What I’m commanding you today is not too hard for you. It isn’t beyond your reach. It isn’t up in heaven. So you don’t have to ask, “Who will go up into heaven to get it? Who will announce it to us so we can obey it?” And it isn’t beyond the ocean. So you don’t have to ask, “Who will go across the ocean to get it? Who will announce it to us so we can obey it?” No, the message isn’t far away at all. In fact, it’s really near you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart so that you can obey it.
Today I’m giving you a choice. You can have life and success. Or you can have death and harm. I’m commanding you today to love the Lord your God. I’m commanding you to live exactly as he wants you to live. You must obey his commands, rules and laws. Then you will live. There will be many of you. The Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to take as your own.
Don’t let your hearts turn away from the Lord. Instead, obey him. Don’t let yourselves be drawn away to other gods. And don’t bow down to them and worship them. If you do, I announce to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You are about to go across the Jordan River and take over the land. But you won’t live there very long.
I’m calling for the heavens and the earth to be witnesses against you this very day. I’m offering you the choice of life or death. You can choose either blessings or curses. But I want you to choose life. Then you and your children will live. And you will love the Lord your God. You will obey him. You will remain true to him. The Lord is your very life.
Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NIrV
The choice is not between a list of do this and don’t do that on one hand and freedom on the other hand. The unbelieving world often sees it that way. The truth is; it is a choice between choosing love (life) on one hand and separation from God (death) on the other hand. God is waiting to shower blessings on you and your family. He is waiting for you to make your choice. Talk to Him – He is listening. Listen to Him – He has much to tell you. The Lord is your very life.
Teen-agers turning to drugs. Single mothers floundering
in depression. High-ranking business men sneaking out for extra-marital
affairs. Lonely people marginalized by society resorting to deadly violence.
We all hurt in one way or another. What is it
that we do with that hurt? How can we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps? Where
do we go for help?
Reach Out to God
God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Christians readily acknowledge this fact. However, we
must come to the realization that God also created all the resources we
need. He also created the principles by which we live – healthy
principles that benefit everyone. He also created purpose for our lives.
God is the source of Everything.
God is the source of healing and help in every day-to-day
situation. He has provided what we need, not only live, but to thrive
throughout our life. When we need to be restored, we must go back to God. He is
the one who created life in the first place and it is only He who can bring
life back into dead circumstances. We cannot do it on our own.
In Matthew 6, Jesus told us to seek first the
kingdom of God, and all the things we need will be given to us.
Reach Out to Others
God has also provided the Body of Christ to lift one
another up, to encourage one another. We need them: a support group, a
Christian counselor, a sincere Bible study group. We need a place where we can
share our deepest needs, fears, and temptations. We need someone to meet with
regularly as well as someone we can call on at a moment’s notice. Ask God to
provide this support for you.
Reach up and reach out. The God of hope will fill you
will all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13
These thoughts come from the wonderful book by Dr.
Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend titled How People Grow, What the Bible
Reveals about Personal Growth.
I have just finished reading John Adams by David McCullough.
What an amazing read!
Though I do enjoy history, I do not care for politics. David
McCullough did a masterful job of weaving Adams’ biography with the detailed
politics of the early United States. It was a compelling narrative that kept me
engaged to the very end.
The author leads us through John Adams’ studies to become a
lawyer, his early law practice, both the Continental Congress sessions, his
time oversees as an ambassador, his vice-presidency, his presidency and his
retirement. Adams’ personal diary and his thousands of letters give us great
insight into not only what he did, but how he thought and how he felt. It was
John Adams was a major player in the building of our
nation. He was incredibly intelligent while still maintaining his personal
integrity. His thorough understanding of world politics, philosophy and human
nature were paramount in his adamant stand for America’s independence and
continued strength. He worked tirelessly to build the ground work for our
“I fear that in every elected office, members will obtain an
influence by noise not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not
learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls… There must be decency and
respect.” John Adams
“He who loves the Workman and His work, and does what he can
to preserve and improve it, shall be accepted of Him.” John Adams
“The longer I live,
the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire,
the less I seem to know…. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”
Texas. Ohio. Nevada. Florida. Georgia. Colorado. North Carolina. Arkansas. Alabama. Virginia. Connecticut. California. Oklahoma. New York. District of Columbia. Missouri. Maryland. Indiana. Tennessee. Rhode Island. Kentucky. Mississippi. Michigan. Oregon. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. Washington. Louisiana. Michigan. Iowa. South Carolina. New Mexico. Massachusetts. Hawaii. Nebraska. West Virginia. Vermont. Minnesota. New Jersey.
