July 16-22 The Storms of Life - Is It Jesus Coming or Something You Must Battle?

July 16 – (Matt. 14:22-36) Have you ever been in a storm and the winds are threatening to collapse you?  Then you see something in the storm that scares you even more? Has it ever been Jesus coming to heal you but you don’t recognize Him at first?  You think it is just another part of the storm that may just end who you are?  So many times, Jesus comes to minister to us and we don’t recognize Him.  We may even reject His help because of fear.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes at times of “bad weather”!


July 17 – (Matt. 15:1-9) In verse 3, Jesus makes a distinction between the OT (the commandment of God) and the pharisaic traditions (human regulations). Go back to verse 2.  Priests were required to wash their hands and feet prior to performing their duties but the Pharisees made this a matter of ceremonial purity and applied it to all Israelites.  What traditions do we hold to that God never intended for us to make into a commandment?  God is so creative is every aspect of His creation. While commandments never change, there are so many things that must change for us to reach each generation for Him!  Selah


July 18 – (Matt. 15:10-20) Have you ever said something and immediately wondered where that came from?  In these verses, Jesus is telling you.  When we recognize where it came from, we need to take ownership, repent, and know Jesus is pleased we growing to be more like Him as we renew our mind!

                What religious practices in your life or your church might be in danger of becoming outward empty forms?  Here’s a question I’m asking myself.  Is it possible to worship-Worship instead of worshiping God? Here is a question I ask myself as a plume-line:  If I can only worship in a certain way and that's it, then I have limited my expression of worship to Him at the very least.  Even more it may mean I feel comfortable and find success only in this way of worship and refuse to give Him more (pride?)  Selah


July 19 – (Matt. 15:21-31) Jesus was not only hard on the Pharisees, He is hard on the Canaanite woman who seeks His help.  How would you explain the strange interaction between Jesus, the woman and the disciples (vv. 21-28)? How was this woman the antithesis of the Pharisees in the preceding verses?  If you had to identify with one or the other, which would it be? Why?


July 20 – (Matt. 15:32-39) Jesus is feeding the crowd again. As you read these verses, compare them to verses 14:15-21. How are they different? How are they the same? Just like these miracles, God works in our lives.  He is so creative that usually it’s not the same way twice.  Why then, do we want to look for steps to “how He did it the last time” so we can get our same “success”?  Selah


July 21 – (Matt. 16:1-12) Pharisees and Sadducees were often bitter opponents. Here they join forces against Jesus.  They saw Him as a threat to their leadership and power. So, they were bitter opponents most of the time because they each wanted the power and leadership.  Now Jesus threatens that in both groups. Does this say anything to us about factions between church denominations? 


July 22 – (Matt. 16:13-23) We know that Peter will deny Christ three times vehemently…out loud in the very near future yet here we see that he is the first one to voice Jesus’ true identity. Then by the end of our reading, Peter is disagreeing with the God’s will for His life.  Jesus’ last statement is where I want to focus on at this time.  “You are a hindrance to me.  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.  Let’s purpose today to listen to the Holy Spirit so we set our minds on the things of God!  Selah

July 9-15 What Story Do You Tell? What Parable Do You Understand?

July 9 – (Matt. 13:1-9) One of the quickest ways to grab an audience’s attention is to tell a story (any teacher will confirm this!).  That is basically what a parable is.  According to the parable of the sower, what responses does Jesus expect as He preaches His message about the kingdom (also verses 18-23)? How would this parable be a challenge to His listeners?  How does it challenge you? How will you meet this challenge?  Selah


July 10 – (Matt. 13:10-23) Jesus says that parables hide the true meaning from the crowd that is not committed to Him.  He then explains the meaning to the disciples…and we get to read the explanation. This means He is entrusting us as committed believers with this insight into His kingdom.  It is just another confirmation of His guiding those today who are committed to Him. 


July 11 – (Matt. 13:24-35) One explanation of the weeds is that it was probably darnel which looked a lot like rye grass in its beginning growth but was easily distinguished from the rye when it was full grown.  Can you make any correlations from this explanation?


July 12 – (Matt. 13:36-46) The gospel of the kingdom continues to be a present power in the world through the ministry of God’s Word and Spirit. As we concentrate on learning how to disciple others, what are some practical implications of these parables we can use for this endeavor?  Why not share?


