November 16 – Attributes of God – Justice

Read Deuteronomy 32:4

“He started it.”

“She told me to do it.”

“No one said not to . . .”

I hear these phrases frequently from my young students at school. They really do want to please the teacher at their age, but even more so, they don’t want to get in trouble. For the most part, they are rule followers and expect everyone to be held accountable. Believe me; they are quick to tell me if someone is NOT following the rules. And surprisingly, they like to see their classmates get their deserved consequences. In some way, it is reassuring to them that all is in order; that bad behavior is not tolerated and good behavior is rewarded. In a very basic way, they are seeking justice. They want to know that right is right and wrong is wrong.

We serve a God who is just. It is His very nature. God always does what is right. He cannot help but do what is right. In Deuteronomy 32, Moses is addressing the Israelite people and he proclaims that “God is the Rock; His work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair.” It is almost like a warning to the people:  Look out, Moses warns, nothing gets past this guy. He doesn’t bend the rules to let you off the hook.

Haven’t we grown to expect just that? We have become accustomed to, and even expect, people to cut us a break instead of sticking to the rules. When driving, we know we can get away with driving a little bit over the posted speed limit, so we do. We expect deadlines to be extended when we can’t quite meet them. We want the person who tickets cars for parking too long to extend a little grace and allow us to park a few minutes longer than posted.

Prior to Moses’ proclamation to the people, He delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. These rules were meant to establish right from wrong. God was helping His people by setting these rules in place and creating an equal playing field for all. However, when things didn’t go as the Israelites expected, they started bending those rules. They bent them so far, they broke. And God, being just, couldn’t look the other way. He won’t look the other way for us either.

It should be reassuring to us that we don’t have to hit a moving or changing target. He will be consistent and fair to all.

Tammy Finney

November 12 – Attributes of God – Faithfulness

Read Deuteronomy 7:9

“Great is thy faithfulness, Lord onto me!”

This is one of my all-time favorite hymns. Why? Because it reminds me of all the promises that God has been faithful to fulfill in my life and yours.

“Great is thy faithfulness Oh God my father”.

Promise #1 –  He promises to be our Father and we are His children.  God is the father to the homeless and the hopeless. Those who society praises and those they shun.  But He isn’t just any father but a faithful father who will love us when we fail, and even when we aren’t so “lovable” To a young child who has to grow up without an earthly father, this is a priceless blessing on cold and lonely nights.

There is no shadow of turning with thee!  Thou changes not, thy compassions they fail not; as thou has been, though forever will be!”

Promise #2 –  He doesn’t change.  And He will not change.  He doesn’t have rules for us one day and different ones on the next.   The promises He made to saints in the Bible, He makes also to us today. As He was with David when he faced Goliath, or Daniel in the lion’s den or Noah in the flood.  God is with us as we are flooded with anxiety, facing gigantic obstacles in our lives, and angry people are ready to devour us.

Summer and Winter, and Spring time and harvest, sun moon and stars in their courses above.  Join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”

Promise #3 – Just as the sunshine comes after the rain and spring buds come after the snow, God will never fail.  The darkness in our lives will be followed by light if we will just hang in there with God.  No matter how bad today looks, there is always tomorrow. Only God knows what tomorrow might bring.  But whatever it is, we know God will be there to help us get through it. He has promised that “He will never leave us or forsake us!’ We can all count on that as being true.

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessing all mine with 10,000 besides.”

We all mess up. We fall way short of what we need to be. But God is always willing to forgive us and let us start each day fresh with a clean slate.

How can we ask for more? We have God’s presence with us in the good times and the bad, in the scary times and happy times. Like a good father holding the back of the bike seat as his child learns how to balance a 2-wheeler without training wheels, God is faithfully watching over us and, along with the saints in heaven, cheering us on to victory in this sometimes-crazy race called life!

Pat Arnold

September 27 – Hard Questions – Are Old Testament prophecies really accurate?

