Remember

Joshua 1-4

 

The message I took out of the first four chapters of Joshua is especially timely.  We are living in unprecedented times.  Not unprecedented in history, but certainly within our own lifetimes.  Obviously, I am speaking of the coronavirus epidemic.  No one knows how long the effects of this will last, or when things will get back to “normal” But do not fear.  God is still on His throne.

 

After forty years of wandering in the desert, God finally allows His people to enter into the promised land behind the leadership of Joshua. The pivotal moment is when the Lord held back the flood-swollen waters of the Jordan river, allowing the tribes of Israel to cross over on dry land.  Of course, this bookends the forty years in the wilderness after escaping Egypt by similarly crossing the parted waters of the Red Sea on dry land.

 

But after this crossing, God instructs Joshua to have each tribe take a rock from the middle of the river, and stack them up on the side of the river they were crossing onto.

 

Joshua chapter 4, verses 20-24 say, “And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their parents, “What do these stones mean?” tell them, “Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.’ ”

 

Our Heavenly Father knows that we are a forgetful people.  I am an expert at it.  But certain things are worth remembering.  Like when God has rescued His people, fulfilled promises, or performed miracles.  God instructed people to remember certain events throughout history.  Thankfully, we have the history of such events at our fingertips in His word.  We know that He has fulfilled every promise that has come to pass, and so we should have confidence that the Godly promises that have not come to pass will also be fulfilled.

 

But what about events that are not written down in the Bible?  What about events in our own lives?  Has God ever demonstrated His power and love to you personally?  Think about such events, and how they can serve as our own monuments for us to hold onto and recount that God is there with us. If God has delivered you through difficult times before, have confidence that He will do so again.

 

Finally, remember that no matter what the future holds, no one can take away the promise of the future Kingdom that we will have a part in.  Nothing that ever happens on earth will take that promise away, and today, and every day going forward, God is in control.

 

For you parents, remember that this is a great time to model real faith to our children.  It is easiest to show faith in God when everything is going great.  But how will you model your faith and trust in God during these difficult times?  That is what matters most.

 

I have added some verses of encouragement below (starting with one from today’s reading), and then after that, a link to a youtube playlist I created that has songs of encouragement.

 

Joshua 1:9

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.

 

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

 

Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 

 

 

Greg Landry

 

Welcome to the Books of History in our

Today’s passage, Joshua 1-4 can be read or listened to at

 

 

God Sees

Genesis 27-29

Genesis 29 31a NIV

Recently I have been able to spend a lot of time with my nephew and niece. My nephew is 2 years old and my niece is 7 months old. It’s almost a little weird how spending time with children can be such a blessing. They almost never give you anything or return the amount of love that you give them. Yet for some reason they are a blast to be around. My nephew is at a stage where he wants your full, undivided attention. This is great when you have some free time to hang out but when you are running late or need your focus elsewhere it gets a little challenging. Children have a way of a bringing joy to your life with a simple smile.

In Genesis 29 Jacob works for Laban to make Rachel and Leah his wives. I am completely unsure how Jacob handled having two wives but it doesn’t seem like he handled it well. Jacob didn’t really want to marry Leah but Laban his father-in-law lied to him and he ended up having to marry both sisters in order to have Rachel. Jacob had some options being married to both, he could either treat both of them right or he could treat one unfairly. He chose the latter by ignoring Leah the sister he didn’t want to marry

I want to hone in on verses 31-35. You may already be familiar with the story but sometimes it is nice to get a reminder. In verse 31 it says that Leah was hated and God saw her being hated. So God opened her womb and gave her sons. Leah’s response is that God gave her these children so that her husband would love her. Maybe so, but maybe God just wanted to bless Leah with children.

This passage shows us a larger idea as well. We too often forget that God is with us and sees everything. It can be easy when we are going through hard times for us to feel like we are all alone. I think Leah probably felt alone. She is married to a guy who never wanted to be married to her and chose her sister over her. She probably felt like she was competing with her sister for the love of their husband. I imagine that her relationship with her sister was really messed up. She probably felt all alone through this whole situation.

God saw the situation that was unfolding and looked upon her with compassion and showed her love and mercy by giving her children. God sees us in our situations and he does interact in our world to stop injustice. Psalm 34.18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” He didn’t let Leah’s suffering go unnoticed. Your suffering doesn’t go unnoticed either. Isaiah 64.4 says, “… no eye has seen a God besides you, who act for those that wait for him.”

I take a lot of solace in these scriptures because I know that when I am suffering, feeling alone and am brokenhearted that if I wait for God in whatever situation that I am in that he will act in that situation. Whether it’s a situation like Leah’s where everyone hated her and she had to be feeling lonely or you just feel alone at school and you don’t feel like you have any friends we have a God that if we wait for him, he will act. God isn’t blind to our suffering and he will move our lives if we wait for him. In Leah’s situation I am sure just having the first-born child would have been good enough to bring joy into her life. God went well beyond that and gave her three children to raise and to love. God showered her with goodness.

Daniel Wall

 

Read or listen to today’s Bible passage at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+27-29&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be Genesis 30-31 on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Not Seeing Eye to Eye?

Job 24-28

Job 28 28 NIV

This section of Job is beginning to wind down.  Today we hear the final (and brief) closing arguments from Bildad, the last of Job’s 3 friends to speak.  And then Job begins a 6 chapter speech which will be all we will hear from him until the final chapter 42.  But, don’t worry there will be a new character introduced soon, as well as a thrilling climax ahead.  The best is yet to come.

 

Today Job is not quite as bitter as we have seen him earlier this week.  He has lost a bit of his accusatory sting toward God.  I think we are seeing some progress through his stages of grief and he is getting closer and closer to acceptance and after that will come hope.  He speaks eloquently of God’s greatness, while also still asking about God’s timeline in dealing with the wicked.  He is showing his awe of God and trust in God, even while not understanding all God is and does.  It is a great example for us.  It is wise to remember that we don’t need to understand God, but we can still trust in Him.  I know I sometimes have a difficult time understanding other created beings – some of whom I have spent a lot of time with and study regularly.  If I don’t understand people who are “like me” – isn’t it a bit arrogant of myself to think that I ought to be able to understand the Almighty who is on a completely different playing field than even the most wise and competent human.  If God and I don’t always see eye to eye – whose eyesight do you imagine needs some adjusting?

 

Speaking of wisdom, all of chapter 28 details the search for wisdom.  It is more valuable, and sometimes harder to find, than the most costly material treasures.  Can you think of any places you have searched for wisdom, and been disappointed when it came up lacking?  At the end of the chapter we find the answers to the search for wisdom…


20 
Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?…
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”

Job 28:20, 23-28 (NIV)

 

It can sound so simple – but still be so challenging to live out in our daily lives, especially if we are in a season of suffering or loss. If you want wisdom – seek out God and give Him the honor and respect that is due Him, even when you are hurting.  And if you want understanding – follow Him, do what is right and flee evil, even when it is hard.

 

It can help our eyesight immensely when we can say, “I am not God.  You are.  I will follow You.”

 

Marcia Railton

 
To read or listen to today’s passage check out https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job+24-28&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s passage, as we continue the  2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan will be Job 29-31.  The best of Job is yet to come.  Jump in and read with us!

 

 

 

Living Water

Revelation 7

Revelation 7 17

When I am sad it is hard for me to function properly. I usually get anxious and worried and often I am emotionally compromised. It usually takes someone else to put me back on the right train of thought and to change my attitude.

Revelation 7:17 says this, “For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Often times when we are sad or upset, anxious, mad, or disgusted, Jesus has to Shepard us into a new train of thought. One with a better perspective and one that is better for our well-being. He gives us a new feeling, that which feels like a fresh drink of water and refreshes us. He allows our hearts to be calmed and gives us hope for the future.

This is my prayer this morning, that Jesus would give you hope and that you would find peace in him and his ways. Because he is the Shepherd who leads and guides us through the hills of life.

Jesse Allen

The Truth, the Full Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Psalm 119 162 163

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Let’s pray it will be a great year of growth as we strive to follow Him well, relying daily on the truth of His Word.  Today, we welcome Susan Landry with her words of truth, encouragement and challenge as we look to begin our Bible reading plan with Matthew 1 on Sunday, January 6!

 

One of my favorite things about Scripture is my reliance upon the fact that it is totally, completely, absolutely, supremely TRUE.  I’ve become convinced over the years that my feelings lie to me.  As I’ve come to this conclusion, I’ve also come to realize that when my feelings lie to me, the best way to combat that is to tell myself the truth.  This has kind of been my mantra for some time.

But it got challenged recently.

I was feeling discouraged and the thoughts that were running on repeat through my head wouldn’t quit.  I tried my usual weapon of pausing and assessing my feelings to see if I could find the lie and then find a truth to combat it with.  But what I kept coming back to was that what I was feeling discouraged about WAS true.  It was a fact, in fact.

And so I wallowed in my discouragement for a few days, feeling rather hopeless, before God placed a verse in my head…a verse that was also true.  A lightbulb went on as I saw that what had been running through my head was a HALF-truth, it was not the complete truth.

Psalm 119 18 43

I may have screwed up, but the full truth is that God can work with that.  He can bring something good out of it, even.  And because I know His word is true, I can trust that and have hope even when it doesn’t feel true.  My story doesn’t end with a half-truth…and neither does yours.

 

Friends, this is why it’s so important to be in God’s word regularly.  He can’t bring verses to mind if you haven’t read them.  You can’t know the full truth if you aren’t reading it.  I’m so excited to start this New Year of reading the Bible together!

The full truth:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

 

-Susan Landry

A Most Encouraging, Comforting and Exciting Passage

Rev 21 4

We are excited about beginning our New Testament Bible Reading plan this coming Sunday.  The rest of this week we will be hearing from various writers on what God’s Word means to them.  Today, we are pleased to hear from Seth Ross, the Executive Director of the Church of God General Conference and Atlanta Bible College President.

 

Over the years, I have found certain portions of Scripture have come back to encourage me over and over. Revelation 21 is one of those chapters that encourages me when I’m down, it comforts me when I’m in pain, and it excites me when… well, all the time. When I’ve lost people close to me (grandparent, parent, etc) the particular verses below have given me comfort in what God has in store for us. On days when I’m not sad, this same passage excites me about what is coming and it gives me strength to make spiritual decisions that might not make sense to most people. In this special chapter, in this special section, there’s one special verse that gives me a sense of how much God loves for each of us individually and how much he really cares. This is what can encourage you to read the rest of the Bible through the year to see what else God has in store for you.

REVELATION 21:1-4
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

TO MEMORIZE
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” ~Revelation 21:4

 

-Seth Ross

 

 

When Our Plan is Failing

Jer 29 11

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We all have times when it feels like nothing is going right. School is hard, and you think maybe you should take a break. Your job is going nowhere, and it seems like your boss doesn’t like you. We’ve all been there! These are difficult times to trust God has a plan for all of us and even those times we feel like all our plans are for nothing. Take some time to reflect on the people you have contact with, could they be the people you need to share the message of Jesus and the salvation He offers. Sometimes when our plans seem to be failing, it is really God’s plan coming together!

-Susan Johnson