Archive for the ‘Deuteronomy’ Category

There’s constant noise coming from television sets, radios, and other electronic devices. Go out on the streets and there’s traffic noise, cars speeding past you, horns blaring, the sirens of emergency vehicles or people talking loudly.


Even inside your home there’s noise coming from the blender, the kids playing, the phone ringing. It’s as if we’re constantly surrounding by noise, no matter where we go.


Some of us work in noisy environments. Construction workers are subjected to very noisy machinery. At the office, the computer keyboards, phones ringing, people talking or laughing. At the dentist, we hear the dreaded drill! At the airport we hear the announcements over the loudspeakers.


How can we get away from this constant invasion of noise pollution into our lives? Perhaps we should start with ourselves. Early in the morning, or late at night, while everyone else is sleeping, quietly read God’s word, meditate on it, and enjoy the peace and quiet that comes from being in communion with God. “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 27:9 (ESV) Enjoy and practice the blessings of silence.

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From the time Adam and Eve were created, humans have proved untrustworthy, unfaithful, and unreliable. David committed adultery and murder. Abraham lied about his wife…twice. Paul stood by as Stephen was being murdered. Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster would crow twice.


But before we are too quick to point the finger at others, perhaps we need to look in the mirror and there we would recognize a long history of mistakes, sins, defeats, and even unfaithfulness. We have not always been faithful to God, and often not even to each other in the family.


It’s encouraging to know that God doesn’t act toward us the way we act toward Him. Moses told the Israelites, “Know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV).


God is faithful, and not just to us, but to our children and to the generations to come. I’m grateful that God is always faithful, even when we are not.

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Moses reminded the Israelites that, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NASB).


When the Israelites left Egypt, they didn’t have a bible. They were guided by Moses, who was listening to God. He then taught the people and wrote down God’s instructions. He was the first bible writer. The reason God felt it was important to put down His words in writing is because as much as we need physical food to nourish our bodies, we also need spiritual food to nourish our mind and our spirit.


Eating is vital for each of us but eating together nourishes us in many other ways. Sitting down to dinner as a family at least five days a week results in fewer teenage pregnancies, lower levels of depression and lower rates of suicide among boys.


In the same way, we should each have personal bible study, but there’s also great benefit when we study it and pray together as a family. Make the Bible a part of every day!

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I want to remember

Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you: Deuteronomy 32:7 (NKJV)

Would you like to remember an event more vividly?  According to Gina Vivinetto[i], a new study finds that when you reflect on events immediately afterward will help you to preserve them in our memory.

Researchers at the University of Sussex and University College London found that if you repeat an event in your mind right after it happens, you will be more likely to remember it two weeks later. Lead researcher Chris Bird, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, writes that “Ours is the first study to show that specific events (e.g. a particular video) create patterns of brain activity that are later re-activated when that event is recalled.  The amount of reactivation within the posterior cingulate predicts how detailed your memory for that event will be a whole week later.”  He continues, “We know that the posterior cingulate is important for memory — it is damaged early in Alzheimer’s disease.  However, our results point to a specific role in storing internal representations of complex events.”

These findings have serious implications for situations where an accurate recall of events is crucial such as witnessing an accident or a crime.

You can start improving your memory recall by giving yourself time to go through the information immediately afterward, rehearse it while the memory is still fresh.  You can also write down what you can remember, or describe the event to someone else, or both.  There’s another interesting thing about memory and the rehearsal process:  it evidently works for the future, as well.  Bird explains, “If you visualize yourself picking up a letter that you leave on the table by the front door, then you are more likely to remember to do so when you go out the house the following morning.”

Moses made good use of this brain property by reminding the Israelites of all the ways in which God had bless them and how He would do it again in the future.  That would also be a good practice with our children, and our families.

Father, help me to remember how you have blessed me in the past.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/want-preserve-memory-more-vividly-follow-these-steps-t52596

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The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 10:15 (NKJV)

Philadelphia columnist and best-selling author Solomon Jones, recently described his experience with non-custodial fatherhood as a “disjointed tapestry of love and distance, longing and hurt.” Jones has a daughter from his first marriage.  As he explains, a dad living away from his child “can be reduced to little more than a voice on a phone, a playmate on a weekend or a name on a check.”  He adds that living apart from his first child, “was painful because a father’s love is so often expressed through providing and protecting. And it’s difficult to provide and protect without presence.” On another column he expanded on this theme, “fatherhood works best when it is paired with motherhood and sealed by marriage.”

Alysse ElHage[i] says that a survey by the National Fatherhood Initiative found that 81 percent of dads agreed that, “men generally perform better as fathers if they are married to the mothers of their children.” In addition, men who did not live with their “focal child” (the one the survey asked about) were more likely than those who did to say that “they did not spend enough time with that child and that they did not feel very close to that child.”

