Week 11 March 11-17, 2018

Here are three essential truths that define who we are and warn us about who we are becoming: Truth #1: We all have a soul; Truth #2: Our soul is the truest part of us as an integration of our heart, mind, and body; Truth #3: We are responsible for being keepers of our soul, because what effects our heart, mind, and body will change who we are for all of eternity.

This is why Moses was so focused on reminding the people of Israel to be faithful keepers of their souls as they prepared to take possession of the Promised Land of Canaan.

In Deuteronomy 4:9, Moses tells the Israelites, “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.”

In this passage, we see three areas where Israel was warned they could one day be in danger of failing to keep their soul and stay faithful to God: (1) Forgetful minds; (2) Wandering eyes; and (2) Abandoning hearts.

First, Israel needed to discipline their minds to remember the powerful presence of God in their lives. Despite the parting of the Red Sea to secure their deliverance from Egypt, as well as daily provisions of bread from heaven to nourish them and pillars of cloud and fire to guide them, the Israelites often forgot God’s presence in their lives. This was so important because God’s presence is what defined Israel as God’s people. Moses reminded them of this reality just a few verses earlier in Deuteronomy 4:7 when he said, “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?”

Second, the eyes of Israel needed to remain faithful to God by staying focused on His presence, and not the deceitful glitter of the idolatrous world that surrounded them. Moses knew that the eyes are the gateway to the soul, and the Israelites needed to constantly cast their vision squarely on what God has done, and is currently doing, to keep their souls on the righteous path.

Finally, we see that what Israel remembered with their minds and saw with their eyes would eventually be what remained in their hearts. The “heart” is the term often used in Scripture to define the very core of the human soul. This is the spiritual center that helps steer where the soul is going and who we are becoming. If Israel could not control the focus of their minds or eyes, Moses warned them that God’s powerful presence would no longer be the guiding principle of their very hearts and they could stray in their covenant relationship with the Lord.

So, what can we learn from Moses about staying faithful in our journey with God?

Even though we have never seen God part the seas or shower down bread from the sky, if we are Christians our eyes have read His transforming Word, and our souls have been indwelled by His abiding Spirit because we have put our faith in His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. And just like the Israelites, we can easily forget these truths because the world, the flesh, and the devil want our minds to forget Christ, our eyes to look away from Christ, and our hearts to abandon Christ.

Therefore, we need to cling to the words of Deuteronomy 4:9 and keep our souls diligently by surrendering our minds, eyes, and hearts daily to the presence of God so that we grow in our walk with the Lord and experience His power and blessing for all of eternity.

The Struggle to Keep Our Soul     

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Focused on the Father

If there was one motivating factor that fueled the three-year earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, it was His eternal acceptance from His Heavenly Father. In Luke 3:22 as Jesus was coming up from the waters of the Jordan River at His baptism, God’s voice from heaven proclaimed, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Christ found His identity through this acceptance, and we also need to rest in this acceptance as we seek to serve Him.

Power for the Powerless

Another divine truth taught throughout Scripture is that God’s strength is made perfect in the weakest vessels. This is why He has such a strong desire to pour out His mercy and grace on the humble who cling to Him the hardest.  Psalm 35:10 says, “…O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

Big Crowds & Bigger Prayers

It is typical for most people to rely more on God when things are failing and less on God when things are succeeding. However, we see the exact opposite in the gospels, because the more successful Christ’s earthly ministry became, the more fervent He was in prayer to remain focused on His ultimate mission. Luke 5:15-16 says, “But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

Tips to Keep You on Track

This week’s readings will take us through the heart of the book of Deuteronomy. The title of this book means “second law” or “copy of the law” because it is a record of Moses retelling the people of Israel the important details of God’s covenant agreement with them. This repetition of the law is a concise summary of everything that took place in the first four books of the Bible. It’s also a bold reminder for the people of Israel to stay faithful to God as Moses prepares to hand the torch to Joshua to lead them into the Promised Land. As we read these chapters, let them remind us that God will always point us back to remember what He has done in order to point us forward to prepare us for what He is going to do.

Week 12 Readings:  March 18 - 24

-Day One:  Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

-Day Two:  Deuteronomy 10-14; Psalm 5; Luke 8

-Day Three:  Deuteronomy 15-18; Psalm 115; Luke 9

-Day Four:  Deuteronomy 19-22; Psalm 6; Luke 10

-Day Five:  Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11