Thursday, June 30 Numbers 10- Perfect trust is hard to do.

I am not sure if I was encouraged or disappointed by Moses. I think more encouraged rather than discouraged. Here’s why.

In verses 29-32 we read: Now Moses said to [his] father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things to Israel.” He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.” But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the LORD gives us.”

As I read the words I bolded, I realized Moses needed someone to trust. God had promised to lead Israel, but Moses wanted his father-in-law to lead and show the way.

This exchange doesn’t seem like it should come from a paragon of faith. And yet, Moses is a paragon of faith. As I pondered this, a number of thoughts ricocheted within me.

Even the ‘best’ of us are imperfect this side of eternity. Moses, as great as he was, wasn’t perfect. And this encouraged me because my imperfections don’t disqualify me from being part of God family or even being a difference maker in God’s family. God takes us as we are and still can use us!!!

A weakness one moment doesn’t preclude strength the next. We ebb and flow in faith. Just because this conversation revealed a chink in Moses armor doesn’t doom Moses to a life of failure. Great victories are won after inauspicious starts.

The Lord doesn’t abandon us for being imperfect and being human. God loved Moses and God would use Moses to lead Israel to freedom. And God can and will use us, no matter our past or our present, if we turn and trust Him even if our trust is imperfect. 

The more I spend time letting thoughts ricochet around my mind, the more encouraged I am to live today for the Lord. And when momentary lapses of faith happen... admit them and move on, striving to trust Jesus with every breadth.

Yes, a good day in God’s Word.

Lord, help me to live for You every day. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, June 29: Numbers 9- Wisdom to know when not to answer.

Verse 8 drew me in. Moses is presented with a problem.

Through no fault of their own some Israelites could not celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. They immediately went to Moses and asked for a ruling concerning when they could celebrate the Passover.  I love Moses’ reply to them.  “Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you.”

For a full year Moses has been leading them. He has been up the mountain with the Lord face to face. He has constructed the Tabernacle according to the Lord’s precise command. He has dealt with and judged grievances great and small. If anyone could have replied immediately, it was Moses.

But he did not render his judgment and decision. Instead Moses holds his tongue and replies that he must first confer with the Lord on this matter… a matter not previously addressed by the Lord.

Wisdom… true wisdom.

In this case true inspired wisdom knew when to be silent.

Not answering, not speaking, saying, “I don’t know, let me find out” can be some of the most difficult answers to learn, especially when you are the regular ‘go-to-guy’, which Moses was!

Moses knew what he knew and knew what he didn’t and apparently he also knew when to ask God about something.

None of us knows the mind of God and when Scripture isn’t specific, there are time when our best answer is “I don’t know…” or “I am not certain…” “let me ask the Lord and see what He tells me!”

Moses never sought to step into God’s shoes and act as if he was the voice of God when he didn’t know God’s will or didn’t have God’s direction! Brilliant and faith-filled.

When Scripture isn’t absolutely clear or I do not know enough of God’s Word to be sure of God’s intent, I (we) need to be humble like Moses, Wait until I find out what the LORD commands…

Oh, God, may I have growing humility to know when I do not know… and then turn to You for Your answer. And, Lord, even when I do know what Your Word has said on a matter, help me to have the humility to let people know it is not ‘my’ wisdom they need but Yours…

I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, June 28: Numbers 8- Retirement of sorts.

Verses 23-26: The LORD said to Moses, “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”

I pondered the age requirements for work as a Levite, 25-50. Twenty-five was older than the age for battle. I wondered about this age.  Is God requiring a bit more maturity to work in support of His house?

Then I thought about the retirement age of 50. Why? Well, the text is silent and I don’t know any cultural reason, maybe there is one but I don’t know it. So I pondered…

It is not as if the 50+ age Levites were set out to pasture. They could assist as long as they didn’t do the work. Sounds a bit like sharing their wisdom and experience without actually doing the work. And that got me thinking. The Tabernacle and its furnishings are sacred. Maybe God is honoring the men who labored a ‘lifetime’ in care of the things of God. Another reason might be that the work is hard and the items sacred and God didn’t want older men, maybe weakened from life, handling the items of the Tabernacle to help prevent accidents due to weakened physical ability. We have to remember 50 was OLD back then. This certainly fits with the idea of sharing wisdom without the manual labor part. God is only restricting the labor part, not the wisdom sharing part.

