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Tag Archives: Deuteronomy

  • Follow God’s Word

    Posted on June 7, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law.… He is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees. Deuteronomy 17:18–19

     

    No one is above the law, and certainly not above God’s law. From the earliest origins of government, God instructed the rulers to write, read, follow, and obey His Word. God knew the tremendous wisdom and character needed by a leader to govern fairly and effectively. Integration of God’s principles is developed by  lifelong habits. The more you rise in power and responsibility, the more you need to understand the wisdom of God.

    You cannot lead like Christ without comprehending and applying Scripture. Without the influence of the Bible, your decisions become shallow, sentimental, and self-serving. Decisions untethered from the truth contribute to moral decay and cultural confusion. You are on solid, historical ground in expecting a biblical worldview from your local, state, and national leaders. Do not expect a state church, but expect a state influenced by the church.

    Our expectations of government leaders should be grounded in God’s eternal Word. He is the gold standard for conduct and character. What do your state and national senators and representatives believe about the Word of God? Where do your mayor and councilmen stand? Your leaders are a reflection of you. The best minds our culture has to offer are anemic without the filter of faith on their thinking. Intelligence without intimacy with the Almighty, leads to pride and self-rule. The Bible is our baseline for belief and behavior.

    We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Therefore, can we expect our political leaders to represent their people with a biblical understanding, and to decree laws based on biblical standards? Yes, otherwise the logical conclusion to no biblical standard for belief, is a messy morality.

    We cease to be a God-fearing nation when everyone does what he or she thinks is right; someone has to be wrong for right to mean anything. May God save us from wisdom that leaves out instruction from the Lord’s law.

    “Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?’” (Mark 12:24).

    Prayer: How can I be an exceptional student of Scripture? Whom can I elect to government whose heart is governed by God?

    Related Readings: Joshua 1:8; Jeremiah 13:10; John 2:22; Acts 18:28

    Post/Tweet today:. Christians do not expect a state church, but we do expect a state influenced by the church.  #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Deuteronomy

  • Wise Leadership

    Posted on January 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Chose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”    Deuteronomy 1:13

    The selection process of wise leadership can make or break an organization. We are constantly faced with this in our families, church, work, schools, civic groups, and professional associations. Wise leadership does not come about as a result of pride’s persuasion. It is not found in the “tit for tat” of petty politics. So where do you look for wise leaders? A good place to begin is within the ranks of those who already exhibit wise leadership (Acts 15:22). You see it in the open and authentic environment they create in their work and home, by their own honesty around personal weaknesses and strengths. Indeed, wise leaders are excellent listeners. They listen with the intent to understand. Wisdom desires understanding of what you are thinking and what you are feeling. You observe their wisdom in one-on-one conversation, as they know what questions to ask. They challenge you to think and offer counsel as is appropriate.
    Wise leaders are not gurus or know-it-alls. Instead they are smart enough to understand the vastness of what they don’t know. Moreover, a wise leader is respected (I Timothy 3:8). Those who know them the best respect them the most. If those in someone’s inner circle lack respect for the person in leadership, so will those outside their circle of influence. Indeed, respect comes over time. It is the result of doing what you say. It is integrity in living out what you say you believe. Consistent Christ-like behavior invites raving reviews of respect. Wisdom and respect go hand-in-hand. They promote each another.
    Last of all, wise leadership points toward God. (Any infatuation with them as an individual is directed to their heavenly Father). Wisdom can only remain in a humble heart. It is within the incubator of humility that wisdom germinates and flourishes. Therefore (aptly so), a wise leader shows humility in their heart for God.
    God entrusts wisdom to the humble of heart. He is stingy in giving wisdom to the proud. Pride cannot be trusted to be used for His glory. God-given wisdom is priceless. Even religious leaders can forget the Lord’s wisdom (Jeremiah 2:8). It is the application of wisdom that matures relationships, facilitates faith, and grows business and ministry. Wise leaders do not always tell you what you want to hear, but listen to them. Their words are sometimes hard and seem at the moment to be intolerant and insensitive. But this is the maturing process. Wisdom makes foolishness uncomfortable. It is wise leadership that leads you beyond mediocrity and immaturity. Wise leaders lead you to grow in your relationship with Christ. They promote God’s agenda. Follow wise leaders and be a wise leader. Patiently and prayerfully select and appoint wise leadership.

