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

May 10, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 30:11-20

Choosing Life, Daily…

It couldn’t be more straightforward. For the Israelites, this decision shouldn’t be too hard for them to make. What’s the decision between? Well it’s simple, it’s between living a whole life for God or not. The instructions have been given, it’s not like the people have to somehow get themselves to heaven to figure out how to live for God. It’s not like they have to travel beyond the sea in search for God’s instructions. No, the instructions have been graciously given. Not only that, but the conviction has been laid upon every human heart. The conviction that God is real and that there is a right and wrong way to live. (v.11-14)

So, at this point, it all comes down to a choice.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

As we see in the second section of our passage, it is clear that the choice has been laid before the people. One choice has blessings as a result and the other choice has destruction as its result. Here are the two options:

“Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster…

Option 1:
“For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.”

Option 2:
“But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.”

Seems pretty simple when we see it like this. So, God summarizes this for us:

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (v.19-20)

Today, you and I have the same choices in front of us. We can, once and for all, choose life by receiving Jesus and surrendering our lives to Him. But from there, we can continue to choose life daily by following Him closely and making Him the centerpiece of our love and commitment.

The choice is yours. What will you choose today?

Posted: Sam Cirrincione

May 9, 2014

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 30:1-10

Repentance is not a popular word in today’s world and especially when working with teenagers who are antagonistic to the church and God. I mean think about it, no one wants to be told that they are wrong, let alone that they must change what is wrong especially when they really enjoy what God though you is calling wrong. You’d think repentance would be a little bit easier for those who call Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior but from my decade of ministry I’ve noticed that us Christians like to “half repent” over things which is not true repentance. We confess and try to change enough to appease our guilt but notice what God says to Israel in this passage.

and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in ALL that I command you today, with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul, -Deuteronomy 30:2

Notice the words that are put in bold and capitalized in the above verse. Is that word “Half”? “Partial”? “Most”?

Nope that word is “ALL” and as tough as it may seem to obey God in ALL that He has commanded us with ALL our heart and ALL our soul you notice the next 8 verses where God restores (v. 3) has mercy (v. 3) gathers what was once scattered (v. 3-4), sets you apart for holiness (v. 6), blesses your family (v. 6) and will prosper you on this earth (v. 9). As tough as repentance may be for some of us that is certainly what we want out of the life change and redemption we are given when giving it all over to God. The best part of repentance is that this may seem like you’re not doing good enough, you repent, you do better but it’s not. Repentance of sin is only possible because of Jesus’ great love for us displayed on the Cross and it produced a great love right back at our God of second chances. Don’t miss the beauty of this gem of a passage in the midst of all this talk about repentance and restoration.

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. –Deuteronomy 30:6

So knowing what we receive when we truly repent of sin, selfishness and shame what do you possibly have hidden in your life that you won’t give God your all? Are there any commands God has given you that you won’t obey?

Posted: Erik Koliser