exodus 20), we see that we have lied, stolen, looked with lust (adultery), blasphemed His name, not made God #1 in our lives, and so on. For sins against the Highest being deserves the highest penalty, therefore we are deserving of eternal death in hell (Romans 6:23a). But God showed us mercy in that while we were still sinning, Christ died for us and gave us the gift of life (Romans 5:8; 6:23b). Salvation is a free gift that we cannot work for or earn (Ephesians 2:8-9), but it is His grace towards us. That all we do is receive Christ as Lord and Savior, the full payment of our sin with His blood so that we can be children of God, who believe in Jesus Christ death, burial, resurrection, and finished work on the cross (John 1:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). 

I hope this answers your question. It is a question that honestly can take a long time to answer. But if you still have questions, we are always here. 

Time Flies By

The great philosopher Ferris Bueller once quoted: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” He was right. Life does move pretty fast.

The picture above is of my father and I taken across the street at my aunt and uncle’s house. I was told to bring my dad over to surprise him for his 50th birthday; he was told to bring me over to celebrate my leaving for Indiana State University at the end of the month. The funny thing is that we were both right, and did our diligence to get the other one there on time.

Time has a funny way of showing you things as you step back and evaluate all that you’ve done, gone through, and accomplished. It also has a nagging way of letting you know how much more you have to do. But what is interesting in this picture, is that I am now the same age as my father in the picture. I look at this picture and remember how old he seemed to me. Still having some energy, but starting to wear out, things starting to hurt, and tired more frequently.

Time flew by the next twenty-eight years. I went to college and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree and a fiancé. Moved back to New Jersey with a good job only to leave for the Midwest again for a slower and less expensive life. Got married, but even though were never able to have children I used the time for work, which became ministry after things fell through later. Picking up the pieces, trying new things; serving the Lord and loving others, especially my bride, are my main focus.

My dad continued to serve in the fire department and worked until he retired in 2001. He poured his time into working at his church and driving part time for Hanna’s Florist and then Campbell Supply. He spent most of his time with family, friends, and poured himself into his grandchildren. Fifty turned to sixty and tragedy struck when he lost his daughter Jenni. His life was highs and lows. Sixty turned to seventy, then seventy-five, and gone. He was the oldest living Chirico male until seventy-seven even surpassing his brother at seventy-four and his dad at fifty-one.

Fifty-one — exactly this time next year for me. I look back at myself in this photo. Happy, full of energy, wanting to take on the world, and to make something of myself. I had a full head of hair and not a strand of grey in it. Now, I have more hair on my back, and whatever I do have on top has turned to grey.

My point to all of this is not self-loathing, sappy dribble full of regret and anger at myself or what had happened; or taking chances instead of taking the safe route, staying home and not exploring the world. When dad visited me he always commented on what a nice life I had, a good church full of people who loved me, and a home I called my own.

My mother sent me two birthday cards for my 50th. This one moved me to tears:

A son leaves your home
but never your heart. 
He discovers his own happiness
which, in turn, 
becomes yours. 

Life changes. 
Love does not. 

Happy 50th Birthday to a son
who's loved so much. 

Love you more, 
Mom

Even though I don’t have any children of my own, I would imagine all a parent wants is to see their child happy no matter what stage of life they are on. Maybe even if it means not seeing them every day. Maybe. But my point to all of this, is that life moves pretty fast. King Solomon said it best:

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, 
Before the difficult days come, 
And the years draw near when you say, 
"I have no pleasure in them": 

While the sun and the light, 
The moon and the stars, 
Are not darkened, 
And the clouds do not return after the rain; (failing sight)

In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, (aging body)
And the strong men bow down; 
When the grinders cease because they are few, (loss of teeth)
And those that look through the windows grow dim; (loss of sight)

When the doors are shut in the streets, 
And the sound of grinding is low; 
When one rises up at the sound of a bird, 
And all the daughters of music are brought low. (hearing loss)

Also they are afraid of height, (afraid of falling)
And of terrors in the way; (afraid of normal things)
When the almond tree blossoms, (hair turns grey)
The grasshopper is a burden, (small things are a nuisance)
And desire fails. (sexual desire diminishes)
For man goes to his eternal home, 
And the mourners go about the streets. (death)

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, (spinal injuries)
Or the golden bowl is broken, (brain / mind fades)
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, (heart problems) 
Or the wheel broken at the well. (Vein / blood issues)
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. (death)

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, 
"All is vanity." [Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 NKJV] (emphasis mine)

How are you making the most of your time while you still have it?

Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

It really made me think and so I meditated on it for a while. Back in ancient days, a black smith would work iron ore into useful tools. He would take raw iron, and heat it up in a furnace to mold it into a spongy mass of iron. The furnace was not strong enough to melt the iron, just enough to make it pliable, even when using bellows (an instrument that forced air into the furnace to increase the heat). Once the iron was removed from the furnace, it had to be pounded into wrought iron and have the slag and air bubbles beat out of it with a hammer. Then after the piece was beaten into a shape against an anvil by the smith, it was sharpened into a useful tool as an axe or knife.

Application

When we as men come from the ground as a lump of useless blob, we are then heated up by the fire of the Holy Spirit, and then molded and shaped by the maker or craftsman for His use. The combined heat and beatings work out the slag (sin) out of our lives, and then heated up by the fire of the Holy Spirit and beaten against the anvil (Word of God) until we are molded into the piece we are to be made (axe or knife). The anvil is never effected by the beatings and always retains it’s shape. Thus the Word of God is not effected by us at all. Same with the fire of the Holy Spirit. It is not effected by the piece being molded. The only thing being effected is the piece of iron being molded. God molds us through the fire of the Holy Spirit and the beatings of the Maker against the Word of God. Then we are made in the image of the tool we are supposed to be. An axe or letter opener. An axe is designed to cut trees down so it is blunt and heavy. A letter opener is used to make precision cuts to open up mail, so it will be small and light.

You wouldn’t use an axe to open up mail, and thus you wouldn’t use a letter opener to cut down trees. Each tool is made with a purpose in mind. They are going to look different, feel different, and weigh different. (Isaiah 64:8; Romans 9:21)

The next step is to then sharpen the piece to make it even more useful, and to help make it cut even better. They are sharpened together, or by a whetstone. Small pieces heat up and are blasted across the room and removed, and then chipped away to give the tool a nice sharp edge. So are we to be sharpened by one another, to help us be even more useful for the master. How much easier would it be for a sharp axe to cut a tree down. Much easier than a dull one. It takes less work when the tool is sharp. We need each other to sharpen our own usefulness, and help us sharpen our gifts to help us become the best tools for the Masters work. It’s painful at times, and we feel like we’ve been made into sparks, and pieces of us ignite, and thrown across the room. It hurts to be shapen, but it’s profitable in the end. To help each other, and when we each do according to the gifts we are given, we work together in harmony with other tools to achieve a common goal.

But…axes and knives that became dull, unable to be sharpened again, or unable to be shaped were cast back into the fire and recast, to be combined with other pieces that became useless. So are we as tools of God, when we become useless are cast into the fires to be consumed. (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43)

Thus, as iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Hold Fast

What does it mean to hold fast?

According to Strong’s Concordance, it means to hold literally or figuratively; direct or remote; such as a possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition. It comes in a variety of tenses and moods, which depends on the context of the given verse. As I was meditating on God’s Word of the verses that pertain to hold fast, I thought of only two types of objects they talk about. Before I get to that, come with me and think on these passages to see if you can guess.

Job 27:6 - My righteousness I hold fast and will not let go; My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Proverbs 4:13 - Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go; keep her; for she is thy life.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 - Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Timothy 1:13 - Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 3:6 - But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Heberews 4:14 - Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Revelation 2:25 - But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
Revelation 3:3 - Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Revelation 3:11 - Behold. I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

So, what are the two types of things you hold fast to (or grasp)? Things that are firm or solid, and things that are precious in the eyes of the person holding it. Think about some of the things mentioned.

  • Righteousness.
  • Instruction.
  • That which is good.
  • Sound words.
  • Profession (of faith).
  • Salvation.

Things that are firm

Think about it. When people go mountain climbing, what do they hold onto? The mountain. The mountain doesn’t move. Now what if they grab onto a branch, or weed growing on the side? They may fall because it’s not a firm foundation.

Just as God’s Word, righteousness, and our salvation are firm. We don’t move it…it moves us. We hold onto it tightly, so that we are always strengthened by them. But not only hearing the Word of God is enough…but hearing and doing what God’s Word says is likened to a house build on the firm solid rock (Matthew 7:21-23).

