June 25



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Leviticus 6:8-9:24

We are in The World Stream reading from the New King James Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God Your will is for us to truly see and know you and walk with you and experience your glory and love.  Help us to this place, Lord God.  Amen
 6 – the rules for the garments and the eternal fire are part of God’s thinking that kept a rich sense of significance in this particular ritual within Judaism. The changing of the outfit and keeping a particular outfit for this phase, another for another phase was meaningful. We have certain outfits for certain tasks – do we not? An outfit for yardwork, a different one for cooking in, a different one for painting in, for church, for hiking, for formal dining. You don’t wear a tuxedo to a baseball game, You don’t go to church in swimwear. I wouldn’t eat at a restaurant where the entire staff wore painter’s overalls and everyone working there smelled like oil-based-primer. You wouldn’t either. Outfits need to be right and all of us feel this way.  Now what if God guffawed this matter and just smirked at us while bellowing, “outfits? for church? for worship? for Temple? awww, who cares? wear whatever! I guess…?!” We wouldn’t take God seriously if he was as sloppy about this as a dopey clown. And the fire was always lit because God was “always in”
The Grain and the Sin Offering were initially laid forth in chapter 2 and 4 respectively. God has us learning things incrementally and over time because hardly anyone hears an elaborate task once and then retains is responsively for life. These were what people produced and having portions of the produce set aside for God kept people’s minds on God and what the requirements were for being in fellowship with him.
7 – Notice that this Trespass Offering is most holy to the Lord. And it was required that the fat was required to be burned upon the fire. Fat makes for some rather volatile fuel for the fire that burned with extra heat and crackle. It can be almost as flammable as kerosene or diesel fuel. In fact there is research in process that could in time have certain cars burning fat as their fuel. We can be sure that these Trespass Offerings had everyone’s attention!    The Peace Offering was for a thanksgiving offering or voluntary. The rules varied. The issue of timing and consumption on 1st/2nd/3rd day was very strict. God did not want people neglecting these matters, getting an attitude of nonchalance, and also these meats sitting around for days get flies, then maggots and must not be eaten.  The blood and fat were not to be ingested. It was not healthy. Fat is used and overused by people who eat too much and/or eat too much of the wrong things. And for blood – it was red and red gets people’s attention. [God used the blood of His Son to get our attention!] And judging by he fact that ingesting blood by eating it cooked or drinking it ‘raw’ is a ritual that most all Satanic cults engage in, God wants all of us to have absolutely nothing to do with any of this or even anything that even remotely resembles this. The Bible states in Lev. 17:11 that “the life is in the blood”. God gives us life and our blood carries this life. Red is an arresting color – it’s all very intriguing. And yet we are to look to God for our answers in life and let Him save us His way. Trying to save ourselves our way leads to wrong thinking and we go amiss quickly. Drinking blood is cultic and wrong and God said it and that settles it for us.  The portion offered for the priest; Aaron and sons (and their families) was for them to live on. They were about God’s business all day, each day and this is how they subsisted.
8 – Everything that was instituted for the sacrifices was executed here.  We read through all these steps and procedures and here they are commenced upon.  The dressing up of the sons of Aaron and Aaron himself for worship had to be rather impressive. These were the garments that were explained in Exodus 28.  The gems and colors and layers and the beauty of it was something we do not see these days.  The 12 stones representing the 12 tribes and other vestments attached with gold chains testified to the significance of all this.  Think of being there for worship, the red sprinkled down the altar, fat on the fire crackling without exploding, the heat and the phases of it all.  It’s a stark contrast to so many who attend church but are not “all there” mentally or spiritually because of distraction from anything: hand-held devices or fatigue from being up too late the night before or boredom because church is slumped too far from the biblical model of what church is to be.  No one was asleep at these gatherings. Not when they are so significant and there is smoke and fire and the like .At any rate, the steps that were laid out by Moses were all gone through here on this day – in Lev. 8
9 – The ministry began before the people.  The rituals sounded very similar as they were laid out in prior chapters and executed as such.  Yet this time the people were witnessing it.  Moses asserted, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, and the Lord will appear to you.”  So all the offerings were given and made before the Lord.  The people were then blessed by Moses and Aaron. And then it happened – The Lord appeared gloriously, and fire came out as God did this to burn up the offering and the fat.  What a sight!!  The people shouted and fell on their faces in worship.  Think of this – if there was something God asked of you to do and stipulated that once this was done, He would then visibly appear to you in an impressive manner that had you wither to the floor overwhelmed and unable to stand you were so moved by the hand of God.  Would you do this or just shrug and keep checking you ‘in-box” or browsing the web?            God help us see what He is showing us.

June 24



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II Corinthians 1-4

We are starting a new book in the Church Stream. The Apostle Paul is addressing the church of Corinth in a 2nd letter. We are reading from The Message this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Jesus we thank you for the gift you give us that fills our lives with joy and purpose and gracious mercy that saves us. Amen.

