Deuteronomy 10-12 (NLT) 

Discover His heart:  He doesn’t force us to follow Him but desires that we choose to follow

I love telling my children about growing up in the dark ages – no Starbucks, no cell phones, no cable television.  Yes, I did walk a mile to school every day, uphill both ways, carrying my saxophone and schoolbooks, slipping and sliding on the icy Minneapolis sidewalks.  The only way a television channel got changed was if I got off the couch and changed it.  The first computer I saw was the size of a small room and just wouldn’t fit on a lap. I tell them these things hoping to receive praise for surviving such deprivation, but the response is usually one of disbelief.  I guess you just had to have been there.

And I love telling them about the day I asked Jesus into my heart.  The concept of Jesus in my heart was a little difficult for our daughter to understand at the age of three.  I was in the ninth month of pregnancy with our son when she stared at me one day with a quizzical look to the point where I finally asked, “Mandy, what is it?”  With all the innocence of three-year-old, she said, “Mommy, with Jesus in your heart and that baby in your tummy, it sure must be crowded in there!”  Well, at least she knew about Jesus. 

@ Deuteronomy 11
“You must love the Lord your God and obey all his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands.  Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm…your children didn’t see how the Lord cared for you in the wilderness until you arrived here… But you have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!  (1-2,5,7)  How will our children ever know what God has done in our lives unless we tell them?

I love telling my children about the price that was paid by my mom to pave the way for our salvation, and I love sharing the beautiful testimony of commitment to the ministry of their dad’s parents.  How will they ever know if we fail to tell them?

“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today.  But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.” (26-28)  The day came when my children, too, stood at the threshold of blessing and cursing.

Through our testimony, our children had a history to draw from, a precedent to help them examine and understand the faithfulness of God to their parents and ancestors.  I think it was helpful to them. Now they are grown and have chosen the blessing of God for their lives by obeying His commands.  The power of our testimony is far greater than we can imagine, but no one will know it unless we share it.

Moving Forward:  “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1) 

Tomorrow @ 2 Chronicles 33-36

Romans 9-10 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He saves us through our acceptance of the risen Lord

The other day I was speeding down the busy aisles of the grocery store, trying to accomplish too much in a short period of time as usual.  The store was crowded because it was during those magic hours when teachers and employees flood the grocery stores on the way home from work.  I try to avoid the store and Starbucks during this time frame whenever possible, but there I was in the mix!

I was down to one last needed item and made the turn down the aisle to find a major traffic jam.  Boxes of pasta had fallen into the aisle and busy shoppers were either trying to turn their carts around to go another way or trying to go around them.  I slipped through the maze, picked up the boxes, shoved them on the shelves and happy shoppers sailed through.  To me, it’s just better to deal with the obstacle in the road when possible rather than trying to avoid it.  Unfortunately, the Jews in Paul’s day didn’t see it this way. 

@ Romans 9
“My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters…They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises.” (2-4)  Paul grieved over the lost people of Israel, people of promise, people of covenant, who failed to deal with the Rock in their path.

“The people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.  Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in Him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.” (31-32)  Of course, this great rock was Jesus.  The people of Israel were so focused on their traditions and law about who the Messiah was that when He came in the flesh, right in the middle of their world, they stumbled their way around Him.  When they finally dealt with Him, rather than accepting Him, they crucified Him. 

@ Romans 10
This response is not relegated only to Jews.  Everyone at one time or another will deal with the Great Rock in their path.  Many have their own set of traditions and laws about God’s acceptance – do good, go to church, serve their country and community – but they stumble over the One who truly makes us acceptable to God.

The message of acceptance is uniquely simple, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (9)  However, just like the people of Israel, individuals today find this message difficult to accept because it requires humility, giving Jesus the position of Lord in their lives, and it requires faith that Jesus, whom they have never seen, is the Son of God and rose from the dead.  They may stumble over these requirements, but eventually all will deal with this Rock.  Of course, this opportunity to accept the Lord is a moot point if they have never heard the message.

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” (14-15)

The condition of our world and its lost souls often cause those who love the Lord to grieve just like Paul, but Paul didn’t sit around grieving.  He went, he wrote and he preached the good news of Jesus whether he was in church, in the marketplace or in prison.  We don’t know a lot about Paul’s physical features, but we do know that he surely had beautiful feet. 

Moving Forward:  I pray for beautiful feet today that will take me to tell someone about the Rock. 

Tomorrow @ Genesis 16-19