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Showing posts from March, 2018

"Handling our Swords"

BIBLE READING: Judges 3-5 Once again, the children of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord and the Lord caused them to fall into the hands of the Moabites.   While under their oppression, the children of Israel cry out for help and God “raises up for them a deliverer, Ehud” (Judges 3.15).  There isn’t a whole lot mentioned about this judge.  First, we learn that he was left-handed (a trait that seems to have been common of those who were from the tribe of Benjamin). This story of Ehud is very interesting because of the graphic content of what happened between Ehud and Eglon, the King of Moab.  As the story goes, Ehud made a sword and hid it under his right thigh, and then he asked for a captive audience with the King of Moab by telling him that he has a message for him from God.  When Ehud gets him alone, he reaches for his sword and stabs Elgon in his belly.  Eglon is so fat, the belly just sucks the sword into his body so that Ehud could not recover it.  With their King dead, Ehud…

"Our Everlasting Leader"

BIBLE READING: Judges 1-2 The book of Judges is a book that sounds like it repeats itself throughout its entirety.As Joshua is their leader, they follow the path that God provides for them.However, when Joshua dies we have this “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.” (Judges 2:11-13).When this happens, God delivers them into the hands of their enemies and they suffer.When the suffering becomes so great, they cry out to God and He rises up a Judge to lead them out of the suffering and bring them once again to faithfulness.However, when the judges die, they fall right back into idolatry.This process repeats itself over and over ag…

"Do You Jump to Conclusions?"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 22-24 The eastern tribes were returning home after a long time of fighting and being away from their families. As a remembrance and memorial to God they built a monument. The other tribes got the wrong idea of what that monument was for. They believed it was opposite of what God would want. So now they are ready to go to war with their brothers. Sometimes we just jump to conclusions way too soon. This could have ended up in a civil war and much bloodshed. Phinehas the Priest showed a cool head and wanted to talk to both sides and get a better understanding of what the intentions were of both sides. After talking to both sides he realized it was just a misunderstanding. All were living for God and praising Him. This is why we need calm rational people to think before we react. We need to hear both sides of an argument before we jump to a judgment. The last thing we need is Christians arguing with Christians. Prayer Requests:_________________________________________…

"Innocent Until Proven Guilty"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 19-21 Under the old law you had to have cities of refuge. Places to go after someone had been killed and you had been the one to kill them. It was a place where you could get a fair trial; a fair decision on guilt or innocence. The key was you had to get to those cities before you were killed by the family that had lost a loved one. Today we find people guilty through the media or by gossip. We don’t usually wait on the facts, we just like the gossip. Today if someone is accused of something they are treated as if they are guilty even if they are found innocent. It’s sad but that is the way of our world. As Christians, we should be the opposite of that. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Maybe we should remember that we are Christians and should not indulge in juicy gossip. Prayer Requests:_______________________________________________________________

"Stop Being Selfish!"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 16-18 Joshua has spent 40 years wondering in the wilderness because people had been selfish and had not trusted in God. Now, finally, it’s time to divide up the land and before it’s even finished people are complaining. “I don’t have enough land, give me more.” Why do we always want things handed to us? We will complain about anything. These people are in a land flowing with milk and honey. They are not in Egypt, they are not in the wilderness and yet they complain. Joshua is probably very tired and he plainly tells them you want more land go fight for it. Put your big boy pants on and go get it! They didn’t like that answer because it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t handed to them. When we pray to God, do we pray selfishly? Do we ask for a bunch of favors from God? Think about how blessed you are. When you pray, pray a big thank you to God for all the blessings you have in your life. Stop being selfish! Prayer Requests:______________________________________________________…

"Be Patient"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 12-15 We see a list of kings that have been defeated in the time of Moses. Then we see a list of kings that were defeated in the time of Joshua. Joshua is getting old and tired at this point in the book, and all the land has not been conquered yet. It will be in the time of Solomon before it is all taken. But it’s at this point in the story that we see Caleb get his inheritance. Remember, Caleb was one of the two spies that said we can take Cannon, 40 years earlier. Joshua was chosen to lead God’s people after the death of Moses. Why not Caleb? Do you think he wondered why he wasn’t chosen? Caleb didn’t complain, he just waited patiently for his time and his inheritance. He had even told Moses years ago that he wanted this mountain where the giants live. Why? Probably because he knew they could take the giants over 40 years ago so he wanted to take them now. Did the Lord bless Caleb? Yes, he felt as good in his 80’s as he did in his 40’s. He is ready for the fight…

