March 31 “Judging God”

Too often as we read the Old Testament, we’re tempted to judge God by our human standards.

judging God

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 23 & 24
Psalm 39.1-6
Proverbs 13.1-3
Luke 5.17-39

Deuteronomy 23 & 24:

God’s Holy Standard

Oh, thank God that we live in an age of grace! Think about it, everything we have read in the law, even the parts that are hard to understand or hard to justify by our human standards and understanding, were intended to point us to our need for His grace. As I said yesterday, the law was intended to help us see our complete inability to keep God’s standard, so that we would see our need for a Savior!

It seems harsh in today’s world to say that a person who was born illegitimately could not go into the temple (23.2). Oh, that God would help us understand that He is holy. In Isaiah’s vision the seraphim cried out, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”

The only way any of us can come to that throne in heaven, which was represented by the Mercy Seat inside the Holy of Holies in the temple, is through the blood of Christ which takes away our sins. God had to help the people understand His holiness. He wants to help us understand His holiness, too, as we read these Old Testament passages. Continue reading

March 30 “Gay marriage & hard questions”

Interpreting Scripture is a hot topic today with even churches debating issues like homosexuality and gay marriage. One line of argument poses the question, “How can you say some Old Testament laws are still valid and others are not?”. It’s an important question.

hard questions

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 21 & 22
Psalm 38.9-22
Proverbs 12.26-28
Luke 5.1-16

Deuteronomy 21 & 22:

I’ll warn you; today’s comments are long. While I don’t pretend to have all the answers and there is certainly much more that could be said, I pray you’ll read and consider these things.

Murder, rape, rebellious children & your neighbor’s ox

What attention to all the details of life we find here in the Old Testament law—everything from the jurisdiction in a murder case (21.1-9) to “Good Samaritan” laws (22.1-4) to rape and adultery (22.22-30). But why would God care about different kinds of seeds being sown together or whether different materials were blended into one fabric. Bible passages like these sometimes raise questions that are challenging to answer.

Interpreting Scripture is a hot topic today with our courts deciding on the constitutionality of “gay marriage” and even some churches debating issues connected with homosexuality. One line of argument poses the question, “How can you say some Old Testament laws are still valid and others are not?”. It’s an important question.

For means of explanation and discussion, some scholars divide the law into three parts. They are: moral law, ceremonial law, and judicial/civil law. (For more discussion on this you can go to http://www.gotquestions.org/search.html.) Continue reading

March 29 “Can depression be caused by sin?”

What is depression and can it be caused by our sinful choices? (see our Proverbs reading)

depression

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 19 & 20
Psalm 38.1-8
Proverbs 12.23-25
Luke 4.31-44

Deuteronomy 19 & 20:

The size of our God

In chapter 20.1-4 the Israelites were told, “‘When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt … Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’”

Like the Israelites, no matter what the battle or the enemy, we are not to look at the size of the enemy, but at the size of our God!

When God doesn’t act

depression

But we must remember that this passage follows closely behind the passages we read yesterday where God was giving instructions for choosing leaders and the behavior of those leaders. When the people or their leaders acted presumptuously, repeatedly disobeyed His commands, or followed other gods and put their trust in them, God frequently let them be defeated in battle. Sometimes even allowing them to be taken into captivity, as he did with Babylon.

Could it happen here?

America has enjoyed years of relative protection from God. We have been blessed with freedoms, resources, and favor on an enormous scale. But we should not think God cannot or will not allow defeat for our nation if we continue to move farther and farther from Him and His standards. Continue reading

March 28 “God & government”

Has God ordained a certain form of government? In a republic like ours where we choose our leaders, what part should our faith play in our voting decisions?

God & government

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 17 & 18
Psalm 37.37-40
Proverbs 12.20-22
Luke 4.1-30

Deuteronomy 17 & 18:

God & government

Chapter 17.14-20:

14 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

18 “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

God’s Word does not ordain a certain kind of government, but God’s people are to pray, seek His wisdom, and obey His commands in whatever circumstances and under whatever form of government they find themselves.

Leaders should be those “whom the LORD your God chooses.” In a nation like ours where we choose our leaders, they should not be chosen on the basis of political expediency or personal gain. Instead, we should pray, seek godly counsel, and search God’s Word for the characteristics of godly men. Continue reading

March 27 “A time to help, a time to get out of the way”

Should believers should always lend or give to anyone who asks?

giving

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 15 & 16
Psalm 37.30-36
Proverbs 12.17-19
Luke 3.1-38

Deuteronomy 15 & 16:

Giving, lending, welfare & the church

Here we see a great picture of God’s attitude toward giving and caring for one another. God commanded the nation of Israel “open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need (v. 15.8). Then every seven years there was to be a release of debts and a release of servants from their bondage.

