Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32 ~ Luke 8:22-39 ~ Psalm 70:1-5 ~ Proverbs 12:4
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Old Testament - Wow. I like Deuteronomy chapter 11 a lot today. There are a ton of powerful verses in this chapter! I love verse 22 - ""Be careful to obey all the commands I give you; show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and clinging to him." I really like that... show Love to God by walking in his ways - and clinging to him. I think I caught that term in our readings yesterday as well - "clinging." I know in our world today it's not too cool to be too clingy. :) But, I think God indeed wants us to be clingy when it comes Him! I pray that I cling to God each and every day. How about you? When it comes to God, are you clingy? Check out this amazing stained glass image of a woman clinging to the cross. Amazing. I love the imagery. Take a few moments to meditate on this one...
Verses 26 through 28 are terrific verses on the choice the Israelites could make back then - ""Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today. You will receive a curse if you reject the commands of the LORD your God and turn from his way by worshiping foreign gods." I believe this choice has morphed but still continues today through the New Covenant. We can choose to follow Jesus or we can choose to follow our own ways. One way is a blessing and one way is truly a curse. Like the Israelites, we still have the choice of a blessing or a curse.... Which choice will we make?
New Testament - Today in Luke chapter 8 verses 29 through 31 we will read some sobering verses – “For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.” Jesus then expels these demons from the man into a herd of pigs. The One Year Bible Companion has an interesting commentary on these verses that says Jesus did not simply destroy or send these demons into the Abyss, “because the time for such work had not yet come. But it will come. The book of Revelation records the future victory of Jesus over Satan, his demons, and all evil.” This is news for each of us to pay attention to! Satan, his demons and all evil are still out and about in our world today. And honestly - make no mistake - we each need to be very cognizant of the evil that can pursue our hearts. I don’t mean to scare you – but also, I do mean to scare you. :) When I first became a Christian 9 years ago, I instantly understood God’s love and grace and goodness. And I honestly thought for a short while that the world was just so good, and that there wasn’t really any evil in the world. There were just humans that made bad decisions. Well, fortunately I shared this viewpoint with a wise Christian friend of mine. He prescribed that I read 2 books – 1. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and 2. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. My friend also told me this – “The devil’s greatest trick is making you think that he does not exist. If you don’t believe he exists, then you won’t even realize it when he’s tempting you.” Wow. So true. If you are like me, where I was a few years ago, and you are not so sure that there is an actual presence of evil in our world – an evil that pursues people’s hearts – then I prescribe these 2 books above to you as well. Now – the good news – Jesus is still the answer to expelling demons and evil and sin away from us today! Jesus is Risen and is so infinitely more powerful than any of the evil that is out there. So – more important than reading those 2 books above, my prescription to you really is to stay as close to Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit as you possibly can in this life. And you will have no need to fear evil. Stick with Jesus.
Okay, I’ve typed a lot here without a question. . . Here it is. Do you believe in the existence of evil in our world today? Do you believe that Satan exists? Do you believe that demons exist? Do you know the one true Remedy and Salvation and Protection from all evil? Will you run into Jesus’ arms for this safety forever? And my last piece of very serious advice if you are struggling with a sin that you know is putting you in contact with evil – you must must must leave that sin behind. I know that all sin is risky and dangerous and dumb, but I think you also will know if you are really entertaining a sin that is leading you down a very dark path. Please confess that sin to Jesus and God and repent. Seek counseling and professional help immediately if it a serious sin or addiction. God will give you victory. Yes, it may be a long and painful process of getting free from the addiction, but you must take this journey to freedom. The freedom will justify the pain it takes to get you there. Paul tells us to flee from sin. Flee from evil. Will you flee? Please flee.
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 8's readings today titled "Stilling of the Storm" is at this link and commentary on "The Deliverance of the Demoniac" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 70 verse 4 is awesome - "But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "God is great!"" Indeed, I think as Christians we should be filled with joy & gladness! Yes, there will be tough times. And suffering. But overall, I pray that we are filled with joy and gladness. And then the second sentence in this verse reminds me of an older Relient K song with lyrics that go something like this - "Your voice has broken my defense. Let me embrace salvation!" I like that thought. Let us embrace salvation. Let us love salvation.
Proverbs - Proverbs 12:4 today teaches us: "A worthy wife is her husband's joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength."
