Sunday Devotional: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

In these verses, Moses is sharing with the Israelites before they go into the Promised Land.  He is teaching them and reminding them about all they need to know before they enter into the land that God had promised.  One of the big things that Moses wanted the Israelites to remember was who God is and all that God had done for them.

Moses wanted the people to learn this truth and to pass it on to their children and their grandchildren.  He wanted them to remember and to share.  They were to love God with all their heart soul and strength.  And as they were going into the promised land, to remember that God was with them and that He was the reason they were going there.

This week, let us remember who God is.  Let us love God with all our hearts and souls and strength.  And let us share with others about God.  He loves us so much and has given us so much.  Let us share that with others this week.

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Sunday Devotional: Luke 1:1-4

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,  just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,  it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

This is the introduction to the Gospel of Luke.  Luke was a doctor who wrote this Gospel as well as the book of Acts.  He got a bunch of eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus and compiled them together in this book that he wrote to Theophilus, a friend and fellow believer.

This book was written to help teach those who didn’t know about Jesus who He is and what He did.  It also was a reminder to those who knew Jesus to remember.  The same is true for us today.  There are those who don’t know who Jesus is that can learn from books such as Luke that tell about Jesus and His life and ministry.  It is also good reminders of those who have been following Jesus for a long time to remember because we are human and sometimes we forget.  It’s good to remember.  It’s good to have certainty like Luke wanted Theophilus to have.

As we enter the Advent season in preparation for Christmas, let us share with others about Jesus.  Let us share to those who have heard the story numerous times and to those who are hearing it for the first time.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 63

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.” (Psalm 63:1-11)

This week, let us seek the Lord out with all our heart and soul.  Let us be satisfied in Him.  Let us sing out like David did about how much we cling to Him.  Let us remember that is love is better than life.

Remembering Auschwitz

Auschwitz Gate

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp from the Nazis by the Soviet Army.  It was at Auschwitz that over a million people including Jews, Poles, Roma (Gypsies), prisoners of war & others were tortured and killed.  It is one of the most despicable acts done in history.

Auschwitz Sign

I visited the city of Oswiecim where the remnants of Auschwitz back in 2009.  I was in Poland for that summer as an intern as part of my work for my master’s of divinity.  There was a group of us that worked together that took a trip down from Krakow where we were working to visit Auschwitz.

It was an eerie feeling to say the least.  I remember walking through the camp and just feeling sadness and remorse.  My heart broke for all those lives that were lost there.  I was angry at the Nazis for what they had done.  I didn’t say much throughout our time there.  I just took it all in and contemplated.

It was a place that was a stark reminder of the depravity of sin.  It was also a reminder of the hope that exists even in the midst of such darkness.  Even in such a place as this, God was still there.  He was still in control.  Like how the Nazis were eventually defeated, sin will ultimately be defeated because of the work that Jesus did on the cross.

To this day, I still remember my visit to Auschwitz.  It is something that will always be a part of me.  On a day like today, I’m reminded again of its significance.  May we never forget.

Auschwitz

9/11

It has been 12 years since 9-11-01.  I remember that day, not as clearly as I once did but I still remember.  I wrote about what I remembered in my old blog and will share what I wrote:

I was a senior in college and was just starting my final year at Union University.  Though I can’t remember every detail, there are some lasting memories that stick with me.  It was a Tuesday and so I had Senior Seminar (I was a History major) as my first class.  I woke up around 8:00am (cause my class was at 9:25) and started to do my normal routine of getting up (turn on the radio, turn on my computer, change clothes, surf the net and eat breakfast).  When I turned on the radio, the station was one that had this morning crew that typically were all funny and played music in between (standard).  Well they weren’t all joking and what finally caught my attention (when I finally became alert and fully awake) was about crashing into towers.  I was like what the heck so I ran into the living room and turned on the TV and that’s when I saw the images of the World Trade Center live on screen.  A little bit afterward, two of my roommates at the time Dave and Kevin woke up and walked into the living room and I told them what was going on.  For the longest time, we just watched the screen.  I finally pulled myself away to go to class although I really didn’t want to go.  Unfortunately, we had class though the students pretty much regretted it as we just didn’t want to be in a classroom at that point.  That ended up being the only class I went to as all the others I had were cancelled.  The rest of the day I remember being split between being in Pam’s (the girl’s RD at the time) apartment with my friend Christy and in my dorm room with my friends watching the news.  The other thing I remember (and what helped us laugh through such a surreal and sad time) was watching ABC and the local affiliate (WBBJ 7) cutting into the national newscast around 3 or so and the local news anchor throwing it to a reporter who was at Mckellar Sipes Airport (for those not from Jackson, Tennesee, that’s the regional airport) and saying that there was nothing going on at the airport.  Me and my friends looked at each other and were like, you interrupted the national coverage to tell us that?  We later laughed about it but at the time we thought that was ridiculous.

Six months later, I was on a plane (the first time I ever flew in my life) to Boston for spring break mission trip.  I will never know a world where flying doesn’t involve screenings and security and all that.  I still remember when we were flying back to Memphis and going through security at Logan Airport and the security guys had machine guns.  It was surreal even six months later.

9-11-01 was 12 years ago now.  It doesn’t seem that long ago but it has been.  Through all of this, it’s important to remember that God is greater than all the problems and hardships we go through.  He never leaves us.  Through tragedies or triumphs, God is right there.  That is something to never forget.