Joshua 6:8-14

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.

Joshua 6:8-14
And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” 11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Six days. Every day the same thing.
Now, imagine you are one of the people walking around the city.
What are you thinking?
Do you get up early?
Are you one of the first to be lined up and ready to go?
Do you really believe something is going to happen?
Why do you think I did it this way?
Why do you think I didn’t just push the walls over right away?
Haven’t you noticed my flair for the dramatic?
What does that tell you about me?
What does that tell you about you?


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

Monday Picks ~ 11-13-2017

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

Make sure you watch the short video at the top of the article. Powerful…

Sutherland Springs Church the Week AfterJohn Moritz
Inside-Sutherland-Springs-church--10.jpg
Holding a Bible inside a giant tent where about 1,000 people of a variety of faiths came to show support, [Pastor] Pomeroy said no doubt has crept into his mind that in the end, human goodness will triumph.

“I know this,” he said, holding the Bible high with his left hand, “because I’ve read to the end of the book.”


Every worship leader’s (and other staffers’) dilemma…

How To Influence Culture & Lead [When You’re Not In Charge]David Santistevan
It’s true. You might be in a less-than-stellar environment. And you have a choice to either leave or to make it better. Because here’s the deal: you don’t have an option to hang on, gossip, check-out, disagree, not speak up, and coast through your job. That kind of life isn’t good for you, your team, or the people you lead.

Either LOVE your work or find something else to do.

Think about it. The grass is always greener somewhere else, but what if you approached where you were with total focus and “all in” attention? What would change?

I’ve had the privilege of being part of an incredible team. But I’ve had my fair share of temptation to just coast and show up for the job, not investing my best self.

That might be where you are right now. You might be looking for a new role. You might be praying for a change.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation, try this before You leave…


Meanwhile, in Hollywood…

‘Fear is everywhere’: a quiet paranoia haunts post-Weinstein HollywoodRory Carroll
Awards season is likely to be fraught as Hollywood comes to terms with a toxic culture. ‘Questions on the red carpet will not be who you’re wearing, but what you knew and when.’From afar it may seem Hollywood rings with denunciations. In reality, there is a hush…

“It’s fear – fear is everywhere.” It was fear of damaging your career – “if you want to survive in Hollywood you don’t want to be known as a troublemaker” – and fear of offending the internet outrage machine, said Asi. “Famous people have to measure every word. You can’t predict how the public or social media may react. Silence is the best protection, your best shield.”

There is fear even of acknowledging the fear. Several industry figures compared the climate to a witch-hunt, another called it Robespierre-style terror, but they declined to be named lest they be seen as insufficiently sympathetic to victims.


Odd Jobs…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMTEvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcxMTExXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Joshua 6:1-7

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.

Joshua 6:1-7
Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat,[a] and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
I mean, would you have done what I said?
You know how the world works. You know warfare.
Does marching around and blowing trumpets make any sense?
Would you ask, “Why?”
Would you do it anyway?
Have I told you to do anything that sounds silly?
Like maybe, loving your enemies?
Or, sexual morality?
Or, giving your possessions, or time, in the service of someone who can’t pay you back?
Or maybe even someone who will resent you for it?
You know how the world works. You know real life.
Does living as a Christian make any sense?
Will you ask, “Why?”
Will you do it anyway?


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

Critic or Worshiper?

https://static.giga.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/muppet-critics.jpg

“When we gather as the church, we are not coming as critics.
We are not talent judges from The Voice who get to slam
a ‘worship button’ whenever we like what we’re hearing.
We are not entitled to make the call on whether or not
we feel like worshiping God and building up his church.
His glory does not wait for us to like the music
before he becomes worthy of all our worship.”

Stephen Miller

Weekend Picks ~ 11-10-2017

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

Our Response to Sexual Abuse Should Not Be a Partisan Sport Rebecca Florence Miller
http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/rebeccaflorencemiller/files/2017/11/27581043690_baf3d9fc9e.jpg…you know what really gets me angry? The tribalism in relation to sexual abuse. If the person who is guilty is a member of our own tribe, our culture goes after the accusers and seeks to discredit them. Accusers are treated like kooks and put on trial themselves. If someone from the other tribe did it, they are monsters. If someone from my tribe did it, they get a pass (thanks for nothing, Gloria Steinem) or it’s fake news…

I’ve had it. Do not tell me “but Hillary” or “but his policies were so great.” Stop it. Tell the truth.


No, Christians Don’t Use Joseph and Mary to Explain Child Molesting AccusationsEd Stetzer
No, Christians Don't Use Joseph and Mary to Explain Child Molesting AccusationsI’m not a supporter of Moore. I don’t follow Alabama politics, and he seems a bit of a sideshow to the current (much bigger) issues we face. But, let’s be clear about one thing—his defenders are not helping at all.

In defending Moore, his supporters have now become the news, and as they do so, some are stunningly appealing to religious reasons…

after I got over my initial shock of this statement, I admittedly got angry.

If this is evangelicalism, I’m on the wrong team.

But, it is not.

Christians don’t use Joseph and Mary to explain child molesting accusations…

So, let’s be clear. No. Normal. Evangelical. Believes. This. About. The. Bible.

Even as I write this, I confess that anger might even be too light of a word for how I feel right now. Eric Marrapodi of NBC news called my comments “hot fire.”

So be it.

As Christians, this should provoke anger.

We should be angered first, that politicians think they can lie to us so easily by appealing to biblical language and characters. Second, that we so easily fall for such tactics.

For the past decade, evangelicals have been easy marks, and I hope that people won’t fall for these things…

And, to all you reporters out there, THIS IS NOT WHAT EVANGELICALS BELIEVE.


The Sequel to Chariots of Fire: A New Film Starring Joseph Fiennes Tells the Rest of Eric Liddell’s StoryJustin Taylor
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYjAzZTljYTQtOGM3Yy00NWIxLTllODItYzY1MDM3NzFhZTQzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTg5MzcwNw@@._V1_UY1200_CR80,0,630,1200_AL_.jpgMost people don’t know that Liddell, who was born in China to Scottish missionaries serving with the London Missionary Society, returned to China in 1925 at the age of 23. He died at the age of 43 in a Japanese civilian internment camp in 1945.

In a new film, On Wings of Eagles—which apparently releases today—Joseph Fiennes plays Liddell, portraying the second half of his life.


Winning a Yoga RaceSeth Godin
Image result for seth godin
Winning a yoga race.

It makes no sense, of course.

The question this prompts is: Are there places you feel like you’re falling behind where there’s actually no race?


Follow this link if you need to smile today…

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2017


Doughboys, Flying Tigers and Coming Home – an Armistice Day postTim Fall
World War One memorial in Pennsylvania (Wikimedia)My grandfather was a World War One doughboy. Of course it wasn’t called World War One back then. In fact, some thought it would be “The War to End All Wars“. I don’t know if my grandfather felt that way, but he fought in the trenches and suffered mustard gas poisoning just like you read about in books and see in the movies….

A generation later, my father fought in World War Two. The U.S. entered the war less than a week before he turned 18….

Not everyone who goes to war comes home. I am grateful for those who have served and continue to serve.

And I am grateful for our God who promises to put an end to war.


Staying connected…
Pearls Before Swine – Click image for a larger view.

Joshua 5:10-15

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.

Joshua 5:10-15
10 While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. 11 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[a] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord‘s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What questions do you ask when you worship?
Do you ask about the music, or the sound?
Do you ask about the air conditioning or the heat?
Do you ask about the lighting or the projection?
Do you ask, “What happened to my church?”
Do you ask to have worship your way?
The way that makes you comfortable?
Who said worship was supposed to be comfortable?
When was the last time you “fell on your face to the earth and worshiped” and asked, “What does my Lord say to his servant?” (v. 14)


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

Thursday Picks ~ 11-9-2007

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

When Everything Is MissionsKevin DeYoung
https://johnbotkin.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/worldmap.png…we are not all missionaries and not everything is missions, and if we don’t get these definitions correct we will not be effective in carrying out the mission Christ gave to the Church.

…the old slogan “every member a missionary” is not really accurate. We are all called to be witnesses and disciple makers, but the Latin word missio, like the Greek word apostelein, refers to sending or being sent. A missionary… means (a) sent (b) across a boundary to where the gospel is not known, (c) to see a church planted that (d) can reach that region with the gospel once the missionary leaves. When everything is missions and everyone is a missionary, this task is obscured or forgotten…

Should churches support Christian schools at home and college ministry on secular campuses in the United States? Should we work to have excellent and engaging youth and children’s ministries? Should we be concerned by poverty and homelessness and clean water? Yes, yes, and yes. But … if we think all of this is missions we will end up neglecting the very task laid out for us in the Great Commission. When everything is missions, missions gets left behind.


Challenging…

The Age of Consent in the Age of Exposure
Stephen McAlpine
171030-kevin-spacey-one-time-use-mn-1105_3ca02a0124fbd8ec428b62fd34b24235-focal-760x380Now? Sexual liberty finds itself in a bind.  At the very time sexuality is dominating the culture at an even more rapid rate than before, and in an age when you are defined by your sexuality, the small matter of consent is rearing its head.  And there is much confusion…

The iWorld embraces three taboos that serve to limit individual freedom if it affects another person’s individual freedom:

  1. One may not criticise someone else’s life choices or behaviour.
  2. One may not behave in a manner that coerces or causes harm to others.
  3. One may not engage in a sexual relationship with someone without his or her consent.

…The fact is, taboos two and three are not merely modern inventions, they are woven into the fabric of the world that God has put together and which he has revealed in Scripture. They were commands of God long before they were secular taboos. Modern culture just assumed it was smarter than God by attempting to isolate these two taboos from all of the other commands about sex that have been broken with gay and straight abandon down the centuries. And the result is a mess…

Harvey and Kevin’s real concern is that Hollywood has no confessional, no altar, no service of reconciliation. Hollywood creates movies that extol forgiveness, redemption and restoration, but all they’re doing is piggy-backing on the biblical story while stripping it of transcendence. The awful reality is much different…


An excellent tribute to an excellent player…

Halladay Was Everybody’s HeroJoe Posnanski
Halladay was everybody's heroRoy Halladay simplified pitching. This was at the heart of his baseball greatness. He took this big, sprawling, complicated thing, this intricate art form weighed down by so many details — by pitches, counts, batting styles, scouting reports and arm slots and fluctuating strike zones and high-leverage situations and low-leverage situations — and he boiled it down to its essence.

Halladay refused to complicate things, and so he made it all look so easy. It wasn’t easy…

Halladay was the most admired pitcher of his day. Everyone knew how hard he worked. Everyone respected the way he went about his business. Everyone watched in wonder how Halladay made pitching simple. And most of all, everyone longed to have just a little bit of his poise, just a little bit of his class, just a little bit of his sense of self.

Roy Halladay achieved the hardest thing a great athlete can achieve. He was everybody’s hero.


“Then I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

The World’s Tiniest Wonders, Revealed Through PhotomicrographyAnika Burgess
Nsutite and cacoxenite minerals (Image of Distinction). Since 1975, Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition has attracted photographers and scientists interested in showcasing miniscule wonders. This year’s winning entries, drawn from the work of more than 2,000 participants in 88 countries, reveal that the very, very tiny can still have a startlingly large visual impact.


An infamous day in musical history…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMTEvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcxMTA5XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Joshua 5:1-9

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.

Joshua 5:1-9
As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.[a] And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal[b] to this day.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
While they were in Egypt, what was my promise to the Israelites?
(Exodus 3:16-18)
Did any of those people receive what I promised? (v. 6)
So, did I keep my promise to them?
Now, what have I promised you?
When do you expect those promises to be fulfilled?
Why are you so impatient?
Did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m working on a lot bigger plan than your one little lifetime?
That doesn’t mean I think your life is insignificant.
It means you are a part of something much, much grander than you can possibly imagine.


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

Joshua 4:10-24

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.

Joshua 4:10-24
The people passed over in haste. 11 And when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the Lord and the priests passed over before the people. 12 The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over armed before the people of Israel, as Moses had told them. 13 About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho. 14 On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.

15 And the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests bearing the ark of the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.” 17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.” 18 And when the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.

19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan 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, 24 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.”[a]

From this passage I hear God asking me:
First a thought:
Everyone who crossed the Red Sea has died. This is a whole new generation crossing the Jordan. But they had not forgotten. Their parents told them the story. Over and over. Until they rolled their eyes every time they heard it. But now, it’s no longer a story. It’s an experience. Now they have their own story to tell. Why? Two reasons: 1, “So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty” and 2, “That you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (v. 24)

Now a few questions:
What stories have your parents told you about me?
Did you listen? Do you remember?
What have you experienced with me?
Are you telling your children?
Are you telling them over and over?
Are they rolling their eyes?
Keep telling them.
This is how I work.

“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.


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