Joshua 12, 13; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20

“But to the tribe of Levi, Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as He said to them.” (Joshua 13:33 ESV)

Maybe the Levites were disappointed that other tribes were getting possessions as their inheritance, but they received what was most important.  They received the Lord.  As a child I would have read that and thought that they got the short end of the stick. But reading this as an adult I think they hit the jackpot!

“You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.  The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works.  The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them.  The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.  My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145:16-21 ESV)

They hit the jackpot because the Lord is so good to us.  He is righteous, kind and near to all of us.  He wants to give us whatever we desire and is there to help in our distress.  We need to praise Him for all these things and more!

“Thus says the Lord; stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’  But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’  There fore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.  Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.” (Jeremiah 6:16-19 ESV)

Whoa to those who refuse to listen to the Lord.  He truly blesses those who love and obey Him.  But He gives us freedom to choose.  If we choose to hold our ears to His voice, there will be disaster.

“For the kingdom of Heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.  And going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.  And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing.  And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’  They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’  He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’  And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’  And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.  Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius.  And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’  But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong.  Did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what belongs to you and go.  I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?  Or do you begrudge my generosity?’  So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20: 1-16 ESV)

Everything comes from God as He made it all.  Whether we come to Christ as a 5 year old or a 90 year old, the gift of salvation is ours.  There is no competition.  We are all on equal ground.  He is just as proud of those who have served Him their whole lives as those who have only served Him a day.  Praise be to God!

 

Thank you Lord for your kindness and generosity.  Help me to always obey as my way of showing You and those around me to whom I belong.

Kellie

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Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

What does warfare look like? A plain pulsing with enemies armed for battle.

All these kings came out to fight. Their combined armies formed a vast horde. And with all their horses and chariots, they covered the landscape like the sand on the seashore. The kings joined forces and established their camp around the water near Merom to fight against Israel. (Joshua 11:4-5, NLT)

Deep waters pummeling and pulling down to steal one’s very breath.

Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
    rescue me from deep waters,
    from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
    they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead. (Psalm 144:7-8, NLT)

And maybe warfare doesn’t look like a field of foes or an undertow force sucking and dragging–maybe it looks like apathy, satiety, lust. Maybe it’s not an army without, but an enemy within.

For their rebellion is great,
    and their sins are many.

“How can I pardon you?
    For even your children have turned from me.
They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all!
    I fed my people until they were full.
But they thanked me by committing adultery
    and lining up at the brothels.
They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord.
    “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation? (Jeremiah 5:6b-9, NLT)

When face to face with Jesus, he will shed light upon the things one truly values.

20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Matthew 19:20-22, NLT)

My strength is in Christ; the victory is the Lord’s.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men. Then you must cripple their horses and burn their chariots.”

So Joshua and all his fighting men traveled to the water near Merom and attacked suddenly. And the Lord gave them victory over their enemies. (Joshua 11:6-8, NLT)

Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
    He trains my hands for war
    and gives my fingers skill for battle.

He is my loving ally and my fortress,
    my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.
    He makes the nations submit to me. (Psalm 144:1-2, NLT)

Listen, you foolish and senseless people,
    with eyes that do not see
    and ears that do not hear.
22 Have you no respect for me?
    Why don’t you tremble in my presence?
I, the Lord, define the ocean’s sandy shoreline
    as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross.
The waves may toss and roar,
    but they can never pass the boundaries I set.

23 But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.
    They have turned away and abandoned me.
24 They do not say from the heart,
    ‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God,
for he gives us rain each spring and fall,
    assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’
25 Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings.
    Your sin has robbed you of all these good things. (Jeremiah 5:21-25, NLT)

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:23-26, NLT)

Obedience to God and following Christ, letting go of strongholds and seeking with a whole heart … The walk with Christ is not easy–it is war, a war for my heart and soul. Do I recognize the battlefield?

Lord, you came to set me free, to give me a new heart, to give me victory in you. You value my whole heart, and I want my life to honor and celebrate you, with full expression and joy of my heart. Thank you for caring enough (so much!) about me to promise me you’ll never forsake me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 10; Psalm 142-143; Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”  …  So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded…All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.  Joshua 10:25, 40-42 NIV

Lord, You are on my side.  While the battle before me is great, mentally, physically and spiritually, You are stronger.  Distractions and discouragement are the Devil’s greatest tools.  There is no attack that stands a chance in facing Your power.   

Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.  Psalm 143:7-8 NIV

There is nothing that compares to a morning begun with You, Lord.  I offer You my firstfruits.  You deserve so much more and I refuse to give You the leftovers.  When I am in a rut, the best way to avoid the spiral is to bring gratitude to each moment of the day.  Every breath I breathe, I give to You.  Every word I say, I give to you.  Everything I do, I give to you.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.  Matthew 18:1-5 NIV

How can I be more like a child?  They have a curiosity unparallelled. I have so much to learn but sometimes hesitate to ask the questions.  They have a heart that is pure of intention with no other motives.  They have creativity that is unhindered by others’s comments or criticisms.  They have joy in the simplest of pleasures: a rainbow, a popsicle, a cannonball into the pool.  The innocence of a child is unmistakable, completely unable to comprehend any evil that is in this world.  It is so easy to overlook children when in adult conversation, but they crave attention and delight in it.  My heart smiles when my 4year old daughter comes up while in the middle of some task and out of the blue, with all the sincerity in her heart, says “Daddy, I love you.”  I want to make Your heart smile, Lord.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times….  “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Matthew 18:21-22, 29-35 NIV 

Forgiveness

Lord, help me today with the mental battle against distraction and discouragement.  Expose it and defeat it.  Help my faith to be more child-like. Thank You for all the little things of today. May forgiveness be the prayer of my heart.

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Joshua 9; Psalm 140, 141; Jeremiah 3; Matthew 17

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips (Ps 141:3)

If only I prayed that daily! If only I prayed before I spoke! So often the words come and they are out of my mouth without so much as a filter. How many people have I torn down instead of built up (1 Thess 5:11)? My words matter.

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. (Ps. 141:5a)

There is a group of women that meet almost every Wednesday night at my house. We figured out we’ve been meeting since 2011. Needless to say, we’ve done a lot of life together. I know them, I know their character. I know their love for the Lord and their desire to walk in righteousness. Do we get it right? Of course not! They have my permission to point out if I am heading in the wrong direction. I trust them and believe they have my best interests at heart. They keep me on the narrow path. Their desire is to always point me to my Lord—and so we are accountable to each other. They are quick to pray for me, build me up, or tell me the truth in love. Their words carry weight.

Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. (Joshua 9:15)

Joshua and the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites. They had heard what happened in Jericho and Ai and did not want to be killed, so they asked to make a treaty with the Israelites after convincing them they had come from far away. They did not inquire of the Lord but made a binding oath in his name. The Gibeonites became water carriers and woodcutters to serve the Lord. God’s word is binding!

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. (Matt. 17:14-18) NIV

Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of the boy—his words have power.

So often I speak when I should listen, don’t stop to inquire of the Lord and suffer because of it, and try to do things in my own power when I should be trusting Jesus. I am truly a work in progress. Words have such impact on every aspect of our lives. I am so thankful to have the words in the bible to teach me.

Oh Lord, I shake my head as I remember times I’ve hurt people with my words. But through that I’ve learned humility and to ask for forgiveness. There are times I’ve said I would do something when it is not what you wanted me to do at all! Had I asked, life would have been so much easier. I ask for your help in this area. Help me speak words of kindness and encouragement. Help me to stop thinking I know what those words are and pray for the Holy Spirit to give me the right words at the right time. Those words have power that does not come from me! They have power to love and power to heal. Help me use my words wisely. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Joshua 8; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
    the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:12-13 ESV)

Such a tragedy, and often the truth of our own lives as well.

God offers us living water. We reject it and build our own faulty wells.

God offers protection. We build material fortresses and think them safe.

God exposes our faults to correct us. We think we can run and hide in the darkness.

Do not fear and do not be dismayed. (Joshua 8:1 ESV)

With God, victory is complete. Life is full.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! (Psalm 139:1 ESV)

We don’t need to second guess anything. He completely knows. He completely knows us. He completely knows the future. He completely knows best.

Some of His plans don’t add up in our mental calculations. Peter actually rebuked Jesus in Matthew 16 when he said he had to suffer and be killed. Can you imagine that? Rebuking Jesus. After confessing Him as Christ.

Yes, I can imagine that. My prayers sometimes stray into that territory, “God, do you really know what you are doing here?” “Wouldn’t it be better if . . .?” “Do you really have this under control?”

Then I realize what I am doing. I’m rejecting his living water and trying to build my own cistern that will surely leak and never satisfy my thirst.

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25 ESV)

Father God, laying it all down again. Denying myself. Picking up that cross. Following You. I don’t want to try saving my own life, I leave that in Your capable hands as You already completed that on the cross with Your blood. I want to continue to completely lose myself in you that in doing so I will find life abundant. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

 

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