July 13 – (Matt. 13:47-58) As I am reading the first couple verses, I am rejoicing that I “will not be thrown out”.  But then I am thinking who do I know that very possibly (at this time) will not be saved.  What am I going to do about that? SELAH

                The verses, 13:54-16:20 mark a new emphasis where the identity of the Messiah is revealed. Why do you think this is important?

                Did you know Jesus had a brother named Judas? I know Jesus was perfect in every way but I wonder how I would react knowing that name was going to cause me much pain and suffering and eventually death. In naming our children, we think of names we would like to choose.  Part of the filtering is knowing people with certain names will not be in that consideration.  Oh, how human we are! “God, help us see everyone through Your eyes!”


July 14 – (Matt. 14:1-12) This was a crisis time for the disciples. John the Baptist is beheaded.  The person who first spoke of Jesus’ identity has been killed.  With Jesus doing all these miracles why did He not prevent this or at least raise Him up from the dead.  How spectacular that would have been! Yet there was no intervention. Yes, this was a crisis time.  Crises are uncomfortable.  If we had our choice we would avoid them.  At the very least, we would want Jesus to immediately “fix” it. But life in this world just doesn’t work that way.  The good news is that Christians understand from the Scriptures that behind every crisis is the hand of God who is using the crisis to shape our character and further His work in the world.  Whether we see it or not, it is a fact.  Let’s settle there. Let’s thank Him that He is in control and knows what He is doing.!


July 15 – (Matt. 14:13-21) Jesus feeds five thousand men (plus women and children).  I am sure it was like a feast for them… a banquet of sorts.  Herod and Jesus, the two kings, both serve banquets.  What does each king’s banquet reveal about his character and authority?  This portrays the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Selah

July 2-8 What Distorted Truth Do You Believe?

July 2 – (Matt. 11:7-19) We continue to see how distorted Truth can become. There were many ideas about John and Elijah to which Jesus is bringing light.  What does this tell us about John and those who heard his message? 


July 3 – (Matt. 11:20-30) In verses 20-24, Jesus began to “denounce the cities where most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent”. He compares them against Sodom as the ultimate example of a “city of sin”.  What would He say about your city?  About our state or country?  What can we do about that?  Let’s continue to win them to Him one person at a time. Selah

                Lest the mandate from Jesus to make disciples just seems too much for you, take to heart verses 28-30 and know that when we feel it is just too hard, it means we are doing at least some of it in our own strength. Give it all to Him!


July 4 – (Matt. 12:1-8) The religious leaders are attacking Jesus by judging His disciples.  What is their charge?  How does Jesus answer it?  I believe there are very few Christians who follow “Sabbath rules” anymore so for us it may be a mood point. Is this a good thing?  It is something we need to  ponder.  


July 5 – (Matt. 12:9-21) The irony in the second assault of the Pharisees is that while Jesus is healing on the Sabbath, the Pharisees are making plans to kill him (vv. 8-12). How does Jesus’ attitude toward people and scripture differ from that of the Pharisees? 

                In the first two conflicts Jesus embodies the Old Testament Scripture that Matthew quotes (vv. 15-21).  Why is Jesus worthy to be followed?


July 6 – (Matt. 12:22-32) Jesus had bound Satan, “the strong man”, making him powerless to prevent Jesus from proclaiming and demonstrating the Good News of the kingdom (v. 29). As we proclaim the Good News, is the enemy any less bound?  Selah

                 Verses 31 and 32 speaks about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It involves giving satan credit for what is accomplished by God’s power, while persistently rejecting God and His commands.  One interpretation said this sin is committed today only by unbelievers who permanently reject the Holy Spirit when He calls them to salvation.   What do you think? 


July 7 – (Matt. 12:33-42) These verses compare Jonah in the belly of a whale for 3 days with Jesus being in the tomb for three days.  I am so literal in my thinking, I try and figure out how Jesus was in the tomb for 72 hours.  Not so.  Any part of a day was considered 1 day.  It’s amazing to me how our thinking can miss the mark whether it is cultural differences or word meanings or just how we view things.  “Lord, please show us what you want us to see as we read Your Words!” 


