February 11

5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  7Impress 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.  8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

Hey Y’all! It has been a hot minute since I last posted. So much has gone on. Tom Brady led the Bucs to their second NFL Championship and his seventh ring, making him the most “MEME’d” person of the year. I have been on a 12-day “camping” trip with the Georgia National Guard. Spent some good time out in the Georgia pines, being wet, cold, and on some days both wet and cold, which was miserable. I had a hard time keeping up with the reading plan during this ordeal, but I got all caught up today! I powered through the end of Numbers and jumped into these first six chapters of Deuteronomy. If you notice above, for the verses I chose to highlight I did a first for this blog: I took the verses from the Old Testament!

As I have pointed out many times, the Old Testament is the Bible for the Jewish nation and faith. It exists in the Christian Holy Bible because it is a frame of reference for the prophecies of Jesus and to demonstrate God’s power and purpose for humanity. It should stand for all the world to remind us of the powerful living God. As these verses state above, we are to love God with “all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength.” I could have ended the verse of the day right there, because that command is enough for us to all work on. But I wanted to include the next four verses due to the instruction it gives us parents and it lays the framework for a story I am about to share (this is going to be a long post, so hang on.)

The block of verses continues to say we need to “impress” on our children this commandment to love God with our entire existence. We are to sit with our children, walk with them and talk to them about this ever important command from God. To just love God, the creator of EVERYTHING, as much as God has loved us.

That being stated, I move to my confession and my frustration. During this exercise with the GA National Guard, I worked along side a young Specialist whom I could have been his father (he was 22 and I’m quickly approaching the magic number of 40). We talked about a lot as we worked together for a week straight. Some of our discussions were of substance: what his goals in life were; I taught him the lessons I learned about college education, college debt, and worthwhile majors versus trade schools; we talked about investing and managing money; and I offered him my advice about the lessons I have learned regarding military service. This was all good and got him talking, but nothing brought him to life more than talking about wasteful practices: video games and movies. In fact, when he was introduced to the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” he really came alive and that became the go-to-game to pass our 12-hour shift by. On our last night working together, it suddenly dawned on me that I had not spoken to him this whole time about God, Jesus, what his faith was. So I finally found the right moment to insert that topic in our discussion and I was defeated in his response. He did not believe in God, refused religion, and stated foolishly, “if I were to believe in anything spiritual it would be in like Greek Mythology because I think those are ‘interesting gods.'” I was dumbfounded. I was angry. I wanted to smack some sense in this kid, but I knew that would not accomplish anything. I, instead, offered him some subtle advice and briefly spoke of my experience and mentioned Common Sense Reborn and this devotional to him. I left the field feeling defeated and that I had really betrayed Jesus all week, which I had, because for most of the week I had not said a word about the King of Kings. This exchange reminded me of the greatest plague effecting America in these generations: the growing cancer of atheism and agnostics. Our youth believes more in Harry Potter than in the power of the Holy Spirit. They’ll spend hours playing mindless video games and watching hours upon hours of Netflix, but will never invest a minute in reading the Holy Bible. What caused this? Where did we go wrong?

Well the verses above give one possible answer: the last few generations have stopped sitting down with their kids and walking with them in their faith. The one good thing about keeping church and state together was every kid in America was taught some morality and spirituality in their formal schooling. But once we separated the church from our schools, many kids no longer heard a peep about Jesus and their path to eternal salvation. Their parents sure were not talking about it. And this all happened over fifty years ago. So fast forward to 2021 and we have the future of America growing up with no belief in God and no knowledge of the Truth and Teaching of Jesus Christ. And while this may be an over generalization taken from one kid, I know that it is overly true because everyone around me professionally is far from Jesus. Of my civilian co-workers, which number 15 that I have worked side-be-side with, only two have any inkling of faith and spirituality. In my Guard unit, which is mainly an Intel unit, which means these are the ones who scored the highest in the ASVAB to be able to enter the “intelligence” field, I have only one fellow soldier who speaks openly of Jesus.

This is what we need to fix, brave Disciples, but to do that, you have got to have a firm foundation in your faith and knowledge. We’re working on reading the entire Holy Bible in 2021. For many of you, it may be the first time you have ever sat down and committed to reading the entire Bible like this. For others, and this is my greatest hope, reading the Bible this year is just a refresher, a return to the intimacy of devoting time to God and Jesus every single day. If you have not been reading, below I am posting where we are year-to-date. We are currently in book five of the Old Testament, so if you have yet to crack the Bible open, you’ll need a few solid days of reading to catch up. But it’s never too late! Set aside some time to read every day and increase your foundation of faith so that you can become an Apostle in Christ and help bring a permanent revival to this great country! And in a return to true from from last year, here is a BEAUTIFUL cover of one of Hillsong’s greatest work:

Reading plan:  Old Testament: Genesis through Deuteronomy Chapter 6. New Testament: The Book of Matthew and Mark through Chapter 7.

Prayer and meditation:  pray for America to come to know Jesus, accurately, for the first time in our nation’s storied history.

Fitness challenge:  Sprints week 2!  Jog a half mile warm-up and perform 7 x 40m sprints/runs at 80-100% of your max effort.

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