May 15, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 32:1-52

I recently had an opportunity to share the gospel with a lady who was struggling with depression and anxiety. She claimed to be a Christian so when she came in for a counseling appointment the first question that I asked her was, “how would you explain the gospel to someone else?” She could eloquently share the gospel of Jesus Christ, maybe better than most Christians. My second question was “do you believe that?” Unfortunately, for this young lady she came to the conclusion that she does not believe it. As I began to work through the idols of her heart and show her the truth about her current situation (Ephesians 2:1-3) she became broken. She admitted that she feels dead inside. As we talked further about the truth of the gospel and God’s desire to restore her back into a relationship with Him. She understood and liked the thought of it. So what was holding this young lady back? She just couldn’t bear the thought of giving up her idols.

When I studied through today’s passage I was gripped by vs. 1-14. God reminds us of His perfect work and his perfect faithfulness. God took his people out of the desert and chose Jacob (Israel) as His own. God guided them and protected them just as an eagle takes care of its young. I am reminded of how great and powerful of a God we really serve. God is the rock of our salvation that can never be moved and I am thankful that God’s children can trust in His perfect faithfulness.

However, I am broken by vs.15-18 because our hearts are worshipping hearts that because of our sin desires to worship false gods. Idol worship is simply putting something or someone in the place that God should rightfully hold. Why do we trust in things other than God? Why do we seek false idols? The truth is that the worship of an idol is not about the idol itself but about what the idol promises in proximity to our desired reality. For example, if I desire to be comfortable I may worship the idol of success and money because it promises to afford me the ability to reach the comfort level that I desire. Idol worship is truly about building one’s own kingdom to satisfy one’s own foolish pride.

This was the dilemma for the young lady I shared with. She did not want to accept the gospel for one reason only, purpose. She believes that she will find her desired purpose through finding a husband. She is pursuing the fairy tale happy ending that promises the happily ever after. If she laid that all down in exchange for the gospel then God may not give her that ending and the thought of Jesus being enough just doesn’t seem appealing. I do not share this young ladies story to look down upon the lost. My hope is that you would be broken for her and your own heart because we as Christians can find ourselves in the exact scenario as Israel in vs. 15,

“But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.

Question to Ponder:

How strong is your faith today? Is God the Rock of your salvation or have you began to turn to other idols to provide your desired reality?

Posted: Chad Wiles

May 14, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 31:14-22

This moment in scripture is special; it is the passing of the torch. The Lord was with Moses, and now He promises to be with Joshua as well. When we think of the charge and commission of Joshua, what fills most of our minds is Joshua 1. But you really see the commencement in our reading today:

And the LORD commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.” (Deuteronomy 31:23 ESV)

No doubt that this torch was passed because of the faithfulness of Nun, and most definitely because of Moses. You never know who you will impact. Moses, who was as unqualified as anyone, ended up leading a nation out of slavery. It wasn’t on his own though. God gave him an incredible heritage. People invested in him. He was shaped and mentored.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPACT YOU CAN HAVE ON ONE LIFE.

I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately because of my recent trip to Zimbabwe. The opportunity that I had to be with those kids and teachers may never amount to much… or they could impact a nation for the Kingdom of Jesus. I’ll never know, and I am good with that. I want to leave you with a story of profound impact that Jason Young wrote:
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Have you ever asked yourself, “What could I possibly do that matters?” You are not alone. I have asked myself that question more than once. Let me introduce you to seven people who were ALL influenced by another person.

It all started with a guy from Boston.

His name…
EDWARD KIMBALL led a small group at his church when he met a challenging teenager. That seventeen-year-old young man was poorly educated and prone to outbursts of anger and profanity.

His name…
DWIGHT L. MOODY. He became the “greatest” evangelist of the nineteenth century. He was instrumental in the life-change experienced by a young man.

His name…
F.B. MEYER. He became a minister. He mentored a young man.

His name…
J.W. CHAPMAN. He became a pastor and evangelist. He also started an outreach to professional baseball players. There he influenced a young man.

His name…
BILLY SUNDAY. He became one of the greatest evangelists in the first two decades of the twentieth century. He influenced a young man who eventually came back to work with him.

His name…
MORDECAI HAM. He became a preacher. He was preaching when a teenager responded to the invitation “to give your life to Jesus Christ.”

His name…
BILLY GRAHAM. He has influenced more people than any other preacher in history. He remains a trusted confidant to presidents and other key influencers.

Do the best you can where you are, with what you have, for a purpose that is greater than yourself. You can be someone worthwhile. You can do something that matters.
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Posted: Todd Thomas

May 13, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 31:14-22

What if you were about to take a new job and, right before you singed on the dotted line, your boss said to you, “just a heads up, this job is going to stink. You will have a lot of problems from day one. Your co-workers will hate you most of the time. You will feel like the only one doing the work while everyone else is complaining and looking for another job. They will expect a ton out of you but give you no credit for it. In the end they will all leave the company and leave you to shoulder the load all by yourself. Now, it’s time to sign that contract.” Sound like a dream job? I know I wouldn’t want to sign up for that. Today’s passage is the first real pep talk Joshua gets from God before taking Moses’ place as leader. Not exactly a rah-rah style pep talk! Even though this passage is very much a bummer of a start for Joshua there is a lot of good in it. First we see that…

God was real with Joshua

God didn’t sugar coat it. Back to our job scenario, how would you feel if you were told a bunch of fluff about the job like, “this is a great place to work,” or, “everyone is so committed to working hard and together as a team” only to find out the truth after you have moved your family, bought a house and started the new job? Probably wouldn’t be too thrilled. It is much easier to handle opposition when you see it coming ahead of you. God was simply giving Joshua a heads up. Secondly we see that…

God gave them a warning

At the job again, if the boss tells you all this bad stuff in advance, before you sign up, you then have the option to jump in or not. God was, in a way, giving Joshua and the people that option here. God was letting Joshua and the people know that this was coming, therefore giving them the knowledge to correct it. For most of this book we have heard Moses say over and over again, “don’t turn from God to idols” in a number of different ways. This seems to be another warning against that for the people. And finally, not to steal tomorrow’s thunder, but tomorrow we will see that…

God promised to be with Joshua

Which, we will see makes all the difference. So, for today, understand that God is real with us, too. Jesus said “in this life you will have trouble.” No sugar on that. Know that God has warned us as well that idols in our lives will bring sorrow, misery, and trouble just like it brought the Israelites. To quote God’s word from 1 John 5:21, put simply for us…

Dear children, Keep yourselves from idols

Posted: Robbie Byrd

May 12, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 31:1-13

Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. The Lord will deliver them to you – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you… Deuteronomy 31:1,5,6,7,8

The Presence of the Lord

What would you do, where would you go, what risks would you take, what would you tackle if you knew that God would go with you?

That’s the position that the children of Israel find themselves in. God has promised to go with them, protect them, fight for them, and deliver them – He would do it all – they simply had to go by faith.

Isn’t this the same position we often find ourselves in? God has clearly lead and instructed us to follow – but we’re leery, afraid, and hesitant to obey Him and act.

If only we would understand and live in the presence of the Lord…

What does the presence of the Lord provide for us?

Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…2 Corinthians 1:3-4a

Joy

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence… Psalm 16:11

Power

 For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power. 2 Timothy 1:7

Direction

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23

Walk in God’s presence today – and tackle BIG things for Him!

Posted: Tim Parsons