According to David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, historically, “nurturant fatherhood has rested securely on two foundations: co-residency with children and a parental alliance with their mother.” Unfortunately, on average dads who do not live with their kids are less involved in their lives and have poorer relationships with them than resident fathers. A 2013 CDC report[ii] found that dads who lived with their children were significantly more likely to eat meals, play with, and read to their children regularly than non-resident fathers.

ElHage also presents additional research which shows that fathers experience hormonal changes during his wife’s pregnancy, with lover testosterone levels and a resulting lower hostility toward the infant once born. (will be continued tomorrow).

Father God, help me to be a good father, in your image.

[i] http://family-studies.org/how-marriage-makes-men-better-fathers/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=732930c1fb-Newsletter_86&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-732930c1fb-104541745

[ii] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf

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That their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 31:13 (NKJV)

Terri Peters shares the last two annoying things parents do that drive teachers crazy.[i]

  1. Ignore our recommendations and push your child too hard. Some parents push their kids into honors or AP classes, when they would be more successful in an on-level class. As one teacher told Peters, “Some parents have a perceived notion that being on grade level is not good enough for high schools, colleges, or even when trying to impress friends. They ignore the many elements of data we collect – observations, placement tests, their child’s own desires – and still ask for the class change…This usually results in the child becoming frustrated and ultimately disliking the subject or feeling badly about themselves.”  Ask for the reasons your child’s teacher is making his/her recommendation, consider carefully their advice, ask questions, and make a decision not just based on feelings but on reason.
  2. Refuse to put aside your differences for the benefit of your child. Children of divorce are well aware of the tension between his/her parents and often feel like pawns between their parents. Some divorced parents even refuse to communicate with each other.  As the teacher explained to Peters, “It’s heart-breaking. We understand that divorce happens and is often messy with resentment prevalent.  However, it’s frustrating when parents won’t put aside their own demons to support the growth of their child, even if it’s just for one parent-teacher conference.”

The one thing teachers want parents to know is that they care about your children, and that “Those who most try our patience most need our love.”[ii]  Parents and teachers have the same love and commitment to their children.  Work together for their benefit and your children will be blessed and be successful in this life and through eternity.

Father God, strengthen my partnership with my children’s teachers so that together we will help them grow and succeed.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/parents-heres-9-ways-you-drive-teachers-nuts-t40711

[ii] White, E.G.  Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p.267

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You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7 (NKJV)

Our goal as parents is not to rush in and have one “fix-it-all” conversation when our children ask us difficult or challenging questions. Rather, our goal as parents is to create a warm, open environment where any topic can be discussed and healthy conversation is part of the fabric of family communication.  The purpose is not to “solve their problem” but open channels so that our children feel valued, understood, and inspired.

Brian Dollar[i] identifies and describes some principles that guide our attitudes and our words.

  1. Connections take time. Because many parents feel uncomfortable with certain topics, they conclude that one conversation is enough. The truth is that one conversation is never enough. When a subject is so threatening that it makes us uncomfortable to talk about it, we need to talk about it more, not less. When a tragedy occurs, emotions tend to run high and threats to everyone’s peace and comfort multiply.  That’s why wise parents bring these issues up before there’s a crisis.  Maintain a good track record of good discussions which allow for open interaction and mutual respect.
  2. All of us are learning. Some parents feel that they have to be “the experts” when talking to their children about important matters. When children are young, their parent’s role is to lead them and teach them; of teacher is unavoidable, but as they grow up, we need to communicate the reality that we’re all in the process of learning and growing. When kids, particularly teenagers, sense their parents are still open to new perspectives and ideas, they’ll be far more willing to enter into meaningful dialogue.

These words are worth considering: “Talk to your children as if you had confidence in their intelligence. Deal with them kindly, tenderly, lovingly. Tell them what God would have them do…When you act your part, you can trust the Lord to act His part.”[ii]

Father God, help me to have a good, open communication with my children so we can converse about any and all topics.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/How-to-Lead-Your-Kids-Through-Life-s-Tough-Topics/

[ii] White, E. G.  Child Guidance, p. 33

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You shall not commit adultery. Deuteronomy 5:18 (NKJV)

We continue with the ten questions that German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm might suggest dating couples would do well to consider before getting married. [i]

  1. What is your stance on infidelity? Consider how you would manage this. Better yet, help strengthen your relationship so infidelity will never happen. One way to strengthen your relationship is by teaming together in the household duties.  “A good wife, who is supposed to be a friend, assistant, mother, family head and housekeeper, and may indeed have to run her own business or job quite apart from her husband – such a wife cannot at the same time be a concubine: it would be too much to demand of her.”  Human, All Too Human

Ellen White wrote to a woman whose husband had committed adultery: “My sister, you cannot please God by maintaining your present attitude. Forgive your husband. He is your husband, and you will be blessed in striving to be a dutiful, affectionate wife. Let the law of kindness be on your lips. You can and must change your attitude.

