Monthly Archives: March 2019

Judges 7-8; Mark 12; Psalms 52, 42

“So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch.  And they blew the trumpets and broke the jars.  They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow.  And they cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!'” (Judges 7:19-20 ESV)

Gideon was simply following God’s instructions on how to defeat his enemy.  Because they attacked at night and with light and noise, the enemy didn’t know what hit them.  God is here to help us when we ask Him to and follow His lead.

“And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not God of the dead, but of the living.  You are quite wrong.” (Mark 12:26-27 ESV)

Jesus is addressing the Sadducees as they question about the resurrection.  Jesus points out that they don’t understand God’s power and those who believe in Him, will indeed be resurrected.

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.  I will thank you forever, because you have done it.  I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” (Psalms 52:8-9 ESV)

Those of us who believe in Him can rejoice like the psalmist.  We can be equipped to fight our enemies like Gideon and trust in our own resurrection.  How glorious to know this!

Kellie

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Judges 5-6; Mark 11; Psalms 39, 41

I sit with Gideon this morning.

12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!

13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”

14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!

15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”

He answered, “I will stay here until you return” (Judges 6:12-18, NLT, emphasis added).

I notice how Gideon sees himself. I notice he has a lot of questions. I notice his doubts. I notice his need for assurance.

Gideon takes steps that slowly build up trust and confidence–going to get the offering and seeing the angel of the Lord still there; the offering ignited; the task of sacrificing of his father’s bull and tearing down of the Asherah pole; the wet fleece test; the dry fleece test.

That first moment of Gideon at the threshing floor–he was going about life as usual, and the Lord arrives with a hero’s task for him. Gideon didn’t feel ready to take on such a big responsibility. He doubted himself. He doubted the calling he heard. And maybe he doubted God. Did he wonder, “Are you really with me? Will you really be there? In this circumstance, I feel abandoned. Can I really trust you? Can I have a sign? And another one too, just to be sure?” (I placed the Lord’s assurances in bold, so my heart would see.)

In Mark 11, I read of Jesus telling some disciples to get a young donkey–where to find it, what to say if questioned. I notice his authority. And later:

As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” (Mark 11:27b-28, NLT)

Gideon: who felt small and weak, given a hero’s task. The disciples: told where to go, what to get, what to say, and they do it. The religious leaders: threatened and angered, demanding proof of permission. The fig tree: in full leaf, a posture of maturity, but fruitless and immature.

13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it (Mark 11:13-14, NLT).

Lord, be with me. Your word tells me you are trustworthy. You are the authority. I’m grateful for your patience with me. I am grateful that you will not abandon me. Help me to keep my eyes on you and to be obedient to your call.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 1-4; Mark 10

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. – Judges 2:10  ESV

I love Joshua, I tried to live my life like Joshua since I was a teenager. I did not like reading this verse this morning. Not sure why I had not read it before but that is probably because today God is calling me to make disciples and this is on my mind and heart.

Can you imagine, being in church, seeing miracles taking place and yet deciding to do evil in the sight of God? As we are in church – we are all informed, we have seen and heard of people experiencing God and I would dare say that most of us have even had a personal experience with God, and all of that has not kept us from running after other things.

How did Joshua feel on his deathbed of the legacy he was leaving behind? It must have dawned on him that he was a disciple of Moses and had somehow failed to do the same. Was there no one with a heart or faith to follow God? If I have learned anything this year it is this – godly living, careful instructions and powerful exhortations are not enough. I see through Joshua being discipled by Moses that it requires cultivating convictions and teaching what it means to serve the Lord. I need to take my own steps of faith to experience the great work of God in my life. I need to step forward and take responsibility to lead people and make disciples who will do the same.  Who will carry on the cause of Christ when I am out of the picture? Joshua was a great man of God, but he failed to pass the baton to the next generation.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45  ESV 

What a great example Jesus gives me – a servant model. He had one task and He finished it. He laid down His life in order for it to be accomplished.

I am a servant of Jesus – that means that I submit to His authority and His right to tell me to do what He needs me to do. I know fully well that He really does not need my help. So when I read that Jesus has come to serve, even those who serve Him, I joy knowing that He uses all of His divine resources to help, strengthen, guide, support and provide me with all my needs.  With such wind in my sails, I can be a servant too and give my time to others so that they too may serve with me.

