Watch And Pray

New-Years-Eve

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 24

This chapter is a continuation from Numbers chapter 23 because Balaam gives us two more prophesies – one being the coming Christ, which is a story that is shared on Christmas fairly often. It is also noted that this is the message (prophesy) that the wise men had knowledge of and is why they knew to be looking for a star to find the coming Messiah.

See verse 17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.”

Tell me THAT isn’t cool!

This makes me wonder if we are paying attention and listening for the signs that God is giving us regarding the return of Christ. I don’t believe you would disagree that we don’t have to look far. Turn on the world news, watch the global economy taking shape, the natural disasters that are seemingly more frequent (like birth pains – Mark 13:7-9) and not to mention how sin is permeating our culture – a whole new meaning to the “Sex, Drugs and Rock-N-Roll” quote of the 70’s.

If we look to the new testament where God IS preparing us for what is to come, we will see His warning in Luke 21:36, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

I pray for you my girlfriends in Christ, that we will be wise to hear God’s voice, following His teaching and be wise to see the message that He has for us in preparation of what is to come. With a new year upon us, a fresh start – a new beginning in some aspects. Let’s not only plan to be healthy, make wise choices, be financially stable or whatever worldly self-improvement plans we have to check off our lists. Let’s put more emphasis on time in His Word, Following His plan for our lives; watching and praying for what the future holds so that we may stand before the Son of Man like wise men who read the message and followed that star.

Discipline, Not Condemn

bookcase God's love

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 23

This chapter has been dubbed, “”The error of Balaam”—ignorance of God’s righteousness.

Balaam has now come to Balak, the king of Moab. Balak takes Balaam to the top of a mountain so that he can see the camp of Israel below. Balak is not satisfied with any of the prophecies of Balaam; so he will take him to four different mountains on four different sides of the camp.

Balaam uses his own reasoning and rationalizing, and concludes that God must condemn Israel because of their sin. Man has a tendency to conclude that God must judge Israel, because of their sin, and that God must judge the individual sinner. However, God does not judge the sinner because He has already judged him in Christ Jesus—when he (we) came to God by faith in Christ.

The world does not understand that and neither did Balaam. He thought that God must condemn Israel. He figured that if God was going to judge Israel, he might as well get the benefit of the rewards from King Balak; thinking that God would condemn Israel and that he would be permitted to get a handsome reward as a result of it.

Balaam did not understand the righteousness of God either. He did not understand that the believing sinner, just like the people of Israel, could not come under the judgment and condemnation of God. When the believer sins, he comes under the disciplining hand of God, not under the condemnation of God.

Aren’t you relieved? I am! Disciplined for our sin, not condemned. That’s not to say the world isn’t out to get us or the devil doesn’t work overtime to discourage us, beat us when we’re down and rob us of our happiness and hope. Today, I’m thankful to have a God who knows my heart, has all things figured out, can right my wrongs and direct my path. I’m so glad that my God forgives, loves, redeems, restores, and rebuilds lives.

Thank you LORD!

Permissive Will of God

 

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 22

I’m on the verge of a major life decision and God puts Numbers 22 in my path. He’s amazing that way. I teach my kids in Sunday school that praying is how we talk to God. Reading His Word is how He talks to you. Then sometimes, what He tells you isn’t what you want to hear.

So here I am. Reading Numbers 22 and realizing that God permits us to make our own decisions. There is His will and then there is our will. In verse 20, “That night God came to Balaam and said, ‘Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.'” In other words, God is saying, “All right, you want to go and before it is through you will go, but if you go, you are to say what I want you to say. Be careful of that.” We have here what is known as the permissive will of God. He permits us many times to do something that we insist on doing when it is not in His direct will. You remember how we learned from the children of Israel that God granted their request but sent leanness to their souls. Sometimes He also grants our requests and sends leanness to our souls.

So am I making a decision outside of the will of God? Yes! Months ago this seemed like a great idea and I was fully convicted that it was something God was leading me to do. Now, here I am, the day before I’m about the pull the metaphoric trigger and I hold a great deal of anxiety wondering why I have such apprehension to follow through? I have Christian friends on both sides of the fence – Friends who ardently oppose and those who know God uses people and circumstances for His good. I have sought wise counsel and prayed, but there are risks to say ‘yes’ to my decision and there are an equal number of risks to say ‘no.’ Nothing God can’t handle, of course, but as you know if we are living outside of the will of God we cannot/will not be blessed.

Heavy stuff here today and a chapter and verse put here just for me today. I guess you get to read it to make your own interpretation, but as for me, I need to get on bended knee and seek the LORD’s clarity today so I don’t make a mistake. If you could pray about it, even though I’m been very vague… God will hear you and I believe will help guide me.  Thank you!

Sorry God For Sorry Us

sorry

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 21

Do you remember the game of revenge, Sorry? It was fun to play the game, but things look much different in the “game of life” or to those wandering in the desert. As I read Numbers 21, I couldn’t help being frustrated for God because of the way the Israelites were behaving, again! Whining, complaining, ungrateful and discontent. In verse 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Seeing the whole story unveiled in the context of the entire bible makes me wonder how they could be so short-sighted. God has given them every provision they have needed and this is the eighth time they act out against God. Then my own conviction sets in. I complain about a seam in my shoe that rubs and gives me a blister (but I have shoes on my feet), I complain that I didn’t sleep well last night (but I have a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head), or the bad day I have had at work (but I have a job.) Makes me slouch a little lower in my seat as I continue to read.

