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"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." AMEN!!!

Truly a great reminder of how we should treat one another, for we are ALL one in God, Christians or non-Christians.

Ramona, thanks for the heartfelt affirmation regarding the sunrise (sonrise)-sunset (sonset) post two days ago. I just read the rest of the postings last night.

May we all grow in our connection/relationship with God in different ways.

Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29

Something I noticed with Israel and her wars, God gave them victory before they went to battle, ergo, God gives us the Victory over our enemies (addictions; stress; bad health; people who come against us because we are believers—whatever conflicts with a Kingdom loving, God centered lifestyle); however, we must go into the battle. I heard this from my pastor’s wife about three/four weeks ago. “Running from the battle qualifies you for captivity.”

"Get up, make your way across Wadi Arnon. Look! I have already delivered over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Go ahead! Take it! Engage him in war! ... The LORD said to me, "Look! I have already begun to give over Sihon and his land to you. Start right now to take his land as your possession."
(Deuteronomy 2:24, 31 NET.)

I was also tying to find the post that someone wrote (I think it was Andrew B, but I could be mistaken), when we first got into Deuteronomy, that Moses was playing the “Blame Game,” and at the end of our readings sure enough Moses again blames the “crowd” for his inability to enter the Promise Land.

But the LORD was angry at me because of you and would not listen to me. Instead, he said to me, "Enough of that! Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.
(Deuteronomy 3:26 NET.)


Grace and peace and Make it a Blessed Day!! Don’t allow circmstances and other people to control whether a day is blessed or not—Take charge [That encouragement if from me also, self-speak spoken (written) out-loud]

Ramona

Roslyn--The Word says that we Overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony (Rev. 12:11). I was just testifying how your post blessed me, helping me to be an “Overcomer”.

Deuteronomy 3 (NKJV)
22
You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.’

~~~
MY NOTES:
I notice that, if the Israelites had kept their eyes on their Lord and Savior—Yahweh—they would have been able to resist the temptation of their weakness to rebel in fear that the enemy used against them. Their own confession, rooted in fear spawned unbelief, led them not entering the Promised Land. Those men who had instigated the rebellion were killed because of their rebellion. Their children went into the land in place of them.

What amazes me is how faithful the Lord is to His people—even in their rebellion. Of course, He must discipline us in love if we have rebelled against Him. I think once again of something I read yesterday that still speaks deeply to me from the website titled, http://hebrew4christians.com:

Reply Requested: When Convenient

OT AND NT: BUILDING OF THE TABERNACLE OF GOD

EXODUS 35:1 THROUGH EXODUS 38:20 (NKJV)

The construction of the mishkan (tabernacle) now begins with Bezalel and Oholiab leading the work. Notice that Bezalel (betzal'el) is a type of Christ, a man "called by name" from Judah who was "filled with the Spirit of God" (ruach elohim) and whose name means "in the shadow of God."

Bezalel's chief assistant is Oholiab (aholi'Av), whose name means "the Father's tent."

Notice that this is the second time that the description of the mishkan (tabernacle) and its furnishings given in the Torah…

Why is this the case?
1. FOR ONE THING, THE LORD IS SHOWING THAT HIS PURPOSES WILL NOT BE THWARTED, EVEN IF MAN'S SIN (I.E., THE MOLTEN CALF INCIDENT) CAUSES A DELAY IN GOD'S PERFECT WILL.

2. A second reason has to do with the fundamental importance of the mishkan (tabernacle) and the blood atonement rituals that allow for communion with God.

~~~

Luke 6 (NKJV)
12
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13
And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
14
Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;
15
Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.

19
And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

35
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
36
Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
38
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

PSALM 67 (NKJV)
1
God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
2
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

~~~
MY NOTES:
It strikes me as amazing that the Lord Jesus, the Full and Perfect Man, chose the apostles that He did. It does not amaze me that He prayed all night to do it. It is really sobering that Jesus, at the Father’s direction, chose “Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.”

Jesus had to be prayed up, humanly speaking, for He knew what His mission was—to die for the sins of the world. Every time He loved Judas, He knew Judas could be a traitor.

I note that Judas “became” a traitor. Perhaps he could have avoided it. In any event, even if Judas had not betrayed Jesus, prophecy cannot be broken, and someone else would have betrayed Jesus.