Read Deuteronomy 18:22 and Isaiah 41:22-23

What do you think of when you hear the word “prophecy”? Perhaps the name Nostradamus and his various prophecies come to your mind. Or maybe you think of the Mayan calendar that pegged the end of the world to occur in 2012. The year 2012 came and went, but the world did not end. There have been numerous prophecies throughout history that have ended in nothing.

When I hear the word “prophecy”, I think of the New Testament book of the Bible called Revelation. But did you know that the Old Testament is full of prophecies that have come true or that will come true in the future?

You may be asking yourself right now, “How can I trust the prophecies in the Bible when so many prophecies throughout history have failed?”. That is a valid question and one that God answers for us in Deuteronomy 18:

“But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death. You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”(v. 20-22)

God gives us four truths regarding false prophets in the verses above:

  1. A false prophet will speak presumptuously or arrogantly in God’s name commandments that He has not given (v.20).
  2. A false prophet will speak in the name of other gods (v. 20).
  3. A false prophet’s prophecy will not come true because it is not from God (v. 21).
  4. Do not be afraid of or be alarmed by false prophets (v. 22).

These four truths can be boiled down into one statement: you can trust God’s prophecies because they always come true. Nostradamus’s prophecies did not come true because they were not from God. The Mayan’s prophecies did not come true because they were not from God.

There are numerous Old Testament prophecies and there is no way we could cover them all here. But I do want to end with one of my favorites which says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV). This prophecy is talking about the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary and He was called Immanuel, which means “God with us”. But don’t just take my word for it, you can find the fulfillment of this prophecy in Luke chapters 1 and 2.

Jesus, the Son of God who died for the sins of the world, who rose again on the third day, and who wants you to turn away from your sins and trust in Him as your Savior, was a fulfillment of prophecy. You can trust God’s prophecies because they always come true.

Because God’s prophecies always come true, we can trust Him. He is always faithful. We shouldn’t fear the future because it’s in His hands. What are some things in your life that you are anxious or fearful about? Cast those things on God and trust Him that He is in control of the future!

Ethan Cline

June 8 – Enough – strong enough?

Read Deuteronomy 31:6

Watching the high school championship track meet I realized that those kids had to be strong in order to be able to run as fast as they could for one, two, three, four or more times around the entire track!

But then I started to think, just who is really stronger, the runners or the one who crosses the finish line way behind the winner, maybe limping, but with determination to finish the race?

Who is stronger, the person who is very successful and has everything going for them or a woman who suddenly finds herself widowed at the young age with 5 children to raise on her own?

Who is stronger, a famous athlete who is making millions of dollars shooting basketballs or a cancer patient who finally gets to ring the bell because their chemo treatments are over?

That inner strength, that assurance that no matter what, no matter how hard it can get, that everything is going to be OK is a lot stronger and more precious than anything one can achieve from hours at a gym.

Where does that inner strength come from?  It comes from knowing God!  Knowing that He will never let you go!  Knowing He is beside you to cheer you on, behind you to keep you going, and ahead of you to lead the way!

No amount of time spent exercising or money spent on gym memberships and or personal trainers can do as much good as spending time each day with God.  There is nothing better a parent can give their child to prepare them for life than to introduce them to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus, helping them get to know His voice, feel His hand of comfort, call on His strength and rejoice in His presence!

Occasionally it is said when there is a conflict:

“Yeah, you and what army?”      

Well as a Christian we have an army around us.  We just need to recognize that it is there. 

Then we can say:

“I know who goes before me.
I know who stands behind.

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

The one who reigns forever,
He is a friend of mine.

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

And nothing formed against me shall stand!
You hold the whole world in your hands!
I’m holding on to your promises

You are faithful!

You are faithful!”

If you know the maker of the universe, who or what should you fear?  You are strong enough to face the trials and tribulation of this life.  

He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. 

What area(s) of your life do you need to trust in the strength only God can provide? Who are you going to bring alongside yourself in order to make it through?

