February 26

Leviticus 17:11 (NIV) 11For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.

Blood brings life giving oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our bodies. It carries away the waste from every cell. Without this wonderful process of both bringing nutrition and carrying away waste, we quickly die. Our brains cease to function after only a short time without sufficient blood flow. Truly, blood is our physical life.

God told Moses that the reason He designed us this way was so that the blood could make atonement for us on the altar. It makes atonement or covering for our sins. As the priest would slay the once- a- year atonement sacrifice, he would gather the blood to sprinkle before the Ark of the Covenant where God dwelt. The blood brings life, and the blood takes away impurity.

Man's rebellion against God is so serious that only death is a sufficient penalty. Since life is in the blood, blood must be spilled as justice. From the foundation of the earth, God determined that it would be the blood of His own Son. That was the only blood that could take away the impurity of the world. All other blood was insufficient to remove sin. They had their own sin that needed to be removed. The blood of animals could cover for a time (atonement) until the sufficient blood was shed, the blood acceptable to God for the sins of the world.

Thank God today that He made a way to do what you could never do. Without the blood of Jesus there would be no hope for the removal of the impurities of your life. Like a person with liver failure, you would have died on your own poisons. But the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sins.

Pray: Thank Him for the wonder that took place upon the cross.

February 26

Matthew 13:13-15 (NIV) 13This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

The disciples couldn't understand why Jesus spoke in parables. The natural man would think that a smooth compelling message would draw more people to the cause. Jesus was after more than numbers. He was seeking to draw people into a kingdom. This required a heart change, not merely a convinced mind. People will follow the intelligent speaker because of his ability to persuade. Then someone a little more persuasive comes along and they follow him. Jesus was after hearts.

Parables had to be interpreted by the Holy Spirit. A heart that knew it was helpless would seek to understand and the Holy Spirit would help them find. Revelation brings transformation. There is a personal interaction with the Holy Spirit. It has nothing to do with the persuasion of men, but everything to do with the power of interaction with God. This will never happen if the heart is calloused. There must be the recognition of need.

If Jesus had spoken plainly, the hardhearted in the crowds would be even more accountable on the Day of Judgment. It is the grace of God that Jesus spoke in parables, that the hungry might find a personal interaction with the Holy Spirit, and that the calloused in heart might not have increased condemnation. He is speaking in parables today, too. Your days are filled with them. Do you have eyes to see? Are your ears hearing? It all depends on the condition of your heart. We can all ask for the mercy and grace of God to soften our hearts so that they will be sensitive to what He is speaking to us.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see how much I need You. Soften my heart that I might receive what you are saying to me.