Friday, September 30: Psalm 128- Blessedness is an outcome of an obedient heart .

Bless me God, Bless me God, this is the prayer of many. People want to be blessed by God. People want to be blessed, period. For many the thinking goes, because I am human or because I am a ‘good’ person (‘good’ being defined by the person themselves), I really deserve to be blessed.

Today’s Psalm, however, offers a different equation. The psalm begins:

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him (1).

From the Psalmist’s prayer we see that blessedness is an outcome of an obedient heart.

Obedience receives the blessing of God…

There was my spiritual nourishment for this morning. Obedience receives the blessing of God.

The natural next step for me as I sat with my Lord this morning was to probe my obedience in light of God’s Word… and to listen to the voice of the Spirit as He raises points He wants me to ponder, weigh, change and mature.

Is the Lord speaking to you about your obedience?

Before I closed the book and got up from the lap of the Lord, He whispered some encouragement, noting times and growth in obedience.

God is so good, firm yet gentle, confronting working while encouraging obedience…

Thank You, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit for Your leading, Your love, Your reproving, Your encouraging. Bless You for inviting me to partner with You in life and the advance of Your Kingdom.

Lord, I surrender to You. Use me as You will. Use me up in Your service. I am forever Yours, a servant in Your household, a soldier in Your army. I pray through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.


Thursday, September 29: Psalm 127- What does it mean for the Lord to build your house?.

The opening lines of this Psalm pierced me. I was attending a board meeting of a Christian ministry. It was the third day and the underlying question of everything we had done so far was, “What does the Lord want us to do about this issue?” This is the context in which I opened and read these words.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves (1-2).

Naturally these words hit me regarding the work of the board for the last 2 days. But consciously I re-sculpted these words to speak into my life. What must I do to ensure that the Lord is building my life?

I sat with this question….

While a building is an inanimate object, as such it just sits there. I am a living breathing human being… so what must I do to be sculpted by God?

I need to sit with Him. Like a model for an artist, I have to sit with the Lord. I have to allow Him to peer into me with His gaze and then accept whatever work He says needs to be done.

Just last week I went to the dentist… I have to show up and open up and let him work. First the dentist examines my teeth, cleans them so he gets a good look. Then he probes more deeply in problem areas –he knows my history- and potential problem areas. Experience and wisdom tells him where to look for ‘hidden’ cavities. At some point he will ask me if I have noticed anything unusual pain, sensitivity, etc. If ‘yes’. he will probe again those areas. Lastly he gives me my ‘diagnosis’. Sometime this includes the need for cavities to be filled or more extensive work. Most times, thankfully, I get to hear, “all is good.” Sometimes he may add, “Keep up the good work”. Other times he adds tips for better oral hygiene; floss more, clean your gums better, and the like.

I need to adopt a similar pattern with the Lord... to sit with Him so that He can do the same kind of examination and repair as necessary,,, my heart, mind, soul and will…

For me the most important and regular aspect in God’s examination is to hold His Word up, to allow it to peer into me and correct, rebuke or encourage. Regular times in God’s Word is an essential for me. Then there is meditation and prayer growing from the Word. Meditation for me is NOT emptying myself of self, but rather filling myself with God through His Word… pondering, chewing, digesting and feeding on His Word, which is truth.

There are also times with other brothers… where we ‘do life’, allowing God to speak though this brother. Weekly worship, regular tithing and giving, prayer with others and service in the name of Jesus.

For me these are my mainstays… for being receptive to the Lord so that HE CAN BUILD MY HOUSE…

Thank You, Lord, for building these features into my life. I want so much to be Yours and to be the kind of man You want me to be… I offer You my life… use me as You will, create me to be what You will and create a clean heart in me that I might not sin against You. I pray in Jesus’ name Amen.


Wednesday, September 28: Psalm 126- When God comes through.

When God comes through for us… those were the first words that erupted in my thoughts as I read this Psalm.

When God comes through as He regularly does… how do I react?

The psalmist cried: …we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them” (1-2).

When the Lord comes through… do I shout and laugh? Do I say, “Look at the great things the Lord has done?”

Do you???

