Monthly Archives: March 2021

Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15

What I love most reading Joshua chapter five and the first nine verses is how God places a premium on preparation. I see it in the New Testament too. Even in the preparation I am reminded that this is all for one task – cross the Jordan. It had nothing to do with the second task of taking Jericho for that required a different kind of preparation. In this case circumcision became the physical sign of a covenant, a mark that these were God’s people. I love the symbolisim of what God would do in my heart, enabling me to love Him. I am so thankful for the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.

While the Israelites camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they kept the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month.[d] The day after Passover they ate unleavened bread and roasted grain from the produce of the land. – Joshua 5:10 HCSB

However, this preparation, celebrating the Passover, won my heart for I believe the spirit of unity is the soul of victory. It was a time of being thankful, together, a time to remember together.

Remember how the story of the prodigal son ended?

But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. – Luke 15:32 HCSB

The father loved the older son as much as the younger one and reminded him that all his wealth and all his property were at his disposal. There was time needed for the older son to reorient his thinking. He needed to see that they had something to celebrate – the brother who was thought dead, is alive. There had to be a party – the one lost was now found. I always wonder if the older brother ever recognized his self-righteousness, arrogance and lovelessness and made the decision to come to the party or did he resist the invitation because of his stubbornness and hard heart.

I know that same invitation to prepare, to celebrate is the same invitation that Jesus gives to me. It also is the same invitation he gave to the Pharisees and scribes and every other sinner that ever lived. What an invitation it is – a call to respond to the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Father, I love how You prepare my heart, taking each day, one day at a time, to grow me and mature me in my walk with You. I might be tempted to see it as a walk of trust or one of faith, but in my heart I know that You are calling me to a walk of love. When I watched You pray, prepared the Last Supper, prepare hearts for Your death and resurrection and specifically Your love for Peter, who You knew would struggle and fail so hard, I know that You have me in a special place too, preparing me for what You have called me to do. May today be no different, may I expect to be in awe of Your presence in my life.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Joshua 1; Psalm 143; Luke 14

“Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:7-10 ESV)

The weight of the world awakens me in the middle of the night. It is dark and the weight seems heavier than I can ever bear. I pray for peace. The Lord answers.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

Rahab must have been afraid to help the two spies. She was taking a big risk. But she knew that the Lord was on their side.

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built in the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, ‘Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” (Joshua 2:15-16 ESV)

Rahab took a risk and helped men who could not repay her. Jesus talks about this in the parable of the banquet.

He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid a the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14 ESV)

These life lessons that the Lord teaches us are important not only for us, but for generations to come. People, especially our children, should know who we belong to by how we live. We should be a living testimony to God’s faithfulness. Joshua instructed the Israelites to put out twelve stones to remember this.

And he said to the people of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in times to come, what do these stones mean? then you shall let your children know, Israel passed over this Jordon on dry ground. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordon for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:21-24 ESV)

As we remember and celebrate our Lord’s death and resurrection this week, may we show the world who He is and what He did for us.

~Kellie

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Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 13; Luke 13

There are those rare opportunities when we get to sit at the feet of an elderly person and hear all that God has taught them throughout their life. Moses was roughly 120 years old and had lived through so many experiences from his unique birth and upbringing by his biological mother (his Hebrew wet-nurse) and his adopted mother (pharaoh’s daughter). Then, his years of wrestling with his identity and calling both in Egypt and then while basically exiled in Midian. Following the burning bush, we become more familiar with his daily experiences as the mouthpiece of God during the ten plagues and the leader of the brand new nation of Israel as they grumbled their way through the wilderness for 40 years.

Now, he stands in sight of the Promised Land, and knows he will never step foot in it. So, he shares his wisdom and with a final command and blessing couched in a song of worship to God, Moses leaves Israel in the capable hands of Joshua, reminding them that they really have the same leader and protector – Yahweh.

There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.

Deuteronomy 33:26 ESV

No matter who he is addressing, he points them heavenward. He could no longer lead them physically, but his words would linger in their minds and hearts. He wanted them to walk in confidence into their next battle.

Just a few snippets from the verses in these chapters:

  • God is your dwelling place, in His everlasting arms
  • He is your shield of help
  • He is the sword of triumph
  • All his ways are justice
  • He is your father, creator, savior
  • Remember where you came from
  • Pass this on to your children

And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,

Deuteronomy 34:10 ESV

I am thankful that Moses’ words are recorded here. His final thoughts and warnings. No one else experienced life the way he did. Knowing God face to face, walking in step with Him almost everyday. I want to soak in the wisdom of the final words of this man of God. While many of them only had immediate practical applications as the people of Israel went to conquer the Promised Land, many of the concepts filter through in some form to us today.

Father God, creator, sustainer, savior, help me carry these wise words of Moses into my pattern of life as well. Remind me to rest in You, knowing your everlasting arms shelter me. You are my shield, my victory, my help. Bring to mind all You have done in my life and throughout the Bible to demonstrate that You are trustworthy and deserving of my obedience. Keep my tongue active in recounting Your faithfulness and wisdom to my children and others in the next generation as well. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Deuteronomy 27-31 & Luke 12

What a lesson in contrasts this morning! First we have the Old Testament reading and chapter 28 may be the most negative judgemental one you will find in all of Scripture. Just read a portion below:

15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:

16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

1Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.

18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 28:15-24 [NIV])

God’s judgement and curses are plainly seen in a portion of this chapter. The first part does include blessings, but only by following God closely. We know that today that isn’t the case. Some who follow God closely are always having trouble and issues. In fact Jesus states that in the world we will always have trouble, but He has overcome the world and its troubles.

Then we read Luke 12 and find how much God loves us. We read the following:

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:6-12 [NIV])

Things have changes. It’s not now that when you do good you’ll receive a bunch of blessings and when you don’t you’ll be cursed. Now in the New Covenant we are playing by different rules. God expresses His love toward us and yet for the sake of the gospel there will be times when we suffer and things well be bad. And yet God never leaves us and in fact His Holy Spirit will guide us in what to say when we are confronted with those difficult times.

What are your expectations of the Christian life? Is it the Old Testament system of cause and effect or the New Testament one of doing what He calls us to do knowing it may bring hardship and trials, but that He loves us and will be our ultimate protector and Savior? Choose the latter today.

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

When I finished talking, she asked me, “But what does God say about you?” I knew the intellectual response. But when I held his words in my hand, why did it feel like the weight of circumstance felt heavier? When God knows my history, my thoughts, my heart, my dreams, why couldn’t his word weigh more?

“But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you.” (Deuteronomy 23:5, NLT)

When I know where I came from and who I should have been, I can see the Lord’s saving hand in my life. This remembrance shows me his great love and mercy. He is so kind. And I am so grateful.

“Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from slavery.” (Deuteronomy 24:18, NLT)

Why couldn’t his word weigh more?

16 “Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. 17 You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. 18 The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. 19 And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.” (Deuteronomy 26:16-19, NLT)

Because I wasn’t focused on it. I focused on opinions of people whose minds were already made up. I focused on perception that took in only fragments instead of the whole. I gave weight to those whose hearts weren’t for me, were riddled with pockets of darkness. And when my focus was there, no wonder the weight was heavy.

34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:34-36, NLT)

The Lord reminds me to be persistent in prayer. Keep on asking, seeking, knocking. I know this prayer by heart, but I write it out in a new translation. I write it out by hand.

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
    May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4, NLT)

Keep on.

Courtney (66books365)

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