July 8 – (Matt. 12:43-50) Jesus asks who His mother and brother is.  Did you notice that He did not include father? There is some speculation that possibly this indicates that Joseph has already died. (The last reference of Joseph is the trip to Jerusalem with Jesus.) Since Jesus was the oldest son of the family, it was tradition that he would take on the care of the family after Joseph’s death.  His family may have been trying to remind him of his responsibility. This puts a whole new light on these verses doesn’t it? 

June 25-July 1 The Mind Of Christ.. In You!

June 25 – (Matt. 9:1-13) Did you know Jesus knows your thoughts?  I’m pretty sure you would answer with a yes.  Verse 4 reminded me of that.  If He knew man’s thoughts then, He knows them now.  If we remembered this fact moment by moment, would we allow some of our thoughts patterns to continue?  Let’s try to remember that today and stop some of those useless sinful musings.

                From these verses many have claimed that an illness is the result of sin in their lives and repentance will get rid of the illness.  Though in some cases, our sins do cause illnesses. An example might be stress. It comes from not relying totally on God for whatever we are stressed about and that stress does damage to our body.  All illnesses are a result of “the fall” but I don’t believe that repentance will “cure” all our diseases.  It will bring us into a closer relationship with Him and that in itself is the greatest reward! Tell me what you think.😊


June 26 – (Matt. 9:14-26) Jesus compares himself to a bridegroom and then discusses garments and wineskins.  What is Jesus teaching us about His kingdom and its impact through this illustration? 

                In verses 18-26, notice the problems over which Jesus displays power and authority. What might this picture of Jesus strengthen your faith in the challenges that you face?  Ask the Lord to strengthen your vision of His power in ways that deepen your faith.


June 27 – (Matt. 9:27-38) Does Jesus heal the bling men as soon as they ask? Why do you think He waited until they pursued Him into the house?  When we are asking Him for something, does He always answer right away (whatever the answer is)?  What should that do in us?  Though Jesus warned them not to tell anyone of this miracle, they “spread His fame” anyway.  What does that say to us today as we asking Him how to “spread His fame”?

                Verses 32-34 speak of another deliverance!  YAY!  But why do the Pharisees interpret it as coming from demons? As I study His Word in the light of wanting to disciple others, I am admitting to having a Pharisaical frame of mind about some things. I am so thankful the Lord is showing me things I need to repent of and renew my mind to His way of thinking.  These verses also reminded me of our political culture today where “right actions” are deemed as evil.  Selah


June 28 – (Matt. 10:1-15) Jesus gave His disciples “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction”.  As disciples of His today, why can or do we not do “greater works” than this?  No quilt here (that is a bunny trail of the enemy). As we study, we need to ask the Lord to renew our mind to the power and authority He has given His disciples!  SELAH


June 29 – (Matt. 10:16-25) Jesus warns the disciples that their compassionate ministry will not be warmly received.  What will they experience? Can you relate to any of these warnings?  What would Jesus specifically warn us about today? 

 


June 30 – (Matt. 10:26-39) In verses 26-33 Jesus prepares His present and future disciples for opposition.  Why shouldn’t the disciples be afraid of those who oppose them?  Do you have a “fear of man”?  This will need to be dealt with, if we are going to follow hard after Jesus. 

                Following Christ may strain family relationships and loyalties.  Why should we risk such tensions?  Again, we have to focus on treasures in Heaven not on the favor of man or treasures here.


July 1 – (Matt. 10:40-11:6) What promises are made in 10:40-42?  As you think about these verses, reflect on not only how others will receive you but how you receive others.  Selah

                John appears to be experiencing frustration and second thoughts because of his imprisonment.  What might (or perhaps has) given you frustrations and second thoughts about Jesus?  Did He not do what you thought He would do because you thought you heard from Him but it’s just not turning out how you thought it would?  Read verses 4-6 again.  Describe the tone and feel of Jesus reply to John. He may be saying the same thing to us as we “walk in His way” but aren’t seeing things clearly. 😊

JUNE 18-24 WHAT'S IN YOUR TREASURE CHEST?