Reach out and accept His hand!

Pat Arnold

December 7 – Open Letters – Abandonment

Read Deuteronomy 31:6

Dear Abandonment,

We first met when I was very young, too young in my opinion. You left me feeling alone, scared about the future, and in many ways hopeless. How else is one supposed to feel growing up without a father?

My dad left my life for a variety of circumstances when I was in the first grade. Like so many across the world, I grew up without a father. The pain of typing those words today is still as real as it was throughout my childhood. Seeing my friends with their dads was always a challenge for me. What it would have been like to have a dad to help teach me how to ride a bike, or to fish, or drive, or be a God honoring man. These were the thoughts that used to plague my mind.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t all that uncommon in the world we live in today. The Washington Times estimates that one in three American children grow up in a household without a father. Yet, despite the common nature of my circumstances, folks will often ask me after sharing my story, “Do you wish it was different?” My simple response is, “No.”

For many years I thought I had been abandoned. Left behind, without any hope for rescue. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. My eyes were focused on what was in front of me, instead of what was above me. On January 21st of 2013 I realized I had never been abandoned. Jesus met me that quiet winter morning with a promise of “I will never leave you.” Even in a situation that looked eternally broken, God reminded me His faithfulness is eternally fulfilling. Our text today from Deuteronomy reminds us of God’s unwavering promise to never leave. While the people around us might forsake us, our God never fails.

It wasn’t until after I met Jesus that I realized I had never been forsaken. He never left me, and He made sure I was never alone. Despite my feelings of abandonment, God had blessed me with some amazing people in my life whose sacrifice I had not truly appreciated. My mother who gave up so much to raise my brother and me by herself, my grandparents who are like a second set of parents, and my great grandparents who, despite their age, sacrificially gave of their time to be with Peyton and me.

Abandonment, I can’t help but be thankful you came into my life. God used your mess to create a great masterpiece. Without you, I would never have been able to have such a great relationship with my Grandpa, the opportunity to learn from such great godly men that I have in my pastors and mentors, and a story of hope that I can now offer to those going through similar situations.

Abandonment might be something we feel, but the reality is it is something that simply doesn’t exist.

God. Never. Lets. Go.

October 16 – I Will Remember – God’s Faithfulness in Past Trials

The following is a YouVersion plan written by the Billy Graham Center. To participate with this plan on YouVersion, download the app, create an account and click on the link here to participate:

I Will Remember – YouVersion Plan

Don’t forget to share your comments and takeaways every day!

Read Deuteronomy 8:1-7

Leading up to this passage, God has just given to Israel his greatest commandment—love the Lord your God (Deut. 6:5)—and established his relationship to them: the Lord your God has chosen you (Deut. 7:6). Now God reinforces these two truths with the key to living them out faithfully. 

Commanding Israel to be faithful, God connects this obedience with taking care in the importance of remembering. In scripture, the call to remember is always attached to covenant faithfulness. To remember is to remain faithful while to forget is to fall away. This is why God is regularly depicted as the one who remembers (Gen. 8:1; 1 Sam. 1:19; Ps. 105:42). It is a way of expressing his steadfast love and faithfulness: he remembers his covenant with his people. 

For God’s people, however, there is always the temptation to forget—not only what God has done, but also what he has commanded us to do in the present. Israel was to live a certain way because God was real, he had made them his people, and he had liberated them from captivity. 

Just as God was real, so his law was real. To forget God’s actions in history was to invalidate or at least lesson the realness of his law. In this passage, God specifies what he wants them to remember: He had not abandoned them to hunger or cold in the wilderness but supernaturally provided for them. In their need, God has been there. 

One of the reasons why forgetting God’s faithfulness for us in the past can be so destructive is because it blinds us to his presence and provision in the midst of current struggle. We face challenges and worry that God is not there, that the problem is too great, or that the future is too uncertain. Remembering is critical to faithfulness because it confronts these thoughts with the truth of God’s track record.  

