THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Deuteronomy 4-6
But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.
I meet people who have survived the great depression. I am amazed at their stories of survival and sacrifice during this most difficult time in American history. They really do teach me to look to God in trust…and He will bring us through anything in the world.
Moses was talking to survivors as well. He was speaking to a generation had survived the idolatry of their fore fathers. He reminded them how God has destroyed the men who followed Baal Peor…a false God. The he said, “But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.” What an awesome testimony…that in the midst of idolatry these people had turned away from the Lord their God.
I want us to have that same testimony. It would be awesome at the end of our days to look back and rest well knowing that we did not turn away from God when all around us others were turning away. What will it take for us to “hold fast” in the midst of this world.
First, a FOCUSED FAITH is required. We must trust God…He is only one we can really depend on.
Second, always be AWARE of our surroundings. Situational awareness is critical in crazy world. Every day something crosses our paths that would deter us from our faith in God.
And then, STAY STRONG no matter what others are doing. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might. Moses would tell Joshua “Be strong…” because he knew that was what was needed.
Finally, we must TRAIN OUR MINDS properly so that we can hold fast to the Lord our God. Scripture tells us, “Study to show thyself approved.” The more time we spend in God’s Word…the less likely we are to lose our grip on trust in God.
Hold Fast my friend…HOLD FAST to HIM!!!
Father, we hold onto You this day. We need You in the struggle that is before us. Without YOU we will surely falter…help us…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Deuteronomy 1-3
28 Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.”’
If there is any power in the past…it is to remind of us the opportunities in the present. So often we are held captive to something in the past. That slavery to the past cripples our willingness to trust God in this moment…and in the future.
The past wasn’t a good thing for the people of Israel. On the brink of entering the Promised Land they believed the nay-sayers and rebelled against God. The discouragement in their heart kept them from “facing the giants” in the land the Lord their God had promised to them. They had come full circle…a new generation was poised to trust God or not to trust God.
The people were still greater and taller than them. The cities were just as fortified. The challenge was still great…but what was different was the years of wandering in wilderness taught them a lesson…they needed to trust God in the face of this incredible challenge that was before them.
That may be where we find ourselves today. The problem is bigger than we are…it usually is. The mountain is huge and the discouragement is robbing us of the strength needed to climb. The mountain before you…is never greater than the power behind you. John said, “Greater is HE that in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Yes we face great battles. Turmoil is all around us. Problems assault us from every angle. But great is His faithfulness. He will never leave us nor will He ever forsake us. He made a way for the people to possess the land promised to them. He will make a way for us to endure this momentary challenge in our life.
Father, we trust You for today…we need YOU for our tomorrows…help us as we focus our eyes and our hearts upon YOU…In Jesus Name…AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there.
The storyline was, “17 Year Old Rapper Held on $300,000.00 Bond for Murder”. Today a seventeen year old is being arraigned on the very serious charge of murder. I couldn’t help but think of a two lives ruined: the one who was murdered and the young man accused of the murder. That doesn’t even count the family members in shock over the tragic events.
God gave very clear rules about anyone who kills any person “accidentally”. He commanded that cities of refuge be set up. Anyone who kills accidentally may flee there for safety from the “avenger”.
Let’s not miss the loss of life in this story. It’s easy to be thankful for the “city of refuge” that protects the manslayer. But someone lost their life. A mom and dad grieved their son or daughter. A place at the table was empty. And nothing can fill the void of that loss.
The tragedy of a sinful world is a disregard for the sanctity of life. It’s interesting to me, and tragic that while the news reported the death of this one man it totally ignored the death of at least 300 children who never had a chance at life…children who were aborted before they had a chance to enter this world.
Today let’s grasp the HUGE value of life. Let’s understand that God places my life and your life at great value to himself. A city of refuge was not a substitute for life…yet in its own way it preserved life because the avenger did not have the freedom to just get revenge. We must honor and value life…we have no choice.
Lord, thank YOU for the gift of life and may we each one value life to the best of our ability…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
50 Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall…)
Instruction manuals…don’t you just hate them. I know most men reading this have purchased something that requires assembly. You looked at it…didn’t think about it…and said, “I don’t need the manual I can put that together in no time.” Then four hours later when we take a break…we hear some noise…and it’s our wife…with the instructions…and the item is together. Now as I like to say, “That ain’t right!”
