Tag Archives: Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 19-22; Luke 10

38While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. 39Martha had a sister named Mary. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. 40Martha became angry because she had so much work to do. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”
41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things. 42Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will never be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 (ICB)

The Martha and Mary conundrum…something I’ve struggled with throughout my Christian walk; not because I don’t want to sit at Jesus’ feet, but because I struggle with the balance of what I desire to do and everything else that “should” get done everyday.

When I was in ministry school, it was the students’ duty to help clean up after conferences and events. I was taught to work hard; so I jumped into the expected duties, despite wishing that the worship set wasn’t over, pressing through fatigue and the desire to crawl into bed after a long weekend of conference responsibilities.

But my attitude became sour when I would see some of my peers staying in the sanctuary well after the meetings were over. It felt like duties were being shirked and it was frustrating to me that I felt like I was pulling double duty.

There is no way for me to know what was going on in the others’ hearts; and I learned that it wasn’t my place to judge anothing but my own responses. In that season, I came to realize that my bad attitude was making me a “Martha”, when I wanted to be a “Mary” sitting at Jesus’ feet, not worrying about what needed to get done. When I shifted my focus off of the others and what they were or were not doing and put my focus back on Jesus, I got to complete my duties in the presence of God.

Many years have gone by since then and I find that I am once again struggling with the Martha/Mary paradigm. I want to spend time with Jesus like I was able to in the past, to spend hours in prayer and study, hear His voice clearly. But the demands of life with kids has made that nearly impossible.

There is no such thing as time to myself (I can’t even go to the bathroom without something being destroyed) and there is more work in and around the house than one woman can manage by herself. I have a hard time even thinking let alone praying (other than desperate pleas for “HELP!”) or deep meditation on the Word. Even on Sunday’s, I struggle to worship as I reign my kids in from disrupting everyone else’s chance to meet with God.

How can I live as Mary, while still having responsibilities to tend to? How do I stay on top of the endless to-do list and continue to grow my relationship with God? How do I maintain a right attitude and not succumb to Martha’s viewpoint?

I suppose this is part of the journey, part of the season I’m in; a chance to cling to God even when the struggle is there…

Yesappa, thank You for being there regardless of my struggle, for never leaving me and always meeting me where I am. Thank you for accepting me as I am in this jour eyes and for teaching me as I go. Help me learn how to balance my heart to be like Mary with my tendencies to be more like Martha. Help me keep my attitude in the right place and show me how to carve time throughout my day to focus on you in the midst of the craziness of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings, Julie

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon.

Give us each day the food we need,

and forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Luke 11:2-4

I frequently joke around that right now my standard, catch-all prayer is “Help me, Jesus!” It’s short, sweet, and to the point, which is what I need as the mom of three children 4 years old and under, single parenting while my husband is overseas. Sometimes, in the midst of dealing with the shenanigans of my two very high spirited daughters, I also tack on prayers for more patience and self-control.

Today, I needed a quadruple dose of prayer, after coming into my girls room this morning to find a broken window (shattered from the blow of a thrown Princess Tiana dress-up shoe), poop smeared all over the floor, the wall, the area rug, the bed, the girls…, drops of blood in random places in the room from a cut finger, glass in the mouth of my 2 year old (fortunately she didn’t swallow any and didn’t shred her tongue). We continued the day with an over-turned table, a tipped over chair, food flung all over the floor (because my daughters were mad at me for only giving them water to drink at lunch), a broken ceramic bowl, a nearly smothered baby, a ripped library book, and tons and tons of crying (I’m not sure who cried the most today – me or my kids – come on Moms {and Dads}, we’ve all been there right).

In spite of my frustration throughout the day, for the most part, I kept my wits about me, and handled things with strength and mercy. But, it was in no way by my own power. As I walked through the day, pressing down the urges of violence I kept mulling over how Jesus told me to pray.

