Saturday, December 2, 2023

December 2, 2023

Deuteronomy was a history lesson for the Israelites. Moses recounted the past to help them avoid making the same mistakes. One thing brought to light was that when he came down the mountain, everyone was worshipping the golden calf except the Levites. So, when every other tribe was given land as an inheritance, rather than an earthly inheritance, God gave the Levites himself, which shows that the spiritual inheritance is much more valuable. They were offered employment as ministers to him and were his representatives as spokespersons to the other tribes. All the other tribes provided them with towns, grazing land for their herds, and plots for their crops. They ministered to God, and because of that, God had the other tribe cater to them. 

Sometimes, we miss the point. Our salvation is not about pursuing an earthly inheritance; we already have the best this life offers; we have Jesus. Our connection to him through the Holy Spirit is more precious than gold. We are the bridge between God and the lost, shedding his light on the stranger so they can see Him, much like the Levites, except we have the real deal, the promise kept, and the prophecy revealed, which is Jesus. When you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances and life becomes challenging, count yourself blessed because you are a priest catering to God and blessing him through Jesus, the most extraordinary position available in all the world.

At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him. Deuteronomy 10:8-9

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19

Friday, December 1, 2023

December 1, 2023

God intended to destroy idolaters by sending the Israelites into Canaan. So it wasn’t as if they were going to go in and conquer good people; they were evil. However, Israel was not righteous, and they would not defeat the people because they were good, but only because of God. We must be careful not to boast in our righteousness because we are not, though we try; we are only good because of our salvation in Jesus. 

I’ve been working on my spring garden, preparing it to plant. We’ve killed the grass, tilled it up, and now I’m making the beds. I’m as concerned about aesthetics as the food, so I tend to go a little overboard. It’s a lot of work, and my arms feel like they are about to fall off! There is a pesky kind of grass that can come back from the dead, so not only am I dealing with how to lay out the garden, but I must try to get those deep-rooted grasses out or I will have to deal with them again. Those weeds are like the idolaters in the promised land; if they are not eradicated, and a few are left out of kindness, their deep-rooted idolatry will creep back in and destroy everything that God was trying to cultivate. 

Do not hang on to a particular sin that makes you feel comfy; it must be rooted out and obliterated! It will only open the door for the enemy to creep in and draw you into deeper sin. Let it go! It’s not worth dealing with God’s anger against you because you are too weak to relinquish it. Ask God to help you give up the sin that is keeping you imprisoned. The main point of this chapter of Deuteronomy 9 is to not boast in your righteousness.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Romans 3:10

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Deuteronomy 9:4

Thursday, November 30, 2023

November 30, 2023

Everybody has to work in some capacity during their lifetime. If you don’t work, it’s safe to say that you may not know where your next meal is coming from. God gave us the ability to work; we must not forget that and give him recognition. The wilderness was training for the Israelites, so they would humble themselves, learn to appreciate God, and always give him glory. Did you know that as they wandered for forty years, their clothes never wore out, and their feet didn’t swell? They were never hungry because he fed them manna or lacked water. He made water come out of the fire starter, flint!

As any good father disciplines his child, God also disciplines us if our hearts become haughty or we sin purposefully and reject his commands. You’ll know when this happens if you genuinely carry the Holy Spirit in your heart; you will be overcome with sorrow for disappointing the Lord, not just out of self-pity; you will beg for his forgiveness and be completely remorseful. 

As we look forward to the good land of a new heaven and earth, learn what God is teaching, and be grateful that he loves us enough to discipline us when needed and feed us when we are hungry. Never become arrogant by taking all the credit for his blessings. The entire point of this chapter of Deuteronomy is to give God all the glory and never forget what he has done for you. Praise him as often as you can.

Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Deuteronomy 8:11

And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 8:17-18

Thank you, Lord, for every person pictured in this photo and the ones that are not. I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

November 29, 2023

As God prepared the Israelites to take possession of the land of promise, he gave them warnings. They must destroy everyone, leaving no people for marriage or even as servants. He didn’t want them to get drawn away from worshipping only him. This warning reminds us of the New Testament verse that tells us not to be equally yoked with unbelievers. They were to destroy all their idols, including the gold and silver that covered them. He also warned them not to take the whole land all at once because there weren’t enough of them to maintain it to keep the wild beast from taking it over. They must follow his commands and not turn away from him. These were not fighting people, so he wanted to make sure they knew that it was he who would make them successful. 

We can learn a couple of things from this chapter in Deuteronomy because we are adopted or grafted into the family of God through our salvation in Jesus: if we love him and keep his commandments, he will have mercy on us. “And in vain do we pretend to love him if we do not make conscience of his commandments.” Matthew Henry Commentary. Though we may not always keep his commandments as we should, we are forgiven because of Jesus. However, those who hate God only hurt themselves because he will repay those who hate him. It may seem slow, but God’s plan will not fail. Keep your eyes open for what he is doing now in this extremely evil world. 

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Deuteronomy 7:9-10

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

November 28, 2023

As the holiday season begins, we must remember why we celebrate. Give all due respect to the Lord our God and honor him for all he is. One of the most beloved verses is: 

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5

But how do we love him? By acknowledging him in every aspect of our lives. Start your day with prayer. Let him know you are thinking about him. Remember him throughout your day, thanking him for the little things as well as the big things. Sometimes, we forget that we made it back home in one piece after fighting traffic; thank him for that. Yes, we should thank him for the things that didn’t happen. We all get those calls that throw us into a panic, but when God gives us peace, knowing that he is in the midst of it, we can’t help but give him all the praise and glory. Remember Him always, love him, and keep him in the forefront of your mind, and he will provide you with a long life.

Monday, November 27, 2023

November 27, 2023

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses revisits the Ten Commandments to confirm the Israelite's commitment to follow them as they prepare for a new way of life in the promised land. They would not be altogether like they were in the wilderness but scattered to their own land; Moses repeated the commands to keep them fresh in their minds. You can see how God's plans fall into place; he had already instituted the feasts, so there would be a gathering of the congregation periodically. When we are away from other believers for an extended time, the likelihood of us falling away from our commitment to God and going our own way is more probable. We need other believers, and they need us. If you are still sitting at home and not in communion with other Christ-followers, it's time to get off the couch, put on some clothes, and return to church. My pastor mentioned this in his sermon on Sunday because he also live-streams our services; many people are still in the pandemic pattern and haven't returned to church since. I've had prayers answered because of my fellow Christians praying in the flesh upon my request; I think being in the same room made the difference. Do not forsake the assembly. 

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! Deuteronomy 5:29

Sunday, November 26, 2023

November 26, 2023

As I was weeding my garden, I was reminded of the parable Jesus taught about the wheat growing among the tares. It got me thinking about those weeds. No matter what I do, I cannot make those weeds become the crop that I planted. I can witness to that weed all I want, and it will never become my crop. However, we, who are the crop, must live with the tares among us until Jesus gathers us into his barn and sets the tares on fire. What is also apparent is that the wheat cannot become a tare. You are chosen and are safe from eternal damnation. 

Don’t get discouraged if you are diligently trying to bring someone to Jesus and they continually reject him. If it is God’s will, they will turn and follow Jesus. Though this is a hard lesson, and we may not know what’s included in God’s plan, we do know that we have a role to play; Jesus told us to go and tell the world about him, and we must do as we are told whether the world listens or not. 

Moses spoke these words to Israel before they entered the promised land, reminding them of what God had done for them. I believe we can take these verses for ourselves and count them as promises to us. Even though these two situations don't quite mesh, we need to hear God's promise to us, his wheat.

But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. Deuteronomy 4:29-31

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Matthew 13:30