Monthly Archives: March 2022

Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1

One of my goals in writing this blog is to encourage people to fall in love with God’s Word. I hope you are all reading it every day and allowing God to speak His Words directly to you.

Today, I just want to share what God said to Joshua as he was to begin leading Israel after the death of Moses. In the times in which we live, it just might be exactly what God wants to say to us, too. May it challenge and bless you as it has me this morning.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. This is my command – be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:8-9)

Are You Taking Notes?

Deuteronomy 17

In Good News Club yesterday, one of the third graders got out his notebook and began to take notes. One of the volunteers, not knowing what he was doing, asked him to put it away. He obeyed.

Later, he let me look at what he’d written. He’d copied the memory verse, our five rules, our “Word Up” which was: God Can Change Me. He jotted down things from the lesson like, “All have sinned,” “Not everyone goes to heaven,” “Jesus died for our sins,” and John 3:16. He did such a good job!

One of the commands God gave the kings of Israel was to copy His law in their own hand. Then they were to keep their copy and read it every day.

This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way…” (17:20)

Moses also said that in writing and reading the Law, the king would learn to fear God and learn to obey the instructions.

Here’s a thought: if you are one who says you have trouble understanding Scripture, or have trouble concentrating on what you’re reading, get a notebook and a pen and begin to copy a portion of Scripture in your own hand.

Maybe copy the book of John. Or some psalms. Or copy James or one of Paul’s letters. You might be surprised at how that simple act can help your understanding, and retention of God’s Word.

It was commanded of Old Testament kings. It might be useful for God’s servants in 2022.

But even if it doesn’t help – it certainly can’t hurt!

The Most Important Word in The Bible

Deuteronomy 13

God gave specific instructions to the Jews concerning worship, sacrifices, how to treat one another, caring for the poor, etc. The nuts and bolts of it were fulfilled by Jesus on the cross so today we don’t sacrifice animals on a stone altar, and we don’t kill idolators. But God’s instructions to the Jews speaks volumes to us today.

Deuteronomy 13:18 is the lesson God wants us to understand from His instructions:

The Lord your God will be merciful only IF you listen to His voice and keep all His commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases Him. (emphasis mine)

Gods words in Deuteronomy are still true today, and only through the substitutionary work of Jesus can our sins be forgiven without the physical sacrificing of animals. Without blood, there is still no forgiveness of sin. Jesus shed His own blood as the ultimate, perfect substitute.

What we read in Deuteronomy is a picture of what Jesus did on the cross. He became those sacrifices for us. And therefore, the same principle applies:

God will show mercy IF we obey Him.

We can’t expect God’s blessings unless we do ALL His Word demands. That’s a tall order on our own.

IF I accept Jesus as my Savior I am obeying the Law spelled out in Deuteronomy. And IF I live my life like Jesus spelled out in the New Testament, then and only then can God bless me.

And, oh what blessings!

I think “IF” might be the most important word in the Bible.

See You In Church!

Deuteronomy 12

God was adamant that the Jews go to church to worship Him. They were not to do their own thing, or worship at a more convenient place. And they were not supposed to stay home and worship Him there. That was because the Holy Spirit had not been given, and the only place they could meet God was at the place He chose.

I know we live after the cross. We have God’s Holy Spirit with us 24/7. I am worshiping God sitting in my enclosed porch this morning. But I wonder if we can’t learn something from God’s words to Israel about worshiping together with fellow believers.

The writer of Hebrews (10:25) tells us:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one anotherall the more as you see the Day approaching.

The COVID thing has made it so easy to neglect corporate worship. Many of you are simply out of the habit of getting up on a Sunday morning to go to church. You might turn on a live-stream or TV preacher and feel you’ve satisfied God. And maybe you have. I’m not your judge.

I’m thankful for technology for legitimately homebound people to be able to hear God’s Word preached, to sing and worship along with their church family. But I think even they would say they are missing something important. That face to face, hand-shaking, bear-hug kind of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ can’t be had through the TV. The writer of Hebrews tells us the “meeting together” is the encouragement we need during these times.

You may truly worship God sitting in your jammies in front of the TV. At least I hope you do, without distraction. Your attention to the service is no less important than if you were sitting in your pew.

But if you are one who is able to get out, and simply choose to stay home instead of attending your church’s worship service, let me ask you why? Are your reasons those that honor God? Or just excuses out of your own comfort and convenience? Have you convinced yourself you don’t “need” church?

God, in Hebrews 10:25, tells us it’s important as the day of Christ’s return draws near. And that was written 2,000 years ago. Could it be even more important today?

See you in church!

A Diary

Numbers 33

Matthew Henry suggests Moses may have kept a diary of his forty years as Israel’s leader. In chapter 33 of Numbers, we may be seeing an expert from that diary or a summary of one. We see the route the Jews took from Egypt to the Promised Land, and it’s more like a maze than a straight line. The names of the places where they stayed reminds us of some their experiences along the way – experiences meant to teach us today.

So, would keeping a diary be important for a Christian?

I had never watched “The Amazing Race” on TV until this past season. A married couple whose You Tube channel I enjoy were contestants, so I thought I’d watch to see how far they got in the competition – and they won! I actually enjoyed watching what amounts to a race around the world, with some “roadblocks” along the way. (the maggot infested cheese was a roadblock that would have sent me home!)

Here is what this winning couple attributed to their success: Kim’s diary. Every night she would get out her notebook and write what they had done. She would draw pictures of what they had seen. Then she and her husband would study the diary in case there was a memory test at the end of the race. There was. And they won pretty easily.