    Post/Tweet today: It is within the incubator of humility that wisdom germinates and grows. #wiseleaders

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Deuteronomy, Leadership

  • New Year's Traditions

    Posted on December 31, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    While driving my kids to school one morning, I asked what their favorite Miles' Family Christmas traditions were. My daughters answered in unison, "We don't have any traditions."

    I was shocked and a little annoyed as I replied, "You mean all these years I have been trying to make memories for you, and you honestly think we don't have any special traditions?!" My holiday spirit diminished as my blood pressure rose.

    They meekly asked me to remind them about these traditions. I provided them with an exhaustive list of family holiday activities and events that we've participated in every year since their births.

    When I stopped to take a breath, one said, "Oh, I just thought those were things we do every year. I didn't know they were traditions."

    I was relieved all my Christmas efforts had been noticed. And smiled realizing the problem was a simple lack of understanding the word "tradition."

    The conversation wouldn't leave my thoughts, so when I got home, I read the definition of "tradition." The first definition was, "the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice." The second definition read, "a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting and a continuing pattern of culture, beliefs or practices."

    Through the misunderstanding with my children, God showed me annual activities and events aren't the only things we should pass down to our kids. Rather I should be concerned about spiritual traditions - the passing down of faith - as even more important.

    I had been fretting over my children remembering that we drank hot chocolate while putting up our Christmas tree one month out of the year, when I should have been focusing on the spiritual traditions throughout the entire year.

    With a bit more research, I realized God gave us guidance on how to do this in Deuteronomy 11:18-19. He was talking to the Israelites in this passage, but the wisdom applies today:

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (NIV)

    This verse changed my thinking about traditions. Now my New Year's resolution each year is to focus on the spiritual traditions I can pass down throughout the entire year in the Miles' home. Traditions that will matter long term and make a difference in the hearts of others.

    Deuteronomy 11 guides me in making these resolutions. They include reading the Bible with my kids and applying it to everyday life. Also important are talking to them about God and praying with them, memorizing verses together, and understanding Scripture so that all we do reflects the love of Christ.

    I don't want these spiritual traditions to be passed down simply by word of mouth, but by practice. As a parent, I have to live out these traditions in my own life to lead my kids to pick them up. The tradition of reading, living out, and loving God's Word is a tradition worth passing down.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for losing sight at times of what is really important. Help me see ways I can build spiritual traditions in my home that will impact hearts and lives for generations to come. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider what traditions you focus on in your home. Are they all attached to a holiday, or are there spiritual traditions that create a bond to Jesus year-round? Ask God to show you what new traditions you can begin in your family to help them learn God's Word.

    If your children were asked what your spiritual traditions were, what would they say?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Deuteronomy

  • The Most Important Lesson

    Posted on May 9, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kids' problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.

    Or ...

    I had another option. I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues. This approach is much more time consuming, brain draining, and sometimes quite frustrating.

    But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.

    It's that whole "give a man a fish" thing. Give him a fish and he'll eat for a day ... or teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

    I don't want to train my children to always turn to me for solutions. I want them to learn to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways and process life's choices in grounded, mature ways. Eventually, they will become solution finders.

    If I only tell my kids what they can and can't do, I'm establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure, but it can't be the whole part.

    If I teach them how to think, I'm establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they're no longer under my immediate watch.

    For example, texting while driving is deadly. I've taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.

    Recently, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving.

    As they presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thought processes. They weren't just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They independently committed to not text and drive.

    They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.

    The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn't a biblical truth, but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.

    So, be it a Scriptural truth or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of our key verse, Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV):

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many..."

    Yes, may our days together be many. Learning. Thinking. And processing each problem through the filter of God's Truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to teach my children how to think in a way that is honoring to You. Use me as an example of Your love and compassion in their lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Equip your daughter or a young woman you know to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways with Lysa TerKeurst's new book, What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope. Click here to purchase your copy.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you begin to implement this way of thinking with your family?

