Put Your Game Face On

Today’s Passsage – Deuteronomy 19-22; Proverbs 7

(Second Milers also read 2 Corinthians 5 – 8; memorize John 1:1)

“And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.” – (Deuteronomy 20:8)

In Deuteronomy chapter twenty, God gives instructions to the people of Israel regarding going into battle. Before going into the fight, God weeded out anybody whose hearts and minds would not be in the fight(vv 5 – 8). If these soldiers were not not fully committed and focussed on the battle ahead, they may be a danger to the other men. If they were consumed with fear, God knew that their fear may spread to the others and discourage them as well. God wants those who fight for him to be “in the fight”.

These verses bring several thoughts to mind, but the one I will share with you is one that I have given quite a bit of consideration to lately. In Christianity today, there is an awful lot of “half-hearted” effort in the battle to fulfill the Great Commission. So many are distracted, and so many more just do not seem to care at all. We need men and woman who are willing to give their all to and for the Lord. Consider these verses:

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” – (Revelation 3:16)

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – (Luke 9:62)

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” – (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” – (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

We are in a battle today: against the devil; against the evil of this world. We are fighting for the souls of men, and God needs us to be focussed and determined as we fight. We need to decide whether or not we want to be in the battle or not, because turning back is not an option. We need to get in all the way or get out of the way. By the way, I understand that there will be times when we need to break from the battle temporarily for rest and restoration, but that does not mean we give up altogether. Sometimes we will have to fight on even when we are weary, but we must keep fighting. The time of eternal rest will come soon enough, but right now we have something to fight for. Christian, put your game face on!

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Paving the Way

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 9 – 11; Proverbs 4

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 9 – 12; memorize 22:17)

“Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.” – (Deuteronomy 9:3)

I get a lot of comfort from verses of Scripture like this one. You see, I hate to admit it, but I am basically a very fearful person by nature. I am afraid to try new things; I am afraid to to meet new people; and I am very afraid of rejection and failure. In Deuteronomy chapter 9, God is encouraging another group of fearful people. The people of Israel were about to enter into the land of promise, and though the land was a wonderful place, it was also inhabited by some pretty big and mean dudes who were not too pleased about this new nation moving in. But God reminded them here that they need not be afraid, because he was going to go before them and pave the way for them. He was going to clear the land first, so that the Israelites would basically be able to move right in.

The reason why verses like this one comfort me is because I am also often afraid to do the Lord’s will in my life. God sometimes asks me to do things that I am not naturally comfortable with. I remember the first time that I was asked to do a devotion. Even though the group that I was addressing was only a small group of junior aged boys, I was scared to death; but I knew it was something that God wanted me to do, so I did it. It turned out well, too. God went before me, and He went with me. Soul winning is another activity that causes me great consternation. I am scared to death of rejection. The thought of somebody slamming the door in my face is almost enough to keep me from going. But, again, I know God wants me to “preach the gospel to every creature”; and He always goes before me and provides me with wonderful opportunities to share Christ with the lost, or to encourage the saved.

What has God been asking you to do that you are afraid to do? Remember, He will not ask you to do something that He will not equip you and empower you to do. God will go before you. He will pave the way, and after the road is clear, He will go in with you to help you along the way. You know, every time I overcome my fears and do the thing that the Lord has called me to do – without exception – He blesses; and I walk away with a joy and a fulfillment that is beyond description. I bet that He will do the same thing for you!

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Remember Who Butters Your Bread

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 6 – 8; Proverbs 3

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 5 – 8; memorize Revelation 22:17)

“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” – (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

In the passage of Scripture referenced above, God is admonishing the children of Israel not to forget the Source of all of their wealth. He was about to give them a land with houses and vineyards and farms; none of which they would have to build or work for. The Israelites would be waliking into a great situation. It would be like you or I inheriting a beautiful home, fully furnished, with two cars in the driveway; and then we were given a profitable business to further add to our wealth. Sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it. The problem with all of this was that somewhere along the way the people would slowly begin to forget about where all of this blessing came from. At first they would appreciate it; but then they would begin to think that they deserved it and were entitled to it; and finally, they would come to a conclusion that they had earned through their own efforts. At the end of the cycle, they have bitten the hand that fed them; and they have completely forgotten Who butters their bread.

