Deuteronomy 26

Vs. 2, “take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name.”  Notice that it is God who gave the people the Promised Land as their inheritance.  It is only natural to respond with thanksgiving, so God instituted two rituals to have them present the best of their produce.  They would benefit from an agriculturally rich land and these rituals would serve as an outward expression of their love and dependence upon the Lord.  Rituals without understanding are pointless, that is why Moses would have them declare God’s hand of providence (vs. 5-9).  In essence, they were sharing the testimony of not only their lives, but of their lives of their people.  What a wonderful ritual that God instituted to have them bring another tithe three years later to care for Levites, alien, fatherless and widow (vs. 12-15).  And lastly, we read Moses exhortation for complete commitment from all to honor the Lord and follow His commands (vs. 16-19).

Regarding application…We Are Treasured.  Vs. 18, “And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands.”  Perhaps you have heard this phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  We were once sinners destined to death.  Now we love the Lord with our heart and soul (vs. 16) and follow His ways.  You are of high value to God.  You are of high value to the church.  Though this is a simple truth, I believe many of us don’t realize this.  Question: Why is church involvement so slim?  Because people undervalue themselves.  Many Christians don’t live for the Lord because they have spiritual low self-esteem.  They have forgotten their value.  The Apostle Paul reminds us that we were bought at a price (I Corinthians 6:20).  That price was the cross.  Take time today to embrace who you are in the eyes of our Lord!  You are loved and treasured! 

John 21

Vs. 7, “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.”  Some biblical scholars point out that Peter and the rest of the disciples had been disobedient by going back to fishing.  They compare the failure of that night’s fishing as reverting back to their old lifestyle (vs. 1-3).   I don’t have an opinion either way, but we do know Jesus came to them in their hour of need in more ways than meets the eye.  As they obeyed Jesus, they caught so many fish the nets should have broke (vs. 5-11).  As the morning sun was rising, John recognized who this man on the shore actually was.  Leave it to Peter to be the one exuberant and reactionary to responding to Jesus!  And what a beautiful picture we have as Jesus prepared both a physical and spiritual meal for his beloved (vs. 12-25).  This is such an important chapter in the Gospel of John for in this we see Jesus restore Peter and give him the reminder of Peter’s true purpose.

Regarding application…Do You Love Jesus?  Vs. 17, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  This is a very poignant and fair question that Jesus poses to Peter.  But don’t misunderstand, Jesus is asking you the same question.  Each of us has made our own mistakes when it comes to living up to our faith.  Sometimes we feel like our failures are too difficult to overcome.  So, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter for all of us.  Despite our failures, deep down in our hearts when we put our faith in Jesus, we realized we were made to love.  Of course, we love Jesus.  But, just believing it and saying it is just the starting point.  We must live it…we must follow Jesus (vs. 19).  When I was 16 years old, I put my faith in the Lord.  But at the age of 20, I followed Jesus.  And while this road isn’t easy (vs. 18), it is nothing compared to eternity with our Lord!  Question: Do you love Jesus?  Trust and follow Him today!