Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Timeless Advice

I just read our pastor's blog a bit ago and enjoyed reading a few scriptures he referenced from Deuteronomy about Moses instructing the people of Israel before they entered the promised land.  I became curious at what all Moses instructed them on, so I looked it up.  

I've compared several aspects of our journey over the past 19 months to what the Israelites experienced - constant/perfect provision from God, grumbling/complaining attitude, the need to remember what God has done for us...  So, I thought it'd be good for me to read up on what God wanted Moses to tell the Israelites after they were finally getting what they had sought after for so long.  He had quite a bit to instruct them on, but a few things stood out to me as timeless advice for us.
  • Praise Him and give Him thanks!  When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10
  • Don't forget Who got us here - Who worked it out for us.  Remember!!  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions.  He brought you water out of hard rock.  He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.  You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:11-18
  • Worship the Lord, obey Him, love Him and serve Him.  And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?  Deuteronomy 10:12-13
  • Guard against worshiping other gods - like money, relationships, things, hobbies, etc.  Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Deuteronomy 11:16
  • Intentionally and regularly place the word of God in our hearts and minds and in our kids' hearts and minds.  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. Deuteronomy 11:18-20
There's really nothing about these instructions that screams 'You-just-got-what-you-wanted-and-God-has-answered-your-prayers - you-had-better-be-on-guard!'  I wouldn't guess that we'd need to be especially on guard, but the Israelites sure were warned about a lot.  We need to take care to continue to cling to God like we have during our journey.  I can see a big exhale coming.  Relaxing...  slacking...  But we can not slack on our relationship with God...ever.  When I relax and am not diligent about guarding my heart and my mind, the devil can get in quietly and damage is done.   

In the past month while starting to relax some and waiting for our closing we have already been attacked in several ways.  We forgot His faithfulness - we started worrying.  But He quickly taught us the importance of revisiting and remembering His loving care for us.  I allowed a 'vacation' to begin once an offer was made on the house - it was unintentional, but it happened.  My reliance on Him relaxed and I wasn't diligent in my time with Him.  Slowly and quietly my mind was eaten up with lies and untruths about almost every area of my life.  Satan said, "Look here, she is relaxing, she is taking a break, and I know where I can get to her and make her ineffective for Christ.'  I was so thankful that last weekend God brought me to familiar scriptures through friends and books that He wanted me to camp on:  Philippians 4:6-9 says, 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.'

So, yes, this season is ending.  Finally.  Another begins though and we will always have struggles.  Circumstances shouldn't dictate our happiness.  Our faith in God will give us joy if we allow it to.  It has been hard, but God has taught us so much while shaping us into people who reflect Him a bit more clearly.  He has sustained us. God has done great things for us and we will sing for joy!