Worth Repeating


Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 5

If you have kids you have probably used the phrase, “Please don’t make me tell you again!” or “How many times to I have to tell you…”. I’m a Mom and I have used them, unfortunately, often. I also have a Mom and I have had them said to me, unfortunately, often. Then I open up my bible and I’m having a flashback to Exodus 20, there’s the ten commandments being given to us, all over again.

There are several reasons why Moses is repeating them. 1 – It’s been practically forty years since they have been wondering through the wilderness. Those who were given the Law back in Exodus are no longer eye witnesses of that burning bush event. 2 – People forget – We forget.

One thing that is utterly amazing to me is how patient God is with us. Usually by the time I have to remind my kids that I’m tired of repeating myself, I have run out of patience; my plea with those words usually mean I am at my last straw. Moses so eloquently repeats the Ten Commandments. In 5:1, “Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.”

But did you notice? “Learn them and be sure to follow them.” It’s one thing to hear something, it’s a whole different level of commitment or surrender of will to actually do them. And then think about this… We’re not talking about a dirty pair of socks here, we’re talking about laws that God is giving us as a standard to live by.

Truth is, it is humanly impossible to obey them, but at least we know the standard. It gives way to grace, our need for Christ and makes sure we don’t try to get to heaven on our own merit. So, I appreciate that God puts it out there once again. After all, we do need to be reminded and LORD knows we forget. Let’s not just read them as if they are a re-run. They are deliberately placed there for us to learn and follow.

Let Me Go, Please!

Let Me Out

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 3

Just like a toddler standing at the door protesting as Daddy, Mommy, or Granny pulls out of the driveway “Let me go, I wanna go too!” This came to mind as I read Deuteronomy chapter 3:25, Moses says to God, “Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”

My heart goes out to Moses as he begs the Lord to let him enter the land which has been his goal for forty years, but God won’t waiver. As a matter of fact, just like a parent would have to instruct the persistent and persuasive toddler by saying, “Enough of that,” Verse 26 says, “But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.”

Moses sinned against God along the wilderness journey and God told him that he would be forbidden to enter the promise land, instead Joshua would lead them in the end. Moses was so close, he could actually SEE the land, yet God forbid him from going. Verse 28, “But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.”

Super big bummer… What a lesson for us, that even though we repent of our sin, we will have to take the consequences of it in this life whether we like it or not. So God gave Moses the instruction to encourage and strengthen Joshua, because he will finish the journey.

Maybe you are there. You have your face pressed against the glass door and you’re calling out to God, “Let me go, please!”, but God has someone else in mind for that journey (job, mission, relocation, promotion, adoption, ministry.) You take on the cheerleader role and champion the person that God has appointed in your place. Pray, encourage, support and aide them because that just might be the role God has planned for you at this time.

And of course, let God’s Word encourage you while you submit under His authority and His Will even though you might be feeling left behind. Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Rearview Mirror On Life

Rearview Mirror

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 1

Have you ever stopped to think and took some dedicated time to contemplated your life? It can be a dangerous journey to let your mind venture down memory lane where you evaluate where you’ve been and where you are now. Image life as though looking through a rear-view mirror. You can see the road ahead, but just so far. At a glance you can see the pass behind you and that road stirs up all kinds of emotions.

Deuteronomy chapter 1 is like that to me, but from Moses perspective. He gives a recount of the good decisions and experiences and then he rehashes the bad decisions and consequences that resulted from them. It’s neat to read this chapter and have the whole context of the wilderness march through the books of Exodus and Leviticus to be able to fully appreciate what Moses is saying in regard to the actual account of the journey it took them to get there.

Our lives are like that. We have made good decisions and have had some great experiences. Then there are those times when hindsight is 20/20 and if we were to do it all over again, we would have done things differently. The future could be paved with excitement, adventure, anxiety, uncertainty, fear or pain. While the past made up of beautiful memories, daunting challenges, hard lessons, major milestones and even some unsettling regrets.

Life is full of experiences (good and bad) and sometimes, let’s admit it, we have diverted from the right path – maybe even veered into the ditch. Our God is a God of grace and mercy, love and compassion. All of the bad and good of our past is also God’s hand in developing us into who He created us to be. Isn’t it exciting when you think of it this way?

