Unwrapping Love

1 Peter 1.22-25

Love is the greatest gift we can unwrap this Christmas.

For some of you, unwrapping love has to start with realizing God’s love for you. Faith comes before obedience. God has gone to incredible links to prove His love. He sent His own Son to pay the penalty for your sin…death…the debt that you owe because of your rebellion against Him has been fully paid by Jesus. So that by recognizing that you are a sinner in need of repentance and by believing that Jesus can save you then trusting Him to do so, you can be completely forgiven for all your sins and can become a son or daughter of the King, and have perfect peace, a living hope and inexpressible joy. [Trust]

For others of you, unwrapping love has to start with loving God more. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14.15). Obedience is active love. It’s the way we show our love for God and for others. If we believe that not only is God all-powerful and all-knowing, but that He also loves us in a way that only He can and that He desires our good, then we are fools when we refuse to obey. Obedience means doing what God says, but we can only do what He says if we know what He says. In other words, it’s impossible to obey if I don’t know what to obey. So how do we know what God wants us to do? You guessed it. Time spent in His Word. Time spent in prayer. Time with other believers. Learning, listening, dialoguing. No other way around it. But knowing’s not enough. I also have to apply what I’m learning. I have to do it. Good news…you don’t have to forge ahead on your own. The Spirit is the One who sanctifies us…He’s the One who gives us the ability to do what God says to do. [Trust and obey]

For the rest, unwrapping love continues with fervently loving one another from the heart. Loving others in active and practical ways is a natural consequence of obedience…a predictable outcome. What is the greatest commandment? Love God with all that we are and love our neighbor as ourself.

If other folks loved God the way you love God, and if they loved others the way you do, how would the world be different? If you practiced actively loving others this week, how would that impact your marriage? Your family? Your other relationships? What would that look like?

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on a sermon from our Advent series: Unwrapping Christmas. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

The Parable of the Soils

Luke 8.1-21

Plants reflect the soil they are planted in. If there is something wrong with the soil, then it’s reflected in the crop. A tree is known by its fruit…

What soil best represents you? Hard…shallow…distracted…good. The goal of the Christian life is fruitfulness…the seed planted is intended to produce a bumper crop. If you are not seeing the fruits of the Spirit increasing in your life…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…if you’re not growing in your love for God and others…if you identified with any other than the good soil, that’s not good news. The word is not having its intended effect on your life. You are not experiencing the abundant life Jesus intended you to have.

The devil, persecution, wealth and the cares of this world all can and do get in the way of our experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus wants for us…the fruitfulness that the word is intended to produce. The good news is…the hard soil can be broken up, rocks can be removed, weeds can be pulled…the good soil, that receives the word and perseveres producing a great harvest, can be cultivated.

So how do you cultivate good soil? Jesus says it’s the right kind of heart that holds fast to the word and perseveres…steadfast endurance over time. We have to hear what Jesus says and then do it. Fundamentally, we have to believe that God really does love us and desires our good. Until we believe that, we will never really trust Him enough to do what He says. Obedience should follow trust which follows love. Obedience that comes from fear is feigned obedience…I obey because I don’t want to face the consequences of not obeying. But when I obey because I trust the One I’m obeying, there’s a freedom to risks and to live life boldly that cannot be experienced any other way. To get to that point, we have to spend time with the Father…in His Word and in prayer, asking and allowing the Holy Spirit to instruct us and guide us, to reveal to us more of Jesus…then we will be able to overcome trials, worries about wealth, and the pursuit of pleasures because we have found the greatest of all pleasures…God Himself. [I read a great quote this week…”Live your life in such a way that it only make sense if God exists”]

The different soils reflect differing responses to Jesus. How will you respond to Him?

 

Until next time…stay salty.

“May Jesus’ word fall on the good soil of our hearts, producing much fruit in our lives.”

This post is based on a sermon from our Luke series, Live & Love Like Jesus. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Examining a Lifestyle of Worship

Luke 2.41-52

Jesus lived a lifestyle of worship…a lifestyle that was modeled by His parents and reflected His absolute devotion to God. There is no doubt He was totally sold out.

We see Joseph and Mary’s lifestyle of worship in their pursuit of God…their obedience by doing everything according to the Law including the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Following God wasn’t just a part of their life…an event reserved for the Sabbath or special holidays…it was their life. A lifestyle of worship…it invaded every corner of who they were. We see it in their investment in Jesus’ life…passing on a spiritual legacy to their Son.

Jesus’ lifestyle of worship is evident in His relationship with His Father God. Not only did He participate in the celebration of Passover, He wanted to learn everything He could…energizing His heart and mind through biblical teaching. He had a personal relationship with God. And He obeyed those God had placed in authority over Him…even though He was and is eternal God.

What does it look like for us to live a lifestyle of worship? For both parents and students, it looks like all out pursuit of God, walking in obedience and learning all that we can about Him, and passing on a spiritual legacy to the next generation. It’s more than the songs we sing or a weekend event…it should infect every aspect of our lives. Make the commitment to pursue a lifestyle of worship today.

