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Daily Encouragement - August 29

Leviticus 27:34 These are the commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the People of Israel. If you’re one who wants to take the Bible literally, if you’re one who thinks that it is infallible and the absolute Word of God, please do NOT read Leviticus.  It will confuse you, startle you, create all kinds of questions for which you will have no answers, and you will not be happy.  (You should probably not read parts of Exodus, Deuteronomy, Judges, or Proverbs, either.  Oh yeah...and whatever you do, stay away from Romans.)  Leviticus was written in a harsh climate to a people who had just been freed from slavery.  Having no rules would have meant chaos.  Having no rules would have prevented a nation from being formed.  Even so, as it was, it came close to disintegrating a few times.   You can say that these were for the Israelites in the wilderness.  But, honestly, folks, you can’t rationalize away these laws.  They are severe.  They include stoning your own children if they misbehave in certain ways.  (Or even burning them at the stake.)  They place values on people and, in case you’re wondering, men have greater value than women.  But above all, they will tell you that what you have...belongs to God.  The warnings to do as the priests interpret are pretty stern.  If you don’t, God will “turn your land into a lifeless moonscape.”  With all the storms out there right now, maybe we SHOULD be wary! People have said a lot of bad things about 2020.  I watched the PBS documentary on Vietnam a few years ago.  This country was in a terrible mess back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I was safely tucked away in the West Virginia Mountains.  We made it through that, however.  We tend to make it through anything.  But only if we see God’s continuing promises instead of calling anything bad “God’s judgment.”   In the last month I’ve probably talked to about 70 pastors.  The rest of my team on the conference committee talked to the same number.  Do you know what we all said?  The churches are doing pretty well.  They have adjusted worship places, venues, and outlets.  Smaller churches have been able to meet in person because they can be distant.  Pastors have found ways to be pastoral.  People have found ways to be appreciative.  Patience has ensued. However, the desire to return in person is a driving force.  One pastor told me that, even in the hottest weather, the people who drive up to worship keep their windows down just so they can see one another.  Another told me that the people sit in the shade but she is in the sun...and it’s hot.  But, she says, it’s worth it.   It’s worth it to love.  It’s worth it to hope.  It’s worth it to be positive.  It’s worth it to stay in touch.  It’s worth it to be patient.  It’s worth be careful.  It’s worth it not to put others at risk.  It’s worth it to be all that good about being human.   As for Leviticus, it might not hurt us to consider that what we have belongs to God.  Even so, it’s good to pay the insurance premiums. In the cross of Christ I glory, Towering o’er the wrecks of time. All the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime. When the woes of life o’er-take me, hopes deceive and fear annoy, Never shall the cross forsake me; Lo! It glows with peace and joy. O God of peace and light, help us to follow the ways of peace and hope.   Amen. Pastor Rick Moser

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