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“Abundant Redemption”

Psalm 130: 7, 8: “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” As we read through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers we can see a lot of iniquities from Israel. They seem hopeless (don’t we?) But the Lord’s lovingkindness leads to redemption in Jesus Christ; God was, and is, faithful to His promise. No sin is greater than His love.

“Just One More Thing …”

Numbers 22: 19: “And now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the Lord will speak to me.” God had already clearly spoken to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” (v. 12) Was any more “what else” needed? But we have a way of getting around any of God’s instructions we don’t like, by looking for other words more to our liking. However, God is not Lt. Colombo or Adrian Monk—there’s not always “just one more thing.”

“What Reigns?”

Romans 6: 12: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should you obey its lusts.” Geraldine, the persona of comedian Flip Wilson in the early 70s, had a tag line, “The devil made me do it!” It was good for a laugh, but a lousy excuse. The devil can’t make you do anything, as long as you remember what St. Paul said earlier: “Grace reigns!” (Romans 7: 21) If grace reigns, sin and the devil do not. Be free!

“Including our Brothers”

Numbers 20: 14: “From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom: ‘Thus your brother Israel has said, “You know all the hardship that has befallen us.”’” Our sense of awareness must include not just our own past, present, and future, but the experiences of our brethren, as well. Israel and Edom had a common ancestor, Isaac, from almost five hundred years previous. Yet they were expected to keep up with each other. Edom didn’t. They spurned their brother Israel—and today the nation no longer exists.

“A Time Beyond Ourselves”

Psalm 102: 18: “This will be written for the generations to come; that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.” Our focus on the future must not apply only to us. We look toward the lives of our children, and theirs, and theirs; for wherever the future takes mankind, there God will be. As the closing of this psalm puts it, “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.

“Eye on the Future”

Matthew 20: 18, 19: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and scourge Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Anchored in the past and aware of the present, we must also have an eye on the future. All the way from Galilee to Jerusalem Jesus was warning the disciples of the distressing events to come and their glorious result. Yet when they occurred, they were as shocked as if they were leaning against an electric fence. The Lord always gives His people a heads-up, but His people often don’t hear.

“Don’t Ignore Today”

Numbers 16: 41: “But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘You are the ones who have caused the deaths of the Lord’s people.’” But we have to be aware of present events, as well. Moses, Miriam, the ten spies, Korah, Dathan, Abiriam, On, and 250 others who don’t need to be named here had just rebelled in one way or another against Moses, and it did not end well for them. Now all Israel wants to try? Thank God for His mercy!

“Back to the Forefathers”

Romans 4: 1: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?” What Jesus showed the Pharisees, St. Paul showed the Romans: “Go back!” To understand the relationship between faith, works, and righteousness, go back to a man first seen in the eleventh chapter of the Bible (out of 1, 189, not counting the apocrypha). Sometimes there’s no school like the old school.

“From the Beginning”

Matthew 19: 8: “Jesus said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.” Things have a tendency to get corrupted over time. This is true of physical bodies, governmental bodies—even religious bodies. When Jesus wanted to get back to the pure unadulterated truth, He went back not just to Moses, but all the way to Genesis; and from there showed basis for His belief in Creationism (v. 4), two genders (v. 4, 5), and monogamy (v. 6). He even goes as far as to acknowledge and validate asexuality (v. 12). As the musical prophet Maria von Trapp sang, “Let’s start at the beginning.”

“Always to Follow”

Psalm 90: 1: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.’” It seems Moses wrote this psalm before his burning bush experience. Yet even then he expressed his and his nation’s desire to follow God. His prayer led to the Exodus, and the manifestation of the cloud of God’s presence. Dwelling with God; following Him; under His shadow, beneath His wing; or, in New Testament understanding, living through His Spirit dwelling within us, ever leading; this is the ultimate example of the Christian existence. From this flows all else.

“Reason to Follow”

Psalm 91: 1: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” This psalm has many wonderful promises concerning God’s protection, deliverance, and salvation. But they all depend on one thing: We must dwell in His shelter and under His shadow. And of course, there’s only one way to accomplish that—follow Him. Move when He moves and where He moves.