June 18 – (Matt. 6:16-24) Store up treasures in Heaven, not on earth.  Why is it the treasures we seek on earth are sooo tempting while we hardly think about the treasures in Heaven? Today, let’s ponder what treasures await us in Heaven.  What are we really looking forward to there? Maybe that’s the problem, they are so vague that we can’t even picture them, let alone go after them. “Holy Spirit, please show us what treasures You have for us.”


June 19 – (Matt. 6:25-34) Worry is a dominant theme in these verses.  How can we escape worrying about such things as food and clothes? What things do you worry about? If Jesus were beside you right now, what would He say about those things? 

                The Sermon on the Mount tells what we must do to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness (6:33). What does the little word “first” do to our understanding and application of His teaching?


June 20 – (Matt. 7:1-14) Here is a deep pit for many Christians.  Judging others.  For many years I thought that was a Christian’s duty. I think we are in error of His ways. We study the scripture to find the plumb line for how we are to live according to the law.  I believe we are to apply it to ourselves and apply His grace and mercy to renew our minds so our actions become more like what Jesus would do. The error is to judge others according to our beliefs. Isn’t that Jesus’ job? (Judge not, lest you be judged.) What is the difference between judging others and being properly discerning (vv. 1-6)?  In what ways have you seen relationships in the church hurt by Christians judging each other? What would it feel like to live in a community that understood the difference between judging and discerning? Jesus’ laws for the citizens of His kingdom are extremely demanding.  What hope does He provide for help (vv. 7-11)?


June 21 – (Matt. 7:15-29) Have you built your house on a rock?  I know we all say yes because we have accepted Jesus as Savior and study His Word to be more like Him.  As I pondered that, I wonder if part of our house’s foundation may have sand under them.  What happens if a house is not level on a firm foundation?  Jesus ends the Sermon on the mount with a parable.  He draws a dividing line between himself and any other foundation for life.  The evidence of whether one is truly a believer is in whether one does the words of Jesus. Do I do ALL the Words of Jesus? No! So I pray for mercy and grace as I continue the renewing process.  I pray every day we are transforming our foundation to be more and more on that ROCK! 


June 22 – (Matt. 8:1-13) Lepers were outcasts in Jewish society and were required to shout “unclean” wherever they went.  How would you feel if you had to shout your “infirmities” wherever you went? Since we are to imitate Jesus, what empresses you about Jesus’s encounter with the lame man? How can we practice that with those around us? 

                The verse about the centurion’s authority and faith have had a great impact on me.  It had to do with a time when our former pastor (Pastor Sam) was very ill in the hospital.  It is too long to explain now but you can ask me when you see me. 😊 Anyway, it increased my awareness of the authority we have in Jesus.  Jesus was pleased with the centurion’s response (vv. 8-13).  What makes the centurion a good model of faith? 


June 23 – (Matt. 8:14-22) In this passage we see how Jesus respond to would be followers.  From what Jesus says to them, what is He looking for?   Here’s something to think about.  What might Jesus say to you if you walked up to Him today and volunteered to be a disciple? 


June 24 – (Matt. 8:23-34) The disciples’ fear of the furious storm seems natural (vv.23-27).  What furious storms are you facing right now?  What sort of faith is Jesus looking for in His disciples? What sort of faith is He asking of you? 

                After what had happened to the demon-possessed men, the townspeople pleaded with Jesus to leave their region (vv. 28-34).  What are some reasons today why people don’t want Jesus Christ around? What was Jesus’ response? What can be our response when people don’t respond to the Jesus in us?  Selah

JUNE 11-17 DISCIPLESHIP - JESUS'S WAY

June 11 – (Matt. 4:12-25) Here is a misconception I had. I always thought Jesus lived in Nazareth until His ministry began and then “wandered”. Verse 13 says He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea. Even in this move, it brought fulfillment of prophecy.  Verses 12-17 describe the transition from testing to ministry.  What do they tell us about Jesus and His agenda?

                One of Jesus first functions as king is calling disciples.  If we are to follow Jesus’s example, should we not be doing the same?  From verse 18-22, develop a brief description of what is required for “citizenship” in His kingdom.  How has discipleship affected your life? 


June 12 – (Matt. 5:1-12) We could spend days to weeks on these verses.  This is Jesus’ main treatise on relationships and the law.  The Beatitudes describe the qualities Jesus requires of those who live as citizens of His kingdom.  What would it feel like to be a member of a community of people who shared these qualities?  To grow to become more like that community, assess each beatitude and its blessing and how you are doing with each.  How can the Lord renew your mind to be more like specific ones?


