Prepare for God’s Blessing

Scripture: Matthew 23; Exodus 29.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. Matt 23:37 (NLT)

… I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. 44 Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, 46 and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God.
Ex 29:43-46
(NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

My daily devotional normally takes me across one or more chapters in the Old Testament and perhaps one or more chapters in the New Testament. God spoke to me on the verse in the New Testament, about how He not only blesses me each day, but how He is looking to even bless me more – if only I would surrender myself to Him and allow Him to do all for His child that He wants to. This made me think about how I feel sometimes like a parent. We want to do so much more, but we need our child to do their part in order not to spoil them. Sometimes we want to do more but they rather try and do it themselves. I never stopped to think that we are doing the same thing to God when we take the reins and try to do things ourselves. We often mess up, but God is the designer and creator of this complex body that we live in, the creator and designer of this world with all of its intricacies, so why would I withhold from Him? I have nothing to gain. Total surrender to Him can bring blessings beyond anything I can ever imagine! Then in the Old Testament reading I saw where He did so much for the Israelites, including several chapters explaining every detail about how God detailed the material and design of the temple, then the same for the dress and ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests, then in the verses above it sounds like He just sat back and looked at all He had done and felt relieved that now He could meet with His people in the temple, made holy because of His presence. Now the people will recognize Him as their God who brought them out of Egypt and now they might accept Him as the Lord their God. Wow, what love displayed here and what an awesome father-figure shown here. God loves us so much and wants so badly to bless us beyond anything we could ever imagine, and our part is to just let go and let God. He’s our Father, He wants to do this for His children!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, often life seems so complex, and so often I realize that the challenges are way more than I could ever handle alone. Thank You for reminding me that You are very capable, and willing to handle these challenges and direct my paths. I am convinced that You want nothing more than to love on me; to protect me from the things of this life intended to harm me; to guide me through those challenging times of uncertainty, especially when I don’t know which way to turn next. Please help me to daily recognize that You are God, in fact You are my God and the same love shown towards the Israelites, is the same love that You would love to shower on me, if only I will let go of self and let You have Your will and way in my life. While this is my personal prayer, I also pray for my brother and my sister who may read this devotional and perhaps going through the same challenge, and ask that they too may receive a touch from You today and be reminded of Your love, protection and guidance. Thank You for being such an awesome, powerful, yet a super loving God!

God, Provider of All Our Needs

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 27-28.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

29 “In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the Lord. 30 Insert the Urim and Thummim into the sacred chestpiece so they will be carried over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the Lord’s presence. In this way, Aaron will always carry over his heart the objects used to determine the Lord’s will for his people whenever he goes in before the Lord. Ex 28:29-30 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In Chapter 27 there were great pains in explaining how the temple should be built by the Israelites, now in chapter 28 great pains to explain every detail about who the priests would be and what they should wear. While this sounds very archaic, it reminded me about the respect we should have for God’s house and for His priests/preachers/pastors. These details were given to a people who wandered in the wilderness without food or water of their own. With all the details about the fancy building and contents we may wonder where the money was coming from to pull something like this off. However, when we consider that God provided food and water for a crowd, well over one million in size, each and every day. When we consider that He parted the waters to allow the Israelites safe passage across, then collapsed the ridge of water at just the right time to drown the enemy who was chasing them. Is there any wonder WHO would provide the means for them to build such a temple? Today we are so used to whining about everything that we really have trouble seeing through those things that seem impossible to us humanly, and seeing all that God can do as owner of all things and provider of all things. When we worry about how the church building will be funded, how the repairs will be funded, how the pastor will be paid, how the budget will be met, etc, etc, we must stop, drop and pray. The same God that provided all this for the Israelites, is the same God that we serve, and the same God that can provide for us out of situations that seem impossible to us. He made it all and He can provide even more – a lot more than we can ever imagine. As He shows us what to do, let’s never question where the funds, or means will come from. Let’s remember, we serve a Mighty God!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord, thank You for opening my eyes this morning to be reminded that You are God and God alone of this universe. You own it all! You will guide us into what You would have us do to spread Your Word and win the lost for You. To accomplish that, You will provide the means. Ours is not to question, but to obey and follow Your commands. Thank You Jesus for being my King, my Provider and my Shepherd. May I always lift You up as such and obey You in all things!

