Verse for Week 19

Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give
you charge over Israel,
so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.
Then you will prosper, if
you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances
which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel.
Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 22:12-13

These words were originally spoken by David to his son Solomon.  The words “you will prosper” caught my attention.  I would like to proper.  I would like that I am doing for the Lord to prosper.  I was encouraged to see that prospering is possible.  Is not the Lord your God with you? (verse 18a)

By reading and studying God’s Word I will see what God wants me to do and I can remember that He will help me.  My part, the part for all of us, is to . . .

Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God
1 Chronicles 22:19

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Verses for Weeks 16-18

Week 16

I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19

The Lord lists many instructions for the Israelites in chapter 19.  I have the sentence “I am the Lord your God” coloured in purple so it stood out as I read the chapter.  What better reason for obeying God than that He is God?

Week 17

 But godliness actually is a means of great gain
when accompanied by contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6

The words “great gain” caught my attention.  I long to serve God well and to gain much for Him.  I was encouraged to find the answer to making it possible – godliness!  Just seeing this verse again made being Christlike look more possible because God would not have said this if it wasn’t something we could accomplish.  It isn’t saying perfection or sinlessness, but godliness.  Godliness which is striving to be more like Christ each which can be accomplished by doing what He says in His Word.

I know contentment is important, but I find it hard to attain it at times.  I wonder if the contentment in this verse means being content with godliness.  In other words, believing that doing things God’s way is the best way and begin content to let Him work through His all-wise, all-loving means.

Week 18

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
1 Chronicles 16:8-9

God is a great God!  He truly worthy of our worship.  These verses are part of David’s praise to God at the time the ark was returned to Jerusalem.  He used this time to organize the priest so that the worship of the Lord was done properly.  Part of his organization included an interesting group of people.

With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen,
who were designated by name,
to give thanks to the Lord,
because His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Leviticus 16:41

“Designated by name, to give thanks to the Lord”  Giving thanks to God for all that He has done must be very important.  I wonder how much better the Lord will like our prayers if we spend more time praising and thanking, instead of listing all of our problems and needs/wants.  He wants to hear both, but if our prayers include more praise and thanksgiving, we will find that our view of problems and needs will change.  We will probably trust Him more.

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Verses for Weeks 14 and 15

Week 14

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

I think one reason why God’s mercies are new every day is because of the way He forgives.

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions
for My own sake,

And I will not remember your sins.
Isaiah 43:25

He will forgive if we come to Him for forgiveness and are repentant.  He will forget them as well.  The guilt that comes concerning past sins – one that have been brought to the Lord – is not of God.  Sin that has not been confessed to God will be brought to our minds so that we can bring it to God to be forgiven.

If God who has been truly sinned against when I sin can forgive and forget, how much more should I forgive and forget!  Whatever sins have been done against me are nothing compared to what has been done against God.  I have sinned myself so what happens against me is often a result of my own sin.  I need to learn to forget the grievance against me and be able to look at people not harbour resentment or hurt.  This attitude will bring  will help usso we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4b)

Week 15

You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
Leviticus 19:2b

The reason to live a holy life is seen in a statement that is repeated throughout Leviticus – I am the Lord your God. We should not want to do anything wrong because that will mar our relationship with God.  We should want to be careful because even little things can be very damaging to our relationship with God.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

Reading and studying God’s Word will help us to not sin.

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Verses for Weeks 12 and 13

Week 12

This is the day which the Lord has made
Psalm 118:24

This verse came to my mind after listening to the prayer of a pastor who received the first copies of the New Testament in his language.  Listen to his rejoicing that “this is the day” that God had planned for this special event.

 I got to thinking about the days that God has planned.  There are days of great rejoicing as God has answered prayer, especially long-awaited answers to prayer.

There are days of testing.  God in His infinite wisdom planned this day for this particular test.  “This is the day.”

“This is the day” that understanding comes.  Those are wonderful days when you a truth from God’s Word becomes yours.  These days become more precious each time your read the verses again and remember again “the day.”

There is another “day” that doesn’t usually look like a day to mark as special.  That is “the day” that God points out sin in our lives.  It may be one of the most important days, because we are given the opportunity to confess our sin and to receive forgiveness from God.  It may be a hard day because humility isn’t an easy virtue to demonstrate.  When we recognize “the day” and submit ourselves before God, great peace is the result.  It is “a day” worth recognizing.

As we look back and review what God has done in our lives, we might recognize the significance of these days more clearly.  Many times we miss their importance.  It is easy to let the blessing of “the day” to get mixed up with the cares of our lives.  We would do well to mark each day as the special gift from God.  If we do, we will understand God better and recognize His blessings more quickly.  Whatever the event, . . .

This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Week 13

The week began with “for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b), and ended with “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).  The two verses work together well.  God is the key to success.  Working with people, especially children, can be discouraging.   It seems like they will never learn.  They seem so set in their ways.  For me as the adult I need to recognize that if I depend on God, He will help me to know what to say and do to help them make the proper change.  After all, if God could change the murderer Saul into the great missionary of the gospel Paul and the denier Paul into the caring preacher, He can change a child who is more mouldable than an adult.   If I trust God and His ways, I will see that “nothing will be impossible.

