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Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up in my treasuries?

Deuteronomy 32:34

 

The context of Deuteronomy 32 lets us know the “this” of verse 34 is God’s justice and judgement. Verse 35 says, “Vengeance is mine, …and their doom comes swiftly.” Although commentators have differing opinions of who God is saying he’ll judge, it will be upon Israelites’ enemies or the Israelites themselves. In effect, he is saying, “Don’t you understand judgment is stored up and will be released at the right time?” It may seem God is delaying or refusing to bring justice, yet here he declares he has not forgotten the actions of sinners because he is a just God.

Most of Deuteronomy 32 gives the reasons for judgment. Verse 32 gives us an interesting visual of one of those reasons.

For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom

and from the fields of Gomorrah;

their grapes are grapes of poison;

their clusters are bitter.

Some commentators have varying ideas about the “vine of Sodom” which the Bible refers to only this once. Over the years, many have tried to identify the exact plant God refers to. The most obvious are the grapes. Yet researchers have wondered if there is any other kind of what some call “apples of Sodom.”

The other fruit might be a candidate, appearing like a delicious, smooth, soft, yellow apple or orange. But when grabbed or bitten, the fruit disintegrates into a puff of air, a thin rind, and a few fibers. What seemed so fulfilling offers nothing of value.

That’s the point. God’s people are depending upon empty, ineffective, worthless things that become idols. Idol worship deserves judgment because the Israelites are putting their hope into a “puff of air.” The hollow “vine cluster” seems to give a tiny spiritual taste of satisfaction but doesn’t last.

Think of some of the ways we experience a spiritual “puff of air.”

A woman marries her Prince Charming, expecting he will always make her happy. But he expects her to always give him respect. When she expresses an opinion other than what he thinks, he gets angry, feeling weak.

Someone is finally promoted to their dream position, but the friend who is passed over now brings all sorts of troubles.

An infertile wife finally becomes pregnant expecting a delightful experience until her child seems to cry twenty-four hours a day.

Only God can offer long-lasting fulfillment, both here and for eternity. Click To Tweet

Every single person and experience on this imperfect earth will disappoint us at some point. Only God can offer long-lasting fulfillment, both here and for eternity. Of course, we still won’t receive everything we want, but God knows what is best and promises to meet our true needs (Philippians 4:19).

For any who seek fulfillment in earthly sources, God knows such vain worship turns them away from dependence upon him, the perfect source. No wonder our just God judges in order to motivate people to turn from unfulfilling sin.

  • What is your opinion about God being just and therefore responding in judgement?
  • When has it seemed God has delayed judging those who have harmed you? How have you dealt with that?

 

God of the Universe, I praise you for you are always motivated by being just.

Thank you for always judging rightly and thoroughly.

 

The Millers have been in ministry since 1978 as speakers, authors, and lay counselors. They married in 1970 and God empowered them to overcome the dysfunctional marriage and family they had developed early in their marriage. Larry is a retired police lieutenant from Huntington Beach Police Department. Both individually and as a couple, they have authored over 55 books and spoken in nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents and grandparents. Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Kathy is making a copy of God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature available to the winner of a book drawing. Enter to win by Thursday, March 26th by leaving a comment below. The winner will be drawn on March 27th (US addresses only, please. Thank you for understanding.)

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This guest blog is adapted from God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature

Order God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature at:

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Intriguing-Questions-Testament-Devotions/dp/195197008X/

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www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/larry.miller.3532?

Twitter: @KathyCMiller and @LarryMiller

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Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers-

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

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Pleading for Us

The hard edges of time haven’t yet lined his face, but the young man knows suffering. He’s grown accustomed to fear biting at his heels; chasing him from one day to the next. Calling on God, he prays and fasts-beseeching the Lord for breakthrough. Relief from the brokenness. Healing for a hurting heart that refuses to release the tears bottled there for too long.

And his mother approaches the throne of grace; a modern-day Hannah with earnest words whispered and desperate on behalf of the man who is her son. Capturing a glimpse of the child behind his sad smile, she lifts her face to heaven.

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at (his) pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting (him) and go into action for (him)…
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. (1 Samuel 1:11 MSG)

Like the grieving woman whose arms longed to feel the weight of a newborn, I make a holy vow of my own.  No holding back. No standing in the way. No talking him out of what the mighty God has planned. But, Lord, free him up to live and live abundantly-not this numb-to-the-pain and numb-to-the-joy existence. Allow beauty to move him to such depths that joy erupts from his spirit and spills wet as liquid down dampened cheeks. Let sadness wring his soul with enough strength that the melancholy pours from within; unleashing the ache and inviting the flow of God’s healing touch. Move into the empty spaces and clear out those the imposter has planted a “no vacancy” sign.