What an Awesome God We Serve

Scripture: Exodus 23-24.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

25 “You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness.” Ex 23:25 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In the chapters around this verse God had been dealing with the Israelites in their exile to the Promised Land. In all that God was doing for them, and in all the miracles He performed in helping them reach the point where they were at, yet He had to warn them about their temptation to worship other gods. Unfortunately I don’t see any difference in our walk today and in the way that God must deal in our lives. We read from God’s Word how awesome He is in all that He did for our ancestors; we celebrate almost daily over the way that God answers prayer and walks with us each day, yet we have such difficulty in giving Him our total commitment and undivided attention and worship. We may say that we worship no other gods. Friend, if you agree with my statement that we don’t give our undivided attention and worship to God, then we must ask ourselves where does the divided part of our attention and worship go? I would dare say that we are distracted by our other ‘gods’, such as work, worldly entertainment, etc. Oh how I realized, and was reminded how awesome my God is and how He alone deserves my praise, my obedience and my total dedication.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord, please so fill my heart with You that I will not have time to be distracted by other gods. Please allow me to display Your love in all that I say and do so that others will know that You live fulltime in my heart and rule my life in every way. May You always be prominent in my life.

God will Lavish His unfailing Love

Scripture: Exodus 20-21.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. Ex 20:4-6 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

This is an awesome passage with such an awesome message for me/us today. I know that we often think that the Old Testament is ‘old’ news and that the ‘New Testament’ only applies to Christians today, but I believe differently, for Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law of the Old Testament, not to do away with it. In verse 5 God shared with us that He will not tolerate any other gods in our lives. In fact He said that He is a jealous God who requires our total commitment to Him. I may quickly dismiss this by trying to convince myself, and God, that I worship no other God. However, in reality, I must admit that anything that receives my total concentration too much, especially for personal identity, meaning or even security, may truly be viewed by God as a ‘god’ of sorts in my life. I must always be careful to have proper balance in my life, and not let these ‘things’ control my thoughts and energies, otherwise they become ‘gods’. I must always let God hold the central place in my life so that He may keep these ‘things’ from becoming ‘gods’. He must be God, and God alone in my life. In turn, I was overjoyed to read and meditate on verse 6. For God said that He would lavish His unfailing love on those that love Him and obey His commands. My desire, and commitment, is that I may always love God sincerely and obey His commands at all times. I know that this will not always be easy, but I know the ‘God’ who can help me handle that commitment with ease. Praise be to God!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I beg Your forgiveness today, because I know how easy it is to get so caught up in my everyday life at work or at play, that I easily forget who makes it all possible for me. I am once again reminded that You are God and besides You there is no other god. I pray that this will be a constant reminder as I am tempted and become wrapped up in the things of this world and often allow them to surround me and fill my thoughts. Please help me to keep perspective in my life. Please help me to recognize You and Your love for me in all walks of life, so that I may share those experiences with others and convince them that You are God, and God alone. Thank You Jesus for loving me so much that You gave. Thank You for the promise of lavishing Your love on me and my generations to come, as we love You and obey Your commands. You are truly awesome!