    Start small – direct your child to Scripture, say a prayer with him/her, or make it an overall family discussion!

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 22:6, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." (NIV)

    Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org



    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Deuteronomy

  • Serious Matters Need a Serious God

    Posted on May 3, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Keep in mind that the LORD your God is the only God. He is a faithful God, who keeps his promise and is merciful to thousands of generations of those who love him and obey his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9 (GWT)

    As I watched The Bible mini-series on TV, I was reminded in living color that God is a serious God. And when He says something, He means it.

    When He told the people of Noah's time to turn from their wicked ways, He meant it. When they didn't listen, everyone except Noah and his family perished in the flood. When God told Abraham he would have a son despite his wife's barrenness, He meant it, and she gave birth. When He promised the Israelites freedom, He meant it, and they were granted freedom from Pharaoh.

    When we face difficult circumstances, it's easy to doubt Him. But God means what He says—He is always faithful, forever righteous, never failing. He is a God serious about keeping His word.

    Last year when my husband's employment was affected by the economy, I wasn't sure if we could make it financially. But because God is serious about keeping His promises as He says in Deuteronomy 7:9, I had to seriously trust Him to provide. Despite my doubts and questions (How would we survive? How could God make money appear in our bank account?) I witnessed God keeping His promise of provision.

    Help came from unexpected places and in miraculous ways, financially and spiritually. God gave us peace and hope when my husband and I needed it most.

    In today's broken world where it's hard to know who to trust or what to believe, it's easy to succumb to an attitude of distrust in God as well, causing our faith in His promises to waver.

    If it seems God isn't answering our prayers, we may wonder if He is serious about listening to them. We can doubt if His Word really applies to our situations. We might question if His promises are meant for us.

    During these times, we are faced with two choices. We can either assume God's promises are not trustworthy. Or we can believe that when He makes a promise, He is serious about keeping it, just as today's key verse states: "Keep in mind that the LORD your God is the only God. He is a faithful God, who keeps his promise and is merciful to thousands of generations of those who love him and obey his commands" (Deuteronomy 7:9).

    You see, God made thousands of promises in the Bible and every one He kept. He has an infallible track record of perfect promise-keeping which certainly proves that when He says something, He means it.

    So when He promises in Lamentations 3:22-23 to be faithful, He means it.

    When He promises to heal in Psalm 30:2, He means it.

    When He promises in 1 John 1:9 to forgive, He means it.

    When He promises in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a plan and purpose for everything, He means it.

    When He promises true rest in Matthew 11:28, He means it.

    When He promises that He hears prayers in Jeremiah 29:12, He means it.

    God's Word reassures us that He is serious about us and what goes on in our lives. And He means what He says. If you have some serious matters going on in your life, remember that God is a serious God …. serious about keeping His promises.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for doubting You and Your ways. Help me focus on Your fulfilled promises in my life, and let them fuel my faith during trying times. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles

    NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women featuring devotions from all our Proverbs 31 Ministries writers.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is one circumstance in which you can begin leaning on the promises of God today?

    Write down three promises God has fulfilled in your life. How does remembering His fulfilled promises help remind you that God is serious about keeping His promises?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding ..." (NIV)

    Matthew 6:26, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Deuteronomy

  • What's Your Message?

    Posted on February 20, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

    My heart breaks as I watch my girls struggle. Navigating the waters of school, I watch as the storms of rejection slam against their hearts.

    Often, I feel like I'm in the hurricane with them. Why do I feel vulnerable when I see the tears in their eyes?

    I guess it's because memories of my own turbulent teen years are not far gone. The painful remembrances of growing up come to the surface: confusion, a boy's brush-off, constant over-analyzing myself.

    Yet my girls' struggles also bring thankfulness to my heart. Thanksgiving that God sent amazing friends into my life when I was a young woman. I remember the ones who helped me discover that no man, be it a dad, boyfriend or even a husband one day, could fill the love-gap in my heart. Only Jesus can fill what He created.

    I am also thankful God has placed me here, in my daughters' lives, to share with them this same truth. You see, when Jesus showed me He was the only one who can fill the emptiness of my heart, He didn't just give that truth for me! Jesus gave me this truth so I can pass His radical love on to my kids and hopefully my grandkids one day.

    What is one truth God has revealed to you which you can pass on to your children, your children's children or young people in your world? God has given revelations to you, treasures from His Word, glimpses into His heart. He has entrusted those to you not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of your family and those in your sphere of influence.

    Has the Lord given you a clear understanding of forgiveness? Teach your child the process of working through a grudge. Have you experienced the Lord's healing? Come alongside those in your life as they mend. Do you cling to hope because God has lifted your spirits? Share that with another who's in the middle of grim circumstances.

    As our key verse tells us, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deut. 4:9)

    We have opportunity and influence in the lives of our children and others. Let's not take for granted all the Lord has done in our lives. Instead, let's be intentional to pass on the good things the Lord has accomplished so our children will be encouraged to trust Him for the things to come in their lives.

    Dear Lord, help me be intentional today to share with my children and those in my life all of the truth You have set to work in my life. Let me take advantage of the message You have given me and pass Your Word on to the next generation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Looking for a way you can connect to your girl and learn about God's radical love together? His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You by Lynn Cowell is for girls ages 13-18. It is a great study for moms and girls to bond over!

    You can intentionally share God's truth with a young woman each day when you give her a copy of Devotions for a Revolutionary Year.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to share with your child, or someone you love, one truth the Lord has made real in your life. When you connect a teaching to a story, it helps stick in the heart of your listener!

    When is your child most open to hearing testimonies from your life? Think of these times in advance so when the time comes, you are ready to share.

    Power Verses:
    Deuteronomy 6:6-9, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Deuteronomy

  • Remembering

    Posted on December 26, 2012 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Reed

    "Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)

    I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. Especially when I've been waiting a long time for some prayers to be answered. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.

    The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for prayers answered. Its then, when I can't see how He's going to bring things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.

    Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.

    When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

    When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.

    When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

    When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and he remembered... and was concerned about them.

    When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in, remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

    When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

    When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'

    When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.

    When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Remember the wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...

    Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.

    When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

    Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail. Please help me remember this today and always. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

    Share God's faithfulness to those in need by supporting a child through World Vision.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember times God has been faithful to you. Recount those out loud today.

    Focus on the everyday miracles that remind us of God's faithfulness like waking up and breathing.

    Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
    As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
    Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness
    Morning by morning new mercies I see
    All I have needed thy hand hath provided
    Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
    ~Thomas Chisolm

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 143:5, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." (NIV)

    Jeremiah 31:34b, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (ESV)

    *All verses NIV

    © 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Luke, Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, 1 Chronicles, Exodus

  • Remember God

    Posted on November 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.” Deuteronomy 15:15

     

    God gives good memories to His children. The foundation of what He did has freed them by His great grace and love. Sin shackles the soul with insensitive servitude. Its memories are filled with fear, false hopes and fleeting pleasures. But redemption from Jesus buys back those who step onto the auction block of belief. Sin brings heartache, but Christ brings comfort and joy. God memories make a heart smile in gratitude and obedience.

    Remember we were lost, but now we are found. Remember we lived for ourselves, but now we live for others. Remember we were guilty, but now we are forgiven. Remember we were selfish, but now we are unselfish. Remember we were proud, but now we are humble. Remember God was distant, but now He is our heavenly Father. Remember Jesus was a good teacher, but now He is our Savior. Remember the Holy Spirit was strange, but now He is our personal guide. We remember God and our faith flourishes.

    “They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35

    Do you suffer from spiritual amnesia? Do you regularly recall the radical love of Christ? He loves you as a beautiful image of His creation. He loves you to the point of laying down His life on your behalf, so by faith you can die to sin and live His resurrected life The Lord’s ransomed love for you is a special memory of sacrifice. He died for you.

    Yes, remember how He brought you out of citizenship in this world to become a citizen of His kingdom. You serve a risen Savior, not a lying serpent. Your allegiance is to Almighty God, not the almighty dollar. You walk in the light, not in the darkness. Your soul is prayerful, not self-reliant. Your body is a temple of the Spirit, not an object of abuse. Your mind is renewed by truth. Thus, remember who you are: a child of God!

    “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, bring to my memory Your generous salvation and love.

    Related Readings: Psalm 42:4; Isaiah 17:10, 46:9; Luke 22:19; 2 Timothy 1:3

    Post/Tweet this today: God memories cause us to forget sin’s nightmares. #memories

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Deuteronomy

  • I Want To Run Away

    Posted on November 1, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him—then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you." Deuteronomy 11:22-23 (NIV)

    One of the worst feelings in the world to me is feeling stuck.

    Stuck in a situation where I can't see things getting better. I look at the next 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, and all I see are the same hard patterns being repeated over and over.

    I try to give myself a pep talk and tap into that part of me that chooses to see the bright side. But it isn't there.

    Life suddenly feels like it will forever be this way.

    And a dark funk eclipses me.

    This happened to me when my two oldest daughters were babies. Hope was not quite 16 months old when Ashley was born. I was thankful for these two amazing gifts. I loved them very much.

    But there was this other side of motherhood no one talked to me about beforehand. It never came up at my baby shower or a doctor's appointment or in conversations with other mommies.

    In the midst of all the pink happiness, the dark funk came.

    This desperate feeling that life would forever be an endless string of sleepless nights. Leaky diapers. Needy cries.

    Forever.

    One night I went to the drug store. I pulled into a parking space right in front of the restaurant beside the store and stared inside. There were normal people in there. Laughing. Eating. Having fun conversations. They had on cute outfits and fixed hair-dos.

    I looked at my reflection in the rear view mirror and I cried, thinking, this is my life. Forever.

    Suddenly I had this crazy desire to run away. Far away.

    And then guilt slammed into my fragile heart and I convinced myself God was going to punish me for feeling this way and take one of my babies. Smite me for being so stinkin' selfish.

    I cried until I could hardly breathe.

    I thought about this recently when I started feeling stuck in a different situation that seemed so big and made me so sad. I felt myself on the edge of that dark funk thinking this is the way it's going to be forever.

    But then I remembered that night crying in my car. Those days of diapers and no sleep weren't forever. It was a season that came and went. And this would play out that way too.

    It's the rhythm of life. The ebb and flow of struggles and victories.

    I closed my eyes and whispered, "Are You here God? Hold me. Breathe courage into my weak will. Help me."

    And in that moment I realized all that God ever wants from me is to want Him. Love Him. Acknowledge Him.

    In the midst of struggles. In the midst of victories. "God, I don't love this situation. But I love You. Therefore, I have everything I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get to the other side of this."

    "If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him—then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you." (Deut. 11:22-23 NIV)

    I love how this scripture says, "hold fast" to the Lord. The dark funk makes me want to hold slow. Make God the last thing when I'm stumbling and falling. But if I close my eyes and simply whisper, "God ...," at the utterance of His Name He "dispossess" things trying to possess me.

    Then I can see this is a season. This isn't how it's going to be forever. Though my circumstances may not change today, my outlook surely can. And if my mind can rise above, my heart gets unstuck.

    Dear Lord, thank You for being so loving and understanding even in my weakest moments. Help me see that no matter how big or small, You are in control of all situations. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    One of the best things we can do when we feel stuck is get together with others and study God's Word. Why not consider Lysa's new Small Group / Bible study curriculum, Unglued?

    For more information on the Unglued book, click here.

    For more information on the Unglued 6 week DVD and participant's workbook, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write the key verse and power verse down in your journal or on a notecard.

    When you feel overwhelmed by circumstances, read these verses and remember to hold fast to God. He is waiting for You to call out to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Deuteronomy, Lysa TerKeurst

  • Christians and Halloween

    Posted on October 18, 2012 by Family Christian

    The following post is from a Grace To You blog post. It was written by Travis Allen. Grace to you is a ministry of John MacArthur. John is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.

    Halloween. It's a time of year when the air gets crisper, the days get shorter, and for many young Americans the excitement grows in anticipation of the darkest, spookiest holiday of the year. Retailers also rejoice as they warm up their cash registers to receive an average of $41.77 per household in decorations, costumes, candy, and greeting cards. Halloween will bring in approximately $3.3 billion this year.

