Loving Leviticus

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Well, Hello out there. How in the world are you? I hope you are well, and enjoying the shopping season. Black Friday is behind us. Yay. And we are so looking forward to Christmas. Man… You are listening to the Rediscovering the Bible online radio show. My name is Sam Burton, and I’ll be your host. Whether you are a long time listener, or brand new to the show, I’m delighted you stopped by. For those of you who are new, we are in a really crowded time period, and I’m not able to bring you a show every week. So we’re getting on here as often as possible. Once this period settles down a bit, we’ll get back to weekly. Again, if you’re new, we have a whole boatload of historic episodes you can listen to. I’ll include a link to the archives in the show notes. You’ll find those notes at samburtonpresents.com. While you’re looking at them, I’d love it if you’d just go to the home page and sign up to receive notices every time we put a show out. Also, please drop me a note, either on the comments section of my FB account, or, in the comments section of the .com site. If you’d like to ask me a question privately, please send that to .

Now, that’s enough commercials. At least it is for me. We’re going back to the Old Testament today. Last time, I just had to take a side trip, but we’re back on the road today. And we’re going to look at the OT book of Leviticus. Everybody’s favorite. More than any other book of the Bible, this one is a show stopper. More people give up on reading the Bible here, than anywhere else. By a long shot. I’m going to try and change that for you today.

First, remember to read the NT first. That is mission critical. I know that’s not normal, or at least it feels odd. But trust me. In fact, I have a reading plan for the Bible that will really help you if you’re new to the Bible, or have trouble understanding it. Just write to me at samburtonpresents@gmail.com or use the comments section on the page with the show notes, and I’ll send it right out to you.

But, loads of people who are trying to read the bible, get through Genesis and Exodus, bog down in Leviticus, and quit. Frankly, they find the book, slow, gory, and far too detailed. There are hardly any stories in it. So they just give up and tell all their family and friends that they tried to read the Bible, but it was too boring.

Let me give you just a couple of tips to help you out. I know a few have already left us, just hearing the topic. I could hear them screaming and clicking the off button. But How and why did this book come about?

First, there are a lot of us who think that Moses only received the 10 commandments while he was up on the mountain. Mostly, we can blame Hollywood for that. But he was up there for 40 days. God gave him, all kinds of laws besides the 10 commandments. He also gave him instruction on the special clothes the priests were to wear, and detailed instructions regarding the tabernacle and it’s furniture.

But why? Why all this maddening detail? Why all these sacrifices? Why all these Tithing laws? What is all this stuff about leprosy? It seems to make no sense.

First, chances are, you’re not Jewish. The law has never been a part of your life or your family’s. It sounds so odd. So very foreign. But think of it a bit this way. Do you remember learning to drive? You got a manual. You had to take some tests, right? You had to read it over and over again to learn the material. First, so you could pass your test. Then so you could avoid accidents and tickets for disobeying the driving laws. You learned it. I bet you almost memorized it. Things like stopping distances kept you up at night, because you just knew some of that would be on the written test.

In a way, that’s why the book of Leviticus is in the Bible. It’s like a driving life, Bible manual, written directly by God. If you were a Jew, that would be an important read. Especially if you were a priest.

But you and I aren’t every going to have to pass a test on these laws. So why do we need to even read it, except for historic purposes.

First of all, it shows us how bad sin is. Look at the things we do, or have done, that would require an animal to be slaughtered. It’s awful. It was not unusual for up to 144,000 sheep, goats, bulls, and turtle doves to be sacrificed in a single day. Not in a year, but in a day. Blood flood like rivers. Life had to be especially tough on the priests and levites. Can you imagine the sight, the smells, the gore. But that’s how ugly sin is.

It shows us how holy God is. He can’t stand sin. He can’t be around it. He wants us to know that. He wants it gone. That, by the way, explains all the stuff about leprosy. Leprosy was a picture of sin. Any kind of rash, or open sore, or mould, or mildew might be leprosy. It had to be tested. If it was leprosy, it had to be dealt with. That’s what sin is. It makes us ‘unclean.” It makes us unfit to be around God. It is infectious. It spreads over us, and from one person to another. The book of Leviticus, points out explicitly, and graphicly, how bad sin really is.

But more than that, it Shows us Jesus. Jesus is the sacrificed lamb, goat, bull, and turtle dove. It doesn’t matter who we are, whether we’re rich or poor, educated, uneducated, male or female, or what nationality or race we are. We are all sinners. And sin puts us in a broken relationship with God. In the book of Hebrews we learn that the blood of Bulls and Goats can never take away sin. That’s why
we need Jesus. That’s why He came. That’s also why reading the new testament first, is important.