We are a
nation in mourning. The senseless killing continues. We Must do something.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
promise is an If, Then promise. If people do this, Then God will do that. Our
step comes first.
from Wicked Ways
“He has shown you, O man, what is good.
does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
the Bible, Ask God what he wants in your heart and in your life.
Please, Stop and Listen.
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
When God created the world, He did so with Relationship at
its core. Humanity was created in order to be in Relationship with God, and
in Relationship with one another.
If either one of these Relationship Dynamics is off track,
then our emotional, mental and spiritual health is out of balance. We begin to
try to fill the holes with many other things: money, sex, material possessions,
power over others … the list goes on.
If both of these Relationship Dynamics are in good working
order, then we are able to grow into mature Christians, who are in turn able to
give to others who are in need.
Those are the simply basics of how life works.
When God created Adam and Eve, there was perfect union with
both God and with each other. The two people walked with God in the garden,
talking with Him and being open and honest with each other. Genesis 2:25 says, “The
man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” This is not only
about no clothes. This is two people being completely intimate physically, but
also emotionally. They were in harmony. They were vulnerable with each other,
not hiding anything. They “knew” each other completely. There was no shame.
We were created to be in that kind of Relationship with both
God and others. To be open and honest. To be intimate. To be accepted.
Someone once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in
the world is. Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt
Everything in life comes down to these two Relationships.
We must be reconciled to God. We must ask His forgiveness
and we must cultivate a daily relationship with Him.
We must reconnect with others. We must care for each other,
forgive each other, reach out in love and support for each other.
So how do we do this? Jesus gives us this very important directive
in living our lives. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
James tells us, “You do not have, because you do not ask
God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that
you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
We know what God wants for us and what we need – Intimate and
We know the first step in getting those Relationships.
Prayer. Talk to God. Admit that you need Relationship and ask Him to help you
That is asking in Jesus’ Name and He will do it.
Is there a Relationship in your life that needs restoring?
Start working on it today.
“Half the people will laugh
at you; the other half will be disgusted at your incompetence.”
These voices -and many others
just like them – shoot through my thoughts time and again. Every time I hear
them, the knot in my stomach gives a lurch and pulls tighter.
I am working on a large
project that affects many people throughout my small community. I have
spear-headed this project before and it was quite successful. So why do those feelings
What exactly am I
Shame? Self-doubt? Fear?
Timidity? Yes, I think so.
Shame = a painful feeling of
humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior
(either real or perceived)
Self-doubt = lack of
confidence in oneself and one’s abilities.
Fear = of disgrace,
embarrassment, degradation, being demeaned.
Timidity = a lack of courage
or confidence, fearful, apprehensive, frightened, scared, faint-hearted.
I push the thoughts back into
the recess of my mind. Don’t let them out! The knot in my stomach grows again.
Where do these thoughts come
My mother was very much this
way. So, did it come to me by way of DNA? Or maybe learned behavior? My father
often seemed to take delight in pointing out, quite loudly, where I had failed.
Our self-image formed in childhood is quite powerful – for good or for bad.
Yet – I am an adult
now. I have not lived with my parents for over 30 years. Certainly, I
cannot blame them any longer for my thought patterns that I have this week.
