God On Your Side

Champions

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 20

If you’re going to be in a battle of some sort, of course you would want God to be on your side. I heard that the Seattle Seahawks prayed before the Super Bowl. According to The Gospel Herald, Pastor Mark Driscoll met with several players on the Seahawks team who are Christian. Among them is Rocky Seto who says, “Without knowing Jesus we are damned.” Something tells me these boys had God on that football field that memorable night. No matter how tough that other team was, they are no match for a team whose hearts, minds and bodies showed up to a game with God with them.

I have always appreciated when big, muscular, manly athletes revere to God in their lives, but what about us? Do we revere to God and show up to life everyday with Him in our lives?  We should. Stuff comes at us all day; our lives are a battlefield. I love verse 4, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Whether you’re a Super Bowl Champion or grocery gettin’ Mom , it is essential that we are not in it alone.

Deuteronomy chapter 20 is primarily the rules about war, but verse 4 set the pace for my takeaway of the day and I think it is a very practical verse and one to put to memory. A great reminder of who you have on your side and what that means in the bigger picture of life. The enemy [the devil] is relentless in trying to defeat us, yet he is no match for God.

Mark Driscoll asked Seto to define the Gospel, and Seto did so without hesitation – “Jesus saves. We all need Jesus – without Jesus, we are damned,” he says, stating that it is essential for people to understand their dire need for the Lord. “Jesus is everything … Jesus owns me, Jesus died for me – Jesus paid the debt that I couldn’t pay which is eternal death, and then ultimately He gives me everything I need … He’s the best King that I could ever hope to be under,” he says. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life – both on and off the field. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life – both on and off the field. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life – both on and off the field. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Super Bowl 2014 Life On and Off the Field with Jesus: Driscoll Interviews Seahawks’ Chris Maragos, Clint Gresham, Coach Rocky Seto – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Sinned By Accident

Talking With Hands

Today’s Devotional: Deuteronomy 19

Have you ever hurt someone by accident? I have. I’m a very animated speaker and when I’m really into my story my hands are busy trying to bring added emphasis to each word that I’m trying to convey. This [habit] has gotten me into trouble from time to time. You could say that I’m dangerous to be around if you are a waitress carrying a tray of red wine glasses or a heavy tray of dishes. I can (figuratively speaking) poke out an eye if you are an innocent passerby and I remember having to apologize for inadvertently slapping someone with a quick lash from the back of my hand because of the passion in which I was speaking.

Deuteronomy 19 brings to our minds a scenario in verse 5, “For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life.” First, I’m impressed that God’s Word uses such a comprehensible example of accidental death and secondly, it’s something that could really happen. If it would… What do you you? If you kill someone, even if its an accident, isn’t that still murder?

God gives this example to let us know that accidents do happen, even ones that may result in sin. I don’t know about you, but I find relief in that. Surely my spilled red wine and minor backhanding doesn’t compare to accidentally killing someone, but what if, right? The bible helps us prepare for those moments of uncertainty and I’m thankful that God has ever possible scenario covered and will protect us.

Since we are prone to sin and God knows it, it is also a relief to know that ALL of our sins are forgiven. God’s grace is so unbelievable that even in the sins we commit by accident, He proves a way out. That way out is Jesus and how blessed we are to know our lives are saved.

Testing For Imposters

Crystal Ball

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 18

Palm readers, horoscopes and Tera cards don’t pass the test. The last verse in chapter 18 tells you how to know what is truly from God and what is false. Deuteronomy 18:21-22, “You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”

Now what about today? This test would disqualify everyone on the contemporary scene who claims to be a “prophet” by predicting the future. I have heard of instances where someone has hit the nail right on the head, but more often they’ve miss the nail altogether. We never hear of their misses; we only hear of their accurate guesses and I admit – some are freaky accurate.

