Monthly Archives: March 2018

Joshua 9-13; Luke 16

Joshua 9 and Luke 16 both offer examples of shrewdness providing protection. In Joshua chapter 9, the Gibeonites deceive the men of Israel to secure their lives and safety.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” (Joshua 9 NKJV)

But really, they came from right next door. Interestingly, chapter 10 provides insight about these Gibeonites.

and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. (Joshua 10 NKJV)

This section offers such a sense of the fear the Lord through His people invoked- that such a mighty, royal city ( men of the city) would humble themselves to be wood cutters and water carriers – the sentence pronounced upon them when their deceit was found out. Ultimately, Israel could not harm them because of the covenant made. Their shrewdness saved their lives.

In Luke 16, the steward is to be cast out for wasting his master’s goods. He secures his future through crafty planning. In the end, this shrewdness is praised.

So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. (Luke 16 NKJV)

And:

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail,[c] they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16 NKJV)

I ponder these verses. My soul lights upon “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful in much also…” because this theme- the theme of integrity in the secret places yielding a great fruit in the places of light–after a time –has been resonating in my soul. For a while. Yet, I do not understand what it means to “make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” Do you?  And then the chapter speaks:

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16 NKJV)

Make friends- but don’t serve as master.  Be faithful with mammon to show yourself approved for true riches. I do not really understand. Lord, help me!

The Lord wants me to highly esteem what matters to Him. – a lesson taken deeply to my heart right now-

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16 NKJV)

In the chapters that move from Joshua 9-13, I see the obedience of Joshua. I feel it, too.

15 As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11 NKJV)

There is peace and well-being in the completeness of his obedience.

Lord, help me to understand Your Word. Open my eyes to see truth that can change my heart. Thank you for Your patient mercy. Help me to always value and prize what matters to You. Help me to understand that money is a symbol… that everything we do and how we handles things is in reference to the true reality: eternity. Thank You for the Cross and Your blood. Thank You for the gospel! Thank You that You live!!!!!!!!!! Amen.

 

 

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Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15

That prodigal son. That older brother. And a father.

I was hoping for the story of the lost sheep found, and it was here in Luke 15. But so was that prodigal son, that older brother, and a father.

Father, for me, on earth, represented a lot of pain, striving, and rejection. How glad I was to find a Father in the pages of scripture to show me what love is–all these years of searching His Word, it has brought me closer to Him with a deeper understanding of true love.

This story of a wasteful, wayward son, and a son who did all the right things. I could focus on all the wrong things the wayward son did, and the frivolity that led to his remorse and humility. I could focus on all the right things the other son did, and the wounding that stirred in him–oh what about me, wasn’t I worth a feast?

But I focus on a Father, whose love is generous and abundant. And this is a glimpse of His heart. Isn’t what and how we love and give a glimpse of our own heart?

Oh, that my last words on earth would be love.

Father God, thank you for calling me your own. Thank you for adopting me into your family. Thank you for your Word in my hands and heart. Thank you for loving me so generously.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Joshua 1-4; Psalm 143; Luke 14

When Jesus called me, He called all of me.  It all began when I was 12 years old and when I was 14, I completely surrendered to Him. I wanted everything God had for me, I wanted nothing in the way between Him and I.  I read the Bible everyday looking for ways to obey Him and follow Him just like Joshua did.  Joshua became a role model for me for many years.

Long ago I promised the ancestors of Israel that I would give this land to their descendants. So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law[b] he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. – Joshua 1:6-8   CEV

My first spiritual dry experience came soon after when I was 15.  There was a long season of not praying and not reading my Bible – it seemed that everything that was relevant was not anymore.  In my boredom one day, I picked up one of my dad’s books called, Martyrs Mirror. It has a historical record of all the martyrs who had died for their faith beginning with the apostles and those from the early church.  Very early on in the book, probably the first five pages, I wept when I read of the passion of these early followers of Jesus and was ashamed that I had lost mine.

I remember to think about
the many things
    you did
    in years gone by.
 Then I lift my hands in prayer,
because my soul is a desert,
    thirsty for water from you. – Psalm 143:5-6   CEV

When I hit my knees to surrender myself, I gave Jesus my desires and my life.  It was then that I realized that I had really given Him my all.  It was never going to be my way, always His way and I realized that this was going to be the best adventure I could ever have. He had my life in the palm of His hand.

You cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own. – Luke 14:33

Father, You have never left me and You have walked with me in whatever circumstances I have been in.  You have seen me ashamed for having nothing, seen me embarrassed for being so small and little among others who know much more than I.  Yet, when I get on my knees before You, You make me feel like a giant, like I can do and accomplish anything because You walk with me.  I may not be like others, but when I walk with You, You walk with me and I am all that I need to be because You have called me to be Your child.  I love You for this and each new day is a day where I take Your hand and follow You. With a thankful heart.

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Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalms 13; Luke 13

“Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18&19 NLT

He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” Luke 13:20 NLT

As I prepare my heart for Easter, I think about God’s Kingdom coming to earth. Humble beginnings. The obedience of Jesus.  Even with the knowledge of his death, he pressed on…

“Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.” Luke 13:22 NLT

Moses, the man who once couldn’t find the words, lead the children of Israel with a song.  He reminded them of God’s faithfulness.

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” Deuteronomy 32:1-4 NLT

Moses was called Israel’s greatest prophet, but his disobedience kept him from entering the Promised Land.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants. ‘I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said.” Deuteronomy 34:4&5 NLT

Sometimes God wants my obedience, even when I can’t see the results.

“There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to be more concerned about building your kingdom, instead of my own.  Thank you for making a way to you through your death on the cross.  Give me eyes to see glimpses of your glory everyday.  Amen.

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” Psalms 13:5 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Numbers 27-31; Luke 12

I don’t know about you, but I tend to worry about provision. Do I have enough funds in my checking account? Will we be able to pay for this or for that? This morning I want you to read through the passage below and think about every worry you have. Then give them back to Jesus. Remember he takes care of the smallest things in our lives.

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 12:4-7[ESV]).

Make a list of your worries and concerns today and then turn them over to the Lord.

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD you God is giving you… And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 26: 1-4 ESV

Deuteronomy is filled with laws from God for the people of Israel to follow. One of these laws was tithing. The LORD told the Israelites to tithe on their firstfruits as a way of offering thanks to Him. After offering their tithes to God, the people where to give their firstfruits to the Levite, the fatherless, the widows, and the sojourners in their land, in order to care and provide for them. However, many years later, the Pharisees would completely miss the point of tithing.

“And the Lord said to him [a Pharisee]… “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Luke 11: 42 ESV

Even though the Pharisees carefully follow the laws from God, they didn’t care about justice or the people. By neglecting justice, the Pharisees’ showed that they only cared about making themselves look good and telling others how they were  to act, instead of caring for God’s people like they were suppose to do.

“And he said, Woe to you lawyers also! For you lead people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” Luke 11: 46 ESV

Jesus next addressed the lawyers, who added extra laws for the people to follow and did nothing to help them follow it. Instead of following the Word of God and guiding the people to do so as well, the lawyers and Pharisees just placed burdens on the people’s backs and refused to show compassion. Sometimes, like the Pharisees and lawyers, I get too caught up in following rules and instruction that I forget to care for others or show grace. It is easy to judge others and point out their sin, but it is a lot hard to look at yourself and see that you are just as bad. God has called us to show compassion to others and to help them with their burdens, not stand by and neglect them.

Dear God, please help me give grace to those who let me down or fail me. Please help me help them with their burdens. Help me show them justice and kindness, just as you have shown me justice and kindness by sending Jesus to died for my sins. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Deuteronomy 19-22; Luke 10

“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner… Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility.” (Deuteronomy 22:1, 3 NLT)

Parable of the Good Samaritan

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37 NLT)

She doesn’t ignore her responsibility.

She visits almost every week; not only the person she intends to visit, but also others. She takes time out of her day to knit a hat for the doll. She holds a hand. She is kind, wise, and loving not only to family but to others as well. She is an amazing influence.

Dear God,

Thank you for showing me these things. Please help me to not ignore any responsibilities that come my way. You are so wonderful and I treasure our friendship. I love you. Amen.

Lanie (llilly2017)

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