Saturday, November 30: 1Timothy 1-.

Lately, I have been thinking about the rescuing heart of God, which desires to help the poor, alien, downtrodden, orphan widow, etc. But also God’s heart, which seeks to save the lost. A heart who sends a prophet like Jonah to a corrupt people so that they might repent. Our God who sends His Son to a lost and rebellious people so that people from every tribe and nation might be born again into God’s family. It’s been a pretty rich few days as I ponder and chew on this aspect of God.

Then today I read Paul who gives a rescued-person’s account of this God. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen (15-17).

Paul personally understands the rescuing heart of God. He, the ‘worst of sinners’ by his own account, was pursued and shown mercy so that he might believe. Paul’s personal story got me thinking about my story. I don’t know why but God pursued me, too. Looking back I can see a number of times God came knocking on the door of my life. Oh, for a moment I might sort of believe, but it would fade in minutes or hours. But God kept knocking until one day in a hotel room in Muhlenberg, PA, I finally surrendered to the Hound of Heaven.

Paul’s account reminds me my salvation has little to do with me seeking God, but everything about God seeking a lost person named Bill.

And like Paul, I find my only response is praise…

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen


Friday, November 29 Deuteronomy 34- Ending well.

Verse 5: And Moses the servant of the LORD died…

Life has two great poles, birth and death. None of us will escape death. Even the greatest among us die.

This scene sparked many thoughts… the inevitability and simplicity of Moses death. Yes, Israel mourned for Moses 30-days, as was their custom, but beyond that there was no particular fanfare. They didn’t even memorialize his burial place. No gigantic monument or bronze plaque. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust; Moses was buried like anyone else.

There is something poetic in this picture. Moses, the humblest man on the earth, was buried in the most humble of ways. God was his reward, not the accolades of the people or the size of his tomb. What a contrast from the Pharaohs, whom he once served, buried in elaborate pyramids. Marvels of human architecture –absolutely!- but still tombs. And the tomb is never the measure of the man or woman. Never.

I traveled down another roadway of meditation set in motion by the description of Moses in verse 5. Moses the servant of the LORD… this is how he was known. Servant, slave of the Lord. I began wondering what people might say of me when my day comes. Moreover, I wondered if the character of my life will give honor to my Lord, as Moses’ did his Lord.

Frank Sinatra… “I did it my way”

Mohammad Ali… “The greatest”

What will people say of me? And will it honor my Savior and God?

As I wrote this, I realized that I am writing my epitaph every day of my life. If my life honors ME… then it will reflect ME. If my life honors my Lord every day… then my epitaph will honor God.

Moses earned his epitaph through 40 years of obscurity, shepherding flocks followed by 40 years of selfless service of Yahweh, shepherding God’s people. Hmmm, there is a word to you and me in this.

Lord, I choose to live for You today and all of my todays from this day until You choose to bring me home to You. May my life count for You. May any good I do give You honor and praise. May anything less than good I do reveal Your mercy and grace to a sinner such as I. I pray this through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Thursday, November 28: Deuteronomy 33- The power of Blessing.

Moses took time before his death to bless each of the tribes of Israel. I found myself pondering the power of blessing…

Parents blessing their children.

People blessing friends, neighbors, co-workers.

Church members blessing other members; elders blessing members and so on.

So much of life today seems to be about tearing others down rather than building them up. What a powerful contrast this chapter presents.

For 40 years Moses led these people and it was no picnic. Most of the accounts recorded about the 40-years in the desert are stories of unfaithfulness and grumbling by the people against Moses. He could have harbored bitterness. He could have not said anything as his life was ebbing away. But no, not Moses. He chose to bless. And these were not generic blessings either. Each blessing was targeted to the tribe. What an honorable man. What a wonderful example Moses leaves for us.

So God nudges, “Who might you bless today?...”

Lord, help me to be a man like Moses.  A man  who can put negative personal experiences aside, choosing to bless others. Yes, even to bless people who curse me. Through Jesus, who lives this way… I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, November 27: Deuteronomy 32- In praise of God.

Quite a song… God’s majesty exalted; the people’s sin exposed and punished; eventual redemption, restoration and atonement. It is the song of history, the basic story line of the Bible.