I grew up hearing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’; I memorized it in the Christian School I attended as a young girl. I’ve said it many times over my lifetime. But, today it took on some new meaning, especially as I read it in The Message:

“Father,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”

A friend of mine once shared with me that this simple prayer can be prayed just as it is written and be very effective and it can also be made into the back bone of a more personal prayer…

Oh Lord, I need You more than anything today! I need Your strength, because I’m feeling pretty weak and ineffective. I need Your kindness, because I am not feeling very nice right now. I need Your love, because I am having a hard time liking my kids today. Show me who You are. Remind me what You did for me, for my children. Remind me of Your goodness. Remind me of Your grace. Help me get our ‘world’ put back together; give me peace and reconnection after such a hard day. Keep me alive with what You’ve provided, the food I eat with my mouth, and everything else that I need to survive the day – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Keep forgiving me for the bad choices that I’ve made today in the midst of my trials; and help me forgive my children for theirs. Keep me safe from myself – the self-judgement, the self-doubt. And, help me have more self-control, especially when my children are testing my patience. Keep me safe from the assignments of the enemy against me, my peace, and my family’s harmony. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 4-6; Luke 2:1-24

There are times in life when the reality of the eternal overwhelms our material world. It is as if the hand of God punches through that thin space that separates us from Him and his Kingdom. It can take my breath away..  The Jordan River backs up so Israel can cross over to their new home.  Ordinary shepherds are suddenly surrounded by the glory of God. Angels appear and heavenly beings can’t help but burst into song at the good news of God’s new order established on earth; the Savior has come.

And what is the human response? We struggle to grasp at what it all means.  Israel selects twelve stones from the bottom of the river to build a monument of remembrance. They seem to have a pretty good understanding of their limited powers of memory.  The shepherds hurry off to find Mary and the baby. When they had seen him they “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.”

Mary’s response is a little more subdued. She has had nine months to consider the angel Gabriel’s appearance and has lived with the growing reality of the truth within. Now she holds the truth in her arms. After the birth of Jesus and the shepherds visit, she quietly builds her own monument in her heart, “she treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

I too am a witness to God’s truth breaking through that “thin space” into my world. It’s happened when I’ve seen the trajectory of a life is changed by a beautiful hand at work.  God intervened to put an end to the thirty years of shame my friend carried as the result of sexual abuse. Another friend’s marriage was restored after    her divorce. My father prayed for a woman with an aggressive cancer. The doctors had told her to go home and prepare to die. God healed her and 40 years later, she is alive and well.  The list goes on.

God’s hand moves in small and large ways. Like Mary, I gather up these memories and ponder them in my heart. I write them down in my journal and I love telling the stories to anyone who will listen.  I want to pick up a stone for each story, a memento and keep stacking them high, so that when someone takes notice I am quick to recall God’s intervening work in me and the lives around me.

What are you storing up in your heart? What memories do you hold precious? What would God have you do so that you are not quick to forget?  May God use these precious stories to not only draw us closer to Him but ,to bring others to Him as well.

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Deuteronomy 26, 27; Mark 15:1-26

And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. Mark 15:12-15; 25

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And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. Deuteronomy 26:10-11

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And there you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; you shall build an altar to the Lord your God of uncut stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God, and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God. And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” Deuteronomy 27:5-8

An altar. The Cross.

Was, and is, and always will be…

The greatest sacrifice…made by God…made for me.

Extraordinary silence against accusations spat in His face.

A broken body swathed in purple; a barbed circlet on His bloodied head.

The weight of my sin on His shoulders.

A heavy burden to carry.

The King brought low, brought to death. Perfection crucified.

Giving everything of Himself. Always willing. Always loving.

His death, His life, a gift of grace, a first fruit offering.

Redemption. Restoration. Relationship.

He gives all, and all He asks of me is all of myself.

A living sacrifice, prepared to worship, ready to rejoice.

Remembering His goodness. Recalling His faithfulness.

No longer bruised and battered. No longer a slave.

Suddenly, His reaffirmed treasure.

Suddenly, holy unto Him.

Walk into the land of milk and honey.

Enter into God’s promises. Enter into His peace.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Deuteronomy 5, 6, 7; Mark 12:1-27

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I am in the midst of the season of mothering. God entrusted me with two clever preschoolers who absorb everything, both the good and the bad (as exhibited by my oldest daughter’s usage of a choice word that I recently uttered in a moment of frustration – oops). Like most parents, I want to raise my children so that they will be happy and healthy, so that they will function well in the world and be productive adults, and most importantly, so that they have a strong spiritual and moral foundation.

Often in my studies of godly parenting, I am led to the above verses in Deuteronomy, that charge me with the responsibility of keeping the greatest commandment on my own heart at all times, and also instilling it in the hearts of my children.

The word “diligently” popped out to me today. The word diligently means to ‘quietly and steadily continuing a task despite any difficulties’ and is ‘characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks’. I have been given the responsibility to be a disciplined parent, to be intentional, deliberate, and fully-conscious in raising my girls. My assignment is to develop my children’s behavior and their character through instruction and repetition. My task is to point them toward God all throughout the day, every day.

