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.

Rock Star Status

Rock Stars

Today’s Devotion: Exodus 26. I have friends in the hospitality/hotel business and the definition of hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. Certain guests that are of a “celebrity” status can set very high expectations when they come to town – unrealistic and unreasonable in most cases.

Examples: I have heard of a certain (Christian) artist whom requested a specific type of bottled water, with an exact number of ice cubes and the caps slightly twisted so all seals broken. It was said only one of the bottles were used – the others had to be wasted. I learned of a certain rock star that only likes blue M&M’s and red Starbursts; a specific request that there would be a bowl of blue M&M’s and another bowl of just red Starbursts in their suite upon arrival. The bags of M&M’s that had to be purchased to only remove the deserved ones; the others were wasted. Or an unnamed pro football player who expected a type of pillow that he was known to have a fit if it wasn’t ‘perfect’ – staff had to keep bringing in selections until the pillow of satisfaction was chosen. (And we have starving children in the world… I digress…)

Who do these people think they are? God? Surely they are not, but they most certainly have a God complex.

When I read Exodus 26 and all of the offerings that God requests for the Tabernacle, I couldn’t help but think about the stories of my hospitable friends. In perspective, these requests weren’t to make God treat people like doormats – they were very specific, symbolic, intentionally selected items that would allow people to come into the presence of God himself. GOD!

Two thoughts:

1 – We are people and no matter what our income, social status, college education, or inheritance; we are (according to Genesis 3:19b), Dust! That makes us pretty insignificant.

2 – God is GOD! Isaiah 45:5a, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.”

Building a tabernacle wasn’t just some frivolous hospitable task; it was honoring the one and only God. We should probably put into perspective what we bring to God and why we bring it – not what God brings to us and why we  “think” we deserve it.

There Is No Party in Hell – It’s HELL!

Genesis 8:6-8

“After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground.” (NIV)

The time when Noah sends out the raven and the dove signifying he old nature (sin) and the new nature (saved). In chapter 7 when God brought the animals he brought clean and unclean; I never made that connection in the past. It is convicting to know that I have both natures within me and know I bounce between the two. Unintentionally of course, so that’s why I’m in God’s Word daily. To put on my armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) and prepare – to the best of my ability – for the battles I will face each day.

I once heard it said that the devil works overtime on the believer because if someone is not a believer, he already has them right where he wants them. In other words, I have a target on my back and when I walk out my door in the next 15 minutes he’s on the prowl to make me fall, discourage me, trip me up, and knock me down. Isn’t that an unsettling thought? I hope that motivates you to crack open your bible and put on your armor. It’s a war zone out there.

As I read Genesis chapter 8, I can’t help but grieve those who were destroyed in the flood. It is mentioned that the water receded so the mountain tops appeared. MOUNTAIN TOPS! That is a lot of water, that is a lot of deaths.

I understand it – I see why God did it, but I do think that as believers, we should be unsettled about it. I just can’t chalk it off as a victory for Noah and not take into account how many lives were lost because they chose death over life. Then I think about how many people I have in my life that don’t have a relationship with the Lord. Especially those who outright reject Him and look forward to the “party in hell and have fun getting there.” There is no party in hell – it’s HELL!

Pray with me:
Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for your word and the biblical examples you have given us. Not only to model after, but to learn from. I pray that you would guide me today in my words, thoughts, actions, and deeds. Father I especially pray for those who are living for and loving this world. Use me to speak truth, be Your light and share with them your generous love and eternal assurance. I pray for my friends and family, the people I love most, that they would receive your gift of eternal life.  Please give them a hunger to know you and if not me, place people in their path who will tell them your truths. In Jesus Name, AMEN.