Learning to be more expressive in joy (and sorrow) is a learning curve for me. I am quiet and reserved. And though I do not think God is requiring me to change, He might just be asking me to grow more expressive about life and particularly His touch in my life.

Oh, Lord, teach me Your ways. Lead me, show me how to be more expressive in both joy and sorrow, particularly about Your wonderful work in my life during my times of joy and sorrow. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, September 27: Psalm 125- the blessing of trusting in the Lord.

I have a friend who is constantly reminding me to use word-pictures when I speak and communicate. Word-pictures are memorable, especially when they grow out of the experiences of the people with whom you are communicating.

The Psalmist uses an incredible word-picture, particularly considering that songs of ascents were often sung as people were trudging up Mount Zion toward Jerusalem.

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore (1-2).

I have been to Jerusalem, not as dramatic as say the Rocky Mountains, it is nonetheless an imposing sight when you come from the plains. And the picture says it all.

God will protect us. God will guard us…

Other word-pictures pop into my thoughts.

Those who trust in the Lord are as safe as the gold in Fort Knox.

Those who trust in the Lord are like the President of the US in Air Force One, safe and secure.

As a baby is safe in her mother’s arms, so those who trust in the Lord are safe.

I sit with a thankful heart… God is watching over me. I am His and He is mine.

Lord, thank You for this reminder of Your love, protection, and care. I praise You, Lord, and I bless Your name. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Monday, September 26: Psalm 124- the Lord is on our side.

I imagine myself marching up the hill toward Jerusalem, throngs of others before, behind and alongside of me. Such would be the sight as pilgrims come to Jerusalem for one of the three mandated pilgrim feasts in Jerusalem. As they climb the hills they sing the songs of ascent. I hear the crowd being spurred by a voice…

If the LORD had not been on our side— let Israel say— (1)

And all the surrounding people crying out in joy

if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us… (2-3);

Continuing through the Psalm they crescendo with the closing verse (8)

Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

What an amazing chorus of praise. What an encouragement to the soul. What a reminder of God’s goodness and greatness!

What a wonderful gift this Psalm is… for my praising of the Lord.

If the LORD had not been on our side…

·         The church would not have prevailed in those early days of fear or those decades of persecution.

·         Babies might still die on the hills of Greece; gladiatorial fights might still be entertainment in Europe

·         The books of the church and western civilization would not have been preserved in the monasteries of Europe.

·         The church would not have been steered back to orthodoxy through the likes of Luther and Calvin

If the LORD had not been on my side…

·         I might not have completed my MS thesis

·         My life might have crumbled when I way laid off in 2001

·         Those auto accidents I have been in might have been far worse

But the Lord was my our side and so I rejoice and give praise and honor to the Lord God Almighty…

Our help (my help) is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Saturday, September 24: Psalm 123- I need you Lord .

Short and directly to the point, “I need you Lord” is the essence of this Psalm. I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven (1), in tones of the Psalmist. Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured no end of contempt (3).

Thus we have the heart of the Psalm. I look to You, God. I need You, O Lord!

Sometimes the simplest prayers are the most profound and heartfelt.

God does not judge our prayers by their length or their gravitas. No, God looks to the heart of the pray-er. Honest, real words find the ears of the Lord.

I am reminded by this Psalm at times when illustrious words escaped me, and all I could do was cry out, “God help.” No flowing verse, no descriptions of God’s Majesty, just a heartfelt cry for help or mercy.

God hears our cries. The Psalmist knew it and I know it…

Oh, God, thank You for being there with and for me. Thank You that when my words are few because my heart is hurting or scared You still hear me. Thank You, thank You, Thank You, Lord, for all Your care and love and for being there ALL THE TIME. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Friday, September 23: Psalm 122- God's presence.

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem (1-2).

Reading this Psalm, my thoughts pictured pilgrims marching to Jerusalem, singing and praising as they travel. They made it. They crossed the gates; they are home. They are now in God’s home, the city of the Great King.

My thoughts flipped to my ‘home coming,’ when I, too, will stand in the city of the Great King. I’m thinking not of some physical place on earth, but eternity… heaven, the new heaven and new earth, where God will reign forever and ever.

