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Deuteronomy 9; Psalm 92,93; Isaiah 37; Revelation 7

Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Deuteronomy 9:5 ESV

The first chapters of Deuteronomy consist of Moses speaking to the people of Israel before they prepare to cross into the land that God had promised them from the days of Abraham. While Moses gave many instructions to the people, he also gave a fair amount of warnings to the people about obeying the LORD and His laws. This specific statement stood out to me as I read as it addresses a crucial issue that is still relevant today, self-righteousness. It is so easy for me to look down at others and their sin while failing to realize that I am just as unrighteous in God’s eyes. Even though I am saved by grace through Christ, I still am very far from perfect and need God’s forgiveness for sins I commit, whether intentionally or unintentionally every day. This passage also shows the faithfulness of God, as He clearly dedicates Himself to fulfilling the promise He made to the forefathers of Israel despite their many failings.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Psalm 92:12-15 ESV

In contrast to my unrighteousness and self-righteous is God Himself, who alone is perfect in all that He does. This psalm declares both the faithfulness of God towards those who trust and follow Him and how the LORD is not only righteous, but able to declare those who follow Him to be righteous as well. It is so important for me to realize that God not only strengthens me to act in a righteous manner but is my source of righteousness through Christ because none of my works could ever come close to fulfilling what is required of me to be blameless.

“Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” Isaiah 37:33-35 ESV

In yet another passage, the righteousness and faithfulness of God is put on full display, this time to King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem who were facing a siege by the Assyrians. Though the Assyrians threatened the people and belittled God, God’s deliverance of Israel serves as yet another example of His faithfulness and as a defense of His righteousness against the scorn of Israel’s enemies. In times of trouble and doubt, it is crucial that I turn to God and ask for His deliverance instead of trying to use my own strength to find a way to solve a problem.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, form every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12 ESV

I feel like this is one of the most powerful scenes in the entire book of Revelations. All of God’s saints, who have been sanctified through His blood and have taken on His righteousness are able to give Him the praise He truly deserves, and they worship before His throne. This multitude is without count and from all over the globe, truly showing the unity of the church as the living body of Christ in the world. Only God can wash me white as snow and cloth me in righteousness so I too can stand before His throne and worship.

Dear God, thank You for Your faithfulness despite my many failings. Please continue to sanctify me and draw me closer to You throughout my life. Thank You for Your sacrifice so that I can even draw near to You. Please continue to strengthen my faith and my trust in You Lord. In Your Holy Name, Amen. 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Deuteronomy 7; Psalm 90; Isaiah 35; Revelation 5

My identity in Christ is probably the most important part of my walk with Jesus. When it is threatened, I can go into places of despair quite easily. God’s Word and His promises are the hopes that sustain me during these times and today is no exception.

 Do this because you belong to the Lord your God. From all the peoples on earth he chose you to be his own special people. Remember that the Lord your God is the only God and that he is faithful. He will keep his covenant and show his constant love to a thousand generations of those who love him and obey his commands. So do not be afraid of these people. The Lord your God is with you; he is a great God and one to be feared. – Deuteronomy 7:6,9,21 GNT

I am holy to God, He chose me to be His and I am special to Him. God is so faithful and wants me to love Him and follow Him. I do not have to be afraid for God walks with me.

It is helpful to get inside the prayer life of so many great leaders in the Bible and the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90 is no exception.

I come away with these thoughts – I know God’s hand is on me and it causes me to be full of faith. In Him I am secure. God never fails, never changes, is the same for ever. God calls me by my name and how can I resist such grace. He teaches me the value of time and that my real place is in eternity. So I take time to repent and ask for forgiveness for my sins, for not engaging in His Word and not taking time to pray. I also ask God to fill me with wisdom and I find that He meets me in my quiet time to love me. There is a transforming power that comes from Him working in me. I take on His image more each day. It is His favour on my life that makes His work in me so established.

As I spend time with Him I know that others see the results of that experience when they see my joy.

They will reach Jerusalem with gladness,
singing and shouting for joy.
They will be happy forever,
forever free from sorrow and grief. – Isaiah 35:10 GNT

Chris Tomlin sings a song called “Is He Worthy?” that really expresses my heart. It reaches into the book of Revelation where the call came asking who was worthy to open the scroll.
And I saw a mighty angel, who announced in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” – Revelation 5:2 GNT
The song that was sung was that Jesus was worthy – He is the one who has redeemed by His blood for all peoples everywhere and because of this I am invited to reign with Him.

And sang in a loud voice:

“The Lamb who was killed is worthy
    to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength,
    honor, glory, and praise!” – Revelation 5:12 GNT

My prayer today Jesus is no different – You are Worthy!
Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Deut. 5; Ps.88; Isa. 33; Rev. 3

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭5:32-33‬ ‭NIV

I knew what the rules were. No TV on weekdays until homework was done. But here’s the thing, mom and dad wouldn’t get home till after work. I would watch TV until I heard the garage door going up. I would jump up and turn it off, (because there wasn’t a remote back then) and quickly open my books to study.

I know that I am not the only one who thought they could hide from their parents how they broke the rules. Fortunately, I had parents who chose to fight the important battles which didn’t include after school TV watching for about an hour.

The heart of the issue is obedience. For us humans, we have always struggled with being told what to do. Moses went up on the mountain and brought back very clear and specific rules from God. Rules that were for the good of the Israelites. Rules that pointed to their humanity…their fragility…their need of a savior.