Our promise land is on the horizon and God will take the wilderness journey of our life and make it purposeful. I feel like I have really bonded with Moses over the past several months and chapters of the Old Testament and can relate to his reflection on where he as been and why staying the course assures of a beautiful future. I value that all that he endured and the people that God entrusted Him to lead has given us a perspective into our our journey. And the best verse of this chapter is  21, “See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Sick Earth, Sick Hearts

Sick Earth

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 35

If I mention the word pollution, it doesn’t take long to conger up images of smog, skylines of chimneys, shorelines of debris, exhaust pipes on automobiles, liter collecting in ditches, sewage plants and garbage piled up in land files that are as tall as mountains.

As much as Genesis 1:31a tells us that, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good,” it’s been all down hill from there. We are a messy bunch of humans and we are dirty. I’m not petitioning to go back to horse and buggy days and I have no plans to get on some environmental soapbox. I’m simply sharing what came to mind when reading Numbers 35 today and how understanding what God is teaching me through it.

The statement that triggered all of this is Numbers 35:33 when God says to Moses, “Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it.

God is talking about murder as pollution and He’s telling us that sin has polluted our hearts. Sin is ugly, dirty, and void of beauty. I heard a radio program the other day and the DJ said, “With God there are no opposites. Darkness is not the opposite of light, it’s the absence of light. Hate is not the opposite of love, its the absence of love and sin isn’t the opposite of God, it’s the absence of God.”  So this statement could be a blog post to unpack all on its own, but could it be that earth is the absence of heaven?

Sin separates us from God, it brings dissonance into relationships and metaphorically speaking – it really stinks.

How do we clean it up? It starts and ends with God. We can’t clean it up on our own and we can’t be free from it without the covering of Jesus’ blood. So today, invite Him in. Ask Him to clean up your heart, your life, your messes. He can do it. He’s a big God and just like we feel so liberated when we complete a cleaning project; how much more liberating it is to not haul around our baggage of this world and in our polluted hearts.

God Delegates


Today’s Devotional: Numbers 34

Over time, I have have come to realize that delegation is an art. From the most successful people I know in business to the Wonder Mom’s out there make me realize delegation is the key to keeping our sanity.

Now I’m not talking about dumping their workload onto other people and abuse of power kind of stuff. In business I’m talking the people to which they delegate are people who are hired specifically to do the jobs, and perform the functions, that the over-extended CEO has to depend upon them for. They don’t feel like doormats or the dumpster for menial tasks; instead they pride themselves on helping the CEO look good and perform their jobs effectively.

What’s even more fascinating to me is that they do their work joyfully, they pride themselves in their work and they love their jobs. They wouldn’t want the pressure, schedule, accountability or stress of the CEO and they know that they are essential to not only the CEO, but the success of the organization.

Numbers 34:18, jumped out at me this morning when God said to Moses, “And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land.” God didn’t ask Moses to do it. He told Moses who to delegate the work too. God could have done this for many reasons:

1 – Moses isn’t the best man for the job!

2 – Moses was the big picture guy and when it came to the logistics of the Lot, there were people more qualified than Moses to accomplish the goal more efficiently.

3 – God knows how to leverage other people’s strengths.

4 – Moses had to coordinate the leaders to make sure everyone was going about their work appropriately.

5 – God knew it would be more fair an equitable if there were more people involved. Imagine Moses trying to organize all of these families and make sure everyone received their fair share.

The point I am making and how the LORD is teaching me through this message is that I/we don’t have to do it  [life] alone. I need people to help me and God puts people around us to accomplish His work together. Some of us are big picture people, while others are detail people and get the job done to perfection. God knows who has which strengths that compliment others. God knows who can get it done and who can organize it, facilitate it and orchestrate the task at hand.

It’s a beautiful picture (in my mind) of God accomplishing His work through others and God understands that we are better together, we can only accomplish so much when we are alone and independent.

Press On!

Past Present Future

Today’s Devotion: Exodus 33

If I went on a trip to Europe and told you every city I visited, but didn’t tell you about my experience in each city, you would be bored. You likely wouldn’t care about the places I had been as much as you would like to hear about the sights I saw, food I ate, places I stayed or the attractions we took in. Reading Exodus 33 is like that. We get the recap of the whole wilderness march and no details.