One very common prediction are the people predicting the end of the world on a certain date, the rapture of the church on a certain date, calamities that will come to a particular section of the country on a specific date, and a myriad of other such theories. My husband and I were married on December 31, 1999, which was supposed to be the eve of the end of the world. As soon as the calendar turned to 01-01-00 it would be the end of the world as we know it; that makes me think of the song by REM. Needless to say, the world didn’t end and we just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

If we applied God’s test to these self-acclaimed prophets, they would be out of business in short order. A true prophet must be accurate in every detail every time. But do you know that there are no warnings about false prophets for the church today? Why? Because there is no more prophecy to be revealed. Everything has been revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Word. Our warning today is not against false prophets; our warning is against false teachers. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you …” (2 Pet. 2:1). The warning to us is to listen very carefully today, because there are many sweet, soothing voices that sound very pious, but are not teaching the Word of God. Oh, how important it is for us to beware of false teachers!

McGee, J. Vernon (1984-01-06). Thru the Bible Commentary, Volumes 1-5: Genesis through Revelation (Thru the Bible 5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 21921-21931). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The Key to Success

Secret to Success

Today’s Devotional: Deuteronomy 17

A valuable chapter which deals with the regulations that would control a king. I do have a verse that jumped out at me and inspired this blog today. It’s verse 19, “It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”

It is written to instruct a king, but I see application for us. What if we made it personal and read it as, “God’s WORD is to be with YOU, and YOU are to read it all the days of YOUR life so that YOU may learn to revere the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of His law and these decrees?”

God may have been giving advice to prepare a king for his role as a leader, but I also know that the bible is our source for preparation in our daily lives. When I imagine the roles and responsibilities of a king I think of all the decisions he has to make, the people who are depending on him to lead them and the great responsibility on his shoulders not only in his household, but in his kingdom.

How is that different from our lives? We have decisions to make, we have people who are depending on us to lead them and we have great responsibility on our shoulders in our households and our workplaces, neighborhoods and communities. Should we need God’s Word less than any king of any land?

I think verse 19 has a very important instruction for us and I’m blogging this to help us remain firm in whatever life is throwing at us right now. You’ll find what you need in His Word and He is all we need. That may sound cliche, but I’m not intending it to be. Read, pray, meditate on his word daily. God sums it up perfectly in Joshua 1:8, Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Come, With Joy

Joy

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 16

Today’s Theme is about Three main feasts: Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles. Exodus 12 gave us the real details of the Passover. The Feast of Passover was instituted as a memorial to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their adoption as Jehovah’s nation. The Passover is a festival that laid the foundation of the nation, Israel’s birth into a new relationship with God.

In verses 9-11, it says that they were to number seven weeks after Passover, which would be forty-nine; then the next day would be the Sabbath, the fiftieth day. Because the Greek word for “fifty” is pentecoste, this Feast of Weeks is known as Pentecost. It is also called the Feast of Harvest or the Day of First Fruits. It celebrated the first or earliest fruits of the harvest.

Verses 16-17 expand on the tabernacles. These are the three feasts which were to be celebrated in Jerusalem, which all males were required to attend. Three times a year they were to travel to Jerusalem to keep these feasts. It was to be a time of rejoicing and they were to come before the Lord with joy.

How often do we come to the LORD with a laundry list of wants and we through it all on Him. I’m guilty of that. I have burdens for people and events. I try to be sincere when I ask God about the things on my prayer list, but do I always come to Him with joy? Unfortunately, no.

This is a great perspective for us to keep in mind as we enter into prayer with Him. He does say “cast your burdens on Him and He will care for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and I’m certain God can handle it, but what if someone saw you, walked up to you and just started hammering you with a list of “I wants?” You would be confused. No sincerity, no compassion, not even a half-hearted, “How are you doing?” If we had people like that in our lives, we may avoid that person in the future.

I know God doesn’t avoid us, but I do believe as we approach the God of the Universe, we could (and should) be respectful, communicative, appreciative and joy-filled. This is a perspective that is a good reminder to us, especially me, that God is not my dumping zone of worries and woes. He is God and we are so blessed to be able to go directly to Him, in fellowship, with our lives.