~~~
As Jesus gave, so He calls us to give. And as we give, we are NEVER to expect or demand something back from people. HOWEVER, God in His Word clearly teaches us that AS WE GIVE WITH LOVE, BEING PROMPTED BY THE SPIRIT to give in worship, then GOD HIMSELF WILL GIVE BACK TO US in His time and His way.

Luke 6: 38
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

~~
As we are blessed spiritually and materially, then His way can be known on the earth. Why? For our hearts are right before God and we serve Him first as Lord. Then, because we have material blessing, then we can invest heavily in the Kingdom of God and use our money as a spiritual weapon bathed in prayer to take back what the enemy has stolen from mankind.

Vance

In Deuteronomy we see history as meaning rather than as bare fact. Here the stories rewire the souls of the people, preparing them for what lay ahead. As the OT progresses, the stories are told and retold, each time telling the meaning: the truth about God, his justice, grace, sovereignty, mercy, fierce jealousy.

So, if everything points back to Torah (the first five books), how should we understand the OT?

If Torah is the story of God's gracious covenant with Israel--and not law as is often assumed--could it be the the OT is also about God's grace?

I believe this is true and this year, I'm reading to see if it is so. It has certainly been the case so far.

tangentrider Laura,

I too see the "grace" of God in the Old Testament even though many people think that the God of the Old is different than the God of the new. God's grace was not always evident to me when I first began reading through the Bible 18 years ago, but every time I read though and more things are revealed in my understanding, I know without a doubt that God is the same and has always been the same throughout all eternity.

Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(Heb 13:8)


If Jesus Christ is the Word of God and is God, as stated in the first chapter of the Book of John, than God has never changed and His grace and mercy is stamped indelibly on the universe. We confuse the consequences of our misdeeds and sinful actions, things we have set in motion because we live in a cause and effect world, with the absence of a God full of grace and mercy. If I warn my child about playing in the streets and he plays in the streets in spite of my warning, when he is hit by an 18 wheel truck that does not mean I am lacking in grace and mercy it means he didn’t listen.

Ramona

tangentrider Laura,

Absolutely, the Old Testament is replete with examples of God's grace and mercy.

"Grace of God" is defined in one dictionary (freedictionary.com):

"the free and unmerited favor or beneficence of God"

The above defintion can be seen in action throughout the Old Testament.

"As we have seen, God extended His grace freely to individuals and nations who humbly sought His favor in Old Testament times. God granted His grace to Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the children of Israel, the Ninevites, David, and even kings Ahab and Manasseh when they repented of their wickedness. The Scriptures also record God's grace and blessings to those women who sought His favor, including Abraham's wife Sarah, (Gen. 21:6-7, Heb. 11:11, Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 1:16; 2:12), and Hannah, the mother of Samuel (I Sam. 1:10-19).

The entire Old Testament is a demonstration of God's gracious kindness and mercy. However, the grace and mercy which God granted during Old Testament times was in most cases limited to physical deliverance and material blessings. The Scriptures reveal that only a few in Old Testament times received God's Holy Spirit and were granted the grace of God unto eternal salvation. Nevertheless, God's blessing and grace was extended bountifully in the physical realm for those who loved God and kept His commandments. And mercy and forgiveness was extended to all who repented from the heart.

The Old Testament is a history of those who sought God with all their hearts, and received God's grace and blessing, as opposed to those who rejected God's grace and blessing, and heaped to themselves punishment and wrath for their grievous sins."

http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/grace-god-ot2.html

[Note: I have not read the whole study (Part 1 & 2), as I am heading out - but this seems a nice summary of God's Grace in the Old Testament.]

Re: Gods grace as seen in the old testament journeys, I feel like I have just completed a long journey because I was a few days behind on my reading. I know we are supposed to skip those days, but I hate to miss anything. I can see why the journey took as long as it did because there were many cities, lands and people to conquor. I am having a struggle with these readings as I did with Leviticus and Numbers because of the long lists of names, animal sacrifices and counting of people that took place. It seems so much of these chapters are redundant too. I wonder if anyone else has had struggles with reading these chapters in the old testament as I have. I still try to look for God's grace and realize that he has those chapters in the bible for a good reason. I've been trying to give Him the glory.