God was giving Israel some very clear instructions about taking over the Promised Land. This instruction covered everything from war, to inhabitants and to idolatry. All they had to do was follow God’s very clear instruction and they would be successful and prosperous in their conquest of the land…because God would be on their side.
God gives us instruction through His word. Someone once said that Bible actually stands for: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. I like that!
We have all the WORD we need to learn how to live in relationship with God and with each other. We have wonderful role models of failure and success, rejection and repentance and much more. But the tendency is to listen to the Dr. Phil’s and Oprah’s of our world rather than the Spirit of God through the pages of scripture. I remember leading a church through “40 Days of Purpose” by Rick Warren. One person criticized the endeavor with these words, “We should get ALL our instruction from the Bible.” And you know what I have discovered since then…she was absolutely correct. Some of us will read the latest and greatest author of a self help book before we read the WORDS OF LIFE given to us by the Father who loves.
From now to the end of my life my goal is to read the Bible…Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth…5 times more than I read any of my favorite authors. I pray that the next time someone asks me what book I am reading, I will be able to say, “The Book of Numbers.”
Lord, thank YOU for the gift of Your Word…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
3 “And you shall say to them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs in their first year without blemish, day by day, as a regular burnt offering.
When I was in college, my New Testament Professor was a man named, Gordon Dutile. Dr. Dutile was a no nonsense kind of guy whose knowledge of the Bible was simply incredible. God’s blessing was with him.
One day when I made my regular semester offering to him…a term paper…I told him, “You will not find ANY error in this paper. This is a perfect paper.” You know enough about my writing skills to know that was a big mistake.
When I got the paper back there was more red ink on the pages of that term paper than is recorded in the King James Version of the Bible. Dr. Dutile saw almost every grammatical and spelling error in that paper. And what made it worse…I didn’t even make an A on the paper. One of the few times I saw Dr. Dutile smile was when he returned that paper to me.
God knows the flaws in offerings made to Him. One of the requirements was that the offerings be “without blemish”. They had to be perfect. God is purest perfectionist I know.
God is such a perfectionist that we could really never satisfy His righteous demands. So, I am very grateful that we are under the New Covenant…that we don’t have to offer daily sacrifice for our sins. You see the good news is…the PERFECT Lamb without blemish was offered. He who knew no sin became sin for us. We are not able to offer a perfect sacrifice…but sent HIS one and only Son to be the sacrifice that would satisfy His righteous demands for justice.
Today we have to completely depend upon HIS perfect sacrifice for the cleansing and forgiveness of our sin.
Lord, forgive my sin because of the perfect sacrifice of Your Son Jesus my Lord…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel.
When I was younger…some years ago…a long time ago…I joined a CB club. I was already a member of Linn Baptist Church in Linn, MS. But this new thing…the CB club was “LOTS” of fun. We had a party every Saturday Night and of course it always lasted until wee hours of Sunday Morning. Needless to say it wasn’t long before I wasn’t attending church and all of my “off time” was spent talking on the CB Radio and going to every weekend party. Pretty soon the weeks turned into months where I didn’t even worship God.
The CB Club became my Baal of Peor…my dangerous distraction in life.
The Bible records, “So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor…” Now the idea here is not just gathering in a meeting but joined in an intimate way with the practices of this false god…a complete violation of God’s commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Let me submit that we all have our “Baal of Peor”, our dangerous distraction from God’s will and purpose from our life. So what are we to do?
We must remember HIS clear command, “You shall have no other god’s before me.”
We must remember to HONOR His name always. And if an activity doesn’t honor HIS name…you know the rest.
We must remember that with ANYTHING that detracts us from HIS Will for our life has disastrous consequences. Just as the people of Israel.
By the way, I am no longer a member of a CB Club…but in the yearSSSSSSS since then I have discovered that the devil is a master of distraction and that he is still doing everything in his power to distract me from God’s mission for my life. I know that I am not alone!
