The Source

Idolatry is the root of all sin. We are constantly on the watch for something — anything — that we think will give us life, peace, joy, contentment. In some way or another, all of life is a hunt for these things.

Our pursuit of them is the reason that we worship idols. Whatever idols we pursue, we pursue them only because we hope that they can bring us one of these — life, peace, joy, and contentment.

Our idol might be money. It might be possessions. It might be a relationship. Or it might be chemicals. Or sex, or power, or respect, or education. Some idols are idols not because they are bad things in themselves, but because we see them as ultimate things.

We pursue them for what we hope they will deliver to us. We chase the thing we hope will give us the THING.

It doesn’t work. Not in the long haul, anyway.

And there’s a much, much better way. Pursue Jesus. Listen to him speak. Adopt his angle on life. Follow his commands.

The way to do this is to absorb his words into your heart, deep inside of you. And post his words as reminders all around you. Post them even on your hands or on your forehead, if need be.

Jesus is the one and only true Source of life, peace, joy and contentment. He is the Ultimate.

“Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deuteronomy 11:16-18, NIV).

Lord, help me to seek you, pursue you, find you. My heart naturally does the opposite. I am a sinner and and idolater. I look in every place but you for what only you can give. Please forgive me. Turn my stubborn and rebellious heart to you. Fix your words on my heart and mind. Give me a clean heart. Grant me a heart that trusts you above all else.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, April 9, is Deuteronomy 11:1 – 12:32, Luke 12:35-59 and Psalm 43:1-5.

Header image based on "Source of the Mississippi" by Randen Pederson, CC By 2.0

You Matter to God

Life can be pretty brutal at times. Sometimes we begin to wonder if anyone really cares about us at all. We feel so invisible at times, we’re more than a little bit curious: Does somebody out there at the very least acknowledge my existence?

Jesus makes this clear. You can be absolutely confident that God not only knows you, he values you highly.

You matter to God!

Whatever circumstances might have you doubting this, put them aside. Whoever might have told you that you are a worthless nobody, shut their words out. Whatever “epic fails” you’ve endured that have eroded your confidence, set those aside. Whatever guilt and history and baggage you carry, place it down and leave it there.

Because Jesus says it again and again and again. In many different ways he states this same truth — the real truth.

But he doesn’t just say it. No, he also acts on the real truth by sacrificing his very own life to convince you of just one thing:

You matter to God! You matter deeply to God.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, April 8, is Deuteronomy 9:1 – 10:22, Luke 12:1-34 and Psalm 42:6b-11.

Header image based on "Sparrows feeding" by Sander van der Wel, CC By-SA 2.0

Too Many to Count

David knew that there was nothing and no one that could compare to the God who had so graciously protected him over the years.

We are always tempted to find our peace and happiness in other people, or from other places. And David had his moments too. Moments of sin and idolatry.

But a repentant heart always turned him back to God. To the God who had always blessed him abundantly. And who always would provide for him beyond measure.

David’s eyes looked to the God who would sacrifice even his own Son for him. Ironically, this Son of God — Jesus — would also be a descendant of David.

He would be David’s Lord. And David’s Savior.

The kind of God who does this — who loves beyond measure — gives blessings too many to count.

To David. And to you.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwho does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Psalm 40:4-5, NIV).

Lord, help me to always remember your goodness. Your blessings are too many to count.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, April 1, is Numbers 31:25 – 32:42, Luke 8:40 – 9:9 and Psalm 40:1-8.

Header image based on "Mountains, water and flowers..." by Els, CC By 2.0

Living Under God’s Blessing

God loves to bless his people. In fact, it’s safe to say this is the thing God most loves to do! Isaiah writes, Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion” (Isaiah 30:18, NIV).

Sadly, we often act as if God wants the exact opposite. We live the “Eeyore Life” convinced that everything is going wrong. Then we persuade ourselves that this is by God’s design. We become convinced that God just wants to punish us.

Of course, because we are sinners, the feeling of being under God’s wrath is both logical and persistent. And we should make no mistake, God does tell us that he will punish unrepentant sinners.

But God’s objective is always love. His intent is always to wake people up and draw them back into a more powerful relationship with himself.

Because the true heart of God is to call us by his name — to adopt us as his very own — and to be gracious to us. His real passion is to bless us, to keep us safe from harm, to always be smiling at us and helping us prosper.

And that’s exactly what he tells Moses to keep repeating to the Israelites as they journey through the wilderness of Sinai. It’s almost as if he never wants them to experience a doubt about what he feels toward them, isn’t it?

I hope that when you hear these words each Sunday at CrossWalk, your doubts are erased too. Like John Wooden says, “Magnify God’s blessings.” Even better, we might say, “Magnify God for all his blessings!”

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.'”

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:22-27, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, March 17, is Numbers 5:11 – 6:27, Luke 2:1-20 and Proverbs 7:6-20.

God, erase all my doubts about your love for me, a sinner. Too often I fall under the spell of negativity caused by own guilt and shame. Remind me that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Help me to know that your deepest passion is to have me experience and live under your blessing! Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for your grace!

Header image based on "John Wooden: If We Magnified Blessings..." by BK, CC By 2.0