Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My blog Has Moved!!!

My devotional blog has moved. It can now be found at www.morningevotional.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Face of God

Read Numbers 6:24-26

Mothers seem to know how to speak with their facial expressions just as well as they do with real words. Their eyes, the mouths, and their furrowed brows communicate what their hearts and minds are feeling. With just by one look from Mom, children instantly know if they are in trouble or if they have done something really well.

This well-known passage contains a blessing that the High Priest was to speak over the people of Israel. It makes mention of God’s face two different times.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Part of this blessing is that God will make his face “shine on you” and that God will “turn his face toward you”, both powerful images of God’s love and acceptance of us.

Like children, we should be constantly looking to our Heaven Father’s face to catch a glimpse of His love for us and to experience the peace He has promised.

Who in your family speaks the most with their facial expressions? What do they say?

How does it make your feel to think about God turning His face towards you because He loves you?

Prayer Emphasis: Ask God to let His face shine upon you today!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Most Important Part

Read Numbers 2:1-2

Hundreds of years ago, before the growth of large cities, people lived in small towns or villages, the center of which was the church. All of the houses and shops were built around the church, and the steeple of the church was usually the tallest structure in the town. It could be seen from anywhere in the town and served as a reminder to all of the people that their worship and lives were to be given to God.

We find this same model practiced here in this passage where instructions are given for the arrangement of the tribal camps of Israel.

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.” (Numbers 2:1-2)

From the very beginning, God intended for the house of worship to be the center of life among his people. Today, our towns and villages have been replaced by sprawling metropolitan cities, and church steeples no longer dominate the skyline. Yet, God still desires to be the center of our communities, our families, and our lives.

What would you say is the most important part in your life?

What would you have to change to make God the most important part of your life?

Prayer Emphasis: Commit to make God the most important part of your life today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Counting the Cost

Read Leviticus 26:3-13

Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest professional basketball player of all-time. His rare mix of size, athletic ability, talent, and determination helped him lead the Chicago Bulls to six world championships in eight years.

But did you know that he was cut from his high school varsity team when he was in 10th grade?

Of the experience, Jordan later said that it was good for him because it drove him to work harder on his game, to be become a better all-around player. His hard work was rewarded as he made the team the following year.

God also promises to reward us when we follow His commands…

“‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands...I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers…I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” (Leviticus 26:3, 9, 12)

Sometimes, especially when you are a teenager, it seems that God’s commands only serve to ruin your fun, to keep you from really living it up and being happy. But in the long run, God’s word promises that He will walk closely with you as you follow Him.

Why do you think that some people believe that God only wants to ruin their fun?

What are some of the rewards for living according to God’s commands?

Prayer Emphasis: Commit to God to live according to His ways all of your days.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Follow the Leader

Read Leviticus 20:22-24

As young children, we learn to play fun games like “Follow the Leader” and “Simon Says”. Both of these games are based on the idea of imitating or following the example of the person who is leading the game. Many childhood hours are passed stomping in unison, rubbing our tummies, and patting our heads.

As we grow older, we continue to play these kinds of games, just in different ways. Friends pressure us to follow their example and others tell us how we should act and live. Sometimes we are asked to follow examples that don’t honor God or pursue His ways at all. Sometimes following these examples can seemingly lead to greater popularity and other temporary rewards.

But, God warned His people about “following the crowd” thousands of years ago.

“Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them…you must not live according to the customs of the nations…” (Leviticus 20:22-23)

God didn’t want His people to imitate the lives of those around them. His desire is the same for us today. He calls us to be faithful to His ways and to embrace the eternal rewards of being obedient to Him.

What are some ways that you “follow the crowd” instead of following God’s ways?

Why are you choosing to do this?

Prayer Emphasis: Commit to God to follow His ways for your life today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Light of Hope-Good Friday

Today’s Scripture: John 19:38-42
Today’s Verses: John 41-42

Today, on Good Friday, we contemplate the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. In our passage, we read…

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the new garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was a Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19: 41-42

After three amazing years of following Jesus, the disciples were hiding, scattered in fear for their lives, and their dreams of a new kingdom were seemingly shattered. Unlike us, these disciples didn’t know the rest of the story. Everything had come undone. Hope was lying dead in that tomb. This was, most likely, the darkest night of their lives.

There is a darkness, a heaviness that invades us as we come to grips with the fact that our sins have brought about this death, this sacrifice. Jesus bore our sin on the cross so that we might have life, so that death could be traded for eternity with Him. The cost for our freedom was beyond measure. Today, we have to own this.

Even though all seemed lost, we know that a light of hope was burning brightly in that tomb. The Light of the World was hidden for a brief moment in time and darkness had seemingly won for that moment…but it was only a moment.

Tonight, light one candle to represent the hope that we have in Jesus, even in the grave. Keep this candle burning throughout the weekend until Easter Sunday morning.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Blame Game

Read Leviticus 16

The most important day each year for the Israelites was and still is the Day of Atonement. In ancient times, the whole nation would prepare their hearts and gather on this day and wait as the High Priest entered the most holy place of the temple to ask God to forgive the sin of His people. After the high priest returned from praying, a live goat would be brought to him.

“When Aaron has finished making atonement…. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—and send the goat away into the wilderness…The goat will carry on itself all their sins…” (Leviticus 16: 20-22)

This goat would symbolically carry the blame for all of the failures of the Israelites and would bear the burden and weight of their sin. Ultimately, thousands of years later, all of our sins would be placed on Jesus as He hung on the cross and took the blame for our sins. Because of His ultimate sacrifice, we can stand before God forgiven.

What emotions do you think the people experienced as they waited for the High Priest to come out of the temple?

What sins do you need to confess to God?

Prayer Emphasis: Take time to today to ask God to forgive you of the sins in your life.