June 13 – (Matt. 5:13-26) The rest of this chapter discusses various misconceptions we might have about the Law.  Why do you think that Jesus stresses that He did not come to abolish the Law (vv. 17-20)? Let’s compare the Law (which many times forces us to look at our works) with Grace through salvation (which now should have us viewing things through the grace and mercy of Jesus which should cause us to “want to” worship Him with “good works”.  Selah


June 14 – (Matt. 5:27-37) As we look at these verses, we read it through the eyes of American culture.  Go back and read it this time, asking God to reveal His mind a lot closer to what He really is saying.  We really need His Heart on these subjects, don’t we?


June 15- (Matt. 5:38-48) In these verse, Jesus teaches on enemies and evil people.  As citizens of His kingdom today what does this look like? 

                Verse 42 says to give to the one who begs from you.  Okay, but how do we discern those who are genuinely in need from those who are just lazy and want a hand out? hmm


June 16 – (Matt. 6:1-4) In verses 1-18, Jesus shifts His focus from relationships to “religious obligations.”  What do verses 1-4 say about wanting people to notice your “good works”?


June 17 – (Matt. 6:5-15) We all can recite the Lord’s Prayer.  Let’s break it down a little to see it we can glean new insight.  This prayer Jesus gave His disciples as an example to follow.  It involves an invocation and six petitions.  See if you can find then and describe them.

                DID YOU KNOW?  Hypocrites (vv. 2-4) originally referred to Greek actors who wore different masks to play various roles.  Jesus expected His disciples to give to the needy.

JUNE 4-10 WE ARE ALL MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL!

                Since we at C.A. are learning how to break out of our 4 walls and minister in disciplining others in the world around us, I want to spend the next 3 months studying the book of Matthew. Our emphasis will be on learning how to disciple like Jesus did. I am really excited to see what it will look like in each of us as we again study His Word and renew our minds to think and live more like Jesus.  May God bless you on this journey!   


June 4 – (Matt. 1:1-17) The first 17 verses describe the genealogy of Jesus. Did you skim it or even skip over it and just read what I am writing? 😊 Do we really need to study this?  I think you know the answer to this.  Here is what I gleaned.  Jews kept extensive genealogies to establish a person’s legitimacy and inheritance rights.  Matthew likely draws from the O.T. thus showing how Jesus comes from Abraham where God’s promises were given to the Jews (called Israelites then).  Through this lineage, they see again the reminder that Jesus could be the savior of their people. Let’s look at some of the people he names in this lineage. He includes 5 women which is unusual as descent was usually traced through men as the head of the family.  Of those 5 women, 3 were of questionable character (God doesn’t reject us because of our sins!), and 2 were gentiles (God doesn’t reject us because of our race!).  One other thing I noticed.  Jeconiah (v.12) was so evil that his family was cursed (Jer. 22:30), yet God did not reject the evilest of men.  After Jesus died for all sin and rose victoriously, anyone who accepts Him is forgiven of sin and becomes part of His family!  SELAH!!


June 5 – (Matt. 1:18-25) Lately, I have been looking at any situations as God ordained appointments to share Jesus to those who come within my sphere of influence.  As I am reading these verses. I see that probably Joseph and Mary’s parents chose whom their child would marry as was the custom. It amazes me to see how God orchestrates for His good purposes. I was also struck by the thought of how the parents might have reacted to Mary’s pregnancy. If we only would trust God, that seemingly negative things always work for our good…if we let them.  Oh, by the way both Joseph and Mary were from the same lineage that was foretold of Jesus hundreds of years before!


June 6 – (Matt. 2:1-12) These verses describe how Wise men from the East saw a new star and it caused them to spend their time and money to find out what was so important.  There are so many ways to look at this.  The responses of the Wise men and Herod are typical of the ways people respond to Jesus today.  How does this relate to your experience as you attempt to share Christ with others?  Is God please with the time and resources you give to share with others (discipleship 😊)?