I’m not thinking of death or the process of dying, rather I am picturing that instant transportation into God’s full glory, that moment when faith becomes sight.

Oh, what a day that will be… to see and hear the voice of the Savior, to be surrounded by throngs of witnesses who have kept and passed along the faith throughout the ages, to be in the presence of absolute glory, to raise my voice with the millions singing to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb who is and who was…

I just sat with these thoughts filling my head and heart.  The pressures and good things of this world faded away, paled by the wonder and awe of that day when I am home in the city of my God.

Until then I hold on, allowing faith to breathe its best into me, praying that my life during these intervening years brings glory to my Kin, That it will  introduce others to the King and fights for justice that will honor my King.

Praise be to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You alone deserve honor and praise and power and glory. Amen and Amen.


Thursday, September 22: Psalm 121- Soaring with the Lord.

This Psalm simply makes my heart sing… it soars with the wonder of the opening

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

I can feel my heart soaring as I picture lifting my eyes… I, too, shout with the Psalmist, My help also comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. God is my protector, God is my helper. God watches over me.

Some mornings are pensive, some find me hurting, but today the Psalm invades my life and carries me to declare the Lord is my sovereign and my protector.

My life is in God’s hands and I am most comfortable there. No matter what comes my way, I know God is for me and God is watching over me.

Oh, Lord, I sit before You this morning and rest under Your watchful eye looking out for me. I am Yours and You are mine. Blessed be the name of You, Lord. Amen and Amen.


Wednesday, September 21: Psalm 120- Longing for a new 'home'.

Despair engulfs the Psalmist. He longs for a change… a new home of peace. Most of us have been there. I know I have. Tumultuous times, difficult times, times when those around us seek to drag us down to their pit of despair.

The Psalmist leans into the Lord…

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.

The Psalmist has learned the truth.  Only God can change our circumstances, only the Lord can move us from the land of despair to the place of peace. Whether literal or descriptive, it matters not. I know I have faced those times when my station in life is wracked with voices trying to change me in ways that are not compatible with my faith in Jesus.

God whispers to me this morning… trust Me. Call out to Me. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Good times, bad times, horrendous times, God is there with us. Turn to Him. Reach out to Him. Call out with parched lips, save me, Lord. And wait to see what the Lord will do…

This is the word that fills my heart as I sit with Jesus, the Father and the Spirit this morning.

Help me to remember Your Word, O Lord, when days of heartache come. You alone are my strength and refuge. You have become and will always be my refuge. Praise be to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Tuesday, September 20: Psalm 119- Obedience.

I confess that sometime I dread Psalm 119. “It is sooooo long,” I think. I am saddened to admit this, but it is true. And speaking out this thought shows me that at times my ‘devotions’ are more ritual rather than relationship and devotion…

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me.

Today, however, was not one of those mornings. I read through the Psalm slowly, at a deliberate pace. Each stanza spoke clearly… like a hammer drill, it pierced its way deeply into me. Obedience. Obedience. Obedience is the word for the day… for a life surrendered to the Lord. It appeared throughout the Psalm.

Oh, Lord, may Your truth settle deeply into my soul and my being.

I could have chosen words from any stanza but I decided upon the first. It sets the tone and the theme for the entire Psalm.

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—they do no wrong but follow his ways (1-3).

Blessed are those who walk according to Your Word… who keep Your statues. Obedience pounds the hammer drill. Obedience. Do, walk, keep God’s Word.

I wish it were that easy, just a singular decision of the will. But like all great endeavors it is much greater than a single decision. It takes endurance. It takes will power. It takes the ability to master the right skills, like knowing the Word. And it takes the inner work of God, the Holy Spirit, rooting out sin and all its vestiges that are scattered widely and deeply in my life.

Lord, I pray that I am up to the task and I ask You to strengthen me to play my part faithfully as You work Your cleaning power within me. Lord, I pray this so that I might walk according to Your world and keep all of Your statutes, that my life might be an offering of praise to You. Alleluia. Amen. 


Monday, September 19: Psalm 117-118- The Lord.

Although not directly linked, these two Psalms declare and praise the greatness of the Lord.

