Don’t Choose the Curse

Deuteronomy 11-13

Deut 11 26 NIV

We make choices all day long – little things and big things.  What will I eat today, what will I wear, how long will I study, should I stay late at work, should I work out, should I read my Bible (and read my SEEKGROWLOVE) in the morning or at night… You get the idea; there are a lot of choices. In fact, a Psychology Today article stated that some sources suggest that the average person makes 35,000 choices per day.

In Deuteronomy 11, the Israelites are presented with a choice. In verse 26, it states, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.”

This sure seems like a “no brainer choice”. The blessing is so wonderful. Moses goes into detail of how incredible it will be to live in communion with the Lord God in this land of abundance. In chapter 12, he describes a scene that we might imagine as the perfect Thanksgiving, “There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.”

How could they choose the curse? Our God gives His people many warnings of why they may wander away from Him. One is curiosity of other religions. His people will ask, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” Remember that these religions even burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. Let’s consider the difference from choosing idols rather than choosing to follow the One True God. Those who follow His commands will come into His presence with their family, feasting and rejoicing. Those who choose idols will sacrifice their own children.

I can’t imagine anything worse than a parent allowing this to happen to their child. The LORD warns them that some of them may face evil prophets or even family members that entice them. Even if large groups of people like a whole town decide that it is ok to be wicked, they must resist and follow the LORD.

You see we have these same choices today. Let’s decide that no group of people, no person, nothing should be chosen over our God. Out of our love, we will obey Him and do what is right in His eyes.

 

Rebecca Dauksas

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+11-13&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be Deuteronomy 14-16 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

 

 

Anti-Anxiety

Deuteronomy 8-10

Deut 8 6 7a NIV

Imagine that you are an Israelite that has been taking in all the words of your leader Moses. You have listened as he has given your history. You have committed to love God with all your heart, soul and strength. You have determined to follow the commands, decrees and laws that the Lord directed Moses to teach you. Soon it will be time to enter the land and possess it. You have heeded the warnings of idol worship. You have envisioned this good land flowing with milk and honey. Moses told you of all the good things that wait inside the land, but your mind also fills with doubt. You must face the nations that are physically stronger than you are. As you lie in bed, your mind races over what lies before you. It is then that you remember what else was said. “If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.” You decide this is in the LORD’s hands, you settle in, smile and go to sleep.

 

We are sometimes faced with the same dilemmas that the Israelites faced. We live in an uncertain world. We daily experience the results of this fallen world-war, pain, sickness, … We can easily become anxious and worried. But God also provided us with a great teacher who gave us instruction. Jesus Christ told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Our Heavenly Father and His Son are with us. They are aware of our situation. We may have to face difficult and uncertain circumstances, but they are with us as we go through them. We are certain of this, if we are faithful to them, they will always be with us.

Just like the Israelites we will set our minds on the words of God. We will remember that we live on “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Even in our chaotic world, we should observe the commands of the Lord our God, walk in obedience to Him and revere Him because the Lord our God is bringing us to a good land. This land where righteousness dwells will reside in a new heaven and new earth.

Rebecca Dauksas

 

Today’s reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+8-10&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be Deuteronomy 11-13 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

Reasons to Obey

Deuteronomy 5-7

Deuteronomy 5 33 NIV

I had an oppsortunity to teach the importance of keeping the Name of God holy a few weeks ago. A five year old was loudly saying “God” clearly showing that she was surprised by something that was going on. I helped her understand that because we love and respect God that we would never use His name this way. Thankfully that is the last time that she has expressed surprise in that manner.

But this experience reminded me of Moses. He was not only the person that was bringing the people the Law-he wanted them to understand and practice it. We may hear that we should not misuse the name of God, but when we really enter into a genuine, loving relationship with God, we would only use His name with sincere words from our heart.

