God Speaks Through ALL Scripture

Sunday February 25, 2018 –  God Speaks Through ALL Scripture
Numbers 33-34

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that, 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.   When I was reading Numbers 33 and 34 this morning I wondered what God’s purpose was in including this scripture in the Bible.  Chapter 33 describes stages in Israel’s journey through the desert and Chapter 34 describes the boundaries of the new land.   Both are fairly detailed descriptions that to my limited mind provide no eternal blessing or instruction.

God’s transformative and creative power to speak to us through all scripture is based significantly on our ability to “listen” to what God wants to say to us each and every day. When we start that God will speak to us in all that we do work, play, read and study, we recognize that God is active in all we do, not just our “personal” or “spiritual” lives.

There are many reasons why I “get it” on some days and others it does not seem that there is anything for me in what God is saying through the scripture.  Yet God wants to open our eyes to see how he is able to do more than we can ask or imagine (see Eph. 3:20) in every sphere of life. His power changes not only the way we see, but also how we pray and how we read the Bible. He wants us to view every interaction as an opportunity for praise, learning, and God to talk to us and vice versa as we petition him about every concern we have.

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My Talents For His Service

Saturday February 24, 2018 – My Talents For His Service
Numbers 31-32

The initial chapters of the old testament contain many instructions for worship and sacrifice.  A key element in these teachings are instructions for Aaron and his off-spring and the Levites who have on-going responsibility for keeping the temple.   1 Chronicles 23:28-29 provides this good description of the life of the Levites.   28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.

So much of the early Old Testament is dedicated to instructions for worship and describing the roles of the Levites that I wondered; Who were these people, and how is it that they got recognized in the Bible? These individuals were the little people who attended to the daily worship operations of Israel. The fact that portion of scripture and many other detail the responsibilities of such people is important for us today. This listing clearly indicates that God uses all kinds of people for his service. God not only honors the big names of this world, he also honors the millions who work quietly, day by day, doing what needs to be done to build his kingdom.

As you continue to seek God, try to discover which of your abilities can be used in his service. Are you a skilled carpenter? Perhaps you could work on a low-income housing project. Do you operate a business? Maybe you could help someone find the right job. Do you have a knack for taking care of children? Why not take some pressure off of that struggling single parent down the street? Whatever your talent, God wants to use it for his service.

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Principles of Being Human

Friday February 23, 2018 – Principles of Being Human

Numbers 28-30

Not a day goes by without stories of abusive behavior between men and women, or harassment in the workplace and the consistent behavior is people not treating other people well.  The Bible provide crystal clear instructions on how we are supposed to treat others that when followed would resolve all the personal interaction issues we here. Because I was created in the image of God I should believe and affirm the following principle of how to treat others:

  • I recognize the full personhood of others and respect boundaries.
  • I look out for the rights, preferences, and comfort of others.
  • I value and enjoy others.

For any situation, relationship, or decision we face, we can resolutely apply these principles to guide us. The results, over time, will lead to blessing in our own souls in the form of fruit such as joy and peace, and we will express our actions outwardly for others to enjoy in the form of fruit such as love and kindness.

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Blessed Forever

Thursday February 22, 2018 – Blessed Forever
Numbers 26-27

The following scripture is actually from the reading yesterday, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to re-emphasize that Jesus Christ is the same today, tomorrow and forever.  The great part about that reality is that He will always love us and the promises made centuries ago are just as true today.

This is from Numbers 23, 19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 20 I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

God’s blessings are promises that will never change!

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The Angels Are Throwing a Welcome Party!

Wednesday February 21, 2018 – The Angels Are Throwing a Welcome Party!
Numbers 23-25

I am going to diverge from my “normal” devotional to pay tribute in written form to Reverend Billy Graham who passed away this morning in North Carolina.  I couldn’t help, but think about the impact that Billy Graham has had on my world.  Admittedly my mother calling me today to ask me if I heard the news (which I had) and reminding me the Billy Graham had used the outhouse at her home are also part of why I felt this news did require some extra emphasis.  I had the opportunity to go to a Billy Graham Crusade as a participant and as a counselor and both experiences were amazing!   I will always remember the sound of his voice and the fiery conviction that he delivered as he extended the invitation for people to follow Christ.   I want to pass on just a few quotes that give you a small insight into this man and the impact he had for decades.

Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask.

We hurt people by being too busy.  Too busy to notice their needs.  Too busy to drop that note of comfort or encouragement or assurance of love.  Too busy to listen when someone needs to talk.  Too busy to care.

Life is a glorious opportunity, if it is used to condition us for eternity.  If we fail in this, though we succeed in everything else, our life will have been a failure.  There is no escape for the man who squanders his opportunity to prepare to meet God.

I try not to worry about life too much because I read the last page of THE book and it all turns out all right.

Life is a glorious opportunity and I pray that I will never, ever, be too busy to care!

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The Holy Spirit Knows Your Heart

Tuesday February 20, 2018 – The Holy Spirit Knows Your Heart!
Numbers 21-22

Today I realized that the words and writings of this devotional are being used to evaluate my competencies for other tasks and roles.  I might add that for reasons unclear to me they have made negative assessments, but I am not deterred since these writings are more a conversation between God and myself with occasional observations for my family.