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Ps 117:2 & 118:1)

As I read the lengthy Psalm 118 the prominence of ‘the Lord’ was striking.

·         The Lord was with me (6 &7),

·         I cried to the Lord (5),

·         It is better to take refuge in the Lord than… (8&9)

·         So and so surround me, but in the name of the Lord I will cut them down (10, 11, 12)

And so the Psalm declares on and on. The Lord is the difference in the Psalmist’s life. In battle and in life the Lord makes the difference because the Lord is God (27) and the Lord is my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you (28).

The flow of this Psalm burrowed into me… The Lord, the Lord, the Lord has done mighty things because the Lord is God and He is my God.

I joined the Psalmist in DECLARING that the Lord is my God and I recalled things He has done and how mighty is His name. As I did this a surge of joy and presence filled me. The Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever. As He has been with the Psalmist, so He will be with me.  My memories are living proof to the presence, power and activity of the Lord. How could I not join the choruses of praise to the Lord?

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD (Psalm 117). Alleluia. Amen


Saturday, September 17: Psalm 116- Rest, God's peace-filled rest.

The Psalmist is effervescent with appreciation and praise for the Lord. Clearly the Lord has reached down and saved the psalmist in some way(s) and the psalmist is praising God for His goodness.

In the midst of this Psalm, verse 7 connected with my heart. My sleep has been disturbed lately, waking often, uncomfortable dreams, and restless sleep. I cannot put my finger on anything in particular going on in my life. Overall I would say life is in a good place, no particular worries and yet, my sleep is not refreshing.

As my eyes lit on verse 7, it was as if it was a promise extended to me… Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Could it be that I have ‘forgotten’ all the wonderful things the Lord has done and is doing in my life? Is it that I am fixated on the few pressures I have? Maybe. Maybe.

My heart seems to hear, “Focus on Me. Look around and recall all the ways I am active in your life. See My hand, and be at rest. I am with You. Nothing reaches you that has not gone through My hand. Rest in this. Rest in Me, my child.”

I felt a wash of peace come over me. The Lord has spoken to me. The word came alive. I am the Lord’s.

Alleluia sings my soul. Alleluia.

Lord God, I thank You for this reassurance of Your love and care. I bless You because You have cared and are caring for me. I join the Psalmist singing… I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live (1-2). Amen and Alleluia.


Friday, September 16: Psalm 115- For God not self.

Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness (1).

We are in the midst of the presidential political season right now, not my favorite season. It seems as if every candidate is all about self and what I can do for you, for the country, state, etc.

This kind of hubris is not only in politics. You can hear it is sport and other sectors, too. And while hubris might be an overstatement in some cases, human pride is all around us. The ‘hiring interviewing dance’ is often all about how ‘good’ we are. And this is true for the hiree and the to-be-hired.

I suspect it is the seeking and proclaiming of human glory that caused my spirit to be drawn to verse one of our Psalm and particularly its opening. Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory…

The Psalmist goes out of his/her way to glorify God. Two times he rejects glory for self in order to lift up the name of the Lord. And somehow it does not seem out of place, maybe because it is in Scripture.

As I sat with these words before me, I wondered how I might live them today. How might I give glory to God rather than self in a way that fits the conversation and feels normal and natural?

I am not sure I have an answer for this… but that is the joy of Scripture and sitting with the Lord. He leads me to new waters and down new paths. And this will be a new path for me, one that will take some time growing used to…

Lord, thank You for the Psalms, these inspired prayers. Prayers You, Spirit, uttered and authored through the voices of men. I pray for Your leading, not simply to read or even repeat these prayers, but to have them conform and transform me into a man who more and more closely resembles and mimics the character and attributes of You, my God. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, September 15: Deuteronomy 34- Legacy.

Death comes to everyone, great and small, rich and poor, famous and average. Death comes to everyone.

And for Moses, death comes on the top of a mountain in the hands of the Lord. This seems somewhat fitting for a man who lived his life following the Lord and leading others to do the same.

There is something fitting about Moses being buried in an unmarked grave. Except for a few slipups Moses lived a life that never gloried in self but always pointed to the Lord. A revered gravesite would only have attracted attention to himself. People would have flocked there and turned it into a sideshow. This way Moses’ legacy is his life not his gravesite.

