April 21 “Care and feeding of prodigals”

How are you responding to your prodigal? Are you helping or hindering?

And what about you … Are you a talker or a doer? Talking about God isn’t living for God. Talking about winning souls isn’t sharing the Gospel. Talking about prayer isn’t prayer.

prodigals

Today’s Readings:
Judges 7 & 8
Psalm 49.10-20
Proverbs 14.22-24
Luke15.11-32

Judges 7 & 8:

Gideon’s 300

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1.27). We see the truthfulness of that verse in the story of Gideon. It would seem like foolishness to send 32,000 men home and keep only 300 to fight an enemy who were “as numerous as locusts” and who had “camels without number.”

When we feel the weakest and the least able, or even foolish in comparison to some people, who are full of the world’s wisdom, that’s when God can use us in the greatest way if we will trust Him to direct us. Continue reading

April 20 “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”

Do you allow God’s Word and God’s wisdom to affect your heart intensely or is it too often “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”?

I've heard that before

Today’s Readings:
Judges 5 & 6
Psalm 49.1
Proverbs 14.20-21
Luke 15.1-10

Judges 5 & 6:

Mighty man of valor

Probably one of the most familiar stories in Judges is the story of Gideon. Those who have been brought up in Sunday school have probably heard the story many times. But God doesn’t want us to come to His Word, going “ho-hum, heard that one before.” His Word is “quick” as the old KJV says. That means it’s “alive.” Think of the “quick” under your fingernails—very much “alive” as you know if you’ve ever gotten a splinter under there!

Remember our questions from yesterday and how we can use them to dialog with the Lord. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? Followed by a rereading of the passage. Continue reading

April 19 “Hammers and tent pegs and you”

What do hammers and tent pegs and a “tent-wife” by the name of Jael have to do with you? Are we too quick to write-off some of the stranger Old Testament stores as irrelevant for today?

hammers and tent pegs

Today’s Readings:
Judges 3 & 4
Psalm 48.9-14
Proverbs 14.18-19
Luke 14.25-35

Judges 3 & 4:

Just a tent-wife

The book of Judges contains some very interesting stories to say the least!

One of the more surprising, especially if you haven’t read it before, is the story of Jael and her tent peg! God used a “housewife,” a “tent-wife” in this case, to destroy Israel’s and God’s enemy with a hammer and a tent peg. Think about the courage it took. What if he had awaken while she was getting a good grip on the hammer? What if she had missed and just managed to awaken him? Can you imagine the fear she might have felt?

What can we learn from Jael’s story or any passage of Scripture, especially when it seems so removed from our life experiences?

Try dialoging with the Lord. Ask questions like. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? And then reread the passage. Continue reading

April 18 “Will the next generation know God?” & new LINKY PARTY

Have you ever said, “I don’t want to force my religion on my children. I’m just going to let them grow up and decide for themselves”? Today’s reading in Judges gives us a clear picture of the result of that kind of thinking!

the next generation

Today’s Readings:
Judges 1 & 2
Psalm 48.1-8
Proverbs 14.15-17
Luke 14.1-24

A note of encouragement

If you set out to read through the Bible this year, you may be tempted to quit because you’ve gotten behind or started out late. I want to encourage you to keep going whether you just keep reading where you are or start with today’s reading. Either way you will probably read more than you have in the past. Even when it’s challenging or we do things less than perfectly, it’s still worth the effort.

young couple jumping together

Even if this is your first day visiting this blog, we have lots of wonderful things to read and understand from God’s Word in the days and weeks ahead. So jump in and join us!

Judges 1 & 2:

A generation who did not know the Lord

As we’ve talked about in the last few days, the nation of Israel was now in the Promised Land, but even though God had promised them complete victory, they failed to follow through and completely drive out the idol worshipers who had polluted the land and caused God to declare judgment against them. They thought they had things under control and didn’t need to completely obey God.

In addition, the older generation had failed to adequately teach their children about God. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is 2.10, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

Parental responsibility

next generation

More times than I care to think about, I’ve heard parents say, “I don’t want to force my religion on my children. I’m just going to let them grow up and decide for themselves.” That sounds good in some ways and, to be sure, we can’t “force” our children to believe. Many a parent has learned the hard way that you can’t insist on legalistic behavior that drives your children away from God. Continue reading

April 17 “Are there few who are saved?”

When an observer in Jesus’ time asked, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” He warned that the gate is narrow. And when the people of Joshua’s day claimed that they would serve the Lord, he told them not to take that statement lightly. Are there many today who have failed to heed those warnings?

few who are saved

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 23 & 24
Psalm 47.1-9
Proverbs 14.14
Luke 13.23-35

Joshua 23 & 24:

Whom will you serve?

What a rich portion of Scripture! Joshua is coming to the end of his life and he wants to leave everything in order. He takes time to remind the people about all God has done for them and encourages them to remember how He has been faithful to His Word.

In 23.12-13 he warns them about intermarrying with unbelievers. This is still true today. If you are single and considering marriage or do so in the future, remember, we are free to marry only in the Lord! (1 Cor. 7.39). Continue reading

April 16 “On living a problem-free life”

Paul Tripp compares our world to “a broken down house” where none of us is guaranteed a problem-free life. In fact, we’re not even guaranteed tomorrow!

problem free life

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 21 & 22
Psalm 46.7-11
Proverbs 14.12-13
Luke 13.1-22

Joshua 21 & 22:

On being lights to the world

I found it interesting that the Levites were given cities in the territories occupied by the other tribes rather than isolated in their own territory. This enabled them to be examples to the people, but also put a responsibility on them to live upright lives. Like us, their walk was to match their talk.

candles

Paul wrote in Philippians 2.14-16:

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Psalm 46.7-11:

Pause & think

Did you notice that verses 7 & 11 repeat the same thing? “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” When God repeats something, especially in the same passage, it means pay attention! He even added the word “Selah” after verse 7. “Selah” means pause. I have always thought of it as an encouragement to stop and think about what was just said. Continue reading

April 15 “Our Divine Attorney”

Satan, the accuser of the brethren, seldom rests. He accuses us about the past. He accuses us about the present. He accuses us about our future. He’ll even accuse us about reading the Bible.

divine attorney

But if we have been regenerated, born again by the Spirit of God, then Christ has paid the price for our sins and we have Jesus as our Divine Attorney.

And if you’re not sure that describes you, the Good News is … you can be (Rom. 6.23, 10.9-10, 13; 1 Jn. 5.13)!

And if he’s accusing you about falling behind or missing some days in your Bible reading … or if you’ve just joined us, simply start with today. All Scripture is profitable, no matter where you start (2 Tim. 3.16).

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 19 & 20
Psalm 46.1-6
Proverbs 14.7-11
Luke 12.32-59

Joshua 19 & 20:

Cities of Refuge

Chapter 20 talks about the cities of refuge where someone accused of murder or manslaughter could run for safety until a judge could decide their fate. Otherwise their accuser might decide to take justice into his own hands.

Our next reading, Psalm 46, reminds us that God Himself is our Refuge from Satan, our accuser (Rev. 12.10). Revelation 12 tells us that he accuses us day and night, sometimes in the throne room of God, as he did with Job, and sometimes he’s that unrelenting voice in our own minds. Continue reading

April 14 “Responding to anxiety”

What’s going on in your heart and mind? Is it peace and trust? Or is it worry and anxiety? How should we respond when anxiety threatens to have its way?

anxiety

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 17 & 18
Psalm 45.6-17
Proverbs 14.6
Luke 12.1-31

Joshua 17 & 18:

Worry leads to complaining

Solomon said, “… there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1.9). In 17.16-18 the descendants of Joseph were worried and that worry led to complaining. They complained they had not been given enough land and that the Canaanites, who lived there, were too great for them.

But Joshua reminded them of God’s promises and told them to clear the wooded land they had been given and drive out the inhabitants.

We, too, need to fully use the resources God has given us instead of complaining that He doesn’t give us more. And as we’ll see in our New Testament reading, we need to change our thinking about God and our circumstances. Continue reading

April 13 “The lens of Scripture”

How do you view the events of your life? What is your filter? Are you seeing through the lens of Scripture or the world’s perspective?

lens of Scripture

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 15 & 16
Psalm 45.1-5
Proverbs 14.4-5
Luke 11.29-54

Joshua 15 & 16:

Driving out our enemy

In these chapters and the next few, the boundaries for each tribe’s territory are being delineated. But notice verse 16.10, “And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers.”

Another reminder to us that we can have things in our lives which God has told us to remove, but we believe “we have it under control” so we don’t completely “drive them out.” Just as the inhabitants of the land would later pull them down and lead them into sin and idolatry, so can those things that remain in our hearts and lives. Continue reading

April 12 “Is the ‘old man’ still hanging around?”

Are there areas of your life where you have failed to have victory? Are there some habits of the old man that have crept back in or never fully left?

old man

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 13 & 14
Psalm 44.20-26
Proverbs 14.3
Luke 11.1-28

Joshua 13 & 14:

Pockets of resistance

Verse 14.15b, “Then the land had rest from war.” This was a time of relative peace, though as I said yesterday, there were still areas that needed to be fully occupied.

Isn’t that the way it is in our lives? He saves us, puts our feet on the Rock, and gives us new righteous desires, and many things in our lives change. But even though we may have quit doing a lot of the things we used to do (in many situations God has supernaturally removed the desire for those things), there are still “pockets” of resistance—areas of our lives where we hold on to “old man” (Eph. 4.22) habits.

old man

Maybe it’s a tendency to gossip, to harbor unforgiveness, to give someone the silent treatment, or to respond in sinful anger. Maybe it involves our thought lives … “After all, (we think) I’m not doing anything wrong!” We mistakenly believe we can play around with a thought or a fantasy.

The added danger is that as months and years go by without dealing with that area of sin and as we push that conviction away, we begin to sear our consciences and we become blinded. Continue reading