Bethany Lutheran Brethren Church
Staten Island, NY

Bethany Blog

Bethany Blog

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Summer Reading - July 4

Deuteronomy 4 & Mark 4

How has God convicted me of sin in these readings?

The first commandment says that I should have no other gods but the true God of heaven.  “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deut. 4:24) “Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” (Deut. 4:39) “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)  All these verses convict me that I so naturally and easily worship other things before God.  Even this day I have feared man and his opinion of me more than God.  I have loved cool dry air more than God as revealed in my grumbling heart about the weather.  I have trusted in my own understanding as I laid in bed worrying about how to handle the situations of my life.  I am convicted that I have broken God’s righteous commands.

How has God comforted me with grace in these readings?

I have been comforted by God’s word today as well.  He knows what my heart is like: “And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.” (Deut. 4:28). “They are those who hear the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)  I am comforted that God knows my sinful heart because in the face of it, God continues to offer His word to me. “Behold, a sower went out to sow.” (Mark 4:3)  Notice that the sower sows everywhere, and all kinds of soil.  In whatever manner God found my heart this morning, He sowed His word into it.  And through it He offers me forgiveness of sin. (Mark 4:12) This reveals God’s character.  And His word said it quite clearly today: “For the Lord your God is a merciful God.  He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” (Deut. 4:31)  God is faithful to me, to us.  He continues to move toward me no matter what condition I am in.

Where do I see Jesus in these readings?

Jesus lived his life exactly how the Lord had commanded. “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.” (Deut. 4:9)  Even the great Moses could not boast of this.  For Moses admits: “Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me because of you.” (Deut. 4:21) Earlier Moses had been told by God to speak to a rock and water would flow from it, but in his anger toward Israel, Moses hit the rock instead.  He had broken God’s command to him.  But not Christ.  He kept the law perfectly.  Jesus is my hero.  He does not fail like Moses or me.  And in His perfection, Christ was willing to set that aside and die in my place, and offer me credit for His perfect life.  What a savior, what a God!

How is God calling me to respond to His word today?

Today I am called to open my mouth and praise God for how awesome and merciful He is to me.  I am called to respond as the disciples did, “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41)  I’m called to lift my voice and praise Him. Now if you’ll excuse, I’m going to go do that!