Thinking about this, gravesites are for the living not the dead. Many people erect large, ‘look-at-me’ gravestones or even mausoleums, but the reality is that their body is decaying just like everyone else’s. However, our truest legacy is the touch we have had on the people around us.

I guess the pyramids are the most lavish example history has of people erecting a monument to self. But even there the wonderfully embalmed Egyptian Pharaohs have decayed. Only the stone remains, much of the treasure looted by tomb raiders. And were it not for massive preservation efforts, including controlling ground water, the pyramids would not be in the condition they are.

Buildings decay, deceased bodies decay, what remains is our influence on the lives of others. Moses didn’t need a marvelous tomb to cement his legacy. The people entering the Promised Land did that.

I began to wonder about the legacy I will leave.  How about you? What will yours be? And more importantly what can I (we) do in the years we have left to cement our legacies?

Think about it…

Lord, I know that my best legacy will be my following of You as vigorously and well as I possibly can. Help me, Lord, to live for You today and all of my todays until I meet You in eternity. Then I will enter Your rest and hear the best welcome of all time, ‘Well done my good and faithful son, come and enter Your Father’s happiness’.

In Jesus I live and move and find my being… Alleluia Amen.


Wednesday, September 14: Deuteronomy 33- Blessing.

I love the fact that Moses’ last corporate act was to bless the people. He names each tribe and the son of Israel, who was their father, and blesses each tribe with a personal blessing.

Blessing is a powerful gift. Moses knew he was going to die, and he chose his final words to be a blessing. What a gift he gave. Not everyone is given time before they die to speak with key people in their lives. I don’t know when or how the Lord will bring me home, even so Moses’ example speaks to me.

When the time comes for me to leave pastoral work, I pray I follow Moses’ lead and bless the people of God with a blessing particular to whom they are in Christ.

 I also hope and pray I have an inkling from the Lord before I die so that I have time to bless each of my family members as Moses blessed the tribes.  

It is beautiful to me that a blessing is the last words the people hear from Moses’ lips.  Moses inspires me to do whatever I can do to let a blessing be the last thing my family and the people of God hear from my lips…

Lord, I make this request, that You allow me Your grace to have my final words to those I love be a blessing. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, September 12: Deuteronomy 31- Passing God's truths to the next generations.

How do you preserve faith? How do you pass along faith from generation to generation?  How do you maintain integrity with its origins?

These questions are important today but in Moses’ day possibly even more so since they were an oral culture.

Part of the answer is that you write it down and you make sure people read it (or at least hear it) periodically.

So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing. Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess” (9-13).

I wonder if Israel actually did this. There is the one occurrence in Ezra and Nehemiah’s time, but that was after the exile in Babylon. And in Josiah’s time, when the temple is being refurbished, we the find the Book of the Law. That comment doesn't bode well for reading it aloud to all the people at least every seven years.

Whether Israel did this or not, the principle of writing down and then reading to the people, the core of the faith repeatedly is sound. And Moses gives special heed regarding children who must hear the law and be taught to fear the Lord.

As I think about this I wonder if we are any better at this today. Oh, we are a written culture, but do we take the fact that things are in books for granted? Regarding our faith, I know we have God’s Book but do we transfer that wisdom, knowledge and revelation from God’s Book to our minds and hearts?

God directed that people repeatedly read His Book and then pass its content along with the fear of the Lord to the coming generations as they train up the children.

God’s whisper to me… do I attend to God’s Book and do I see that its content along with the fear of the Lord to the ensuing generations? Do I? Do you?

Lord, burn within me the treasure that we have in having Your Book. Burn within me a desire to honor it, know it, live by it, and fear You in the process. Burn within me the importance of passing along to the coming generations a reverence for and commitment to Your Book and even more importantly, a reverence for and commitment to You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, September 13: Deuteronomy 32- Songs of faith.

While I was reading this song of Moses, I kept thinking about some of the great and lasting songs of the Christian faith. Song, words with melodies, has a way of burrowing more deeply and more memorably into the human psyche than words alone.

