Remembering God

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets before your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ”  Deuteronomy 6:6-9

In many Bibles, this section of Deuteronomy is titled “the greatest commandment.”  I read it and fear I don’t keep it as consistently as I should.  I do try to start my day with devotional reading and prayer.  Then all too often, I go about my errands and chores without keeping God in the forefront of my mind.

The Israelites took this very literally and created visual reminders of God, a practice that continues with some Jews today.  Many Jewish homes have a mezuzah, which is a parchment inscribed with religious texts within a case affixed to the doorpost. Another example are the tefillin, or phylacteries;  leather boxes attached by straps to the forearm and forehead.  These boxes also contain scripture passages and are worn during prayer and worship.

Christians can have these sorts of reminders, too.  We may wear a cross around our neck, place a religious picture or piece of art on our desk, maybe post a scripture verse on our bulletin board or calendar.  The problem is, although these things may help for a time, we tend to stop noticing them after a while.  They blend in and become part of the scenery.

What God really wants is for us to remember Him in our hearts– all the time, every day, in every activity.  We need to study His word until it becomes part of our thought processes;  we need to desire His company even more than we want to be with our spouse or best friend; we need to pray to Him with every breath we take.

How do you remember God as you go about your day?  Lutheran ladies and readers, let me hear your suggestions!

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Live at Peace/Tame Your Tongue

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Sin Has Consequences

“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?….For the wages of sin is death…”Romans 6:21-23

As you can see, I’m still pondering January’s theme. Beth Ann’s post about abortion made me think of this verse.  Not just because abortion kills babies, but also because as Beth Ann said, a piece of her died also.  When we disobey God, we harm others, and we also harm ourselves.  Sin may look pretty, or easy, or feel good for the moment, but it has consequences that are not good for anyone. We’ve all experienced this.

Guess what else I notice in this verse.  We earn the consequences of our sin.  It is the wage we receive for the things we do. It’s not foisted upon us; it doesn’t just happen–we work at it!  In case you have any thought like, “I haven’t done anything too awful, so this doesn’t apply to me” listen to this:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Not some of us, or most of us, but ALL of us are sinners.

Fortunately, I haven’t given you the full story.  Here’s how Romans 6:23 ends:

“…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And Romans 3:23:

“…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

God gave us a way out of our sin.  We don’t earn this;  it is a free gift.  We don’t choose our salvation, but we can choose how we live in view of it.

“…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”  Deuteronomy 30:19

Choose obedience.  Choose life.

 

 

 

Teaching Thanksgiving

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

I was in South Carolina this week with my daughter and my granddaughter.  Both of them said in elementary school, they were taught that the thanksgiving feast was about the pilgrims thanking the Indians for their help in surviving the winter.  I explained that although they may have invited the Indians as a gesture and friendship and thanks, the primary intention of the pilgrims was to thank God, who brought them to the new world and graciously provided for them there.

This led me to think about how we all have a responsibility to teach God’s truth, not only our children, but everyone with whom we come in contact. In the anecdote above, you can see how quickly even historical truth can become perverted by the world.  If we don’t teach God’s word, in a generation or two, it may be lost.  This happened in the Bible (for an example, read about King Josiah in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23) and it happens today.  Martin Luther wrote the catechism so that parents could teach their children about God each day in their own home, not just once a week in church.

So don’t allow Thanksgiving to become “turkey day”.  Use it as reminder to have an attitude of thanks every day, all year long.  Let your children, your grandchildren, your friends and neighbors know that you are thankful to the God for all that you have and are.