May 8, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 29

This chapter has a sense of refreshment, recommitment, and a restart. God had made a covenant with Israel some 40 years before, but the Israelites were a little shady with their part of the covenant. After 40 years of wondering in the wilderness, this covenant with God was being renewed by Israel. So, Moses gave some instruction on the renewal of the covenant and how judgment would come upon any who broke the covenant. All in all, this marks an encouraging turn of events for Israel.

One thing that stuck out to me today is in verses 2-4.

2 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and all his servants and all his land; 3 the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders. 4 Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.—Deut. 29:2-4

The Israelites saw the miracles of God, but they hadn’t really seen the miracles of God. In other words, they had witnessed the great miracles and works of God, but hadn’t really fully perceived and conceived of what God had really done. They missed out.

That got me to thinking about how easy it is for me to witness the great works of God in my life and ministry, yet not really perceive and conceive of the greatness of what God has actually done. For example, there are times when I doubt my own salvation or His existence despite the fact that He has miraculously transformed my life and performed many powerful works. Another example is when I look at CPC Richmond and wish we were “further along” or wonder why God hasn’t brought along a huge influx of families to reach and invest into here in Madison County, as if He hasn’t already done so many great things in so many people’s lives through CPC Richmond already.

Great things are going on in my life and at CPC Richmond. My prayer today is that God would grant me a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear what all He is doing around me. It would stink to go through a season of life and ministry seeing what He is doing but not really seeing what He is doing, if you catch my drift.

What’s God doing in your world that you’ll miss out on if you don’t stop to really see it?

Posted: Rich Duffield

May 7, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 28:15-68

As a kid, I loved to play schoolyard baseball with my friends. This photo is of me sporting my favorite ball cap. My brothers, buddies, and I would meet out at Little Tor Elementary just about every week that the weather was nice. When I think about my childhood memories, those days at the fields climb right to the top of my mind. Both my brothers and friends would likely agree.

One Saturday that I distinctly remember, I had an argument with my mom. The issue that caused this argument was my disobedience. I was supposed to do some specific chores around the house, but I lazily watched TV and forgot all about them. I got the call from my friends that they were heading to the field. I grabbed my bat and glove, hopped on my bike, and was about to head their way.

That’s when mom pulled in the driveway from running her errands.

She asked where I was headed, and without hesitation, I told her. She then asked if I had done what she asked while she was gone. I realized that I hadn’t, so I started to make excuses. I tried to make some compromises before I even had the privilege of playing ball revoked. Mom wasn’t buying it. Even when I said, “I’ll do them later!”, she wasn’t pleased. As we often say at CPC, “delayed obedience is disobedience.” Mom was a firm believer in this principle.

Mom told me to go back in the house, call my friends, tell them I won’t be there, and start the chores. I vividly recall feeling like the world had ended. I kicked and screamed. I begged. But I got nowhere, probably for two reasons: (1) I disobeyed, and (2) I wasn’t repentant. I stayed home that day and had to deal with the consequences of my actions.

Sin has consequences. Sometimes severe, sometimes not so severe. That’s what I needed to learn that day. That’s what the people of Israel needed to learn in Deuteronomy 28. Just like my mother would not honor my disobedience in my childhood anecdote, the Lord promised them that he would not bless their willful decisions to forsake Him. Might this passage be yet another call to the Church to obey their Shepherd King? I think so.

What did you learn today?

Posted: Todd Thomas

May 6, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 28:1-14

The entire chapter of Deuteronomy is known as the blessings and curses chapter. Moses is basically giving a farewell speech before the people go into the land since he was not allowed to go in because of some anger issues. Moses knows this is his last shot at them so he ends it strong by telling them, as plain as possible, what will happen when they obey and what will happen when they disobey. But, today we will just look at the good stuff, obedience.