“Warned to Follow”

Numbers 12: 2: “And they [Aaron and Miriam] said, ‘Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?’ And the Lord heard it.” If you’re waiting to find a perfect leader to follow, give up now. Moses wasn’t perfect, but He was humble, and that was enough for God. As for Aaron and Miriam (and others to come), they had yet to learn that yes, they had important roles to accomplish, but these were fulfilled as they followed God’s leader—their little brother! By the way, the cloud stopped moving until they did learn it.

“Born to Follow”

Matthew 18: 4: “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” The disciples were looking for a ‘Principles of Leadership’ session; Jesus gave it to them in a child’s humility. And what exemplifies a child’s humility more than his willingness to follow? This is the key to greatness in the Kingdom of God. If you don’t have the humility to follow, you will never lead successfully.

Day 93: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited?” (Num 11:23) God asked Moses a rhetorical question. Of course, the Lord’s power is not limited. It’s our understanding that falls short of His infinite power. Our empirical minds analyze things according to what we see and are used to. It’s so tempting, especially at this time of forced lockdowns, to evaluate our provision based on the economy (or what’s left of it) or the current viability of our business or employer. While God may choose to use those things as a means to take care of us, they are not our provider; He is. His arm is not too short to accomplish what concerns us. If He feeds the birds of the air, how much more will He prov

“Equipped to Follow”

Romans 1: 17: “For in it [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘But the righteousness man shall live by faith.’” Habakkuk is a rather inconspicuous book; Habakkuk a rather unknown prophet. Yet this verse he penned (Habakkuk 2: 4) became the cornerstone of St. Paul’s theology (quoted here to the Romans, and also to the Galatians), the trigger of the Reformation, and the summary of Christianity. It explains how you can follow that unseen cloud wherever it leads you. Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that God uses the most.

Day 92: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Rom 1:11-12) The selfless attitude of Saint Paul shown in these two verses also reveals a principle in the kingdom of God - when you bless, you get blessed. He knows that in strengthening others, he is encouraged as well. He also told other disciples what makes his life really full: seeing that they are standing firm in the Lord through his ministry. While you may receive a reward later in the afterlife, the smile on the face of the beggar you fed, the tears of joy shed by the prisoner you visited, the grateful wife of the former

“Someone to Follow”

Numbers 9: 17: “And whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, then the sons of Israel would camp.” Wow, wouldn’t it be neat if you had a visible cloud going ahead of you, telling you when to go, when to stop, which way to turn? Well, you do—and it’s not GPS. The Israelites had the glory cloud above them, we have the Holy Spirit within us. And unlike Wayz, He’ll never steer you wrong!

Day 91: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Mt 10:8) The sick, lepers and demon-possessed were ostracized. Their condition was seen as a result of sin and they were considered unclean. That’s why the religious elite wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole. When a rabbi from the infamous region of Galilee came into the picture, His radical gospel ruffled their feathers. But His only purpose was to reveal His Father whom they misunderstood, a God of restoration, not condemnation. Jesus sent His apostles to Israel’s lost sheep to heal them, and further His mission. By doing this, they were proclaiming that the kingdom of God was in t

Day 90: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” (Mt 17:2) The glory of Jesus is eternal. His transfigured glory wasn’t just momentary on the mountain. He’s never without it. It was just that the eyes of the disciples were opened and they saw it at that time. When we are beset with trials, problems, challenges and other worries, we are blinded and fail to see divine glory and transcendence. Because of that, we despair and give in to fear. But having our eyes opened to the truth that God reigns in glory gives us hope and courage to face anything and the ability to inspire others with the same hope. May what we pray be deeply in

“Point of Recognition”

Psalm 27: 8: “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.’” We started this week with face; we end it with face. What does it mean to seek God’s face? In this context, ‘face’ means that by which we are recognized. To seek God’s face is to know Him more, to recognize more clearly Who He is. Further, it is to see those characteristics of God reflected in our own faces and lives; to make His face our own. (2 Corinthians 3: 18) How can this happen? In prayer, as we listen to Him and dwell in His presence. Consider yourself challenged to try it!

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