But, it is not just enough to teach them the words, the deeds, the customs. It is not enough to teach them to memorize the Bible by rote. It’s not enough to simply lead them in a sinner’s prayer. Of course, memorization, prayer, and study have value, but if connection is not personally experienced, then it becomes a habitual routine, where, more often than not, there is no love and no passion. When God’s love isn’t truly known or reciprocated those rituals lead to the legalist thinking and behavior that made the chief priests, the scribes, the elders and others want to trap, arrest, and eventually kill Jesus (Mark 12:1-27).

It is essential that my children have daily opportunities to meet God so that they come to understand who He was, is, and is to come. Over and over, they need to hear testimonies of His faithfulness; they need to taste and see that He is good. They must grasp relationship with Christ and desire a bond with Him. His love needs to cut through to their cores.

My goal is to teach my children not only to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and might, but to teach them to hear his voice, follow his will, and recognize his face. I can do that by talking to them, by maintaining a good rapport with my children, and by allowing them to see my relationship with Christ up close.

Yesappa, Thank You for choosing me, for choosing my children, and their children. Thank You for loving us, blessing us, and multiplying us. Help me follow Your commands, staying straight on Your path and not going to the right or the left. Help me show my children who You are. Reveal Your steadfast love to us. Help us love You with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds always. In Jesus’ name. Amen (Deuteronomy 5:32; Deuteronomy 7:9-12).

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Deuteronomy 33, 34; Psalm 119:145-176; Isaiah 60; Matthew 8

There are so many voices that clamor for attention in every day life: the people I see face to face, email, phone calls, Face Book, mail, the books I read, the radio I listen to. It’s an incredible thing to stop the noise and be silent. I’d like to give you the impression that because of Christ’s presence in my life, I possess this centeredness, this place of calm and peace. It’s what I crave.

I call with all my heart; answer me, O Lord, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word…Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commands are true. Psalm 119:145-147, 151.

That peace, that presence of God is outside me and within. There is a sweet and magnetic ache in my heart that hungers for his presence within me. His Holy Spirit within draws me to his Word. That inward craving isn’t satisfied by things that aren’t true.  My heart has this touch of homesickness that is only satisfied by God. Sometimes, I sense his presence; sometimes I don’t, but reality remains the same.  He is near:

Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:2-3

It’s a mystery that God dwells within our humble, sinful frames. A mystery that I don’t deserve, but is true nonetheless. I am thankful that his love and his power are far greater than me. May his love shine in all of us today.

Kathy

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Deuteronomy 30; Psalms 119:73-96; Isaiah 57; Matthew 5

The Lord your God will prepare you and your descendants to love him with your whole being so that you will live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NCV)

I am struck by the phrase “God will prepare me to love Him”.

To prepare something is to make it ready or suitable or equip in advance. It means that God, Himself will train and teach me to love Him. It is not something I have to do alone, something I have to do by myself. It is in me, because He is in me.

…the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. Deuteronomy 30:14 (NCV)

Over the span of my life, experiences, trials, and cutting wounds, have built up layer upon layer of defenses, a familiar, yet counterfeit protection of my heart. Those incidents and encounters harden my heart, creating calluses, tough lumps and nodules of mental and emotional junk –fear, anxiety, jealousy, anger, guilt, regret, etc. – that cause me to turn my focus to circumstances instead of keeping my eyes on my Savior.

But God changes my heart. He makes it different; causing a transformation. The essence of my heart becomes realigned and returns to its original nature; no longer full of sin, but restored to right-standing.

My heart is renovated, a spiritual circumcision. The walls are demolished, the calluses are cut away, and piles of offense are left behind for the scrapyard. When the junk is cleared away, I can see what is really important…I am freed to choose life.

To choose life is to love the Lord your God, obey him, and stay close to him. He is your life, and he will let you live many years in the land, the land he promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:20 (NCV)

To choose life is to become vulnerable to the One who created me, who already knows the deepest parts of me, who knows my substance. To choose life is intimacy (into-me-see) with my Father. To choose life is to learn how to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind, with my whole being.

You made me and formed me with your hands.

Give me understanding so I can learn your commands…

Give me life by your love

so I can obey your rules. Psalm 119: 73, 88 (NCV)

Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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