Things that are precious

Before I was a Christian, I wanted to make my engagement to my wife very special. It was so memorable I can still remember it to this day. With the ring in my hand, we went to an Alice Cooper concert at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. We got there early and were 10 rows center from the stage. It was a great position…even though there were no seats. The bad thing is that we were almost on top of the mosh pit. Not good when you are carrying a $2,000 diamond ring. So what did I do? Instead of putting it in my pocket for fear of loosing it, I grasped onto it so tight I had the indentions (and the bloody marks) of the ring cut into my hand. Then, I knelt down during the guitar solo of “Eighteen”, and asked her to marry me and put it on her finger. It was safe at last because she was looking at it throughout the rest of the night, and would not let it go because it was precious to her as well.

God’s Word, righteousness, and salvation are precious to us. A Christian can’t live without them. God’s Word is likened to milk for newborn babes (1 Peter 2:2) and Jesus said that men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Not only that, but the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, and a pearl of great price, which a man found and hid, and sold everything he had to buy it and claim the treasure (Matthew 13:44-45).

Sin…precious to unbelievers but shifting sand

But there is an inverse of this meaning to the wicked.

Jeremiah 8:5 - Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.

Backsliders love their sin, and their wicked deeds more than God. They too look at their sin as precious to them. Read Jeremiah 8:4-12 and look at the heart of the people who turn from God to serve themselves.

May it not be so for us Christians who love God more than our very lives. May we always look to God and His Word as a firm foundation, precious and worth more than gold.

The Focus of Discipleship

There are many verses in the gospels from Jesus’ own mouth that talk about the cost of discipleship. In this article we will be looking at the focus of discipleship. There were three types of people that want to follow Jesus, or are called by Jesus and the excuses that they make in the wake of the asking.

In Luke 9:57–62, Jesus and His twelve disciples were on the road to Jerusalem where Jesus would ultimately be tortured, crucified and buried. When they went went through Samaria the people did not receive them. This was probably meant to say that they did not give Jesus or His disciples a place to stay or take care of their needs. Instead, they went to another village. It was probably in this village, or just outside this village where this takes place.

Too quick to follow Jesus

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” (Luke 9:57 NKJV)

This is the person who is too quick to follow Jesus and not counting the cost. As Inigo Montoya said in the movie, The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” The man who asked to follow Jesus had a different definition of “follow” that Jesus had. To this person their definition of follow was one of receiving and getting their needs met. Healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding people out of thin air can be looked at as a glamorous life, and one that comes with many benefits. “Follow” to him could have meant, to come along for the ride.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58 NKJV)

But Jesus had a much different definition of “follow.” To Him it was one of complete surrender and total obedience and service. Not only that, but the act of following carries a great deal of weight in which most would give up and quit. They were constantly on the move in a different place all the time. It was a hard life. Even though you were healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and spreading the gospel, it didn’t mean that they were reciprocated for those gifts. This was Jesus’ meaning of follow. It comes with a price, no rest, and no place of ownership in anything. Foxes have holes, and birds have nests. But Jesus didn’t even have those things.

Imagine if Jesus turned around and said to this person, ‘Wherever? Really? ‘Cause I’m on my way to Jerusalem where I’m going to be tortured and killed. I don’t really know what will happen to my disciples either. You in now?’

Long delay to follow Jesus

This next person is personally called by the Lord to follow Him.

Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” (Luke 9:59 NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60 NKJV)

This man was personally called by Jesus to follow Him, but he was too slow in deciding to do that. It wasn’t that the man’s father was dead and needed to bury him, but that he was taking care of his father until he died. This could have gone on for an infinite amount of time, and no one knows how long it would have taken. When Jesus calls us, He wants us to go NOW, not later.

I can imagine that some of my friends are laughing because I do the same thing, or at least did in the past. There were many times that I was given opportunities to move forward and for whatever reason I “chickened out.” Other opportunities came up, I was distracted by other things, or I was worried about what would happen if I failed. The previous man didn’t think enough about the cost, this man might have thought too much.

Case in point. I felt as if the Lord wanted my wife and I to sell our house and travel the United States by RV preaching the gospel. We prayed about it, sought the Lord, and then it was time to look for a rig. Then we found one. But my wife and I saw the opportunity right before us, and we got scared. Then, her mom was wanting to move and needed all her Hallmark Christmas Ornaments sold. Before you know it, I was opeining an Ebay store to sell these (which I’m still doing) and never got that RV. Sure, I’m serving the Lord in other areas like Got Questions, as an Elder in my church, and sharing the gospel as an evangelist; but I’m not in that RV. Was it a test? Was it the Lord’s will? Don’t know. I know that I never had 100% peace about the RV life, but I read verses like this and wonder if I made the right decesion.