The continuous thread is the wonder, majesty, and awe of the One who created, called forth a nation, established and guided that nation, corrected and rebuked her when she fell short and eventually comes to her aid and restoration results. It is God’s Song.

I am awed at the majesty of God Who knows the end as well as the beginning. God knows. God KNOWS! It is as if the span of time is in one photograph to the Lord.

My mind flows down God’s wonder trail. “In the beginning God…” (Gen 1:1) begins the Bible. God always was and always will be. Outside of time Himself, and yet God created time and from time to time God enters time to reveal Himself, to call a people to Himself and to save and restore them when they fall. God sees the end. God orchestrates the end. God is in absolute control.

This is the God who has called a people to Himself through faith in Jesus –the One and Only Son- and Who holds and guarantees our eternity in and by His hands.

This is the God I praise as I begin today.

Praise be to God, the Almighty the King of Creation. O my soul sings of His faith and salvation. All you who hear now to His presence draw near. Join me in glad adoration!

Praise You Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Praise and bless You.  Amen.


Tuesday, November 26: Deuteronomy 31- Knowing when to stop.

Verse 2 reads, I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. Two thoughts circulated as I pondered this verse.

First, Moses’ life was a life well lived. A perfect life, no,but well lived, yes. His life made a difference.

I wonder some times if my life makes a difference. Oh, I know I am no Moses but hopefully, in smaller ways, I am able to touch the lives of people for good and for God and to make a difference.

Second, I noticed that Moses knew when to stop. Moses recognized that he was no longer able to lead. Too many professionals hang on doing their profession past the time of significant skill diminishment. Athletes, in particular, often fit this stereotype. Maybe it is that their careers are short and they never gave much thought to life after sport. Maybe the sense of self and ego that enabled them to become great in their sport won’t let them believe they are done. Whatever it might be, often athletes linger to long.

Moses didn’t linger. He knew he couldn’t lead any longer and he stepped aside. That’s impressive in my book. Question is, will I be able to do the same when it is clear I no longer have the skill or calling for my job?

I don’t know. I don’t have the word ‘retire’ in my vocabulary. I don’t believe one retires from serving the Lord, but one can retire from professional life without giving up on serving the Lord.

I guess time will tell…

Lord, I pray that I finish well and that I will understand when I need to step aside to allow the next generation to step up and carry the load for You. And when that day comes, Lord, I pray I can leave with grace and serve you in other ways… all my life long.  I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, November 25: Deuteronomy 30- The little word 'is'.

Here it is, Moses’ last will and testament to Israel before he dies. His ultimate word to the people he led for 40-years… This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (19-20).

Reading this sound-bite, five single-syllable words caught hold of my heart: the LORD is your life. Yahweh/God Almighty is your life.

I sat with that simplest of sentences. The word ‘is’ functions in a sentence much like the algebraic equal (=) sign, the left and right side of the equation can be reversed and it means the same thing. 2+2=4; 4=2+2. These are the same.

The LORD is your life. Your life is the LORD. I pondered these…

I return to the original, the LORD is your life and consider it more deeply. ‘Is’ present tense, a perpetual present reality… Every day reality is that the Lord is my/your life. It is not that the Lord ‘fills’ your life or ‘gives meaning’ to your life, or ‘guides’ your (or my) life (though God does do these things). What the line says is that the LORD is your life.

I soak in this,  My thoughts are difficult to express on paper.

I delete more thoughts than I write, so difficult is it for me to express all I am seeing in these 5 simple words.

At my deepest sense, I realize I only have life when the Lord and I are bonded by ‘is.’ This makes little sense grammatically, but my heart knows what I am sensing and experiencing as I ponder this word…

Lord, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, my life IS in You. Yeah, my life IS You. Thank You for reminding me of this profound reality and truth. Amen.


Saturday, November 23: Deuteronomy 29- Eyes that do not see.

Reading this chapter as an outsider seems so clear… Israel lived under the banner of God’s OT covenantal and providential care. It was an ‘if-then’ proposition. If they were faithful, God’s protection was obvious. If they turned away from God then calamities would come, sicknesses, military defeats, food shortages and the like.

Despite the clarity of the arrangement God made with them, Israel never seemed to get it. If defeats or famine came they never seemed to look inside at their lack of faithfulness. Instead, those prearranged signals seemed to be ignored, and possibly they even triggered more wandering and looking to other nations or gods for help.