Questions for Reflection

Take time to list out what God has done in past seasons in the wilderness. How did he answer your prayers in that season? How did he grow your faith? 

How can you share your stories of remembering with neighbors, friends, and family during their times of difficulty?

PUBLISHER

We would like to thank Billy Graham Center for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: http://www.billygrahamcenter.com

September 3 – Missions Spotlight – Abby Radcliffe

Read Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Ministry: Training and evangelizing young adults in Taiwan

Missionary: Abby Radcliffe

The fragrant aroma fills my nostrils each time I walk out of my home. It’s a combination of spices that, over time, has become familiar. This is the smell of incense burning slowly as the Taiwanese people worship their gods and ancestors. Ancestor worship is deeply woven within the Taiwanese culture.

My name is Abby, and I have had the privilege of being in Taiwan since March of 2020. I work as an intern at an English and Bible training center. Our aim is to raise up young adults to be leaders and disciple makers in their churches and communities. Specifically, I have been teaching English and Bible classes to Taiwanese adults, college age and up.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. One of my former English students, Stanley, is an active worshipper of Mazu, the goddess of the sea. Many times, worship of these gods is motivated by the desire to be blessed. Who can blame them? Everybody wants a good life.  

As a Christ follower, I am grateful that I don’t have the pressure of this ritualistic worship. Still, in Christianity, the motivation to worship for blessing may still be there; it just looks different when played out. In my own life, I can feel as though God will bless me if I do what He wants. If I spend time with Him in the morning, He will reward me with a good day. Often, I need to take a step back and evaluate my motivation.

In Deuteronomy 10, God shows the people of Israel who He is and the type of worship He requires from them. It’s interesting that God specifically mentions that He does not take bribes. He cannot be bought with our worship. I cannot offer to Him 30 minutes of my morning in exchange for a day that is problem free. His exchange rate isn’t based on my performance, rather it is based solely on His grace.

We see in Deuteronomy what God requires of the Israelites, “to fear the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” (vs. 12, ESV). They were to do that, not because of what God will give them, but simply because they know who He is (vs. 14), and they have seen how He has worked (vs. 21). So, we can still offer Him 30 minutes of our morning, but for a different reason.

Abby Radcliffe

July 28 – $ – Stewardship

Read Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 8:18 and Colossians 3:23-24

I first began to understand the true concept of stewardship when I worked in the trust department of a local bank. A trustee is responsible for carrying out the wishes and direction of the owner of the assets and resources that have been placed in the trust. The trustee does not own those assets and resources; he is simply to manage them based on the wishes and direction of the owner.

Psalm 24:1 says:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Everything that we have is the Lord’s and we are stewards (trustees) of his resources.  So what does that mean? First of all we have to acknowledge that what we have is not ours, including our time, money, abilities, wisdom and relationships.  We have been entrusted with the care and management of what we have been given but it is not ours.  We may think that by our own ability we have acquired what we have.  Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds us to:

“Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth”.

As a steward, we are responsible to manage those resources according to God’s desires and instruction.  Bill Peel at The High Calling writes “Although God gives us ‘all things to enjoy,’ nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.” 

We are responsible for managing what has been entrusted to us to bring glory and honor to God! How are you managing your time, money, abilities, wisdom and relationships to bring glory and honor to God?

As a steward, we are accountable for how we manage what has been given us. Many times in the financial world, trustees will have to give an accounting to a court of law to show that they honored the wishes and directions of the owner and that they managed those assets prudently. As stewards of God’s resources we will give an account of how we managed His assets.  So how do you manage the free time that you have? The money that you have? The abilities you have been given? The relationships you have been entrusted with?

If we are faithful in fulfilling our role of steward, we are promised a reward. In Colossians 3:23-24 we are told “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

Manage what you have for the glory of the Lord!

