God On Your Side


Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 20

If you’re going to be in a battle of some sort, of course you would want God to be on your side. I heard that the Seattle Seahawks prayed before the Super Bowl. According to The Gospel Herald, Pastor Mark Driscoll met with several players on the Seahawks team who are Christian. Among them is Rocky Seto who says, “Without knowing Jesus we are damned.” Something tells me these boys had God on that football field that memorable night. No matter how tough that other team was, they are no match for a team whose hearts, minds and bodies showed up to a game with God with them.

I have always appreciated when big, muscular, manly athletes revere to God in their lives, but what about us? Do we revere to God and show up to life everyday with Him in our lives?  We should. Stuff comes at us all day; our lives are a battlefield. I love verse 4, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Whether you’re a Super Bowl Champion or grocery gettin’ Mom , it is essential that we are not in it alone.

Deuteronomy chapter 20 is primarily the rules about war, but verse 4 set the pace for my takeaway of the day and I think it is a very practical verse and one to put to memory. A great reminder of who you have on your side and what that means in the bigger picture of life. The enemy [the devil] is relentless in trying to defeat us, yet he is no match for God.

Mark Driscoll asked Seto to define the Gospel, and Seto did so without hesitation – “Jesus saves. We all need Jesus – without Jesus, we are damned,” he says, stating that it is essential for people to understand their dire need for the Lord. “Jesus is everything … Jesus owns me, Jesus died for me – Jesus paid the debt that I couldn’t pay which is eternal death, and then ultimately He gives me everything I need … He’s the best King that I could ever hope to be under,” he says. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life – both on and off the field. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life – both on and off the field. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life – both on and off the field. – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.dpuf
Super Bowl 2014 Life On and Off the Field with Jesus: Driscoll Interviews Seahawks’ Chris Maragos, Clint Gresham, Coach Rocky Seto – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/50308/20140201/super-bowl-2014-life-on-and-off-the-field-with-jesus-%E2%80%93-pastor-mark-driscoll-interviews-seattle-seahawks-chris-maragos-clint-gresham-coach-rocky-seto.htm#sthash.iXxhtkD7.4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

The Key to Success

Secret to Success

Today’s Devotional: Deuteronomy 17

A valuable chapter which deals with the regulations that would control a king. I do have a verse that jumped out at me and inspired this blog today. It’s verse 19, “It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”

It is written to instruct a king, but I see application for us. What if we made it personal and read it as, “God’s WORD is to be with YOU, and YOU are to read it all the days of YOUR life so that YOU may learn to revere the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of His law and these decrees?”

God may have been giving advice to prepare a king for his role as a leader, but I also know that the bible is our source for preparation in our daily lives. When I imagine the roles and responsibilities of a king I think of all the decisions he has to make, the people who are depending on him to lead them and the great responsibility on his shoulders not only in his household, but in his kingdom.

How is that different from our lives? We have decisions to make, we have people who are depending on us to lead them and we have great responsibility on our shoulders in our households and our workplaces, neighborhoods and communities. Should we need God’s Word less than any king of any land?

I think verse 19 has a very important instruction for us and I’m blogging this to help us remain firm in whatever life is throwing at us right now. You’ll find what you need in His Word and He is all we need. That may sound cliche, but I’m not intending it to be. Read, pray, meditate on his word daily. God sums it up perfectly in Joshua 1:8, Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

God’s Way or My Way?

Which Way?

Today’s Devotion: Numbers 36

This is my 100th blog post and today we conclude the reading through the book of Numbers. [Insert celebratory whistles and WOOT’s!] This s a short chapter and at the surface appears to be nothing of any substance for teaching, but if there is one thing that I have learned from studying the chapters and verses of the Old Testament is that God always has something to teach us if we are willing to look for it.

