Category Archives: Bible Study

Joshua 3: Crossing the Jordan

water-872016_960_720For people of God, the Jordan River carries heavy symbolism.  If you are a churchgoer, take a quick peek in your hymnal.  You will find songs revealing the Jordan as a symbol of death.  Crossing the Jordan and reaching the Promised Land meant  entering the gates of heaven.

Some time after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, baptism took the meaning of dying to your old self (upon immersion) and being raised to new life found in Christ (being drawn back up out of the water).

In Joshua chapter three we read the people of Israel needed to sanctify themselves before they could cross the Jordan River.  For this ancient people it involved devoting themselves completely to God and worshiping him.  God was about to perform a miracle and he wanted their undivided attention.

“Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”” Joshua 3:5

Unlike the Red Sea crossing found in the book of Exodus, crossing the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land required an act of faith on their part–especially by the priests.  God wasn’t going to stop the flow of the Jordan River at flood stage until their feet were in the water.  The priests, however, didn’t go into the water alone.  God was with them in the form of the ark of the covenant, which they carried.

“The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”  Joshua 3:17

Some thoughts for those who know God through his son Jesus:

  • God sometimes performs miracles at the most extreme times, often only after we step out in faith
  • How many miracles have we missed because we failed to take that first step of faith?
  • Every person passed by the ark (containing the Word of God) as they traveled through the dry riverbed. Much as every person today must encounter God to pass from death to everlasting life.
  • God will accomplish the impossible in our lives if we will trust Him.

 

 

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God’s man Joshua

IMG_0640Joshua is a remarkable, heroic Old Testament Bible character worthy of our admiration.  He did what Moses could not do; lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land which God gave to them.

Joshua had a servant’s heart.  He was an assistant to Moses since his youth, serving him in Egypt, during the desert wandering and leading men into battle.  He never married or had children, dedicating his life to serving God.

“Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua…” Joshua 24:31

The book of Joshua opens with the death of Moses, and concludes with the death of Joshua. In between we find a person worthy of our study.  For Christians, there’s a host of parallels between Joshua leading the children of Israel and Jesus leading the body of believers in Him to our promised inheritance.  For starters, the name Joshua means Jehovah is salvation, and the equivalent name in Greek is Jesus.  Taking the name one step further, we read in Joshua 1:1 that Joshua is the son of Nun.  The word “Nun” means eternal or perpetual, no doubt underscoring him as a type of Christ.

Join me as I journey  through the book of Joshua.

Finding peace: Philippians 4:6

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“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 CSB

If you are like me, there are incidents in my life where worry rules the day.  Philippians 4:6 says, “don’t worry about anything.” Count me among those who wonder, how is that possible?  

For starters, I need to remind myself that God is sovereign, He reigns over everything.  He never gets distracted. There is never an incident in my day when God is not present.  Those who believe these things handle anxiety by praying.  In my conversation with God, I pour out my heart (help me, please!).  While I’m talking to Him, I also must remember to thank Him for all he has done, for listening to me presently, and for what he is about to do. God’s answer to my prayer might not be how I envisioned it, but I need to remember to thank him regardless of the outcome.

It is through prayer and thanksgiving that, “the peace of God, which passes all understanding can be found.”  This peace (that I cannot explain) guards my heart (faith in God) and my (worrisome) mind.

Peace be with  you!

Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

If you are like me, there is nothing better than a cup of coffee to start your day.  It brings me great joy.  Can a person experience the same feeling of joy the rest of the day; even on a bad one?

Anyone who has run in religious circles for any length of time has probably heard this verse:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  Philippians 4:4

An online dictionary defines rejoice as: feeling or displaying great joy or delight.  Feeling great joy is easy when I am happy.  But happiness and joy are two different things.  Happiness is greatly dependent on my personal circumstances, whereas joy is not.  I’ve learned I have the capacity to experience joy no matter what befalls me.  Examples include: being content with what I have, or finding peace in the middle of a stormy crisis.  The source of my joy comes from the spiritual realm, in the person of Jesus.  I know the Lord of the universe is with me throughout my day.  I never have to wonder if he will show up. Even though the day may be painful, He is there with me.

Rejoice (always)!

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Can you drink from this cup? Phil. 2:14

How many of us could drink coffee from a mug with this verse decorating its surface without feeling a pang of guilt?

Do everything without complaining and arguing,   Philippians 2:14 NLT

The world is watching.  So are fellow Believers in Christ.  When we complain we expose our faults to onlookers.

so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:15

Choose to be a beacon of light.

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Guarding your thoughts: Philippians 4:6-7

After an exhausting day at work, I peeled off my sweaty clothes and tossed them on a pile of laundry.  But before I could take up residence on the couch, there were a few household items I needed to take care of.  Feeding “big boy” (our parrot fish) and walking Jake and Brody (our two dachshunds) topped the list.

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After finishing a relaxing walk with my pups, I grabbed the stack of dirty clothes and tossed it in the washing machine. A couple hours later I transferred the load to the dryer.

I grabbed a fresh towel and a wash cloth from the dryer the next morning as I prepared to start my day.  While taking several gulps of coffee, I noticed wads of paper scattered across the floor.  I recognized the fragments immediately.  They were “scraps,” thoughts I collected for chapter 8 of my upcoming book, which interestingly enough dealt with the issue of distraction.

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Accusing thoughts surfaced–Brody!  It’s a proven fact he loves to shred anything made of paper.  But how did he get ahold of my precious thoughts?  Yet, he didn’t look guilty as he rested quietly head in paws.  I didn’t know what to think.

Moments later, I visited the dryer again.  This time rummaging for a pair of socks. More wads of paper appeared among the clothes.  As it turns out, this was my doing!

If I had taken the time to capture these thoughts in my manuscript instead of carrying them around for weeks in my shirt pocket, this calamity could have been averted.  In my moment of anxiousness I was reminded of this verse of scripture:

“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 ASV

You may be wondering what losing scraps of paper has to do with this passage of scripture.  I had the same thought and considered putting this story on ice.  I decided to ponder the matter for further and pray about it.  A thought came to me this morning.  The source of most of my scraps used in this blog find their origin in bathing myself in the peace God provides.

I have to chuckle.  From now on, whenever I see, “guarding your thoughts,” (as in folded scraps of paper in my pocket) it will remind me of my washed and dried scraps of paper.

Philippians 2:3 served with coffee

When I am with people who share my views, am I striving to advance my own ambitions, or can I set aside rivalry and conceit and put the the interests of others ahead of my own?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”  Philippians 2:3

Strive to humbly be of service to others.

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