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses summoned all Israel in order to recount the decrees and laws to them. He wanted the Israelites to learn them and follow them. He reminded the people that they were involved in a covenant with God.  The Law showed the Israelites which actions were right and wrong. God wanted them to know how to live as His holy people. He wanted them to know how to interact with Him and others. He wanted them to “walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

God still wants us to “live and prosper” today. We are His people, His family.

When we experience God’s love our motivation for doing what is right is produced from a place of love. (Deuteronomy 6) Christ later explained the greatest commandment of the Law. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Rebecca Dauksas

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+5-7&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Deuteronomy 8-10 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan (1) (1)

 

Learning from Obedience & Disobedience

Deuteronomy 3 & 4

Deut 4 9 NIV

We live near apple country. In the fall we have driven to the mountains and visited apple orchards. The taste of ripe apples from the tree is amazing. The apple trees are pretty hanging with the delicious varieties of apples and the views are really beautiful. In Deuteronomy 3, Moses is told that he can “Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.” Imagine Moses standing on the mountain looking at the Promised Land. He would not enter the land because of his former disobedience. I think this consequence was important for the Israelites. Moses was so close to God and was an example for the entire Israelite community. He was their appointed leader and they followed his example. They could also learn from his disobedience. Experiencing this consequence of not entering the land probably made a big impact on the Israelites and Joshua. In fact, God tells Moses to “charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.”

I grew up with siblings. I had an older brother and sister and I learned from their example. If they did something good at school or church, they were rewarded with awards and praise. It was great because I learned what I should do by their example.

In Deuteronomy 4, Moses is giving his all to make the people understand the importance of obedience to the LORD. Not only will the Israelites and their children be blessed by obeying, but if they keep the decrees and laws they will have wisdom and understanding. They will set an example for other nations. People will hear these statutes and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”

Our personal obedience to God can be a positive example for others. Obedience leads to blessings for us and for others.

Rebecca Dauksas

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+3-4&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Deuteronomy 5-7 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

Most Important Message to Pass On

Deuteronomy 1 & 2

Deut 1 3 NIV

If you only had a short time to live, what would you communicate to those in your circle of influence? I know that is a tough question. I think most of us would want to express our love for special people in our lives, our thanks to those that helped us in life, we might share what we found to be valuable and important in life, we would want to give encouragement and insight…at the top of our list-we would want others to know the importance of a loving, close relationship with God through Christ.

Moses is close to the end of his life as Deuteronomy begins and he has much to convey to the Israelites.  He wants them to learn from the past, he wants them to be prepared for what lies ahead and most importantly, he wants them to rely on God. In the book of Deuteronomy, the title of “the LORD our God” together with “the LORD your God” occurs almost 300 times along with many uses of “the LORD”. Moses wants the Israelites to rely on the LORD. He reminds them that in the wilderness they saw how the “LORD your God” carried you just as a man carries his son. He reminds them that the “LORD your God” went before them to lead the way and gave them places to camp. He was there in fire by night and cloud by day to show them the way to go. Moses wants the Israelites to trust God.

Unfortunately, my dad and mom are no longer living, but one of their messages to me was to trust God. I am eternally grateful for that message. We may lose loved ones through life, but God is always with us and we can trust Him.

Rebecca Dauksas

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+1-2&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s passage will be Deuteronomy 3-4 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Living Like a Levite

Numbers 35 & 36

Rebecca Mon pic

Imagine that today is your regular day of worship at your local church. You grab your Bible and head out to the church. You walk into the Social Hall and there is the guy who usually arrives early setting up folding chairs. You place your Bible on the table and begin unfolding the chairs while talking with him. Another person enters and starts making the coffee and turns on the heat. The room already feels warm which is nice on this chilly day. The Pastor walks in from his office and asks how your day has been so far. Soon people start arriving. A few Youth Workers enter carrying some bags filled with crafts for the kids to make. They are headed toward the Youth Room. The room begins to fill up as more people enter. A couple of praise team members smile as they walk through carrying guitars and making their way to the sanctuary. People sip coffee and others just sit, talk and laugh. Everyone settles in as the Pastor hands out a list of prayer needs and praises. A couple of people share updates on the Missions collection and the food drive. After prayer, the teacher begins to share a lesson about the importance of the Levites. You discover that the Levites served the LORD in many ways including taking care of the Tabernacle and the Temple. The Levites from the family line of Aaron served as the priests for the Israelites. Some were in charge of the treasures of the house of God and dedicated gifts. Some served as guards and others were musicians and singers. They were also the only Israelite tribe that received cities, but were not allowed to be landowners “because the Lord the God of Israel Himself was their inheritance”.