June 7 – (Matt. 2:13-23) Mary and Joseph and Jesus are sent to Egypt to escape His premature death.  As we at C.A. continue to learn how to fulfill Jesus’ great commission to us of making disciples, I wonder what people in Egypt were affected by Jesus’ presence there even as a young child.  I’m sure even His presence caused a shift in the atmosphere. What places are you sent to where you normally would not choose to go? Places like the ER or dentist or jury duty or even the grocery store?  Do you see them as places to connect with strangers who might see Jesus in you?  Last year my brother John got a leg infection that got very complicated.  He spent quite a bit of time in a hospital. After the fact, he said the good that came of it was that he was able to minister to several hospital staff.  Most of his work career was with the disabled children in his school district. One nurse came in and was talking about her disabled son and the problems she was facing.  John made one main statement that led to a breakdown and a chance to pray for her specific needs.  His statement: Don’t let your problems with your child destroy your marriage.  God can use every situation for His good and glory.  It is up to us to trust and listen to the Holy Spirit for those openings!


June 8 – (Matt. 3:1-12) for Israel the desert was a place of both punishment and renewal (recall the wilderness wanderings).  How does John’s ministry convey both concepts (vv. 3-12)?  The religious leaders considered themselves children of Abraham (v.9).  According to verses 7-10, how were they abusing this privilege?  What are some ways we have abused our rights as children of God?  John calls us to produce “fruit in keeping with repentance” (v.8).  Give examples of the kind of fruit you think he had in mind.  Could some of that fruit be that of sharing and disciplining others? 


June 9 – (Matt. 3:13-17) One description of Jesus baptism says it marks the beginning of His ministry.  I have been taught that baptism is an outward, public sign of the inward believing in Christ and becoming a believer of Him. In a sense, it can be the beginning of “ministering to others” of your faith in Him.  But it should not end there. It should be a starting point of learning to “make disciples” as you are being discipled.  Selah


June 10 – (Matt. 4:1-11) As Jesus began His ministry on earth, he faced many challenges (temptations). Of course, He passed all of them with flying colors! You may want to do a study of these three temptations to the three main areas we struggle with and also the three same areas with which the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It’s a good study and brings clarity to some of our struggles today.

                When we start anything new (new job, new school, new relationships, new house) there are always new challenges and testing that come with it.  How do you respond when you face threatening obstacles or unexpected resistance? It’s important to know yourself. It will also help in the challenges of disciplining others.  Challenges and difficulties provide an opportunity to rely in new ways on God and His Word.  Consider the challenges you are facing today and place each one before the Lord.  In your mind’s eye turn each one over to Him and ask Him what to do.  Take time listen to Him for wisdom and insight He will give you.    

MAY 21-27 NOT ONE WORD OF THE LORD FAILS!

May 21 – (Josh. 19:40-51) How was Dan’s territory lost to them?  We can read about it in Judges 1:34. The story of how Dan went up and fought against Leshem is told in Judges 18. There are many ways to study the Bible sometimes we have to make some connections other than just verse by verse.  Let’s not just open the Bible and put our finger on the “verse for the day”.  You know the amusing story of a person who did just that and after 3 attempts at this way was “directed” to quickly go and do as Judas did.  Nope…that’s not the way!

                Joshua was given Timnath-serah (Called Timnath-heres in the notice of Joshua’s death in Judg. 2:6-10). The site is in Southwest Ephraim.  Joshua received his inheritance only after all others have received theirs.  This speaks well of him as a l leader.


May 22 – (Josh. 20:1-9) What was the purpose of the cities of Refuge?  Who decided if he could stay or would be returned?  Would that work today?  God makes ways of escape even in the “not meaning to harm” places of our lives!  Selah


May 23 – (Josh. 21: 1-19) In Num. 35:1-8, The Lord commanded through Moses that 48 cities (including the six cities of refuge) be assigned to the Levites.  Taking cities and their pasture lands from each of the tribes would scatter the Levites throughout the whole of Israel (see Gen. 49:7) so that they could fulfill their duties of teaching the Israelites. They were grouped by their relation to one of Levi’s three sons (see Gen. 46:11).  The Kohathites (Josh. 21:4), from whom Aaron and his line descended (Ex. 6:16-20), received cites in the center and the south.  The Gershonites (Josh. 21:6) and Merarites (v.7) received cities in the north and east.


