He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. (Deuteronomy 17:19)

Thought:

These instructions about how any King of God’s nation of Israel should behave highlight some key issues which hint at the type of man Israel’s ultimate King or Messiah would be. He would not have lots of wives or horses or gold and silver. He would not be proud and imagine himself above his people. And he would stay focused on reading the Lord’s commands every day in order to better know and obey them. There is a huge emphasis on the king doing this himself, “he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll…and read it daily as long as he lives”(Deuteronomy 17:18,19). Jesus was not a kingly character, just like the king described in this passage below. And the reason being that the trappings of power all serve to distract and detract from the service of God and obedience to his commands. In order to serve God you must obey him and in order to obey him you must read his instructions.

Word:

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NLT

“You are about to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, ‘We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.’ If this happens, be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses. You must appoint a fellow Israelite; he may not be a foreigner. “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself. “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.

Goal:

During the last two years I have formed the habit of spending some time everyday reading the bible. When I first realised the importance of learning to do this I would read only a little bit, maybe ‘Word for the Day’ or a Psalm. Just five minutes. But very soon I found I really missed it when I left it out, and then I found that if I did it first thing in the morning my day would just seem to go better. My goal is never to change this new habit. It has made such a positive difference to me, I hope I am able to read daily as long as I live.

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20, Luke 9:7-27, Psalms 72:1-20, Proverbs 12:8-9

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There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor… (Deuteronomy 15:11)

Thought:

On many occasions in my life, at various milestones, I have found myself wondering how much I need. Most often, I have reached the conclusion that as long as I have enough to eat, clothes to wear and a place to call home, then that is enough. There have been times when these three basics have not been easy to achieve, but for the most part, I have always had enough. Something interesting has happen since I became a Christian though. These days, I no longer think about whether I have enough. My whole perception has changed. These days I find myself wondering how I can share the riches that have flowed into my life. I have no more money than before, no less debt and no more stuff. But now I feel wealthy and fortunate like never before. I no longer imagine winning the Lottery or other such fantasy windfalls. Knowing God and his kingdom really has made me richer. It’s as if my debts have been cancelled.

Word:

Deuteronomy 15:1-11

“At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbours or relatives, for the Lord’s time of release has arrived. This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites—not to the foreigners living among you. “There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession. You will receive this blessing if you are careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you. “But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year for cancelling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.

Goal:

My goal from now on will be to look for where there is a need that I can help with. I no longer care about my position in the world. I no longer care about appearing to be successful or wealthy or comfortable in society. I know that I am rich beyond anything I could earn by working under my own strength, and I want to find ways to share the wealth available to all in God’s kingdom.

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 13:1-15:23, Luke 8:40-9:6, Psalms 71:1-24, Proverbs 12:5-7

All the people in the region of Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. (Luke 8:37)

Thought:

Not everyone who witnessed first hand, the miraculous power of Jesus, were impressed and inspired. In fact even the disciples themselves were sometimes frightened by what they witnessed. For example, when Jesus had calmed the storm they had sailed through on the way to Gerasenes, he asked the disciples… “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” (Luke 8:25). The difference is that the disciples, though sometimes afraid of him, followed Jesus anyway. It is understandable that having just lost a whole herd of pigs, drowned in the sea, the people of Gerasenes were not keen to lose anymore livestock. So this passage illustrates that if people who were actually there with Jesus could find good reason to want nothing to do with him, it is not surprising that folk today might not be impressed or inspired by tall tales of a marvellous miracle man from who lived two thousand years ago.

Word:

Luke 8:30-37 NLT

Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake.

Goal:

I can’t speak for any one else, but I must say that having read and thought about the scriptures, I find I can’t deny the truth I have found. My goal is to encourage others to seek out the truth for themselves.

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32, Luke 8:22-39, Psalms 70:1-5, Proverbs 12:4

The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the sa ying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’(Deuteronomy 9:2)

Thought:

As Christians we face the challenge, daily, of going out into a hostile world in which we hope to show God’s love by the way that we live. We hope to live the way Jesus showed us according to the scriptures we read and study. We hope that the people of the world will notice God’s work in our work and we hope that we might encourage others to acknowledge God by our example.This quest can seem monumentally difficult if we forget that we can do nothing without God. We must remember that it is not us or our goodness that has the power to conquer people’s hearts. We are merely vessels through whom God can demonstrate his love, his compassion, his forgiveness.
And when we do appear to be successful, and people begin to respond positively, when congregations grow and souls are saved, we must remember to whom the glory belongs.
He has not saved us because we deserved it, he has saved us because he loves us, by his grace. So therefore when ever a soul is saved, the glory is the Lord’s, and only the Lord’s.

Word:

Deuteronomy 9:1-6 NLT

“Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognise today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised. “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfil the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You must recognise that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.