 

Ok, so why imagine this scenario? Because our reading is about the Levites and as servants of God, we have a lot in common with them. This special tribe was chosen to serve the Lord. These servants used their God-given talents to serve the LORD in their community. How amazing that we have this same opportunity today. We are gifted in different ways and possess different talents, but all of these can be used in our service to God. Our willingness to serve is evidence of our love for God and others.

God honored this tribe in Numbers 35. The Lord told Moses to command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in, pasturelands for their cattle and all their other animals. The Levites received forty-eight towns with six of the towns as cities of refuge, to which a person who killed someone could flee. God displays His provision and grace not only to the tribe of Levi, but for all those in the Israelite community. Hebrews and foreigners could flee to the city of refuge for protection and justice. The LORD also provides protection for the inheritance of the individual tribes in Chapter 36. In the example of Zelophehad’s daughters we see that God valued the individual inheritance of each tribe. When we see how God’s commands and regulations were offering provision and grace to the community and the individual, it makes us realize how awesome He is. It makes us want to give of ourselves. It makes us want to serve, to live like the Levites.

Rebecca Dauksas

 

Today’s Bible passage, the last two chapters of Numbers, can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+35-36&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be the first two chapters of Deuteronomy as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

You Are Here

Numbers 33-34

Numbers 33 53 NIV

I like “You Are Here Signs” and I am always pulling up navigation on maps. In a mall or an amusement park, I can quickly see where I am going and how to get back to the place where I parked. The Lord offers us spiritual navigation as well. In James we are told to do what the word says. It states, “whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” We are to look intently into the scriptures (study) and do (apply) what we discover. We are offered blessing from this. So why do we miss out? I am afraid that we are sometimes like the Israelites were. But thankfully we have this account of their lives to be an example to us. We don’t want to imitate this generation of people whose hearts went astray and did not know God’s ways (Psalm 95:10).

In Numbers 33, Moses recorded the Israelites’ journeys at the command of the LORD. You can even find online maps that visually show their journey and wandering.  This 40-year journey could have been traveled in days. It was approximately the distance I currently am from Chattanooga, TN. According to maps, only a 70-hour walk. Moses recorded where they had physically been and God provides direction on what they are to do next. They are to take possession of the land, drive out the inhabitants and settle in it. The next generation was being offered the opportunity to receive the land. The boundaries are established and the leaders are put in place to assign the land (Numbers 34).

The Israelites face the choice of allowing the Canaanite societies steeped in abominable practices like child sacrifice and cult prostitution to remain or to begin a nation that faithfully looks to God and practices His commands.

In our lives today, we are faced with the choice to let society give us our moral standards or to connect so closely with God that He is directing our moral standards. When we fully trust and love our God we can know that He is leading our lives. He shows us where we are and He encourages us to keep moving toward our inheritance of the kingdom of God.

“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5

 

Rebecca Dauksas

 

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+33-34&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Numbers 35-36 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

I Want to Know What Love Is

1 john 4_16

At this time of year, I usually think about the resolutions that I want to make and mine usually include some method of time management so I have time for the people and things that I truly love.

I love the scriptures.  Why? Because through these scriptures God reveals who He is and He is amazing. The Bible is a message from God. This message is essential for every human being. After all we are created in His image so it makes sense that He wants us to understand what life is truly about.  He also explains why He created us in the first place. What purpose we should fulfill as we live out this life as His children. He also provides us with the message of our future, our hope.  The scriptures explain why God gave us His Son and what Jesus did and said. God explains how we can receive some present blessings while we patiently wait for future rewards including immortality in His Kingdom. Wow!