You must both study how you can assimilate, instead of differing, with one another. . . . The use of mild, gentle methods will make a surprising difference in your lives.”[ii]

Perhaps it is good to remember that while the Bible says adultery is a something God accepts as a reason for someone to seek divorce, it does not mean that they must seek a divorce.  God leaves room for forgiveness and reconciliation.

  1. Are you really willing to stay together until death do you part? Commit to keeping your vows for a lifetime. “We love each other; let us see to it that we keep loving each other! Or did we promise by mistake?”  Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Ellen White compares marriage to a school: “To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.”[iii]  Marriage cannot simply be a temporary decision but a lifetime commitment.

Father God, seal and strengthen our commitment to each other.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/skye-cleary/10-essential-questions-to_b_7699300.html

[ii] Ibid., p.345

[iii] Ibid., p. 105

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One no more

If a man marries a woman and then it happens that he no longer likes her because he has found something wrong with her, he may give her divorce papers, put them in her hand, and send her off. Deuteronomy 24:1 (MSG)


Nicole Feuer, a TODAY contributor and divorce mediator writes of ten things she wishes she had known before getting divorce[i].  During the next three days we’ll look at what she learned.

  1. You may often feel sad, loss, fear, and anxiety, even if you are the one who wants to get divorced. People going through a divorce are often unprepared for how big of a life transition it will be. The reality is that you are not losing your marriage, but often you may also lose other relationships in your life like your ex’s family, some friends, and you will probably have time with your children.  As you travel through this life transition, you will need to begin to create a new life.  You will likely feel a great amount of fear and anxiety of the unknown.
  2. Just because you are divorced, all of your problems don’t just disappear. You still need to deal with your ex, especially particularly if there are children involved. In fact, when they are children involved, your ex will always be part of your life. At weddings, births, deaths, graduations, and every significant event of your children’s lives your ex will probably play a part.  Remember that the bad things you experienced don’t just disappear when you get divorced.
  3. Once the divorce papers are signed, now the real work begins. One of the first challenges you may face is creating two new homes with the same resources. You may have to go back to work, which can be a huge challenge if you have been home with your kids for so many years. Your self-esteem will probably need a jump start after working so hard at a relationship that ultimately failed.

Making the decision to get a divorce is not easy and should be taken very carefully.  While it may seem like the easier option, it may end up being the more challenging one for all parties involved.


Father God, help us to make decisions concerning the future of our relationship carefully and wisely.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/divorce-10-things-i-wish-i-knew-2D80445585?cid=eml_tes_20150131

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Be brave

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

In his first letter to the members of the church in Corinth (1 Cor 16:13-14), Paul shared a perfect recipe for a sacred marriage.  We’ve already talked about the first two:  Be watchful, and stand firm.  The third ingredient is to (3) be brave.  Be people of courage. As Gary Thomas[i] says, “It takes courage to live in a sacred marriage: the courage to lovingly confront, when appropriate, but also the courage to receive a confrontation. The courage to take a risk when God leads you to do something that sounds so out there, you can hardly believe it. The courage to say “no” to everything you want when what you want isn’t what God wants—it takes guts to walk away from something that you think offers happiness but that God clearly is shutting down.”

I was impressed when I heard and read stories of the police officers and firemen who rushed into the World Trade Center buildings the morning of September 11, 2001, to save the people trying to get out.  To what could we attribute their heroism, their bravery?  Some of it probably had to do with their character and their upbringing.  But a lot had to do with their training and discipline.  Ellen White wrote: “It is discipline of spirit, cleanness of heart and thought, that is needed. Moral purity depends on right thinking and right acting. Evil thoughts destroy the soul, while a right control of the thoughts prepares the mind to labor harmoniously for the Master. Every thought should be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”[ii]

A sacred marriage demands discipline in establishing and maintaining good, healthy habits.  It takes the courage to do what is right, to stand for the truth, to be humble and yet self-confident enough to recognize when we have made mistakes and to take the steps to correct them.  It also requires courage to accept our spouse words of disagreement, loving confrontation, and kind correction.


Father God, helps us to be brave and of good courage, and remind us that our battle is not against each other but against the devil and his allies.

[i] Ibid

[ii] White, E. G. (1915). Gospel Workers. Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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