I thought about how songs have led people over the centuries. They have led people in faith. They have led people into battle. They have led people on expansion. Song has a forceful sway.

I returned to my initial thoughts and considered some great classics of the Christian faith, songs that teach as well as inspire… Martin Luther’s

A mighty fortress is our God,

a bulwark never failing;

our helper he amid the flood

of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe

doth seek to work us woe;

his craft and power are great,

and armed with cruel hate,

on earth is not his equal.


And Reginald Heber’s

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,

God in three persons, blessed Trinity!


And Joachim Neander’s

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!

O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!

All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;

Praise Him in glad adoration.


Titles began tumbling, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee; God of Grace and God of Glory; All Hail the Power of Jesus Name; Praise My Soul the King of Heaven; O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing; Be Thou My Vision,… then classic Advent, Christmas, Good Friday and Easter hymns came to mind. Oh my, the songs of faith that have carried pilgrims for centuries.

The Lord knew what He was doing when He inspired Moses to pen this song and others to pen the songs of the Psalms. And even more powerful, Moses’ song and Psalms are inspired Scripture.

Lord, I am basking in Your glory this morning. Singing songs of faith that praise and exalt You, my Lord and my God. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen


Saturday, September 10: Deuteronomy 30- the Lord is my life!.

I love the line I bolded in the midst of the closing paragraph.

This day I call the heavens and the 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).

For the Lord is your life! What a rich truth. Oh, to fill my thoughts with this Word. The Lord is my life. The Lord is my life!

I just keep chewing on these words… the Lord is my life. Not ‘part of my life’ or ‘connected to my life.’ The Lord IS my life. He is the totality of my life. I turned the sentence over and over. Without Him I have no life.

Eventually I even reversed the order: My life is the Lord. Somehow this emphasized my responsibility in making the Lord my life. I had to own the truth…

I continued to tumble this around. The wonder of this truth filled me and praise began to break forth

Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name…

The Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my victory…

The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love…

The Lord is my light and my salvation…

The Lord is my everything. Alleluia. Amen.


Friday, September 9: Deuteronomy 29- Everything I need to know for faith to flourish.

The final words of this chapter drew me in. The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law (29).

These words hold truth to this day. The secret things belong to the Lord. He is the Master of all things and all knowledge. This is why the devil was lured into the trap of killing Jesus and thus assuring his defeat. God knew the secret things. God knew that Jesus’ atoning death would defeat the devil and his ways.

But the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of [God’s Scriptures]. Yes, my task is to know what I can know, which is to know God’s Scriptures. It alone contains what God has made known. It is everything one needs to live in harmony with the Lord; it reveals Jesus Christ who is to be confessed and worshiped as Lord. And the Scriptures are not ours to keep to ourselves; they are ours to make known to our children and the peoples of the world.

There are things about God that I will never know this side of eternity. However, everything I need to know to have faith and believe in Him has been revealed in the Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible.

Lord, I pledge my life to knowing Your Word and, therefore, knowing all You have revealed for me to know about You. Praise to You, Lord God, the one God who is, who always has been, and always will be. Amen and Amen.


Thursday, September 8: Deuteronomy 28- The strong pull of sin.

When I step back from this chapter I think, who would not opt for the blessings rather than the curses. The contrast between the two is immense and so polar opposite.

Reading the blessings, I thought I would sign up for that; in fact I wondered who would not. And then when I read the curses, I was, “No way. I would avoid that like the plague.”

I wondered what would possess anyone not to seek the blessings and avoid the curses. I looked back at what I had written and the word ‘possess’ struck me. Sin has a hold over us…

In Romans 7:19 Paul writes For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Such is the power of sin. Israel may have wanted to follow the Lord, but the pull of sin, sinister and often subtle, pulled them and pulls us off track.

Israel had no chance fully obeying the Lord.

It was as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “The power of sin is still that strong. Don’t underestimate the power of sin”..

Then in the next moment the Father reminded me that I am not alone in my battle with sin. Through faith in Jesus I have been given the promised Holy Spirit. I now have the power of God within me to defeat sin.

I remain a very fallible human being but God, the Holy Spirit. is with me helping me to grow and defeat sins schemes. I am a work in progress but thanks be to God I am not alone.

