Monday, January 25, 2010

Whose Shadow Are You In?

Psalms 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

It is often thought to be a negative thing to be "in someones shadows." The connotation being that you have become overshadowed by someone and no one can see you. While the world may think that is a negative, as a child of God we realize that it is a positive thing, as long as you are under the correct shadow.

There is safety in the shadows of the secret place of Almighty God. When the trials and tribulations of this world beam down on us with scorching heat, it is good and comforting to know that there is a God in Heaven who offers us the shade of His goodness and mercy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lightly Esteeming The Rock of Our Salvation

Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

Here, tucked into what is often called, "The Song of Moses," is a warning to Jeshurun (a symbolic name for Israel that is used 4 times in the Scriptures, which means "upright one") that must be heeded to today.

They had a problem in that they began to "lightly esteem" God. "Lightly esteem" means "to wilt, fall away." This same problem often plagues many Christians today if they are not careful. This happens when we start to:

  1. Become FAT - Waxen fat - Unfortunately, many a child of God has become lazy in the blessings of God. How do I know this? Because I have seen many church pews filled in times of heartache and sorrow, to only be empty once again when God blesses and things are going well.
  2. FIGHT - kicked - When the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart to move you into a certain direction, it is our responsibility to follow that leading. When we don't we are like Paul, before his conversion, who was trying to "kick against the pricks." Many Christians may be on their way to heaven, but they are going to go kicking and screaming!
  3. FORSAKE - forsook God - To forsake something implies that a choice is made. The problem today is that so many are making this choice without ever realizing it. They seek the world, and in turn forsake God.

While the world continues to fall away further and further from the Lord, let us resolve to grow closer and closer everyday. Remember, when there feels like there is a distance in our relationship with God, it is not God that has moved! We can be as close to God as we want.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Blessings Do We Take For Granted?

Deuteronomy 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

In our text this morning, Moses is winding up on his final instruction to Israel before they cross the Jordan River into the Promise Land. When I read this verse this morning, I thought about Israel and how all they ever seemed to do was complain about what they didn't have. Yet, Moses is reminding them that there were some blessings and provisions that they took for granted.

This got me to thinking this morning: what blessing in my life do I take for granted? May each of us take the time to count our blessings, and name them one by one. And you know what - it may surprise you what the Lord has done!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

God Will Rejoice Over Blessing You or Destroying You

Deuteronomy 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Here before us this morning is a "deeper" verse that deserves our consideration today. As Moses is teaching Israel that it is up to them whether they receive a blessing or a cursing, many will make a flippant response to what we have read today and say something to the effect of, "The God of the Jew...or, the God of the Old Testament...or, the Christian God is an ugly, vengeful person." But that is not the truth that this verse is portraying.

Let me start by quoting a couple of Bible scholars of old on why Jehovah (when the name LORD is in all caps in the KJV, it refers to God's name Jehovah) would rejoice in destroying them:

John Gill - His justice would be glorified, and the honour of his laws preserved.

Matthew Henry - Justice appears no less illustrious, asserting of his own honour and the securing of the ends of his government.

John Wesley - The exercise of all his attributes must needs please him, else he were not perfectly happy.

Moses is trying to remove any false confidence from Israel in the mercy of God. You will remember that the generation of Israel that left Egypt took the mercy of God for granted. After they chose to believe the 10 spies and their poor report, God told them that they would die in the wilderness and not enter into the Promised Land. After God made this proclamation, they ran to the top of the mountain to seek the Lord's forgiveness, but it was too late. Judgment had already came.

What Moses is telling the next generation is that if they chose the path of their father's, God's just indignation against them will be so great that it will be a pleasure for Him to take vengeance on them. Let's not make a mistake here: God does not delight in the death of a sinner in itself, yet He does delight in glorifying His justice upon incorrigible sinners.

We praise the Lord for His mercy and grace - but we cannot abuse it as so many do today. It should be our priority to live a life that causes the Lord to rejoice over us and to do good for us.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Did You Know What I Was Thinking?

As I was reading this morning, I came to this portion of Scripture, which reads:

Deuteronomy 15:1-2 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. (2) And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD'S release.