You, too, may be a modern-day Hannah with a loved one whose heart needs healing. Some days, it feels as though the prayers will never be answered and I grow impatient. I want Him to answer now. Doesn’t He see the need? The pain? The ache?

I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase.#perseverance#faith Click To Tweet

Honestly, if I could exchange the burden with my precious one I would. I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase and I’m ill-equipped to do anything but persevere in my faith. If I give up, the enemy will celebrate a victory. I refuse to yield my child’s life so easily.

What about you? Are you battling right now? Are you, too, pounding on heaven’s gates on behalf of a loved one? Maybe your on bended knee as a result of a dear one’s anxiety, depression, or addiction. It could be your precious one is consumed by self-contempt, brokenness, or fear.

Perhaps, you are the one in need of prayer.

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Jesus intercedes on your behalf.#holyprayers#remembered Click To Tweet

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Raise your eyes heavenward. Your heavenly priest, Jesus, intercedes on your behalf. Persevere as this woman of scripture once did and there will be a day of rejoicing. Just as the Lord remembered Hannah, He will remember you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Networ

 

 

 

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Women yearn to know, Do I make a difference_ Does my life really matter_ You matter in every area and during each season of every ordinary day. (1).png

Seventy-five pages populated the Amazon queue after I filled in the search box, “books about God and purpose.”

Women yearn to know, Do I make a difference? Does my life really matter? How can changing diapers, or shuttling children from one event to another, or moving out of active mothering and into an empty nest change lives?

Books line self-help sections of libraries and hit best-seller lists in the Christian market as eager buyers scramble to discover their purpose. But, the Father has scribed his purpose for us in his love letters and in the palms of his son’s hands

Remember Our Position

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (MSG)

The verses above are a key component to the Christian’s calling. They almost serve as a checklist in my own life.

If God was looking for a “somebody”, he wouldn’t have chosen me. I was a premature baby born to teen parents following a shotgun wedding. After a few short years of marriage, they divorced and life swung from one chaotic, abusive event to the next under the hand of my stepfather. But, God? He wiped it all clean. Gave me a fresh start through the wounds that pierced his own son’s flesh. And, now, because of Him I remember my position and humbly bow at the foot of the cross shouting, “Amen! You have rescued me, Jesus.

When you called my name, I heard you. May I remember the beauty and joy of my humble position.” Can you relate to these verses, as well? How do you see yourself in them?

Remain Faithful

“My Child is an Honor Roll Student” stickers adorn bumpers, Christmas letters share the latest news about elaborate trips and accomplishments, and we splash reality as we’d like others to perceive it on social media. Pride can be difficult to defend against, but it is our enemy. Perhaps that is one reason we’re to remember our humble position. Not only that, but scripture exhorts us not to chase after more. More doing. More being. More proving.

Instead, 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 exhorts us to remain faithful.

“Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.” (NLT)

Remain.

In today’s high-paced, look-out-for-number-one, keep-up-with-the-rat-race-society, not many of us do well with just, well, remaining. But, remaining doesn’t mean “not doing”. It means continuing to be faithful in all situations–no matter the task. Whether we’re cooking one more casserole or scrubbing another dirty dish. Whether we’re driving to work again in rush hour traffic with a fussy toddler in the car seat. Whether we’re leaning across the table at the retirement home wiping our father’s chin as he asks once more, “Now, who are you?”

Remaining faithful to the calling to love God and to love others is more difficult than it seems.

Receive Power Through Prayer

Paul, Silas, and Timothy passionately addressed the Thessalonians about the power of prayer and its impact on their lives. Consider these words, “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Calling is not solely about an avocation, although it may involve one’s job. But, it is about the acts of service we are prompted to do for others. It the quickening of our spirit in response to God’s; when we sense him moving our hearts to respond to a hurt, a need, a situation. When we’re burdened to pray, give, weep, love. Those are the moments we become and live more like Christ—glorifying Him. Only through the power of prayer can we accomplish his work and fulfill his calling.

While Amazon may list seventy-pages of books about God’s purpose for our lives, the Bible outlines his purpose for all people. He sent Christ that all might be saved! But, we already know him and are meant to love the world as Christ. We are the workers, scattering seeds of hope in every area and during each season of our ordinary lives.

God will use each of his beloved daughters if we hold to the three truths about God’s calling on our lives.