"Keep Your Promises"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 9-11 In chapter 9 we see the Gibeonites are scared of God’s people so they lie to them. They do this so they won’t be killed. Here we see God’s people enter into an agreement without asking God. They get tricked and are not able to fulfill God’s plan in this situation. We do see that God is serious about promises. God’s people made an agreement and God stuck to it even though it wasn’t supposed to happen that way. We must stick to our promises that we make to God. When we are baptized we promise God that we will do our very best to follow Him. Are you doing your very best? Please understand that NOTHING is impossible for God. We see the sun stand still and we see the Northern Kingdom defeated because God is powerful and fulfills His promises. If we take our vow to God just as serious, our lives will be full of great things such as love, compassion and good works, instead of selfishness and sin. Prayer Requests:______________________________________________________…

"Don't Underestimate the Enemy"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 5-8 A whole new generation circumcised after they crossed the Jordan. Why? Well the obvious reason is that God needs a commitment from us. Why did He wait until they were in enemy territory? The reason is, God will take care of us in any situation. He wants to take care of us. By performing surgery on these men, in enemy territory, they had to totally depend on God to protect them. We must lean on the Lord with 100% confidence. After this they began to celebrate the Passover again. Maybe we all need to come back to basics and renew our spirit and draw near to God. When God is put first in our lives we can handle the battles. Jericho falls to God’s people because they obeyed every rule God gave them. From how many times to march around the wall to how quiet to be while walking. But at AI, which should have been an easy win, God’s people suffered a defeat because of sin in the camp. The children of God also underestimated the enemy. After correcting all of that and p…

"Flawed"

BIBLE READING: Joshua 1-4 As we read the first four chapters of Joshua, we see our new leader, Joshua, taking over for Moses. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt at age 80. We know he doesn’t get to enter the promise land because he struck the rock (Numbers 20:11). Moses made other mistakes, (Mark 10:4 says that he gave the right to divorce and we know God was against that). In Exodus chapters 3 and 4 we see several excuses he makes to God so that he won’t have to lead God’s people. Even before all of that, we see him kill a man in Exodus 2:12. Moses was a flawed man, but he was a man God could use. Joshua arrives on the scene fired up and ready to go. He constantly told the people to be strong and courageous. Joshua is on a spiritual high and ready to lead. The task at hand is huge and he is ready to lead. In chapter 2 we see the faith of Rahab in hiding the spies. This faith of a sinful woman leads her to be in the hall of fame of faith and the genealogy of Christ. Moses, J…

"Trust"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 91 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" -Matthew 4:5-6 The context of the above passage is when Satan tempts Jesus by asking Him to prove His deity by jumping off of the pinnacle of the Temple.His thought process is that if you do, the Old Testament reveals that angels would come to His rescue.Isn’t it ironic that Satan is the one quoting Scripture to Jesus? The passage that the Devil knows comes from Psalm 91.Traditionally, this psalm was written by David as a song of encouragement to those that are righteous.God knows that life can deal us some painful blows, but for the believer, we know that God will always be there to help.This psalm is not simpl…

"The Easy Answer"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 30-31 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall notlive long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-18) I have always said that life should be simple.You have only one real choice to make, with only two possible options: Heaven or Hell.While on the surface the choice seems simple, it really is a lot more difficult than it should be.The reason we have so much trouble making the right decisions in…

"God's Syllabus"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 28-29 For the last 16 years, I have had the privilege of teaching Bible at our local Christian high school.On the very first day of class, I have always presented the students with a syllabus.A syllabus is simply a document that a teacher gives their students that explain what the class will be about; but it also contains a list of the expectations that the teacher has for the student by way of assignments.For instance, if the student completes assignment A, B, C and D, they will receive a 100 for their grade.However, if the student only completes assignments A and B and fail to do assignments C and D, they will receive only a 50 for their final grade.Every year I will always have a few students that procrastinate and not pay attention to the syllabus by failing to complete all the assignments.When I ask them why they did not follow the directions, their reply is always something to the effect of “I had no idea I was required to do that”. When I read today’s …