There are no +1’s in the kingdom of God. Each of us can only enter by being a son or daughter of the King. That means that each one of us must have his or her own relationship with Father God. You can only have that through Jesus. Joseph and Mary went looking for Jesus because they thought they had lost Him, but He was where they had left Him all along. Are you searching for Jesus? Then look no further. He’s here today and wants to welcome you into the family.

May we pursue a lifestyle of worship this week, growing in our understanding of who God is and who we are as His children and pointing others to Him.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Luke series entitled Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

October 10 – OT Reading

Isaiah 54-58

Isaiah 54

The Fertility of Zion

54 “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations And will resettle the desolate cities.

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God. “For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.

“For this is like the days of Noah to Me, When I swore that the waters of Noah Would not flood the earth again; So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you Nor will I rebuke you. 10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.

11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, And your foundations I will lay in sapphires. 12 “Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, And your gates of crystal, And your entire wall of precious stones. 13 “All your sons will be taught of the Lord; And the well-being of your sons will be great. 14 “In righteousness you will be established; You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; And from terror, for it will not come near you. 15 “If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me. Whoever assails you will fall because of you. 16 “Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin. 17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

 

Isaiah 55

The Free Offer of Mercy

55 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. “Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. “Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 12 “For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

 

Isaiah 56

Rewards for Obedience to God

56 Thus says the Lord, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed. “How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”

For thus says the Lord,

“To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.

“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

All you beasts of the field, All you beasts in the forest, Come to eat. 10 His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; 11 And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. 12 “Come,” they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.”

 

Isaiah 57

Evil Leaders Rebuked

57 The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way. “But come here, you sons of a sorceress, Offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute. “Against whom do you jest? Against whom do you open wide your mouth And stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion, Offspring of deceit, Who inflame yourselves among the oaks, Under every luxuriant tree, Who slaughter the children in the ravines, Under the clefts of the crags? “Among the smooth stones of the ravine Is your portion, they are your lot; Even to them you have poured out a drink offering, You have made a grain offering. Shall I relent concerning these things? “Upon a high and lofty mountain You have made your bed. You also went up there to offer sacrifice. “Behind the door and the doorpost You have set up your sign; Indeed, far removed from Me, you have uncovered yourself, And have gone up and made your bed wide. And you have made an agreement for yourself with them, You have loved their bed, You have looked on their manhood. “You have journeyed to the king with oil And increased your perfumes; You have sent your envoys a great distance And made them go down to Sheol. 10 “You were tired out by the length of your road, Yet you did not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewed strength, Therefore you did not faint.

11 “Of whom were you worried and fearful When you lied, and did not remember Me Nor give Me a thought? Was I not silent even for a long time So you do not fear Me? 12 “I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, But they will not profit you. 13 “When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry all of them up, And a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land And will possess My holy mountain.”

14 And it will be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.” 15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. 16 “For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, And the breath of those whom I have made. 17 “Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart. 18 “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, 19 Creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,” Says the Lord, “and I will heal him.” 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. 21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

 

Isaiah 58

Observances of Fasts

58 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord? “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. 11 “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

Keeping the Sabbath

13 “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, 14 Then you will take delight in the Lord, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Like Father, Like Son

Genesis 26

The hero in our story today follows in the epic footsteps of his famous father. The covenant promises that the LORD made to Abraham are firmly in the grip of his son Isaac who shares the faith and character of his father.

When your entire life is wrapped up in one promise, when you’re life is spent looking for the fulfillment of God’s promise to you, how do you live? Abraham never stopped thinking about it. He left a legacy of faith for his son…faith and obedience. The promised passes to Isaac because of Abraham’s faithfulness and fidelity. It reminds us of the awesome responsibility that we have to pass on a spiritual heritage to our children. It wasn’t because of Isaac’s Sunday school teacher or youth group leader that he was receiving the promises, but because of his father. It should sober us as parents. That doesn’t mean that youth leaders or mentors or others don’t have a role to play…in fact, they can have a huge impact on the spiritual journey of the next generation, but the primary responsibility still rests with parents.

Abraham has taught Isaac how to worship, how to make decisions, how to listen to God. And he does. He actually does better than his father. But Isaac has also picked up from Abraham how to deceive and to fear. Isaac chooses wisely when his wife is barren, but not when he has to protect himself. He has the faith of Abraham – the exact same faith. He trusts God – most of the time. He has some maturing to do.

Isaac picked up some of Abraham’s bad habits…stretching the truth being highlighted here. Our kids are always watching… we’re hoping that they won’t make the same mistakes that we did, but unfortunately they often do…we do. Same with each generation. Especially with the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. How many of us get onto our kids for speeding when we model that behavior so well for them? Or how about their condescending tone with their siblings when they hear the same thing when we interact with our spouse? Our kids unwittingly pick up many of our habits…both bad and good.