    It's a good bet retailers won't entertain high expectations of getting $41.77 per household from the Christian market. Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween. Some are wary of its pagan origins; others of its dark, ghoulish imagery; still others are concerned for the safety of their children. But other Christians choose to partake of the festivities, whether participating in school activities, neighborhood trick-or-treating, or a Halloween alternative at their church.

    The question is, How should Christians respond to Halloween? Is it irresponsible for parents to let their children trick-or-treat? What about Christians who refuse any kind of celebration during the season--are they overreacting?

    The Pagan Origin of Halloween
    The name "Halloween" comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early Christian church, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the martyrs. All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance. "All Hallows Eve" was eventually contracted to "Hallow-e'en," which became "Halloween."

    As Christianity moved through Europe it collided with indigenous pagan cultures and confronted established customs. Pagan holidays and festivals were so entrenched that new converts found them to be a stumbling block to their faith. To deal with the problem, the organized church would commonly move a distinctively Christian holiday to a spot on the calendar that would directly challenge a pagan holiday. The intent was to counter pagan influences and provide a Christian alternative. But most often the church only succeeded in "Christianizing" a pagan ritual--the ritual was still pagan, but mixed with Christian symbolism. That's what happened to All Saints Eve--it was the original Halloween alternative!

    The Celtic people of Europe and Britain were pagan Druids whose major celebrations were marked by the seasons. At the end of the year in northern Europe, people made preparations to ensure winter survival by harvesting the crops and culling the herds, slaughtering animals that wouldn't make it. Life slowed down as winter brought darkness (shortened days and longer nights), fallow ground, and death. The imagery of death, symbolized by skeletons, skulls, and the color black, remains prominent in today's Halloween celebrations.

    The pagan Samhain festival (pronounced "sow" "en") celebrated the final harvest, death, and the onset of winter, for three days--October 31 to November 2. The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living--ghosts haunting the earth.

    Some embraced the season of haunting by engaging in occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead. They sought "divine" spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects. Bobbing for apples was one practice the pagans used to divine the spiritual world's "blessings" on a couple's romance.

    For others the focus on death, occultism, divination, and the thought of spirits returning to haunt the living, fueled ignorant superstitions and fears. They believed spirits were earthbound until they received a proper sendoff with treats--possessions, wealth, food, and drink. Spirits who were not suitably "treated" would "trick" those who had neglected them. The fear of haunting only multiplied if that spirit had been offended during its natural lifetime.

    Trick-bent spirits were believed to assume grotesque appearances. Some traditions developed, which believed wearing a costume to look like a spirit would fool the wandering spirits. Others believed the spirits could be warded off by carving a grotesque face into a gourd or root vegetable (the Scottish used turnips) and setting a candle inside it--the jack-o-lantern.

    Into that dark, superstitious, pagan world, God mercifully shined the light of the gospel. Newly converted Christians armed themselves with the truth and no longer feared a haunting from departed spirits returning to earth. In fact, they denounced their former pagan spiritism in accord with Deuteronomy 18:

    There shall not be found among you anyone...who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord (vv. 10-13).

    Nonetheless, Christian converts found family and cultural influence hard to withstand; they were tempted to rejoin the pagan festivals, especially Samhain. Pope Gregory IV reacted to the pagan challenge by moving the celebration of All Saints Day in the ninth century--he set the date at November 1, right in the middle of Samhain.

    As the centuries passed, Samhain and All Hallows Eve mixed together. On the one hand, pagan superstitions gave way to "Christianized" superstitions and provided more fodder for fear. People began to understand that the pagan ancestral spirits were demons and the diviners were practicing witchcraft and necromancy. On the other hand, the festival time provided greater opportunity for revelry. Trick-or-treat became a time when roving bands of young hooligans would go house-to-house gathering food and drink for their parties. Stingy householders ran the risk of a "trick" being played on their property from drunken young people.

    Halloween didn't become an American holiday until the immigration of the working classes from the British Isles in the late nineteenth century. While early immigrants may have believed the superstitious traditions, it was the mischievous aspects of the holiday that attracted American young people. Younger generations borrowed or adapted many customs without reference to their pagan origins.

    Hollywood has added to the "fun" a wide assortment of fictional characters--demons, monsters, vampires, werewolves, mummies, and psychopaths. That certainly isn't improving the American mind, but it sure is making someone a lot of money.

    The Christian Response to Halloween
    Today Halloween is almost exclusively an American secular holiday, but many who celebrate have no concept of its religious origins or pagan heritage. That's not to say Halloween has become more wholesome. Children dress up in entertaining costumes, wander the neighborhood in search of candy, and tell each other scary ghost stories; but adults often engage in shameful acts of drunkenness and debauchery.

    So, how should Christians respond?

    First, Christians should not respond to Halloween like superstitious pagans. Pagans are superstitious; Christians are enlightened by the truth of God's Word. Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). God has forever "disarmed principalities and powers" through the cross Christ and "made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through [Christ]" (Colossians 2:15).

    Second, Christians should respond to Halloween with cautionary wisdom. Some people fear the activity of Satanists or pagan witches, but the actual incidents of satanic-associated crime are very low. The real threat on Halloween is from the social problems that attend sinful behavior--drunk driving, pranksters and vandals, and unsupervised children.

    Like any other day of the year, Christians should exercise caution as wise stewards of their possessions and protectors of their families. Christian young people should stay away from secular Halloween parties since those are breeding grounds for trouble. Christian parents can protect their children by keeping them well-supervised and restricting treat consumption to those goodies received from trusted sources.

    Third, Christians should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion. The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death. It isn't just the experience of death, but rather what the Bible calls "a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume [God's] adversaries" (Hebrews 10:27). Witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are not terrifying; God's wrath unleashed on the unforgiven sinner--now that is truly terrifying.

    Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination--death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry--as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has given everyone a conscience that responds to His truth (Romans 2:14-16), and the conscience is the Christian's ally in the evangelistic enterprise. Christians should take time to inform the consciences of friends and family with biblical truth regarding God, the Bible, sin, Christ, future judgment, and the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ for the repentant sinner.

    There are several different ways Christians will engage in Halloween evangelism. Some will adopt a "No Participation" policy. As Christian parents, they don't want their kids participating in spiritually compromising activities--listening to ghost stories and coloring pictures of witches. They don't want their kids to dress up in costumes for trick-or-treating or even attending Halloween alternatives.

    That response naturally raises eyebrows and provides a good opportunity to share the gospel to those who ask. It's also important that parents explain their stand to their children and prepare them to face the teasing or ridicule of their peers and the disapproval or scorn of their teachers.

    Other Christians will opt for Halloween alternatives called "Harvest Festivals" or "Reformation Festivals"--the kids dress up as farmers, Bible characters, or Reformation heroes. It's ironic when you consider Halloween's beginning as an alternative, but it can be an effective means of reaching out to neighborhood families with the gospel. Some churches leave the church building behind and take acts of mercy into their community, "treating" needy families with food baskets, gift cards, and the gospel message.

    Those are good alternatives; there are others that are not so good. Some churches are using "Hell House" evangelism to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians. They walk people through rooms patterned after carnival-style haunted houses and put sin on display--women undergoing abortions, people sacrificed in a satanic ritual, consequences of premarital sex, dangers of rave parties, demon possession, and other tragedies.

    Here's the problem with so-called Hell House evangelism: To shock an unshockable culture, you have to get pretty graphic. Graphic exhibits of sin and its consequences are unnecessary--unbelieving minds are already full of such images. What they need to see is a life truly transformed by the power of God, and what they need to hear is the truth of God in an accurate presentation of the gospel. Cheap gimmickry is unfitting for Christ's ambassadors.

    There's another option open to Christians: limited, non-compromising participation in Halloween. There's nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel opportunity with neighbors. Even handing out candy to neighborhood children--provided you're not stingy--can improve your reputation among the kids. As long as the costumes are innocent and the behavior does not dishonor Christ, trick-or-treating can be used to further gospel interests.

    Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it's a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?

    Travis Allen
    Managing Director


    This post was posted in Kids and was tagged with Featured, 1 Peter, Romans, Hebrews, Deuteronomy, Colossians, John MacArthur, Halloween, 1 John, Travis Allen, Grace To You

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