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth a second time. This time he is addressing the believers in the Achaia region also. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church he was instructing a splintered body of believers. They were disorderly.  Unsanctification/sexual matters/immorality and ebullience were problems, They were even suing eachother, and their competitions regarding the Communion were silly; just wrong (?who brought the most elaborate food to the event?! -yeesh). Simply put, they were a bustling church but they were divided and had not been loving.  Many were duplicitous as there was debate and tension over how to conduct their lives in a city where paganism had been the rule for centuries.
Titus had caught up with Paul during his third missionary journey. The purpose was to relay that Paul’s ‘year-and-a-half’ in Corinth had done much good. There was however a faction in Corinth (imagine that!) that was raising the question whether Paul was authentically one of the Apostles of Christ. The latter was a slickly calculated attempt to discredit Paul since he had spoken to issues ‘spot on’ in his first letter.  The naysayers knew there were things that needed to be remedied and they preferred to deride Paul v.s. grow in their faith. For them it was more natural to act like hucksters, change the subject – turning the focus to Paul being an illicit source of leadership. So Paul goes right at this topic in his second letter.  He had founded the church in Corinth and he knew what he was doing since he was getting direction from the Holy Spirit.
1 – Paul’s greeting is rich and warm as he had met with Titus after escaping a brush with death in Ephesus. And despite notable unsavory matters in Corinth, they were a loyal group who in many ways wanted to know Jesus better. Paul is realizing more-so all the time, the suffering that accompanies mission work and Christian service. He is relieved to meet up with Titus but there had been anxiety involved from his hearing of situations in Corinth. All in all, the time with Titus was of a comfort that strengthened Paul.  He needed to remind the Corinthians that he was delayed because of hardship along the way, not because he was fickle. Paul is not like that.
2 – the chapter opens with talk of discipline. The scalliwag who had a “relationship” with his stepmom [he was exhorted in I Cor. 5] was a painful mess that called for discipline.  Apparently that discipline had been administered come the time Paul is writing II Cor. so Paul is sounding conciliatory by now. It had been a painful pilgrimage, but prayerfully it is dealt with and over by now.  Paul had been so embroiled, hoping this matter would get settled that he had scuttled right past an evangelistic opportunity in Troas to tend to the trouble.  Be that as it may, Paul experienced triumph in Christ and the Providence that walking with Christ had brought him everywhere Paul traversed. Yes, some men violently rejected Paul’s message but that came with the territory and Paul was content regardless.
3 – the opening issue here is most likely Paul refuting the n’ere-do-wells traveling from Jerusalem that trolled the Empire and insisted that the new Christians adhere to the Law of Moses namely to circumcision [along with the rest of the Law!]. And as they traveled they always touted their reference letters from the Sanhedrin who sent them along with their resumes hoping that would enhance reverence for them as they traveled … to cause trouble for Paul! Paul smacks ’em pretty soundly here. These Judaizers were proud of their resumes, while Paul was gratified by the Church he planted; the Corinthians themselves who were testament to his anointing by God Himself.  The Law of Moses was the last word on righteousness in the former era but Jesus is the one we are to look to now. He is the Light. Only Jesus can bring us into the Presence of God. Following the Law only has one … following a set of laws that do not save.
4 – Paul’s calling and mission in entirely consuming joyful assignment. Persecutions at any and/or all levels are not going to intimidate or sway him in the least. The joy of following God is that great for him. Paul noted that there were souls who were blinded to God’s Love – that’s the only explanation for people rejecting God.
Paul’s analogy of clay pots has become a timeless illustration.  Valuable documents were preserved in clay pots. These pots weren’t necessarily much to look at but the value of the contents altered history. With the Spirit of Christ living in us; as “jars of clay”, we then become lives that transport, transmit and divulge value that translates into eternal wonder and also blesses the clay pot in a glorious way.  The joy of the whole process blossoms into a beauty that overtakes everything as we follow Paul’s instruction and immerse ourselves in Jesus’ grace.
The theme that reoccurred each day this week surfaced to be “what are we going to do with the sin?” In Leviticus 1-6, most of the offerings brought to God were for sin; accidental or deliberate, simply bring it to God and therein it is redemptive.  In I Kings 11-14 the matter came home for Solomon. He had gathered foreign/pagan women like people collect anything collectible. What would Solomon do with this sin? He was king and he did it because he could and he wouldn’t put this matter away. It altered and corrupted the nation forever.  Psalm 78-79 was a litany of God’s faithfulness contrasted against the Israelites’ sinfulness. Would God’s love ever get them to turn from their shameful sin? Their sin had caused them to be routed. When will this obvious memo ever ‘sink in’?  Jeremiah brought up their sin as a nation and –> they attacked Jeremiah, not the sin. They would be sent into exile for this. Also ignoring the lesson from the yoke Jeremiah put on would end up being costly. We’ll read about that next week.  Amos bellowed that the whole region was living sinfully. And all were impenitent as well.  They would burn for it.
John/Baptist, in Luke, was preaching powerfully against sin. People repented and were baptized. It was marvelous.  In Corinth, Paul was doing some follow up regarding a man in the church who was living in terrible sin and … it turned out that by then the matter was rectified and propriety had been restored.  The memo this week is that sin shall be dealt with God’s way or it will only continue to get worse – and more so until things are handled God’s way.