What about you? As a parent, are you leaving a spiritual legacy for your kids? Are you intentional about building into them a life of faith? Could you say, like Paul, follow my example as I follow the example of Christ? Abraham had an incredible promise to pass on to his son…great nation, great land, blessing to all nations, and ultimately the Head-crushing Seed of the woman, Jesus. And though we may not be passing on the Abrahamic Covenant to our children, we have a promise. The hope of redemption. The resurrection of our bodies. The return of our King, Jesus. The new heavens and the new earth, a return to paradise. Life forever with our Creator God. Are we living like it? Are we preparing the next generation? Are we making choices that we want them to make? As a teenager, are you making wise choices in what habits you’re emulating from your parents? Are you walking in faith?

May God give us the grace to do so this week.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

All In

Genesis 17

What separates the average, even the good from the great? Throughout history, those who have changed the world have not only been fully convinced but also “all in” with that thing, whatever it was that was their passion. From outstanding athletes like Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning to famous thinkers like Albert Einstein or Aristotle to founders of great movements like Martin Luther King, Jr. or his namesake Martin Luther.

Abraham made some incredible strides in his faith journey with God. He left the known for the unknown. He faced down incredible odds to rescue lot. He passed on the tainted riches of Sodom. He built altars along the way. But he also trusted in his own ingenuity…Egypt, Hagar. And while the promises of land and blessing don’t seem to trip him up, he struggles with the promise of a son. Lot. Eliezer. Ishmael. All want-to-be contenders for the title. But none the one God had in mind. Abram’s a believer…he has a relationship with God, but he struggles with fully trusting Him when it comes to a son…maybe not so much that God can (is able), but how could He (how is He going to do it). He has a seeing problem, his eyes keep getting in the way. He’s divided in his affections. In other words, his focus tends to drift to the earthy, the physical. He’s missing the incredible spiritual reality…nothing is beyond Creator God!

I can relate to Abraham. I have a “seeing” problem as well. Circumstances often inhibit my ability to live like I’m trusting God in the day-to-day and dictate my attitude toward others. Instead of viewing the world from God’s perspective, knowing that He is working, I lament the fact that finances are tight, relationships are sometimes hard, and situations don’t always work out the way I think they should.

God calls Abraham to be all in. He didn’t want just a casual relationship, a when-it’s-convenient- or a when-the world-is falling-apart-I’ll-call-upon-You companion. He wanted all of Abraham. He wanted Abraham to experience the life that He had created and saved him for. He didn’t want Abraham to settle. He wanted him to have it all. He wants the same for us. God wants us to experience life to the full in His kingdom…right now. But we can’t experience that life if we aren’t all in. And that takes a singleness of purpose, a driving passion, a desire and a determination to be all in that is only possible through the work of the Spirit in our lives. Without that we will only experience the frustration of what could have been. The “if only” reality that most of us invariably settle for.

My prayer for us this week is that we, like Abraham would be all in and that we would leave behind those things that keep us from pursuing Jesus with reckless abandon, so that we might experience the unbelievable adventure of walking with God with singleness of purpose (blameless) and incredible joy.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

April 17 – OT Reading

Lent 2014

This is our last week of Lent. Friday we recognize Good Friday with “Journey to the Cross”. Then on Sunday we celebrate the resurrection! This is the week to create opportunities to invite your “8-15”. Our Friday Night whole-family event is perfect for inviting friends, family, co-workers…they will experience fun, creativity, the Stations of the Cross, and a closing ceremony and cross-raising.

Then, invite your “8-15” back for any of our 5 Easter services! This is an important celebration in the life of a believer…something that we want to share with everyone!

Continue to read and pray this week, to prepare for opportunities to invite and to share the Gospel. What an amazing time this is…making a Kingdom impact together!

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Deuteronomy 11

Rewards of Obedience

11 “You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. 2 Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the Lord your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm, 3 and His signs and His works which He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land; 4 and what He did to Egypt’s army, to its horses and its chariots, when He made the water of the Red Sea to engulf them while they were pursuing you, and the Lord completely destroyed them; 5 and what He did to you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, among all Israel— 7 but your own eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which He did.

8 “You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it; 9 so that you may prolong your days on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. 11 But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.

13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul,14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. 15 He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. 17 Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.

18 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 19 You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth. 22 For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea. 25 No man will be able to stand before you; the Lord your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you.

26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

29 “It shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30 Are they not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31 For you are about to cross the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall possess it and live in it, 32 and you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the judgments which I am setting before you today.

Deuteronomy 12

Laws of the Sanctuary

12 “These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. You shall not act like this toward the Lord your God. 5 But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. There also you and your households shall eat before the Lord your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.

8 “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; 9 for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. 10 When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, 11 then it shall come about that the place in which the Lord your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.

13 “Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see, 14 but in the place which the Lord chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.

15 “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. 16 Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17 You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. 18 But you shall eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all your undertakings. 19 Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.

20 “When the Lord your God extends your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you desire to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever you desire. 21 If the place which the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter of your herd and flock which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire. 22 Just as a gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it. 23 Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. 24 You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water. 25 You shall not eat it, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord.26 Only your holy things which you may have and your votive offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the Lord chooses. 27 And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the flesh.

28 “Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 31 You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Deuteronomy 13

Shun Idolatry

13 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.

6 “If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.

12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that 13 some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known),14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. 16 Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt. 17 Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the Lord may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers, 18 if you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)