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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Inspired by . . . a choice



The Israelites had come to the edge of the Jordan. The promiseland beckoned from the other side. Finally, after all the starts and stops and 40 years dying in the desert, they had arrived. Knowing that he would not be going with them, Moses reminds them of all that happened to bring them to this point. Then he offers them a choice:
“Today I offer you the choice of this life and good, or death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I give you this day, by loving the Lord your God, conforming to His ways, and keeping His commandments, statutes, and laws, then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are about to enter and occupy." Deut 30:15
These commandments that God set forth through Moses were neither too difficult nor beyond our reach (Deut 30:11) and yet, the Israelites did not obey. And neither do we. (Rom 7:18) God knew this. He knew this before the creation of the world. In Deut 31:21 He tells Moses, "I already know which way their thoughts incline."

Yet, instead of leaving us to muck about in the mire and be trapped over and over again by the hopeless, sinful ways we are too inclined to choose, God had a plan to save us. Once for all.
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit," (1Pe 3:18)
"For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2Co 5:21)
Are you ready to cross the Jordan, friend? Are you tired of fighting? Do you want to be free?

The way is not difficult or beyond your reach. In fact, it's so simple that most reject it.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.


Shalom,




Monday, February 3, 2020

Inspired by . . . understanding through obedience





This is a picture of tracks made by a doodlebug. I wrote about these interesting creatures, that are actually called antlions, several years ago and God brought them to mind again today.

The antlion larva walks backward, creating these crazy trails that are supposed to confuse its prey and lead them into its pit. Apparently, a trail that is curvy is less suspect to an ant than a trail that is straight. Maybe. To be honest, I don't really know.

Two things I do know:

Doodlebugs, their crazy names, and silly trails are fun and reveal to us an important part of God's nature.

and

The things of God can sometimes seem confusing and complex. Almost hidden from us in some way. Often difficult to understand.

The truth is, we humans often complicate things unnecessarily. While it's true that God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, He does not hide Himself from those who honestly seek Him.

Jesus said, "Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)

What does it mean, He will manifest Himself to us?

Manifest
adjective
readily perceived by the eye or the understanding; evident; obvious; apparent; plain:
Jesus is saying that He will make Himself obvious and understood to all who obey Him. Our obedience reveals whether or not we truly love God.

We may attend church every Sunday and be learned of the scriptures but as George MacDonald says,

Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because He said, Do it, or once abstained because He said, Do not do it. It is simply absurd to say you believe or even want to believe in Him if you do not anything He tells you.
Are we motivated to action because of our love for God? Are we patient, kind, and gentle because He told us to be this way toward our fellow-man or because it serves us best in the current situation? Do we seek to obey Him only in the ways that come easy for us or do we also sincerely try to love our enemies?

If we're feeling like a wave tossed hither and thither by the wind it may be that we are seeking Him with a divided heart.

If you're not already aware of your fault, ask Him to reveal it and cleanse it. If you're aware but not ready to confess it, ask Him to hold you back from willful sins.

Lord, cleanse me from any secret fault, hold back Your servant also from willful sins, lest they get the better of me. Then I shall be blameless, innocent of grave offense. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my mind be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer!


Shalom,