Category Archives: Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 27-31; Mark 2

Once again there is so much we could focus on in these chapters of God’s Word. Today I want us to look at a part of Mark 2. It’s a passage we may glance over without really thinking it through. Here it is:

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mar2:13-17 [NIV]

Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. One of the most dishonest professions of the day. They would extort extra funds from those they were collecting taxes from. Not only does Jesus call Levi to be one of His disciples, but when Levi has a party Jesus attends with even more tax collectors and sinners as Mark puts it. It was over a meal. They were eating together where Jesus meets these people. Many times I think we overlook the power of hospitality and eating together in spreading the gospel. Jesus came eating and drinking we read elsewhere in Scripture. His ministry happened many times over a meal. And at the last supper many things were spoken and remembered.

What role does eating and drinking play in your witnessing plan? Perhaps when you have individuals over for dinner who don’t know the Lord and you say a blessing over the meal it may get them thinking about eternal values. Especially when you thank God for your friendship.

Think about it. Who can you invite for dinner? What powerful things can you say, pray and ask that will draw your guests closer to God?

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Mark 1

I’m reading through Deuteronomy and seeing what the Lord values, his warnings, and his reasons why. Twice, I’m caught by the word “remember.”

17 “True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. 18 Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.

19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command (Deuteronomy 24:17-22, NLT, emphasis added).

Here, calls to justice, mercy, compassion. These are things the Lord values. He reminds the people to remember where they came from–for they were all once slaves who received justice, mercy, and compassion from the Lord. And more: they received what they needed, perhaps in abundance, so that there was leftover to spare. They didn’t need to hold tightly. The Lord provides.

New Testament readings, and my heart swells at this:

10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News! (Mark 1:10-15, emphasis added)”

In Mark, Jesus, Son of God, who brings the Father great joy–even the angels take care of him. This is the God I love and who loves me too (Father, provider, protector, teacher–and so much more). I read of the healing that takes place as Jesus moves from place to place. Demons released, health restored, lives changed. He teaches with authority and shows the way.

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came (Mark 1:35-38, NLT, emphasis added).”

Self: do not live deceived by comfort. I was saved by grace. I know where I came from, and I know who I should have become in a lineage void of Jesus. I can trust him to show mercy, justice, compassion, generosity. He calls me to do the same–to remember where I came from and how he saved me. Lord Jesus, everyone is looking for you, to fill a void and soothe a cry, to show the way to freedom. I am so grateful I know you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 19-22; Acts 28

I was thinking about Romans over the past weekend, in particular chapters 10-12 and looking at the grafting in and out of the vine as part of producing and not producing fruit and how that is reflective on who I am as a follower of Jesus.

In doing so, I found a rabbinic teaching in Deuteronomy that took instructions about trees and turned those trees into disciples. So there was a match between my pondering and today’s readings. Not sure what it all means, so I will give it as is and let you take it somewhere or leave it right where it is.

When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls. – Deuteronomy 20:19-20  ESV

Those who have made a decision to follow Jesus are strong candidates and are fit for leading others to do the same. Those who truly have made such a decision are described as disciples. There is a particular rabbinic mandate that opposes anyone teaching an unfit disciple. 

If a disciple of the sages is fit [הָגוּן], eat from him and do not cut him down, but if not destroy him and cut him down

Going back to my pondering in Romans. Our reading today in Acts illustrates the grafting in of Gentiles. Paul had incredible success – thousands of Jews started following Jesus. Yes, he also experienced persecution to the point that the words Jesus gave Ananias that Paul would suffer as he served came all true. Yet, here we have the call to specifically share the good news to the Gentiles and they would respond in an even greater way for they would actually listen.

Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen. – Acts 28:28  ESV

Father, I do not live in fear of being taken out of Your family. You have placed me here with You and Your love and grace sustains me. I want to learn from You and I want to listen to You. Help me take what I learn and hear and share it with others that they may walk with You as well. I cannot walk where You have called me, alone. I need You with me as You were with Paul. Thank you for sharing Yourself with me. I pray that I may always honour You in all that I do and say. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Deuteronomy 15-18; Acts 27; Psalms 88

“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need. When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed. Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember you were once slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you! That is why I am giving you this command.” Deuteronomy 15:10-15 NLT

Remember. But, oh, how many times I forget. I think on God’s faithfulness. His provision. His constant care in my life. How can I not be generous? And share what he has given me. Sometimes it seems easier to hold on to it. Not only money, but my time, talents…all the ways he has been good to me. Sharing is to trust that God will fill the need. Many times, above and beyond what I could ask or imagine.

                                                *

Paul was sailing to Rome. He was a prisoner, under the custody of a Roman officer. He didn’t have a choice, but to rely on friends to take care of him. How humbling that must have been. I am thankful for the times that God has used other people to provide for me and my family. My prayer is that I would do the same for others who have a need.

“The next day we docked at Sidon, Julius was very kind to Paul to let him go ashore to visit with friends so they could provide for his needs.  The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone. No one had eaten in a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” Acts 27 NLT

Paul never gave up hope.  He kept encouraging the people, even after they didn’t listen to him.  His faith and courage had to be contagious.  When I feel alone, I want to be like Paul. Remembering that God is with me.  And reach out to those around me, while proclaiming my belief.  Knowing that the God who got me through the trial before, will be faithful again. 