Goal:

I find it terribly hard not to worry about how my basic needs will be met. I often worry about my job prospects or how long it will take to pay off my debts or how I will ever fully understand how to keep my wife happy all the time! I am generally stubbornly negative quite a lot of the time. But since I have been walking in the way of Jesus, I have found that whenever I remember that the Lord will provide and I am not in control of anything, things work out better. When I stubbornly hold on to my worry, my worries mount up, one on top of the other. My goal is to let my worries go. My goal is to surrender to the will of God instead of stubbornly holding on to my worries.

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22, Luke 8:4-21, Psalms 69:19-36, Proverbs 12:2-3

But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, cancelling their debts. (Luke 7:42)

Thought:

Let’s assume this certain immoral woman was a prostitute of some kind. It is easy to imagine what conclusion Simon, Jesus’s host, must have jumped to. She pours very expensive oil on his feet, and weeps over him, stroking him with her hair which she has immodestly let down in public. It might well have seemed that Jesus was allowing such intimate contact with him because he had been, or was intending to be, even more intimate with this woman. An open display of affection and emotion by an immoral woman in our times, would set tongues waging and minds racing in any social situation, so it is not surprising that Jesus knew what Simon was thinking and chose to explain with his parable of debts forgiven. When Jesus forgave this woman’s sin I don’t know, but I do know that she was so grateful to Jesus that she defied all the social norms of behaviour in order to thank him in best way way she knew. She was overwhelmed that he should have treated her with such grace and forgiven her her mountain of sins. Simon the Pharisee wasn’t overwhelmed that Jesus was eating in his home, he was just interested to meet a fellow and famous teacher. Simon wasn’t expecting a lesson from Jesus, on the debt we all owe to the Lord, because we all sin in one way or another.

Word:

Luke 7:36-43 NLT

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, cancelling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said.

Goal:

I never want to forget the profound gratitude I felt when I first knew the Lord’s forgiveness. I remember one evening in a hotel room in Southampton, weeping helplessly for hours and saying “I’m so sorry”, over and over again. I prayed and prayed that night, just saying,”I’m sorry and thank you for forgiving me.” All I know is that my debt was more than I could ever have paid back, but Jesus kindly forgave me.

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20, Luke 7:36-8:3, Psalms 69:1-18, Proverbs 12:1

“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else ” (Luke 7:19,20)

Thought:

Jesus was quite clearly a prophet and his reputation was as a great man of God who could heal the sick of all their ailments. Jesus healed everyone who came to him with an illness. He preached with a profound wisdom and with astonishing authority. He even raised the dead. And yet people still wanted verbal confirmation from him that he was the Messiah, as prophesied in the scriptures. There had never been a man like him before and there has never been one since.

Jesus’s answer to John’s disciples was wonderfully simple and to the point. He says: “- the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”(Mark 7:22) it’s as if he is saying, “Hey John, you know the scriptures. Your disciples have seen this stuff, you decide for yourself. Oh, and one more thing, “God blesses those who do not turn away from me” (or, who are not offended by me) (Luke 7:23). In other words, Jesus is challenging John to look at the evidence available and perhaps change his preconceptions of what he thinks the Messiah should be.

Word:

Luke 7:18-23 NLT

The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’” At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me. ’”

Goal:

The goal today is to weigh up the evidence as recorded in the gospels. Looking at Jesus’s miracles and teachings, can I decide for myself whether Jesus is the Messiah I’ve been expecting, or should I be looking somewhere else?

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25, Luke 7:11-35, Psalms 68:19-35, Proverbs 11:29-31

Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

Thought:

It feels appropriate today, in the light of the passage below, to reflect again on my purpose with these Daily Devotionals. In order to know…”decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions”…(Deuteronomy 4:8), you need to read or hear what they are. Therefore if you want to know God’s instructions you need to know what is written in the Bible. Many people have heard about the bible and the wisdom it contains. But not so many, I find, read it regularly. To read the bible through is a real achievement, there is no denying that, but it’s big. It’s a whole shelf of books really. Poetry, History, Law, Politics, Philosophy, all sorts. That’s why regular, short and targeted reading can make a real difference to your faith. There is so much in the bible, that you could read it from cover to cover ten times, and still find things you are sure you’ve never heard before! And then there are the famous bits that you really think you know, but the more of the bible you learn about, the more it all inter-connects. Then even the famous bits take on new depths of meaning and resonance.

Word:

Deuteronomy 4:1-8 NLT

“And now, Israel, listen carefully to these decrees and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you. “You saw for yourself what the Lord did to you at Baal-peor. There the Lord your God destroyed everyone who had worshiped Baal, the god of Peor. But all of you who were faithful to the Lord your God are still alive today—every one of you. “Look, I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’ For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today?

Goal:

If you have never felt able to really get to grips with the Bible by yourself, then try reading these TWG Daily Devotionals everyday for one week. Just seven days. It doesn’t matter what time you read it in the day, just try it. If you manage the whole week, maybe try it again the next week…. Just make up your mind to do one week and then see what happens.

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 4:1-49, Luke 6:39-1:10, Psalms 68:1-18, Proverbs 11:28