June 23



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Luke 2:1-3:19

We are celebrating the birth of our Savior in the Christ Stream. Christmas in June! We are reading from The Message this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

The Savior is born today!  Thank you Lord for caring so much to send the best of heaven and the whole universe; for sending yourself, so that we may know You, follow You, and be saved.   Amen.

2 – The time had come for Mary to deliver the Savior and the political circumstances required Joseph/Mary to go to Bethlehem. Notice that they went up to Bethlehem from Nazareth in Galilee.  It was a 90-100 mile walk with a 1300 foot rise. The KJV says that Mary was “great with child”; the Greek actually words it to read “Mary had a ‘mega-tummy’ ” – it’s true folks.
-The first outsiders invited to see the newborn king were shepherds. The significance of this as told by Luke is that Luke is writing this gospel with the intent of evangelizing the Greek speaking world. Greeks LOVE sheep/mutton (mutton gyros)/wool/lamb-skin-leather; this whole culture of shepherding. And God tells shepherds –> first!  And He does so by an astonishing sign in the sky –  God’s angel speaking to them. Light, a message, then a choir that filled the sky, good heavens, It was overwhelming!  Another way this pierces to the heart of a Greek citizen is that they had in their legends that Alexander-the-Great was born and the arrival was announced by the greatest lightning storm that ever struck upon earth in history. So a Greek mind would read this and think, “oh my! this is even greater than when Alexander was born!”  Luke is saying to them [between the lines] that though their heritage takes them back to Alexander and Philip of Macedon, their personal king was a greater one to follow; sent from God and He outdoes Alexander.  So follow this Jesus. By doing this, Luke had the Greeks’ attention from the start.  And notice that the shepherds left their flocks (it was night and this kind of thing is not done – y’don’t leave your sheep at night especially). But the shepherds RAN to find Jesus. [Is this Jesus really worth abandoning everything for? Is He really more important than- everything- that- is- important? –Really?  Listen to Luke and hear the whole story.
-Then Jesus is brought to the Temple for dedication and for his circumcision – only Luke, being a doctor, includes this detail.  The story of Simeon and Anna are legendary parts that further signify that this Jesus is long awaited and that He is well worth waiting for.  This even more deeply asserted into Joseph and Marys’ hearts that they were entrusted with an assignment that carried the weight of the world upon them. It was a holy and wholly magnificent task they had to parent Jesus.  Mary took all this to heart, and it never left her.
The next story has us jumping 12 years ahead to when Jesus was in the Temple as a child and He is astonishing the Teachers and leaders and the doctors of the Law.  Now never forget that Luke is telling this story to Greeks and Greek was the language of the Empire – the way English is the language of the commercial world today. Greeks muse about Socrates born 470 B.C. in Athens /& Plato /& Aristotle and they wistfully discuss their books and ideas as they had for several hundred years. These were fascinating men with brilliant minds meandering about the Acropolis offering wisdom and leadership as to how to manage an Empire along with all the matters and thinking entailed therein. Well, Luke is saying, “you guys admire this?!?! Well here’s a youngster who is more enamoring and He is wowing the greatest minds for thousands of miles … and He does so at 12 years old !!”  Give it 18 years and see if He isn’t the most fascinating speaker/miracle worker / healer / leader EVERRRRRRR.
3 – jumps up 18 years and John the Baptist begins preaching in the Jordan area just north of the Dead Sea and near Jericho.  His preaching is so powerful and so poignant that people were coming from far away to hear him and to be baptized for forgiveness of sins.  The rebuke John launched into wasn’t a wild mood swing where he suddenly went ugly on everyone. He noticed that the duplicitous leaders were starting to show up.  They were there because they were upset that people were not in their normal worship services and they were thinking, “where is everyone? why are offerings down?” And this bothered them. Well rumor had spread and soon the countryside and everyone knew what was going on and where everyone was. The people had come to hear John and get right with God. But, the leaders had come to “straighten things out” and to deal with this loudmouth John/Baptist if they needed to.  That’s where the surprising “brood of snakes” comment factors in.
John/Baptist tells of what God requires: be honest, share, stop manipulating and threatening and stealing, be content, clean up your act, etc. [Luke hits on this theme of financial honesty, fairness, and caring throughout his book.]  John/Bpt is preparing them to meet Jesus so that Jesus would imminently arrive to a mood of “WOW, He’s Here!” v.s. “hey, who are you?” ; an atmosphere of oblivious.  It worked.

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