By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

Lessons from Leviticus February 12, 2009

Filed under: spiritual growth — Marissa Henley @ 6:30 pm
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Leviticus? Seriously?  I never thought I’d write a blog post about Leviticus.  I should have seen it coming when I started the BSF study of the life of Moses, Exodus through Deuteronomy.  (I suppose there is a post on Numbers coming soon.)  I don’t think I’ve ever studied Leviticus, other than a random reference here and there in other Bible studies.  But as always happens with God’s Word, there are great lessons there.  Here are a few that were especially meaningful to me:

In Leviticus 8, we were studying about the consecration of tabernacle and the priests.  Our lesson asked the question, “Is there some area of your life that has not been consecrated (set apart) to the Lord?”  This question was very convicting to me, and I wanted to write, “Is there an area of my life that HAS been consecrated to the Lord?”  But I tried to narrow down some key areas that have not been dedicated to God like they should and came up with my perceived control over my life and the way I spend my time and money.  I’ve been thinking lately about how I can truly consecrate these areas to the Lord.

In Leviticus 10, we read the troubling story of two of Aaron’s sons being burned up by God because they did not follow the commandments He had given them about sacrifices in the tabernacle.   Our lessons often ask us what we learned about God’s character or attributes from the passage.  This chapter showed me how serious disobedience (sin) is in God’s eyes.  We know from elsewhere in Scripture that our sin is deserving of death, and Aaron’s sons got what they deserved.  It showed me how great God’s mercy to me is–I have not gotten what I deserve.  I have done much worse things than what Aaron’s sons did.  And not only has God not burned me up on the spot, He sent His Son to take the punishment for all my sin that I might have eternal life.

In an overview of Leviticus, we read various passages where God gives the Israelites instructions about how to offer the various sacrifices He required.  The lesson talked about how each of the sacrifices cost the worshiper something.  It pointed to 2 Samuel 24:24, where David says he will not offer something to the Lord that cost him nothing.  This was another convicting point for me.  What have I sacrificed to God at a great cost?  I volunteer in the church nursery once every three months, and that costs me very little.  I am also leading the children’s choir, which carries a greater cost, and most of the time I don’t have a great attitude about that cost.  My financial giving should be more sacrificial–am I truly giving something up that I want in order to give sacrificially, or am I giving what is left over?  Contemplating the true meaning of sacrifice has changed my perspective about my service and giving to the Lord.

I also liked Leviticus 19:9-10 where God commands the Israelites not to harvest their fields all the way to the edges or strip their vineyards bare.  They are to leave some for the poor and for travellers.  This made me think about how I use my resources.  When I know we have some extra money coming, I know we will tithe on it, but I usually have the rest of it spent, at least mentally, before it hits the checking account.  And, apart from this commandment, it would be my right to use it as my husband and I decided.  But in this commandment, God is telling His people not to consume all that they have a right to consume.  I think this principle applies to me as well.  I want to be more intentional about leaving some crops  around the edges in a 21st-century sense . . . stashing some away for needs that arise so we are able to meet the needs of others.

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Being a little girl’s mom February 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marissa Henley @ 10:57 am
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After a few years of experience as a boy mom, they tell me this one’s gonna be a girl.  As excited as I am about buying pink, I’m a little nervous about this.  (And not only because I spent most of my adolescence yelling hurtful things at my own mother.)  The other day when I was praying for my kids and their marriages and future spouses, I was reminded again of the weight of responsibility that comes with raising a girl.  When raising my boys to be godly husbands and fathers, I can point to their father and say, “Look at how hard he works to support his family.  Look at how he helps me when he gets home and cares about spending time with you.”  Thankfully, my boys have a wonderful example to follow.

But this little girl will learn the most about being a wife and mom from MY day-to-day example.  What will she see?  Will she see laziness and selfishness, or diligence and service?  Will she see respect or resentment toward my husband?  Submission or manipulation?  Patience in disciplining my children, or a lack of self-control?  Will she learn to be frugal and wise in her spending habits, or will she see me rationalizing and spending on my own desires?  Will she see me seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, or will she see me seeking after the things of this world?

I am not perfect.  There are sin patterns in my life that I know my daughter will see, and I pray that God will protect her from following when I am a poor example.  I know that God is probably bringing a little girl into my life to provide even more accountability than my sons already have.