Thinking Through Tragedy

Thinking through Tragedy, Part 1 Ruth 1:3-9   When people go through tragedy, or they experience a sudden and violent change in their life they often experience a type of mental shock. Their thinking becomes cloudy and because of the sudden impact of the event, priorities seem blurred. Let me illustrate this with a scene from my childhood. I was around 8 years old and my mom was at the hospital working the picket lines. The nurses were on strike so there was no money coming in. When my brother and I got home from school, my mother’s boyfriend (Bob) met us with a surprise: an archery set! We were pleased, though a little confused on why he was being so nice to us. (It didn’t occur to my 8 yr old brain that he had been drinking heavily). We got in his truck and drove across town to his friend’s house where my brother and I hurled arrows at the back fence while...
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Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond Ruth 2:15-16   No, this devotion isn’t about the latest super hero movie, my personal eating habits, or even akin to some giant bath-mat store; it’s a different type of above and beyond. It is about doing more than the bare minimum. All around us are minimum requirements, the barest of the bare in expectations. The ‘if you can’t even do this right, you’re fired’, type of expectations. I find in our current culture many people do their dead-level best not to go above the bare minimum. I suppose we could chalk it up to laziness, entitlement or any other of our social ills but the result is the same – the bare minimum to get by. In our passage, after Ruth expresses her gratitude for Boaz’s kindness she gets back to work. What he does next is very interesting. “And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And...
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Bad Blood

Bad Blood

Bad Blood Numbers 12:1-9   When it comes to sibling violence, I’m somewhat of an expert. My younger brother and I were… (well, let’s just sum it up with a euphemism) …awful. Our battles often got out of hand and the results were blood, scars, hurt feelings and of course, broken things. Lots and lots of broken things. If fact it is my childhood that makes me tremble concerning; (Gal 6:7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. You see, I have three kids. I still call my mother time and again and simply say, “I’m so sorry” We come to a part in Scripture where Moses was under a huge pile of stress. The people of Israel were complaining and Moses had had enough. That was chapter 11. In Chapter 12 Moses is confronted with a new problem to add to his stress, but this time it comes from those closest to him – his own family. Their...
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Be Careful what you wish for…

Be Careful what you wish for…

Be Careful what you wish for... Numbers 11:1-35   The heat was oppressive, with shimmering waves dancing in the distance. Behind me, a tell-tale finger of dust hung in the air, indicating the route of the lone traveller. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I gathered the reins of the camel; then with a steely gaze over the horizon I gathered myself and shouted, “Haw!” as the camel bunched and took off with thoroughbred-like speed. This is the image that invades my mind whenever I hear the soundtrack to ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. I get visions of me racing across some desert on camel back. Now I’ve never actually been to a desert, but I can imagine what it would be like – plus I’ve seen plenty of TV. I have been to the Judean wilderness by the Dead Sea and can testify from my own witness that not much grows down there. The desert is a formidable place, and for those that live within it, know...
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The Overwheming feeling of being Overwhemed.

The Overwheming feeling of being Overwhemed.

The Overwhelming feeling of being Overwhelmed. Numbers 11:10-17   The sunset painted a brilliant masterpiece against the desert sky. As evening settled into night, the manna came with the dew. This light coloured, honey tasting substance that God had promised to sustain his people. I can imagine as Moses took his stroll down the rows of the tents to check on the people, to see how they were doing, to affirm his love for them, the cry of disgust rose to his ears. The people were sick of manna, and they turned to the person who was the representation of God for them – Moses. And the farther he walked, the more families piled on, wanted Moses to do something about the situation – which was actually far from dire. “We want something different to eat” they cried. “We should have stayed in Egypt” they wailed. And Moses, the man with a mountain of responsibility upon his shoulders, just couldn’t take it anymore. He broke. The situation...
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Short Memories

Short Memories

Short Memories Numbers 11:1-5   It’s been said that men and children have selective hearing while women have selective memories. But truth be told, we all tend to enjoy revisionist history better than the real thing – especially when we are the ones doing the revising. After camping at Mt. Sinai for 13 months, the Children of Israel were on the move again, and 3 days into their travels they started to complain audibly about what they did not have, and ignored the provision that God had made for them. The problem with selfishness and lust is that it conveniently ignores God’s blessings on our lives, and looks to the possibility of something else – even if that possibility is imagined. The thing about the world is that it may give us temporary happiness, but never contentment. When we are saved, everything is fresh, new and exciting, but after a while sometimes our heart begins to wander from the Lord and we think we miss the things...
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My Way

My Way

If mankind were to have a universal theme song, Frank Sinatra’s hit single of 1969 “My Way” would be a good fit. With snapping fingers and swinging hips, we could collectively croon, “and now, the end is near, And so I face the final curtain. My friends, I'll say it clear; I'll state my case of which I'm certain. I've lived a life that's full - I've travelled each and every highway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way” As we go through the life of Moses, we come to a perhaps disturbing and controversial passage in Lev. 10. Throughout the book of Leviticus, Moses had been giving instructions for the priesthood, and the details concerning the various sacrifices. In fact, all of Lev. 8 is dedicated to the anointing of Aaron and his sons as priests. Now two chapters later, a tragedy happened. (Lev 10:1-2)  And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put...
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This little light of mine

This little light of mine

This little light of mine Exodus 34   “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let in shiiiiiiinnnnneeee” This classic children’s song is sung at every VBS, children’s program and the odd family reunion or two. We usually take it to be from (Mat 5:16)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven, but Moses knew a little bit about shine as well. In Exodus 34, Moses went back up the mountain (for an 80 yr old man, he must have been in pretty good shape) to revisit with God. There God rewrote the tables of stone, and outlined a game plan for the trip to the Promised Land. At the end of 40 days and 40 nights, Moses again came down. He was without food or water for that length of time, which speaks to us that he must have been sustained...
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The Problem with Man

The Problem with Man

The Problem with man Exodus 33:17-23   From time to time I like to search out and read the materials of atheists, scoffers, sceptics and other generally unpleasant people. A number of months ago, I was reading the website of an ex-Southern Baptist who was going through the Bible chapter by chapter and showing all the problems with it. When he came to Exodus 33, he scoffed at verse 20;  And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. He wanted to know how a God of love would kill someone who would dare look at him, and on and on he went. Like many scoffers, he’s missing the point of the passage. God IS showing his love, but not in the way our scoffer would expect. You see, there is a wide gulf between natural man and God. God is so incredibly holy, and man is so incredibly sinful. It’s our arrogance and narcissism that makes us think...
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The Friend of God

The Friend of God

The Friend of God Exodus 33:7-23   “Can I borrow 20 bucks?”, “Wanna catch a movie with me Friday night?”, “Do you have a minute?  I really need to talk.” Any of these above phrases could be and have been spoken between friends. In fact, a ‘friend’ is a pretty interesting concept. Webster defines it as ‘one attached to another by affection or esteem’ We tend to use the term ‘friend’ fairly loosely, as evidenced by the 583 different Facebook friends we have. And there are certainly different levels of friendship as well. When we look at the life of Moses, we come upon a pretty remarkable man. A man who had God’s ear, and through God’s power was able to perform miracles that are still talked about today, nearly 4000 years later. In Exodus 33, Moses had the Tabernacle set up, and then went inside to commune with God. (v. 7-8) The cloudy pillar came down to the Tabernacle, which indicated God’s presence, and the people marveled...
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