Jeff Swartzentruber

February 9 – Faithfulness – He fights for us

Read Deuteronomy 3:22, 20:4 and Joshua 23:10

“God, I’m really sorry for…”

Have you ever prayed something like that? It’s a simple call for forgiveness. When we know we have done something wrong and are asking to be forgiven. However, have you ever thought about what takes place in the spiritual realm when a simple prayer like that is uttered?

Let me assure you, it’s not as simple as you may think.

We are in this series talking about God’s faithfulness. He is constant and consistent in many different ways but specifically in the way that He fights for us. You will see in our reading today the promise that was made to the Israelites that God would never forsake them and would always fight for them. If you read just a little of the Israelites’ journey, you will know that they didn’t necessarily deserve to have such divine backup.

The truth is, neither do we. When we pray to God for the forgiveness of our sins. Immediately a battle takes place. Satan, the Accuser, immediately interjects and points out just why we shouldn’t be forgiven.

“Seriously?! Jake wants you to forgive him because of this thing that he said? We can all agree that this is the same guy who has done these things and thought these thoughts, right? If there’s anyone that doesn’t deserve forgiveness, it’s this dude.”

As soon as Satan utters his last word, Jesus agrees.

“Yeah, I know that Jake has said these things, thought these thoughts and done these things. I know that no matter how much I forgive him, he’s still going to sin. However, when I died on the cross I died to cover such sin. An injustice took place, I agree. However, I died for that, it’s paid for.”

Imagine the scene.

Talk about not deserving something.

Now, Romans 6 is very clear in talking about how we shouldn’t abuse grace or continuing to sin thinking that it’s okay because we will always be forgiven. However, we always have someone who will fight for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Jesus fights for you. How are you going to fight for others?

Who in your life needs to be fought for? Who do you need to forgive? Who is discouraged that needs to know someone’s in their corner?

I challenge you to take a moment to think of someone (or multiple people) who you are going to commit to fight for.

Who are we if we know Christ fights for us and don’t return to favor to other people?

Jake Lawson

February 8 – Faithfulness – He is Always with Us

Read Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 119:6-7 and Matthew 28:16-20

What a beautiful truth to remember and yet, how often do we forget that Jesus is always with us? Over the last 6 months, the Lord has taught me a great deal about His presence. He has taught me that He did not promise that we would not struggle or deal with heartache and scary times but that, through all of it, He is with me.

I am a follower of Jesus. The powerful effect of that is I have His Spirit within me, guiding, teaching, molding, ministering and prompting me into the direction that best reflects Him and His intent for my life.

Walking through life not knowing how to handle certain situations or how to navigate them can be extremely scary and by no means is it easy. However, we are promised peace through it all.  We are promised that, no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, His presence is accessible.

As a worship leader, one of my favorite songs that I have the honor of leading is “Nothing Else” by Cory Asbury. In this song, he reflects on the conversations many of us have had. Apologizing for forgetting that He is first and foremost. Apologizing for going through the motions of maybe saying and doing the right things but not really doing it with the motive of honoring Him but doing it because it is what we should do.

He constantly asks to take him back to where He and the Lord started. Mostly to remind him of the powerful truths the Lord shared with him in the beginning of their relationship.

The majority of the song that Cory wrote was expressing his desire not to be away from the Lord’s presence, that he just wants to be still at His feet.

What I love, the visual that I often receive while leading, is that, in and of itself. But instead of setting aside a “time” for this to be active. I find myself realizing that this can be at any point in time.

As Moses, David and Matthew state, He is always with us. Once the veil was torn, His spirit was accessible and we are able to talk with, pray to, and worship the Lord whenever. He is there. All around us, surrounding us, keeping us in the palm of His hand.

Don’t forget – He is there, ready, willing and wanting you to come to Him.
But also, He is present for the hard times too.
We must remember, whatever the times, whatever the situation, He knows about them. He is not surprised by them and He will use them for His Glory. That we must cling to Him as we come into the upcoming days, weeks, months, and years.

He is ALWAYS with us.

Kelly Lawson