With this law God is honoring both the aging Levites and the care of His Tabernacle and its possessions. Hmmm, very interesting.

Maybe there is a precedent in Scripture for ‘retirement’, the stopping of the strenuous aspect of work but without being put out to pasture and being told, ‘you are no good anymore’.

A fascinating thought…

How might we honor the older people in the faith community while at the same time relieving them of the heavy lifting?

I have a particular church leader who is about to go through a ‘retirement’ of sorts. I wonder if there is something from this text that might be appropriate.

This is good stuff…  God really does care for people!!!

Lord, help me to know if there is practical wisdom in this text to my church situation. And if so, Lord… show me how the spirit of this text might be incorporated into the life of my church.

Also, Lord, when it comes time for me to ‘retire’, show me how to release the heavy lifting and yet, still offer my wisdom and experience. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 27: Numbers 7- Giving God a gift.

Reading this chapter, I found myself thinking about giving gifts to the Lord. As Moses was setting up the sanctuary the different clans brought gifts to the Lord, silver plates, bowls, etc. The idea of bring God gifts launched my meditation.

I wondered what I might choose to bring the Lord for all His blessings and the wonder of being connected with God 24-7-365.

Now the Israelites had a very practical opportunity for giving gifts to God, outfitting the tabernacle. I do not have a presenting idea but still I spent some time thinking about apt gifts I could give the Lord.

I could give a special gift to support evangelization around the world. God did say we are to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28).

I could give a special gift to support the local church. The church is God plan for reaching the world and discipline new believers.

I could give a gift to help someone who has run on hard times; the poor, the orphan, the widow. (see James 1:27).

I could dedicate myself to godly learning, giving my time, energy and even formal studies to grow in Jesus above what I am already doing.

I could offer time I am now using on myself to serve God through the church or another kingdom building ministry.

The more I ponder this question the more options I come up with.

The real question is… will I give God a gift? Will you?

Lord, Your care for us never ends. Thank You for all Your love and care. Thank You for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life and the world. Thank You for Jesus and His atoning death on the cross. Thank You, God.  Thank You. Amen.


Saturday, June 25: Numbers 6- .

The Nazarite vow, was quite extensive. People making that vow needed to be vigilant in their dedication during the time of the vow. It reminds me that when we give our word to the Lord, we are to keep it!

What caught my heart today and drew me to linger was the Aaronic blessing, verses 24-26

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

This is the blessing God instructed the Priests to speak over the people. This is the blessing God wants for His people.

I found myself contemplating being ‘kept’ by the Lord. There are shades of ownership… God’s keeps us because we are His. He cares for us, the Lord protects us and He keeps us!

The phrases that really touch me are the next ones…

The Lord makes His face shine upon us… I just sat and tried to picture this… God smiling on us. That is quite a blessing… that the Lord would smile on the people. I picture a Father smiling at his infant child. A parent smiling as his child marks a milestone or an achievement or greets the returning parent at the door. Not long ago my daughter was married, and one of my favorite pictures is walking her down the aisle. The smiles on my face and her face were radiant. I was so happy for her. God tells Aaron to bless the people invoking God’s smiling face to shine on the people. What a blessing… God delighting in his people.

And if that isn’t enough, the next line blesses the people with the Lord turning His face toward them. Again I pictured this, God turning His face toward His people. What a gift!

I am reminded that God would not let the people see His face. Moses who asked to see God was hidden in the cleft of a rock and only allowed to see the back of God’s head. And yet the blessing Aaron is to speak is that God would turn His face toward His people! What a gift, a gift that won’t happen until we are with God in glory when we can see Him face to face…

This blessing amounts to being able to see God in His wonder and glory. Such is the blessing God instructs Aaron to speak over the people

What an amazing blessing!

God longs to bless us with Himself… the gift beyond gifts.

And so I sat with this… and the longer I sat the more I longed for the fullness of this blessing…

Oh, Lord, I long to know You in Your fullness. To see You face to face, to watch Your smile of delight grow on Your face as you gaze upon Your children. Oh, God, to know You fully, even as I am fully known. I pray for the fullness of this blessing to be realized… for me and for all of Your children. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Friday, June 24: Numbers 5- A surprise reminder of God's mercy.

