Tag Archives: Joshua

Joshua 23, 24; Luke 6:27-49

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…

My husband and I made this choice for our family. We chose to follow God wherever he leads us. We chose to raise our children in the ways of the Lord. We made that choice when we were married and we continue to choose that path daily.

But how do I live that out?

Joshua offered advice to the people of Israel before his death. He encouraged them to fear the Lord, to remember everything the Lord has done and how He fought nations for them. He urged them to be sincere in their service, and to be faithful. He told them to put away the gods of other nations, to keep their eyes on the Lord and His laws, to not turn aside to the right or to the left.

And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you…Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left…but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day. Joshua 23:3, 6, & 8

Out of all of the counsel Joshua gave, the piece of advice that stands out to me the most is to CLING to the Lord my God.

When I hear the word “cling”, the first image that comes to my mind is that of my daughters. When they want me to hold them, they don’t want me to let them go, they hold on so tightly to my neck, to my body, that it is nearly impossible for me to peel them away. I can’t do anything to be released from their grasp. They hold on so tight sometimes, it’s as if they are stuck to me like Velcro or like superglue.

No matter what is happening in my life God wants me to cling to Him the way my girls cling to me. When things are good and I am filled with happiness, when I am on the proverbial cloud 9. When I am feeling connected to Him, connected to my husband, to my children, to family and friends, He wants me to cling to Him. And, when things aren’t going well, in the midst of the trials I face, the struggles I experience in daily life, the times of spiritual dryness, the seasons of turmoil, God wants me to cling to Him even more.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

He wants me to cling to His love and grace. He wants me to cling to His Words. He wants me to cling to His commands. He wants to be my Firm Foundation, my Rock and my Redeemer. He wants to be my strength so that I will not be shaken when the floods of circumstances, of enemy assignments, beat against me and try to make me falter and fall.

He wants me to dig deep into Him, to build my life, my foundations on Him, in Him, through Him. He wants me to hold on and never let go.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your strength, for being my Rock and my foundation. Help me cling to You always, in the good times and in the bad, so that my life will be a testimony of Your Glory. Help me and my family live out our commitment to follow You, to serve You in everything. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 7, 8; Luke 2:25-52

…And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. Joshua 7:5b

Almost daily, I experience small crises of faith of some sort. My inner woman struggles to understand “why!?” certain things happen. My head evaluates my circumstances and tells me that the enemy has defeated me; I should turn tail and run to seek safety, throw up my defenses and retreat into myself. My heart wonders what I did to deserve the distress and frustration. I question why the world and everything in it seems to be against me. I lose confidence in myself and in God’s desire to help me and become as weak water in my fear and anxiety, I become depressed and hopeless.

Eventually, sooner or later, like Joshua, I lay myself at God’s feet. I beg for help. I beg for mercy. I ask Him to open my ears, open my eyes. I ask Him to reveal Himself and tell me where He is in the middle of all of it. I ask Him why.

Sometimes the explanation is that I am on the frontlines of a battle that is being waged by an enemy that has already failed his mission but is still fighting in his death throes. Curses and witchcraft are being hurled at me like fiery darts.

Sometimes the answer is that there is another new lesson to be learned, another test of my character put in front of me to grow. How will I respond in the situation? What will I take away from the experience? Who will I turn to? Where do I go?

Sometimes the ‘why’ has to do with my unconfessed sin, usually sins of attitude – judgment, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. God tells me to get off my face, to consecrate myself to Him once more.  When my sin is revealed to me, I need to be honest with myself, honest with God. I need to be like Achen and confess the evil that I have hidden in my heart, regardless of the consequences.

And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49

No matter what the response is, the solution is that I need to follow Jesus’ example and go to my Father’s house. Go to God to find forgiveness and mercy, to find comfort and peace, to find protection, to find wisdom and favor, to find the strength I so desperately need. Go to Him to find love.

 

Yesappa, I am feeling weak right now, frustrated by circumstances that feel out of my control. I feel alone and abandoned. I feel angry. I lay everything before you; I cast my cares and my burdens at Your feet. I ask for forgiveness for the sins in my heart. I ask for Your mercy to rain down on me. Protect me, Lord, from the assignments of the enemy; build a hedge around me. Give me wisdom and understanding so that I will grow in spirit and in truth and not be held back by ‘failed’ tests of character. Give me Your fruit so that people with see Your glory in me in the midst of trials. Help me Holy Ghost. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 23; Acts 3; Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26

Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, who had a skin disease. While Jesus was there, a woman approached him with an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. She poured this perfume on Jesus’ head while he was eating.

His followers were upset when they saw the woman do this. They asked, “Why waste that perfume? It could have been sold for a great deal of money and the money given to the poor.”

Knowing what had happened, Jesus said, “Why are you troubling this woman? She did an excellent thing for me. You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. This woman poured perfume on my body to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached in all the world, what this woman has done will be told, and people will remember her.” Matthew 26:6-13 (NCV)

In Jesus’ time, a woman didn’t have much to her name. Every possession belonged to her father until she was married. The woman of Bethany offered the Lord everything in a prophetic act of worship, another foretelling of his coming death and resurrection and spoke of her devotion, her love.

The costly perfume that this woman anointed Jesus with was probably spikenard, the most valuable and costly perfume of the time. The alabastron of perfume was likely a part of her dowry, to be used on her wedding night to anoint her new husband, displaying an even greater sacrifice for the time. The disciples were so upset with her because pouring the perfumed oil over Jesus, seemed wasteful and careless, unnecessary even. They did not understand her extreme measures and the significance of her extravagant worship.

Extravagant worship is the kind of worship that demonstrates willingness and desire to offer everything to Christ in love and adoration. It is worship that is unrestrained and generous, a living sacrifice. Extravagant worship does not seek glory for itself; it strives to lavish praise on the Lord in copious amounts.

In this woman’s case, she offered valuable perfume in humility, boldly and without fear. She gave no concern to the people around her. She only had eyes for Jesus. Her actions honored Him and touched His heart.

As I remember the woman at Simon’s house, I search my own heart. Am I willing to give everything to worship my Savior? Am I courageous enough to worship with extravagance despite what others may think? Do I worship only in certain settings, specific situations or is my every undertaking an act of worship?

Yesappa, thank you for offering Yourself as a sacrifice for my sins, giving me life and love. You are worth more than silver and gold. I am a living sacrifice of praise for You. I want to be like the woman of Bethany, willing to pour out everything of value in myself for You. I offer myself, as a fragrant perfume. I offer everything I have and everything I am to You. I offer my heart of worship. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 18-19, Psalm 149-150, Jeremiah 9, & Matthew 23

The closer I get to retirement, the more I think about what I will leave to my small family.  When I pose this as a question to God, He answers, “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?”  (Joshua 18:4).  In this question to me is a challenge to claim what God has already given. Material things are not the first possessions that come to mind when I look at what God has given me; His greatest gift is salvation.  I’ve spent hours meditating on the promises that my family will be saved and many years waiting patiently for the Lord to reveal His plans for my family.  I’ve believed the Psalmist who says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4). Yet I have to confess that many more hours I have not made time to meet with Him; I have been too busy with doing life; I’ve allowed the world’s calling to capture my eyes, mind, and heart.  When called home, I’ve walked the opposite way.

Consider the Lord of the universe.  Every other creature knows Him. Yet man is still running away.  I am still running away so that I can do my own thing, be my own boss, avoid living on my inheritance.  Time is running out.  Oh, I may have a few years yet to work and save up for retirement, but what is the most precious possession in my life that I can pass down?  Certainly not land, wealth, or heirlooms.  A tender, humble heart then.  That is what I would like my children to inherit.  Can I do that?  Is there any way that my life’s letter will testify to the peace and joy of surrender to Christ?  Even as I see the challenge of chicks running amok, I long to call to them to stand still long enough to be caught up and nestled in safe places with Christ where sadness, tears, tragedy, and turmoil will cease.  This longing for them reminds me of Christ’s longing to tenderly and lavishly love on the Israelites.  In Matthew 23:37, Jesus says, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” So He knows my deepest desire is to see my family gathered together in His house of worship. This is what I know: Jeremiah 9:24 – “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understand and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight.”  To me, this is the land of promise. To leave my family with praise on their lips for the God I serve, like every other thing that has breath, to praise the Lord (Psalm 50:6). I want that to be my legacy.

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Joshua 16,17; Psalms 148; Jeremiah 8; Matthew 22

Sometimes I literally forget to look up. I so busy working that my gaze is focused either down at my work or ahead to where I am going next. The beach cures that. There is something about the open space that invites a study of the clouds and contemplation of the horizon. Last Thursday night was a perfect example. I joined thousands of other people on the beach for the annual 4th of July fireworks display.  The lights of boats and ships twinkled off shore as all heads looked up in anticipation of what was about to take place. The fireworks  began. Collective “Ooooo’s” and “Ahhhh’s” went out from the crowd. A shooting star shared the sky with one burst of the fireworks as if to remind us that another hand was at work.  People in the crowd shouted, “Did you see that? Did you see that?” It was probably one of the most beautiful summer evenings I can remember.

