Sunday, February 28, 2010
Deuteronomy 6:6 - The Secret of Parenting! Write His commands on your heart! Not on your mind! Get them inside of you. So how do we do that? So many Bible teachers focus on knowledge which puffs up---but Love changes everything. Deuteronomy 7:7 - It's all because of Love. God didn't choose you because your are important. No He chose you out of His Love. Don't ever forget how you got to the place where you are today (6:12). All because of Love. So what does holiness look like in my situation this day and what does it mean for me to write His commands on my heart?
Deuteronomy 3:23 Moses begged God saying: You've let me in on the beginnings, please let me in on the endings and cross into the Promised Land. No! Climb to the top of the mountain and take a look---that's it! Nor more words about it. Wow. And Moses response: "God is not to be trifled with---HE is a consuming fire, a jealous God." I love this that Moses wrestled with the question directly to his God. Why not? Please! But, it stirs me so that he took "No" for an answer and said don't trifle with HIM. Don't trifle! Two things:
REMEMBER! You saw with your own two eyes that your God did to the two kings. The king whose bed was 13 feet long and 6 feet wide. That's a giant!
ASK QUESTIONS! I think I ask far too few questions. .
REMEMBER! You saw with your own two eyes that your God did to the two kings. The king whose bed was 13 feet long and 6 feet wide. That's a giant!
ASK QUESTIONS! I think I ask far too few questions. .
Deut 1:29-32 – Do not be terrified. The Lord your God is going before you and will fight for you as He did for you in
before your very eyes and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you as a father carries his son all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust…." Oh God! Open our eyes to remember how YOU carried to the place where we are, just like we see our dads carrying our children. And 2:7 - we have not lacked anything. I didn't get to this place alone. It's You! And You are still going before us! Simply amazing. So comforting to be carried. Egypt
Friday, February 26, 2010
Numbers 35:4 Don't desecrate the land in which you live... for God says: I live here, too. God gives his final words to Moses to lead the people into good. Moses lived the truth. The joy of the LORD was His Strength. He didn't crater when Canaan denied him entry because Moses was holy. He had joy that comes from being holy and no experience could take that joy away. Not even the Promised Land! His joy was in his LORD not the blessing of the land. What lingers with you as we close the book of Numbers? What have you thought about again and again? What stirred you on the inside? For me, God has some work to do to make me holy. I read a Crabb quote today: "do natural disadvantages seem more important to me to overcome than an unholy value system." My definition of sin is so shallow. But we serve a good God Who will expose our failures at the right moments in our lives. For it is His Kindness that leads us all to repent. Rom 2:4.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Numbers 33:3 They all marched out with heads high and confident led by a man who will not cross the Jordan with them. Amazing to me! All those campings meticulously recorded on Moses' camping log! And faithful courageous Aaron dies in their midst! And yet they face Canaan with confidence. Where's my confidence this day? And Moses just keeps on leading even in the midst of knowing that he would never taste the blessing of the Promised Land like those he leads. Unbelievable to me! How did Moses find such an unselfish heart? How did he deal with jealousy? St. Augustine talks of not living our lives "curved in" on ourselves. Here's Moses genuinely concerned for the welfare of others. From a fledgling fearful start to a life well lived. Same with Aaron who kept on going, no matter what! So Moses gives one more command to his people: When you enter Canaan----Drive, Destroy, Divide, Distribute! What is the Israelites first task to conquer their blessing? They must fight a battle and take all---"all in." Canaan will not be handed to them; they must fight. So, what's in this for me, for you? We are all in a battle for our soul and the souls of others every day. Stand and conquer and win for the battle is the Lord's----HE has already won it for me and for you---- and just what does that mean for me this day? I know one thing He is saying to me is this: Have I drawn out of my husband, my children, my friends the people that God intends for them to be? Or do I just let them be? Moses is stirring up these wanderers to find a good God.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Numbers 32:32 The families of Gad and Reuben responded: "We will do what God has said. We will cross the Jordan before God, ready and willing to fight. But the land we inherit will be here, to the east of the Jordan." They knew what THEY wanted (second things) yet they did what God said, a "first thing" in their lives...and the "second things" were thrown in. Matthew 6:33 - I have to ask myself the question this day, this place of exhaustion...do I want what God wants more than my own plans to succeed? God is a gentleman and will give us what we want, won't he? But do we want those second things more than we want HIM?