Lord, I am so grateful for Your Holy Spirit who leads and guides and empowers me to follow You, Jesus. I know I have much to learn about listening to and following His voice. But I am growing and I ask You, God, to help me grow more and more until my dying day. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, September 6: Deuteronomy 26- Declaring ones fidelity to the Lord .

When I think of the tithe, I think of giving 10% of my income to the Lord. And while that is at the heart of the tithe, I was intrigued by the declaration that the tither made to the Lord as he gave his tithe.

Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God; I have done everything you commanded me. Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

The comments regarding obedience really grabbed me. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.… I have obeyed the LORD my God; I have done everything you commanded me. I don’t think I ever realized that as one was giving the tithe she/he declared their fidelity to the Lord and His commands.

This gives the tithe increased significance for me. Not only is the tithe a monetary dedication to the Lord but is accompanied by a vow declaring fidelity to the Lord.

If I truly open my heart to this new insight it should affect me each time I place my tithe in Sunday mornings offering plate.

How about you?

Lord God, continue to show me the depth of what You were teaching Israel about the tithe as a statement of fidelity to You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, September 7: Deuteronomy 27- I belong to God.

Powerful words. When my eyes lit upon them immediately my heart stirred. So strong was the stirring that I immediately read them again. “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God. Obey the LORD your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today” (9-10)

What a profound statement; You have now become the people of the LORD your God.

We are God’s people, I am God’s person… that is what streamed into my heart like water over Niagara Falls. Because of faith in Jesus I have been brought into the Kingdom of the Son (Col 1:13-14, 1Peter 2:9-10, and many more places in the NT).

Oh, I know this but to read it spoken so plainly, so simply, so directly it grabbed hold of my heart. I belong to God!

Equally stirring was the straightforwardness of the next sentence.  Obey the LORD your God and follow his commands and decrees…

With great blessing comes great responsibility!

I have to live out my new identity in God. It seems to me that this is both command and invitation. My new identity offers me both the calling and ability to live into my new heritage.

With great blessing comes great responsibility!

Today I sit marveling at my heritage and the call of that heritage to live for the Lord.

Oh, God, my heart cries Alleluia. I am Yours… Your possession, one person in Your vast people. I have no words that can respond to my great adoption. I am Yours.

Give me the strength and wisdom, Oh Holy Spirit, to live faithfully honoring You, the Father and the Son, my great God… THE GREAT GOD above ALL gods. Amen and Alleluia.


Monday, September 5: Deuteronomy 25- A living wage.

Though I weary a bit from reading all these laws, I did find verse 4 intriguing. Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

I guess since this is a written law people would in fact muzzle oxen as they were working. Not having worked on a farm I don’t know about this practice. Do oxen eat much of the grain they are treading?

Interestingly Paul cites this verse twice, in 1Corinthians and 1Timothy. Both times he uses it to make the case for paying a fair wage to those dedicated to the Gospel ministry. Paul uses it more as a general principle than its specific intention. This got me thinking about it as a general principle.

Pay people a fair wage, or another way of stating it might be, let people earn a living from their work.

There is a growing debate in my country about what constitutes a livable wage. I don’t know the economics of the debate and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to speak on that topic. However, it seems that an extension of this general principle is that workers should receive a fair wage for their work.

In the 1Timothy 5:4 passage Paul continues that the worker deserves his wages. Paul’s word targets those who preach and teach, but again it seems like a statement that can be extrapolated to the general workforce.

I am wondering if we, who are Christ followers, shouldn’t be leading the vanguard for fair and livable wages for workers…

I don’t know, maybe I have strayed too far in my thoughts today, but it seems like we Christ followers should be the ones who sacrifice a bit of our grain to make sure our workers eat.

Lord, correct me if I have strayed from Your heartbeat today. Reinforce my understanding if I am close to Your heartbeat. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, September 3: Deuteronomy 24- The Lord never wastes experiences.

Three times Moses exhorts the people to remember their past. Verse 9… remember how God dealt with Miriam’s skin disease? Verses 18 and 22…remember you were slaves in Egypt… I have read injunctions like this before in the Scriptures.