Going back to the verses, it was a noble thing to take care of the father; even one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother. So when wavering between the Lord and a good and noble thing we should side with the Lord. What we don’t know in this situation is how many siblings the man had. It could have been just him, or part of a family of twenty. We just don’t know the situation. But I believe the reason why we don’t know the situation is that it just doesn’t matter. It is the Lord who should take precedence above all things – even good ones.

Short delay to follow Jesus

The first man was too quick to follow Jesus without counting the cost; the previous man offered to follow Jesus after an infinite delay; this next man offered to follow Jesus after a relatively short delay.

And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” (Luke 9:61 NKJV)

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 NKJV)

Saying goodbye to your loved ones is not a terrible thing. Jesus is not saying that we cannot say goodbye to the ones that we care about; but that our loved ones: friends and family, can have a tendency to talk us out of things, and discourage us to serve the Lord.

When plowing a field there are two things you need to do to be successful: keep your eye forward on what you are plowing, and hold on tight.

Following Jesus takes direction, focus, and a ton of work. When you are plowing, you are always moving forward. There is no “reverse” in a plowing team. It’s all forward motion and the plowman directs the team in the direction he wants to go.

But there are distractions I’m sure in plowing. Looking around and not focusing on an immovable object in the distance ahead of you to aim for, the cuts in the ground will not be straight. For the Christian, our immovable object and goal in the distance is the Lord. The paths we cut in the ground is our walk.

Not only is it important to hold on tight, but also to keep your feet firmly planted. Several years ago I helped a friend rototill a plot of land. It was really hard work. The machine occasionally has a mind of its own, unexpectedly jumping out of the ground like a whale breaching the surface of the ocean. If your feet weren’t planted, it would drag you several feet. We need to be firmly planted in Christ and concentrating on the work He has called us to do.

When all things are said and done, whatever is produced out of the ground is the fruit of our walk. We don’t look at how hard it was, but have joy knowing we served the Lord with focus and intentionality as He is our goal and focus.

What are your thoughts?

So what about you? Are you too quick to serve the Lord without thinking, or do you have things that easily distract you from doing the Lord’s work? Is there anything you feel the Lord is asking you to do and you are just unsure of or having second thoughts? Please share in the comments below.

Significance of the First Miracle: John 2:1–11

Several years ago as I was studying for my Sunday School class on the wedding at Cana: Jesus’ first miracle, I came across this amazing little tid-bit of information in my Evidence Bible from Living Waters. I thought it was pretty fascinating, and something I never thought of before. As I looked through this list it amazes me how Jesus came to give life and life abundantly. (John 10:10). But we must come on His terms…not ours (John 10:1-18). Jesus wants to save the entire world, and through Him we can have forgiveness, and peace with God. Jesus IS the new covenant, God’s plan of redemption, and I thank God for Him.

“The significance of the first miracle.

  1. The turning of water into blood was the first of the public miracles that Moses did in Egypt (Exodus 7:20). Turning water into wine was the first miracle Jesus performed (John 2:11).
  2. The signs that God gave to Egypt in the OT was plagues, destruction, and death. The signs that Jesus did in the world in the NT was healings, blessings, and life.
  3. The turning of water to blood initiated Moses as a type of savior (Deuteronomy 18:15) leading Israel out of bondage from Egypt into earthly liberty. The turning of water to wine initiated Jesus taking His people out of bondage of the world into glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
  4. The turning of water into blood culminated the firstborn in Egypt being delivered to death. The turning of water to wine culminated in the life of the Firstborn being delivered from death (Colossians 1:18).
  5. The law was a ministration of death; the gospel was a ministration of life. One written on cold stone, the other on warm hearts. One a ministration of sin unto condemnation, the other a ministration of righteousness unto life and liberty (2 Corinthians 3:7-9).
  6. When Moses turned water to blood, all the fish died. When Jesus initiated the new covenant, the catch of fish are made alive in the net of the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:19).
  7. The river of blood was symbolic of death for Egypt. The water into wine was symbolic of life for the world. The letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit makes alive (2 Corinthians 3:6).
  8. When Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood, the river reeked and made the Egyptians search for another water source (Exodus 7:21-24). When the Law of Moses did the work in a sinner it makes life odious for him. The weight of sin on his back is unbearable as he begins to labor and be heavy laden under it’s weight. Like the Egyptians he searches for another water source and begins to search for “righteousness” because he knows without right standing with God, he will perish.
  9. Moses turned water to blood; Jesus blood turned into water (1 John 5:6). They both poured from His side (John 19:34) perhaps signifying that both law and grace found harmony in the Saviors’ death – “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).
  10. The water of the old covenant ran out, it could do nothing but leave the sinner with a thirst for righteousness. But as with the wine at Cana, God saved the best until last. The new wine given on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13; Eph 5:18) was the Bridegroom giving us the new and “better” covenant (Hebrews 8:5,6).”