Thank you Father. You have given me Jesus and I have everything I need. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar)

 

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Joshua 22-24; Mark 9; Psalms 44;47

“Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.  “For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you.  Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised.” Joshua 23:9-10 NLT

I am reading a book by Max Lucado called, Glory Days.  It is about Joshua.  This is his response to Joshua 23:9&10…”Don’t you love that image? One man of you shall chase a thousand.  I envision a single Hebrew soldier with drawn sword racing after am entire battalion of enemies.  He is outnumbered a thousand to one, but since God fights for him, they scatter like scared pigeons.  I picture the same for you.  The Amorites of your life-fears, dread, hatred, and hurt-come at you like a legion of hoodlums.  Yet rather than run away, you turn and face them. You unsheathe the promise of God’s word and defy the enemies of God’s cause.”  And than he says this, “Did you know that God is fighting for you?”  Wow, how different would I live if I truly remembered that.  And prayed like that.  Jesus fights for me. Just like he fought for the little boy with the evil spirit inside him…

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy.  But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.  “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.  He replied, “Since he was a little boy.  The spirit often throws him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him.  Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”   “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” ” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:19-24 NLT

What areas do I still need healing in that I am not believing God for?  What lies from Satan am I still listening to?

“You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors.  You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.  They did not conquer the land with swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.  It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.”  Psalms 44:2&3 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for how much you love me.  Thank you that you give me the power to defeat my enemies.  Sometimes it is my own self-doubt and insecurity that defeats me before I even start.  I claim your promises over my life.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

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Joshua 18-21; Mark 8

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”

Joshua 21:45 ESV

The promises of the Lord can be trusted. I know that intellectually, but my heart fails me so much of the time. I wonder and I doubt. I read the stories and see all that God has done…yet…I wonder if he will do the same for me. Will He provide? Will He heal? Will He give me the desires of my heart? Will He really never leave me?

I can only imagine how the Israelite’s wondered the same thing. They had wandered around in the desert for 40 years. They saw the size of the people living in the promised land and doubted. They marched around Jericho. They fought the battles. And…God fulfilled His promises…His Good Promises.

What good promises can I cling to today?

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“Who do people say that I am?”

Mark 8:27 ESV

I don’t know all the promises we can cling to from the Lord. I know there are some promises that were meant for a very specific group of people. Waiting for those promises will leave me wondering about God’s goodness and intentions in my life. There are other promises that I cling to.

  • “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5
  • “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…” Isaiah 40:31
  • “For God so loved the world…” John 3:16
  • “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

Even more than the promises to cling to, however, is the God who made them. I want to cling to my God. I want to know my God. I want to know the God who promised His presence…who provides…who loves and who is worthy of my love in return.

Dear Father, may we cling to you more strongly than your promises. When asked who You are, may we reply with ‘My God’. Amen.

Mandy Baldwin (mkaybaldwin)

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Joshua 14-17; Mark 7

Mark 7.

8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” ESV

Jesus- with an arrow straight to the heart, His words upend control, man’s outward rituals for righteousness, and religion as a veneer for cruelty and unkindness.

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon.[g] And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. ESV

Jesus- He could not be hidden. The words arrest me- again, again.

25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. ESV

She was brave and unrelenting; full of unfailing faith.

5 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus[h] charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” ESV

The more He charged them (to tell no one), the more zealously they proclaimed it (He could not be hidden).

He has done all things well…

Jesus could not be hidden. Is He hidden in my life? In my heart? The words stop me with the abruptness which they lift from the page as I read; again, again. In this moment, I surrender. Many years ago, I attended a small, living church- and the Pastor would pray every week: Lord, have Your way in us.  

Lord, have Your way in me- and deal with me through Your unrelenting mercy. May You, may Your Light and Love not be hidden in my life. You cannot be hidden. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Joshua 9-13; Mark 6

I almost missed the miracle. Early in the reading, I notice how the Israelites did not consult the Lord–and they were deceived. Immediately, my mind is inundated with every worst case scenario facing me in this season, and I reach out to the Lord and wonder, “I don’t want to do this without you. How will I know what to do?”

A little further down, and Joshua finds himself facing war.

So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you (Joshua 10:7-8, NLT).”

My head churns on the stresses ahead of me, and I try to focus on the words, but they are streaming past my eyes, and my worries are louder than the words in front of me. But something catches my attention, and I back up. I almost missed the miracle.

13 So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.

Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day (Joshua 10:12-14, NLT)!

I start over and read again, because this isn’t the only miracle by my God of Miracles. He delivered kings and armies to Joshua, 31 battles listed in this book. Thirty-one victories. And in the New Testament, Jesus feeds 5,000. He walks on water. He stops the wind. He heals those who seek him.

Self: don’t miss the miracles.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief (Mark 6:4-6, NLT).

And

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in (Mark 6:50-52, NLT).

Lord, your truth strengthens me. It reminds me of who you are and what you can do. I love your reminder to the disciples: “Take courage! I am here!”, complete with exclamation. You know how to get my attention. Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.


33 But Moses gave no allotment of land to the tribe of Levi, for the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised that he himself would be their allotment (Joshua 13:33, NLT).

Courtney (66books365)

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