Mile Marker: The Tip of the Iceberg

Deuteronomy 29:5 NLT – “For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out.”

If you are anything like me, reading through Deuteronomy can take the wind out of your sails!  If you have not read Deuteronomy 28:57 yet, I would not start my morning devotions with it.  There are a lot of rules and a lot of laws covered in those chapters.  But, when you essentially read between the lines of some of the passages, great truths leap out at you.  Such a truth is Deuteronomy 29:5!

Moses is reminding the people about the time that they wandered forty years in the wilderness.  He had led them through the hardest time in any of their recent memories.  All of those people of Israel who has escaped captivity from Egypt were dead, except for the two faithful spies and Moses.  The Wilderness was the latest and most memorable test the current people had experienced.  It was their Waterloo, their Pearl Harbor, or to take a page from recent history, their 9/11 or Katrina.  They did not look back fondly at that time.  Nobody was running around screaming to go back to wandering in the wilderness.  They had done that, and had the t-shirt!  While Moses has now run down all of the requirements that God has set for the people and reminded them of the punishment that they would endure if they did not listen, he prepares them to cross over into the reward that was promised to their ancestors.  Frustrated beyond belief, he looks at the people and in verse 4 screams at them that they still did not understand everything God had done for them, will do for them, and is currently doing for them.  He goes on in verse 5 to say even when you were being punished by wandering the wilderness for forty years your clothes did not wear out, your shoes did not wear out.  Even then, God was taking care of them.

God is teaching the Israelites then and teaching us now that caring for others is a big job.  When we just meet someone’s current needs, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.  Truly caring for others and wanting to help them requires helping realize how they got to this place.  It means showing them that even when times were hardest, God was still looking out for them.  It means showing them that it might take just as long to get out of a situation as it did to get into the situation.  That is how much God cares for us!  That is how much God loves us!  Not just the tip, but all the way to the bottom!

Soli Deo Gloria!

From Jeff Goins: Why Taking a Break from Technology is Sometimes Necessary

Why Taking a Break from Technology is Sometimes Necessary.

I found this article from Jeff Goins to be very timely in my own situation.

Please read his article, but here is some of the high points.

Lesson 1: Embrace your surroundings

While Jeff was “suffering” through Ireland and I am currently not, the beauty of God and His creation is all around us. While I am not usually the person who finds the beauty and joy in the worst places, I am someone who acknowledges that my heavenly Father is there with me. His presence, His glory, His joy makes somewhere, anywhere, beautiful!

Lesson 2: Embrace your inner life

Jeff mentions that the trip gave him the opportunity to “think, pray, and reflect.” A break from technology for me also allows me to meditate. And, yes, I know that there are negative connotations to the idea of meditation. Apparently, someone did not think so in the Bible. We are to “meditate of His word, day and night.”  Let’s not harp over translations or interpretations! Let’s agree that the idea is to focus, concentrate, can I even say obsess over the things of God.

Lesson 3: Embrace inspiration from other sources

While I have not been writing or creating long, I have already fallen into one of the easiest traps.  As soon as I started writing, I stopped reading and listening.  As soon as I stopped reading and listening, I started running out of things to say!

If I may be so bold, I would add another important lesson for me.  Jeff touches on it several times but for me it becomes almost Lesson 0!

Lesson 4: Embrace others!

Starting with my family and friends, I have become better at managing my relationships instead of enjoying them.  I have become better acquainted with their email addresses than their names.  Texting has replaced calling!  Emailing has replaced writing!  “Facebook”-ing or “Twitter”-ing has replaced “care”-ing!  (Yes, I know.  I spelled it wrong to prove a point!)

Once again, take a moment and read Jeff’s post.

espressivo (god.notes)

Espressivo – A direction to play expressively.

Colossians 3:23-24 NLT – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”

Relying on God has to start all over everyday, as if nothing as yet been done.–C.S.Lewis

Lesson:

We were given one life and we are to live that life for God.  Our verse today says that we are to “work willingly at whatever you do.”  It does not mean what we want to do.  It does not mean what we think we can do well or get the most credit for.  It does not mean what is easiest.  It means everything you do (whether it’s vacuuming, practicing your instrument, cleaning up your room, etc.), do it as if you were doing it for God.

You probably have heard this story, but let’s listen to it one more time.

When he did arrive in England and meet the Founder, the meeting was far from cordial, Booth viewed Brengle with some scepticism calling him a dangerous man in that he had been his own boss and Booth was not sure Brengle would adhere to the discipline of The Salvation Army. Nonetheless he was accepted for training and made his home at the Salvation Army Training Barracks in London. There one of his first duties was to blacken and shine the boots of his fellow cadets, a job that was considered menial. Rather than complain he reminded himself of the fact that His Savior did not consider it beneath Himself to wash the feet of the disciples. He took on all tasks, from selling the War Cry to preaching on the streets with equal humility and zeal.

Did you catch that last part?  He reminded himself of the fact that His Savior did not consider it beneath Himself to wash the feet of the disciples

We will not all sing the solo, or score the game winning touchdown, or cure a disease, or be the president.  But, we can do everything like we are doing it for God.  We need to live our lives expressively.  We need to live them with as much expression, passion, strength, and courage that we can muster.  Whether it’s working in our house, shining other’s shoes, or being the leader, we need to do it for God.

During the Protestant Reformation, the early church leaders ascribed to five fundamental beliefs about our faith.

  • Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
  • Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
  • Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
  • Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
  • Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

Whatever we do should be do espressivo, soli Deo gloria, for God’s glory alone.

Questions to think about:

  1. What am I doing now that I think is too unimportant?
  2. How can I give that thing over to God’s glory?
  3. How can I praise God during the most boring part of my day?

Prayer:

Dear God, help me to turn over my complete life to you and for your glory.  You should be praised in everything that I do today, tomorrow, and forever.  Amen.