1) Remember our Position

2) Remain Faithful

3) Receive Power Through Prayer

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, InstaEncouragments

Wednesdays   Recharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire , Blogger Voices Network , Embracing the Unexpected, Fresh Market Fridays

 

Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, and woman who believes there is hope for healing from the most difficult situations.

Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy hopes to lead women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them. Her work has been featured by MOPS, Thriving Family, The Upper Room, Light from the Word, and several other publications. You can meet regularly with Tammy online at her blog

tammykennington.wordpress.com or get a free copy of her e-book Moving From Pain to Peace: A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive

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bible-896222_1920.jpg“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

The mound of dishes extends to the uppermost edge of the kitchen sink and, reluctantly, I begin the process of methodically rinsing each plate, bowl, and glass before depositing it in the dishwasher’s plastic divider. I have just enough time to finish peeling the baked-on oatmeal from the insides of the crockpot before my daughter rushes around the corner with a look of concern etched across her delicate features.

Mommy, I need help with my math NOW.

 Casting a quick glance toward the stove, I notice the pot on the right back burner is spitting angrily across the surface. With a sigh, I quickly twist the knob to low and turn my attention to the frustrated middle-school girl planted directly in front of me. She is a diminutive package of frustration and tears and I can’t wait for the school week to come to an end because then I she will have a break from homework.

In that moment, the dogs begin barking uncontrollably—probably at a wayward rabbit passing through the yard—and a hungry teen-aged boy utters something about being hungry.

Me? I just want to go to bed. And I wonder why some days seem much longer than the standard 24 hours.

Jesus recognized this same weariness in his disciples.

Their day had been overflowing with prayer, preaching, and healings. The people–needy and desperate–longed for someone to make a difference…to change their lives…to offer hope. And that day? Hope arrived in the form of Christ’s own apostles who spoke comfort…joy…peace.

But by the days end, the men were as empty as my freshly rinsed sink. Do you ever feel it, too? The need to be filled up…restored…replenished?

Jesus offers us the answer. Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

 Make your appointment with the Prince of Peace, friend. Breathe in the rest only He provides. Step away from the pressures of the immediate and discover soul treasure in the Eternal. He’s waiting to meet with you today.

 

 

 

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In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a
baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of
two people existing only for each other. 
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I thought I understood love–it’s complexity, depth, and vulnerability.  Then I had children and all of my preconceived notions about love were shattered.  Blossoming in their place like a seedling receiving its first drops of water, a pure, true love sprang up.  Tender.  Unselfish.  Sacrificial.

It was a love strong enough to urge a sleep-deprived mother out of bed during the black hours of the night to comfort a colicky infant; a love tender enough to encourage a mother to stay for endless hours in the NICU singing softly to the baby struggling to for every breath; and a love dedicated enough to stretch and exercise her son’s twisted feet despite his cries of pain.

I thought I understood love–then I had a Savior.  Tender.  Unselfish.  Sacrificial.

His was a love merciful enough to offer forgiveness to a lost and lonely child; a love tender enough to be a Father when she was without hers; and a love sacrificial enough to give his life in her stead.

Parenting is the closest I’ve come to experiencing the sort of love He has for us.  Real love.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a little girl I imagined my name was Tamara–so much more elegant and interesting than plain Tammy.  I wanted to do amazing things…serve in the Peace Corps…write a bestseller…perform on Broadway.  Even now–mid-way through life and buried beneath loads of laundry and books about childrearing–I have dreams of being applauded as I belt out tunes to Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera.  In reality,  I’m yelling through the door at my teenaged son who chose not to go to school because the traffic jam was too difficult to navigate.

I’m tired nearly all of the time and always seem to have crumbs on the kitchen floor.  My closets are only organized once or twice each year and the kids rarely wear matching socks.  Where do they all go? 

My husband and I watch movies in installments because we fall asleep.  The towel rack in the bathroom has fallen off–again. And, we’re happy.

Our home isn’t quiet–how could it be with three boys and a feisty little girl?  The children argue, have tantrums, and lose their homework.  Dave and I feel overwhelmed most of the time.

God may not have given me a stage on which to perform.  I haven’t travelled to third world countries to hold impoverished babies.  Instead, my challenges, joys, sorrows, and delights are directed by and immersed in this messy life of motherhood, marriage, and moments of worshipping the God who provided it all.

Joy can’t be found in the what-if’– it’s in those moments that make up living.  I think I like being plain Tammy.

Verse for Reflection:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy SpiritRomans 15:13

Recommended Reading

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Man walking away at dawn along road

The Prodigal walks the lonely road–determined…defiant…desperate.                                                                                                                                       Knowing his need, but unwilling to turn back he heads aimlessly onward.  Each weary step echoing his thoughts, “Help me. Help me. Help me.”