May 24 – (Josh. 21:20-33) These verses describe more of land allotment to the Levites.  I thought it would be interesting to see who these three sons of Levi were. I only saw information about Kohath.  Kohath as the son of Levi mentioned in between his two siblings, Gershon and Merari. Exodus 6:18. Kohath, who lived until the age of 133 years old, had four sons, namely; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Numbers 3:19. The nations that comprised the Kohathite clan were the nations of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.   Kohath's son,  Amram was the father of Miriam, Aaron and Moses. Anyone want to do more research? 


May 25 – (Josh. 21:34-45) Verses 43-45 are some favorite verses for our week.  The Lord gave the Israelites all He had covenanted with their fathers!  “Not one word failed of all the promises that the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel had failed; all Came To Pass.” God is always faithful to keep His Word!


May 26 – (Josh. 22:1-9) The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the eastern half of Manasseh are released to return to their homes east of the Jordan River.  They have fulfilled their duties to their fellow Israelites west of the Jordan (Numbers 32). Verse 8 instructs them to divide the spoil…with their brothers.  The spoils of victory are regarded as gifts from the Lord.  They are to be shared with allies or covenant partners, regardless of their actual role in the conflict (Num. 31:25-31; I Sam. 30:24).


May 27 – (Josh. 22:10-20) We have here the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the eastern half of Manasseh taking possession of their land on the East side of the Jordan River. They build their own altar of Witness.  The leaders from the West side see this as forming their own god to worship. They are ready to go to war because they don’t want God to include them in the punishment they have seen in the past.  We will see tomorrow that they were assigning wrong motivation.  Have you ever done that with other Christians? Did you gossip to others about it (Remember gossip is talking to someone about another person who is not involved whether it’s true or not)? When you realized what you thought was wrong, did you then repent, ask forgiveness?  This is where this passage took me.  Selah 

May 14-20 The Land is Ours, Let's Clear It Out!

May 14 – (Josh. 17:1-13) These verses show the allotment given to Manasseh and Ephraim.  Take note that again they did not drive out the Canaanites.  Again, what have we not destroyed in our own lives that will continue to cause problems and sin in our lives? Selah

                DID YOU KNOW?  Megiddo (17:11) was the site of many important OT battles. It was a walled city that guarded the main road that linked Egypt and Syria.  Its setting made Megiddo a strategic military stronghold.  In John’s visions in Revelation, Megiddo represents the global combat zone where the final battle between Christ and Satan will be fought.  The word Armageddon means “Mount Megiddo” (Zech. 12:11; Rev. 16:16)


May 15 – (Josh. 17:14-18) Why did the house of Joseph want more land than Joshua allotted to them?  They had seen victory in destroying the Canaanites and yet did not want to do the work necessary to live comfortably in the land allotted them.  Destroying thoughts that have taken a stand in our minds is not easy but God has given us victory if we do the work necessary.  Selah


May 16 – (Josh. 18: 1-10) Where was the tabernacle of meeting set up?  Remember- this was their only place of worship at the time. If you didn’t go to this “church” you didn’t go to church!

There are still 7 tribes that have not received their inheritance.  Joshua is telling them they have procrastinated long enough.  He then tells them to go into the land and describe what it looks like.  I have to ask myself, what part of my “land” I have not received.  Maybe I need to “take a look” at what my future is supposed to look like and then go for it!  Selah


May 17 – (Josh. 18:11-28) These verses describe the inheritance of Benjamin.  As I am reading where the boundaries were, I’m wondering how they knew exactly where God placed the lines.  Though this was one of the smaller tribes, Benjamin would be significant as the tribe of Israel’s first king, Saul (I Sam. 9:21).  Small beginnings do not compute to small impacts in area of influence!


May 18 – (Josh. 19:1-9) Isn’t this interesting? Simeon’s tribe gets an allotment but the portion given to Judah was too large for them, so the people of Simeon obtained an inheritance in the midst of their inheritance. Selah!


May 19 – (Josh. 19:10-23) As we look at the third lot that came up for the people of Zebulun, we see Bethlehem mentioned. There were two named Bethlehem. This is a northerly village, not the more famous Bethlehem in Judah.  


May 20 – (Josh. 19:24-39) In these verses we see the 5th and 6th lot drawn for the tribe of Asher and of Naphtali.  Even though there are so many unfamiliar names, it’s interesting to see where God places them.  Since God is Good and always has Good for His people.  I tend to dream about any reasoning for all of this placement. Then of course, I ponder “the Good” He has in where I am at this time and place.  Selah

May 7-13 What "Land" Has God Given You?


May 7 – (Josh. 13:24-33) As I was studying these verses, I came to an explanation of something I have wondered about for many years.  Why was Jesus from the descendants of Judah when the Levites ministered in the temple? Back when Levi (one of Jacob/Israel’s 10 sons) was young, his behavior caused Jacob to curse him (and Simeon) for their anger and cruelty.  Let’s fast forward to when Moses came down and found the Israelites worshiping the golden calf.  He asked, “Who is on the Lord’s side, come to me” (Ex. 32:26). The tribe of Levi came to him.  This was to me a picture of our lives today.  There is no sin we were involved in that cannot be forgiven.  Never does our God allow past history, however unpleasant or however sinful, to prevent Him from allotting to us a unique place in His service.  PTL!


May 8 – (Josh. 14:1-15) What special land did Caleb gain as an inheritance?  Why did Joshua give it to him?  You don’t hear a whole lot about Caleb.  Being well-known is not a prerequisite for being rewarded, but God does reward faithfulness!

DID YOU KNOW?  Mount Hebron (14:6-15) Caleb received the inheritance of Hebron which Moses swore he would give Caleb many years before (v.9; Deut. 1:36) Even though Caleb was 85 at this time, he was just as strong as when he went in to spy out the land (about 40 years old).  He declared he could drive out the strong and big Anakim provided the Lord was with him. 

Anakim were apparently a race of very tall people, descended from Anak.  After the Israelites conquered Canaan, many of the Anakim took up residence with the Philistines.  Because of this, many assume that Goliath was descended from Anakim.  Let’s just look at what God told Joshua to do in Canaan.  God said to destroy the inhabitants.  Caleb was going to drive them out.  Generations later, Israel has to fight them yet again!  This reminds me we have to destroy the strongholds in our lives not just push them away. Selah


May 9 – (Josh. 15:1-12) As the distribution of western lands begins, the important tribe of Judah receives its land first.  Included in this land is Jerusalem.  Jesus will come from the tribe of Judah.  Did you notice that Jerusalem is not yet named?  As I was looking at several maps they have several city names with Jerusalem in parenthesis and a question mark.  Very interesting.  One study I found said Jerusalem was not fully conquered until the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6-10).  Hmm


May 10 – (Josh. 15:13-32) Here is a connection I have never seen.  Joshua said whoever captures Kiriath-sepher will be given his daughter in marriage (that part will have to be considered some other time). Othniel, son of Kenaz and brother of Caleb accomplished the task and thus acquired a wife.  Othniel will reappear later as a judge-deliverer in Judges 3:7-11.  Caleb and Kenaz were brothers (15:17).  There must have been a huge gap in their ages since it says Caleb and Joshua were the only remaining adult (20 years and older) survivors from the wilderness wanderings. 


May 11 – (Josh. 15:33-47) We have some verses here that gives names of places given to the tribe of Judah.  See if you can find them on a map.  Have they changed their name?  What does this tell you about names?  Hmm


May 12 – (Josh. 15:48-63) How is it that the people of Judah could not drive out their enemies?  In 17:12 we will read that the Manassites are unable to occupy certain towns because “the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.” In 17:16 we will also see that the Ephraimites cite Canaanite possession of “chariots of iron” as preventing them from taking the plains.  These statements seem to contrast with the dominant theological conviction of the book of Joshua that “the hand of the Lord is mighty” (4:24). Perhaps statements of what Israel “could not” do are to be read as early evidences of spiritual decline, which will become increasingly evident in the book of Judges.  The note that the Canaanites “dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day” recalls Moses’ repeated warnings against allowing the Canaanites to survive and live among the Israelites.


May 13 – (Josh. 16:1-10) Chapter 16 describes the allotment to the people of Joseph.  Remember that Joseph’s allotment was divided between his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim.  It says they did not drive out the Canaanites but only subdued them and put them in forced labor. Doesn’t this sound a bit like the Israelites in Egypt?  Selah