My thoughts slid to my life. I understand fully that I am not bound by the OT Covenant and that the NT Covenant is built on grace not law, but it is the haunt of human life that has wormed into my thoughts. Like Israel, I am very prone to not being honest with myself about the state of my spiritual life. I can justify myself and rationalize this or that away. I can and sometimes do look to other people or things for my help in times of trouble rather than going straight to the Lord. The sins resident in Israel, I find in myself… the mirror of this morning’s devotion with the Lord reveals this…

I, too, can have eyes that do not see the sin and selfishness that lives in me…

Lord, in prayer I am trying to follow the voice of the Spirit and lay my spiritual pride and self-justification down bowing before You, who alone saves. Forgive me, Lord, for missing Your voice and persisting in error. Forgive me, Lord, for thinking more highly of myself than I ought.

Cleanse me from my sin, that I might be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Then may my praise rise to You and bless You Father, Son, Holy Spirit… Amen.


Friday, November 22 Deuteronomy 28- It's your choice.

Through Moses, the Lord God places a choice before Israel… fully obey the Lord and follow all His commands and God’s blessings will be full and tangible. If you choose not to obey and follow His commands, the curses of God will be horrendous. The choice laid out before Israel is clear and the consequences equally so.

I was horrified reading the consequences of disobedience… that choice brought with it horrific consequences. Why would anyone in their right mind choose disobedience? And yet, they did.

Two “qualifying” words caught my eye, FULLY obey and ALL his commands both in verse 1. They leave no wiggle room, no space for self-justification or situation ethics. FULLY obey ALL God’s commands, period. Was this even possible?

I sat here this morning realizing how blessed I am to be living ‘post-Jesus’ in the time of the New Testament. Yes, God still presents the choice to follow. Yes, the choice with its consequences remains clear. But for those who say ‘Yes’ to following Jesus, God sends within us the promised Holy Spirit, who guides us to follow and empowers us to do so! Not only that, but God offers the grace of forgiveness along the way so if/when we slip up and fall. If/when the old nature bent toward sin pulls us off course, God offers forgiveness and restoration when we confess and return to Him.

Ah, the joy of walking with Jesus… the blessings of God, the grace and mercy of God, the love of God and the joy of knowing and being known by Jesus, the Father and the Spirit.

This is the life I choose. I choose to follow Jesus, the Father and the Spirit. Amen.

Lord, I choose this day and every day to obey You and to follow You. I choose You. And I affirm this with joy and singing this morning. I choose to follow You… Amen.


Thursday, November 21: Deuteronomy 27- Dramatic remembering.

Educators tell us that the best way to learn is to involve all the senses…hearing, sight and tactile. And so, good teachers create lesson plans that involve students so that they hear, see, touch, taste and smell what they are learning.

In my college freshman physics classes, once a week we had what we students called ‘the magic show’. In a large auditorium filled with multiple hundred students, the physics professor demonstrates various physics principles in dramatic ways.

One in particular that I remember was about a bowling ball, which was hanging inches from the floor. It was connected to a rope, which was clamped to the ceiling rafters, about 20-30 feet off the auditorium stage floor. My professor grabbed the ball and walked halfway across the stage then he climbed up onto a table. He then turned and faced the direction in which he came, with the bowling ball to his chin, rope taught. The ball and his chin were, say, 8-10 feet above the floor. Standing perfectly still he released the bowling ball, which began to swing away from him in a beautiful arc. I can still see the ball come to a momentary stop after swinging across the stage. Then it began to fly back toward my professor, who stood ramrod still. It looked as if it would knock his head off.  Yet, as it neared him, it slowed and again it reached that place of momentary pause less than an inch from his chin before it began its journey back in the other direction, like a pendulum. With this, he explained the effect of friction slowing the swinging bowling ball with each pass. He left the ball swinging on the rope until it eventually stopped a few minutes later.

Later that week we did other experiments in our physics lab that reinforced our understanding of the laws of friction. Reading, lecture, demonstration and lab were used to teach us the laws of physics.

Moses, the great teacher, creates a learning environment for the Israelites, which includes making altars, inscribing laws and congregational antiphonal affirmations of blessings and curses for breaking God’s laws.

