Category Archives: Joshua

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 1-4; Psalm 37; Mark 4

I read a devotional not long ago that talked about God teaching us then giving us a lesson to put into practice what he taught us. When I was growing up, I took dance lessons. Ballet, tap, jazz—I loved it all! The teacher would choreograph a dance and then teach us the steps. She would tell us what to do, we would practice, and then she would put on the music. We would practice until we got it right. She would teach, we would practice. The more I practiced, the stronger I became and more assured that I could do it right. The process was teaching/lesson. As I read through the verses for today, they reminded me of that time.

In Joshua, the Israelites begin a new chapter of their journey. New chapters can be scary to some of us! (I tend to like my old and familiar). They have been wandering for 40 years. God has provided everything for them. He has shown them continuously they can trust him and depend on him. That was the teaching. Have they learned the lesson? God is going to give them an opportunity to find out.

Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.” (Josh 1:9) NCV

Be brave, courageous (trust) that I am with you everywhere you go.  That is what God taught them.

The first assignment is sending spies to scope out the land. They tried that once before and it didn’t work out very well. Only two returned (Joshua and Caleb) and reported they could overtake the land while they others caused a nation to shrink in fear. This time, however, the spies come back and assure Joshua the victory will be theirs. Lesson learned?

23 Then the two men started back. They left the hills and crossed the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said, “The Lord surely has given us all of the land. All the people in that land are terribly afraid of us.”

I love that God had another purpose for this mission as well: the spies encounter Rahab. Rahab was brave and courageous and risked her own life to save the spies. She is rewarded for her actions and is listed in the lineage of Jesus. (Math 1:5) She had faith and believed God. (Heb 11:31)

34 Wait for the Lord’s help
and follow him.
He will honor you and give you the land,
and you will see the wicked sent away. (Psalm 37:34)

Jesus teaches us as well. In Mark 4, Jesus tells the disciples:

 31 The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 But when planted, this seed grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches, and the wild birds can make nests in its shade.”

It reminded me of Luke 17:6 (If your faith were the size of a mustard seed . . .)  What a word picture that is of what a growing faith in God would look like. That very evening Jesus and the disciples headed across the lake. A storm came up and the boat began to fill with water. An opportunity for a lesson?

38 Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are drowning!”

39 Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm.

40 Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Be brave, courageous (trust) that I am with you everywhere you go (the teaching). Yes, again those words come to mind. I ask myself questions for something going on in my own life (the lesson). How much do I believe you, God? Do I believe you are working in my life or do I believe only what I see? As you have taught me, I cannot see what is going on when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. Before it can be seen, much has happened in the darkness of the ground. So many times I choose to believe the storm that is raging around me over what I know is Truth. That storm is much louder than your voice. “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I hear those words spoken in a loving tone–not a reprimand. You look at me with eyes of love. You have taught me I can say “Quiet! Be still!” as I wait for your help. I have nothing to fear!

As my thoughts ponder the teaching I’ve been given and the ample lessons to put the teaching to practice, I realize how often I’ve not passed the test! Quickly, before I can feel shame, God takes my eyes to the title over Mark 4:21-41 “USE WHAT YOU HAVE”. What do I have, Lord? What have you given me? Lovingly he speaks to my heart, “My WORD!”

Lord, you teach me in so many ways that I am to depend on you, to trust you. You will supply every need. There is nothing physical, emotional, or spiritual I could ever require that you will not provide. When I live believing that, no matter the circumstance, my life has peace. When I forget and trust myself instead, THAT is when I get into trouble. Thank you for being with me everywhere I go. Too often I forget that and feel I’m battling life alone. Whenever I head down that road, You are always quick to remind me how much you love me. I am eternally grateful. In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Joshua 14-17; Luke 17

I have always been impressed by the story of Caleb. A true story at that. Caleb and Joshua were the two spies who gave a positive report to the people of Israel about entering the Promised Land. Joshua 14 is a recounting of what Caleb now wanted 40 years later as Israel went into the land.

6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. 9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”
13 Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war (Joshua 14:6-15 [ESV]).

Caleb was 80 years old and as positive as ever. Probably not one person reading this blog post today is 80 years old (if so leave a comment). Caleb chose some of the most difficult region of Canaan to settle. He had to fight against some might people and well fortified cities to conquer his portion. He was as positive as ever and at 80 years old he was not ready to retire.

Do you have retirement plans? Are they collecting seashells along the beach? God may have something much more important and significant for you and it may include some of the biggest challenges you have ever faced. But it may be just what is needed to move God’s Kingdom forward. Caleb’s story is one of optimism and courage. Let that be your retirement legacy as well.

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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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Joshua 24, Jeremiah 13, Matthew 27, Acts 4

In my Bible next to the passage in Joshua 24 is a handwritten note that says, “Christianity is just one generation away from extinction.” I have never understood that more than when I became a parent. The weight of carrying on a legacy of faith in our family is heavy on my heart. It requires thought, commitment, time, action. Joshua knew his life was coming to an end. He had lead God’s people for decades after Moses died. He followed the Lord’s commands and listened for His voice for direction. Now, he was questioning the people of God to see if they had caught on to his teaching and leading.

After reminding the Israelites of God’s mighty power and protection that they had received as a nation for hundreds of years, Joshua asks the people, not once, not twice, but THREE times whom they will serve.  Joshua said:

 

“Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”  And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” Joshua 24:23-24.