I do not really understand the ‘test for an unfaithful wife.’ First I wonder why there is not a parallel ‘test for an unfaithful husband.’ I suspect that the answer was the very patriarchal nature of societys back then.

So once I got past the seeming unfairness of a law for one and not the other, I thought about this law. Was it demeaning for women? Possibly. But it also provided a neutral judge for women who didn’t cheat on their husbands that would not otherwise be possible in a patriarchal society.

Without this law, a man in a man’s world could simply say, “Hey, my wife is cheating on me, I divorce her.” This would break his marital covenant leaving the woman disgraced and out on her own likely with her children with little or no way to provide for herself.

With this law a woman can be vindicated. Yes, she has to go through what could be a humiliating stand before the priest with its incumbent rituals, but God is doing the judging. God is determining if the bitter water will harm her or not. And since God is the protector of the weak that is a much better place to be than left to the whim of a male, who may or may not have an axe to grind.

The more I ponder this obscure law, the more I see God’s grace and righteousness at work. God will judge the fate of the woman and God alone can see the heart. So God is truly judging rightly and a woman who is not guilty, I would think, would be ready to stand and be judged not guilty.

Mercy, fairness, honest judgments… these are all words that I am hearing as I ponder this text. They speak to me of my God. He is merciful, fair and honest in His judgments.

I am reminded of David, who when he was found guilty of sin and offered 3 options, chose to fall into God’s hands rather than the hands of men.

Some day we will all stand before God.  Thanks be to God we will be judged righteous if we believe in Jesus, because Jesus has taken on our sin and given us His perfect righteousness. Alleluia.

Thank You, thank You, Lord, God, Almighty… for Your love and mercy and forgiveness. You are a good God, a mighty God and I surrender to You. Alleluia Amen.


Thursday, June 23 Numbers 4- Caring for the others in God's body.

How holy are the temple articles? So holy that only priests can see the most holy items and only after they are prepared for travel, which includes packing, covering them with 2 different covers and placing the carrying poles in them are Levites able to come and do the carrying. Of the most holy things, those in the inner sanctuary it was said, But the Kohathites must not go in to look at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die” (20).

The absolute sacredness of the things of God is preserved.

This last line, grabbed hold of me.

The absolute sacredness of the things of God is preserved and expected… what does this mean for today when we no longer have a temple and an ark?

As I was reminded yesterday, today’s temple is the people of God, believers in Jesus, the church. So what does it mean to preserve the sacredness of the church? As I sat with this, some thoughts emerged:

·         Preserve the purity and fidelity of the church to God’s Word. Am I faithful; are we faithful to the Word of God? Will I defend the plain understanding of the Word rather than capitulate to pressures of the world? Will you?

·         Preserve the unity of the body of Christ. Am I one who works to maintain the unity of the Church? First let me think locally… do I honor the diversity of the local church and honor each person who makes up the church? Do I avoid favoritism (see James 2:1) treating each person as part of the body? Thinking beyond the local expression of the church will I honor sisters and brothers who differ in non-essential interpretations?

·         Preserve the peace of the body of Christ. Am I one who stirs the pot, riling people up unnecessarily with the tidbits I pass along? Do I speak gruffly, agitating rather than calming? When parties are at odds do I, when appropriate, seek to be a peacemaker (Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9). Do you?

God’s church is God’s presence in the world.  Do I treat it as sacred, preserving and honoring it, as if it were the Lord Himself? Hmm, I have much more to ponder about this.

Lord, as I honor Your church, I honor You. May I do so well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, June 22: Numbers 3- set apart for God.

The Levites are set apart for God. They had special duties as part of their special calling. They were God’s ‘share’ of Israel. The Levites cared for the Tabernacle and then the Temple of God.

With the birth of the NT, the people of God are the temple of God. No longer do we need people to care for the altar or the articles of the temple. Instead we, who are the temple, are also the ones who care for the temple. Love for the brethren is our calling today.

As my thoughts wound down this road from Levites caring for a physical temple to loving one-another as God’s ‘levitical’ action today, I heard God’s whisper to consider love… love for my sisters and brothers in God’s church.

Love cares, love forgives, trusts, protects, hopes. Love is patient and kind, seeking the good of others, protecting hoping. Love, as Paul reminds us in 1Corinthians 13, never fails.