Monday, February 22, 2010
Numbers 30:1 When a man makes a vow before God, he must do exactly what he says, he must not break his word. So many vows. So much work to tend to these healthy animals. No man could do it well before a holy God. So they stayed on a wilderness path for four decades because they wouldn't walk the narrow path. 66 Love Letters: ""They refused to walk the narrow road of belief that welcomes exposrure of failure and conflict, knowing that I have a plan to overcome them." God wants to overcome what's wrong in my heart as well as my difficult circumstances. Will I walk that narrow road of belief that welcomes exposure of my failure and conflict? I don't want to be exposed for who I am? Or do I? Do I want to fall into the Hands of God or man? God is always always out for my good in my failure and fears. Jer 33:20 says: When was the last time the sun didn't dawn or set at the right time? When was the last time God refused to be good to you?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Numbers 27:12 God said to Moses, "Climb up into the Abarim Mountains and look over at the land that I am giving to the People of Israel. When you've had a good look you'll be joined to your ancestors in the grave." Moses response was a beautiful move of a true leader. Will you set a man over this community so they won't be sheep without a shepherd." God says to Moses that he is going to die...and what does Moses think about but the people he loves. Moses had just spent 40 years leading the people in the wilderness. And God says to Moses to commission Joshua to command the people in all their comings and goings into the Promised Land. What did Moses feel and think about this? Was entering the Promised Land what he lived for? No, it was a "second thing" for him, not a "first thing." He lived for God and followed God's words. When we are faced with hard decisions, difficult relationships, challenging times, what results in our lives? Is it peace and rest in God's decisions. I've failed miserably this weekend in wanting others to change and trying to persuade. So surprised by my sin, God gave hope in the midst of it. Isn't that what Moses faced---wanting the Israelites to change? But look at what rest came from his life in his last days. No demandingness in losing the lead out of the wilderness. .
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Numbers 23:15 Balaam said to Balak, "Didn't I tell you up front when you sent your emissaries, 'Even if Balak gave me his palace stuffed with silver and gold, I couldn't do anything on my own, whether good or bad, that went against God's command'? I love the story of Balaam. The last chapter spoke of how his donkey saw the angel in the road but Balaam didn't see it. Numbers 22:34 - Balaam said to God: I didn't realize that it was You, God, standing in my path. God opened his eyes to see that the path he was on was a reckless one. And that's where Balaam takes a deep look inside and says: I have sinned and recognize that it's You, my God that I am against. Just a few short years ago, God used these verses in a powerful way in my life to show me that I was complacent and thought things were going well. There's a phrase C.S. Lewis used that comes to mind: "We are far too easily pleased." May we not accept anything in our lives that is against God's command. Haughty looks. Mean-spirited thoughts. Little tolerance for others' sins. That's all behavior and there's more under that. May God expose our sin so that we may see Him standing in the middle of our paths.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Numbers 21:6-7 - The people complained more about God and Moses. And God sent poisonous snakes. I wonder what people do with verses like this one? I am so moved that God demands our holiness. So drawn to a good God this day. These people wanted relief from the consequences of their sin not cause they had rebelled against a holy God. Do I awaken out of relief or passion for God? I am somber after reading this and thinking about some things happening in my world. I love HIM so and don't want to miss Him as I walk through life each day.