So what does that have to do with anything? I don’t know about your memory, but mine isn’t what it used to be. I kind of regret not having a diary, from let’s say 2002 or 1992, so I could look back and see how God was working in my life. I’m sure the things I thought were challenging – or impossible- at the time were worked out by God, and I’d like to see how. I think that would be encouraging in my walk today.

If you are one who has been keeping a diary, let me encourage you to go back and read it. Let God show you how He’s brought you to today.

If you aren’t in the habit of keeping a diary, you might want to begin. I’m one that isn’t comfortable writing down my “feelings,” but a diary can be just the facts. You might say, well nothing happened today that would be important to journal. Maybe not at the moment. But God IS working in your life one day at a time. Maybe this “unimportant” day will play an important roll down the road.

I know keeping a diary isn’t for everyone. I guess you won’t know until you try. But there is something valuable about remembering, about looking back and appreciating the road God has walked with you. And trust me, you young folk, remembering gets harder the older you get!


Numbers 20

It’s so frustrating how often Israel whined about going back to Egypt. So often when they got uncomfortable, hungry, dissatisfied they would complain to Moses, which in reality was complaining about God. Their act of rebellion was a sin. Yet time and time again, they revisited that same sin.

Before starting my time in God’s Word this morning I had to confess a sin I’ve committed over and over. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked God to forgive me for the same thing. I have victory for a while, then eventually I’m right back to doing the thing I said I wouldn’t do.

Didn’t Paul address that in Romans 7? I, like Paul, delight in God’s Law. But there is another law in me making me a prisoner. How can I ever be free of it?

Romans 7:25. Jesus! Thanks be to God.

So today I confessed my sin once again, and I know God has forgiven me once again. I’ve been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Will I stay that way? Probably not. Will I revisit my recurring sin? With the help of the Holy Spirit, I pray not.

Just because I know God forgives me doesn’t make my sin any less serious. It comes with a death sentence like all my sins. That little act of rebellion cost Jesus His life. It grieves my Lord and angers Him. It separates me from Him as much as if I’d murdered someone.

I need to pray today that God will help me fight my enemy and resist temptation. I’ll need to pray the same tomorrow and the next day (maybe later today, too). I just know I don’t ever want to have to go to Him again and ask forgiveness for the sin He forgave today.

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating in me a clean heart this morning when I confessed my sin and asked you to forgive me once again. I pray that you will renew a steadfast spirit in me, determined to obey You in every way. I want to please you, not myself today. I thank you for the cross, for forgiveness, and for You!

What Do Your Tassels Look Like?

Numbers 15

One Christmas my niece and her husband gave me a wind chime that plays the most beautiful tones I think I’ve ever heard in a wind chime. Sometimes when there is a breeze I hear the music and stop what I’m doing just to enjoy the sound. Sometimes I’ll pray for Libby and Seth as their gift delights my soul. Sometimes I’ll just listen – but I always remember those two precious people who gave it to me. (Happy Anniversary by the way, dear ones!)

God told the Israelites to make tassels for the hems of their clothing so that when they saw the tassels they would remember and obey God’s commands “instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do.” (verse 39)

I sat here and wondered what my “tassels” look like, what it is that reminds me to obey, and not defile myself as I am prone to do. I believe God brought His Name to mind.

As I wear the name, “Christian,” shouldn’t that be enough for me to remember to obey the One whose Name I wear? Should that be enough to do what I need to do to NOT defile myself even though temptation is always in front of me? If I identify with Jesus by calling myself a Christian, shouldn’t my choices, my life be lived in obedience?

I will admit that my wind chimes sing out on occasion and maybe I hear them, and maybe I’m so used to hearing them the beautiful tones don’t penetrate my hearing. I don’t stop and listen.

And maybe I’m so used to wearing the name, “Christian,” I stop hearing the beautiful tones of my Savior’s voice telling me to be holy, to confess sin, to obey, to love, to stand for Truth, to go and make disciples.

God gave the Israelites tassels to remind them to obey. God gave me His Name that ought to remind me of the same.

So, what “tassels” are you wearing that remind you to obey your Savior? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Who Are We Listening To?

Numbers 11

I never noticed it before. I’ve read about the Jews complaining about the manna many times. But I guess I overlooked the fact the complaining began with “the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites.” (verse 4)

Makes me wonder. Are the changes in the Church coming from fully surrendered Christians inside the Church, or from people on the fringe who want to hold on to a bit of the world, people who want to feel good about themselves, and enjoy an entertaining hour on Sunday morning and call it worship?

Do we inside the Church hear a complaint (I’m sick of manna. I’m sick of hymns. I want meat. I want a cappuccino) and think, “Yeah. Me, too”?

The Israelites, instead of encouraging the foreigners to appreciate the God given manna and to praise Him for His blessings, took on the sin of the foreigners and complained themselves. Instead of pointing the foreigners to God, the foreigners pointed the Israelites to themselves. Many Israelites died as a result.

I wonder if we haven’t taken on the sin of self-centered, worldly desires of our foreigners, too, instead of helping them understand worship is not about them, not about their likes or dislikes, but about a sacrificial surrender and focus on God? Do we inside the church prepare those who are on the fringe to worship God in spirit and truth, or are we just interested in making them like us?

Who are we listening to? If we are listening to the “foreign rabble,” or today’s unchurched, we might be listening to the wrong people. At least that’s what I see here in God’s Word.