Communion, baptism, anointing with oil, washing feet, in addition to being sacraments and/or sacred actions, involve the senses so that learning is enhanced. Congregational singing, unison prayers, standing, sitting, kneeling, in addition to being part of most worship settings, involve the senses of sight, sound and kinesthetic action each aiding memory.

Question is…do I involve myself in these actions or just go through the motions???

Learning requires active participation by the learner… 

Lord, teach me Your ways so that I will follow Your ways and live for You!!!! Amen.


Wednesday, November 20: Deuteronomy 26- First fruits of caring.

I love the opening scene, the idea of filling a basket with first fruits and giving them to the Lord as a ‘thank you’. As I think about it, I realize that I don’t do enough positive thanking of God for the ways He cares and provides. I guess this is why the picture painted by those verses is so attractive to me.

The other part of the opening scene that speaks to me is the last line of the first paragraph. Verse 11: And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.

What happens with the basket of goodies from the soil that is given to the Lord? Is it burned on the altar? No. Does it sit by the altar and eventually rot? No. It is used to feed and care for people. The giver and the Levites and the alien enjoy the ‘thank you’ gift. The Levites don’t have an inheritance of land like all the other Israelites, so they get to share in the bounty God is giving to His people. And then there are the aliens, others who live in the land but don’t have an inheritance (i.e. land of their own), they, too, get to taste God’s gift of provision.

I love this picture… the person’s ‘thank you’ helps support others who don’t enjoy the bounty of the land for themselves.

What a great picture… a thank you to God that helps people with a need. This is way cool…

 Lord, I am sensing that You are inviting me to take from the bounty You have given me and pass a portion of it on to someone with a need. Ok, Lord, I will do this…

Hmmm, how and to whom… Lord, help me to know.

And, Lord, I offer to do this as a ‘thank You’ for all the many ways You care and watch over me. Amen.


Tuesday, November 19: Deuteronomy 25- Rules, rules and more rules.


Reading this chapter, I weary of all the rules. Some seem overly harsh, others seem understandable and fair. I imagine I would be equally weary reading the laws of my town or state.

Moses, by the prompting and guidance of the Spirit of God, is outlining the rules that will govern the nation of Israel; rules that will establish the code of living for the people of God.

God cares so much for His people that He is giving them rules and laws by which to live. Rules and laws that will create a society that works, guard people from oppression, and teaches right and wrong.

I may not understand the background and reason for each law. I might wonder about the severity of some, but one thing I cannot do is miss God’s love and intention in giving these laws.

God wants His people to live a new way, a fairer more loving way. God desires His people to live in such a way that others from surrounding countries will see their differences and the dignity of each person. They will then wonder who is this God that they serve?

Do I live in such a way that people who see and know me ask, “Who is the God I serve???”

Lord, be with me as I try, this day, to see my life and my living through the lens of others. What do they see in me? Better, who do they see in me?

Lord, do they see You in me?

I pray so… to Your glory and honor I live. Amen.


Monday, November 18: Deuteronomy 24- Experience never wasted.

It caught my attention that God reminded Israel of what happened to Miriam (9). Then later God used Israel’s past as slaves in Egypt (22) as part of His closing teaching in this chapter. As I was meditating on this, it occurred to me that our experiences, good and bad, are never wasted. God can and often does use them as He is teaching us new things or reminding us of things He has taught before.

Our experiences are never wasted. God regularly uses our experiences to move us to a new place, or to connect us with someone who could use our help, care or love. Paul builds on a similar thought in 2Corinthians 1:3.

As my morning draws to a close, God is whispering… “Look for opportunities today to draw upon your life experiences in a manner that allows you to enter someone else’s life so that you can help them seek God in the midst of their life.”

Lord, may this characterize my life today… bringing You into the lives of others. Amen.



Saturday, November 16: Deuteronomy 23- the blessing of rules.

Rules are needed to govern life. Without them there is chaos and anarchy. As I read rule upon rule, most of which do not connect with my life and me, I kept saying to myself, these rules are needed to establish a people, community, country. God is blessing the people by giving them order.

I found myself imagining what it would be like to drive cars with no rules. What side of the road do you drive on? Who has the right of way at intersections? Can you park anywhere? Drive any speed? Our roads would be unmanageable without rules. God was blessing Israel by providing structure and order for life.