In Preparation for Worship

Scripture: Exodus 19.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

10 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing. 11 Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch. Ex 19:10-11 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I wonder what our charge would be today if God was to send instructions for us to properly prepare ourselves for worship? It seems like some of us go to corporate worship with sour attitudes, some with the weight of the world on our minds, some with hatred in our hearts, some with pride in our hearts about how good we are or how much better we are than many around us, some with deliberate sin towards a brother/sister in our hearts and many with no respect for the royalty whom we are about to worship. I’m ashamed of how God must look down in disgust at us and become so distraught over our unthankful hearts for all that He did for us on Calvary and all that He does in love for us each and every day. We have no room to feel in our hearts and act in the ways I just described. We may often look at the Israelites in disgust over how they acted, but the truth is that we are probably worse than them in many ways today. We may sing the words, we may raise our hands, we may clap to the beat of the music and we may even give the occasional ‘Amen’ in response to what the preacher is sharing with us, but let’s remember that God knows our heart and our inmost feelings. He is looking for a humble, forgiving, dedicated heart to bless and in turn, use for His glory. Friends, let us spend time readying ourselves for worship. Let us give the deserved respect to our Master, our Lord, our Savior and our soon coming King. He knows our heart, we can’t fool Him. Let’s clean up our act and be ready to truly worship in His presence when we think about going to corporate worship. We must be pure, even as He is pure and holy.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I am guilty of doing the traditional thing of going to church at the appropriate time; singing the hymn/songs when announced; listening to Your Word preached and in my mind thinking of all the people that it applies to. The bottom line is that You are speaking to me. It is I that Your Word applies to. It is I that You long to speak with and sanctify so that I may be the ambassador for You to others that I come in contact with. Please help me to keep the fingers pointed at self, and allow You to do the finger pointing at anyone else that also needs a touch from You. Please help me to seek Your face daily, so that I may come boldly and uprightly before You in worship. You deserve my undivided attention and respect as I come before You. Please consecrate me, wash me clean and set my mind on You so that I may truly worship You.

Our Loving, Compassionate Lord

Scripture: Matthew 20.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

32 When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” Matt 20:32 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Two things were brought to my attention today from this chapter, all culminating in this short verse:

  1. I believe that Jesus holds His hand out to us daily and asks “What is it that you want me to do for you, dear child?” This is what He asked of the blind men who cried out to Him, so I have no reason to believe that He would not do the same thing for us when we cry out to Him for mercy, or whatever the needs are in our lives that bear so heavy on our hearts;
  2. Although I know how much Jesus cares for us, yet I was touched by this story today. Here it is Jesus is on a journey with His disciples and a crowd of people thronged all around Him. Yet these two men caught His attention more than all the crowd of people around Him. He was not too busy, or caught up in the moment with all His followers to stop everything, and go over to attend to the needs of these two men. Praise God that we serve a loving Savior with such qualities. No doubt there are millions that call on Him everyday, but I am once again reminded of the compassion He has for each of us that call on His name. He loves each of us individually, and will find time to stop, listen and respond in accordance with His will for our lives.

Praise be to God that we serve such a loving, caring and compassionate Savior!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Thank You Father for hearing my cry. Thank You for loving me enough to stop what You are doing and listen to my need. Thank You for responding in ways that only You can, because You know that I may ask unwisely. Thank You for protecting me by answering according to Your holy will for my life, and not always “yes” to my selfish and silly requests, that could ultimately harm me. Thank You for caring enough to stop, listen to me and answer with what You know I need, in order to bring ultimate satisfaction to me and full benefit to Your kingdom. You are my God, and I adore You!

How Others Will Know that God is Greater

Scripture: Exodus 18.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

10 “Praise the Lord,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt! 11 I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” Ex 18:10-11 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Jethro who was a man of God, went into the wilderness to check on his son-in-law Moses. Their greeting could have easily taken on the form of many of our meetings today where we catch-up on gossip, but instead Moses was bubbling over with all the many ways that God had been so good to him and the people of Israel since they began their journey to the promised land. I was totally awakened by the response of Jethro in verse 11: I know now that the Lord is greater than all gods. As followers of Christ we witness so many blessings in our lives and in the lives of those around us, so who are we to grumble and complain about this little ache, or that little negativity we heard someone may have said about us? Child of God, we have been placed in positions of encouragers, evangelists, teachers and imitators of Christ! Do others see these qualities in us? Do they walk away from our presence encouraged and blessed, or do they see the same old thing they see in non-Christians – the backbiting, the gossiping, the whining and complaining? We won’t win them to the Lord like that. They won’t leave our presence any more convinced that we serve a mighty, all knowing, ever loving God, than when they first visited with us. Based on the praise report that Jethro received from Moses, he was convinced more than ever that the God that he and Moses served was truly God Almighty, greater than any other god.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord may I be reminded of this today, especially when I’m tempted to whine and complain. May others be encouraged by me and know that I serve the God of this universe and how awesome You are in all that You do for me. May they want to know the precious God that I serve. May I always represent You well. May others see Your character in all that I do and say.