Today the verse that jumped out to me is found in verse 9. “No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.” In context, God is telling Moses that the women whom were granted land because their father had no male heirs are not permitted to marry men of another tribe. Surprisingly, they honored God and obeyed. It was like the ultimate cliffhanger: God gives the command in verse 9 and each verse thereafter draws out our curiosity to learn whether they obey God or face His wrath as so many on the wilderness journey suffered.

They did it! They listened to God’s command and there land is safe. I have to admit that I’m a little bit shocked. Why? Because throughout the reading of Numbers, thousands of Isrealities died or were punished from disobedience. Which tells me that I have become conditioned to expect them to be rebellious or is that just counter intuitive of my own sin-filled instincts? Whichever the case… Thankfully they obeyed.

It gives me confidence that we can obey too. Obedience is a choice and God provides the guidelines in His Word to allow us to make the right choice.  He gives us the ability to chose [Free Will] – God’s way or my way?

In the introductory paragraph of this blog post today we celebrated a couple of menial accomplishments, but the ladies in chapter 36 give us means for a celebration too, as well as a great example. What a great way to conclude the book of Numbers; celebrating them for making the right choices and celebrating that we have the ability to make the right choices – despite the odds.

Inner Enemy


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 25

Balaam couldn’t curse Israel, but he could tell Balak what to do. So Balaam led Balak to infiltrate Israel, integrate with them, intermarry with them, and introduce idolatry to them to turn them away from God. I conclude that God gaves Balaam an answer that he didn’t like so he uses manipulation and his own influence to get what he wants anyway.

It backfires (of course), but in the meantime there is a lesson here for us. We can’t let other people do our dirty work for us. Indirect disobedience is disobedience period. What I read here is if God says, “No”, God means, “No!” We are a squirrelly bunch of sinners aren’t we? Like Balaam, we selfishly move to getting what we want through other means. For Balaam, that meant Balak would be the fall guy. Not only does Balak fall, but Balaam goes down with him – God knows all.

As we enter 2014, this is a great way to keep our hearts in check with understanding the difference between what God wants/says and what we want/do. If we put our own needs before God’s wants, we will be in some serious trouble… That’s disobedience! The ground we walk upon is not stable and the enemy, who is working overtime in our hearts, will implode the foundation in which we stand. Our motives will crumble under disobedience to God.

God is doing a lot of work in my own heart. My heart is under some serious construction and I’m seeking my strength to be obedient. I hope you have a new years resolution to allow God to work on your heart. Of course that only comes through the reading and living out of His Word. Numbers 25 might be a great start and I look forward to growing in Christ with you this year.

My Size, God Size


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 13

They say I’m petite. I find myself looking up when talking to other people. Sometimes, standing amongst a crowd can be very intimidating because it becomes even more obvious that I am significantly shorter and that’s both with or without heels.

Does size matter? I’ve been in martial arts long enough to know that I will never win a fight with strength. Perhaps its my size or perhaps its my gender, but even when I was in the best shape of my life, I never took for granted that most people, just in mere size, were stronger than me. I most certainly recognize that the fight I have the best chance of winning is to not be in the fight at all.

So here we have the Iraelities, spying on the land that they were told, by God, that they would conquer. Instead of trusting God, they size up the enemy and become intimidated. Verse  33, “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Grasshoppers? That’s the best they can do? Describe themselves as poor, helpless grasshoppers? Talk about losing a fight before you ever step into the ring!

What problems do we face in our lives that seem “too big?” Our minds are a battlefield and the older I get, the more I am convinced that the mind will take the easy way out or assume the worst most often. This survival tactic then leads us to one conclusion – avoidance.

Sure, that can be wisdom as a result of having done things the hard way before or had bad things happen when we had the best of intentions, but this is really not where God wants us when it comes to faith. He wants us to do what is right, not just take the easy road, and He wants us to trust in Him because through Him all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26).