However. What I took away is that this journey expanded over 40 years. Moses and Aaron spent a big part of their lives putting up with whiny, rebellious, antagonistic, skeptical and downright disobedient Israelities. They even passed though several generations of Israelities that we learned yesterday only those who were under the age of 20 ever entered the land. This means the Isrealities who actually made it, weren’t even born when they first left Egypt.

So what does this boring passage say to us? It tells me that God is with us. God cares enough to put every camp that the Israelities camped. He records for us in His Word the entire journey [I believe] as a means to say, “Look where I’ve been, where you came from, how I’ve helped you, been faithful to you, delivered you and walked along side of you.”

Doesn’t this resemble the Christian life? I’m in my early forties and I can most certainly look back on my life, to this point, and see where I’ve been, where I came from, how God has helped me, how faithful (even though I don’t deserve it) he has been to me, how He delivered me and was, is, and will continue to walk along side of me.

I’m in awe. Are you? Is your life, whatever age you are, show you how God is with you? Even in those times when you didn’t feel Him, doubted Him, questioned Him and denied Him… He has been there and you know it now.

Just think about How differently our future can look when we take a minute to reflect on the past. It gives us certainty that He will be there. Yet, the world has a different story; the world gives us discouragement, loneliness, fatigue, guilt, regrets and hopelessness. That is why we have a different outlook on life. His Word tells us in 119:105 that His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Hebrews 13:5 says He will never leave us or forsake us and Philippians 3:14 says to press on toward the goal!

So there is our marching orders. Press on!

Bridging The Gap

Bridge to Cross

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 32

“Why do we need to go there when it’s just fine right here?” Is essentially what the Ruebenites and the Gadites were asking Moses in verse 5, “If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “Let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”

Crossing over into the unknown when our current surroundings seem to be “just fine” is one of the things that I believe prevents Christians from truly experiencing the goodness and abundance that God has for us. People stay in abusive relationships, tolerate mean bosses, put up with dead-end jobs or settle for “this is good enough.”

Lies, lies, lies!

Just like the elderly tribe members, they were very sincere in asking Moses if they could build their lives on this side of the Jordan. After all, it was adequate. But that’s not what God wanted for them. He had them wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and just short of the goal they figured the had come far enough. Sure it may have been nice, but what was holding them back?

Was it complacency? Why go on, they’re just fine right there? (Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent!)

Were they lazy? It’s too much work to cross the Jordan, it’s easier just to stay put? (Hebrews 6:12 We don’t want you to become lazy.)

We’re they selfish? Did they think there wouldn’t be enough for them so they should just take what they can get while the gettin’s good? (James 3:16 Where you have envy and selfish ambition you will find disorder and every evil practice.)

Were they greedy? They wanted first pick because they wanted to be guaranteed to get their fair share? (Proverbs 28:25 The greedy stir up conflict).

Were they scared? What if they let go of this land to find the land on the other side wasn’t as good and now they left this beautiful livestock worthy place? (1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love).

So let’s turn this application to you and me? Are we complacent, lazy, selfish, greedy, scared? What is holding us back from having what God has planned for us. Are we so caught up in our circumstances that we can’t see the possibilities for our lives and how to get there.

Wherever you are at and whatever you are doing, it takes faith to get beyond where you are. Let’s not be like the Ruebenities and Gadites and bargain with God that where we are is sufficient. He has a bigger and better plan, but we need to follow His Will and be obedient to His calling so He can take us where He wants us and has plans for us to go.

Where’s That Christian?

Blend in the crowd

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 31

This world is not our home. It’s our station; our station for Christ. We are here for a short time to do the work of the LORD. As believers, with lives that are completely surrendered to God, He has a purpose for our lives and we are here to fulfill that purpose. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone says to me, “You deserve to be happy.”

My response, “No, I don’t.” God deserves the glory and my happiness will never be fully attained on this side of heaven. It’s impossible; we’re greedy, selfish, prideful, gluttonous sinners. If we are truly happy, it’s from our ability to have fulfillment in this world and that, at best, is temporary. Ray Stedman says in his blog, Authentic Christianity, “Happiness is liking the present moment because it pleases us.”

