Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Deuteronomy 6 - Love Demonstrated

Love has a way of changing us. When I fell in love with my future husband life took on a new character. There was a spring in my step and there was joy of anticipating our next encounter. I loved to do special things for him and to see him appreciate the special kindnesses. Love always changes our attitudes and actions. 

In this chapter God says the same to the nation of Israel. God looks for actions of love on the part of the people He has preserved and protected. He describes the lavish gifts He wants to give them if only they will love Him in return. The commands God gives are small demonstrations of affection He longs for in His people. He says, "love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deut 6:5). He longs to be loved by His people; in return He gives us His life and provides for our needs. Psalm 19:8 says "the precepts of The Lord are right giving joy to the heart."  God's law not only shows us His standard for Holy conduct but also shows us His desire for His people. 

Our love for God should overwhelm us. It should flow into acts of obedience to please the lover of our soul. God brings his people through much difficulty and pain to show his affection and great power that we would turn to Him even in the midst of prosperity and find our lives complete in Him, but far too often we content ourselves with the pleasures of this world and fall in with the ways of the unbelievers. 

If we could seek hard after God and find Him to be the desire we have longed for we could be salt and light to a dying world and let them see there is more life than they have experienced when they see it in you. We must pursue this love for ourselves and share it with others. We are God's people given to the world that theyay know Him and love Him too. How about it? Are you ready to shine that Jesus may be glorified hear and to find the life our soul thirsts for?  

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Deuteronomy 5 - Boundaries of Love

Every good parent establishes house rules to follow. These rules are not meant to Lord authority unduly, but to protect from danger and to train children in proper conduct. As children, we either comply with our parents desires or we rebel against them. Rules grate against us preventing us from doing what we would naturally do. They form boundaries that seem to hold us back and fence us in. 

God established the 10 Commandments with his people to outline for Israel what holy conduct looks like and to ensure they would stay close to God and not stray into the conduct of the nations they would soon inhabit. God shares His heart  when He says, "oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever". (Deut 5:29). His desire is not to frustrate but to see His people enjoy peace, prosperity and security. Isn't that what we want for all our children?

Now we know that everyone has fallen short and broken the commandments of God. If we have broken one commandment we are guilty of breaking all the law because they are so intertwined. Jesus came to fulfill the law and to reconcile us to God, knowing we were fully guilty and unable to save ourselves from God's judgement. But this law stands today to remind us of God's holy standard and His desire that we would be holy for His glory and for our benefit. He longs that we would fear Him and respect Him and worship Him for His goodness toward His people. 

If Israel had reason to worship because of the miracles God performed in the Exodus and in the wilderness, how much more having been redeemed by God's son do WE have reason to sing God's praise and to honor His instructions for our lives?  We have not just been given a land to live in but we have hope of eternal salvation and to live in the presence of God for all eternity. We have great promises; will we heed the voice of God in our lives today?

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Deuteronomy 4 - Higher Authority

We live in an age that largely despises authority and mocks the obedient and glorifies the rebellious. Tattoos, dressing like inmates, gangsters, tramps and the like are prevalent while those who seek after purity are mocked as ignorant and passive. 

From the beginning of time in the garden man has sought to be his own master and call his own shots. We like getting our way and being in charge. God makes it clear in this chapter that there is only one in charge - only one Master. He reminds the Israelites of the ways He has chastised their disobedience and reminds them that they belong to Him and their loyalty is demonstrated in obedience. 

It is right I obey God. Who cares for His people better? Who is more powerful than any enemy?  Who demonstrates faithfulness to generation after generation?  God reminds them f His mighty works and His purpose for doing them. He wants to be known and loved among the nations, but blatant rebellion must be addressed. 

God does not love us because of our acts of obedience, but because of our love for Him and trust in Him. Can we see beyond our circumstances and trust a God who is all powerful, loving but unseen in the moment?  In the midst if our crisis and conflict can we really trust God to pull us trough? 

The person who looks at oppression or injustice and looks to God finds that He is more than faithful to His people. He will glorify himself and make himself known in the midst of your situation if you can trust. The degree of our trust is demonstrated in our obedience. 

I don't believe all people who dress like gangsters are gangsters, but they have identified with rebellion so there always will remain a question. We act like our heroes.  We pattern our choices after theirs. So our challenge from this chapter is to pattern our choices after the commands God has given and to look like Jesus to the world around us. Will you take that challenge?

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Deuteronomy 3 - God's Got Your Back

Time after time, God seems to be teaching the Isrealites the same lesson - God can be trusted but their ways cannot. God chose this little nation and grew them to great numbers and fought for them to prove to Israel they served a mighty God who would provide for their needs and to show the nations around them that God is worthy of their worship and respect. 

This chapter details the defeat of King Og and the 60 cities he ruled. One by one, lands were given to Israel and they were beginning to divide the territory. God saw them through so many obstacles; only their rebellion and lack of faith caused them to suffer. 

When we God's people will make Knowing God's ways and patterning our lives after those ways we can be sure God will have our backs. I love verse 22 of this chapter,
"Do not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God will personally fight for you." I know fear of reactions grips me when I want to witness for The Lord. I don't want to be rejected or seen as fanatical. So I keep quiet and pray and hope for an opportunity for a real heart to heart. How much misery do I bear as a result?  The lessons God had for Isreal are ours too if we will embrace them and learn from them. God has our back if we are walking in His way. 

At the end of this chapter, Moses is denied his request to step over the Jordan and enter the promised land on the other side. God had other plans for Moses and Joshua was chosen to assume authority. God's ways are not always our own. When we pray and ask for something that is contrary to God's plan we can expect that we will not be allowed to pursue a direction that takes where God does not want us to go. 

The difference between Moses and the rest of the people was that Israel would rebel and harden their hearts against God and so they experienced judgment. For Moses, he asked but accepted God's reply and so God let him see the land but only from afar. His time on earth was coming to an end, but he got to see the victory that would be given to the people he led. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Deuteronomy 2 - Trusting God for Your Portion

In this chapter Moses continues the history lesson to the new generation of Israelites so that they could take the lessons from their parents mistakes and not repeat them. Moses shares how they passed through the land of Seir for Gid had given that land to Esau's descendants through Moab because that land was promised to Lot's descendants. See, when God establishes the boundaries of a nation no one, not even God's people should challenge those boundaries. 

Likewise, God moved before the nation when giving them their land of promise. God struck terror and fear in the nations (Deut 2:25) so that they were afraid if Israel. When God prepared Heshbon to be given to Israel, He hardened the King against Israel (Deut 2:30). God got greater glory as a result. 

When God establishes our boundaries there is no force on earth able to overtake Him. The real question is, can we trust God when we see the hardened King coming against us with all his might?  Can we trust that victory to God and allow Him to receive the glory and us to merely enjoy the benefits of trusting and obeying?  The plan is so simple, yet so difficult to implement. 

Trusting God means letting go of the circumstances we are trying to mold through our intellect and shear force of will. Trusting God means stranding confidently when the enemy seems more cunning and powerful than we are.  Trusting God may mean obediently taking an action that doesn't seem to make sense to us and looking to God for the result. It is losing control to gain the victory; a price too high for most to pay and so few see God show up to deliver them from their enemies. 

Whether is is a national boundary as in the case of Istael, or personal achievement, we can trust that God keeps His people according to His good will and He can overcome even a mighty foe for His glory and our benefit. Trust Him today in the midst of your crisis. 

May Gid richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.