Why does God offer us all of this? He loves us. Now I know at this point we would all say, “Of course He does, we all know that”. But we need to be constantly reminded because while we face the struggles of life, we can forget that message of love. Christ warned us that in the last days because of the increase of wickedness, that the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12), but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. So how do we keep our love for others and God strong?

In 1 John 4:7&8 we read, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” So we can rely on God to provide us with His love. A love from God gives us the ability to love God with all that we are – to love with our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27).

Lets return to 1 John 4, verse 16, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

So the Word of God is important to me because it is a message of love. A message that God loves us so much that he wants to live with us eternally.

-Rebecca Dauksas

Reflecting His Glory

rebecca 7

I was teaching a junior youth class last week. We were learning about the Lord’s Prayer. At the end of our lesson, we were going over the phrase “for Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever.”  I asked the children what does glory mean? None of the students knew and it was time for our class to end so I suggested that they ask someone what God’s glory means. I told them that they could bring the answer back for next time. A four year old said, “I’ll ask Siri.” He took his tablet out of his backpack and asked, “Siri, what is God’s glory?” She verbally gave us a definition. That was a first. I wonder how Siri would be as a Sunday School teacher?

Here is a partial definition of glory:

Great praise, splendor, or honor. High renown or honor won by notable achievements.

fame, prestige, distinction, kudos, eminence, acclaim, celebrity, recognition, reputation

 

While glory is a vast subject, it might help us understand it more by reading Psalm 96:2-10a. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”

Of course, God possesses glory, but the scriptures describe man as having the ability to possess glory, too. Psalm 21:5 describes David in this way, “Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. God also presents Christ with this glory.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Dan. 7:13,14 &27) We will be rewarded in so many ways including living in our kingdom home of New Jerusalem that will shine with the glory of God. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it for the glory of God gives it light.

So what should our response be to gaining understanding of the glory of God. Jesus tells us that we should seek the glory of the one who sent us.  And Paul reminds us to turn to the Lord. “And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)  Lets remember to keep our focus on God through Christ so we can reflect the Lord’s glory!

-Rebecca Dauksas

 

Generation to Generation

rebecca 6

It brings me so much joy to see youth and young adults pursuing ministry. It is wonderful to see the next generation serving other members of the church and the community in the name of Christ. Young people that “get it”. They want to make a positive difference and make an eternal impact on the world around them.

I am so thankful for the people who were there for our generation. The adults that worked, studied, served, and prayed with us. Our Youth Workers’ commitments to our church and faith were evident in their church involvement.  I was so blessed because I got to serve alongside so many solid servants of Christ. We did the little, insignificant things along with the big stuff. It didn’t matter if it was unclogging a toilet, doing a food collection, visiting a nursing home, rolling coins after a fundraiser, working on a broken down church bus, speaking or singing in a worship service-whatever the task, our Youth Workers were working it out beside us. They spoke with encouraging words of wisdom and instilled confidence as we overcame difficulties that stood in the way to completing our mission. After all, a true follower of Christ is willing to present the gospel, help others, even wash some dirty feet…

The Apostle Paul had the opportunity to bring countless generations of people to Christ. We are still learning from his writings today. Timothy had the chance to learn from him first hand. Paul refers to Timothy as “my true son in the faith”. He had worked alongside Paul for years and had served the churches. Paul made sure that Timothy understood and practiced the essentials of the Christian faith. He also prepared him for leadership.

Paul informed him in 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Paul wanted Timothy to know how to serve the Church, how to deal with problems and encourage the people to grow in Christ.  He warned him about terrible times in the last days because of how evil many people would become (2 Timothy 3:1-5). He also passed along a charge, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:14-17)

What great advice for all generations!

-Rebecca Dauksas