Comfort, Ray. “The Significance of the First Miracle.” Comfort, Ray. The Evidence Bible. Orlando, Florida 32822 USA: Bridge-Logos, 2003. 1342.


After reading this, I just don’t understand how the Jewish people can look at Jesus who turned water to wine, performed countless miracles, fulfilled over 300 prophecies, and not see that He is the Messiah. If you are struggling with who Jesus is, and sincerely wanting to know…please contact me, or seek someone in your life who knows. Read the Bible for yourself and pray that God will reveal Himself to you. You owe it to yourself to at least look, and see what the best-selling book of all time says.

What Is A Fast Offering?

One of the things that is not widely talked about in Christianity or anywhere else is called fast offerings. I have heard the term several times among Christian churches and with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). I studied Mormonism and the LDS teachings in preparation for several missions trips to Manti, Utah and Salt Lake City to share the true Jesus Christ to the Mormon people during the Manti Mormon Miracle Pageants, as well as witnessing to their young missionaries when they come to my door. As we dig into this deeper, you will find that this is not really mentioned in Scripture, but at the same time, not condemned either. It should be practiced at the discretion of the person fasting, and not held as a standard rule. 

A fast offering is when you fast from food for a period of time (1-3 days) and whatever food you would have bought, you donate that money to your church to cover alms or benevolence to the poor. That’s the basics of it. Sounds good even when you use the verses you shared in Isaiah 58:6-11. The LDS church also uses these verses, among others in the Doctrines & Covenants, Book of Mormon (which are not Scripture) and is thoroughly described in their publication, “True to the Faith.” 

Therefore there are problems when looking at this as a standard rule and can dive headlong into legalism and compulsory giving. As an example: in “True to the Faith”, the LDS church states, “Your fast offering should be at least the value of the two meals you do not eat. When possible, be generous and give more than this amount.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 68) Where does it say in the Bible this is the amount to give? It doesn’t. Where does it say that I should give more? It doesn’t. How much more than the amount is considered generous? A penny? A dollar? A hundred dollars? No one knows. 

Christian churches also can get into legalism in dealing with fast offerings or issues that the Bible never says is a standard rule. Scripture does not command Christians to fast. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians told to fast

The verses many churches, including LDS wards, use to justify this are Isaiah 58:6-8. I have purposely added Isaiah 58:5 as well. The title in my Bible for this chapter is called, “Fasting That Pleases God.” First, let’s set the tone and follow with me in your Bible. Isaiah 58:1-4 states that the people were complaining that they were fasting to God and God was not hearing them. But there was sin that needed to be dealt with. God then exposes the shallow worship of His people. They were delighting in learning about God, but not interested in obeying Him. 

'Why have we fasted,' [they say], 'and You have not seen? [Why] have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as [you do] this day, To make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the LORD? 
[Isaiah 58:3-5 NKJV] 

They were fasting and afflicting themselves, spreading sackcloth and sitting in ashes, but they were exploiting their workers, in strife with their neighbors, and pursuing pleasure and sin. Their fasting was all for show, and God was calling them out. 

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 
[Isaiah 58:6–7 NKJV]

God was telling them what a real fast looks like. To loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to free the oppressed, and break every yoke. A fast to alleviate another’s misery rather than parade one’s own spirituality. Love your neighbor as yourself. The following is the blessings that would follow if they performed the fast as God intended them to in verses 6–7. 

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 
[Isaiah 58:8 NKJV] 
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I [am].' "If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,  
[Isaiah 58:9 NKJV]
[If] you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall [be] as the noonday.  
[Isaiah 58:10 NKJV]
The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  
[Isaiah 58:11 NKJV]

First, where does it call for an amount of money in this section? Is there a percentage? Is food even mentioned in these verses? Yes, food is mentioned but only in feeding the hungry, not in the giving up of food. Does God insist on giving up food for a dollar amount to feed the hungry? No. The point of these passages was to expose false worship and direct them to true worship. With that said, a Christian can, if they choose to, fast from meals and give that money they would have spent to feed the poor and needy. That is their choice, but it should not be chosen for them by their church or fellowship as a standard or grounds of membership. If a Christian Church chooses to do a congregational fast offering, the individual Christians can choose to participate or not. It is up to the individual. 