YouTube: Continuing on with my reflections about our Luke readings today, interestingly, ABC's Nightline TV program did a big "Does Satan Exist?" program featuring Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle (arguing for Satan's existence) and Deepak Chopra (arguing against Satan's existence). If you didn't see the program, it is now online in its entirety, starting at the website link below the YouTube video. (in 10 videos, you can access at the link below) Please pay careful attention to Pastor Mark Driscoll's words and don't be swayed by Deepak or the other gentleman's smooth & deceptive talking. It is particularly sad to see what the world thinks about the Bible these days...
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Please join us in memorizing and meditating on three verses of Scripture today: "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known." Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will always choose God's blessing for your life by walking in obedience to Him and His Word. Pray that you will never follow idols, which will only bring you curses.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our Proverb above, what do you think worthy means in this context? Why would a worthy spouse be the other spouse's joy and crown? What does shameful mean in this context? If you are married, do you seek to be a worthy spouse? If you are not married, are you preparing yourself today for potentially being a worth spouse in the future? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
Yes, you know there is evil and I also know that there is demonic activity and demon possessed people. I’m not talking about people who we just call mental ill but people who have some other “spirit” living in them.
2 Listen! I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the LORD your God or seen his greatness and awesome power.
God is speaking to those at least 41 years and older because everyone over 20 who left Egypt would die in the wilderness because they rebelled against the Lord and believed the bad report the ten spies brought back. But what I’m intrigued with is the admonishment he gives to the “old” folks that He is not talking to someone else but He is talking to them.
So often when we hear a message we begin thinking of who that message is for but we don’t include ‘us” in the mix. “O, where is so and so they need to be here to hear this. Yet God is saying, “Listen Up This one if for you!”
Another thing I love is the cause and effect that God brings in when He begins telling them to consequences, good and bad, of obeying and or disobeying the commands of the Lord. (God is the creator of the Laws of Physics. E=Mc2 created by God discovered by Einstein) Let’s face it we live in a cause and effect world. Everything that you are know and where your are now is composed of the choices you and I made. If ya don’t like where you are, make new choices; however, if the choices are not based on “Thus saith the Lord,” its back to being zapped in the microwave.
What I also love that is in this chapter is verse 22,
22 "Be careful to obey all the commands I give you; show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and clinging to him.
This verse brings to my remembrance words spoken by Jesus in the book of John. If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Also in chapter twelve we see that God is the one who sets the terms of worship not man. Here God tells Israel that He will tell them where to offer their sacrifices and how they are to bring their offerings. God is not asking their opinion or seeking their suggestions. In our worship services are we really worshiping the way God has stated, in spirit and in truth (John 4:23), and are we following God’s agenda or our own.
Ahh! The storms of life that terrify us rocked Jesus to sleep. Not only does Jesus bring peace in the midst of the storm, He is the peace in the storm, how I long to walk in the peace that Jesus is.
Does anyone realize that as Jesus was getting out of ht boat this demon possessed man ran toward Him while the demons inside were begging Him to leave them alone? Somewhere inside of this man controlled by these legions of demons, the man had enough power to run toward the only one who could free him from the torment inside.
This conflict, this tension of two opposing forces, light and dark, is in everyone. This is the conflict between flesh and spirit that Paul talks about in the seventh chapter of Romans,
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
GOD IS GREAT!!!
Note in David’s Psalm he talks a lot about being poor and here is says that he is poor and needy. David was not a man we would consider poor using today’s understanding of lack of resources and or wealth.
I don’t know about having a shameful wife but I do know that my strength is sapped when I’m around people who act shameful and either friendship or family ties connect them to me.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | March 28, 2014 at 08:39 PM
Your comments on the New Testament reading for today is a great reminder that even Christians can be locked in chains. There is only one way to break free and that is through the power and blood of Jesus. "Been there, done that"! ~ hh
Posted by: Hal | March 29, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Thanks for all your comments. I am struggle with one thing. In today's reading in Deutoronomy, God says that you don't have to worship idols or other gods. I am christian catholic despite all the readings and researches made about all status in catholic churches, I truly do not know if I should look for another church or continue with it. I started three weeks ago to attend one community church in my area but still hesitate.
Any advises or thoughts are welcome.
Thank you all and have a blessing day.
Posted by: Cathy Wafo | March 29, 2014 at 09:58 AM
I just replayed the ABC debate on Satan and God. Sometimes we become so educated in Man's knowledge we miss the simple gospel.
It is a relationship with God thru Jesus and not the name over the door of the church that changes our life. Christ followers are found
in small group studies and fellowship with other Jesus followers whatever the group or church setting maybe.
Thanks for your leading our study it gets better every year
Posted by: Doug | March 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM
Take your struggles to the Lord in prayer, Cathy. You are in my prayers tonight.
Posted by: art | March 29, 2014 at 06:09 PM