“You must not add to or subtract from what I command you, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God I am giving you.“
God had Moses give this instruction to the young nation of Israel, and it’s just as important for us to hear today. As it says in Proverbs, “God’s Word is flawless,” and it’s impossible to make something more perfect! For years I made God’s commands more complicated and burdensome than He meant them to be. Then I wondered why I didn’t have much joy in serving Him. Now my goal is to be obedient in what the Lord truly calls me to do, no more, no less.
“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Before I became a follower of Christ, I leaned on my own strength and understanding to get what I needed. I trusted in myself to control situations and make things go the way I wanted. To be fair, I didn’t know any better then. But the more time I’ve spent with God, the more I’ve seen of His goodness. Over and over again, He has been faithful to me. Sometimes He answers a prayer directly – other times He has worked in a way I didn’t expect. But looking to God always ends up bringing me a sense of peace I never had when I relied on myself.
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing...”
When I first came across this verse, it left me a little confused. I mean, were we supposed to be able to physically and mentally separate one side of our body from the other like that? But Jesus was actually teaching a broader principle about giving, namely that we are not to show off our good deeds. I heard a Pastor put it this way recently: if we let any generous conduct be visible to others, it should be for God to get the glory. Otherwise, we should be quiet givers.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.“
Here in the U.S. it’s Veteran’s Day.
Thank you to those who have served in the Armed Forces. Your selflessness and bravery are an inspiration to the rest of us.
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Question to Ponder: do you realize the power that your words can have in someone else’s life? God actually gives us opportunities to join him in encouraging, inspiring and even healing the hearts of those around us. Are you ready to join him?
“All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.”
One of my worst habits as a mom has been trying to make sure my kids are okay all the time. There’s nothing wrong with me wanting my children to be live peaceful and safe lives – I think most parents feel that way. In the past, though, I have taken that desire as a call to fix every problem and comfort every hurt my kids go through. But when I think back on my own life, I see that those hard times were great opportunities for me to learn more about God. So if I always jump in to “save the day”, I’m actually holding my kids back from a chance to grow closer to their Heavenly Father.
“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.”
I have noticed a definite difference in my attitude when I start my day having quiet time with God versus when I don’t. Even if I can only grab 5 minutes before I run out the door, being in his presence calms my spirit and wakes me up to the blessings I’ve already received. Taking the time to lift my prayers and praises aligns my heart with his, so I can go out and be a blessing to others.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I am a recovering people pleaser. I’ve spent most of my life trying to make sure everybody around me has been happy. Part of the reason for that, honestly, was a fear of dealing with their unhappiness. Because of my insecurities and lack of confidence, I was sure that upsetting someone else would be devastating for me. This behavior carried over into my Christian Life, until I started to understood God’s promise to give me boldness. Not boosting up my strength to be pushy, but giving me His ability to be a light for others.
“But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
This verse brings a Tommy Walker song called “He Knows My Name” to mind. Here are some of the lyrics:
I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call
Our loving Heavenly Father knows us so intimately because He created us. He delights in having us in close relationship, and in calling us to a life of greater purpose.
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes…
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.”
I am sometimes good in the face of trials. The biggies, especially – you know, those all-encompassing and seemingly overwhelming situations that come upon all of us. It’s in those unexpected but everyday-type moments where I’m quicker to fall apart. It sounds a little backward, but I finally figured out the reason. It’s in those bigger events where I am more likely to reach for God’s strength. I tend to assume I can handle what I call the “little” problems on my own. That’s a dangerous mindset to have, isn’t it? My challenge is to stay close to my Heavenly Father all the time, so that He’ll make me better during every kind of trial I face.