Numbers 20:12 - "God said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you didn't trust me, didn't treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren't going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them." These hard words will reveal what is inside Moses and Aaron's heart. It's a tragedy Moses nor Aaron cannot reverse. If this is what they were living for, they will crater. I think they embrace their loss. 66 Love Letters: "If we focus on the smaller story of our life from birth to death, we will misunderstand everything that matters...things will mean too much to us. We will live in fear of losing them." I believe suffering in my life has put me in touch with what I have most feared---losing my life, losing my relationships. I will cling to the truth and live open-handed dealing with any demandingness that I have to have things a certain way. I've received some sad news tonight and what will I do with it? May we all pause in our sorrows and joys to say: "So that's what life is all about...a painful but strangely welcome opportunity to tell more of His Story." I love this guy Moses!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Numbers 16: 1-3 - "Getting on his high horse one day, Korah confronted Moses and Aaron along with 250 men, saying, 'You've overstepped yourself. This entire community is holy and God is in their midst. So why do you act like you're running the whole show?' " Moses responds to these 251 men with faith and passion, looking to God. I keep thinking about Moses being a stutterer not wanting to speak with anyone but on this day leading 2 million. And Aaron, unable to control his own kids, much less a crowd. What happened to Moses and Aaron in their wilderness experiences? How did they find such courage, such faith? Moses' and Aaron's hard life in the wilderness exposed their failures and they lived a broken repentant life What happened to the others in this story? 66 Love Letters: "With no thought that their thinking might be wrong, they assumed that their happiness depended on others relating to them well and on life treating them well." And they claimed the right to define what "well" meant. So...what is going on inside of me as others relate poorly to me? And what is going on inside of me as life treats me not so well? Is there a war waging?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Numbers 14:1 "The whole community wailed all night." Does that mean 2 million people wailing? Oh my! It brings to my mind Hosea 7:13-14 "They have strayed from Me...they do not cry to Me from their heart but they wail from their beds for the sake of grain." How did the Israelites who were so obedient in the first chapters of Numbers get to this place? We look at others and think they are so obedient, following God. But what happens when the times get hard? They bail. They wail. The glimmer of hope that started this march to Canaan died down to a collective grumble. So, did their obedience come from good places in their hearts? Joshua and Caleb know something in their heart not their minds that 2 million others don't. Numbers 14:9 - "God will lead us. Don't be afraid. God is on our side." Their obedience comes from a very good place in their heart that a Good God is leading them and will forgive every wrongdoing out of His Extravagant Loyal Love - 14:19. There's that hope for our sin. Caleb had a different spirit (11:24) about this. Everyone else? 66 Love Letters calls them: presumptious and unbelieving. "They never looked deep enough inside to see what was terribly wrong in their own hearts. Presumption that everything that looks okay on the surface is okay blinds you to your real problem." As we begin the First Day of Lent today, may we listen to a Sovereign God leading us down the path we are on and look deep inside what is going on in our hearts by His promptings.
Numbers 11:1 - "The people fell to grumbling over their hard life." That so speaks to me right where I am. Our finances, or lack of them, have loomed way-too-large on me. On Friday, all 3 of our cars sat broken with little money to fix one. I've had to give up some benefits in having cancer. I've found myself caught up in that quote from 66 Love Letters: If you focus on the smaller story of your life from your birth to your death, you'll misunderstand everything that matters. Things that feel awful to you will be seen as nothing other than tragedies to reverse, endure, and prevent from happening again. I get stuck there in my relationships and in my financial situations. So what am I missing here? Even Moses in 11:11 says: What did I do to deserve this? And I was so surprised that God provided for Moses what he asked. God did say to Moses in 11:23 "Do you think I can't take care of you?" God is revealing what lies under my grumbling over hard stuff. I know He can take care of me but what is He asking of me? You know the C.S. Lewis quote: "We're not doubting that God will do the best for us, we're wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." Then Miriam talks about Moses in 12:1, behind his back, and speaks exact words I've muttered under my breath: "Is it only through Moses [others] God speaks." I've felt like a grasshopper among giants (13:33) most of my life but no more. I can't stay there anymore. Can't explain it; don't know how the shifts happen; but all I know is God is showing up at my residence and turning my grumbling into glory. He took care of me and my family this weekend in ways that I could have never imagined! Even on Sunday, 3 people came up to us not knowing our need and said that God had layed something on their hearts and here! No more grumbling. No more grasshoppers.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Numbers 10:30 - Hobab, Moses brother-in-law, wanted God and Moses to leave him alone. Not going with you Moses! I'm going home to my own country, to my own family. There are people in your life who when you invite them into your life with God, it stirs up in them places they don't want to go. You touch places inside of them they don't want to face. Sometimes I think that the problem is me but their resistance really shows that their problem is with their God and I'm just the agent at the ticket station. "Get up, God. Chase my enemies to the hills.." Open my eyes to see that when I stir things up in people, I need to enter my own Rest. "Rest with us, God. Stay with us." And how do I find that kind of Rest when my world resists me so. Help me God not to self destruct. "For without You, what am I to myself but the Leader of my own destruction?" (Augustine). Wonder what you stir up in people? And what stirs up inside of you as you listen to God and others?
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Numbers 7:89 "When Moses entered the Tent of Meeting to speak with God, he heard the Voice speaking to him... ." Moses went to that place to speak with God and this so arouses me. He and Aaron and the rest of them were so B.U.S.Y. I wonder if they measured their days by what they produced? They put on huge productions. I catch myself every day thinking: What did I accomplish today? Was I effective? What is that about? It's not about "doing;" it is about "being." Human beings not human doers. Wonder where was the place we went to pray today? Am I listening to what He thinks of me and my situation. I get lost in hard times. Something happened to me on Thursday that literally took my breath away I was so afraid. Again, where's the place I go to speak with God? Thursday it was a closet. Today it was a gym. I sat by myself long after the game had ended to have a moment with God. Really struggling. Really wanting to listen. C.S. Lewis: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world." Awaken our ears to live! Awaken our hearts to love!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Numbers 6:24 - 26 "God bless you and keep you. God smile on you and gift you. God look you full in the face and make you prosper. In so doing, they will place my name on the people of Israel----I will confirm it by blessing them." I may not have monetary blessings this day but is that what this is about? We have less money than usual. All 3 of our cars are broken. Can't watch the Olympics---the TV has been broken for 4 years. Yet, at the same moment, Britt just got word by mail that he was a Coca-Cola Scholar and received $10,000. No, this "prosper" means peace. This Hebrew word is "shalom" and it means to restore or replace what I need to become whole and complete---that's what HE is doing in having cancer of my body and soul. So what blesses me? I am blessed beyond words because God has opened my eyes to see in some ways I've never seen before. I am blessed beyond words because I am kept by a holy God Who will not let me stay enmeshed in this world. Do the Israelites see how impossible it is to be clean? Will they find Peace in their wilderness? What goes on in my heart this day as I try to love my own people? Am I finding Peace within that gives up ground, Peace that "lets go," Peace that lives open-handed to the One Who Exists to keep me and smile on me.?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Numbers 4:49 - "And that's the story of their numbering." Every man did what God commanded him and carried out the work. That was one huge assignment! So did it work? They obeyed and what came of that? What does our obedience result in? Peace? Rest? Joy? 66 Love Letters says: "They never looked deep enough inside to see what was terribly wrong in their own hearts." This has been one of the hardest days cause I was thinking life and love should be easier!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Numbers 2: 33-34 Number the mighty men over 21 who will fight this battle. 603,550! MARCH ON! We know the rest of the story. 603,548 will die in their wilderness---they won't have ears to listen. "Only 2 will make it to the Promised Land." I'm taken over how tedious this census job was. I keep waiting for them to have some fun in life. I think my definition of what it means to enjoy life is changing. Do I subtly think that things going well in life is really living? 40 years wandering in a wilderness---did they find Joy there? Is my life about finding Joy and Rest and Peace in midst of some small suffering while advancing His Kingdom? Or am I trying to get the good life rolling down here? Crabb talks today about the "safe quote" in the Chronicles. Remember the story in the Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan was the real ruler of the land but he looked SCARY to the children..Susan poses the question: "But is he safe?" After all, he is a roaring lion. Mr. Beaver replies with this oft-quoted intriguing line: "Course he isn't safe. But, he's good. He's the King, I tell you." And we know the rest of the story that these Israelites did not know. Jesus has broken the curse of our fallen humanity---HE has done something about our depravity. No longer frozen in winter, it's Christmas every day knowing Him. And yes, He's not safe today either, but HE is good! And we know Psalm 27:14 "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Wait, o my soul, on the Lord and not on any man changing. 66 Love Letters: "The road to life will expose you to terrible failure and crushing conflict. But only that road leads to the life you want, the life I give you."