God’s eternal rules, in the same way, provide structure for life. The 10 Commandments, the rule of love (Love God and love others, see Jesus’ summary of the Law in the gospels, Matthew 22:37 for example), etc. are gifts for us from the Lord.

I found myself thanking God for the rules and laws of life that He has given…

Lord, with the Psalmist (19, 119, etc.) I praise Your for Your Law, Your word, Your rules for life. They provide order. They curb my wanton selfishness, which ultimately hurts me and others.

May I taste the sweetness of Your Word, may it be to me as honey from the honeycomb. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Friday, November 15: Deuteronomy 22- Finders Keepers???.

Today’s reading offered me a few meditative stopping places. I will only share my time in verses 1-3.

I grew up with the phrase “Finders Keepers, Loosers Weepers.” But having lost things I am so very grateful when people return them rather than keep them. Aren’t you?

I saw a new report recently about a homeless man in NYC who found a bag of cash and turned it into the police. I forget the amount but it was thousands. And then another about a woman who saw a large pouch of cash on the side of the road. It had hundred’s of thousands of dollars. She drove straight to the closest police station and turned it in. Turns out this pouch fell out of one of those armored trucks making a pick up!

Good deeds that violate the phrase of my youth but which honors God’s Word.  If you see your brother's ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him.  If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep it until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him.  Do the same if you find your brother's donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it.

Honoring God is better than striking it rich because someone lost something…

And so my thoughts went on these verses…

Lord, thank You for the gift of integrity. May I be a man of integrity with money and all manner of other aspects of life… to Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, November 14: Deuteronomy 21- Cursed for us.

All through the chapter I was thinking about the reasonableness of the laws for a nation just starting up. In a world where the capriciousness of the leader or king was the law, Israel was established upon the rule of law… laws based on truth, integrity and honesty. How refreshing that was on the landscape of the ancient world.

But where I spent most of my time in thought and prayer was the final two verses. If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance (22-23). The reflections of Jesus’ death are obvious in these verses.

The NT even refers to this verse (see Acts 10:39, Galatians 3:13). The cross equals a tree… Jesus was cursed that we might be freed from our ‘sin-guil’t. This is where I spent much of my thought… Jesus, the very Son of God, was under God’s curse for you and me. Bearing our sin, the , sinless Son, took our curse that we might be free. Such wondrous truth, such amazing mystery!

And His burial on the day of His death was a fulfillment of these words.

God’s plan of salvation, glimpsed here…

Thank You, Lord for showing me that Your plan was underway. Our salvation was in the making here in Deuteronomy.  Thank You for Your Word, Your Salvation Plan, Your Son Jesus… Alleluia, because of Jesus I am free, free to follow You intently and that doing Your will is my food, my life, my joy. Amen.


Wednesday, November 13: Deuteronomy 20- God with us.

Life is full of challenges. We face hills and valleys, twists and bends, giants and roadblocks. Oh, God, what are we to do?

Moses reminds Israel that God is their protector, deliverer and that God goes before them… When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. … For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory" (1,4).

God does what we cannot do. Does this mean we do not do? No. But it does put things in perspective. We are not God. We cannot guarantee anything. But God promises to fight battles for Israel understanding, of course, these are battles God wants fought.

My devotional take-a-way… walk with God and trust Him. Live responsibly before the Lord and He will remove the giants and fight the battles He wants fought with you.

Is God calling me (you) to a particular task? Trust that God will be with you. Step out, follow His lead and watch what God will do.

Lead me in paths of righteousness for Your namesake, Oh God. Use me to blaze trails for Your kingdom or maintain trails others will blaze for You or slop in Your latrines if that’s what You need from me, Lord. I am Your servant.  Point me to my area of service. In the name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, November 12: Deuteronomy 19- Honorable, thought-filled justice.


Israel was to be a safe country to live in; a country and people of rules and laws, bound by integrity and thoughtfulness.

One of my mottos is that ‘Stuff happens…’ cars break down, accidents occur, things get broken, people die. The concept of the City of Refuge was to give a truly innocent person a place to flee to when stuff happens that could otherwise result in his/her death. The City of Refuge provided a safe place for a person to live while the events of what happened were sorted out in a thoughtful manner. If it turns out the person was innocent, then he/she gets to go free. If on the other hand evidence points to being guilty, due process and punishment were given.

Honorable, thought-filled justice.

