You Are A Treasure

Treasure

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 14

Please excuse me while I get a little mushy today. Out of all the verses about food (what to eat, what not to eat and then a brief topic on tithing) I found one little verse that appears to be completely unrelated, but it jumps off the page and directly touches my heart. It’s Deuteronomy 14:2, “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.”

To whom is Moses referring to? Who has the LORD chosen as His treasured possession? – Answer: Believers!

A treasured possession. When is the last time someone told you that you are treasured. Hearing that we are loved is one thing, but treasured?…. that’s love at an entirely different level. Over the century people have died for things they treasured. Huh, could that be why Jesus died for us?

When I think of a treasure I think of value. I think of something that is desirable, unique, special, significant, important –  nothing else comparable. God calls us [believers] his treasured possession in verse 2 and throughout the bible. How do we wrap our minds around that idea with out letting it go to our heads, literally?

Then you have the word, possession. That is a possessive word that means selfish, unwilling to share, not willing to part with or in the words of a toddler, “Mine!” Put those two words together, “treasured possession” and WOW!

We can’t wrap our minds around it. We have to rest in it, have confidence in it, accept it and live it. I think there are so many truths in the bible that we simply can’t comprehend, but God wants us to take Him at His Word and know that He is God. (Isaiah 46:9)

So if you’re feeling insignificant today or perhaps you are carrying a burden of some sort, these are Words for your soul. They are for mine and I am grateful and feeling very blessed by this verse. Funny how God has a way of telling you exactly what you need to hear. Each phrase in this verse speaks powerfully to my heart. Let’s read it again and allow His Words to bring perspective for us today… “For YOU are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen YOU to be his treasured possession.

Walk with your head held high today Girlfriends. God loves you, you are His treasured possession.

Stand Up For Yourself

Walked on

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 13

I remember my parents used to say, “So if your friends jumped off of a bridge does that mean you will too?”

I don’t remember the context anymore, but I’m sure I did something wrong and justified my actions with, “…But my friends did it!”

As a finale, in the disapproval of this excuse, they would say, “Well why don’t you stand up for yourself, don’t let people walk all over you!”

Deuteronomy 13:3 has something to say about following others, namely prophets and dreamers. “You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

In his commentary, John MacArthur, says, “God, in His sovereignty, allowed the false prophets to entice the people toward apostasy to test the true disposition of the Israelites’ hearts. And while the temptation was dangerous, the overcoming of that temptation would strengthen the people in their love for God and obedience to His commandments.”

It’s a test. God is testing their hearts and if they have the courage to stand up for themselves, it strengthens their love for God and gives them confidence to be obedience to His commandments. I think this concept is incredible… hard to do, but incredible.

Just yesterday I found an article about Natalie Grant and posted it on our Godly Girlfriends Facebook Page last night. The article explains how she left the Grammy Awards – She took a stand. Not a belligerent, holier than thou, in-your-face-for-Christ type of stand. She left in a subtle way… she was guarding her heart and her mind (Philippians 4:7) and taking her thoughts captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5). She passed the test!

I had the privilege of meeting Natalie at a Women Of Faith Conference on my 40th Birthday and have always admired her singing talent. Now I admire her for her courage to model Jesus in an environment void of any morality. This leads me to ask the question, “Will I take a stand for Christ? Will God test me to find out if I love Him with all of my heart and soul?” Just like our Godly Girlfriend, Natalie, I hope we all have the courage to stand firm in our faith. (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Meeting Natalie

Thank you Natalie for being an example for us to follow.

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.”

No Strings Attached

puppeteer

Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 8

Simon says, “Hop on one foot.” Simon says, “Touch your toes.” – Close your eyes! (Gotcha!)

Do you remember the game? It gets me every time. When I first came into a relationship with Christ at age 32, this is what I felt like my relationship with God looked like. Gods says, “Do not lie.” God says, “Do not steal.” God says, “Honor your Mother and Father.” God says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” – Read your bible every day! (Oops!) The worst part – as a sinner – I blew them all.

Rule bound; as if the human race is a bunch of puppets on a string. I couldn’t understand free will because I didn’t feel like I had any. I had this new found comprehension of what a horrible, sin-filled, undeserving human that I was/am and was clinging to the rules to protect me.

In Leviticus, God gave them very specific instructions and they had to obey every word. Why? They weren’t covered by the blood of Jesus. During Aaron’s ordination, they were not be worthy of being called a Priest until they were fully consecrated. Consecration isn’t a promise to go out as a missionary or to do something else for the Lord. Consecration means to come to the Lord with empty hands and ask, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” He does the filling! That is consecration.

As we now know, the rules won’t get us into heaven. It takes something much more intangible… belief and faith. I shared with my 9th graders in Sunday School on Sunday, the longest distance to heaven is the twelve inches between your head and your heart. The head represents rules. Rules that we learn, follow, practice and sweat over. Your heart is about belief, humility, confession, forgiveness (of yourself and others) and faith that God literally sent His one and only son and belief in Him so we can have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

The day I figured this out, I was a tear-filled blubbering mess. My whole life I lived under the rules and rituals of religion, but finally understood what it mean to be a Christian; a true believer. In turn, we receive a writ of passage into heaven. Aaron was appointed by God to be the one who could approach God and be given the ability to bless the Iraelities and present offerings to God.

I’m so glad that we can go directly to God and have a relationship with him with no strings attached. No priests, intercessors, animal sacrifices, rules, turbans, robes, and alters. What freedom we are given through Christ and because of this we live our lives in obedience, not because of the rules that He gave us to follow, but because of our hearts desire to honor Him with our lives for the sacrifice He made for us.