"First Fruits"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 24-27 In the New Testament, Christians are commanded to give on the first day of the week to “…put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper…” (I Corinthians 16.1).The idea is that when we are blessed, the first thing we should do is give back to God a portion of what we have prospered that week.I used the phrase “give back to God” on purpose, because it is He that has given to us in the first place.This is done as a weekly reminder of all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.However, this isn’t just a New Testament command.In Deuteronomy 26, God gives specific instructions for the children of Israel to give back the “first fruits” of all the produce.They were to take these “first fruits” and place them in a basket and carry it to the priest.When the priest takes the offering, they were to answer before the Lord with this “…"And you shall make response before the LORD your God, 'A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 21-23

"Blameless"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 17-20 As the Children of Israel begin their conquest of the land of Canaan, God wanted to make sure that His people continued to be fully committed to His ways.To ensure that, He gave specific instructions for them to not “imitate” the pagan practices of the current inhabitants.His instructions for them were clear in Deuteronomy 18.13 “You shall be blameless before the Lord your God” (NASB).That word “blameless” meant “perfect, complete, sound, intact”.It was God’s desire that His people be completely different from the people that inhabited the land of Canaan.That desire still exists for God’s people today. Today He calls us a“chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).As a child of God, He expects you to be different, special and holy. He doesn’t want you to look like the world; in fact He wants you to b…

"The Passover & Communion"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 14-16
In Deuteronomy 16, Moses explains the details concerning the Feast of Passover.There is no way of us knowing just how long it had been from the time of the actual Passover until now, but one would assume it wouldn’t have been that long ago.If we recall, in Exodus 12 the Passover as it happened, is when God separated His people from their captors: the Egyptians.From that event, God has always wanted the Israelites to partake of a yearly feast as a reminder of the victory that God had given to His people.However, the feast was designed to be much more of a way to help them to remember their freedom from the Egyptians.It was also a way to point them in the direction of Jesus.He was the true Lamb of God, without blemish, and it was through His death on the cross (the blood on the doorpost), that we gain God’s protection, as well as the freedom from the sin that enslaves us. The Passover was an allusion to the cross.It was by God’s design that they partook o…

"Is Idolatry Really A Problem?"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 11-13 Idolatry is not a word that we would think to have to be concerned with, in the brotherhood.When we think of idolatry, our mind conjures up images of Buddha or some other powerless figurine to which mindless followers are bowing down. Although there may be some truth to that, idolatry is much more of a threat to the believer than we might want to think.The same was true for the Children of Israel as they were preparing for their conquest of the Promise Land.This was so much of a concern of God’s, that He sent word to Moses to warn them of the dangers of idolatry."Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 11.16).I can only answer for myself, but I just don’t think I would be tempted to bow down to a figurine of an overweight man, who really has no power at all.However, I have found myself bowing down to a great many other things; lust, pride, hatred, greed, selfishness.The problem …

"A Prayer for Mercy"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 8-10 If you are reading this post, I would assume you are no stranger to prayer.  Our prayers consist of many different things; expressions of gratitude, petitions for forgiveness and pleas for things we would like God to consider.  However, I wonder how many of us pray for mercy? I don’t mean crying out to God to be merciful to us, but to show mercy on others that are guilty and deserve punishment.  In the reading for today, that is exactly what we see from Moses.  In Exodus 9, Moses is recounting the incident with the Golden Calf.  He is aware of this extreme form of wickedness that the people had done.  He is also fully aware that God had become so angry, He thought to destroy the entire nation and save Moses alone.   It was then we see something different within the prayer of Moses:    “"So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you. And I prayed to the LORD, 'O Lord GOD, d…