The concept of two witnesses provide a similar level of honor to the process of assessing the facts of a situation. And the idea that a perjurer would receive the punishment that his intentional lies would have brought upon the accused speaks of this too.

Honorable, thought-filled justice.

It seems God established Israel to be a light among peoples. How they conducted their business spoke about the nature of their God.

I can’t help but think if Israel truly lived as God intended, people would have been drawn to them.  And witness to the Lord could have happened naturally, as the name of the Lord and the wonder of His presence increased around the world.

With these words God reminds me, if the Church acts as God intends, we will be a light pointing to the wonder of our God. And as Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 ‘people will see our good deeds (how we live) and praise our Father in heaven’.

Lord, may I live as You intend, giving my life away for the sake of You, Your kingdom and Your manner of life. Through Jesus. Amen.


Monday, November 11: Deuteronomy 18- The gift of the Holy Spirit.

As I read verse 14-22 about the place of the prophet in OT life, I immediately found myself thanking God for the gift and outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all who believe in Jesus. This may seem like an odd meditation from this OT chapter, since the Holy Spirit isn’t even mentioned. Nonetheless, that is where I went this morning with the Lord.

My heart grew in thanks to the Lord God for the sending of the Spirit on all who believe.

In the days of Deuteronomy, God’s people were dependent upon prophets in order to hear the voice of the Lord. Few people in all of OT history had direct access to the Lord. They depended on prophetic intermediaries.

Yet, here we are as Christ-followers today with direct and immediate access to God. We have the very Spirit of God in us, speaking to us, leading and guiding us… What a gift! What an incredible gift!!!

So today, I found myself blessing and thanking the Lord, that I live in the age where the Spirit has been poured out on all who believe in Jesus. What a gift! What a blessing!

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank You for the gift of Yourself. Thank You for coming into my life, for being with me and speaking to and leading me directly.

Holy Spirit, teach me Your ways and the understanding of Your voice so that I may be more and more attentive to You, Your whispers and Your shouts.

Lord God, I want to honor Your gift of presence in and with me by obedience that the world might know that You and You alone are God. Alleluia. Amen.


Saturday, November 9: Deuteronomy 17- Justice.

Justice is part of the backbone on any society. If wrongs are not addressed then there is anarchy and people run amuck. Holding people accountable to societal rules is a must.

In outlining Israelite justice two interesting points are made. Verses 6-7: On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.

Death penalty testimony requires two separate witnesses who are to be investigated thoroughly (4). Justice is anything but blind. Justice is informed and thoughtful. And the potential evil intent of humankind is curbed through the requirement of two witnesses.

Secondly, witnesses were active in the actual death penalty. Though certainly no guarantee of justice, having a hand in the death of the person you testified against certainly gives your testimony increased importance and personal impact.

I am reminded of the sin that lives in each and every one of us. Theologians call it ‘original sin’, the stain upon every human life that drives us to sin. It seems that God (and Moses) understood our human propensity for sin, which God seeks to curb through these justice requirements.

My life and your life are stained by sin.  What am I doing to keep a reign on sin in my life?

Lord, may my ears be attentive to Your voice, my heart be attentive to Your ways, that I might follow You holding sin at bay by Your grace… to Your glory and honor.

Lord, I need a savior, a guide to walk Your way, to avoid evil in any and all forms. Help me, guide me… lead me in the way of everlasting. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Friday, November 8: Deuteronomy 16- Keeping God central in life .

Three feasts with the Lord at their core. Three different celebrations of God’s goodness, provision and deliverance. With each one, people were to travel to the place where the Lord would put His name.

Passover, remembering God’s deliverance. Weeks, celebrating God’s provision. Tabernacles remembering God’s protection. God was the core of their personal and corporate life and these feasts, plus the travel to and from the central place, all reinforced God’s centrality in their lives.

The question slides into my mind, “Lord, how do I keep You central in my life?”

What a wonderful question to ponder this day… keeping God central… keeping God at my core… remembering the Lord… who He is and all He has done…

Lord, time ticks because You created it. Days, seasons, years, they are all Your invention. Life itself, from the sub-cellular to the macro, are Your creation. You are over all and in all and through all, the creed reminds us. Nothing would be if it were not for You.

We should naturally keep You central to life, and yet we don’t. Sin has veiled my (our) heart. I ask for forgiveness, for substituting anything for You.