We will never have to sacrifice animals. There is no disease of leprosy anymore. Yes, there’s a disease called leprosy, but that’s a misunderstanding that we can blame the crusaders for. What we call leprosy today, is a baccillus, and is called, Hansen’s disease, after the doctor who isolated it.

became man. Sin is still awful. It still separates us from our perfect God. And that is some place nobody

When Jesus came, died, and was raised from the dead, he fulfilled the old testament law. No one ever has to sacrifice an animal again. Jesus died for us. Jesus was the man who is God. He is the God who wants to be. And it’s a place God doesn’t want us to be. Which is why Jesus came. That’s the meaning of Christmas. God became a man. He left the glory of heaven. The worship of angels, became a baby, grew to manhood, lived 33 years, taught, healed, loved, and forgave, every day of his life. Then he was butchered like a lamb. He was treated with contempt. He was chosen. He suffered humilitation and torment, so we wouldnt have to. After being savagely beaten for hours, he was taken out and crucified. Blood ran from his face, his hands, his back, and his feet. Then to make sure he was dead, he was pierced in the side with a spear, and blood flowed from there, too. He spilled his blood, all of it, to pay the price for our sin. We can accept his sacrifice by faith, repent of our behaviour, and be accepted by God. How great is that. Some of us have sinned a great deal. And we know it. Some of us may not be savagely guilty, but none of us is sinless. And the book of Leviticus shows us very clearly, that one is enough to do us in, to separate us from God.

But Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin has left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

It’s hard for me to do this via radio. But I will try. You know you’ve sinned. Many of you have already repented and received Christ. You are following him. You are forgiven and you know it. But there’s someone, or some ones, who haven’t. You know, maybe from Leviticus, that you are far from God. But you can change that today. Right this moment. You can turn to God. You can repent, that means turn. Change direction. Give God the Keys and let him drive. You can believe that God wants to forgive you. You can hit the pause button and do that now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

God asks us to do one thing to show our seriousness about faith and repentence. He asks us to be baptised in water. , you can read about this in the book of Acts in the NT, to show people we’ve made that choice, that confession, by being immersed in water. That’s why everybody love a baptismal service. Because that’s where we publicly declare our faith and repentence. And that’s it. It’s done. Sure there’s more to learn, but that’s where we are born again, Faith and Repentance. How easy is that.

If you’ve done that today, write me, and let me know. I want to pray for you. I will help you find a good Church, where you can grow, and enjoy the company of others who have made the same decision. Or, if you want to know more, please write me. Do it today. I will help any way I can. Sin is awful. You know it is. You know how broken you feel. But It can all change. Right now.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll talk to you next time. Remember, Leviticus will point you to Jesus. He will receive you and forgive you. Not might. He Will. Have a great week. I’m out

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Podcast Episode – I’m Calling An Audible

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Image result for calling an audible imagesIt’s cold outside. I just thought you should know that. I’m aware that many of my U.S. Friends are already experiencing snow. It’s rather early for that. Brr… It’s not that bad here in Buckie. Sure the temps are in the 30s, and there’s been a lot of frost early in the mornings, but we’ve not had any real snow. We had some sleet and snow early this week, but it was much worse in the mountains. They are snow capped. Again, I know many of you had a very long hot summer, now winter has come early. That’s wild. It’s no wonder that so many people like to talk about Climate Change rather than Global Warming. But I digress. You are listening to the ReDiscovering the Bible online radio show. My name is Sam Burton, and I’m your host.

Whether you’re a brand new visitor, or a long time listener, I am so glad you stopped by. Thank you so much. Please tell a friend, or 10 about the show. You are awesome.

Listen, I’m calling an audible today. I’m changing up just a bit. And I’m doing it for a couple of reasons. Those of you who are regular listeners know a couple things about ReDiscovering the Bible. You know that we’ve been going through the Bible, looking at the Books, discovering who wrote them, to whom and why. We are taking a very general overview. I’m trying to help you read the Bible for yourself, rather than explaining all of it. And I’m supposed to get with you every week. I’ve failed repeatedly at that. Mostly it’s the time of year. Some call it Christmas, or “the Holidays”. But I also bit off a rather big mouthful by starting back to school to earn my Doctorate degree. What a silly time of year to do that. Some things have taken a hit. This show is one of them. For that I do apologize, but I’m also letting you know that until I get this finished, you should look for every other week rather than every week. I don’t want to stop this program until I get finished with my doctorate, That would be counter productive. But I do want to be honest. So, for the time being, I’ll probably produce something every other week.