Face Plant For God

Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 7

Have you ever read a book starting with the last chapter first? I can’ say that I ever have, but I love the last couple verses at the end of chapter 7. If today is one of those days where you only have time to catch two verses, make these your verses today.

“23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell face down.”

Does God ever stop you in your tracks? As I am reading Leviticus chapter 7, I am trying to capture every word and tie together all of the logistics of the offering, comprehend what God is trying to teach us – and then I get to verses 23 & 24 and “KABOOM!” God speaks.

Moses and Aaron bless the people and the glory of the Lord appeared to them? Have you ever been to a worship service and are so moved that your eyes pour tears or the words of the song mean so much that all you can do is follow along, but you can’t sing? Have you ever been in the middle of prayer and your mind goes blank and you just pause in the quiet moment or when you’re reading God’s Word, the words seem to be printed in bold print, as if to be jumping off the page, and speaking only to you?

I have.

These verses reminded me of those moments. God doesn’t show himself literally. He warned Moses in Exodus that if he were to see God, he would die. So however God really appeared to them (or showed his glory) on that day, the very last words of this chapter say that the people shouted for joy and fell face down.

This chapter is a reminder to throw ourselves down before the Lord. Just stop. Stop what we are doing. Stop our agenda. Stop working so hard, fighting for something, striving for more, better, best. It is a reminder to take in the glory of God, pause, and capture a moment of recognizing all God has blessed us with. If we do that, we may find ourselves humbled to our knees; more likely on our faces planted into the floor in worship.

Just listen:

Sin Substitute

Slushy Mess

Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 6

My daughter and I were at Target on Saturday and she asked for a cherry slushy from their concession area. It was one of those self-serve stations and when the red liquid froze it eroded like a volcano all over her hand, the counter top and floor. She looked at me with big blue eyes and said, “Mom! It blew up!” I was feeling a bit embarrassed for her and overwhelmed by the messy project before us so I asked the cashier for her help. She came over with the most genial, light-hearted spirit and said, “No big deal, that happened to me once.” Bless her for her sweetness, she took the awkwardness out of the moment and even offered some humor amongst the mess.

She cleaned it up and gave us a new cup for a second chance. As she walked away I said, “Thank you for taking such good care of us.” Another woman, within range of my comment, gave me a very strange look. My look back at her must have been equally odd so she qualified her reaction with a statement, “I am sorry, I just had to see who said that because it is so unusual to hear someone be pleasant and complimentary these days.”

It is unfortunate that our retail and food service employees take such abuse from their customers, its even more unfortunate that it is uncommon to see someone treating them with dignity and respect. This story is timely, of course, because you know I’m going to make this story about our devotional this morning.  Isn’t there a parallel to what God is doing with the sin offering?
In chapter 6, the instructions are again given to the priests. The sin offering, which speaks of the work of Christ on the cross, was to be offered where the burnt offering was sacrificed. The burnt offering speaks of the person of Christ. Christ must be holy, harmless, and free from sin to be a satisfactory offering for sin. He must be able to save. This is why the virgin birth is essential in the plan of salvation. This is the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin. The sin offering was holy because Christ was free from sin—though He was made sin for us. It was my sin and your sin that caused Him to die, not His sin. He didn’t die simply because He was arrested by the Romans. He could have stepped off this earth at any moment. He told Peter that He could call for legions of angels, if He wished to do so. He was made sin for us and He died in our place.

Just as we had a chance to make another slushy, God gave the Israelities a chance to right their wrongs. In verse 5 God tells Moses,  “Or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering.”

Jesus paid it all – even the restitution we could not pay. What a great perspective to start the week.

 

When God Is Mad

Goal Weight

Today’s Devotional: Exodus Chapter 33.

What are some things that you get excited about? A big game, concert, date night, achieving your goal weight, finishing a project or a shopping spree? As I was reading Exodus chapter 32 I was thinking, “There must be something wrong with me, I’m so excited about this stuff – I love God’s Word!” I just want to cut/paste this whole chapter into this blog page today and say, “There… God has all kinds of lessons for us. Take it all in.”

There are three main things got my heart going today. The first was verse 3 where God speaks to Moses and says, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” Oh boy… God is still really mad at the Israelite people for their rebellion and idol worship that we read about in chapter 32.

When someone is mad at you they give you the silent treatment, roll their eyes, turn their cheek/look away or speak in short-snappy phrases? (Can you tell that I have been mad at before?) No fun! There is friction, distance, rejection and belittlement. Spoken from experience, this is not a good place to be. I don’t feel sorry for the Israelites because they disobeyed our Holy God, but can you imagine if someone who is mad at you saying, “I can’t be near you right now, I might have to kill you?” As a believer, I cringe at the thought that God would ever be THAT mad at me.

The 2nd thing that amazed me in this chapter is verse 13. “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” Moses is asking God to teach Him. I love Moses willingness to learn and eagerness to have a deeper understanding of who God is. That should be our prayer as it says in Psalm 25:4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.”

Lastly, verse 15, “Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.'” Moses is demonstrating his need for God to be with Him wherever he goes. We NEED God with us where ever we go, without Him, you know everything is bound to go bad.

Thank you for taking the time to be a Godly Girlfriend and grow in your relationship with God. We need Him wherever we go and today is no exception. My prayer for you is that you will know God’s ways, feel his presence and that we (I’m not excluded in this one) will not be like those “stiff-necked” Israelites who rebelled against Him.