Joshua 1:1-9

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

I’ve been reading Psalms for a while now. Before that I read Luke. Before that I read Leviticus. I think it’s time to continue with the next book in the OT – Joshua.

Joshua 1:1-9
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant,
“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success[a] wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 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.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Who are you preparing to come after you? (vs. 1,2)
Three times I told Joshua to be strong and courageous.
It’s important.
Are you strong and courageous?
If not, why not?
Joshua had an important job to do.
You do, too…don’t you?
Read verse 9 again.
Is it possible that this is just as true for you as it was for Joshua?
If you doubt that you have an important job, or that I’m with you wherever you go, check Matthew 28:19-20.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-31-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Three Reasons You Should Go Trick or TreatingEd Stetzer
Three Reasons You Should Go Trick or TreatingI am going to argue that Christians not only can but should put on their costumes, pass out candy, and greet guests at the door each time Halloween rolls around.

Here are three reasons you should plan on trick-or-treating…


Think you know what it takes to translate the Bible? Turns out we’re all Bible translators…

More Than Bible TranslationGreg Pruett
More Than Bible Translation That’s when I understood that the first translation of the Word people read is our lifestyle. We physically represent the good news of the justice of Jesus walking around among the people.  

That’s how I learned the truth of the maxim we often repeat: “It’s never outside the scope of Bible translation to obey the Bible.” …

…Bible translation is not about producing books. Our rallying cry is not, “A Bible on every shelf.” For me and for my teammates, it’s all about life transformation, the actual impact of the Word of God on the lives of the people. Our output is not Bibles, but churches using the Bibles for transformation.


A Message of Appreciation to Joni Eareckson Tada, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Her Life-Altering Accident
Randy Alcorn
In 1967, 50 years ago, a diving accident left Joni Eareckson Tada a quadriplegic at age seventeen…

Who at that time would have said, “God is clearly working out His gracious purpose in this young woman’s life”?

…the fact that Joni would be celebrating something so difficult, which a sovereign and loving God has used so greatly, shows the kind of character and Christ-honoring perspective she has.


We’ve got a long trip ahead…
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Bizarro – Click image for a larger view.

Psalm 54

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 54
O God, save me by your name,

    and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer;
    give ear to the words of my mouth.

For strangers[b] have risen against me;
    ruthless men seek my life;
    they do not set God before themselves.    Selah

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will return the evil to my enemies;
    in your faithfulness put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
    I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
    and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have ruthless strangers risen against you? (v. 3)
Do you have enemies? (v. 5)
Didn’t Jesus say, “love your enemies, and pray for them“?
Then how can you sing to me about returning evil to your enemies, and about looking in triumph on them?
Think about your enemies again.
Do you really have enemies?
Don’t you really have only one enemy?
I’ve taken care of him.
You can look at him in triumph.
As for all those other alleged “enemies,” just do what Jesus says.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Monday Picks ~ 10-30-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Four Reasons You’re Not Too Busy to Serve Your Local ChurchDanny Franks
To be clear: I’m not advocating for people who already have 15 ministry activities to take on a 16th. I’m not suggesting that people who are actively ministering in their community during the week should feel guilty because they don’t have an “inside the walls” ministry on the weekend.

No, I’m talking about the believer who isn’t currently, actively serving out of the overflow of their gifts and skill sets. Yes, they may be working 60 hours a week. Yep, they may have a job that keeps their weekend availability a bit unpredictable. But I believe that most Christians – with few exceptions – are wired to serve others, and for that reason, God dispenses grace for those believers to do what he’s wired them to do. Here’s why…


Noteworthy…

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When First Amendment conflicts erupt at U.S. Supreme Court, it’s time to ask WWDD?Richard Ostling
Over a three-day period, 47 “friend of the court” briefs suddenly clogged the inbox at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the most important religious liberty case of this term – if not of the coming decade. This is a crucial First Amendment showdown.

Almost all these briefs opposed Colorado’s use of an anti-discrimination law against Masterpiece Cakeshop for refusing to provide the cake for a same-sex wedding…

No specialist on America’s law of religion outranks [Douglas] Laycock, who’s a principled champion of both church-state separation under the Constitution’s “establishment of religion” ban and its guarantee of “free exercise” of religion. He also supports gay marriage. Thus, he sometimes backs the so-called “liberal” side and sometimes the “conservative.”

This time around (.pdf here), Laycock lands squarely behind the Cakeshop…


3 Reasons You Should Not Pursue Full Time Ministry
Dan Reiland
One of my great personal passions is to see sharp young teens and adults called to vocational ministry, but I’m also aware that those numbers will always be small compared to the gigantic army of Christians who are out in business and the non-profit sectors of society. It is this “army” that will be counted amongst the greatest force ever to change the world.

With that context in mind, here are three things that are not good reasons to pursue full-time vocational ministry…


Change of plans…
https://i.imgur.com/qVzUjKPh.jpg
Bizarro

Psalm 53

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 53
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

    They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
    there is none who does good.

God looks down from heaven
    on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,[b]
    who seek after God.

They have all fallen away;
    together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Have those who work evil no knowledge,
    who eat up my people as they eat bread,
    and do not call upon God?

There they are, in great terror,
    where there is no terror!
For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you;
    you put them to shame, for God has rejected them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When God restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Think about verse 5.
Terror. You hear that word a lot these days, don’t you?
Who experiences terror?
Have you experienced terror?
In this psalm, who are the ones “in great terror”?
Why do you think the psalmist says “there is no terror”?
Do you know anyone who seems to be constantly afraid?
Are they more afraid than they need to be?
Are you more afraid than you need to be?
Now, go back and read verse 1.
This isn’t you, is it?
Don’t you know me?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Weekend Picks ~ 10-27-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The atheist’s case against abortion: respect for human rights Kelsey Hazzard
The “pro-life generation” had a large presence at the annual March for Life in Washington on Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)I am an atheist, a 29-year-old woman, well-educated at secular institutions, and I lean liberal on many issues, including same-sex marriage and climate change.

I am also a dedicated pro-life activist, working to make abortion unthinkable.

The abortion industry would have you believe that people like me do not exist. They would have you believe that the pro-life movement is almost exclusively old white men, with a few pearl-clutching church ladies thrown in. This characterization is insulting to both young and old….

The pro-life pioneer Dr. Mildred Jefferson said it best: “I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live.” That’s a sentiment that anyone, from any religious or nonreligious background, can get behind.


I am very curious about the future of this…

Inside the Museum of the BibleMartyn Wendell Jones
Inside the Museum of the BibleOn November 17, Museum of the Bible (MOTB) will open its doors to the public for the first time, claiming to be the most cutting-edge museum in DC. Lavish exhibits, futuristic technology, and hitherto-unseen artifacts await visitors on the upper floors, as do lingering questions about the museum’s perceived association with antiquities smuggling. But the most enduring questions surrounding the museum will undoubtedly concern its intent. As its leadership has walked back the apologetic messaging of its early days in favor of a more open-handed mission of “engaging” all people with the Bible, skeptics may smell a ruse while some Christians may wonder if the museum is holding back…


It’s happening, and has been happening for some time…

How Holocausts HappenPhil Moore
How Holocausts Happen imageThis summer, I spent a difficult day at the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I stepped inside the gas chambers where the Nazi prison guards killed 1.5 million people in two short years and, like the other tourists who stood there with me, I wondered how such a holocaust could have happened. On the way out, one of the tour guides confronted the question we were all thinking. His parting words were a chilling quote from the Auschwitz survivor, Primo Levi: “It happened, therefore it can happen again.”…

…the words of Primo Levi kept echoing around my head. Not “It happened, therefore it could happen again” – the parallels with our own day were too clear – but rather, “It happened and it is happening again.”

This week marks the 50-year anniversary since the British Parliament passed the Abortion Act, on 27th October 1967. During that half-century, the lives of eight million babies have been terminated under British law. While it’s true that the scale of the British slaughter is very small compared to that in China, where 336 million babies have been aborted since 1971, it is over five times as many human lives as were exterminated at Auschwitz-Birkenau, so let’s note the parallels…


Research Reveals the 5 Biggest Influencers on Your Child’s Spiritual HealthEric Geiger
What do you think makes the biggest impact on a child’s spiritual development? Dinner as a family? Parents who don’t miss special events? Having church friends? Being at a good Christian school? Being at a church with a vibrant kids and student ministry?

While surely those are all good things and things I want for may daughters, none of them showed up in our recent LifeWay Research study on how kids really grow spiritually

…So what did show up in the research as the biggest influencers? … I am going to briefly offer the top five. If you care for your kid’s spiritual journey, this research is gold…


@RealGeorgeWashington…
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Bizarro

Psalm 52

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 52
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?

    The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
Your tongue plots destruction,
    like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
You love evil more than good,
    and lying more than speaking what is right.    Selah
You love all words that devour,
    O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
    he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
    he will uproot you from the land of the living.    Selah
The righteous shall see and fear,
    and shall laugh at him, saying,
“See the man who would not make
    God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
    and sought refuge in his own destruction!”[b]

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.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
How do you feel about the righteous “laughing” at the lost? (v. 6)
Well, let me ask you this: will you be one of the “laughers”?
Am I your refuge, or do you trust your “stuff”? (v. 7)
Do people there laugh at you for trusting in your stuff?
Or, do they laugh at you if you trust me?
It seems ridiculous to trust someone you can’t see, doesn’t it?
Are you willing to wait until the time when trusting in your stuff seems even more ridiculous? (v. 9)
Because it is.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Thursday Picks ~ 10-26-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The Stupidity of SinKevin DeYoung
prodigalEveryone who knows the Bible, knows people, or knows his own heart, knows this to be true: sin makes us stupid…

Sadly, we’ve all seen it before. From friends and family. Maybe from a trusted pastor or ministry colleague. It’s easier to see in others–the defensiveness, the blame-shifting, the excuse making, the nonsense of exchanging decades of faithfulness for minutes of folly. But what’s clear when looking at others can be hard to spot in ourselves. Just like the proverbial piece of lettuce on the lips, we can be last to realize how stupid we’ve become because of sin.


Red FlagsJamie Brown
I have made some wise decisions regarding whom to add to the worship team, and I have made some not-so-wise decisions. I’ve learned that there are some things to look out for (i.e. red flags) when considering whether or not someone should be asked to join the worship team.

Here are some red flags to be looking for (in no particular order of importance)…


Important, Popular or ViralSeth Godin
Image result for seth godinImportant work is easily dismissed by the audience. It involves change and risk and thought.

Popular work resonates with the people who already like what you do.

Viral work is what happens when the audience can’t stop talking about what you did.

Every once in awhile, all three things will co-exist, but odds are, you’re going to need to choose.


Discriminating Against People with Down Syndrome
Alan Shlemon
Abortion of a child with Down syndrome is unjust discrimination. Unborn children with Down syndrome are bona fide human beings but are being discriminated against because they have a characteristic that some people arbitrarily believe disqualifies them from being valuable and protected.

… in an age where society decries discrimination and values diversity and inclusiveness, it’s hard to believe there are those who argue it’s morally preferable to abort a child with Down syndrome. The pro-life view, by contrast, is the view that is inclusive, upholds diversity, and doesn’t discriminate.


Not All There…
Off the Mark