Moses tells the people that if they obey they will receive tons of blessings. Some of the blessings he talks about are babies, animals, food, protection, national status, success in ventures they take on, and heavenly blessings. I don’t know about you but those are all things I want to have in my life. So what do I do? Well, I can’t put it any better than Moses did so here it is:

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty

To think about God’s bounty is incomprehensible. We cannot fathom all His storehouse holds. He promises to open it up for us and pour it out if we obey.

Now, there are two things I want to touch on in regard to this passage. One is this:

 

Many times when we don’t receive God’s blessings it is because we are or have been “following other gods and serving them”

We may be in a season of life or a period of time where God is not blessing us. According to this chapter one obvious reason for that is disobedience, specifically idol worship. We should not think that we would receive anything from God if we have other people or other things in His place in our lives. The second thing is this:

Obedience does not always equal “blessing”

The whole idea of the “health and wealth gospel” comes from passages like this that are misunderstood. This statement seems to be contradictory to this whole chapter in Deuteronomy, but it’s not. To illustrate this think about what a parent does in this scenario. You have a kid who really wants to stay up all night on a school night, watch TV, and eat cookies. He thinks to himself “If I do all my chores, my homework, and I don’t talk back at all to my parents then when I ask for these things they will have to give them to me because I have been so good.” Now, to that kid, all of those things are “blessings.” To stay up all night, watch TV, and eat cookies are all good and fun things. As a parent you don’t see the deliciousness of the cookies, you see a stomach ache and cavities. As a parent you don’t see watching TV all night as fun, you see it as bad for the eyes and dangerous with all the shows that play on late night TV.  As a parent you don’t see the excitement of staying up all night, you see the tiredness and crankiness in the morning and how it will affect them at school.

God is our Father and He knows what is best, even when we don’t. In fact, in most cases we can’t see what God sees about a situation or a circumstance. We think if we get this or that or do this or that then it will definitely be good but God sees it in a much different light. He wants our best and sometimes that mean withholding “blessings” from us for our good.

Posted: Robbie Byrd

May 5, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 27:1-26

Markers

…set up some large stones and coat them with plaster (v.2)

What are Markers ?  They are reminders in our lives.  Things we set up or put up in visible places so we won’t forget the important things God has taught us and is teaching us.

God used a variety of things as reminders for His people.

  • Feasts – these were celebrations to remember something God had done.  It’s where we get the idea for holidays for today.   They were Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, The Feast of Trumpets, Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
  • Articles – things like Aaron’s staff, the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, manna in a jar, and more.  Items to remind them what God had done.
  • Communionand when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.  1 Corinthians 11:24.  Every time we take the Lord’s Supper it’s to be a reminder of the cross.

How does this translate to 2014?  What are some ways we can set up Markers in our lives for us and for our families?  I would encourage you to let you imaginations run wild.  I’ll bet you can come up with some awesome ways over coffee with your spouse or friends.  Here’s some I’ve used and seen…

  • Posting on your Refrigerator – our fridges are a source of public information for our families.  Why not put things there that remind you of God?  Verses?  Promises?  Quiet-time schedules?
  • Your Computer Screen – this is something you look at often – for some of us – most of our day.  Post a promise, a prayer, or a life-quote that will remind you of what God is doing in your life.
  • Picture – in your home, in your car, on your desk.  A picture of a person to pray for, a marker in your life where God spoke to you (like a mission trip), or an image that reminds you about something God showed you.
  • Chalk Board – I have friends that have painted a place on their wall in a visible place (like a dining room or family room) with chalk board paint.  Each week they post a different verse for their family.
  • Mirror – a variation to this that I’ve seen is taking an erasable marker and writing the verse on your bathroom mirror for the week.
  • Keepsake – from a trip that reminds you of a moment where God moved in your life.
  • Your Phone – most of have smartphones that do amazing things.  Why not schedule a daily reminder to go off to focus your attention on your Marker ?

Will you please share any ideas you come up with or ways in which you’ve used the ideas I listed in the comments today for everyone to benefit from?

However you do it – Markers are incredibly important in our lives because we’re forgetters.

Posted: Tim Parsons