Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Deuteronomy 22 - Make Things Right

There are many applications in this chapter we could examine, but to simplify this entry I will focus on one alone - restoration. In Deuteronomy 22:1-4 God gives instruction on what to do if you notice that a brother has lost or damaged goods. He says, "if you see your brother's sheep straying, give it back". Israel was primarily an agricultural society and the loss of an animal was a loss to ones income provision. It would be like saying to us, if you see someone's car that was stolen or someone's computer left in a public location or someone's phone, get it back to them. We are to make things right and not just walk past without taking action. 

When you and I see things that are out of place it need to be done, it is incumbent upong us to take action. We are to get involved in other peoples business, not to harm or interfere, but to help them and to restore them when they have been damaged.  

It isn't hard to look around today to find great needs. We might find them within our own homes, our church, in our neighborhood, at work or in the streets as we conduct our daily activities. When we make it our mission to set things right and to extend ourselves to help our neighbor, we are honoring God. 

Imagine the number of issues that might be mitigated as a result of God's people taking positive action and becoming the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Imagine the opportunities for witness thatight result when we demonstrate love to the people we meet by investing a bit of ourselves. In them. 

We should be careful as we engage with others to be diligent in sharing the gospel so that not only will they benefit in this life but also the next. We have a great hope and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in our lives that the people we encounter shoild know about. They can have joy and peace with God in the middle of their conflicts. 

As God enables you to see a need today be quick to reach out and lend a helping hand. God is honored and not only will you be a blessing, you may also find yourself blessed. 

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Deuteronomy 21 - Justice for the Victim

Chapter 21 has a variety of instructions for us: resolving unsolved murder, marrying a captive, rights of first born, rebellious children, capital crimes. God is sharing with us right responses in difficult situations. The responses often go against our own inclinations that is why it is important for us to have God's view. 

In the unsolved murder case, a sacrifice of a heifer was required. Just because the murder is unsolved doesn't mean that the community doesn't have a responsibility to atone for the crime. The crime cannot be ignored or left unresolved.  

The captive woman is to have a period of mourning the separation from family. Her beauty attributes like hair, nails, and clothing are to be separated from her. She is now part of her captors culture and no longer belongs to her own. Her head shaved, nails cut and dressed as an Israelite. After the period of mourning the man may take her as a wife if he chooses. He is not to treat her as a slave. 

These rules may seem foreign to us ofay, but the concept is one we can apply. God knows our inclinations toward selfishness and to do the easy thing. God calls us to be people of integrity righting wrongs and standing in the gap for the oppressed. 

If we will yield our way to God's we we learn His priorities are for the hearts of people. Ours are for our leisure andarerial benefit until we are guided by God's Spirit. This needs to be a conscious effort on our part because it is not a natural inclination. We need to determine in our hearts to follow God's commands no matter what. Are you willing to commit today?  

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Deuteronomy 20 - Battling Enemies

God sent the nation of Israelites into the Promised Land, but things were not smooth sailing as they imagined. They would be charged with confronting the inhabitants and usurping them from the land they occupied. God promised to give them victory but they would have to really trust Him. The enemies were hostile and well prepared to defend themselves. 

God offers up some assurances and cautions for the people as they go to battle:

1. God is on your side (Deut 20:4). The defeat of the EMT was already secure befor the battle began. God had chosen the side of His people. There is no need to fear even if the enemy is intimidating. 

2.  Don't doubt. (Deut 20:5-9). If you have concerns at home and worries that you may not fulfill a commitment, then your faith in God is probably not secure. Go home, God can't really use you. 

3.  Seek peaceable solutions first: if the enemy will surrender, then spare their lives allowing them to continue in peace. But if they refuse, their lives shouldn't be spared. They will only seek to ruin you by having you follow after other gods. 

4.  Don't ruin your future. You may need the fruit trees when ou come into the land. Hey aren't your enemy. Keep them to use later. 

These same principles can be used when we are confronted by financial enemies. We may have lost a job, have unexpected expenses, become overwhelmed by economic conditions. But as Christians who were redeemed by Christ himself, we know that God is on our side. There is nothing that we face that God cannot overcome. The test is, will we trust him when all around things look bleak?  

God can use us in the conflict if we are confident in Him. If we see his as our own battle, we should go home, we have already lost. We need not to give in to negative thinking and doubts. 