Today I read a great devotional encouragement that I want to share.  The Holy Spirit perceives our heart’s agony and comforts us in our weakness. He knows our spiritual battles often burns hottest when we fight within ourselves. We wrestle with how to prioritize our prayers. We struggle with imposing our human agendas on a holy God. We cross our arms, grit our teeth and mentally stomp our feet when things don’t turn out as we desperately prayed they would. Life’s frustrations can mute us spiritually: “We do not know what we ought to pray for” (verse 26). But God does not stop hearing us when we’re dumbstruck before him. Both in silence and when our words flow in a jumbled torrent, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf to the Father. He does know what to pray for.

The next time your spirit groans with a weight heavier than you can bear, trust that even when you might not be able to find words to pray, God clearly hears your cries through the intervention of the Holy Spirit. He knows your heart, your thoughts and your greatest needs better than you do yourself. Though your words may fail, your intercessor will never fail you.  I know that the Holy Spirit knows my heart and my aspirations better than myself.

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Listen First, God is In Control!

Monday February 19, 2018 – Listen First, God is In Control!
Numbers 18-20

As I read Numbers today and try to understand why the nation of Israel questions God’s goodness to them again and again, I do realize that there are many similarities where I may doubt that God really care about me and my needs.   Repeatedly the Jewish nation complains about how God removed them from all the “good things” they had in Egypt to bring them to die in the desert.   Time and time again God provides miraculous intervention to demonstrate his love for these people and meet all their needs.

I am also reminded that we should be careful as to how we approach the things of God, for he is holy. Ecclesiastes 5:1–2 tells us: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

God loves me and has blessed me in so many ways that it is a great reminder that I should be slow to question God’s plan for me.   God is in heaven and I am here on earth, pretty small in comparison to the majesty and power that only God has today.

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More About Patience? Clearly I Need More!

Sunday February 18, 2018 –  More About Patience?  Clearly I Need More!
Numbers 16-17

I know that God is trying to teach me more about patience.  Part of how I know is that I am continually barraged with additional teaching about patience and today was similar.  The following was part of my devotional reading for today.

We’re not patient people. Most of us resemble a child at Christmastime, eagerly anticipating the time to open presents. Each hour seems like an eternity. When the designated time arrives, we can’t move fast enough to get to the Christmas tree and tear open all those tantalizingly wrapped gifts.

But try as we might, we can’t make time go any faster. Waiting is a part of our modern life. No matter how fast-paced and hectic our daily schedules may be, we still run up against times and places where we have no choice but to stop and sit or stand in line.

The Bible often connects waiting with faith. Sometimes Scripture even uses the two words interchangeably. While we might not like it, waiting serves an important role in our Christian life. The work God does within us while we wait is just as important as whatever it is we’re waiting for. Of course, none of us finds waiting easy. In fact, it might bring pain and will almost certainly try us and test us. Waiting demands patience and exacts a price. It’s the toll on the road that each of us must pay.

God promised Abraham a blessing: “I will . . . give you many descendants” (Hebrews 6:14). But to receive his blessing, Abraham had to wait—day after day, year after year. In time God did fulfill his promise. And Abraham’s waiting turned out to have been his greatest blessing; he was to become the father of the Jewish nation.

We also hear the promises of God and long for God to fulfill them. Yet we often wait. If Abraham’s story teaches us anything, it’s that God proves himself faithful again and again. As guys, we want something to do—some action to take. But sometimes our part is simply to wait, with a confident, disciplined and patient assurance that God will keep his promises. He will come through. While such times aren’t easy, in the end we can honestly reflect that “it was worth the wait.” Indeed, waiting can result in our greatest blessing.

I know that God wants to teach me patience because he continually gives me more time to wait upon him for answers and direction.   I know it is going to come soon, but for today I will learn more about patience.

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Keeping a Reminder Right in Front of You

Saturday February 17, 2018 – Keeping a Reminder Right in Front of You
Numbers 14-15

Having a daily reminder of something that needs to be done is a helpful thing.  The value of something as simple as a tassel is something that seems like it would have value.   It makes me wonder if it may be helpful to have a similar regular reminder of the commitments I have made to follow Christ.   Read the following from Numbers 14, 7 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.’”

Remembering and obeying all God’s commands is always a good thing!

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More Than Conquerors

Friday February 16, 2018 – More Than Conquerors
Numbers 11-13

When the people of Israel first came to the promised land they sent in twelve spies to survey the land.   10 men came back with a mixed message.  The land was beautiful and full of grain and fruit,  but the land was inhabited by giants who would destroy the people of Israel.  Fortunately God also raised up men of courage and character and Joshua and Caleb saw the promise of this new land.  30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

God wants each of us to view the day and the world as a place where great things can happen.  We know that sooner or later, floods will come in one form or another: illness, financial problems, a relationship breakdown, societal calamities, terrorism or natural disasters. If we don’t take Jesus’ words to heart and put them into practice, we are on shaky ground. But if we build our spiritual lives on what he says, we can withstand anything that shakes us and I can assure you that there will be some shaking in your life.

And what strong words had Jesus given his followers? Love your enemies and be good to them (see verses 27–36). Exchange kindness for anger, silence for gossip, a sweet spirit for bitterness. Don’t judge others but accept them as God has accepted you. Forgive, because you have been forgiven (see verse 37). Be generous, and generosity will come back to you when you most need it (see verse 38). Be more concerned with your own purity than about the purity of others (see verses 41–42). Care about the goodness of your heart because your words will reveal, no matter how good an actor you are, what’s really inside (see verses 44–45).  We are more than conquerors and regardless of what we may be facing we should remember that if God is on our side nothing can stand against us!

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