I think of different people in my local church.  Do I love them? I mean truly (biblically) love them? My answer is a definite, sometimes. I fall short of God’s ideal so often. Despite my failings love remains my goal and calling.

Oh, God, I need so much help to grow in LOVE. I cannot do it on my own, my life is a testament to that. Help me, Lord. First I pray for the will and desire to love as YOU Jesus love. Then Lord, I pray for power to LOVE. Holy Spirit, may Your indwelling presence provide all in need to Love as Jesus loved.

This is my prayer… In Jesus’ name. Amen.



Tuesday, June 21: Numbers 2- God banner over me is love.

During my college Christian fellowship days we sang a song that came from Song of Solomon 2:4: He calls me to his banqueting table, His banner over me is love. The heart of the song was the line, His banner over me is love.

I don’t know whether I truly understood it, but I liked singing about God draping His love over me.

That song flooded my memory as I began reading today’s chapter.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family” (1-2).

The idea of the each family camping under their standard, holding the banners of their family, jogged the memory of the song. The standard bore the name or the insignia of the family. The standard or banner declared who the people gathered under it belong to.

All those years ago we were singing God’s standard, God’s name, God’s identity that we were gathering around was LOVE!

God is love (1John 4:8) we are told in the NT. In the Song of Solomon, by analogy, we are told God is love and we gather or are named by gathering under His love….

This naturally led me to consider the many ways God’s love flies over my life and protects my life. God truly is love and I have experienced His love in countless ways. This morning I absorbed myself in God’s love and pondered His love for me.

Join me in meditating on the love of God over you…

Lord, God, You are love and Your love has flooded my life in so many ways. Help me, Lord, not to hoard Your love but to share it with all the people I meet today. May I extend to others what You have extended to me… love. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 20: Numbers 1- Known and loved.

In Matthew 10:30 Jesus mentions that God has the hairs on our heads numbered, an outstanding pronouncement about how well we are known by God. In this chapter of numbers we see a glimpse of how well God knows us.

Of the two million* or so Jews on the plain near Mt Sinai, God knew the names of the 11 heads of the clans. God told Moses the names of these men! Talk about being known!

This launched me into thoughts about how well God knows me. God knows my lineage… those who have come before me and those who will come after me. God knows my age. God knows the hairs on my head… this is how well God knows me.

Elsewhere in the Bible we are told that God knows our heart. So God not only knows my “statistics” God knows what makes me tick… He knows my heart.


Knocked off my horse… God loves me and you! God sent Jesus to save me and you. God knows us and LOVES us.

I sit this morning wrapped in the love of God… a knowing love… an informed love.

Oh. the depth and the riches of God’s love… this is not just some generic love, or love for ‘everybody,’ it is God’s love for me…

O how He loves you and me. O how He loves you and me. He gave His life what more can He do. O how he loves me. O how he loves you. O how he loves you and me.

Yes, Jesus you love me and I am forever grateful. Praise be to You, Jesus. Father, Holy Spirit. One supreme God over all. Amen.


[*I estimate 2 million people. There were 603,000 fighting men age 20 and older. The clan of Levi wasn’t counted but the average clan size was 54,000 men 20 and older. A rough estimate would be 1 million men in total from birth up and therefore 2 million once we add in the women.]


Saturday, June 18: Psalm 108- It is okay to ask.

Save us… save me, Oh, God.

How often that is the essence of my prayers. Save me, God. Help me, God. Heal me, God. Do this for me, God. Do that for me, God.

In many respects these are the most natural of prayers. I am at the end of my human rope, I need diving intervention. I cry out!

Yes, I can be tempted to turn God into my personal ‘Sugar Daddy’… give me, give me, give me. However, that does not need to be the case.

And on the other side, of course, I need God’s intervention. I am human. I cannot do everything or truly control anything. I am mere mortal, so why should it surprise me that I need God’s help with anything… everything.

Is it a greater sin to ask God for too much (give me, give me, give me) or to ask God for too little (pride in self)?

And so I find myself back in familiar territory… balance. The absolute need for God and asking God for what I need balanced against reverence, awe and worship. At this point I am reminded of the Psalm’s opening. A beautiful example of balance at play in prayer:

My heart, O God, is steadfast;

I will sing and make music with all my soul.

Awake, harp and lyre!

I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, LORD, among the nations;

I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, higher than the heavens;

your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,

that those you love may be delivered (1-6).

