Our Leviticus reading continues to reveal that our sin costs something. Ravi Zacharias said “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” “You must faithfully keep all My commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord.” Lev. 22:31 So we must show action to obey God. So we must have to choose at times to “deny me.” It is interesting that the new nation was taught denying their innate desires through celebration.

They celebrated by not working once a week and worshipping the Lord. They celebrated with the Passover and trusted God totally for their salvation. They celebrated “First Fruits” and trusted God with initial crops before they even had a harvest. They celebrated “the Harvest” and how God provided in abundance. They then celebrated the Day of Atonement and humbly rejoiced that the Lord once a year covered their sin. Finally the year ends with the “Festival of Shelters” where the people gather together in shelters to remember, not only their blessings of that year’s harvest, but their history of total dependence on God while in the wilderness. All of their celebrations had a foundation of denying themselves.

Today may we also celebrate by denying our sin by resting and worshipping. May we rely on the faith that Jesus’ sacrifice is our Passover. May we deny ourselves and celebrate that God will receive our first fruits of faith as we trust Him for our future. And may we deny ourselves and celebrate God’s blessings to us in times of abundance. It’s all His! Finally may our lives together reflect the Festival of Shelters and remember His provision in our time of need.

Posted by Steve Sague with


Mark 9: 1 to 13 tells of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountaintop.

Mark 9: 14 to 29, where I will focus today, is about a demon-possessed boy.

We begin this scene with Jesus and Peter, James and John coming down from the mountain where Jesus was transfigured and finding the rest of the disciples arguing with the Scribes. A large crowd had assembled and as soon as they saw Jesus they were “overwhelmed with wonder,” and ran to meet him.  I think they might have seen a bit of Jesus’ glory still shining off of His face, kind of like Moses when he would talk with God.

Vs. 16 to 18: Jesus asks what they were arguing about and a man in the crowd told him that he had brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples and they could not heal him. 

Vs. 19: Jesus replies, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

Vs. 20 to 22: When the spirit (demon) saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. Jesus asked the father how long had this been going on. The father replied, “from childhood.” This meant that the child had been this way for several years. The father asked Jesus, ”If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

Vs. 23: Jesus replies,” If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” Jesus says in Matthew 21:21 that if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can wither a fig tree, or cast a mountain into the sea. Matthew 17:20, faith as big as a mustard seed (1 MM) is all the faith you need.

“If you can.” Jesus is quoting the man’s plea back at him, putting the responsibility back on the father, as if to say, “where is your faith.” The father immediately says, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” This is the place we need to be. Where the divine, transformed, Messiah wants us to be. Where the disciples should have been. Sure, we can believe all the miracles in the Bible, but when it comes to me, do I believe He will do it for me? I am not worthy. I have sin in my life. God couldn’t possibly do something like that for me, could He?

Yes, He can! He wants to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). Most of the time our prayers are hindered by this lack of belief. We need to remember that the Spirit that lived inside of Jesus is the same Spirit that lives inside of us. Let us step out in faith today. Start with a small step. See what God can do with a life that is yielded to him. Grow in confidence. See what good gifts the Father would give to you.

Posted by Rick Kisner with

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