Insight for Living has a
devotional video that I have watched several times that is titled Our
With a big, hearty smile,
Chuck Swindoll talks about how great it is when we admit our weaknesses.
Really? What a relief it
Instead of pushing back
those thoughts, it is now time for me to bring them into the light. Stare them
in the face. Examine them carefully. Talk about them.
Yes, it is true. I am not
perfect. Never have been, never will be.
I will do my best. I will
ask for help.
I will take everything to
God in prayer! I will let the Holy Spirit flow through me!
Now! Time to get back to
work on this project. It will be great!
The evil king of Aram was out to kill
the king of Israel and plunder the countryside. 2 Kings 6 Time and again he
plotted where and when to attack the Israelites. Yet the king of Israel was
warned each and every time and made well his escape. When the evil king was
notified that Elisha the prophet was the source of the military leaks, the king
sent horses and chariots along with a strong army force to get rid of the man
The Arameans surrounded the city where
Elisha and his servant were staying. In the early morning, Elisha’s servant stepped
outside to begin preparations for the day – there was the enemy army! They were
The servant ran back inside and
shouted at his master, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?”
Elisha was not concerned. “Don’t worry
about it,” he told his servant. We have a bigger army than they do. As a
puzzled servant stood there with a muddled look on his face, Elisha prayed. “Open
his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”
The servant did not know what was out
there. Even the enemy army did not know what was out there. Yet God had
provided all that was needed – more than what was needed. They just couldn’t
For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and
certain of what we do not see. Hebrews
Then the Lord
opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of
horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6
Chris Tomlin wrote a
wonderful song about this “God of angel armies.”
The chorus goes like this:
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
God of angel armies
Is always by my side
Listen to the entire song here:
Angels are real. Angel armies are
real. But most importantly, God is real. Pray and ask Him to open your eyes.
The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper is an amazing book. The subtitle is: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die.
Reason #6 is To Show His Own Love for Us.
Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
[He] loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
John Piper writes: The death of Christ is not only the demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16), it is also the supreme expression of Christ’s own love for all who receive it as their treasure. The early witnesses who suffered most for being Christians were captured by this fact: Christ “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). They took the self-giving act of Christ’s sacrifice very personally. They said, “He loved me. He gave himself for me.”
John continues: Surely this is the way we should understand the sufferings and death of Christ. They have to do with me. They are about Christ’s love for me personally.
This book has changed the way I view Christ’s death and his resurrection.
I was reading a blog the other day that was very sad.
This person told about breaking up with their boyfriend,
then going to a terrible party, getting drunk, then feeling miserable about her
life. One bad incident triggered three miserable events.
I realize that this happens often, to both men and women.
There is an old country/western song that said,
“Looking for love in all the wrong places,
Looking for love in too many faces, Searchin’ their eyes and lookin’ for traces
of what I’m dreamin’ of.”
Looking for love. That is the very essence of who we are.
Why? Because God created us that way.
God planted deep within our hearts a powerful yearning for
authentic love. That yearning was intended to bring us closer to Him. It was
also intended to bring us into families. Children desire love above all else.
Women long for a deep relationship with one strong man. Men long for a deep
relationship with one tender woman. We want to be special. We long for
commitment and security in one intimate relationship.
When those longings are not fulfilled, our lives crash. After
my own divorce, I hit rock bottom.
The song goes on to say, “Playin’ a fool’s game, hopin’ to
win.” And “I did everything I could to get me through the night.”
It doesn’t have to be that way. God has longings too. He
longs for us to turn toward Him so He can pour His love out on us. He longs to
provide the relationships we desire.
It took me lots of time before I realized I just needed more
of God. When I rededicated my life to Him, He filled my life to overflowing with Love!
But we have to ask. Try it. Start talking to Him today. The
Name of Jesus is very powerful. Ask in Jesus’ name for what you need. God will hear.
You must be willing to set your pride down and admit where
you have gone wrong. God will hear.
Have you experienced God’s love? Share your story here.