On another thought that may be all my own. Where were all the animal rights activists in those days? So many animals were sacrificed daily. God must of provided an enormous abundance of animals and probably dealt severly with those who stood in the way of the work of the sacrifices performed by the Levites. Scripture leaves that part out. Am I the only inquisitive one who thinks along these lines? I of course am thankful that Jesus was the final sacrifice and that we all have access to Him now and His saving grace.

I love the bible enough and God's word to maintain my focus and have a great respect to all my fellow brothers and sisters In Christ who have been faithfull to God and this blog and who post daily. Especially, brother Mike who has set this blog up for us and goes above and beyond in his duty to serve. Welcome back Mike, I know this welcome back is late. You must be blessed by the oppourtunity it was to help out those Katrinia victims. Our church is sending out a group in June. I wish I could be a part of it, but felt that I wanted my husband to go along with me if I went. He chose not to go. I only have so much vacation time that I can take and it is about the only time my husband and I see each other. I hope God lays it on the hearts of all who have the opportunity to serve in this way and makes it possible for them to do their duty.

I am looking forward to this study of Deuteronomy and all the blessings it will offer to us.

"These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything."....the Israelites didn't seem to think so...they complained about the food and many other things.Looks like when God says "in all things give thanks"...he REALLY means that...even when everything seems to be crashing around you...God's still in control and he thinks..."you lack nothing"...so give thanks...hhmm praise sure can be a sacrifice when the last thing you feel like doing is praise God..in a way,that in it's self is a battle...fighting to do God's will(give thanks)when all your flesh wants is another pity party.
God is good!!!

He who seeks good finds goodwill,but evil comes to him who searches for it....It's amazing just how much trouble comes from making bad choices...good comes from looking up to Jesus...bad comes from listening to the whinnings of our flesh...a thousand mile journey starts with one step...pray or watch some more TV...go to church or just hang out doing something else.Choosing what we seek or guarding our hearts from interests that are against God's will is a daily sacrifice...
God bless you all

Speaking of God's grace...I love the thought my husband, a pastor, has brought up about Moses being refused by God to enter the Promised Land: (and I don't know if it's an original thought with my husband): Moses represented the Law, and the law can never bring us into God's holy presence; it can only condemn us and show us the need for Jesus and His blood shed on the cross to bring us into "the Promised Land." So it was so symbolic that Moses couldn't deliver the people into the Land, but that Joshua (Jesus' name is really Joshua)-is the one God chose to bring the people into His chosen land, the place of blessing and prosperity.

Another thought that blesses me about Moses--in the story about the Transfiguration, Luke 9:30, we see Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus on the mountain, in the promised land. So God in His mercy brought His servant Moses into the land after all! He's the God of the living, not of the dead, isn't He? ;) His grace is greater than our sin and mistakes.

Blessings.

Today"s reading gave me a push. As I have been doing my bible study, I have had this tug on my heart that God wants me to be doing something more for Him. I have been praying everyday that He will reveal to me what it is. My nephew reminded me, "dont sit back and wait jump in and you will know God's will". Thank you for this reading. Believe you me I have been wandering in the dessert long enough. Have a Blessed day. Peggy

Just a little note to mention that Deutronomy is one of my favourite books in Bible. Some of my favourite verses come from Deutronomy. Shema is also in Deutronomy. O, how I wish I could be transported to those times when God led his people directly... guided, chided and His people... I miss that direct connection...

No direct connection with God is the reason most people become despaired, discouraged, depraved because they can't feel the presence of the Lord. I pray that Lord shows His mighty presence to all those who love Him....

Emberglow,

"No direct connection with God is the reason most people become despaired, discouraged, depraved because they can't feel the presence of the Lord. I pray that Lord shows His mighty presence to all those who love Him...."

The Lord's mighty presence is exemplified all around us in creation every day, His physical presence was here on earth 2,000 years ago, His direct fellowship as "Abba" is only a prayer away...