One definition of biblical love is “a sacrificial action for the benefit of another and the glory of God.” That’s the kind of love we’re to have for one another—not a love based on feelings, but a love that is active and rooted in our love for God.

Does that mean that believers should always lend or give to anyone who asks?

Continue reading

March 26 “Your heart, your will & your mind”

“What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.” What has your will chosen that your mind is justifying? And what does it tell you about your heart?

the heart

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 13 & 14
Psalm 37.23-29
Proverbs 12.15-16
Luke 2.25-52

Deuteronomy 13 & 14:

Fortune tellers, palm readers, and other false prophets

Chapter 13, verses 1-4 talk about the false prophet who predicts something and it comes to pass. So many people assume that such a person must be from God, even though he or she says and does things that contradict biblical truth. But verse 3 says, “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

fortune teller

There are still people out there today, claiming they can predict the future or they can tell you if your husband is cheating or give you a message from a deceased family member. They may even claim to believe in God, and perhaps they do. James 2.19 says, “… Even the demons believe—and tremble!” And in Matthew 8 when Jesus met two demon possessed men, the demons cried out, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

You can believe in God and not be of God. We are told to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5.11). A command we should, also, consider in other areas of life like our reading, movies and TV habits.

God is still testing our hearts today. Do you love truth and trust that God will reveal to you anything you need to know, or do you seek to know things that only God truly knows, fully understands, and will reveal as He sees fit to do so? Continue reading

March 24 “Self-righteousness & other oxymorons”

According to Merriam-Webster, an oxymoron is: a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings or something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements. Such is any idea of our self-righteousness.

Oxymorons

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 9 & 10
Psalm 37.12-17
Proverbs 12.11
Luke 1.57-80

Deuteronomy 9 & 10:

Self-righteousness & other oxymorons

God, through Moses, emphasized that He would bless the Israelites not because of their righteousness—that is because they deserved it—but because of God and His mercy.

C.J. Mahaney says in his book, The Cross Centered Life, “Everything in the Old Testament points toward Jesus Christ and enriches our understanding of the cross (see Luke 24.27). The drama of redemption begins in the Garden in Genesis 3 and continues to unfold throughout the Old Testament until it reaches its climax at the cross. All along the way the Divine Author prepares us for Calvary. The symbolism of the sacrificial system, the strictness of the law, the repeated failures of man, the steadfast faithfulness of God—all this and more deepens our amazement at the cross.” Continue reading

March 23 “Love your cats & dogs, but …”

Whether we’re dog people or cat people, we love our animals. But what does the Bible say about our pets? What about animal rights? And what about humans, are we just higher forms of animals? How should a Christian view his or her animals?

cats & dogs cats & dogs

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 7 & 8
Psalm 37.5-11
Proverbs 12.9-10
Luke 1.39-56

Deuteronomy 7 & 8:

Remember … remember … remember!

Remember … remember … remember! This seems to be the theme of much of today’s Old Testament reading. When you’re afraid of your enemies, remember what I did to Egypt when they tried to keep you in bondage. When you’re afraid the task is too big for you, remember what I did for you in the wilderness. And even when you have experienced success, remember Who enabled you to be where you are!

And to us … “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15.4).

We, too, need to remember … what God has done for us personally, what He did for His people in the past, and Who is to receive the glory! Continue reading

See what you missed! Weekly Newsletter March 22

Welcome to the Soul Survival newsletter! SEE WHAT YOU MISSED. Check out the TWEET OF THE WEEK. And be sure to stop by tomorrow to read about Journal Prompts for your spiritual, prayer, or Scripture journaling.

Tweet of the week:

From the Archives:

One of my most popular posts …
October 23 Braids, pearls, tattoos, & designer clothes

tattoos

What you might have missed this week:

March 16 The “law of vows” & a right view of authority
March 17 Dumb as an ox
March 18 What to read through the Bible? Why not start now?
March 19 The basis of our criminal justice system
March 20 Wives, are you rotten?
March 21 Where do you put your trust?
March 22 Who is Mary? Saint or sinner?

Have a great week in the Lord!
Donna