As we continue to read though the books of the Old Testament, we will continue to see how man is weak and God is strong. If we depend on Him, trust in Him and obey Him – life will be much more fulfilling and we’d get to our goals expeditiously. Instead, we avoid [perceived] challenges, let the enemy intimidate us, and delay God’s goodness that He has planned for us. Next time we see a situation that appears to be too big, too hard or too overwhelming – let that be our Que to know that we don’t have to do it alone – God will get it done.

Wait Until Your Father Gets Home


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 11

I was fortunate to have an at-home Mom when I was growing up. There were days when my two brothers and I were a bit too much for her to handle. Generally, she would hold the line and usher the discipline, but there were those other days when our energy could not be harnessed and we would see her finger point while she declared those haunting words, “You just wait until your father gets home.”

Once we heard that, our attention shifted from the playfulness, rebelliousness and rambunctiousness to strategizing what we could do to minimize the spanking that awaited us when Mom told Dad about her day.

I remembered this when I read the first verse of Numbers 10. “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” Uh-oh, God’s mad! Rightfully so, He helped them escape slavery and what does He get? Tribes of Israelities complaining that His provisions are good enough for them.

If I read between the lines, God does not like whiners and complainers. As a matter of fact, in this passage, He gets very angry. Fast forward to today and I look at my life as it relates to this message and I’m guilty! Guilt of praying for things and circumstances that will make me happy. I may not be praying for meat instead of manna, but I do pray for material possessions, relationships that are challenging and for things to work out “my way.”

Shame on me! I hear God reminding me of 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Today I’m going to hold my head high, I’m going to be thankful for all God has blessed me with and praise Him for all He has given me and done for me. I appreciate His words this morning to put in perspective how we need to recognize the blessings and all He has done for us, instead of complaining and whining.


Time To Move


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 10

This chapter is the beginning of the wilderness march describing how early one morning the people of Israel strike camp because the pillar of cloud is lifted. Each family packs their things; the tabernacle is taken down. The time has come to move.

I can’t help but think about life as a wilderness. Each day we get up and we proceed to move. Move where? Well, that all depends. What is the goal? I have had days where I hit the ground running and there are other days that no matter what is on my agenda, something or someone, redirects my course. That’s not good or bad… it just is.

So, if life is a wilderness and you buy into this metaphor you’ll agree that without a goal, a leader, or even a plan – we wander. Numbers chapter 10 reminds me of that I need goals. Daily goals and goals for what I am seeking out of my life.

What is my goal in life? Well, I would have to say it would be to hear those words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) My leader is God, John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me,” and my plan is to read and study God’s Word to grow. 2 Peter 3:18, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

It sure makes this wilderness world a lot more navigable and purposeful doesn’t it? What if today is the trumpet call on our lives and our que to move? Perhaps its a bit overwhelming to think about the whole wilderness all at once, but we can take it day-by-day. He’s get us there.

Don’t Vow Lightly


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 6

I write this with a heavy heart. Sometimes I read God’s word and I am reminded of just how small I am in the bigger picture of God’s greater plan. Here in chapter 6 we learn about the Nazarite vow. Essentially, any man or woman of Israel could take a vow for a period of time, or a lifetime, and become a Nazarite. This isn’t just a go-through-the-motions kind of decision, this is all in.

I made a vow to the Lord that I wanted to be a Christian; a follower, believer and  a woman of God. I surrendered it all 10 years ago in that church pew and God took me in. I have had quite a journey with Him and I see the world through a completely different lens still today. My vow, back then was, “LORD, take my business, take my daughter, take my life. I can’t please people anymore, I don’t know what is right or what is wrong. I can’t keep trying to live my life on my own, take it – it’s yours!”

I meant it too. I realized that day that I was done pleasing people and I wanted to live to please the LORD. Oh how I have a short-term memory. I have trampled over that vow many, many times. Some intentionally and some completely unknowingly.

So, why does chapter 6 hit me so hard? Well, it is a reminder of what a vow looks like and how people (Israelite/Nazarites) would willingly, voluntarily subject themselves to not drinking wine or shaving their hair. Pure sacrifice. I can’t say that my life has been a sacrifice. Stuff gets in the way of my relationship with God – busy, selfish, prideful, earthly, human stuff.