Lord, outside my window, light is just brightening the sky and the features of my yard are beginning to be visible, imperfectly, but yet their features are emerging from the blackness of night. Lord, please cause the eyes of my heart to see you today. Show me Yourself, unveil even for a moment the eyes of my Heart that I might worship You.

Through my Savior Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, November 7: Deuteronomy 15- Provision for the people.

From the get go, this chapter is challenging me in regard to my generosity toward people in need. The overall sense of the opening 2 paragraphs is that if the people were faithful, God would provide enough for all Israel to live and not be poor. At the same time, some brothers/sisters may be poor. Thus those with more than enough should give (lend, but with a clear understanding that in the 7th year debts are canceled) freely and good heartedly to those in need. The NIV uses the words openhanded and freely to describe the kind of giving God enjoins. God would provide enough for all, but God’s distribution plan is that those with plenty will give (lend) to those without. In other words, people on top of the ‘have’ pyramid need to be generous so that all people in the pyramid have what they need.

And this is precisely the rub… world-wise, I am on the top…

Oh, God, am I being faithful in my care for those brothers of mine in need? Even as I begin this prayer, Matthew 25 fills my mind. Pictures of children I have seen and met in Nigeria, Nicaragua, Liberia, and  Mexico fill my thoughts. Missionaries I know are serving without being fully funded. People in my church don’t have good or enough food.

Oh, Lord, blast away the hardness of my heart, my Sinicism, my fear of giving…

Through Jesus, my Lord, who gave EVERYTHING… I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, November 6: Deuteronomy 14- Living Differently.

I found myself contemplating verse 2: for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

I started with the phrase you are a people holy to the Lord. God was directing them to live in a way that was different and distinct from the other peoples around them. Some of the rules God set before them had a health or hygienic backing but others seem simply to create a distinction with the peoples around them. Peruse the list of clean and unclean animals. Is there really a health reason to not eat pig? I don’t think so.

Another case is road kill (see verse 21). God’s reason doesn’t seem to be health or hygienic. If the reason was health or hygienic, why would God allow Israel to give it and or sell it to foreigners or aliens living in their towns?

No, it seems that God was making a distinction for Israel, different rules for them to show that they are different and distinct from other peoples.

My mind played with this thought. Why did God want the distinction? Could it be that in living differently Israel’s neighbors might see the difference and then ask them, “Why do you live like this?”

To which Israel could respond with a declaration about the Lord, their God. Thus an opportunity to share the Lord with others is created!

From its inception, Israel was to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:3). What a thought… Israel’s holiness to the Lord as an opening to witness and sharing of God’s greatness!!!

As Christ-followers we called to live differently from the general population. Maybe the way I love others or handle my finances or spend my weekends (keeping Sabbath) are injunctions from the Lord, in part, so that I live differently. And maybe, just maybe, my living differently will open doors to sharing Whom I follow and why…

What a thought…

Lord, my heart is drawn to praise You for Who You are. The wonder of Your name. Your amazing majesty. You are Creator and Sustainer… You deserve my praise simply because You are! Praise to You, Lord God.

I pray for the Holy Spirit unction to sense open doors to share who You are with others I meet. Through Jesus and for Your glory, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, November 5: Deuteronomy 13- Faithfulness to the Lord.

Moses has one thought in mind as he delivered this word, absolute faithfulness to the Lord. No turning toward other gods. He uses 3 illustrations to drive home his point.

A prophet who foretells accurately some miraculous sign but then tries to lead people to a god other than the Lord. Do not trust this prophet even though his miraculous sign happens! Do not stray from the Lord.

A loved one or close friend who invites you to follow any god other than the Lord. Do not trust them and do not stray from the Lord.

An entire town decides to follow some other god and they invite you to join them. Do not join then, do not stray from the Lord.

So how does one safeguard him/herself from straying after other gods? Each person must know the Lord; then you will know if someone is trying to steer you toward some other god.

For me, knowing God’s Word, the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is paramount. Prophetic people, loved ones, even groups of people can be wrong. They can intentionally try to lure me away from God, but when I possess a good knowledge of The Word, I can ‘smell a rat’ when they begin luring me.

For me, knowing the Word well, spending time in the Word, and seeking to grow closer to the Lord regularly are the best safeguards from being lured away from the Lord.

