Numbers 24:12-13 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak’?
I love the story of Balaam. The guy was not a good dude. He was a prophet, but not the kind that listened to God. He had his own ways of doing things. Sorcery was his usual means to gaining information and he was sought out by Balak to place a curse on God’s people. The problem (at least for Balak) is that God got to Balaam first. Continue reading
Numbers 9:16-17 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.
A cloud by day, and fire by night. What an awesome way to see God. The children of Israel sure had it good. They didn’t have to wonder where God was leading them. They just followed the big pillar of cloud and flames. How I wish God’s will was that obvious in my life sometimes. Continue reading
Exodus 35:34-35 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.
Sometimes, I forget that God has given me specific abilities. I go along my merry way, and lose sight of my giftings. I get too busy, or self-involved and I don’t allow God to use me for the purposes I was created for. It’s amazing what happens when I serve in the areas I’m really good at. These verses this morning reminded me that the Lord has given me skills, and He calls me to use them. God didn’t ask the teach to be artistic. He didn’t tell the tapestry maker to get up and instruct a seminar on engraving. Each person was called to the thing they were good at. Where they had talent and knowledge. Serving God in our natural abilities is utter joy. Continue reading
Genesis 11:4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Ages ago men tried to build a tower to heaven in order to be known forever, and today we’re all still unsuccessfully trying to complete our own version of Babel. Continue reading
Genesis 8: 21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”
First, the elephant in the room. Yes this passage comes from the story of Noah and the worldwide flood. Yes, I believe that the account of Noah is more than just a fun story to tell children in Sunday School. I believe it’s more than just something to talk to my kids about when a rainbow appears in the sky. I believe it is truth. I do not pick and choose what parts of the Bible are convenient for me to believe. There are things in the scriptures that give me pause, make me ponder, things I struggle to even understand – but that doesn’t make them any less God’s word than the common sense “do unto others” parts. Deciding that parts of the Bible are fabricated, exaggerated or not possible, discounts the Bible as a whole. Partial belief makes the Bible just an interesting book, not the word of God. I believe the Bible to be fact, not historical fiction.
A lone person clicked on this devotional from March today — and it prompted me to go back and re-read it. Just what I needed. How nice of God to allow me to remind myself of what He showed me 9 months ago. I was having a down day today…after following my own advice at the end of this devotional, I feel much better. Thanks God.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Sometimes, my kids do things so adorable, it’s hard not to shout from the mountaintops that my children are the absolute best. I take great joy in pretty much every accomplishment. Each milestone, big or small, is met with exuberant praise and excitement. They never cease to please me and make me proud. How incredible to think that the mighty God of all creation is rejoicing over me in the same way. Continue reading
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
What good is a branch without the support of a vine? Nothing. It’s a dead stick. If you have a branch that has produced fruit, is weighted down with luscious grapes, but then is cut off from the vine, eventually all you’ll have is some shriveled up raisins. Ewww. Continue reading
John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The truth will set you free. Such a simple thought.
There was a time in my life when I was completely trapped and ensnared by lies. When I didn’t know what to believe because there was such a web of deceit around me. It was horrible. Truth, however difficult to hear is always preferable than being fed a lie. Pacifying with untruth only delays the difficult conversation. Trying to bury the facts in a mound of misdirection and confusion just makes the truth harder to uncover – it doesn’t change that it is in fact the truth. Continue reading
James 2:15-17 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Yesterday I was taught a valuable lesson about faith in action by my four-year-old. I ran into the grocery store, leaving my kids in the car with my sister – and on my way out noticed a Salvation Army bell-ringer. I haven’t seen one all season…at the malls, grocery stores etc…not a single one. I decided to seize the opportunity to teach my daughter a life lesson about generosity and giving to those less fortunate. Or so I thought. In actuality, God was going to show me something about belief and actions to back it up. Continue reading
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Amazing. For a solid three chapters prior to this verse, Peter is discussing how we should live. Submitting ourselves to authority, abstaining from sinful behavior, husband/wife relationships, not to gossip…on and on. He talks about us being set apart – living lives that demonstrate that we are different from the rest of the world. And then there is this verse. Nestled in chapter 4 – so easy to miss. “Above all” – above all the other stuff. Love. That is so profound. It seems easy, but it is by far the most difficult task of all the instruction given in the four chapters I read today. Continue reading