Leviticus 26:11 - "I'll set up my residence in your neighborhood." If we surrender, He is our neighbor. Oh! If we confess our sins, Lev. 26:11...wait, when was the last time I repented of sin? About 15 minutes ago. I went into the living room to my husband to ask his forgiveness for being very rude to him, but you know what happened? I sinned again right there cause I didn't like his response. We have the awesome privilege of going into the Holy of Holies and living no longer curved in. Repentance isn't just asking someone to forgive me but it's turning from it. 66 Love Letters: "Think of holiness as relational energy that is more concerned with another's well-being than our own. Think of unholiness as perverted relational energy that is more concerned with our well-being than another's." So, as we close the Book of Leviticus, what would holiness look like as we relate to our spouse today? What would it look like as we relate to our children? What does it look like this day as we relate to our world? My prayer for all of us as we end this book is Colossians 1:29: As you face and embrace some really hard things, may you struggle well with "His Energy that so powerfully works in you." So what does the Book of Leviticus stir in you? What have you most thought about as you read this book?
Monday, February 8, 2010
Leviticus 25:17 - "Don't cheat each other. Fear your God. I am God, your God." There's a place inside of me that wants to cheat and hold back from giving myself to you for fear of rejection even at my old age! If you really knew me, would you want me? I'm so moved by how much I resist reading these details but am stirred by these words prompting me to be clean, to be holy for He is holy! 66 Love Letters: "Life is not about you. And, thanks to God's way of relating, it's not only about Him. It's all about us. God and you. God and me. Me and you. And everyone else. Life is all about relationships." So, I'll keep on keeping on alongside of you and with this prayer..."God, show me where I relate with unholy energy. Overcome my defensive self-justifying tendency that makes me see another's unholiness more clearly than my own. Give me the desire to relate with holy energy And convince me that expressing Your love to others by relating to them the way You relate to me will deepen Your pleasure in me and my soul-satisfying devotion to You."
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Leviticus 22:33 "I am God Who makes you holy and brought you out of your wilderness to be your God." Holiness is not based on what we "do" but Whose we are. I have thought so much about I Cor 10:13 as we read through Leviticus. There is no temptation that seizes us that was not common to the Israelites. Ambition. Jealousy. Curved in. Makes me wonder if they were tempted to think: Here comes Moses again with one more impossible code to follow. And to try to get all of that right? But it was out of their devotion to God, out of their love for Him that they didn't let "sin crouch at their door." As sin crouches at our doors this day, I wonder what we want more than to live out of the Love of God? Oh that I would be more obsessed with God and His Character and advancing His Kingdom than self-obsessed with my own problems! God-obsessed!
Leviticus 19:4 "Don't take up with no-god idols. I am God, your God." That verse to me is so stirring that HE is my God. I think I see all of the rules in this verse---No Idols--- and that includes everything from having children to having a great life to having what I want to having successful relationships. Anything except God is an idol. Put first things first and we get second things thrown; put second things first and we lose both first and second things (C.S. Lewis). This passage shows over and over how much we need to be clean and pure ... and it's impossible without Him.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Leviticus 16: 29 - "This is standard practice for you, a perpetual ordinance." It cost them a lot physically, mentally, emotionally to become clean. Standard practice. Oh my! Cost HIM everything. So what does it cost me? Keep thinking about the quote about my own "distance" iin order to stay in the daily race. I've been disturbed, dismissed disappointed...and what will I do with that? I have not been heard. The quote that I am referring to: "Distance from ME is the most lethal problem you have." I think my definition of happiness in this life is changing and allowing me to face the disappointment that comes by facing that this world can't satisfy my deep desires for some things to happen. Have mercy, God!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Leviticus 14:33 - "I put a serious fungus in your house..." God said that to Moses! You know, I believe that He only does us good and there is nothing allowed except to achieve our utmost benefit. When is the last time the sun didn't dawn or set at the right time? When was the last time God refused to be good to me? Jer 33:20. But my definition of "good" and God's definition isn't the same. Reading about fungi and infections and discharges that He allowed or maybe even initiated is hard to understand. God wasn't infecting them with harm. He was all about infecting them with holiness. And He is after that in my life. I spent another day thinking how to improve my situation. Oh my soul! Find Rest in Him alone! Forget about
my plans and find His! How can I put Him first in my thoughts and reveal His character this day? There's a story that Kierkegaard tells: He compares someone who learns God's Truth but isn't gripped by it. A few of my friends/family come to mind. They aren't GRIPPED by truth like you guys are. Kierkegaard says that when you aren't gripped by truth, you build a great castle and live in the adjoining shack. "A person's ideas must be the building he lives in----otherwise there is something terribly wrong."
Leviticus 11: 44-45 "Make yourselves holy for I am holy...I am God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Be holy because I am holy." Is it possible to live a holy life? All I keep thinking is Col. 1:29 - only by His Wonderful Power at work in me. Not by me doing it! Because even when I am trying really hard to walk with people and draw out of them the person God wants them to be---- like I was trying to do last night---- I still mess it up wanting people so badly to walk w"YOU want me H.O.L.Y. in any situation more than YOU want me to figure out what to do to improve my situation." ith God---and when they don't budge nor shift a tiny bit, I persuade and push. That's not right! (66 Love Letters). I was trying to improve life for others last night and YOU, LORD, are calling me to live holy.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Leviticus 10:3 - "To the one who comes near Me, I will show Myself holy." I am so wondering how Aaron thought about his children. He watched God take the breath out of both of them for their disobedience. He buried his two kids. Keep thinking about the verse in Genesis where Aaron let his kids run WILD. We'll pay a price if we don't offer love. J.I. Packer—“Still He seeks the fellowship of His people and sends them both sorrows and joys to detach their love from other things and attach it to Himself." What is God detaching me from?
Monday, February 1, 2010
Leviticus 5: 17-18 "If anyone sins by breaking any of the commandments of God which must not be broken, but without being aware of it at the time, the moment he does realize his guilt he is held responsible." I wonder how much I am unaware of sin in my life? I don't know that I've ever cried over Leviticus---it's hard to read while I'm thinking about how desperate I am and how does this apply? I rather think my tears are from the place where I am this morning. You see, I've been so thinking about my sin, surprised by it. And wondering as I read a Love Letter quote: Because Jesus offered Himself to God for my sin, He is no longer mad at me for my sin. I can't get over the truth that He paid for my sin and He's not mad at me for still messing up. There's such hope for my sin this day. I'm such a mess this morning---but a Saved Mess, a Glorious Mess!
Leviticus 3:16 - "...Fixed rules down through the generations..." How can they possibly remember all of this as it wasn't written down in a book for them to review daily. Loved the last line of Love Letters: "Leviticus reveals what's most wrong with you that blocks your joy." What is it???? Holiness---"The toughest part of My Plan is to make you holy. You want me to solve your problems, but you don't know what your worst problem is. You don't yet realize that distance from Me is the most lethal problem you have." I will hold that word--- "distance" ---close to my thoughts and heart this day. How do I distance myself from friend and foe? Do I distance my thoughts and worries and decisions from my God? The nearness of God is my good (Psalm 73:28), not distance. So what does that look like this day?