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Verses for Week 11

Now before the Feast of the Passover,
Jesus knowing that His hour had come
that He would depart out of this world to the Father,
having loved His own who were in the world,
He loved them to the end.
John 13:1

Knowing that soon He would die, Jesus loved His disciples.  When I read this verse, I wondered how I would respond if I knew I had only a little time left before I would die.  I remember that the last thing my mother told me before she died was that she loved me.  In the weeks before my father-in-law died, he wrote people letters and made sure that we here knew that he loved us.  I think that shows the quality of person that they were.

But what about me?  It is so easy to say that you love someone, and then get upset with them over little things.  What seems to stop our love?  A lazy child?  Not getting supper on time?  A wrong answer?  Such little things in the space of eternity cause us to think wrongly about another person.

Of course, if our love stops, then it was not really love.  True love lasts and does not stop.  It may weather some storms, but it will be standing afterwards.  This love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.  This love is also commanded by God.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,
even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

It is a love worth giving.  I think it will take a lifetime to perfect it, but it is worth the work.

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The Blessings of Discernment

Yesterday I wrote about Samson who showed a lack of discernment.  Today I would like to write about Moses who showed discernment.  I will begin his story with the day that he was in the wilderness and saw the burning bush.  This amazing sight of a bush burning and not being destroyed by fire caught his attention (Exodus 3).  God Himself was in the fire.  God chose Moses to be the one to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Moses showed a lack of discernment at this point.  Instead of believing God and trusting that He would help, Moses complained of being unable to speak well.  He showed enough discernment to agree to go to Egypt and to speak to the Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:28-31)

When Moses reached Egypt, we begin reading a phrase that is often repeated from Exodus to Deuteronomy.  This phrase confirms that Moses had discernment.  It is written of Moses that he did all that God commanded.  The result of his obedience was that he was able to lead the large group of Israelites out of Egypt. (Exodus 12:35-42)

After they had been out of Egypt for a while, the Israelites chose to worship a golden calf instead of God.  When this happened, God told Moses that He would make a great people from Moses.  What higher honour could a person receive than to have a great nation from his own family!  Moses showed discernment and refused this honour.  Instead he was concerned for God’s testimony among the peoples of the land.  He also reminded God of His promises to the children of Israel.  Moses was more concerned about God than himself.  He wanted God’s glory to shine.  He wanted to understand this glorious God better so he asked to see God’s glory.  God said that Moses could not see His face, but He would permit Moses to see a part of His glory.  Moses who was more concerned that God receive glory was blessed in a very special way  (Exodus 33).

Moses’ use of godly discernment enabled him to have an incredbly close relationship with God.  God refers to Moses as the man He spoke to face to face (Exodus 33:11).  His life also encouraged others to serve God as well.  One man who seems to have followed Moses’ example was Bezalel.  Bezalel was a skilled craftsman who was able to make many different things and was able to work with different types of materials.  He was known to do “all that the Lord had commanded Moses.”  (Exodus 36-39).

Moses’ story began with a lack of discernment, and it ends with one as well.  One time God told Moses to speak to a rock, and water would come out.  Instead of speaking Moses struck the rock angrily.  As a result God to Moses that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land.  For the past forty years Moses had been looking forward to going to the Promised Land.  After only doing one thing wrong, God would not permit Moses to fulfill his dream.  In the midst of great personal sorrow, Moses chose to be guided by discernment.  Instead of bad-mouthing God or complaining about his loss, he chose to praise God and to speak well of Him.

There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms
Deuteronomy 33:26-27a

Samson did not allow godly discernment to guide his life and he suffered greatly.  He did not do much for God, except to kill 3000 Philistines when he died.  Moses, on the other hand, led about two million people out of Egypt.  He was able to see part of God’s glory and to have a close relationship with God.  If we choose to be guided by godly discernment, we will receive blessings as well.  Our blessings will, probably, not be the same as Moses; but they will be great and wonderful.

The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
Proverbs 11:3

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Discernment – The Lack of It

Our theme for the month at school is discernment.  I defined it as making choices guided by God.  To receive this guidance we need to read and study God’s Word.  Having discernment will keep us out of a lot of trouble.  Samson and Moses are two Bible examples who show the results of having or not having discernment.

Samson was specially chosen by God before he was born (Judges 13).  An angel spoke to Samson’s parents and told them that they would have a son.  This son was consecrated for the Lord’s work from birth.  Samson was the strongest man, so it would seem like he had it made.  He had a special work to do for God and the strength to do it.  It looks like that should be a life of blessedness, but Samson’s lack of discernment destroyed that blessing.

The first thing we see Samson doing shows a lack of discernment.  He looked at Philistine women for a wife.  He found one and got married.  At the wedding he gave a riddle.  His wife told the answer to the other men.  Samson exhibited another lack of discernment – he got angry and went to his parents.  The result of this lack of discernment is that his wife was given to another man – he lost his wife (Judges 14).

He didn’t learn from that experience and got involved with another Philistine woman.  The result of this relationship was that she betrayed him to other men who bound him in chains.  They took out his eyes and made him work like an animal.  Because he had no discernment, he did not realize that God’s Spirit had left him.  His lack of discernment spoiled his relationship with God.  It also brought a lot of trouble and heartache.  In the last moments of his life he had enough discernment to call to the Lord for help.  With the strength God gave him, he destroyed a building and 3000 people (Judges 16).

Samson’s life did not produce much for God.  His lack of discernment led him away from God repeatedly.  Because his name is listed in Hebrews 11, we know he was man of God; yet, he did very little for God.

My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things;
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who delight in doing evil
And rejoice in the perversity of evil
Proverbs 2:1-14

Next time “The Blessings of Discernment”

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