In dealing with enemies we should try to negotiate a resolution and gain their support. Calling a creditor or a former employer for a reference may pave the way for less conflict. A proactive approach may leave you with more options. 

We can often ruin our own futures by excessive debt or bleeding off retirement savings when confronted with difficulty. Resist the urge to take from your future. This difficulty is temporary. God can overcome even horrendous situations if we will abide in Him and look to Him for our help. 

When we keep an eternal perspective and stay in right relationship to God there is no enemy too great that cannot be defeated. 

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Deuteronomy 19 - Justice and Mercy

When we are confronted with hatred and malice, it doesn't matter if no actual crime has been committed; we can feel that hostility. It is displayed in the mannerisms, the tone of conversation, even the glaring in the eyes. Likewise when God judges sin, He sees more than the outward act - He sees the heart. In this chapter we see that God makes special provision for those falsely accused or who have harmed someone not through malice, but by accident. 

Special cities of refuge are established to protect those who may have accidentally killed someone so their lives may be spared. Murder was punishable by death, but God considers motive when distributing Justice and Mercy. 

Not everyone would get a free pass in the City of refuge, but they would receive a fair trial with at least two or three witnesses to establish guilt or innocence. False witnesses with an axe to grind would my be tolerated, but would receive the punishment they intended for the one they accused. 

God leaves judges and priests to discern truth and apply proper punishment where warranted. We do not see inside ones heart as God does, but we can be discerning in consideration of outward acts that reveal a motive to harm. We can rely on God's Spirit to guide us when we are without wisdom and we can apply His word when acting as His representatives here on Earth. We are not to be quick to judgement, but are to wisely look to God when we are called to give testify or to evaluate right. 

We live in a world where the lines between right and wrong are blurred. Those who would live according to their own standard challenge Christians not to judge, but to let them live their way. When others are harmed, we must take a stand for truth and right. We may be the ones who provide God's Justice here for the innocent. 

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Deuteronomy 18 - Living Out of the World

For forty years God led the children of Israel through the desert with one primary goal: to teach them to trust God even when circumstances would seem impossible. He wanted them to know they served a God of the impossible and able to overcome anything they may face. He wanted their devotion so that they would not be taken in by the practices of the heathen nations around them. 

God is still a God of the possible. He still works miracles. The greatest miracle is that He saved a sinner like me bound for Hell and covered that sin with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I was bought from prison and made free. I am so free that one day I will be higher than the Angels and will be the bride of Christ forever joined to Him and never experience pain, distress or loneliness again. I am challenged day in and day out to remember whose I am and that even the darkest day is overcome by the light. I am not to live like the unbelievers around me, but to practice in faith the lifestyle God prescribes.  Holy living in the blessed care of my Lord. When we live differently, we witness to the Lord's power on our lives. 

This blog was intended to spell out wisdom for our finances, but our finances are so intertwined with our passions and our lifestyle that they cannot be separated. What we love and how we love determines our financial priorities. Will we live a life focused on the earthly pleasures that can be obtained?  Will we live for stuff, power, leisure or escape?  Or will we lay our lives down and let God choose what is best and follow Him as we live out our days?  

In this chapter we have a foreshadow of Jesus' coming (Deut 18 15-20). Jesus stands as the true leader for God's people in contrast with the heathen gods and the false prophets speaking in the name of God.  We have a guide to discern false prophets. God distinguishes false teaching from true prophesy. There are a lot is false witnesses speaking astounding prophesy and other false witnesses speaking biblical prophesy as if it were new trying to gain for themselves a name. We need to know truth. It isn't found in reading this blog, though I believe I am truthful. The way to know truth is to go to the source, the very word of God and know truth in a way that only God can do. Have that supernatural encounter with God in His word and see the life that can be yours. 

God says if a prophet proclaims some event in God's name and it does not take place that is a false prophet. He is not of God and he has no power over God's people. We can always know a false prophet if they speak against the truth of scripture. If we know scripture we are equipped to judge truth from falsehood. 

I pray you will look up as you live out your days and not dwell on the trials here or the obstacles. God is greater than all of this. Our life is lived for God's eternal glory and we have the assurance that we will be by His side in eternity if we will place our full faith and trust in Him.

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