"Listen & Don't Forget"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 5-7 Have you ever tied a string around your finger to serve as a reminder of something?The purpose of doing that was to have the string serve as a symbol of what it is that you were not to forget.The reason why this strategy is so faulty is that most of us forget what it was we tied the string for in the first place.God knows that we are imperfect people.He knows that as our days and life’s grows even busier than it already is, we tend to forget even the most important things.In the case of the children of Israel, God knew that when life got to some sort of normalcy for them in Canaan, they would forget what all it took for them to get there.To help them remember to never forget, he provided them with the Shema in Deuteronomy 6.4-5.The word “shema” rendered in English comes out to “listen”.This passage would become the daily prayer of the Israelites and later the Jews, to remind them of the events that took place within the Exodus. Christians today don’t have…

"Nearer To GOD"

BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 3-4 DISCUSSION Although the Israelites were known for their constant complaining and their lack of faith in God to take care of them, they must have understood just how great they had it.They had lived in the nation of Egypt and had seen all of those statutes of idols, all of those temples that had been dedicated to imaginary god. They had to notice that the entire time they had been there, they had not once witnessed an act by one of those “gods”.The Egyptian “gods” must have seemed so distant to them, as well as the Egyptians as well.In fact, they were the one nation that got to experience first-hand what Jehovah God had done for them.No other god had ever done what Jehovah God had done.Note the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 4.7-8 “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord or God whenever we call on Him?” The question was a rhetorical one; they already knew the answer.The Good News for us today is that we even have it better …

Sunday

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 1-2

"The Church, A City of Refuge"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 35-36

The “cities of refuge” that are mentioned in today’s reading, consisted of six Levitical towns, in which a person who was guilty of an accidental homicide could flee to and find safety and refuge.  Outside of these cities, blood vengeance was allowed within the confines of the Law of Moses.  We really don’t read of any Bible characters taking advantage of such a place, but there must have been some instances where they did but God did not deem it necessary for us to know.  So, what is the application for us today?  Although we don’t have any specific cities that have been labeled as “cities of refuge”, we do have a place that we can find refuge in the church.  All of us are guilty of sin and sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross, so in essence, we are guilty of the death of Christ.  The only way for us to find refuge and safety with the body of Christ itself, is the church.  Those who are outside the church leave themselves open to retribution, but inside t…

"Time to Clean House"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 33-34
As the book of Numbers draws to a close, God begins to give His people final instructions as they prepare to enter the Promised Land.  His instructions are very clear; when you go into the land of Canaan…” CLEAN HOUSE”.  He wanted them to drive the Canaanites out of the land, “destroy all of their figured stones and destroy all of their molten images and demolish their high places” (Numbers 33.52) God didn’t want any remnants left of the Canaanite’s pagan civilization.  God knew that if they did not do exactly what He asked, that the idolatry would slowly creep back into their lives.  God gives us the same instructions when we allow the Holy Spirit to come into our lives.  He wants us to lay aside all the deeds of this life so that we completely clean out all the residuals of our former life.  When we become Christians, the blood of Jesus washes our sins away.  This allows the Holy Spirit to live within our lives, if we have any of the bad habits, poor rela…

"The Danger of a Poor Example"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 31-32

In Numbers 31, God tells Moses that it is time for them to take vengeance on the Midianites for something that they had done to the children of Israel earlier in Genesis 25.1-17.  The Midianites had invited the Israelites to join them in worshiping their “gods”.  The Israelites that participated in this pagan worship were punished in Genesis 25; however, now (in our passage of the day) God is punishing the Midianites for their deceit and poor influence that they were to God’s people.  It seems that these Midianites had deceived the Israelites in some way causing them to stumble and sin. The Bible is very clear about each person giving an answer for the deeds that they have done while in the body (2 Corinthians 5.10), but did you know that God will also punish those that have become a stumbling block to those that are trying to live a Godly life.  Jesus said in Mark 9.24, that whoever caused a little one to sin, it would be better if a millstone would have b…

"Laws Concerning Vow"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 28-30
What is a vow?  It seems like the only time we use the word “vow”, is when we are at a wedding ceremony referring to the vows that husband and wife make to each other.  The word simply means “promise”, and even though it is only three little letters, it is a BIG WORD!  The promises that we make to our spouses are extremely important, as are those vows we make to God.  Several years ago while at a lectureship, I remember hearing someone refer to the act of baptism as the believers wedding ceremony. That is a very interesting way to look at it, but it does make a great deal of sense.  When you are making vows to your spouse, you are promising that you will be faithful to them and never leave or forsake them.  You are joining the two beings into one.  That is the same thing that happens when a believer takes on our Lord in baptism; we make promises and allow Jesus to become part of our life (Galatians 2.20).  In the passage of reading today, God is revealing t…