Don Whitney’s, Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life is a fantastic resource and has a very large section about fasting. In it, he says the following. 

“In the most extensive passage of scripture dealing exclusively with fasting [Isaiah 58:6–11], God emphasizes fasting for the purpose of meeting the needs of others… Fasting cannot be compartmentalized from the rest of our lives. The Spiritual Disciplines do not stand alone. God will not bless the practice of any Discipline, including fasting, when we reject His Word regarding relationships with others. …The kind of fasting that pleases God is one that results in concern for others and not just for ourselves. 

‘But,’ Someone objects, ‘I’m so busy meeting my needs and those of my family that I don’t have the time to minister to other people.’ That’s where you can fast for the purpose of ministering to the needs of others. Fast for one mean or one day and use that time for ministry. That way you haven’t lost any of the time you say you must give to your other commitments. 

…There are other ways of fasting to meet the needs of others. Many fast so that they can give to the poor or to some ministry the money they would have spent on food during that period. How could you minister to the needs of others with the extra time or money fasting could provide?” (Whitney 1991, 174–175)

So, as you can see, this is not a hard fast rule, but totally voluntary and optional to the person fasting. You don’t have to give to the poor for a fast to be recognized by God. Don Whitney offers two ways a person could fast for – time to ministry or funds for ministry. 

Don Whitney goes on to say that, without a spiritual purpose for your fast it’s just a weight-loss fast. He mentions that fasts can be used to strengthen prayer, seek God’s guidance, express grief, seek protection, repent, humble oneself before God, express concern for the work of God, minister to the needs of others, overcome temptation, dedicate oneself to God, and express love and worship to God. 

With anything like fasting, giving, prayer, serving, etc…God wants your heart in the matter. We are to be cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7). When we fast we are to clean up our faces and have joy (Matthew 6:16–18). When fast and pray, we are not to be seen by men, but to be humble and have a contrite heart (Matthew 6:16–18; Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15). If you are doing these things under compulsion from your church or minister to fulfill rules and regulations like the LDS…then you are not doing it with joy unto God and He will not bless.  

References

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2004. True To The Faith: A Gospel Reference. July 2004 ed. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Whitney, Donald S. 1991. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. first ed. Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress.

What Does The Anointing of Aaron and His Sons Signify: The Blood on the Right Ear, Thumb, and Toe?

And he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and Moses killed [it]. Also he took [some] of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. Then he brought Aaron's sons. And Moses put [some] of the blood on the tips of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. 
[Leviticus 8:22-24 NKJV]

The significance of Moses anointing Aaron’s and his son’s right earlobe, right thumb, and right big toe is unclear in historical documents; but there are some speculation as to why this was done.

The Nelson Study Bible speculates that it was to represent their extremities top to bottom to represent the total covering of their sins by the sacrificial blood. Blood offering had also been applied to the horns of the altar to signify the close connection between the altar and the priests who ministered before them. Though this may be true, it leaves many unanswered questions.

David Guzik’s Commentary believes that the consecrated priests that were stained by the blood sacrifice should hear differently because the blood was on their ear. They should work differently because the blood was on their thumb, and they should walk differently because the blood was on their big toe. 1

But why these extremities? You cannot hear without ears. You cannot work without thumbs, and you cannot walk without toes. The big toe is the one extremity that is first above all other toes, and that is the one that allows for balance to the rest of the body. It was done to the right side because this side was considered superior with more strength and skill. Probably because most people are right handed.

The Barnes Notes commentary goes a step further than Guzik’s and is probably the most accurate. He states that the consecration of the priests were performed with the blood of the Peace Offering to signify the readiness of the priest who is at peace with Jehovah to hear with the ear and to obey the divine word, to perform with the hand the sacred duties of the office, and to walk with the feet in a way of holiness. 2

How could you apply this principle today for the Gentile Christian? Leave a response in the comments below. I would like to see them.

  1. Guzik, D. “Study Guide for Leviticus 8 by David Guzik.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 21 Feb, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Lev/Lev-8.cfm
  2. Barnes, Albert. 2005. Leviticus 8:23, 24. Vol. 2, in Barnes Notes: Exodus to Ethster, by F.C. Cook, edited by F.C. Cook, 129. Grand Rapids, Michigan : Baker Books.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: