Tag Archives: Bible Reading

Joshua 7:1-9

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 7:1-9
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Why do you think the spies expected God to bless them?
Why do you?
Do you think Achan expected the victories to continue?
Obviously, at this point Joshua knows nothing about Achan’s sin.
What, exactly, was his sin?
Do you ever do anything like that?
Do you, like Achan, continue as if nothing had happened?
Do you think Joshua was really concerned about my reputation? (v.9)
Do you think I care about what people think of me?
Well, I do! Don’t you?
What kind of God do you think I am?


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

Thursday Picks ~ 11-16-2017

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

The Enduring Appeal of Creepy ChristianityDavid French
http://c2.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/cult-christian-celebrity-quest-certainty-damage-church.jpg?itok=CjN4CybMThe desire for certainty in an uncertain world yields terrible results…

The scriptural response to this fundamental uncertainty is unsatisfying to some. Faith, hope, and love are vague concepts. The Bible doesn’t have a clear, specific prescription for every life challenge. But rather than seeking God prayerfully and with deep humility and reverence, we want answers, now. And thus we gravitate to those people who purport to offer more than the Bible.

Read this book to discover how, by nursing, regulating their babies’ sleep patterns, and teaching their obedient young children how to silently express their desires through hand signals, you can help prepare them for happy, godly lives. Read that book to discover that if you control every aspect of your child’s education and dating lives, they’ll learn more, avoid sin, and launch into lifelong, happy marriages. Watch this sermon to discover the formula for health and wealth.


Feeling Disconnected? Here’s a Fix.Danny Franks
Whatever size church you attend, there will come a point where you feel left out. Unknown. Like you don’t have the friendships and relationships you’re craving.

Feeling connected isn’t correlated to size. It seems counterintuitive, but connection is not a size issue. You can be deeply known in a megachurch, and you can skate on the fringes in a rural country church where attendance runs double digits…

We’ve found that serving on a ministry team is a the #1 “connection factor” to help people feel engaged in the church and a be a part of the mission. Had you asked me this several years ago, I would have bet money on small groups. And while small groups are a close second, people who serve actually rank their felt engagement a bit higher.

“You can’t come in, sit down, be entertained by the band, get pumped up with a God pep-talk for the week ahead, and leave. If you don’t serve inside your church, you are not only missing out on being known by the people you regularly serve with, but you are depriving the rest of the church of your specific, God-given gifts and talents”


Netflix Thinks You’re Bored and LonelyTrevin Wax
Image result for Netflix Thinks You’re Bored and LonelyAt a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal last year, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, offered a purpose statement for his entertainment juggernaut: “Fundamentally, we’re about eliminating loneliness and boredom. . . . That’s what entertainment does.”

Eliminating boredom and loneliness. Chew on that for a while, and you’ll realize that only one of these issues is truly a problem, while the other is actually an opportunity…

Without boredom, how do we teach children how to behave in a restaurant, how to sing and pray and listen in church, or how to politely carry on a conversation that isn’t immediately interesting?

We shouldn’t treat boredom as a problem to be solved…

Is loneliness resolved when the members of a family all retreat to their own tablets or devices to watch the shows that have been tailored to their interests?…

Boredom and loneliness. The church has the opportunity to be countercultural…

Boredom and loneliness often go together. Our inability to embrace boredom keeps us from going deeper in our relationships. Then, shallow relationships boomerang back in the form of loneliness and more boredom.


What the God of Peace Will DoDarryl Dash
Romans 16:20“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Romans 16:20)

Every word in that verse matters. Every word encourages…

I used to read benedictions like “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” as throwaway lines. No longer. The longer I’ve been alive, the more I realize I need this present-day grace that’s available because of the past work of Jesus and the future, complete defeat of evil. I need this grace today.


Connecting the dots…
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Joshua 6:22-27

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 6:22-27
22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. 24 And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
    lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
    shall he set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Think about what Rahab’s family might have been like.
Father, mother and brothers…and all her relatives. (v.23)
Do you think they approved of her lifestyle?
Did you notice where they were taken? Outside the camp of Israel.
But they “lived in Israel to this day.”
Do you think they were accepted?
Do you think she continued being a prostitute?
What if she did? Would it change the story at all?
Why do you think this information is omitted?
Would you have befriended her?
Would you have figured “once a prostitute, always a prostitute”?
Who do you “write off” as un-redeemable?


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

Joshua 6:15-21

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 6:15-21
15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. 17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.[b] Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” 20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What kind of God do you think I am?
Consider the marching, the 7 days, the horns, the shouting. (vs. 16-17)
-Consider the prostitute. (v. 17)
-Consider the destruction. (v. 17)
-Consider the personal restrictions. (v. 18)

Consider the silver, gold, bronze and iron. (v. 19)
-Consider the walls. (v. 20)
-Consider the bloodshed. (v. 21)
What do these things tell you about me?
Am I the kind of God you thought I was?
Am I the kind of God you wanted?
What kind of God do you think I am?


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Joshua 4:1-10

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 4:1-10
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the Lord told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down[a] there. And Joshua set up[b] twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day. 10 For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have I done anything for you in your life worth remembering?
What have you done to make sure you don’t forget?
Have you set up “stones” of any kind?
Don’t you think you should?
“When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’” What will you tell them?


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