Pastor Homan’s Devotion for May 14, 2019

Our read­ing for Tues­day, May 14, 2019 is Deuteron­o­my 6:1–9.

These are the com­mands, decrees and laws the Lord your God direct­ed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are cross­ing the Jor­dan to pos­sess, 2 so that you, your chil­dren and their chil­dren after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keep­ing all his decrees and com­mands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be care­ful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase great­ly in a land flow­ing with milk and hon­ey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These com­mand­ments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your chil­dren. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as sym­bols on your hands and bind them on your fore­heads. 9 Write them on the door­frames of your hous­es and on your gates.  — NIV

Liv­ing life as God has designed pro­vides the best oppor­tu­ni­ty for mak­ing life good. I believe this and it is because I have found my liv­ing by faith in Christ has blessed me that I want oth­ers to embrace his real­i­ty and fol­low him too. I rec­og­nize there are oth­ers who have a greater amount of pos­ses­sions and oppor­tu­ni­ties to trav­el and enjoy life, yet what I have has brought me great con­tent­ment and I do not feel I lack in any­thing.  

I can look at the lives oth­ers live who do not active­ly fol­low Christ as I do and rec­og­nize the lim­its their tan­gi­ble abun­dance pro­vides them and the strug­gles they face despite their free­dom from reli­gious prac­tice they endorse by their lifestyles. I also acknowl­edge my life with Christ does not relieve me of sim­i­lar strug­gles and sor­rows oth­ers with­out an active faith face. I do notice that my cho­sen path has pre­vent­ed me from falling into many pit­falls oth­ers have fall­en into. 

When I con­sid­er the plusses and minus­es of my cho­sen jour­ney I would con­clude my life with Christ has placed me on the upside of ful­fill­ment as opposed to the down­sides of life. I there­fore affirm the sen­ti­ments expressed in our pas­sage. As I have fol­lowed the Lord in my life he has ful­filled or is ful­fill­ing his promise of my abun­dance. I also believe that should I aban­don my active prac­tice of faith I would miss out on much I have come to cher­ish. What has been your expe­ri­ence?

This being said I must also con­fess the temp­ta­tion to dis­be­lieve God’s promis­es when I face a par­tic­u­lar time of hard­ship. This win­ter has been hard for me with unwant­ed changes in my voca­tion and the death of my Mom. Through it all I have had to inten­tion­al­ly remind myself of God’s promis­es and do what it takes to stay close to Christ. Not that these times are ful­ly behind me but I can say to date God is good and trust him ful­ly for what oth­er chal­lenges he will have me face in the near future. I know what­ev­er may come he will be with me.

This is the point – God has been with me through the storms and less­ened their impact on my life. Through the prov­i­dence of God I have seen evi­dence for renewed hope and even the poten­tial for deep­er joy. The dif­fer­ence comes in fac­ing life and the future alone or with the One who cre­at­ed life and who faced death only to rise from its grasp. Those not walk­ing with Christ will not know of his com­pan­ion­ship and aid.

The remain­der of today’s pas­sage reminds us how we need to con­vey these val­ues and poten­tials of life in faith to our chil­dren, and for me par­tic­u­lar­ly now, my grand­chil­dren. As I speak these val­ues to you I need to speak them to them. I need to sat­u­rate their life with the teach­ings, the promis­es of what God offers in Christ. I need to talk with them along the way which for me means beyond for­mal moments of teach­ing and wor­ship but as we face the par­tic­u­lars of every­day life togeth­er.

This also chal­lenges me to prac­tice what I believe and live before them the val­ues I pro­fess in terms of how I respond to them and oth­er chal­lenges they will watch me han­dle. I must prac­tice these val­ues even as I respond to the chal­lenges my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren present along the way. 

I am remind­ed that we can only impress the ben­e­fits of walk­ing close­ly with Christ on those we love and encour­age their adop­tion of an active faith and the val­ues of Chris­t­ian liv­ing. We can­not force them nor enforce them. In the ten­sion this brings I am encour­aged to pray for it is only God who can help us find our way to impact those we love pos­i­tive­ly for Christ. It is up to oth­ers to open the door and allow the holy Spir­it to con­vince them of the truth.