A prayer from a "believer" that acknowledges him, confesses sins, and asks for restoration. (Something in the vein of David in Psalm 51). When fellowship is restored with the Father, then his presence is felt. [It is what I have learned and experianced the last two years.]

A prayer from a "non-believer" that turns back to God, repents of sins, and accepts His Son as Lord and Savior and does all that with a "true" heart will find the fellowship and presence of the Lord in all its abundance.


Luke 6:37

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged."

I have been known to cringe when pundits, politicians, and activists throw this verse out to the public over various venues. I find it "ironic" that all too often these same individuals come down on Christians and judge them in a very personal way.

I struggled with this simple verse in the past. However Paul seems to expound on Jesus' words in Romans 2. The context is God's Righteous Judgment, and the greek word "krino" is the same word Jesus used in Luke and Matthew.

It would seem that Paul indicates "judgment/judging" as ascertaining one's heart - knowing one's motives - and then condemning the person. Much as a judge would in a courtroom (the condemning part). None of these things can we know, only God has that right to Judge. This would also seem to be Jesus' intention when following verses are read after Luke 6:37.

I beleive there are two types of judgment that are mentioned in the New Testament. One is as these verses indicate - a heavenly judgment that is only in God's wheelhouse. The other is a judgment of the fruits of an individual or society. A judgment of "discernment". Through the study of God's Word and the indwelt Holy Spirit we all should be able to tell good from bad in our lives - if not initially, at least as it unfolds. We should also be able to recognize the same in society. We need to speak out on these issues, but (and the tricky part is) from a position of love and firmness without getting personal or "condemning" the person(s). This last, I admittedly struggle with in day to day life.

Romans 2:1-4
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" NIV
======================================================
A different but similar view done more concisely :)

In his book "True for You, But Not for Me," Paul Copan describes the fallacy in this all too common thinking:

It has been said that the most frequently quoted Bible verse is no longer John 3:16 but Matthew 7:1: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." We cannot glibly quote this, though, without understanding what Jesus meant. When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn't at all implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus himself calls certain people "pigs" and "dogs" (Matt 7:6) and "wolves in sheep's clothing" (7:15). … What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority. Jesus commanded us to examine ourselves first for the problems we so easily see in others. Only then can we help remove the speck in another's eye – which, incidentally, assumes that a problem exists and must be confronted.

Cory,

A small point that I just realized when looking through a commentary. Luke is recording "Sermon on the PLAIN" (Gk. pedinos level place;plain). Jesus was giving much the same message as on the "mount". Repetition is sometimes what it takes for people to get the point :) Yet there are some different aspects to this sermon that Luke records.

======================================================

"Or despite having a special relationship with and plan for the church, does God also have a relationship with and plan for other people?

I would posit that God being soverign has a plan for everybody. I would propose that God does not have a "loving relationship" with other people (if other people means non-believers). Mankind broke the relationship with God in the garden, it seems to me that God's overall plan is about restoring that loving relationship through his Son. If someone does not accept his plan for restoration and rejects his Son, then why would God have a loving relationship with that person.

God loves all man(kind), but He only has loving relationships with those that have turned back to him with a repentant heart and accepts his Son.

1John2:22-23
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also."

The Greek word for antichrist is "antichristos" meaning "adversary of the Messiah". Seems apparent that if you are adversary to the Son, you are adversary to the Father. The only relationship you would have is an "adversarial" one.

Forcing a loving relationship on one who does not want it (adversary), would not be a "true loving relationship". Seems it would violate the concept of "free will".

======================================================
"Is the bible the whole story, or just the story of Israel and the church?"

Let's see:
Creation, man's broken relationship with God, plan to restore relationship, accept or reject that plan, judgment, evil eradicated, happily ever after.

I think everyone is covered from the "Alpha to the Omega" - Trinity, inhabitants of heaven, inhabitants of earth, those awaiting judgment, Devil and his demons - did I leave out anybody? :)

Of course details and exact times are left out, but the general outline from "beginning to end" is there - and it seems to me everyone is included.



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