I have observed this attitude in many Christians today. People often come to Christ  when their lives are in a mess. They are often in financial distress, or their marriages are falling apart; or both. They come to Christ, and He begins to turn things around for them. At first, they greatly appreciate what God has done for them; but slowly and gradually they begn to forget Who it is that is blessing their lives. They stop attending; they stop tithing; and they stop serving. Somewhere along the line they think that they fixed their problems all by themselves. What happens next is not good. God has to stop blessing them; and they often end up right back where they started.

America is doing the same thing. We are the wealthiest and most powerful nation on planet earth. Why? Because God has blessed us. It is not because we are smarter or better than other nations. We are just blessed. But we are quickly forgetting the Source of our blessing. Unless we get it turned around, it cannot end well for America. Just a thought.

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Enough is Enough

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 3 – 5; Proverbs 2

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4; memorize Revelation 22:17)

“But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” – (Deuteronomy 3:26)

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

When we were kids, we used to drive our parents crazy asking for things. We would keep asking over and over again until they finally acquiesced to our request; or until they got angry and said, “enough is enough!” In our passage today we have Moses asking the Lord to change His mind about letting Moses enter into the land. Moses had been leading the nation for over 40 years, delivering them up to the border of the Promised Land. He had put up with all of their problems and complaints. You would think that God would have cut Moses some slack, and let him see what he had been working toward for a good portion of his life. But God had already told Moses “no”. God is not like us, either: when He says “no” He means no. God told Moses, “Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” He basically told Moses to quit asking. He wanted Moses to be content with God’s will, whether or not it seemed fair.

Paul had a similar situation in the New Testament. He had a thorn in the flesh that He wanted God to take away from him. He asked God three times to remove it. God finally told Paul to stop asking. He wanted Paul to be content with the thorn, which for some reason was the will of God. He told Him that He would give him grace to go with the thorn, and that He should be content with that, because it is sufficient.

I think it is just human nature for us to keep asking for things. By the way, there is nothing wrong with asking; and God even wants us to keep asking over and over again for the same thing. But eventually there will come a point when He will answer. He will either grant you the desire; or He will tell you “no”. When He tells you “no”, quit asking; and be content with His will coupled with His grace. If you really needed what you were asking for, he would have given it to you. Be satisfied with what you do get, and know that God knows what is best. Perhaps someday we will understand a little better why God answered the way He did; but for now, just trust Him.

Note – The picture above is of Mt. Pisgah, which is the name of the mountain from which God showed Moses the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the Mt. Pisgah pictured above is in North Carolina, near Asheville. Oh well, it is a beautiful picture anyway.

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In This Thing

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 1 – 2; Proverbs 1

(Second Milers also read Romans 13 – 16; memorize Revelation 22:17)

“Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,” – (Deuteronomy 1:32)

The context of the above verse involves Moses reminiscing with the nation of Israel as they were near the end of their wandering in the Wilderness for 40 years. He reminds them of the reason that they had to delay their entrance into the Promised Land, which was their inability to trust God to deliver the “giant” inhabitants of the land of Canaan into their hand. They were afraid, and they didn’t believe that God was powerful enough to give them the victory. One of the problems with this was that they had already seen first hand the power of God as He delivered them from the Egyptians; as He parted the Red Sea; and as He miraculously provided for their needs in their journey. Notice what Moses said in verse 31:

“And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.” – (Deuteronomy 1:31)

God had certainly never given them a reason not to trust Him. They had seen Him do the impossible, yet they could not trust Him to give them victory in the battle with the people of Canaan.

My thought this morning is in the phrase, “yet in this thing”. Though the people had seen God do great things in the past, and were stilling trusting Him to do many things in the present, there was one thing that they could not trust Him to do. They were “picking and choosing” the specific areas of trust. Do you find yourself doing that? I guess it is something we are all guilty of, if you think about it. There are some specific areas where we choose not to trust God. So what do we do instead? We do what seems right to us. Let’s consider some verses that should challenge that course of action:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” – (Proverbs 12:15)

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” – (Proverbs 14:12)

We need to trust God completely. We need to surrender to Him completely. Either He is the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God, or He is not. We need to trust in His provision, protection, and His purpose for our lives. We need to take our hands off the wheel, and allow God to steer our course, and control our direction. I know that this is a very difficult thing for us to do; but it is still what God demands. Let His have His way in your life. You can trust Him in all things, not just most things. God did bring the Israelites into the land, just 38 years later than He could have. As a nation, they did eventually receive all of the blessing that the land had to offer, but many individuals missed out. What blessings and abundance are you missing out on because of your refusal to believe God “in this thing”.

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