Monthly Archives: March 2012

Deuteronomy 20, Deuteronomy 21, Deuteronomy 22, Luke 6:1-26

Read at: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Dt%2020,21,22;%20Luke%206:1-26&version=NKJV

Warfare and Healing

Deuteronomy and Luke present different facets of the same theme:

Principles Governing Warfare

In Deuteronomy 20 God gives orders of how to go to battle against your enemies.         “Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” … If there “is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.”

            Living under Christ’s command requires going into the difficult places in my heart, life, and in those of others; Being open to God’s Word and obeying His commands. Not being faint hearted but stalwart because the Lord Jesus Christ goes with me to set me and other captives free. Sometimes the territory gets Very large and the enemy seems Very fierce. The fainthearted near me debilitates me because he is without God’s vision. If I don’t wear the Word of God over my eyes and ears 24/7/365 I am UNempowered.  

              I need bold hearted men and women around me, especially at this time of my life. Prayer warriors who pray for God’s Word to be done. People of God’s Righteousness for God to live through them for the eternal benefit of everyone around them. For words of encouragement and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Who IS the Victor!! I yearn to see and hear God’s Glory when I see so much carnage. I know it’s all so temporary, but I want God’s justice to turn people’s hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ! I am grateful to be that way, but I can grow weary in the battle. I am grateful for the bold hearted ones with me. I rejoice that Jesus has already won the War.

           Israel is about to be engaged in war. Iran will be sending missiles to our shores. People will die, but where will they go? To Heaven or hell? Who will tell them the Gospel before their time is up? Lord send me!

             Is it really that simple? Am I not to be despondent or to despair over what is coming? No, the Lord Jesus Christ says. The enemy will want me to feel “I am in charge”. What a proud arrogant lie! I rejoice in that Truth (that it is a Lie)!! Yippee!! I am free from the bondage of the responsibility for souls. But what AM I in charge of? Just being God’s daughter and following and loving the Lord Jesus Christ with my life each day. Step by step Jesus will show me His Great Adventure that I join. Whew!! Got through that One! May I live it another day by the Holy Spirit’s power! 

In Deuteronomy 21-22, the Lord addressed laws regarding unsolved murder, female captives, firstborn inheritance rights, rebellions sons, immorality, sins deserving of death as well as commands to helping your fellow man and woman and not being unequally yoked. All of these deal with sin, captives of sin, and how justice and God’s righteousness can be executed well for His Glory.

In Luke 6:1-26 Jesus said, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” – Jesus declared Himself God and boldly chose to heal on that day, setting a captive free.  Later on, Jesus “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He … chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” The Lord Jesus chose the men for His army.

            Jesus continued setting people free: “He came down with them … a great multitude of people who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases … who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. … for power went out from Him and healed them all.”

             In the Be-Attitudes, Jesus the set the priorities for God’s people who win in the Kingdom of God: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. … Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.”

              I fit right in. I look forward to when the Righteousness is Full and I can no longer mourn over the pain and suffering of people which is caused by sinful, wicked choices.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.  Luke 19:10

For Further Reading – Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:5-21; John 15:3-11; Psalm 51; Romans 10:9-13; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Joel 2:28-29 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Deuteronomy 17-19, Luke 5:17-39

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. Deuteronomy 18:18-19

Jesus gave up his power as the King of the Universe to become human like me. According to the law, a king was not to consider himself better than his subjects. Jesus had neither wives nor gold, but he offers me a refuge, a fortress from the ills of sin.

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Luke 5:23-24

The Pharisees thought that Jesus blasphemed when he claimed his authority. Jesus – a case too convoluted for the Roman court to figure out went to the High Priest. The mob wanted to crucify the King of the Jews. Rather than save himself from death, Jesus yielded to the will of his Father.

Everyday I take charge of my own little kingdom, following God by the laws written on my heart.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First, he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Hebrews10:14-16

Bible study and memorization keep His words in my mind. The prayers of faithful friends accomplish much to keep me on the right path. The Holy Spirit reminds me that though I am a member of the royal priesthood, it’s a large body with many parts.

Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Rev 1:5-6 

The Lord is my inheritance just as He was for the Levites.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4

yicareggie

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Deuteronomy 14,15,16; Luke 5:1-16

When we moved here the end of last summer, my friend Reggie came over to check out our “new” old house. She walked the property with me, down the back jungle path, through the front garden, into the side yard where the apple and walnut trees are. She saw in this place exactly what my heart had seen, and her words stuck with me, coming back often to remind (and encourage) me when I feel overwhelmed, “Use this place to glorify God.”

This move brought us closer to several family friends. We now spend much more time with them than we ever had. My father’s girlfriend lives a few minutes down the road. Before we moved here, I saw her probably twice a year, and now she joins us weekly on Friday nights for dinner. I think of Fridays as a “Friday night open door” as we’ve enjoyed the company of long-time (or just-getting-to-know) friends and their kids around our table.

Today’s reading in the Old Testament talks about tithing, generosity, festivals.

22 “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. 23 Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. Deuteronomy 14:22-23 (NLT).

When I wanted to be in a community group to read the Bible and connect with others who craved God’s Word, God brought me to 66 Books. When I continued to crave deeper, interpersonal connections around me, God moved our family here–out of a neighborhood and into the woods! We don’t just bump into a neighbor walking by–all of our interactions are intentional, inviting others to be in our lives. God quite regularly causes me to think outside the box–an online community group, a (literal, county-wide) community around me joining me at the table. I had my own ideas of what honoring God might look like, but He has shown me how to do it with my life.

Father, I am always delighted in you. You open my eyes to this world around me and show me life in new ways. Thank you for choosing this place to be our home. My biggest desire is that my life would honor you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Dt 10, 11, 12; Luke 4:31-44

Place theses words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home or walking on the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.” Dt 11:18 & 19 MSG

When I read these verses, it reminded me of a Christmas tradition that we do every year. The tradition was started by my husband when we were newlyweds. We write letters to Jesus thanking Him for what He did in our lives that year. Our hope is that one day our tree will be filled with these rolled up letters from us and our children. But, honestly there have been years that were difficult to write because we didn’t want to remember some of the painful things we went through. We were just relieved to start a fresh new year. This year was one of those times where we never got around to writing the letters. Maybe it is because the letters are written on fancy paper and tied with a bow and we were feeling pressure to thank Jesus for something profound that had happened. But, God really opened my eyes to see that life is not always that way. These letters mirror life in that, it is about pouring our hearts out to Jesus, thanking Him and clinging to Him. So, we can look back and see how He worked in our lives. How He was glorified, even in the midst of difficulties and the messiness of life. When expectations were not met or things didn’t go as planned. My hope now is that my children will read these letters and see a family who clung to Jesus in the good and bad times. Because isn’t that what I want to do and what I want to teach my children to do?

He left the next day for open country. But the crowds went looking and, when they found him, clung to him so he couldn’t go on .” Luke 4:42 MSG

Thank you Father for everything in my life that You have used to draw me closer to You. I pray that I would remember those times and tell of your Faithfulness whenever I have the chance. So that Your transforming work in my life and my children’s lives, shine through and we can share that with others. Make me aware of anything that I am clinging to besides you Jesus, I want to cling to You alone. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Amy (amyctanner)

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Dt 8,9,10; Luke 4:1-30

But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you. Dt. 9:3

As some of you who attend the same church as me know, we had a bit of a scare this weekend with one of our leaders.  He took ill shortly before having to deliver the weekly message. He’s fine now, but to make a long story short, many people had to make quick adjustments to be sure the worship service was completed.  It was amazing to see so many ready to “stand in the gap” (borrowed from Dave Baldwin BTW) to ensure success.

Of course, we couldn’t have done it with out God truly standing in the gap.  Just as he did when the Israelites were about to face their toughest opponent yet. They trusted God and he gave them the power to defeat their enemy. We have that same power in us – if we truly trust in Him. We have the power to rebuke Satan.  I saw that first hand Sunday.  The enemy tried to take over, but God stood up against him and we rebuked him.