Dear Father, thank you for your goodness. Help me to remember that everything I have comes from you. Help me to live with open hands. Thank you that you rescue me. Amen.

“O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry.” Psalms 88 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Deuteronomy 3-5; Acts 24; Psalms 36, 43

Moses wanted to step into a promised land. He would not be allowed, but the Lord did give him the opportunity to see it from Pisgah Peak. I try to imagine the view and reach. I wonder at the emotions in his heart–of awe and elation, and some of regret and grief. Moses had been through quite a lot and had seen God’s deliverance and provision. But his time was nearing an end. I’m moved by his focus, a kingdom focus, and a kingdom message. He addresses the people to remind them, to point them, to encourage them, to urge them, to warn them.

39 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39, NLT).

A kingdom focus. A kingdom message.

It doesn’t seem right that Paul would be targeted and hunted by fellow Jews because he rocked foundations with words that unsettled and challenged. (With words. Oh, the power of words. The power of truth. And the lengths people will go to suppress it–like truth could ever be eradicated.) The Jews wanted to shut him up, lock him away. And even the governor, Felix, didn’t want to risk favor with the population–kept Paul in prison another two years.

I read the psalms and mark the contrast of evil and good. Evil hunts and plots; it’s blind, yet targeted; it is fearless and refuses to act wisely. But Psalm 36 reminds me of God’s sovereignty, goodness, grace and power. Yes, the Lord is God both in heaven and on earth. There is no other.

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
   my Savior and my God! (Psalm 43:5, NLT)

Lord, you are God in both heaven and on earth. There is no other. I put my hope in you, God. I praise you again, and again, my Savior, my God. Thank you, Lord, for letting us glimpse a future that we may not enter, but have the privilege to (remind, point, encourage, urge, warn) others of who you are. Thank you that you are the way, the truth, the life–and that truth won’t be eradicated.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

Jeremiah 50 and 51 proclaim woeful ruin and the winnowing destruction of Babylon. So great, that Jeremiah instructs at the end of 51:

61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates,64 and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’” 51 ESV

Yet, like an oasis in the middle of grievous ruin and righteous vengeance: Jeremiah 50:20

20 In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

And I stop short. I ponder… what would it be for one to search for iniquity and there be none? No sin. None found. An oasis of peace; of life; of pardon.

I Peter 3 (The Day of the Lord Will Come) also details the coming vengeance of the Lord; a sound warning; a telling of destruction:

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be dililgent to be found by him without spot of blemish, and at peace. (2 Peter 3: 11-14 ESV)

And the words “at peace” catch hold of me. What means this peace in relation to me? An oasis of pardon in my life? at peace held in the cross of Christ and His resurrection life? I ponder the peace I find in that small section in Jeremiah: the peace of no sin; no iniquity- and this is one wildly glorious aspect of life in Jesus… that one day we will be free from the body of this death. And free from sin and iniquity.

1 Peter 3 also reminds that the Lord’s timetable is not my timetable.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3: 8-10 ESV

I realize I do not want to be exposed. What will remain? What gold tried in the fire? I know it is all grace, and I find myself small before Him.

Lord, you are coming, and the enemy wants Your people (me) blind, confused, and deadened. Your Word exhorts that we are to be holy and blameless. Lord, there is no power within me to produce holiness. I need Your Spirit; I need Your grace. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Under the mercy and in the grace of the cross, Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

And just a wee bit of fellowship here (as a P.S. from me to you):

This song- from this album- speaking to me today (and tonight). I pray it speaks to you, too. It is all yours, O God. And without you, I can do nothing.  This week I had a desperate experience- where I had to just give it up and surrender. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. And as I leaned into God- I leaned into His arms. Literally. And I found Him there. I found myself. He undertook- and in Him- it was so. He carried me through. And in my life- I realize I need to find myself saying again, again: “It is yours, Lord. Do what You will.” And, I need the reminder. I need to lay it down. All down. God be praised.  Let my life be more than smoke and lights!! I will tell you: I found peace in that moment of helpless surrender.

 

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Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalms 13; Luke 13

“Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18&19 NLT

He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” Luke 13:20 NLT

As I prepare my heart for Easter, I think about God’s Kingdom coming to earth. Humble beginnings. The obedience of Jesus.  Even with the knowledge of his death, he pressed on…

“Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.” Luke 13:22 NLT

Moses, the man who once couldn’t find the words, lead the children of Israel with a song.  He reminded them of God’s faithfulness.

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” Deuteronomy 32:1-4 NLT

Moses was called Israel’s greatest prophet, but his disobedience kept him from entering the Promised Land.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants. ‘I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said.” Deuteronomy 34:4&5 NLT

Sometimes God wants my obedience, even when I can’t see the results.

“There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to be more concerned about building your kingdom, instead of my own.  Thank you for making a way to you through your death on the cross.  Give me eyes to see glimpses of your glory everyday.  Amen.

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” Psalms 13:5 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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