How about you? How do you safeguard your walk with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, protecting yourself from the lure of false gods?

Lord, to You I pledge my life, my will, my all… Amen.



Monday, November 4: Deuteronomy 12- On-going presence.


God promises a place of His presence throughout this chapter. In the new land, God will establish His place. There and there only were Israelites to offer tithes, sacrifices and make their sacred vows. There and only there!

Like the tabernacle among the traveling Israelites, this place would be God’s holy space among His people.

Before God would show the place for His presence, the Israelites were to destroy and remove all remnants of the gods of the nations they were expelling from the land (1-3).

I found it interesting that Israel was to ‘cleanse’ the land and as they did they were to seek the Lord regarding the place He would choose for His dwelling place. Israel was also told not to inquire about those foreign gods, not to dabble with or seek them, ever.

Their God, our God, is a jealous God. He sets the rules. And God does not tolerate competition for our loyalty.

I began to ask myself, “Do I allow the gods of my world, materialism, independence, money/security, self-reliance, etc., to gain a foothold in my thinking and in my living?”

God gave Israel His on-going presence.  In Christ we have God’s presence, too. But now in Christ, it is not a temple or physical place, it is God, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, and is always with us. I can worship God at any moment, in any place, because God is with me…

Oh, Blessed Lord, I worship You right now. I praise Your greatness, God above all gods. I recall Your deeds of salvation, both the OT acts of deliverance and Jesus offering His life for me. I marvel at Your creations. Light is dawning and nature in all Your beauty is rising out of the darkness before my eyes.

Praise be to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Saturday, November 2: Deuteronomy 11- How is faith passed along?.

How is faith passed along?

On the one hand, faith is always lived in the present tense. On the other, key events of the faith happened in the past.

For Israel, poised to cross the Jordan, the chapter begins recognizing that the children were not present when God did his great saving acts of the exodus. Moses acknowledged this in verses 2-6: Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm…  Then he concludes like this. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the LORD has done (7).

In reality only Moses, Caleb and Joshua actually saw those events. Everyone else in that generation died in the wilderness. And yet, the forefathers had passed on the truth and experience of those events such that their children lived as if they lived through them personally.

And now standing on the verge of the Jordan, Moses was reminding them to pass along the truth to their children as their parents had passed it along to them.

This must be done with and for every generation.

In verse 19 Moses gives part of the how to transfer faith from one generation to the next. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. It is easy to focus on the word ‘teach’ and miss the rest. Teaching here is not merely the impartation of knowledge and facts.  It is the living of life in light of those facts, in such a way that faith is seen in you morning, noon and night. When you sit, and walk, and lie down and get up…

The transfer of living faith occurs throughout the day in any and every occasion…

Am I living in such a way that any moment and every moment could be a teachable moment about the God I serve….His love, His acts, His deeds?

This requires more thought…

Lord, may I live as if I witnessed Christ’s life, death and Resurrection first hand. May what Jesus did, centuries ago, so fill me that I live as if I were there… as if I saw Jesus heal, heard Jesus teach and I felt His embrace following the Resurrection. I pray this through the name of my Risen Savior, Jesus. Amen.


Friday, November 1: Deuteronomy 10- A good day with the Lord.

I had a few moments of thought as I read today.

First, I realized that it is good to pause occasionally and remember the deeds of the Lord and where he has taken me throughout life so far. Reminding myself of God’s care and leading in days past is an encouragement for the days still to come.

In verse 10, it struck me that Moses told the people, Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. The first time Moses was on the mountain he listened. I’m guessing he was in awe and filled with wonder. This time he spoke and the LORD listened to him. Moses and the Lord had direct communication. That blows me away! It also helped me to realize that our relationship with God grows and God invites us into closer communion as we can handle it.

I found in verse 12 a helpful summary of the life of faith. I made note of the descriptive verbs God used…

Fear the LORD

Walk in all His ways

Love Him

Serve Him

Observe the LORD's Commands

I am helped by summary statements like verse 12-13.

I found myself rolling these three thoughts over and over.

I hope you had a good day in God’s Word, too. Did He show you other things?

Lord, thank You for taking time to meet with me today. I pray that my thoughts and time with You this morning will prepare me for this day in order to live faithfully for You all day. Bless You, Lord. Talk with You soon. Amen.