"624,730"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 26-27 As we get to this point of the book of Numbers, we see why it was called “numbers”.  Chapter 27 is a detailed census that was taken by Moses, Aaron and Eleazar of all the sons of Israel that were 20 years old and older.  When you begin to add up these people, you get 624,730.  That may not seem like a whole lot of people to you, so look at it this way.  According to 2015 census, when you add up Lauderdale County, Colbert County, Limestone County, Lawrence County and Madison County; you get 629,817.   When we look at the nation of Israel at this time in the course of the story, the male population is similar to the entire population of all five of the neighboring counties combined.  However, the most interesting thing of that 624,730 is found in Numbers 26.64-65: “But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had  listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.For the LORD had said of them, "They shall die i…

"What God is Not"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 23-25
When one begins to reflect on just how magnificent God is, it is easy to get so caught up in what He is that we forget what He is not as well.  In Balaam’s discourse to Balak, he reminds us of something so simple that we tend to forget.  He said, “God is not a man…” (Numbers 23.19). Those words should offer us a great deal of comfort.  How many times have we been let down by humanity?  Human beings tend to disappoint us, even when they have no intention to do so.  However, God is not a man.  God will never let us down or disappoint us, and as Balaam said, He cannot lie. That should come as a comfort to us, because the Bible is full of many great and precious promises that God has made to His people.   If God ever failed to follow through with even one of those promises, that would make Him a liar.  How blessed we are to have a God that “is not a man”.

Sunday

Bible Reading: Numbers 21-22

No Devo Today

"Have You Ever Lost Your Temper?"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 18-20
Losing my temper has always been one of my short comings.  In the heat of the moment, I tend to scream, make exaggerations and stomp my way into proving a point.  I’m not saying it is right, but at least I do feel a little better knowing that I am in good company with the leader of the nation of Israel; Moses.  It must have been very frustrating for Moses to trust in God so much only to see his own people’s trust fade so quickly in a moment of conflict.  In the reading for today, we find the nation of Israel in a similar situation as before, in having a lack of drinking water.  Moses and Aaron once again go into the presence of the Lord to ask for help.  God, in his great mercy and grace, agrees to help by giving specific instructions to Moses; to tell the rock to bring forth water.  As directed, Moses and Aaron gather the people together near the rock and Moses, in a moment of frustration and slight loss of tempter, does this: “Then Moses and Aaron gathere…

"The Budding of Aaron's Rod"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 16-17 As a young Bible student in Sunday school, I was always intrigued by the Ark of the Covenant.   Sadly, it may have been due to my fascination with Indiana Jones and the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.  Regardless of why I was intrigued, I never really understood one of the items that were to be placed inside the Ark.  You may remember that inside the Ark of the Covenant there was placed the stone tablets that contained the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna that did not spoil and Aaron’s rod that had budded.  I understood the first two, but the later I never really understood.  The reading for today contains this event, so I thought it would be wise for us to look and see how this story relates to us today.   In Number 16, we have recorded the rebellion of Korah.  The rebellion was brought about by the sons of Korah suggesting that Moses and Aaron were attempting to make themselves some self-appointed leaders among the Israelites.  In essence, they were real…

"The Song of Moses"

BIBLE READING: Numbers 14-15; Psalm 90
The book of Psalms is simply a collection of songs that were penned primarily by David. However, the reading today has the unique designation to be attributed to Moses.  This song was written as a lament of how the children of Israel had failed in the first quest of Canaan because of their lack of faith (the reading for the day in Numbers).  The song pleads with God to have pity upon His people and to bless them. It would do well for us as readers of this psalm today to figuratively imagine ourselves on the banks of the Jordan getting ready to cross whatever perceived obstacles that are in our way. Also, knowing that the only way we will be able to succeed in the quest, is if we embrace the covenant we have made with God and trust that if we place our faith in Him, we will be blessed.  Sadly, that is a task that the children of Israel did not perform.  Pray today that your faith will like that of Joshua and Caleb, knowing that the Lord will delive…