Tag: Sex drugs and rock and roll

A blog full o’ bull

It’s hard to say what my favorite book of the Bible is, but it’s easy to say the least: Leviticus. A whole lotta rules and regulations, and even worse, detailed instructions on how to slaughter animals. Instructions that I find gruesome and very hard to stomach. It raises two questions: 1) What about the poor Levite priest who didn’t have the constitution for slitting throats, wringing off heads, cutting up animals, touching blood, etc.? and  2) When they finally build the third temple in Jerusalem, how will they get anything done without PETA and every other animal right’s group fighting them tooth and nail? Silly questions, I suppose, but you have to wonder.

I’ve made it through this book once before so I can do it again. Just remember that everything in the Bible points to Christ and maybe it will make more sense. Right?

The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. He said, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any of you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.”  (Lev 1:1-2)

Okay, what do I see here? I can gather two things: 1) WHEN you bring an offering, not IF you bring an offering. People were expected to do it, then, although nothing written in stone as to how often. (?) That raises another question — why? Maybe that will be more clear later on. 2) Bring an animal from the herd or flock. That means no wild animals, but something that belongs to you. Your sacrifice is going to cost you something. We saw this already in Exodus 12 where the Israelites were to take a lamb into their home and care for it for four days before slaughtering it for the Passover. That sacrifice obviously cost them emotionally; it would be like slaughtering a puppy. 

He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He is to slaughter the young bull before the LORD, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and sprinkle it against the altar… (Lev 1:3-4)

So the person bringing the sacrifice has to slaughter the animal himself, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Then the priests get to work, sprinkling blood on the altar. It sounds to me like the person offering still has work to do once the animal is dead. It has the priests sprinkle the blood, then He (the offerer?) skins the animal and cuts it into pieces. Then the priests arrange the fire and place the meat on the fire. Then He (the offerer?) washes the inner parts and legs with water, then the priest burns all of it on the altar. 

It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. (Lev 1:9)

I know I’m missing a lot here, but I do get that the laying of hands on the animal represents our sin being transferred to an innocent being whose death will atone for our sins. That’s pretty easy symbolism of Christ and his work on the cross.

“An aroma pleasing to the LORD.” Well, what smells better than a steak on the grill? I can’t think of anything. But I don’t think this is referring to God enjoying a good barbecue. Ephesians 5:2 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” So Paul is saying here that what was pleasing to God was the love Jesus had, a love that died for others. God wants us to be like Jesus and to reflect His amazing, all-encompassing, self-sacrificing love.

I imagine that if I was alive in Jesus’ day and had seen the sacrifices going on in the temple, and had made some of them myself, then I would better understand the implications of Jesus’ death on the cross, not only from a legal standpoint but also from a human one. I don’t know how anybody can see the light go out of the eyes of a dying creature and not be moved by it. How much more an animal of my own, that is dying because of MY wickedness. And how much more so the Son of God, paying the ultimate price for me.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. …For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.   – Romans 10:9-13

What is Peace

C5C35B26-E95E-4E0E-A3B1-104BBB923A64Why do I hate this perfectly lovely picture of Jesus? In a minute.

The world is descending into chaos. My life is chaos. Not just because of the insanity we are all  living in, or because I am embroiled in any particular dramas at the moment. Mostly, it’s just because of the nonstop noise that goes on inside my head. I’m always working on about 15 tracks at once. All my life I’ve wondered if there is something wrong with me or if I’m not really saved because I don’t feel that incredible peace that people say comes over them once they give their lives to Christ. 

Maybe I’m the only one, but the thing with my brain is it doesn’t let me rest in the moment. When I’m working at my job I’d rather be anywhere else. When I’m doing something else I think I should be catching up on my job. If I’m trying to write, I think I should be doing the laundry, or vacuuming, or making a shopping list, or writing something else. If I’m working in my yard I think I should use the time to get some writing done, or some housework. When I’m out walking with the dogs I’m thinking about my endless list of chores, or fretting about the state of the world, or remembering that kid in grade school who said that really rude thing that one time. It goes on forever. My only respite comes when I get totally absorbed in a project – writing, drawing, praying, digging in the dirt – and that only ever happens after at least 30 minutes of fighting against the voices in my head telling me I should be doing something else. 


I just want peace. Not this constant, nagging anxiety. 

So why do I hate this ubiquitous, horrendous, awful, stinking excuse for a painting that I have hated since I was seven years old? Well, not only did they make Jesus a woman with a beard, with those overly effeminate features, and make him whiter than a lily and nothing like a first century Jew, but most of all they gave him the worst expression. Maybe it is supposed to demonstrate the peace of Christ, but all I see is a simpering blankness. A dead-eyed stare that reminds me more of the devil than of Jesus.

Being a Christian is hard work. We’re attacked in one way or another almost every day. Not just the actual persecution that heroic Christians face in places like North Korea, China, Pakistan and Iran, but everyday torments like the nonstop noise in my head. Or petty little nothings that go wrong and make you blow your stack and curse like a sailor and break things. The constant temptations to become either a Pharisee or a flaming hypocrite. Wanting to be like Jesus more than anything, to know and live and most of all SHARE his peace, but to blow it every single freaking day of your miserable life. To be a Martha when you just want to be a Mary. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE . . . (Gal 5:2)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

And the PEACE of God, which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

The Lord blesses his people with PEACE. (Psalm 29:11)

You [God] will keep in perfect PEACE those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

PEACE I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

These verses can give me more anxiety than peace. “Oh my god! I don’t feel peaceful! I’m a bad Christian! Maybe I’m not even a Christian at all! Oh Noooooooooooo!”

Yet, underneath the Hot Mess soup that is my life, there IS something. I don’t have “peace” like someone in a lotus positioning chanting “Om” and feeling their oneness with the universe. But there is a knowing, deep within me. An understanding that God is true and trustworthy. His word is trustworthy. He’s proven that time and time again in history and also in my own life. Things are going to pan out the way the Bible says so. We may be living in the last days right now, which is terrifying (because a LOT of bad stuff is going to happen in those days even if the pre-Trib position is true), but also comforting because we know that Christ wins in the end. And if I don’t ever get that feeling of utter calm and tranquility in this world, I will one day. So there is a peace in that, an undercurrent of real peace and calm that is always there even though the river is raging above.

Anyway, this started out to be an explanation of why I’ve been all over the place and not going through the NT the way I said I would way back in January. But I’m working on getting more focused and tomorrow I am going to dive headfirst into the Gospel of John. 

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved….Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus] will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13)