Devotional for February 17, 2021

Greetings in Christ, 

  We live in a world in which we seem to encounter don’ts, cant’s, shouldn’t, better not, and many other negative influences in our lives.  We are subjected to them in many ways almost every minute of the day.  We have laws on the books stating we cannot do certain things.  We have heard no as a child many times from our parents as they correct our actions.  We have rules in place to tell us what to do and most of them are telling us not to do something or worded in a negative fashion to make it sound like it is a drudge to carry out.  Even the Ten Commandments have don’ts for us to follow.

  We read in the Bible how people had the don’ts from God and the measures they had to take to avoid the wrath of God.  The high priests had to tie ropes around their ankles when they went into the holy of holies once a year in the tabernacle for fear of dying because they forgot one of the don’ts.  The rope was to pull out the high priest who died so others would not have to face death.  They had a don’t when it came to approaching Mount Sinai while in the desert for fear of death because God said He would even strike down a beast if it approached Sinai.  Moses was even fearful of approaching the mountain, and he had faced many don’ts.

  The don’ts, cant’s, shouldn’t, better not’s have a way of letting fear drive our motive in not doing something.  The negative method of stating something has a very negative impact on our lives and with it comes the fear of doing the don’ts wrath will follow.  Soon the fear becomes the motivator rather than learning why we are not to do something.  We let the fear become so dominate we apply it even to the things we should be doing fearing we will do something wrong.  God even recognized this pattern developing in mankind and wanted to do something to change this approach for mankind’s sake.  

  People focused on the don’ts to the point they missed the whole idea of the reasoning behind the laws, rules, and reasons of hearing no.  The real focus should have been on the result of doing the don’ts.  God’s judgment has never changed, and His reasons to avoid His judgment have never changed-it has been mankind’s approach to His judgment which has changed.  The result of doing the don’ts still brings God’s judgment, but we should not focus on the don’ts but rather the reason for the don’ts.

  Jesus said it best, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.  If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” 

  The reason for the don’ts in our lives is for us to take a good hard look at the world and make a decision whether the world has something to offer us or it is God Who has something to offer us.  If we truly decide this world has nothing for us, and we give up our life to follow Jesus the don’ts should not be our focus.  Our desire should be to serve Jesus, and it will be our focus.  When we focus on Jesus, we allow Him to guide us the don’ts fade away along with the fear of the don’ts.  The don’ts and fear is replaced with the love of Jesus making room for the joy of following Jesus, and God’s judgment will not be something feared, but rather something to rejoice.

  God’s intent was not the don’ts or fear to repel us from His presence, but rather for us to realize what it will be like without His presence.  It is up to us on what we intend to make our desire to be in His presence, or to be absent from His presence.

  “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.  Why should the nations say, Where, now, is their God?  But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands.  They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they cannot make a sound with their throat.  Those who make them will become like them,
everyone who trusts in them.  O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.  O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.  You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.  The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron.  He will bless those who fear the Lord, the small together with the great.  May the Lord give you increase, you and your children.  May you be blessed of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.  The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.  The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence; but as for us, we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forever.  Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 115

  Lord may our focus be to serve You.  May we always desire to be in Your presence for ever and ever.  Amen.


  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 114,115,148,149,150; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Hebrews 12:18-29; John 12:24-32

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