Living for Christ

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July 2010
Daily Devotions Reference List:
(Click here to view the daily devotions)

(7/1) John 4:48
(7/2) Ephesians 3:14-21
(7/3) Proverbs 8:13
(7/4) Psalm 22:16-18, 27-28
(7/5) Genesis 18:13-15
(7/6) 1 Samuel 17:49-50
(7/7) Daniel 1:8-10
(7/8) Luke 4:18-19
(7/9) Ephesians 4:1-3
(7/10) Proverbs 9:6, 9-12
(7/11) Psalm 23:1
(7/12) Genesis 18:23-24, 26
(7/13) 1 Samuel 18:7-9
(7/14) Daniel 1:11-14
(7/15) Luke 4:24
(7/16) Ephesians 4:7-10
(7/17) Proverbs 9:13-18
(7/18) Psalm 23:2-3
(7/19) Genesis 19:14
(7/20) 1 Samuel 18:12, 15
(7/21) Daniel 2:3-5
(7/22) Luke 4:28-30
(7/23) Ephesians 4:11-12
(7/24) Proverbs 10:1-3
(7/25) Psalm 23:4-6
(7/26) Genesis 19:16
(7/27) 1 Samuel 23:1-2
(7/28) Daniel 2:29-30
(7/29) Luke 5:4-6
(7/30) Ephesians 4:17-19
(7/31) Proverbs 10:4-5, 26

Note: This is subject to change.

Daily Devotion Topic Schedule:
Sun - Psalms
Mon - Early History
Tue - Later History
Wed - Prophecy
Thu - Gospels
Fri - Paul's Letters
Sat - Proverbs
Life Lessons from the Israelites
"God Warns a Nation"

In the eighth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, God commands the Israelites to remember Him, and warns them about what will happen if they do not. Although the words in this account were spoken to the people of Israel, many portions of this passage can apply to the modern-day United States as well, especially at a time when our country's so-called leaders (with their noticeable lack of strong leadership skills) continue to try to move us farther away from God and His principles. We would be wise to follow these commands and to heed God's warnings. It is most certainly within God's realm of power to destroy a nation--unless we destroy ourselves from within first.

As you read the following Scripture passages, keep in mind that God is speaking and all of these words came directly from Him.

"Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you." - Deuteronomy 8:1-5

God tested the Israelites for forty long years before allowing them to go into the Promised Land. As I think back to the beginnings of our country, there are some similarities. The early settlers faced many hardships, and a number of them did not survive. But those who remained persevered with faith that God had called them to this new land for a reason. Despite what our modern-day politicians may try to claim, this country was indeed founded on Christian principles. If not for the strong faith of those early settlers, the United States as we know it might not even be in existence today.

"Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you." - Deuteronomy 8:6-10

I would argue that God did something very similar for the early settlers in America. Despite the hardships they faced, this new land was full natural resources. God took care of those people and helped them to thrive, eventually giving rise to a brand new country.

The first half of the chapter is mostly good and encouraging, as God reminds the people how He provided for them and took care of Him. He has done the same thing for the United States ever since the country was founded on Biblical principles and beliefs. However, some very strong warnings follow in the second half of this chapter--warnings that we should not take lightly.

"Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest--when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end--then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.'" - Deuteronomy 8:11-17

Does this sound familiar? It should, because we see it all around us. God led the early settlers to America, many of whom had been persecuted for their beliefs in certain parts of Europe. But what have we done in the centuries since then? We have taken the exact same path that Israel took over the last 400 years by steadily pulling away from God. (Interestingly, that is about the same length of time between when Israel entered the Promised Land and when they first demanded a king, which seemed to be the beginning of their significant downfall.)

Our country has forgotten God and all that He has done for us. Instead, people take credit themselves for the things they are able to accomplish, which is specifically what God warns against in the passage above. God has blessed us and we are a wealthy country, but that is not necessarily a good thing as we have simultaneously become poor in spirit. We have lots of money and lots of "stuff" but with that has come greed for even more money and even more stuff! We may have lots of beautiful houses and an abundance of silver and gold (or other forms of money and material goods) but we as a country have lost our passion for God.

However, there is hope. I especially like the second half of verse 16 in the passage above: "...that He might test you, to do you good in the end." Trials, tribulations, and tests can be used by God to ultimately produce something good, and I sincerely hope that is what is taking place in our country right now. Things like the economic crisis and the oil spill are bad things, but they can also turn out to be very good. A poor economy can cause people to refocus their priorities on what is truly important. And any kind of crisis, such as these two examples, can give all of us a clearer picture of our leaders' motivations and abilities. The American people seem increasingly unhappy with a lot of what our politicians are doing, and that makes this a wonderful opportunity for change. As Christians, we need to take a stand for what we know is right and true.

"And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God." - Deuteronomy 8:18-20

As a continuation of my last paragraph, I believe this is what is starting to happen. Christians are remembering God and are beginning to take more of a stand. But God gives us one final warning. It must be an important one because it is also the only commandment that is repeated in chapter 20 of Exodus. God knows how difficult it is for many people to remain focused on Him and not turn to idols. An idol can be anything; it doesn't have to be a literal carved image. Money, television, a significant other--an idol can be anything that takes that #1 spot that should belong solely to God. The name of a popular TV show also gives us cause for concern, because America is full of idols. People turn to all sorts of things before they turn to God, even among Christians who should know better.

God's warning to Israel is a warning to us as well: We must place our focus back on Him or I believe we will be destroyed. He may destroy us Himself or He may just sit back and let us destroy ourselves from within, but either way, the warning is clear. We must take a stand for God, Jesus, and the truth of the Bible. Stand up, speak out, and then let's use this November's critical election to start turning things around in this, the land of the free and the home of the brave.