Devotion to God… recognition of God… agreement with God’s plan to tell the nations… honoring of God… all leading to a prayer for salvation. God help us, save us.

So this morning I am reminded it is perfectly fine, even good, to rely on and call out to God remembering all the while God is God and I am God’s subject, His child, the one who owes my entire existence to the Lord in the first place.

And this is a great place to be… in the hallow of his hand.

Thank You, Oh, God, for revealing Yourself to me. I am humbled. I am also in need. Help me and heal me, lead me, and I will follow You. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen


Friday, June 17: Psalm 107- Days of pain; days of growth.

The group of Psalms we are in continually invite readers to give thanks to the Lord and to praise the Lord. Each then has its own slant on the reason behind this appropriate response.

Today the invitation is spoken in the final words, Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD (43).

‘These things’ refers to the various movements of the Psalm, where the loving deeds of the Lord are recounted. Interestingly, the deeds of the Lord recounted in this Psalm included various hardships (see 4-7) and even included judgments or punishments that drew Israel back to the Lord (10-16).

I don’t normally consider hardship or correction loving deeds of the Lord, but this Psalm caused me to stop and think. Why is that? What is the value of being drawn closer to the Lord?

In my life I can look back and see many hard days that blossomed into new spiritual growth. Whether these days were correction for some wrong I committed or were the result of the sin in this world, I cannot say for sure. I will also say that I would not choose these days, these days of pain and hurt, but looking back God was at work. My life is different, more reflective of my Savior and His character, because the days of hardship built His character into my life.  I would not exchange one moment of the pain for pleasure if it meant that I also lost the closeness gained with the Lord during those days.

Such is my connection with this Psalm and with the Psalmist who penned this Psalm.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south (1-3).

Lord, You have redeemed me from the pit of hell when You gave me new life in Jesus. You have redeemed me over and over again from hardships this sin filled life doles out. I will speak Your praises and tell Your story as I live my days, so that others see, hear and turn to You. Amen and amen.


Thursday, June 16: Psalm 106- We can always return home.

This is a sad Psalm of woe and disobedience. Israel has sinned; the Psalmist freely admits this and yet turns to the Lord and cries out for salvation.

I can, you can, we always can turn back to the Lord. No matter how far we have drifted, God will meet us when we turn back.

The Lord is the prodigal God who will run to us once He sees us turn toward home!

Israel, for all her misdeeds, is invited through this Psalm to recognize her sins, repent and turn to the Lord.

I realize, too, that I can always come home to the Lord no matter where I have been. Recognize, repent, return home… that is God’s road to renewal and salvation.

Oh, Lord, thank You for the open invitation.

Search me and know me. Show me my wicked ways that I might be clean before You and useful to You. My desire, Oh, Lord, is to act justly and do what is right (3). For that to be so Your Spirit needs to be alive in me and given full reign to guide and direct me. Come, Holy Spirit, fill me that I might be spent for Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, June 15: Psalm 105- What has God done for you?.

The Psalm begins, Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done (1). The Psalmist goes on to recite many of the great things the Lord did for Israel.

And the thought hit me.  When was the last time I sat and recounted what the Lord has done for me?  Here are a few of my recountings as I sat considering what the Lord has done for me.

Living in Boston, scraping by as I attended seminary, we received an unsolicited $500 check one day from a college friend. The note read something like, “Our gift to the Lord as we are moving and are between churches this month. God bless.” Oh, my, an incredible gift at precisely the right moment.

Thank You, Lord.

About a year into seminary, I learned that my MS Thesis was published in a Welding Journal and it won an award as the outstanding welding article for the year. I was not able to go to receive the award with my professor and his primary PhD student, who actually wrote the article from my thesis research, but they did forward the $150 prize for the award to me, which came at another time of need.

Thank You, Lord.

The blessing of protection shown to our family... three accidents come to mind, a car totaled, a child hit by a car, and a 30+fall out of a tree. Each one could have been sooooo much worse.

Thank You, Lord.

And so the projector of my mind whirled with remembrance after remembrance of God’s goodness to me and my family.

How about you?  When was the last time you listed some of the Lord’s graciousness in your life?

Thank You, Lord, for all You have done. May my life help to spread Your name and fame across this globe. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, June 14: Psalm 104- God.