Lord, grant us the discernment of spirit to recognize the ungodly distractions that would cause us to turn from YOU…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
Did you know that God keeps his eye on his people? Like a mother watching her child at the playground, God watches us as we walk, work, worship and witness.
Balak was a afraid of Israel…the sheer number of people made him “sick with dread”, so he devices a plan that involved Balaam.
Balaam was the local sorcerer for hire. He knew God existed but yet he was a freelance “prophet” used his “skill” for the highest bidder.
Balak supposed that if Balaam cursed the people of Israel then they would be ripe for defeat. So he sent an emissary to enlist Balaam’s help against Israel. But God saw what was happening. So he said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people for they are blessed.”
Israel was blessed! They were blessed with a great God that kept and protected HIS own.
We are blessed with a great God that keeps and protects us. Though surrounded on all sides by the enemy we can sleep at night with confident assurance that our God is watching over us. Scripture declares that our God never sleeps nor slumbers. The song says, “His eye is on the sparrow…and I know He watches me.” The ACLU, NCLU, BCLU and all CLU’s can rise up against God’s people but, “greater is HE that is in US that he that is in the world”.
Lord, thank You for watching me and guarding me with Your awesome power and presence…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”
Exasperation…frustration…anger…these are the emotions that filled Moses and Aaron as they dealt with yet another instance of grumbling from the Israelites. And it’s completely understandable and yet it is also very dangerous.
God gave them clear guidance and direction on what do…they were to speak to the rock and God would provide water. But listen closely to what was said, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”
You see one of the few instances when Moses seemed to focus on himself rather than God…and it was costly. As you read the rest of the story God confronts Moses and because he didn’t “hallow” God before the people, he, Moses would not enter the Promised Land.
Exasperation…frustration…anger…these are dangerous emotions that if not managed well can carry a high price tag. Each of us can remember a moment when our mouth wrote a check the bank couldn’t cash. We can all remember where we gave in to the moment and then the regret…well…it’s still with us.
Lord, help me guard my heart against frustration…exasperation…anger…protect me from myself LORD…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
3 They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”
You may have read that the new Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, the grandson of Billy Graham, Tullian Tchividjian survived a vote to fire him. The church voted to keep him as Pastor by a huge margin. A group rose up against him within just a few short weeks of his tenure because they didn’t like the direction of his leadership of the church.
Moses and Aaron had a group of a little over 250 men of renown confront them about their leadership in Israel. They said, “Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”
Moses and Aaron had NOT exalted themselves above the assembly of the LORD. God has called them to lead the people of Israel. That call began at the burning bush and continued through many confrontations with Pharaoh, was solidified through God’s watch care over Israel because of Moses faithfulness to God. Moses and Aaron were God’s men for that moment in Israel’s life.
I find it interesting that men of renown stood up to Moses and Aaron…in effect they stood up against God. Why? Perhaps it’s because their “power” status was threatened by the legitimate and critical leadership of Moses and Aaron. Maybe they just didn’t like the fact that now because of their rebellion they were sentenced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. We may never know…but this we do know…they paid a great price for their rebellion.
Why do we get caught up in “power” struggles and demand things go our way? Is the power struggle worth the price we pay?
Lord, help me to humble myself under YOUR divine will and help me not to stand against YOU Lord…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
Every Pastor has heard these words from his church, “We can’t…”
“We can’t…”, is what Moses heard from 10 of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land. Their exact words, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
“We can’t”, shows that we are looking at circumstances as if they are bigger than God. There is nothing in this world bigger than God.
“We can’t”, indicates a weak faith in a powerful God. Oh…how we must believe that our God can do the impossible.
“We can’t”, weakens the community “resolve” to be obedient to God. The word of these 10 spies would spoil the “resolve” of a VAST majority of people to enter the land. The moment, “We can’t…”, enters the conversation there is the beginning of a dramatic erosion of a resolve to be obedient to God.
“We can’t”, is costly. Just read the rest of the story. A generation of “We can’t-er’s” (I am sure that isn’t a word.), is not able to enter the Promised Land. They would wander in circles in the desert for 40 years.
“We can’t”, is costly.
Lord, I can do all things through YOU because YOU strengthen me…In Jesus Name…Amen!!!