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Showing posts from March 23, 2014

Remember

Our memory fades the good and bad things that happen to us in life. It is said that America is only one generation away from destruction. When one generation forgets what the previous generation has experienced then they are more likely to fall. As Moses gives his final words to the people of Israel he challenges them to remember what they have seen and experienced related to the discipline of the Lord. He says, "His majesty, His mighty hand, His outstretched arm; the signs He performed and the things He did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; what he did to the Egyptian army…, what He did to you in the desert…, and what He did to Dathan and Abiram…" (Deuteronomy 11:2-7) Moses wants Israel to remember the ten plagues that Egypt endured that were address to the gods of Egypt and their impotence before the God of Israel. He wants them to remember how Egypt's powerful army was decimated when covered in the Red Sea. This arm of po…

God's Intentions

"What are your intentions?" This is a commonly asked question in business and social relationships. Intentions take us somewhere. They are well thought out plans that seek completion. Moses led the people of Israel for forty years and then he wrote the book of Deuteronomy. It is his swan song. He repeats much of the history of the people and lays before them the guidelines for a productive life. He says, "Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers." (Deuteronomy 8:1) The four bolded words above tell the story of a successful life. Obedience to God brings the "so that" of the passage. Disobedience brought death whereas obedience brought life and not only life but positive movement forward in that life (designated by the word increase). Not just to continue to live and increase but to enter into a new place, a new relations…

Two Ways

"All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John." (Luke 7:29-30) Here is a comparison between the supposed least of the least and the best of the best. Tax collectors, who were Jews working for the Roman Empire to gather taxes from the people and so considered betrayers of the Jewish nation, acknowledged the message of God through John to repent and even be baptized as a physical way to show their agreement. But the Pharisees and "experts in the law," also known as Scribes, did not agree with what John said they needed to do. They were closest to the words of God in Scripture but farthest away from the ways of God. They were caught up in actions which they thought exampled holiness without having a heart that was setting God apar…

Humility

"Humility comes before honor." (Proverbs 15:33b) Humility is the abasement of self. It is that which holds our tongue, keeps our minds from lofty thoughts about ourselves. It draws others to us and brings us respect. Humility is not being passive or shrinking back but rather seeing the reality of life that we are all going from dust to dust. Consider those who were humble and honor came to them. Joseph who was made a slave at seventeen years of age and acted humble is his foreign surroundings. At age thirty he was second-in-command to Pharaoh. Moses driven from Egypt spent forty years being a shepherd for his father-in-laws flocks yet sent by God became the leader of over one million people establishing them as a nation, an army, in religion, in justice and all along the way feeding them from the hand of God. David too was a shepherd but was drawn home to be anointed by Samuel. He fought alongside of Jonathan and Saul but in the end replaced them as king. Gideon was from on…

Rebuke

How do you respond to a friend or family member who takes you aside to confront you? For most of us this is tough to handle. We could rather blame another for our actions or words, defend our self or just simmer under a calm exterior. However, is not the act of confrontation by a true and honest friend a part of loving your neighbor as yourself? Isn't the act of receiving reproof a test of the wholeness of your heart? "He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise." (Proverbs 15:31) Charles Bridges in his book on Proverbs said, "This exercise of reproof is the law of social life." It is a part of loving your neighbor. It is an exercise that brings health. Think about it this way: if you had a serious injury would you want someone to just wrap it up and ignore any measures like cleaning out the wound or sewing together the skin? No, you would want it cleaned out and tied up so you could get well. Humility, sincerity and self-knowledge co…

Unbreakable Link

There is a unbreakable link between the laws of God and the praise of God. The psalmist recognized this as he goes letter by letter through the Hebrew alphabet to speak of the laws, statutes, and precepts of God. He says, "I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws." (Psalm 119:7) Learning the righteous laws of God helps us to understand His love for us in establishing these laws to follow. He created man, knows how he thinks and what makes him do the things he does, so we see God's laws as preventative measures to help us. They are not boundaries that keep us from good but boundaries that keep us from evil. We all can view the path of those who don’t obey these laws. We see the consequences paid for crossing over them. Their lives are dramatically impacted and their children often experience these consequences too. All of this leads us to respect and admire God for His wise laws. When obeyed they bring life and light to the heart. They bring…