How does one express the concept and understanding of God? How does a person explain what she knows about the Almighty? Theologians write tomes, volumes of pages, dense deep thoughts, inaccessible to many, we, who are ‘average’ humans.

Then comes along a poet or lyricist who take the depths of what they have experienced with God Almighty, their images and meter, their rhythm and word-pictures that bring the vastness of God Almighty into view.

This is what I experienced as I read Psalm 104. It is not so much a proposition explaining God as it is a meter and brush strokes of words that allow me to apprehend a glimpse of God and take Him into my heart.

My prose cannot do justice to the seeds planted in me by this Psalm.

Clouds His chariots, the wind His wings (3-4)… God is far above and over all I know. He glides where I can only dream to go. God controls what I do not fully understand (setting forth the earth, partitioning the waters (5-6)), stablishing His people, creating animals and on and on the Psalm sings of God Almighty.

My heart grasps God’s grandeur; my mind limps to keep up. God controls. God reigns. God remembers His promises. God brings joy and judgment. God’s Words command…

As the Psalmist paints his masterful word-picture, I, like the psalmist himself, am reduced to praise. Nothing else seems fitting. Nothing else seems the correct response.

Praise the Lord (45).

I will praise You, Lord. I will sing Your wonders. I will exalt You, Oh, Lord, Most High. Halleluiah. Amen.


Monday, June 13: Psalm 103- Praise the Lord.

The group of Psalms I am reading right now are so wonderful as a day starter. They breathe life into me as the sun rises. What a blessing these words are as I start today.

Praise the LORD, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (1-5).

The love and joy of the Lord rolls into my being as I take these words to heart. Praise the Lord… forget not his benefits, sings the Psalmist and then he gives us reasons to forget not God’s benefits and blessings…

God forgives…

God heals…

God redeems… (not only in the future but life right now)

God satisfies…

God renews… life

Those 5 verbs give ample fertilizer for my mediations today (and any day).

Launched by these verbs I pondered, the goodness of God flooded into my life and the lives of those I love most dearly.

I considered the many forgivenesses that God has showered on me…

I thanked God for my health and the ways He has healed me and those I love…

I replayed and remembered the many times I was in a bind or heading down a dark path that God redeemed me and brought me back into the light.

I thought about all the satisfaction God has ushered my way.

I reviewed my life and reminded myself of the many times I was flagging in energy and stamina to continue. God poured in what I needed, renewing my life for the next step, next stage, next season…

The Lord has been there throughout my life when I recognized Him and when I did not. God has been faithful even when I was not.  My heart and mind soared with praise to my God.

I literally sang with the Psalmist:

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles

Amen and amen.


Saturday, June 11: Psalm 102- Prayer of an afflicted person.

In my family we have a playful expression when we are bummed about something, “Oh, I am in the depths of despair and depression.”

This Psalm was written and is directed to people who really are ‘in the depths of despair and depression.” The moniker at the beginning reads, “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.”

When I am in that place I usually don’t know how to pray. And I often cannot find words even to speak with others. Life is imploding.

How excellent that the Lord would give us a prayer for just such a time. God cares, God knows our needs even before we do, and God offers help.

God inspired prayer for very dark days!

For me these words are both actual words to pray and an outline of how to pray… how to speak my situation to the Lord.

And they open with honesty… the Psalmist lays out how he/she feels in heart wrenching ways (read again 1-11).

It occurs to me that too often I am too polite in my private and personal prayer. I mask and minimize my hurt when I speak to the Lord, because ‘real people of faith’ aren’t supposed feel that depressed or be that anxious.

This Psalm is honest with God… “Bill, be honest with God when you pray. Speak what you feel and think. God can handle it.” This thought explodes in my mind.

Holy Spirit is that Yo?. Are You saying this or is it just a reach by my own thoughts?

I sit and allow God to answer.

Slowly I seem to hear God’s reply, “It is me. I want to have a relationship with You. I want You to be honest with Me. Only then can I enter Your world, and more importantly, only then I pour my healing and love into you so that you can enter My world. When You are honest, I can help You. When You pretend, You are actually hiding from me.”

I am blown away by the depth of God’s care for me… for you… for us.

Oh, God, thank You for this prayer for when I truly am in the depths of despair and depression. You are so good. I love You. I delight that I am Your son, Your child… thanks be to You, Oh God, for Jesus, my Savior. Amen and Amen.