And The Prodigal’s father works hour after hour– captured by his unrelenting schedule–only to be greeted by the weight of sorrow and concern at the day’s end .  The Prodigal’s mother feels as if life moves as slowly and methodically as the boy on the lonely road.  Let me help.  Let me help.  Let me help.

But there is no word from the boy and the mother wonders, “Where is my boy sleeping tonight?” And she prays that God’s very warmth and presence would surround the Prodigal.  Then, she waits for tomorrow.

Scripture for Reflection

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.”  Luke 15: 4-7

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Now faith is being sure of what we hope for…Hebrews 11:1

 

The beautiful garden unfurled its colors near the old, gray corral–a ranching remnant from the early 1900’s.  Nestled between the meandering creek and dusty country road, rows upon rows of corn, cabbage, peppers, and carrots displayed their bounty.  My mother spent hours there–tending the plants as if they were children in need of care.

The peeling, unsightly skin on her shoulders and her roughened hands were testimony to a dedication I didn’t share.  Many times, I grudgingly held my small pail in the potato patch.  “Pick off those bugs, Tammy!”  The thought of touching the parasitic beetles still sends my stomach reeling.

But, as much as I detested the potato bugs there were other things I found far more frightening and insidious.  I never knew if they were lying in wait–keeping quiet watch beneath the shelter of a massive squash plant or strawberry bush.  Rattlesnakes–poised to strike and hidden in the most unsuspecting of places.

That garden…those pests…the dangerous vipers.  Now that I have two teenagers, I often feel this simple farmer’s garden represents my life as a parent.  I run about–picking away at those dangers I see lurking on the surface.  I teach my children to believe…hope…pray.  Yet, I scurry about the fertile soil of their lives searching for danger.  “Pick off those bugs, Tammy!”

And my worst fears?  Those enemies lurking somewhere in the hidden places that I can’t see?  What am I to do about those?  I might be aware of their presence.  I may even be able to offer a warning.  Ultimately, though, I need to trust the Gardener of their souls–the One who bent to the earth and scooped their souls into His tender arms.  I may fear the danger, but He sees the bounty of a beautiful harvest.

 

Questions for Reflection

What is your greatest fear?  Are there any steps you can take to give that concern to God?

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Close-up of a sleeping infant

He’s been traveling a challenging road–one shared by more people than we’d care to admit.  And my heart has shattered into a thousand small pieces time and again when I’ve realized I cannot–nor could I ever–protect, rescue, or guarantee a painless and perfect childhood for my son.

And the question hangs heavy in the air.  How could a child who is loved thoroughly and prayed over constantly be thrust into the hands of Someone intending him harm?  My mother’s heart lacks understanding and I struggle with God just as Jacob wrestled with the Lord.  And while rolling in the dirt I cry out for mercy for my child.

When I rise up–aching, bruised, humbled–I realize the weight of this struggle will always be part of my life, my husband’s life, my child’s life–carried about as a reminder.  A reminder that belonging to Him neither exempts myself nor these young ones I love from hardship or pain.  A reminder that He is greater than all of it.

I can’t see beyond the rocks or debris scattered across the path, but the God who gifted my life with this precious one knows this road.  He walked it himself as The Carpenter’s Son.  And now?  Now he is going ahead of and behind my child–His child–to protect, rescue, and guarantee a perfect Eternal Someday for him.

 

Scripture for Reflection

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.  (Psalm 139:4-6)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany years ago a Far Side cartoon featured a small dog and it’s owner.  The words in the bubble read, “Blah, blah, blah, Minnie.”  Like Minnie’s owner, I’m certain my words–though spoken–are often unheard.  I imagine it something like this.

Tammy:  Child 1, please put your toys away when you’re done playing with them.

Offspring’s Interpretation:  Child 1, blah, blah, blah…play with your toys.

And…

Tammy:  Child 4, call if you’re running late.

Offspring’s Interpretation:  Blah, blah, blah…run late.

Or…

Tammy:  Child 3, when you calm down then we can talk.

Offspring’s Interpretation:  You can talk.

You, too, might struggle with a similar problem.  Maybe your colleagues don’t consider your opinion, your children disregard your guidance, or your husband ignores your input.

Christ understands, friend.  His words fell on the ears of the religious leaders of the day, but they ignored the forgiving call of his voice.  The masses dismissed him as worse than a criminal and overlooked his promises of freedom.  Even Christ’s own family dismissed him as deluded.

But there are some who listen…some who respond.  They are the ones He came to save.

Scripture for Reflection:  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  (John 10:27)

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