The Lord calls us to obedience because He knows it’s for our good. Why do I not obey? For a number of reasons…including fear…pain…jealousy…and lack of trust in God. Does He really know what’s for my good? In the midst of my pain, can I trust that God knows what’s best?

May I…may we…continue to grow in our trust of God. May our obedience come from love. May we be changed…may the world be changed through the love that the Lord commands.

Dear Father, forgive us our many sins. Forgive us our arrogance that we know best. May we trust you that following your direction, although hard, is for our good and the good of all. Amen.

Mandy

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Deuteronomy 2; Psalms 83,84; Isaiah 30; Jude 1

The great doxology!

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 1:24&25 [NIV]).

This is one of the most profound verses in all of Scripture. What a perfect picture  of our future state and what Jesus has done for us through his sacrifice on the cross for us. And this is an eternal doxology. It is before all time, now and forevermore.

Can you believe that because of that great sacrifice we will stand before the Father without fault or blemish. And Jesus will do it with great joy! It is hard for us to comprehend isn’t it.

Copy these verses down and read them throughout the day and remember how valuable you are to Him. At the end of today… see if your attitude about yourself has changed even a little bit.

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Numbers 36; Isaiah 28; Psalm 80; 1 John 2

Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of their ancestors. No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.” Num 36:8-9 NIV

In time of challenge, diving deep into prayer I s necessary to discern about helping others in need.  It is no coincidence when he presents us with those with such great tangible need.  In the spiritual realm, keeping my spiritual fitness will help me be more able to give to those who need.  If my own spiritual house is not in order, giving is not fruitful.   

 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.;….

 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.  1 John 2:4-8,12 NIV

There are few things that make me more happy than seeing children praising the Lord.  Unashamed, pure joy.  There need not be perfect rhythm or melody, only perfect intention. How does my praise sound to the Lord?  He makes it perfect.  How can I help to lay the foundation for my kids and those with whom I come in contact?  The early influences on my faith still have such a profound influence.  Thank you Jesus for those religious educators and family who planted the seed for my faith.  I intercede for each of them by name….

There is something about seeing a friend’s face.  Texting and social media just doesn’t do it.  I am able to see their true self and how they are doing. Help me not to hide behind these veils and bare true self  to those I trust…and to You Lord. 

In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. Is 28:5-6 NIV

The attack is powerless, Lord.  It can’t take the first step toward me when I stand in You.

Lord, help me to discern when to give and when it is better for me to come to the fountain of your everlasting refreshment.  Thank you for those that have blessed me along my spiritual journey in tangible ways.  I pray for them by name.  I love you.  Amen.

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Numbers 34; Psalm78:38-72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

God’s power has been on full display since the creation of the world.

Numerous times throughout history He provides glimpses into the depths of His sovereignty, His holiness, His love, His power. The plagues in Egypt showed all those bundled into one unforgettable, epic event.

Yet he, being compassionate,
    atoned for their iniquity
    and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
    and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a wind that passes and comes not again. (Psalm 78:38-39 ESV)

Israel should have walked away from Egypt in awe of God’s character and His love for them. God had remembered them, remembered that they were “but flesh.”

Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God
    and did not keep his testimonies, (Psalm 78:56 ESV)

And then, years later, years of cycling through rebellion and surrender, He chose David. A fresh start.

O Lord, in distress they sought you;
    they poured out a whispered prayer
    when your discipline was upon them (Isaiah 26:16 ESV)

And in their surrender, in our surrender, He chooses love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (I john 4:9 ESV)

The hope we now have, in the fulfillment of His plan that became visible even in the Garden of Eden, should overflow through our fingertips in love for others.

He’s proven His power and righteousness and love. Now, it is for me to act. To step out boldly. To shout to the world that I have the hope they are looking for. To whisper to the hurting that I have the answer they ache to hear. To speak to my neighbors that I have found the stability that holds through every storm.

They don’t need to fear because He is the answer. To everything. Those Sunday School kids kinda got it right, the answer is always “Jesus.”

Lord God, may your love overflow so freely through every pore of my being that others may discover Your truth, love, and power through my life. May my self, on every level, be used to shine the light that others need to discover to light their way. Thank you for your patient forgiveness and leading. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Numbers 31; Psalm 75,76; Isaiah 23; 1 John 1

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. Psalm 75:1 ESV

Psalm 75 and 76 are both psalms that praise and give thanks to God for both his character and his powerful and wonderful ways. They are reminders to me of how important it is to both thank God for His deeds and to recount them to remind myself of how great He truly is. Throughout the psalms, psalmists often tell of God’s mighty work in their lives and of how He established them and defeated opposition. In times of struggle and suffering, setting my eyes upon the Lord’s works in my life can give me a correct perspective on my life and a heart that is closer to God’s own.

Glorious are you, more majestic than the mountains of prey. The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil; they sank into sleep; all the men of war were unable to use their hands. At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse lay stunned. Psalm 76:4-6 ESV

The psalmist declares God’s power and sovereignty over all the events in his life. There is none who can stand against the Lord and all who try are surely defeated. While there are often many opportunities to tell or sing of God’s overarching works and power, I sometimes overlook reflecting on His power in my own life. Psalms were sometimes very personal to the writer and reflected the Lord’s work in their own lives. One step I can take towards strengthening my faith and drawing closer to God is to praise Him for all that He has done for me and how far His has brought me, through both the easy times and the hard ones.

Dear God, thank You for all that You have done in my life. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins so that I can draw near to You. Please give me a thankful heart that looks for all the good things You have done for me. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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