Although, God knows I am not capable of being everything Jesus was when He came to earth and He also knows that I do love Him and desire to please Him. Life is so complicated sometimes and sometimes right and wrong aren’t black and white. So this one thing I know… He has a plan for my life and even if I make a mess of it, He will still be my LORD and Savior.

Sometimes when I’m feeling inadequate, these are the promises I rest upon. Perhaps if you feel the same way, we can take the example of the Nazarite vow and remember that God gave us a new day. Take a deep breath and appreciate oxygen, your beating heart, the sight of His creation and know that with this new day, His mercy abounds.

God’s Kind Of Party


Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 23

This is a remarkable chapter of God’s festivals. The holy holidays were times of joy. There was mourning on the great Day of Atonement, but all of the others were about times of joy and rejoicing. God never wanted a weeping people to come before Him; He wanted a rejoicing people. These festivals provide God’s calendar for all time.

Like most of our old testament teachings, they lead to Jesus and symbolize a future that is to come. To summarize all the the festivals for example:
Passover—the crucifixion and death of Christ
Unleavened Bread—the fellowship we have with Christ because of His death
First fruits—the resurrection of Christ
Pentecost—the beginning of the church
Trumpets—Israel brought back into the land (future)
Great Day of Atonement—the work of Christ upon the cross for us
Tabernacles—the time when Israel is in the land (future)

In a bigger, broader perspective, I appreciate that God is not some big, old fuddy-duddy. He’s a hip, cool cat. Think about it. God put all of these festivals together that have great significance and He is giving the Isrealities a calendar that they can recognize His handy work in all of it. In addition, there continues to be a great emphasis on the Sabbath, which started in the very beginning with Adam and Eve and reminds everyone of the importance of rest.

This is one of those chapters that make me want to be more of a bible scholar. I can only imagine what incredibly deep meanings and origins this chapter would unveil. As a simple-minded God-loving blogger, who is benefiting from the daily discipline of reading and summarizing God’s Word everyday, I am thankful for a God who beings festivals into our lives to celebrate Him.

Thanksgiving is next week. I know we shouldn’t need a day or a date to be thankful, but I see how God’s festivals and our holiday of thankfulness have parallel meanings. God truly deserves all of our thankfulness, joy and rejoicing.

Wash Up – Get Clean


Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 14

All these offerings speak of Christ, through whom the cleansed leper is acceptable to God. There is nothing special about him just because he is a cleansed leper. Too often we see Christians who feel that somehow they are different and special. They withdraw from the others and think they are better than the others. My friend, we each must come just as all the rest come. Everyone must be acceptable to God through Christ. We each need to be washed.

When I was younger, we used to attend church wearing our Sunday best. My mom was especially picky that we dressed to be presentable to the Lord. We were constantly reminded to make sure we were clean.

“Make sure you wash your face,” She would remind my brothers.

One morning we were on our way and before we even got to the end of the driveway she looked into the rearview mirror and saw remnants of breakfast on my brothers cheeks. She pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed him from the back seat, marched him down to the creek next to the road and smeared water all over his face. I don’t think my brother ever left the house with the dirty face again!

Being clean before God was important to my Mom. It wasn’t that this added to our salvation or gave us favor in God’s eyes. It was about being respectful and honoring Him. Yet, we weren’t clean. We are far from clean and there is nothing in us or about us that we can do on our own to make us Holy and acceptable to God.

Chapter 14 takes our leprosy story and references our homes; our homes, in this context, is our bodies. Just as my brother was told to wash up and be clean before God. Chapter 14 is God’s way of showing us that He needs to be the one who does the cleaning. Not only will He transform us from the inside out, but He took our sin on the cross and removed it permanently. That is if we have surrendered our will (to do it ourselves) over to Him, allowing Him to take our sins away.