Everybody Has a Heart

Homeless

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 15

God has a solution for fighting poverty in verse 1, “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.” I had to read that twice. Imagine if you got a do-over every 7 years? If you’re in bad shape, that could be a real blessing.

I took my family on a tour at our local homeless shelter this past Monday. I thought that serving together as a family,  especially serving meals to people less fortunate, might be a great way for our family to bond, bring perspective on how blessed we truly are and teach my children how rewarding it is to help others.

The people who occupy this shelter for their temporary living space are the poorest of community. For many of the residents this is an opportunity to get a fresh start; a do over. The staff helps them identify goals, provides guidance on how to find a job, interview and dress appropriately; they also teach organizational skills, basics for daily living (like how to manage finances) and basic hygiene.

Shortly after our tour my youngest daughter said to me, “Mom, why were some of those people were looking at us weird?” I responded with the kindest words I could muster, “Well sweetheart, those people don’t have homes… perhaps they were looking at us because they were ashamed to be there or maybe they think we’re ‘the rich people,’ we really are compared to them. We have a home.”

I wasn’t honestly sure what to say, you know how kids ask the most amazing questions that we, as parents, sometimes don’t know the answers to ourselves. My answer was intended to show compassion and help her per-adolescent mind that she didn’t have to be self-conscious of her image or take anything personally.

In verse 7, “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.” This is a basic human courtesy to be kind to the poor among us; it is not our social status that defines us.

My mom used to say, “Sarah, everybody has a heart!” What she meant was I am not better than anybody. I should not judge anyone, look down on them, act like I’m better than anyone nor be mean like a bully. Whether they have a physical disability, are poor, shop at 2nd hand stores vs. the trendy stores at the mall, don’t wear matching clothes, have body Oder, etc… My mom taught me an incredible life lesson in those words – to love everyone and recognize that everyone has feelings – Don’t judge.

Perhaps Deuteronomy 15 was God’s way of saying to the Israelites, “Everyone has a heart.” Give them a new beginning, a do-over every 7 years. Which leads me to note that Jesus gave us a HUGE do-over for dying on the cross for our sins. We are all poor in spirit and lost without Christ. He sacrificed everything for us to have eternal life. He didn’t discriminate on the basis of wealth, acts, right vs. wrongs…. he did it for those of us whose hearts have repented and accept his sacrifice. The result – a new birth.

You Are A Treasure

Treasure

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 14

Please excuse me while I get a little mushy today. Out of all the verses about food (what to eat, what not to eat and then a brief topic on tithing) I found one little verse that appears to be completely unrelated, but it jumps off the page and directly touches my heart. It’s Deuteronomy 14:2, “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.”

To whom is Moses referring to? Who has the LORD chosen as His treasured possession? – Answer: Believers!

A treasured possession. When is the last time someone told you that you are treasured. Hearing that we are loved is one thing, but treasured?…. that’s love at an entirely different level. Over the century people have died for things they treasured. Huh, could that be why Jesus died for us?

When I think of a treasure I think of value. I think of something that is desirable, unique, special, significant, important –  nothing else comparable. God calls us [believers] his treasured possession in verse 2 and throughout the bible. How do we wrap our minds around that idea with out letting it go to our heads, literally?

Then you have the word, possession. That is a possessive word that means selfish, unwilling to share, not willing to part with or in the words of a toddler, “Mine!” Put those two words together, “treasured possession” and WOW!

We can’t wrap our minds around it. We have to rest in it, have confidence in it, accept it and live it. I think there are so many truths in the bible that we simply can’t comprehend, but God wants us to take Him at His Word and know that He is God. (Isaiah 46:9)

So if you’re feeling insignificant today or perhaps you are carrying a burden of some sort, these are Words for your soul. They are for mine and I am grateful and feeling very blessed by this verse. Funny how God has a way of telling you exactly what you need to hear. Each phrase in this verse speaks powerfully to my heart. Let’s read it again and allow His Words to bring perspective for us today… “For YOU are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen YOU to be his treasured possession.

Walk with your head held high today Girlfriends. God loves you, you are His treasured possession.