The trouble is, for me anyway, I forget that I have that power myself sometimes.  I find myself letting the enemy sneak in and coerce me to sin.  It bugs me to no end.  I hate my sin.  I know God will stand in the gap for me, I just have to let Him. Christ knew the power of His father – when being tempted in the desert (Luke 4:1-2) He knew he could withstand the devil’s temptations because He truly trusted His father.

God, I trust that you will stand in the gap for me. Help me when I don’t trust! Amen

Jim (jmitch1)

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Deuteronomy 5, 6, 7; Luke 3

the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. Luke 3:2b NKJV

I am in a wilderness, feeling isolated from people I know and care about, surrounded by people who don’t speak my language, who live in a different cultural paradigm. I chose this wilderness and entered it willingly in response to the call to ‘go’. But more than that, right now, I am in a wilderness, spiritually, a place we as believers never really desire to be.

As a mother to a one year old and pregnant with baby number two, I have found myself in a place where ‘quiet times’ don’t exist. Reading the Bible has taken new meaning as I can get about one verse completely read before my daughter’s giggle, cry, or stinky diaper interrupts. And at this point, forget about getting up early because sleep is still not even in my nightly vocabulary. I have found that the only place I can be alone is in the bathroom, and that is only if I remember to lock the door and put earplugs in. My prayers happen on the fly and usually are one liners that often contain the phrase: “Help me Holy Ghost!”

When I read these words: the word of God came…in the wilderness, I experience a renewed sense of hope and encouragement. Though it has been a while since I have heard God’s voice loud and clear, and had time to bask in His presence like I have in the past, I do hear that still, soft whisper periodically and I am reminded that I am not alone, not even in my feelings of wilderness.

One of my first encounters with wilderness was as a new believer. The time was so dry. I felt like God was so far away…I couldn’t hear Him, feel Him, sense Him. I trusted that He was there, ever present, because He promised that He would never leave me nor forsake me. And it was pure, new believer faith that caused me to press in even more instead of run away.

Then, my brother died, suddenly, unexpectedly, heartbreakingly.

As I moved through the various stages of grief, the Lord began reminding me of that wilderness time. In the midst, even though my experience of God was different than what I had known before, I began to see that He had still been ministering to me and even preparing me for a tragedy that He already knew was going to happen. My preparation, my wilderness, had given me a strength I never had before and it taught me to lean not on my own understanding, but to fully trust in Him.

The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. Deuteronomy 5:4 NKJV

Even in the midst of the Israelites’ wilderness, God was there, as a cloud, as fire, as a rumble in the mountains. He provided, nurtured, protected, and made covenant with His chosen. He talked with His people face to face, loved them, and called them a special treasure. And, after a season, He brought them out of the wilderness, into their promised land, just like He will for me.

I am looking forward to my promised land, and in the midst of the wilderness, I will not quit pressing into Him, even if we have to meet in the bathroom.

Yesappa, though the wilderness is never a fun place, it is a place I will choose to be glad to be. Help me to trust you more, to seek you more, even in the midst of the busyness of life and motherhood. Thank you for the grace you give me during wilderness times to survive, learn, and eventually thrive. Thank you for talking with me face to face, for loving me, and calling me your special daughter. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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Deuteronomy 3, 4; Luke 2:1-24

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,  praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:13, 14

Although not particularly musically gifted,  I love music.  It’s not unusual to find me bawling at the Symphony or during worship in church or in the privacy of my  home with the stereo on.  It can be embarrassing, but I can’t help it.  Music washes over me and gives expression to the wordless  aching and longing of my heart.  The tears flow.  All creation’s frustration finds relief in the birth of the Messiah and the angels just can’t help but sing to bear witness to that.

It surprises me that the angels didn’t return for a reprisal Easter Sunday.  I have expected them to be there for the Resurrection and the conquest over sin and death.  Great light and song bursting on the scene.  It seems comparatively subdued to the birth of Jesus, and I have wondered why.  Perhaps it is because the song belongs to those who follow him here on earth;  Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15.   We who believe are the privileged ones called to join the choir.

God,  may it be that my life sings the truth that You have risen and have overcome the power of sin, shame and death. I pray that I sing well and that the notes I miss are overpowered by the your beauty. Thank you that you even provide the robe (Rev 7:14).  Amen.

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