Service requires commitment and action. We are called to put away (idols) and put on (Christ). We are to look different and act different than the world around us. Often, I find it difficult to hear the Lord because of all that goes on around me. Passing on the legacy of faith is not easy in any day and age but with the buzz of technology that distracts our hearts and minds, I find it increasingly difficult to teach my children to walk with the Lord. Idols are everywhere. They look shiny, they may even appear as service to the Lord.

As a parent, I look to God’s word to help guide me in teaching my children. Joshua was intentional. Not only in his personal walk with the Lord but in teaching it to the people he was leading. He did not take the job lightly. He lead by example and at the end of his life he challenged the people one last time and the people “caught” it:

Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.” Joshua 24:31

My greatest desire as a mom, is for my children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to follow him all the days of their life. That to me is success! Reading further on in God’s word, the nation’s faith declines because they stopped following God’s commands and instead followed the idols of their time. It reminds us as parents and believers that we have must be intentional in passing on God’s word. Jeremiah reminds the people that we must walk closely with the Lord:

For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” Jeremiah 13:11

Dear Lord, my greatest desire in life is that I do not keep my faith as my own but pass it on to others so that your name would be lifted high. Drown out the distractions of this world and help me to be intentional in my daily walk, clinging only to you. Amen.

Kate

 

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Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

God instructs Joshua to decimate his enemies: hamstring the horses and strike down every breathing enemy–man, woman and child. It’s a blood bath…  the stuff of nightmares. These pages of the Bible leave me with far more questions about God than answers. Where is the God of grace and mercy that I cling to? But who is God if I disregard these pages? I am made in God’s image, not He in mine.

And what would Joshua think of the sanitized bubble that I live in? Perhaps he would be envious; war and violence are realities on television and far from me. Perhaps he would be appalled at my comfortable, complacent living.

David, also a man of war saw the horrors of war first hand and sings this: “Blessed be the Lord, my rock who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my rock and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues the people under me… I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you, the one who gives victory to kings, who rescues his servant David.” Psalm 144:1,2…9,10.

It’s no wonder that the Jews didn’t understand Jesus. They were looking for a warrior king whose hands were dripping with blood and taking revenge. Instead, comes a king who says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:14  They wanted a kingdom that they could see, a kingdom where they would be in power.

Who is this God we serve? He can wipe nations from the face of the earth and yet calls the youngest and weakest to draw near to him. Are we are in a spiritual war that is just as deadly and God spares us the horrors of seeing all that is going on around us? Paul says as much and repeats the message God spoke to Joshua and the people of Israel: “Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12.

Dear Lord, keep me from being complacent and naive in thinking that what I see is all that is going on. May I be ready and not deceived by the evil one. Heal me from distraction and chasing from false idols so that I may be your woman and follow hard after you. 

Kathy

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

Josh 9:14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.

 

Matt 17:19-21  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

What is missing in both of these passages? I believe it is prayer.

In the first passage, the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites.   In fear of God and what he had done in Jericho and Ai, the Gibeonites did not want to be destroyed so they pretended to have come a long distance and that they were not a neighbor in the land of Canaan—the land God had promised to the Israelites.  I think because of their previous victories in these countries, there was a little pride in them.  They knew God was with them.  They looked at the evidence presented and believed what they saw and what the Gibeonites said.  So, they made a treaty with them not to harm them.  They swore by the name of God.  It tells us no one ever stopped to pray to God to see what He had to say about all of this.

In the second passage, the disciples had been healing people and driving out demons in Jesus name. Yet they faced one demon in particular that they were unable to rebuke.  The father was desperate and came to Jesus with his son when the disciples were unable to help him.  Jesus healed the boy immediately.  Later they asked Jesus why this one was difficult for them.  His reply was “Because you have so little faith.”

Paul tells us in 2 Cor 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (ESV)  I found this definition of what it means to walk by faith that really gave me a better understanding of this: To walk by faith is to walk in a spirit of prayerful dependence on the Lord and His guidance. (Commentary on Joshua 9, Bible.org)  It is how Jesus daily lived his life.  He was in constant contact with God and he tells us many times he does only what he’s instructed to do by the Father.  Prayerful dependence.

The Israelites believed what they saw and they were deceived. That can easily happen to us.  We have an enemy who wants nothing more than to deceive us and keep us from living the life God has planned for us.  We need the Holy Spirit to be active in our lives and that only comes from prayer.  Each day we need to be on alert.  We need to get our marching orders from God and never trust things to be as they appear.

The disciples started doubting their ability to do what Jesus had told them to do. What they had done for others was not working this time.  They were walking by sight (I can’t do this). Their faith was weak in the power Jesus had given them. Isn’t that just like something I would do?  I have been blessed by God to do something and soon I am trying to do it in my own power instead of including Him, by praying first?  And then I wonder why I am not succeeding?  I don’t believe Jesus was talking about a literal mountain in this verse (although he could have been) but I think he was referring to the trials we face–the ones that seem insurmountable, like mountains, looming before us.  When we are walking by faith, in prayerful dependence of God, we can handle anything that comes our way.  As Jesus said, “Nothing will be impossible for you.”  I fall short of believing in the power I have been given as well.  Without prayer, I have no faith.

Lord, sometimes I forget how very much I need you and try to live life on my own. It never works.  Instead of moving mountains, I keep walking around the same ones and get stuck.  Only through prayerful dependence on you can I accomplish anything.  Only by constant contact with you can I avoid deception.  Lord Jesus, be ever near.  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

 

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