Too often, when reading the Bible,  I forget to look up and take in the whole picture. It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, I am trying to get the passages read before heading off to work, and I really couldn’t care less what allotments of land Joshua gave the different tribes of Israel. Then Jeremiah speaks,

How can you say ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,’ when actually the lying pen of the the scribes has handled it falsely…Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?Jeremiah 8:8-9.

God asks me just why I am reading his Word. Is it to check it off the daily to do list from which I derive some sense of meaning and earn my existence or is it to draw close to him? Last Thursday night, I was part of the celebratory crowd. This morning I am called to share in an even greater celebration.

 Let them praise the name of God–it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he’s built a monument–his very own people! Praise from all who love God! Israel’s children, intimate friends of God. Hallelujah!  Psam 148:14

I don’t come to the Bible to become better, wiser or holier. I come to God’s  Word to “Love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind.” My eyes may be turned down toward the page, but I am invited to look up and out to him who loves me beyond measure. I pray I remember this through the day and stay close to God’s heart.

Kathy

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Joshua 11; Psalms 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

Jesus answered, “Surely you have read in the Scriptures: When God made the world, ‘he made them male and female.’ And God said, ‘So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.’ So there are not two, but one. God has joined the two together, so no one should separate them.” Matthew 19:4-6 (NCV)

This verse resonated with me so much today – the verses Jesus chose to repeat concerning marriage…the two will become one, a joining made by God.

After being apart for a year, my husband and I were reunited this week. More than 24 hours of travel over half of the world towing two children, eight pieces of luggage, two carry-ons, two personal items, two car seats and a double stroller; I felt a little bit like Noah, but my ‘ark’ was an airplane. It was brutal, and yet as I saw my husband’s face, the reactions of seeing his youngest daughter for the first time and hearing his oldest say, ‘There’s Daddo’ and offer up hugs and kisses, the journey to be reunited was  worth every moment. My anxieties dissolved in those moments of reconnect.

So far over these past two days, as we have been readjusting to the time difference, the heat, the food, the cultural differences, etc., God has been supernaturally rejoining us together as husband and wife and as family. He has helped me understand more fully how the miracle of His joining us can withstand so much as long as He is our focus. Our joining has withstood more time apart than together, and yet despite the distances, our spirits have never been apart.

This joining is much like the link between me and Christ – a connection that will never be broken even when the circumstances of life try to separate us. When Jesus died for my sins and I made the choice to believe, an unbreakable bond was formed. We are no longer two, but one – He in me, and I in Him.

Yesappa, Thank You for becoming one with me. Thank You for joining my husband and I together and keeping us connected even when we have been separated by a half a world. Thank You for reuniting us and for blessing our union. I pray for your continued guidance, wisdom, grace, and love in our marriage, that our marriage will be a testimony for Your glory and goodness. Let no one separate us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 4; Psalms 129-131; Isaiah 64; Matthew 12

All of us are dirty with sin.

All the right things we have done are like filthy pieces of cloth.

All of us are like dead leaves,

and our sins, like the wind, have carried us away…

But Lord, you are our father.

We are like clay, and you are the potter;

your hands made us all.

Lord, don’t continue to be angry with us;

don’t remember our sins forever.

Please, look at us,

because we are your people. Isaiah 64:6, 8-9 (NCV)

I reflect on God as Father.

He made me. He gave me form. He gave me character. He gave me abilities. He gave me free will.

He gives me the freedom to make choices. And, in spite of the bad choices that I make in my lifetime, He loves me…unconditionally.

I am aware of my sin, small on the worldly continuum, but sin just the same. I am conscious of my mistakes, of my poor decisions. I know that I have sinned and fallen short, yet I will never be forsaken. He meets me where I am. He is with me in the midst of my failings. He is with me in the midst of the consequences.

Lord, if you punished people for all their sins,

no one would be left, Lord.

But you forgive us…

People…put your hope in the Lord

because he is loving

and able to save.

He will save [everyone]

from all their sins. Psalm 130:3-4a, 7-8 (NCV)

I am mindful of His forgiveness and His lack of condemnation. I am awakened to the knowledge that Christ died for me while I was still His enemy, before I even knew His name.

I consider His mercy and grace, a banner of love, an assurance of hope.

I am amazed by His goodness and glory. I am overwhelmed by His affections for me, staggered by His acceptance. I am uplifted by His redemption. I am encouraged by His restoration. I am comforted by His protection and provision.

I am grateful I am His child, His daughter. I am privileged to call Him Father.

 

 

[Everyone] put your hope in the Lord

because he is loving

and able to save. Psalm 130:7 (NCV)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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