Now, the second audible is, we were going to look at three books of the Old Testament today, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But something happened yesterday that has really affected me, and I want to share my thoughts about it with you.

Yesterday morning, I got a text from a good friend of ours in Maine. She told me that a mutual friend of ours, a chap I used to work with, had died. I was devastated. William was one of the best managers I’ve ever known. He genuinely cared about his team. Every spring, at the end of April, we had to let about 50 people go. It was a seasonal business. We ramped up every year from late autumn till mid april, then we had to let a bunch go. It was just the nature of things. William studied his daily reports and tried to find a way to keep as many people employed as possible. He hated to let anyone go. He wouldn’t sleep for a week. His team meant that much to him.

And they knew it. There are all kinds of people discussing him, his life, and his funeral arrangements online. Everyone is in shock. Totally stunned.

I haven’t seen him in ten years. The company was sold. I was kept on and transferred to GA. William, for family reasons, came to GA for 6 months, but went back to Maine in the spring of 2009. He came to my office, we shared some coffee and memories, and he left. That’s it. I never saw him again.

I’m sad about that. I’ve been way too guilty of kind of forgetting about people from my past, including people who meant a great deal to me.

I had a friend, Robert, from Indiana, who followed me as youth minister in KY, when I first came to Scotland, back in 1980. Robert came in 82 and lived with me for 6 months, then returned to the states to raise money to come back full time as minister here. He lived with me another 6 months, then found a place to live. We had many adventures together over the years. We went to Germany to a conference I was preaching in. That was tons of fun. He was one of two friends who was with me on my first preaching trip to Northern Ireland. He was in the car when I got arrested for being somewhere I shouldn’t be, and taking photos of the British army. It’s a long story, I’ll save it for some other time.

When I was returning to the States in 93, Robert came to my home to tell me he was going back to the States as well. He returned to Indiana. I went to Florida. I never saw him again. Robert died in 2015.

William and Robert are just two examples of a personality flaw I have. I’m really terrible at staying in touch with the people that matter. Sure, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help, but there are so many people I have neglected over the years. Even the Churches here in Buckie, The one I planted in Forres, and in Cumbernauld, I simply ignored. So many people I cared about have long since passed on, and I was blissfully unaware.

I have friends from High School, and college, who mattered a great deal to me, that I couldn’t tell you what’s happened to them. Except when I get a notice that they have passed away. I look back on the people I worked with in Florida, who I served as minister to in Iowa, Argentina, Kentucky, and Maine.

I’ve got a friend, right here in Scotland, that I’ve only seen once in 2.5 years. He lives about 40 minutes away from me. He was the first Christian in the Forres Church. We used to have our Bible Studies in his house. I talk to his wife via Facebook, but I’ve really neglected Mike. I’m a real slob of a friend, sometimes.

I really want to do better. I want to be better. Some of the people from my past have died without knowing Jesus as their savior. I certainly know I spoke with each of them about Jesus, but I truly hurt, when I think about people who enter eternity alone.

Please, if you have been neglectful, like I have been, I encourage you to make a fresh start. Again, the internet is a great tool for using to reaquaint ourselves with people from our past.

And, on a related note, none of us knows if we will even have a tomorrow. Make the most of today. If you need to talk to someone, do it. If you need to visit some place, go there. Regrets are terrible monsters. Read that book you’ve always wondered about. See that film, or play. Go to that concert. Try on that dress. Taste that food. You have today. Make the most of it.

I also want you to consider Jesus. Do not permit your life to end, without investigating His claims. He really died for you. But more than that. He rose again, three days later. Jesus is the Man who is God. He is the God who became Man. He loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to give you the chance to start over. He wants to forgive you. He wants to give you eternal life. Guaranteed.

Just this morning I was reading something really neat in the Gospel of Matthew. This is in Chapter 20, if you want to read it for yourself, and I hope you will. But Jesus is telling a story to the people. He talks about a wealthy land owner who hires a bunch of people to work for him in the fields. He goes back at 9 in the morning, and hires some more. Then he is out and about near the end of the day, and sees a bunch of people milling about, and offers them a job too. At the end of the day, he pays the last hired the same amount as the people who had worked all day.

That is the best news. All of us get the same heaven. Some of us, like me, have been in the Kingdom all day long. I was 9 years old when I first followed Jesus. I don’t regret it at all. But many people don’t follow him until late in the day. I saw an article online about a woman, 100 years old, who decided to follow Jesus. I saw a photo of her being baptized. That was awesome to me. And, if you’ve read the Gospels, you’ve read about one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus who said to Jesus, “Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus said, “TODAY. You will be with me in paradise.”

