God’s Great Gifts

December 4, 2009 - Leave a Response

It’s interesting to me that this would be what has come to my attention (from Deuteronomy of all places) since it is so close to Christmas.  Maybe God’s trying to tell me something??

Deut. 6:  God is the Giver of all good gifts.

vv. 10-13 “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, to give you, great & splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards & olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat & are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him & swear by His name.”

We have not done anything to deserve anything good that we have been given.  We must watch ourselves not to forget the Lord who brought us out of slavery.  It’s so easy to think that the good things in our lives are because we’ve made good decisions or done the right things, but the truth is, if what we got in life were to reflect what we have earned, we would still be in slavery to sin and no better than the people who live the most base and filthy lives.  How often I take God’s amazing gifts for granted.

Deut. 11:  It’s Our Choice

In this chapter, God sets before the people the rewards of obedience & the consequences of disobedience.  He says “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.”  He promises to bless them, to send rain in its season, to remove their enemies, etc. when the people are obedient.  And He promises to shut up the heavens & that “[they] will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving [them]” if they are disobedient.

The application can be made to our lives as well.  To the Israelites, God promised a land that was the best there was in all the earth.  It was theirs to simply go into & possess & enjoy by trusting God & following the commandments He set for them.  To us, His adopted children, He promises abundant life.  He has it all prepared for us; it’s there for us to just possess.  The only thing we have to do is trust that God’s abundant life really is the absolute best there is for us & then follow His commandments in order to possess it.  How often I miss God’s best because I refuse to leave the familiar “land” of mediocrity & move into the unknown-but-God-guaranteed “land” of the abundant life.

Father, please help me to recognize the times I’m choosing less than Your best & to have the faith to move into the abundant life You desire to give me.


Holiness & a Higher View of God

November 12, 2009 - Leave a Response

Numbers 9:  Holiness

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November 3, 2009 - Leave a Response

First of all, every Monday I’m reminded of how much I need to get on a good schedule even on the weekends so that I can get up and have my quiet time.  Even though weekends are supposed to be our restful times, I can’t seem to make time either Saturday or Sunday to sit down and have a quiet time.  I need to work on that.

On a different note … Today I got to Numbers 6.  It struck me that throughout the beginning of Numbers, God shows how serious He is about our holiness and about the vows we make before Him.  We’re told that Aaron’s sons had to go into the tabernacle and carefully cover all of the articles of the sanctuary before the Levites who were assigned to carry them could touch them — or else they would die.  Not be slapped on the wrist, not reprimanded — die.  Then as God gives the commands for the person under the Nazirite vow, He shows how serious of a thing it is for a person to take a vow before the Lord.  So much so that if the person’s parent or sibling dies, they couldn’t be there because they would be defiled during their time of separation.  So much so that if someone all of a sudden died beside them, they would have to offer a bunch of sacrifices and go through a big ordeal to be absolved from being defiled during their time of separation, and the time that they had served under the vow would be considered null and void even at that.  Wow.

How flippant we are about holiness.  How easily we tell God we’re going to do things and how easily we back out or even just forget.  We think “God wouldn’t really expect me to go through with this since such and such came up.”  Would He not?  We’re also so quick to take into our bodies and minds things that are unholy without giving it a second thought a lot of times.  If we do even notice that we’re defiling ourselves, we think “it’s no big deal because after all God knows we’re humans; He doesn’t expect us to be perfect.”  He does.  That’s true.  But it’s not for nothing that over and over in the Old Testament and New He tells us to be holy because He is Holy.  I don’t think He was kidding or exaggerating.  I think He was serious.  Yes, He knows we will mess up.  Yes, He forgives us each and every time.  But I also think it grieves His heart that we, His children, are so unconcerned about something that He makes clear is so very important to Him.  The God of the Old Testament is the God of now.  He hasn’t changed.  He hasn’t lowered His standards.  He still expects us to live holy lives before Him.  We need to … I know I do … take the idea of holiness and our vows before God much more seriously.

God, please soften my heart to make me much more sensitive to the promptings of Your Holy Spirit.  Please help me to recognize the areas of uncleanness that are in my life.  Please teach me to take much more seriously my “set-apartness”.  And please forgive me for the attitude I have had about holiness.  Forgive me for grieving You.

I’m Back

October 29, 2009 - Leave a Response

So, I think I posted one, maybe two days and then quit.  I feel like that’s my life a lot of times.   I have these great ideas and plans, but since I can’t do them all, a lot of them fall by the wayside.  But, I decided to start it up again.  When I decided that Facebook wasn’t really the best place to post my thoughts about my Bible reading (which I was tempted to do today), I decided to write here.