Moses is giving some final instruction to Israel before he graduates into Glory, and speaks to them about the Sabbatic Year of Release. As you read these two verses, what is the first thought that comes to your mind? I must be honest this morning and tell you I thought about that sixth year. "What if it is the sixth year, why would you lend anything to anyone knowing that you would lose out and not recoup what you lent out?" I am sure you are more spiritual than I am, but that is what I thought about first.
Then I kept reading, and came to these verse:

Deuteronomy 15:9-10 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. (10) Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.

"How did You know what I was thinking?!" It only took seven verses for the Lord to answer my question. It was a reminder to me once again this morning that I serve a sovereign God who knows the thoughts and intents of man's heart, and has the answer waiting for us in His Scriptures. Praise God for who He is, and what He has provided for us!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Choice of a New Generation

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; (27) A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: (28) And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

My title comes from a Pepsi Ad campaign from 1985 that was titled, "Pepsi, the choice of a new generation." The thought was that the "older" generation had already made their soft drink choice, but the next generation was choosing something different.

We see the same principle unfold before us in our text today. Moses is encouraging the next generation of Israelites who were preparing themselves to cross the Jordan into the Promise Land. They had a choice to make. Their fathers chose the curse, and died in the wilderness for it. But they had the power to make a new choice and obey the Lord and receive the blessing.

Today, we have the choice before us. It was Joshua, who leads this group over the Jordan Rive, that challenged them while on his death bed with this statement: choose you this day whom ye will serve.

Maybe you are reading this and you did not grow up in a Christian home with parents who took you every week to a Bible teaching and believing church. Do not despair, serving the Lord can be your "choice of a new generation."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review: How To Reach Your Full Potential For God by Charles Stanley

How To Reach Your Full Potential For God is the newest book by Charles Stanley. In this book, he deals with Christians who settle for less than God's best. In doing so, he points to 7 essentials to live an abundant Christian life:

1. A Clean Heart
2. A Clear Mind
3. Using Your Gifts
4. A Healthy Body
5. Right Relationships
6. A Balanced Schedule
7. Taking God-Approved Risks

IF you are a fan of Charles Stanley, you will not be disappointed. This is a good book and easy read for any new convert or any seasoned believer who wants to review some basic Biblical principles.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program.

What Does God Require of Us?

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (13) To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
It is always a good thing to know what is required, or expected of you. When your boss gives you a project at work, it is helpful to know what he desires the finished product to be. As children, you would go and clean your room to the level that you thought was "good enough," only to have your patents come into the room and point out places that were not "up to code."
The same is with us today as born again Christians. Our old nature tempts us to live a Christian life that is "good enough" by the world's standards. But God wants to make sure we live a life that is "up to HIS code."
How can we do that? I believe the answer can be found here in our text as Moses is giving instruction to the next generation of Israel that is getting ready to cross the Jordan. Moses instructs them on what God would require of them:
  1. A Person to Fear - " fear the LORD thy God..."
  2. A Path To Follow - " walk in all his ways..."
  3. A Priority in Fellowship - " love him..."
  4. A Plan to Fulfill - " serve the LORD thy keep the commandments...and his statutes..."

What a great plan for all of us to follow today as we strive to live a victorious Christian life!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beware of Blessings

[Hey everyone, it's another blog post from me, who woulda thunked it?!]

You may think the title is a little strange, but the thought came to me as I read this morning in Deuteronomy 6:12 - "Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, form the house of bondage."

Here, Moses is giving some final instructions to the next generation of Israelites who will be crossing over into the Promised Land. In the couple verse prior (vs. 10-11), Moses tells them that they are going to be inheriting a land that was great, good cities that they did not build, houses that were filled but they did not fill them, wells that had already been dug, and vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant. And when they do inherit this land, they themselves will be filled. There main charge was not to forget to love and follow the Lord, and to teach their children (vs. 4-9).

Many Christians today struggle most when the blessings come to their life. We often forget that the blessings are a result of the goodness of God, and not of anything that we have done. How many Christians fill their church pew when times are tough (sickness, death, financial loss, etc.), but can't be found when times are good (good health, good job, money in the bank, etc.)?

Let's all beware of the blessings, and make it a priority to never forget that it is the Lord who provides. Remember, He can just as easily take away as He gives.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Go visit this blog.

To all who follow this blog:

#1 - Sorry I don't post more. Will try to do better with it in the future.

#2 - If you get a chance, check out my good friend's blog and sign up to be a follower: Today was his first blog today, and it was a great help to me. Can't wait to read more from him in the future.