Friday, June 10: Psalm 101- Love and Justice.

I will sing of your love and justice;

to you, LORD, I will sing praise.

I will be careful to lead a blameless life—

when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house

with a blameless heart (1-2).

Love and justice… I was struck by this pair. God’s love garners lots of thought. People sing of it and preach on it. God’s love carries me through many difficult times. It is wonderful to ponder and consider the love of the Almighty, especially the love of the Almighty toward me.

Justice, however, is a different attribute. Far less frequently does it make it into verse or sermon. And I know that I am not as quick to meditate on God’s justice.

And yet, the Psalmist loads his prayer with these two rounds… love and justice.

This is a good reminder for me to remain balanced in my meditations on God. Yes, God is love but He is also justice. Holding the two keeps me from tipping to extremes in either direction.

In this Psalm, thoughts of God’s love and justice lead followed immediately by the Psalmists’ pledge to live a blameless life. This theme is developed throughout the remainder of the Psalm.

Maybe it was love for God that led him to lead a blameless life.  Maybe it was the recognition of God’s justice that caused the Psalmist to lead a blameless life. I suspect that the latter is more probable than the former. But the longer I sit with this thought the more I think it is the balance of the two that motivates the Psalmist to lead a blameless life.

Love is a great motivator, but sin can push love into realms of carelessness and laziness. Oh, God will still love me if I do xyz…”

And justice can put the fear of God in us, but living a life constantly looking over our shoulder for the cop is anything but a life of care and love.

But when the two are in balance, knowing God is always there for me but God also desires me to live righteously.  There is desire and commitment to live rightly.

Well, today I will set myself in balance and ponder both God’s love and justice, and God’s justice and love. And my prayer is that as I do I will live righteously in my world. 

Oh, God, may my life honor You this day and every day of my life. I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart.  Though Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, June 9: Psalm 100- Refreshment.

It is refreshing for me to step into the Psalms today. After 4 weeks in Leviticus, today’s Psalm is a deep breath of cool mountain spring air. Since Psalm 100 is so brief I have printed it in its entirety. Breathe deeply of the Lord as you read it…

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

As I read this Psalm over and over, life rushes into me. Sitting in the quiet of the morning, I read it over and over. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. “I know, I KNOW,” my heart cries. I am so blessed to know the Lord is my God, so blessed indeed.

I never really knew my grandfathers. My Dad’s dad died before I was born and my maternal grandfather died before I went to kindergarten. I don’t have any memories of being with my grandpa. The only ‘memories’ I have are from a few family pictures.

The images and feelings this Psalm creates in me is what I imagine it would be like to climb up into my grandpa’s lap, have him cradle me in his big strong arms and rock back and forth in a rocking chair.

“Tell me a story, grandpa,” I would ask.

And grandpa would weave a tale of adventure and rescue with some laughter and a happy ending mixed in. He would hold me and tell me how much he loved my parents and me. And life would be safe and fun and good.

With this Psalm I climb into Grandpa God’s lap… and I am glad to be there and He is glad I am there. And God whispers to me, “I made you and you are Mine. I will care for you and watch over you. I love you and will forever and ever.”

My heart melts in this safe place. “Thank You, Grandpa God. I love You, too. I am so glad I am Yours…”

Thank You, Lord, for this wonderful morning with You. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


PS: here is a link to a wonderful interview between Eugene Peterson (author of the Message translation) and Bono on the psalms:


Wednesday, June 8: Leviticus 27- Give God His due.

As I finished my chapter for today, I found myself thinking,

·         What connects to my life?

·         What is the Lord teaching me in this chapter?

·         What piece will connect me closer to the Lord, or warn me about some sin trap?

·         What lesson did Israel learn that I can transpose to my life?

Slowly the throught emerged, ‘Give God His due.’

Give God the honor, give God the offerings, give God the service, give God the praise that He is due.

Our God is the Lord, God, Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, protector and provider for His people, Eternal Judge over all. Give God His due.

Truly His due is everything. What do I have that was not given by Him? Who holds my future? God… the one to whom I have sworn allegiance!

Slowly the thoughts morphed toward more practical specifics…

·         Lord, what would You have me do… today?

·         What can I do for and with You today?

·         What life direction do You want me to take with the years I have remaining this side of eternity?