Here’s a little background about what I’m planning to write about. …  A couple of years ago now, I went through a Beth Moor Bible study called Believing God.  In it she lists five statements that we must cling to in order to be able to believe God.  Those phrases have echoed in my heart ever since,  but I realized that I didn’t really know enough for them to mean much.  I realized that in order to really accomplish that, I needed to know what it is that the Bible has to say about each one.

The five statements are 1) God is who He says He is.  2) God can do what He says He can do.  3) I am who God says I am.  4)  I can do all things through Christ.  5) God’s Word is alive and active in me.  So I decided to go through the Bible and highlight what God tells me about each one.  As I read through the first time, I was trying to do the first two, and in doing so, I realized that a lot of times, it’s really hard to distinguish between what God says about who He is and what He says He can do.  When He says He created the world, is that something He did (creating the world) or something He is (Creator)?  I was trying to make the distinction and decided to just lump them together.  So I finished reading through the Bible and highlighting about that.  Now I have started over and am going through highlighting what God says about me — both about who I am and what I can do through Christ.

So as I begin to write, at least you’ll know where my mind is as I’m reading through the Scriptures.  Anyway, I decided yesterday that since God is speaking to me, I better write down what He’s saying.  So here are the things (at least my favorite things) that I’ve written down so far.  And unfortunately, I didn’t think about doing that until now that I’m almost done with Leviticus, but better late than never, right?

Yesterday:  Lev. 23 — When God detailed all of the different sacrifices that He required of the Jews, there were different reasons and different things that had to be done for each one.  But Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice. His blood sacrifice was sufficient to cover all of the different reasons.  He is our sin offering, our guilt offering, and our peace offering to God.  I know that there are others, the burnt offering, the grain offering, etc. and those are ones that I believe are our responsibility … what Paul refers to when he says that we are to be living sacrifices.  But as far as the sacrifices that are required to put us in right relationship with God, Jesus is all-sufficient.

Lev. 24: 17-20 – God gave us the Law so that we would realize how impossible it is for us to accomplish it, to be completely holy like He is and, therefore, show us our need for Christ.  And when Jesus came, He raised the bar even further, He said “you have heard it said … but I say to you…”  He made something impossible even more difficult.  And at the same time, He justified us before God and through the Holy Spirit gave us the ability to accomplish what He requires.  So awesome!

Today:  Lev. 25:23, 35  The things that we own are not ours.  We have no right to act as if they were.  The Jews were told to restore all property that had been sold to the one to whom God had given it originally at the year of jubilee because it was God’s and not theirs to truly sell.  God also told them that if one of the brothers became poor, they were to help him out.  Likewise, what we own is not ours and if God asks us to give it to someone else or to do anything at all with it, we have no right to refuse because He is the rightful owner anyway.  Interesting side thought, that’s how God was able to give the Israelites the Promised Land … because it was His and so He could take it back from the nations He had allowed to live there.

Lev. 26:44-45 “Yet in spite of this [Israel’s turning away from God and disobeying Him], when they are in the land of their enemies [as punishment], I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God.  But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I may be their God.  I am the LORD.”  Thank you, Father, for your faithfulness.  It’s amazing.

Sorry for the super-long post.  But I guess I had some catching up to do.  I don’t promise to write every day, but I will do more than I have.  Please let me know if you have any comments!!

The Picture

June 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

I want to explain about the picture in my header.  It is a picture I took when we went camping the last time in May of this year.  It’s of my precious son being a boy.  He really is such a boy.  I love it.  And I love that little hand!

But it’s also symbolic.  It reminds me of one of my favorite verses.  One that I’ve come to claim over and over recently.  It’s Psalm 103:14 which says, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”  

This may seem like a strange favorite verse, but it wouldn’t if you knew me.  I struggle so much with perfectionism.  I struggle so much with the idea of needing to do everything I think up to do, to do it all perfectly & then being afraid that I missed something I should have thought to do.  

But God knows my frame.  He knows I don’t have it all together, and it’s such a relief.  I’ve learned that He really doesn’t even care about our imperfections.  “Woah,” you say.  “That sounds crazy, of course He does.”  Yeah, if you mean by imperfection things that are sin, things that are willfully against God’s plan and character.  And, yes, I know that the word sin means missing the mark, so in the strictest sense everything I do that is not 100% perfect is missing the mark, sin.  But I guess more what I mean is that He doesn’t expect perfection.  He’s not surprised when I mess up.  And He’s not mad at me for it.  Thank you, God, that You know I am but dust.

Why am I here — on this blog, that is.

June 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

My main purpose for starting this blog is to just have a place to write down my thoughts as I read my Bible, study, read great books, and pursue growing in Christ.  And just about things that come up in my life.  

I swore I would never start a blog — ha, shows me.  But it’s really not so much to share the events of my life with my friends — though that will be nice, too.  It’s really just more my thoughts … for me.  But if you decide to read on — and can stand the stream-of-consciousness thing — please listen in and comment.  I would love to hear your thoughts.