July 8, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 5:1-33

In Deuteronomy 5 we see how God makes promises to us through what most people know as the Ten Commandments. Of course, almost everyone knows the Ten Commandments and, agree to them or at least believe they are generally good rules to live by. They have caused some controversy in our country over the last few decades as politicians and education administrates have debated whether they should or shouldn’t be put up in government buildings or schools. Late show host, Stephen Colbert even showed how one politician in Alabama who built his campaign on the matter could only name 2 of the 10 commandments himself. You heard that right, 2!

We must remember that these covenant words and rules are not laws that God requires us to put into laws of the land ourselves, like Israel, but instead a revealing of God’s true heart, character and holiness. While some aspects of God’s law delivered to Moses reflected God’s standards for moral holiness for all time like the Ten Commandments, there were other aspects that did not deal directly with morality but with procedures for conducting Levitical worship under the Old Covenant with ceremonies and rituals showing Israel as a distinct nation and government. 

However the Ten Commandments along with the Mosaic law’s main purpose is not to make us better Christians or morally good people because that’s impossible. It’s to show that we are sinners and can never measure up to God’s standard of perfection and holiness. But that’s not our job. Instead that’s the job of Jesus who imputes it on us and through the Holy Spirit helps us desire and be more obedient to that standard of holiness the commandments reveal.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

July 6, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 4:32-49

Deuteronomy 4:32-49 starts with Moses towards the end of a speech. The main verse to focus on is verse 39, which says, “know therefore today, and lay it on your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other.” This is crucial because everything Moses discusses before this shows that there is only one God. Moses describes how God spoke to the Israelites (v. 33), made them His people and delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians (v. 34), and that they will conquer nations in the Promise Land (v. 38). God has proven Himself over and over to the Israelites and they need to understand that there is only one God!

The end of the chapter focuses on cities of refuge for those who have unintentionally murdered someone, and then the places where Moses gave this speech. 

The important thing to notice in this section is that Moses is calling all of Israel to remember what God has done for them. God showed Himself mightily to the Israelites and they need to remember and appreciate God. How often do you remember the things God has done for you in your life? Do you ever take time to think about how He has shown Himself in your life? Today might be the day to take 5-10 minutes and thank God for what He has done in your life. 

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

July 5, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 4:15-31

What are idols?  An idol is anything that we worship other than God.  It can be a person like a boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse or child – a job – a hobby or sport – an addiction or habit.  

What do you worship besides God?  How much of your attention does it get?

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.  Deuteronomy 4:24

Idols bring spiritual destruction because:

Idols diminish our focus

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.  Matthew 6:24

Idols steal our passion for God

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.  Jonah 2:8

Idols redirect our heart

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  Matthew 22:37

So – what are the idols in your life?  God’s Word tell us to…

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.  1 Corinthians 10:14

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Colossians 3:5

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

July 4, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 4:1-14

Reading this passage, I remember sitting in class in seminary and hearing the professor discussing God’s Law. He pointed out that the stated reason so often for following God’s Law is that “it may go well with you.” As we read in verse 1, similarly, Moses says, “That you may live.”

When parents tell their kids to do something, what do you often hear? “Why?” Why should I listen? Why should I obey? God is a good Father and He repeatedly states that obedience is life. God wants Israel to be a “great” nation. Following God’s Law brings wisdom and understanding (6). It is through obedience that this nation was going to become “great” (7–8).

However, examine the warning of verse 9, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.” Obedience requires reminding ourselves of who God is and what God has done. This is why we encourage the spiritual disciplines—God’s Word, prayer, even sharing your faith all allow us to “keep our soul’s diligently.” They remind us of who God is and what He’s done in our lives. This is the truth that we must pass on to the next generation, why, so that they may live.

Before entering the Land, this second generation of Israelites needed to hear this. Obedience to God must be grounded in God’s goodness—His heart for His people. Obedience without the recognition of God’s Heart leads to legalism and is burdensome. However, when we understand that God’s heart in calling us to obey is for our greatest good, obedience becomes easier. God is not a buzzkill; He wants our best. He is our best. His way is our best way.

Questions for reflection:

Is there an area of your life that God has been calling you for obedience?

Do you struggle at times to believe that God wants your best?

How have you witnessed God’s heart and His love for you through past obedience?

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate