Trek through Joshua
Pay attention to peace!
Scripture reading for April 6th: Joshua 22-24, Psalm 116, Luke 19
Luke 19:41-44 “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus was going to enter Jerusalem, the City of Peace, on a prophetic final mission. He told His disciples where to find a colt and mounted it and rode into the city thronged by crowds of people shouting praises and ‘Hosanna’, a greeting of salvation. They blessed the “King Who came in the Name of the Lord.” As Jesus drew near, seeing the city more clearly, He began to weep over it and lament over it’s inhabitants and the coming judgment that would befall them and their city as a result of unbelief. They missed the time of their visitation. They failed to understand the Prince of Peace and to receive the salvation He was offering. What a tragedy!
Joshua 24:20-21 “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.”
Prayer: Father God, Thank you for interceding over Jerusalem and interceding for all mankind on Your Cross at Calvary. We have all sinned and failed to serve You and promised that we would. Our only rest is in Your mercy. Jesus is our rest! He has delivered our soul from death, our eyes from tears, and will keep our feet from stumbling! I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living through Him!
Psalm 116:7-9 “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”
Don’t lose heart!
Scripture reading for April 5th: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18
Luke 18:1-8 “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?””
Many times in our world it looks like the ‘bad guys’ always win. The circumstances of life are stacked against us. We look for an advocate, but they are few and far between. The woman in this parable of Jesus’ may have felt that way, but her faith caused her to appeal to the ‘unjust’ judge. She did this again and again and got his attention. The ‘unjust’ judge finally granted her justice just to get some peace. Now Jesus turned this parable around for us. God is not ‘unjust’ but the all-powerful Just and True Judge. We have been given access through prayer to His throne. Like the woman, we should be crying out day and night in faith, not fainting under the load of fear or trouble. Jesus promises a speedy answer! Why not believe Him and begin asking in faith?
Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . .”
Prayer: Father God, the times we live in are filled with injustice and Your people are often mistreated. Give us more grace to pray instead of fainting. Help us to live by faith, despite hostile circumstances and persecution. We desire a ‘full inheritance’ and want to be found with faith when You return.
Joshua 19:49-50 “When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.”
The kingdom in our midst!
Scripture reading for April 4th: Joshua 14-17, Luke 17
Luke 17:15-19 “Then one of them (the 10 lepers), when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no on found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
The Jews thought that their Jewish blood made them citizens of God’s kingdom. They were the ‘chosen’ people through Abraham. In this story, Jesus healed ten lepers who came to him. One of the ten, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks and praise God. The others, presumably Jews, did not. Jesus honored the Samaritan’s faith and granted healing–he was ‘made well!’ The Pharisees asked Jesus after this, when the kingdom would come. Jesus answered them with a puzzling statement. No one can actually observe the kingdom of heaven now, because it is within each person possessing faith in the Son of God. It is not what we eat or drink, healing, or miracles; it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! (Romans 14:17)
Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great salvation! Like the ten lepers, I was unclean and in need of a miracle. You touched me and I was cleansed and given the kingdom of heaven in place of my filthy rags. I know righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Like Caleb of old, my strength is renewed each day and I trust You to give me my full inheritance!
Joshua 14:11-12 “And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me: my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”
Are you faithful in the ‘very little?’
Scripture reading for April 1st: Joshua 9-13, Luke 16
Luke 16:10-13 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Faithfulness is the first requirement of a good steward. Jesus said that what we have to manage here on earth is a test of our faithfulness and He considers all earthly wealth as ‘very little.’ Earthly wealth is also ‘unrighteous’ and fleeting. When we leave this earth, nothing will go with us. Scripture also teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil and this might be why Jesus called it ‘unrighteous.’ As a steward we actually serve God, Who owns it all. (The earth is the Lord’s!) The Pharisees were lovers of money and justified themselves concerning their use of it. Jesus reminded them that God knows all hearts and what we justify that’s sinful is an abomination in God’s sight. Not one person can serve both God and money!
Luke 16:14-15 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the stewardship that you have given me. Forgive me for not always being faithful in the little. Help me to use the money and resources You give me to manage in ways that further Your kingdom. I realize that like the tribe of Levi, You are my priceless Inheritance, my Portion, and my eternal Reward!
Joshua 13:32-33 “These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho. But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as He said to them.”
Scripture reading for August 5th: Matthew 28
Key Scriptures: Matthew 28:10-15 “Then Jesus said to them(the women), “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.”
Jesus personally appeared first to the women who had gone to the tomb in hopes of anointing His body. They were surprised by an earthquake and an angelic messenger who rolled back the stone revealing the empty tomb. The guards were immobilized temporarily. The angel encouraged them with the good news that Jesus was not there, but had risen! They were not to be afraid but to convey the news to Jesus’ disciples. The guards recovered and went and reported that Jesus’ body was missing. I am not sure how they explained the earthquake and angelic visitor and their supernatural immobilization. The elders and chief priests cooked up a plan involving ‘hush money’ for the soldiers and a way to explain this to other authorities. The world uses money to solve many problems because people love it. The blame was to be put on the disciples for stealing Jesus’ body. All agreed and the plan was circulated and became well-accepted among the Jews and authorities. However, Jesus was alive and began appearing to His followers! He had a plan that they would soon enact that would reach the world!
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for overcoming death, hell and the grave and proving Your resurrection by appearing to the women and Your disciples. I believe You are God’s Son, crucified and raised from death on the third day. I offer myself to You to fulfil Your great plan of reaching the whole world with Good News. Hallelujah! I am never alone and You meet all my needs!
Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”(Joshua 1:5) So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
Let God’s light shine!
Scripture reading for June 2nd: Philippians 2
Key Scriptures: Philippians 2:12-16 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God Who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life. . .”
Paul encouraged the believers, calling them “my beloved” and asking them to continue to obey the Lord no matter what situation or trial they were experiencing. Paul was himself in jail and awaiting his sentence, which could mean death. He knew that his salvation was secure in Jesus but must be worked out and walked out by faith. God by His Holy Spirit was working inside each believer to strengthen them and reveal God’s will and image. Believers are to cheerfully cooperate in obedience and faith, living a holy and blameless life, not grumbling and complaining. In doing so, they would shine with the light of Jesus Christ and draw others to lay hold of God’s promises through the Gospel of eternal life.
Philippians 2:17 “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, my delight is to live for You and please You. Forgive me for grumbling and fear and help me as I work out my salvation in holy fear and respect of Your great grace and powerful promises. Help me to walk by faith, cheerfully rejoicing and giving thanks to You, shining as a light in this world of grumbling and fear.
Joshua 1:8 “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,”
Greatness through serving!
Scripture reading for January 29th: Mark 10
Key Scriptures: Mark 10:41-44 “And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to Him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.””
James and John had approached Jesus about positions of honor when Jesus came into His kingdom. They wanted to sit at His right hand and His left and asked shamelessly for this honor. Jesus never rebuked them for asking, but told them that they did not know what they were asking for. But Jesus did ask them if they could drink the cup He would drink and be baptized with the baptism He was soon to undergo. They responded affirmatively, “We are able.” Jesus affirmed that they would indeed drink of His cup and be baptized with His baptism. But the positions of honor belonged to those the Father would choose as worthy. This aggravated the other disciples and Jesus called them all together for instruction. Greatness and honor in Christ’s kingdom would come from service, not seeking position or honor. Jesus set the example by serving us all through giving His life blood as sin’s ransom payment.
Psalm 49:7-9 “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for giving Your life as a ransom for my life, serving me and all mankind. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Reward and alone receives honor.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Live and preach the Word
Scripture reading for January 7th: 1st Timothy 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 4:7-12 “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness: for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for this present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe. Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”
Leadership in Christ’s Church requires discipline, focused living and preaching. First, there are the things to avoid: false teachers and false doctrine summed up by Paul as “silly myths”. Our heart is Christ’s home and there is constant vigilance needed to maintain purity of thinking, Then Paul lists things to cultivate: training and discipline in applying God’s Word to our own lives and families. This is made visible by how we live and act and speak in faith and love and purity. It has been said, we are the only “Bible” many people will read. A primary focus of public ministry is the public reading and declaration of Scripture. We use it to teach and exhort others to godly living and fruitfulness in Christ’s kingdom, hopefully while living it out in the Holy Spirit’s grace.
Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me today by the Holy Spirit to first apply Your Word to my life and guide my feet in Your ways. I choose to serve the Lord and obey His Word. I will publicly declare the Word of God by reading Scripture, teaching it and living as a godly example.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your sight to serve the Lord, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Knowing the time of our visitation!
Scripture reading for April 6th: Joshua 22-24, Psalm 116, Luke 19
Key Scriptures: Luke 19:41-44 “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side, and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. He was ready to enter it to cleanse the temple to begin the last week of His life before dying as our Passover sacrifice. But the people of Jerusalem were unreceptive of the truth of Jesus Christ and God’s amazing plan revealed by Jesus, Himself. The would reject Him and have Him crucified. This would bring about the destruction of the city and the people and their children. When Jesus returns at the end of the age, those rejecting Him will miss the time of their visitation.
Psalm 116:1-2 “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I ask you for mercy for those who do not yet know you. I weep for the lost and those who harden their hearts concerning Your visitation bringing salvation.
Joshua 24:14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
Living by Faith in the unfailing promises!
Scripture reading for April 3rd: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18
Key Scriptures: Luke 18:6-8 “And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”
Jesus told a parable to His disciples to reinforce His teaching that men ought “always to pray and not faint.” He told of a widow that came repeatedly to an unjust judge asking for “justice against her adversary.” She came so often that the judge finally agreed to help her to get her off his case. Jesus used the reluctant judge to contrast with God’s speedy answers to His own people when they called in faith. The question is, would Jesus find people asking for justice and honestly seeking God’s help when He returned for them?
Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to dwell with You eternally. Help me to walk in faith today and obey Your holy Word trusting in all Your good promises. You, alone, will bring justice to the earth!
Joshua 21:45 “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”