·         Lord, where should I re-double my efforts in giving You Your due?

And so I sat, listening for the Lord’s voice… pledging to follow where He leads…

Oh, Lord, I offer You anew and afresh my life. Use me as you deem best. In large and small ways of You leading, may my life matter in advancing Your kingdom near and far around this globe of Yours. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Tuesday, June 7: Leviticus 26- Faithfulness begets blessing.

As Leviticus winds toward its conclusion, Chapter 26 stands as a call to faithfulness. God outlines two ‘if-then’ options. If you are faithful I (God) will do this… If you are unfaithful I will do this. The gracefulness of the Lord shines through. Even if they choose unfaithfulness; God makes provision for them to be restored once their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they return to Him (40ff).

My devotional time was spent with the opening call to faithfulness. I was captivated by God’s promises of care. “ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. “ ‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. “ ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high (3-13).

First I noticed all the ‘I(s)’… all the things the Lord will do. This is not a situation where human ingenuity will provide. No, God is doing the providing. God sends the rain so crops grow. God creates wonderful yields. God grants peace and so on.

The promise for Israel is that their faithfulness will beget blessing.

I went back and looked at all the ways God’s blessing would flow: rain for crop; large yields; safety in the land; peace; no fear; no wild beasts in the land; a few Israelites will chase many marauders, should enemies advance; Israel will grow; and God’s dwelling will be among them… That is quite a list.

Life would be good J

Somehow this wonderful ‘God will take care of you life’ prompted thoughts of eternity. It is no accident that Revelation speaks of new heaven and new earth and New Jerusalem. Eternity is the perfect world that our world would have been had sin not entered and corrupted it. Someday, through faith in Jesus, I and all who love and believe in Him will experience God’s perfect care for eternity.

This side of eternity, today’s reading reminds me that faithfulness brings God’s blessings… God’s care. And when I stumble into unfaithfulness I can find restoration through humility and confession of my sins to the Lord. Such is the way of grace this side of eternity.

Oh, Lord, I long to walk in faithfulness to You. Yes, Your blessings are a ‘carrot,’ a prize that I long for, but I hope and pray that my love and faithfulness for You runs so much deeper than what I can get out of knowing You. I pray for a heart so devoted to You that no matter what You ask, be it Job’s life or Jeremiah’s life, I will gladly walk it because I am walking with You!

Lord, I pray for my heart that it understands You are the prize I long for… in Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



Monday, June 6: Leviticus 25- Do I trust God to provide?.

I found myself contemplating the Sabbath Year, the regulation that the land is to lay fallow every 7th year. Israelites may eat what the land produces, but are not to tend, cultivate or reap during that year. They are just to eat what comes up naturally. Here is how Moses explains it.

The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten (1-7).

I thought, ‘Oh, my, what a test of faith’. It may be a gift for the land, a way for the land to replenish nutrients and ‘rest’. But what a test of faith for Israelites. Basically they were farmers and herders. Most small farm farmers I know today, like farmers throughout the millennia, are subsistence farmers. They live primarily off what is grown. There may be some storage for bad years and bumper crops with wonderful excess but crop farming is no way to amass a fortune.

So, the idea that every 7th year you let the land produce what it will produce without any enhancement, furrowing, sowing, fertilizing, tending and reaping is a test of faith.  Will God call from the land what I need for my family to live and for me to plant in the year to come?

So many of the laws have a faith producing element. This one certainly does.

Could I do that?

To give this law a more modern feel: If I owned a business could I cease all advertising, networking, solicitation and seeking of new business in every way every 7th year and trust that God will bring my way the clients I need to live???  That would take FAITH!

Certainly the people of Moses’ day wondered about this and a few verse later Moses, speaking for God, answers that question:

“ ‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in (18-22).

God’s answer to a very human concern, “I will provide…

Turning to my life, very different than Israel’s, do I trust the Lord enough to have faith He will provide everything I need to live a life for Him? Do I? (Do you?)

Do I live in a manner that models I trust in Jesus! Do I? (Do you?)

I don’t own a business, I have a salary… so do I give to God’s church and God-honoring causes with a fervor that says I Trust in God? Do I? (Do you?)

Oh, God, my desire is to live a life that honors, trusts and leaves a simple example for others… I trust You with my life and I live so that true life in Your name is spread throughout all this world. Amen and Amen.