How about you? Can you name a few things to complain about? Sadly, we all can. Therefore, God gets mad at them and rightfully so! He sends venomous snakes to bite the Israelities and of course they repent… again! Wouldn’t you? I’m not sure what venomous snakes God sends my way for my lack of gratitude, but I know He allows things to come into our lives like difficult people, temptations, challenges, illness, accidents, storms, and even death of people we weren’t ready to let go. Why? To teach us, humble us, remind us or correct us.

So as much as I could feel sorry for the Israelities in their own ignorance, I feel sorry for God for how many times He has to put up with them (and us) for how easy it is for us to neglect to see His provisions, blessings and gifts.

I appreciate God’s reminder to us today to stop complaining. We just celebrated the birth of His Son Jesus, there are so many reasons to be grateful. Let’s not take that, or anything for granted today. Perhaps our verse for 2014 should be Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Then again, why wait! Let’s start today!

Believe In God or Believe God?

SantaJesus

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 20

Merry Christmas! Blessings to you and your family this day and all year through. What a beautiful morning to wake up to find the house is quiet and peaceful which sends my heart to instant gratitude. It makes it easy to gain this perspective when there is the beauty of the Christmas tree, the appreciation for the job that afforded us presents under the tree and our health and happiness to be celebrated and recognized on this day.

While the why behind today far succeeds anything our eyes can see and our minds can conceive – it’s the birth of our LORD!

So I read Numbers 20 to continue our journey through the bible and discover something to examine. Moses and Aaron fell into temptation. I believe the whining and complaining of the Israelites caught up to them. God gives them specific orders to speak to the rock and it will give water, but instead “the boys” give credit to themselves, tap the rock TWICE, AND speak to the people in a harsh tone as if too be speaking for God. This makes God mad and He prohibits Moses or Aaron from entering the promise land. Bummer, all that wandering and never permitted to reap the reward of all that effort?

The reason it came down to this is that disbelief set in. Think about it… they believed in God, but they didn’t believe God and took matters into their own hands. This didn’t work out for them. God punished them for their actions, He had too – they tried to take credit for God’s power.

Do we do this? I do! I have been struggling with this for some time now. I believe in God with all my heart, but when it comes to believing God, my mind starts to rationalize, justify, or compromise what His Word REALLY says. Today is a day that a lot of people believe in God, but do they truly believe what the birth of our Savior means? Sadly, I don’t think so. I hope today gives you an opportunity to solidify your belief and that by faith you can trust God and live out his Word to your friends and family today.

Christmas… Do You “Get It”?

Christmas

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 19

It’s Christmas Eve. Do you want to know something? Since I became a born-again believer over 10 years ago Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. One of my friends, Kent Maichle, who received Christ this year had an amazing post on Facebook. He says, “A few have asked, since my son is getting older. Does he still believe this Christmas? My answer is yes and for the first year his Dad does too.” As I paste this unto this blog tears run down my cheeks…. for the first year his Dad does too. (Awesome, absolutely awesome!) There is nothing more beautiful that a heart who ‘gets it.’ I remember so vividly my first Christmas with Christ – A whole new meaning, an entirely new perspective on life!

I went into my bible study in Numbers 19 today with the intention of extracting a Christmas message. After all, it is Christmas. What kind of blogger would I be if I just blogged through the holiday and didn’t acknowledge the special event of Christ’s birth. But then I came to realize something. By reading God’s Word, I celebrate Christ’s birth, life, and resurrection everyday.  Through the reading of His Word, I am constantly reminded of who God is, what He has done and how I should live in a surrendered, humbled, God-honoring life.

So that being said, of course there is a message of Christmas in Numbers 19, and this is what I found.  Verse 20, “But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean.” We are unclean, all of us. During this time in history, God put the calf and other sacrifices in place for man to deal with their sin and dirtiness. Today, because of Jesus, we HAVE a way to deal with our sin and become clean. The disconnect is knowing that and then living for that.

So Christmas is a symbolic celebration of the coming of our LORD Jesus to earth, as a human infant, to live a perfect life, so that we may live an eternal life. But when we truly come to accept that gift, we not only have His eternal promises, but we are clean. It’s like a Holy shower. So I pray for all of those who haven’t unwrapped their gift from God and given their hearts over to Him. My heart grieves when I remember seeing Christmas Day as the finish line for my 6 week marathon of retail frenzy. Now I go into the Christmas season with my heart and budget in tact. True peace on earth!

Guilt By Association

guilt-by-association

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 18

God tells Aaron in verse 1, “The LORD said to Aaron, ‘You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood.'” God is telling the Levites that they are responsible for what takes place. We need to remember that Korah was a Levite; the rebellion arose within the tribe of Levi. It was very serious. God is telling them they are responsible.

When I was young, my brothers would instigate some trouble and my Mom would come directly to me for answers. Often times I was nowhere near their mischief, but because I was the oldest, my Mom held me to a higher level of responsibility. She would say, “Your the oldest, you need to keep your eye on your brothers.”

Now whether you think that’s fair or not, when I read Numbers 18 and the expectations that God places on Aaron and his sons, there is something to be said by living with God-given responsibility. As a Christian, I see this as a calling to help my Pastor. Imagine the pressure that rests on his shoulders and the level of accountability that he has to God as he leads our church, congregation, and his entrusted body of Christ? We all have a level of responsibility to help him, his family and our church family.

It’s the holidays and the Christmas season can be a time when we need to express our appreciation. We probably don’t even know what pressure he endures by skeptics of Christ’s birth. I pray for our church leaders that they would remain steadfast in their ability to be a witness to those who don’t understand and faithful to follow through with God’s plan in their lives, family and ministry.