The thought struck me, God never wastes our experiences. Where we have been, what we have done and God’s activities in the midst of our lives is a treasure trove that can guide us or warn us as we move into the future.

As a parent I can think of countless times I have prevailed on things I learned in life to attempt to steer my children in wise directions. Sometimes they listened and learned. Sometimes they needed to make the very mistake I warned them against. Hopefully they learned the lesson that second time.

It has been said, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. While that is not exactly what the Lord is speaking to my heart this morning, it is certainly connected.

As I listen to Moses’ exhortation to remember their past, the Lord is reminding me that He has led me in my life for a reason. And things I have learned and experienced are often useful as I move forward. And these experiences are useful when I mentor and guide others along the way of Jesus.

As a believer now for 40+ years, I have much to draw on from my time with Jesus.  Sometimes it is helpful to reach back to before I became a disciple and recall some of the generally less positive J lessons from those days, too. I believe God was there, unseen and unacknowledged for sure, but present nonetheless.

Take some time today to recall some lessons from your past.   How might they help you live faithfully today?

Lord, thank You for lessons learned and for Your presence with me throughout my life. Thank You, Lord, for never giving up on me, but for being the ‘hound of heaven’, pursuing me even when I had turned my back on You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, September 2: Deuteronomy 23- Illicit money and the worship of God.

Verse 18: You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.

If I read this ancient rule correctly, if I were to make money through a means God detests, then I should not use that money to pay off a vow to the Lord, and likely by extrapolation my tithe.

The more I muse on this the more it makes sense. Since the Lord is not pleased by participating in this activity in the first place, why would I think that using its proceeds to make good on a vow would please God.

The Lord desires integrity… meaning the whole of my life is committed to Him. If my whole life is committed to Him then I would not be involved in illicit activities in the first place, right?

As I sit with these words before me, God’s prompting is to examine my life from the 200-foot level, taking the full view and asking, “Am I honoring God in my endeavors? Are my actions, relationships and even my motivations honoring to the Lord? Am I the same person in the shadows as in the light? Am I a man of integrity?”

These are powerful questions to ponder…

How about you?

Search me and know my ways. See if there is any wickedness or hiddenness in me. And Lord as You find things, please do whatever surgery is necessary to root the evil and wrong from my life. I pray this with fear and trepidation in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, September 1: Deuteronomy 22- Things not to mix.

Verse 9-11: Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled. Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together. Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.

These verses have always been a bit of an enigma for me. I don’t understand them nor do I get why this is such a big deal.

I was so perplexed that I did some research but that added nothing particularly useful. History apparently has lost the reason for these distinctions being made. This of course doesn’t mean that there were no reasons back in Moses’ day for these distinctions.

Certainly God had His reasons for these laws, even if it was a ‘test’ of sorts; something God required to create distinction between His people and the rest of the world. And were I a follower of the OT covenant I would need to follow them because they are God’s Word. Since they aren’t repeated in the NT nor would one come up with these as a way to love God and love others, they are not laws I need to follow.

One interesting side note. These texts helped lead the elders and me to a decision years ago. We were discussing how to pay for some church improvements and one thought was raise the money and pay as you go. Another was raise the money but also get a line of credit so we can do everything needed even if all the funds didn’t come in. The issue wasn’t contentious, we just didn’t have a unifying way forward. As is our custom, we paused to pray and after a few minutes of prayer I asked if anyone heard anything from the Lord. One elder said,  “I heard Deuteronomy 22: 9-11.”

They looked it up and read it. Honestly, I and a number of elders were still perplexed. Then another elder (different from the one who received the guidance about the Scripture) said, “I know what it means.” The elder went on to say that by raising money and taking out a line of credit we were mixing two things that we shouldn’t do together.

In that moment we all had an ‘ah ha’ and a divided board became unanimous; we would raise what we needed with no line of credit.

Looking back God honored that decision, the campaign and renovations were a success.

I think this story came to mind because God can use any portion of His Scriptures, even parts I don’t fully understand.

Keep reading the Word and trusting God, who is its Ultimate Author.

Lord, thank You for Your Word and the way You can break in and move a group to follow Your Will if we will stop and listen. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.