It’s never too late. As long as you’ve got your wits about you, and breath in your body, you can receive Him as your Lord, and He will accept you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. How much, or How little. Just don’t keep saying tomorrow. Because you don’t know if your tomorrow will come.

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First Anniversary Of My Open Heart Surgery. Let’s Celebrate

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Image result for Celebrate images public domainSpeaking of it being June, it was one year ago today, that I received triple bypass surgery. Between January 2107 and June 4, 2018, I had a heart attack and 4 strokes. The last stroke was during my heart surgery. That’s pretty scary. The only after effects of all those attacks on my body, are scars on my chest and legs, loss of vision in half of my left eye, and trouble remembering names and names of places. My speech is not slurred. My long term and short term memory are good. I’m not as quick remembering things. I used to be really good at quizzes and memory games. I could think of things quickly. I’m not as quick as I used to be. It’s kind of like the way you lose a step in football or tennis when you get older. But this is with my mind. I can still recall things, it just might take me a minute to process the question. But all things considered, I’ll take it. The heart specialist told me that it’s not uncommon for a patient to die if they have a stroke during heart surgery. Ok, I’ll take a bit of blindness and a slower recall of historical information. And, with the names, it’s not like I don’t recognize people. It’s just embarrassing, when I’ve known someone for years and suddenly their name is gone. Still, what’s a little embarrassment in the great scheme of things.

For a year and a half, I was so sick. I tell people all the time, that it’s like I was asleep. I have very few memories of what happened during my sick time. I remember being a lot of trouble for my wife, if we went places to sight see, or shop. I was always having to stop and rest, and often spraying my heart meds. Poor lass, couldn’t have had much fun.

We live two or three blocks from the Church of Christ, where I’m the minister, and I couldn’t even walk it without stopping to rest. I remember that Sundays took a lot out of me. Preaching in the morning and at night was almost more than I could do. I had to start taking Mondays off, because I couldn’t get out of bed.

But now, a year on, I feel great. I still need to do some work to get seriously fit. I need to lose some more weight, but I’m losing it. Last week, I walked down to Buckpool harbor and back with my grandchildren. There were no problems. I’ve walked up and down all the stairs over at Brodie Castle. And, I’m awake. I feel like I was asleep, and I’m awake. So today, I’m celebrating. Life is not to be taken for granted. We live in a beautiful world. Especially up here in Moray. From the Sea to the Mountains, and every mile in between. We are surrounded by some amazing views of nature. And let’s not forget all the wonderful people we meet. Life really is a blessing.

But what about after. What would have happened to me, if my stroke during surgery had been fatal. Sure there would have been a sense of shock for some of my friends, and all the folk at church. Probably my wife would have been pretty upset at me. And I hope, a little sad. But what about me?

I am 100% confident of what would have happened to me. I would have awakened with no pain, in a place even more beautiful than Moray. I would never know a moment of sadness or illness, or pain ever again. Not because we all go to a better place, but because Jesus promised a forever of joy for ever single person who would put their Faith in Him. He is the creator of the world we live in. He died on a cross because we sinned, and he didn’t want to be separated from us. And he rose again, to conquer death. Not just once, in his case. But for all of us. And I made the choice many years ago, to give my life into his care. For that reason I know what will happen to me when I die. I know I’m not perfect. I’m not even close. Just ask my wife. But I am forgiven. Like the apostle Paul, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

And what about you? On this anniversary of my surgery I have to ask. There is a funeral going on right now in Buckie. I saw the cars. There have been quite a few recently. Yikes. What if one of them next week is yours? What if your family and friends dress all in black and weep at losing you. What happens to you? Have you made preparations? Do you have a will? Do you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt what your future will be? You can. Seriously. I’m not joking. You can hand the keys over to Jesus right now. You can say, Jesus, I need you. I surrender. You drive from now on. And I can tell you, from experience, that new life with and from Jesus is even better that waking up after surgery. I’m glad I’m alive. I love my life. I love this town. I even love all the rain. And it’s much easier to love it all, because I know that even after it’s all behind me, life gets even better.

We’d love to have you visit us at Church sometime. We talk about things like this. You don’t have to dress up. Wear something. Otherwise you might get arrested. But you don’t have to get all dressed up. Sometimes people think you have to put on fancy duds to come to church. No Way. You can. Some people do. Heck sometimes even I do. But not always. Come as you are. We meet at 11 a.m. At the intersection of West Church and Pringle streets. We also have a meeting at 6:20 sunday evenings. You’d be welcome at either…or both. If you have a church home, I encourage you to go there. But if you don’t you are more that welcome to visit with us.

That’s all I’ve got for now. We’ll talk again soon. But for the rest of this week…..I’m out.