Even King Solomon in all of his splendor was granted everything a human could ever possess and he declares it all meaningless. (Ecclesiates 1:2) His ask of God was for wisdom, something money can’t buy. Why? It was the best gift he could possess and gave him answers to some of life’s tough questions. As a result, through his wisdom realized this world is temporary, unfulfilling and exhausting.

Numbers 31:15-16 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them.They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people.”

There was a great problem with the children of Israel. God had taken them out of Egypt in one night. But it took God forty years to get Egypt out of them. And even now, after they had been tricked into idolatry through the advice of Balaam to the Midianites, they still bring the Midianite women into their camp. That is the problem with worldliness. It is not wrong for us to be in the world—that is where God has placed us—the great issue is whether the world is in us, in our hearts and lives.

This is a call-out for us this morning. A chance to realize whether or not we are truly of God or of the world. Does the world see us differently or just “another one of the guys?” Do we stand out in a crowd? Do people look for us like “Where’s Waldo” because they know we’re there somewhere?

We are set apart to be God’s people and today is our day to look, act, and live like we are His own.

God Keeps His


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 30

Have you ever taken a vow? According to dictionary.com a vow is a promise, pledge, or personal commitment. It makes me think of marriage vows, a vow of secrecy, the Pledge of Allegiance, oath of office, promissory notes, and debts to be repaid.

Chapter 30 speaks of vows; a young daughter under the authority of her father and a wife under the authority of her husband. Vows are our responsibility. God doesn’t make us make vows. He doesn’t force our hand in marriage, bond us to a 30 year mortgage or strap us with the pinky promises we make between girlfriends. God says in verse 2, “When a man [woman] makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”

As sinners, who fall short of God’s perfection, we break vows. It’s unfortunate because vows are the most sacred promises God entrusts us to make and commit to follow through. Statistics show that keeping our vows are not stacked in favor of the people making those vows.

But God keeps His!

His Word is FULL of promises. Among my favorites are:

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Acts 16:31  They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”

So, my takeaway in Numbers 30 is that we need to be true to our earthly vows and take them very seriously. However, one thing that we can be confident in…. God keeps His.

Sad Worship

True WorshipTears

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 28-29

In my commentary, Dr. Vernon McGee describes the worship described in Numbers 28-29 best. “Now what does this mean to you and me? We hear a lot today about worship and worship services. But how much is true worship in our services? How much is just aimless activity? Real worship is when we think God’s thoughts after Him. This sweet savor offering which God speaks of as My offering, My bread, My sacrifice, represents what God thinks of Christ. God is satisfied with what Christ did for you and me on the cross. What about you? Are you satisfied with what Christ did for you on the cross? Are you resting in that today? His invitation is “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Have you brought your burden of sin to Him and received Him as your Savior? Are you satisfied with who He is? If He is not the Son of God, then what He did is absolutely meaningless. True worship is a recognition of who He is and an adoration of His Person. In other words, it is thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

Have you ever thought of worship as being sad? When I think of worship I picture hands lifted, eyes closed, hearts connected and praises sung, but then I search my heart and remember that my most raw, heart-filled, genuine, God-centered worship has been on my knees, tears flowing, eyes puffy, nose running and auditory weeping.

Numbers 28-29 reminds me that sin is ugly and when we truly see ourselves has sinners, we become aware that sin robs us of our fellowship with God; sin is an occasion for mourning. When was the last time you wept over your sins? Have you been before God and wept over your sin, over the failure of your life, over your coldness and indifference? My, how we need to confess that to Him today. It is not because God is high and we are low, or because He is great and weare small, nor because He is infinite and we are finite that we are separated from Him. He says it is our sins that have separated us from Him. That is the occasion for weeping.

I realize it is really our lives that are an act of worship and we don’t want to be wandering depressed souls living aimless lives that is a constant beat down of our inadequacies, but an occasional pause to put things into perspective is not a bad thing. I think that is why much of the book of Leviticus and now a detailed reminder of God’s offerings are reiterated here in Numbers.