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Showing posts from 2017

in the bleak midwinter

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I've always been more comfortable in melancholy and sadness, more so that the average human being. It's something that 2017 taught me to lean into more, but also be careful of, since it can lead to unhealthy ways of thinking and skewed perspectives on reality.

So I've been in a place where I'm learning to own this part of my personhood, but trying hard not to let it sink me deep into a place where I don't belong. It's a tricky tightrope, one I'm thankful to walk because it means I'm learning healthier ways to find proper perspective, rather than just the tried and true "snap out of it" attitude that is so prevalent in my culture. And I've never been more aware of that as I have this Advent season.

This advent season has so far been full of a lot of joy... but also a lot of sadness. It's usually just sadness for me, so I'm thankful for those joyful moments. I've also learned to be thankful for the sad ones, because in both I learn…

the book of joshua - remain

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This is Day 15 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.

Today's prompt word is: REMAIN



It’s far too easy to read quickly past a phrase in Joshua 7:12, “I will not be with you anymore.”
Achan had sinned. He broke the covenant God made with his people by taking some of the devoting things for himself. This break int he covenant affected all of Israel, not just Achan. And that’s why they lost at the first battle of Ai. The Lord didn’t remain.
I can’t help but wonder if God being the one who fought for Israel during this time wasn’t intended for a developing of trust and dependance. This is not something that comes naturally for us. We depend on ourselves first. Then maybe those in our circle. But God is rarely our first go-to. So maybe their victories, that could only happen because God was doing t…

the book of joshua - try

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This is Day 13 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.

Today's prompt word is: TRY





I know sometimes I read the stories of the Old Testament and feel like God’s people didn’t even try.
Maybe it’s because we hear so many stories of how they screwed up and God kept chasing after they holiness. It never seemed to end... he kept on chasing them because they stopped... trying? I don't know. They stopped something.
We’re never like that, right? Post Exodus, Israel had 4 generations worth of bad habits to undo. I’m not talking about remember to floss. This was about what god to worship. They were still God’s people during their time in Babylon. Yet they didn’t act like, choosing instead to worship a multitude of pagan gods part of Egypt’s culture.
So I guess I should try and give them a little slack…

the book of joshua - invite

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This is Day 12 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.


Today’s word prompt is INVITE.
So when I decided to write on the book of Joshua for the Write 31 Days challenge with Five Minute Friday, there were four unknown prompt words. Each Thursday night, for years, Five Minute Friday has revealed a word to inspire our writing. But for the Write 31 Days challenge, we were given all the words. Expect the (4) Five Minute Friday prompts words.
I say this because today is a prompt word I didn’t know about, and I couldn’t think of anything about the word “Invite” that has to do with the book of Joshua. Because there is nothing about this book that involving inviting. There’s a lot of plundering, a lot of commanding, a lot of conquering, a lot of war. God doesn’t “invite” his children to take over the Promis…

the book of joshua - write

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This is Day 11 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is WRITE.


It took me years to understand the history of Israel, our history. I still am missing a lot, but the more I read and study, the more the string of history, holding together the lives of God's people, makes sense to me.

The time and place of God's people in the book of Joshua is what I would label as "penultimate." For generations, they heard about how God would give them a Promised Land, a lang flowing with milk and honey,  He promised to make them a great nation, and that a great King would come from their lineage. 

Here's the thing that would have driven me CRAZY if I were one of God's people back then: that I didn't know what the fulfillment of all those promises would look like. Es…

the book of Joshua - remember

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This is Day 10 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is REMEMBER.



The parting of the Red Sea in Exodus gets all the glory as far as seas parting in the Old Testament go, so it’s not as well known that another one happened at the Jordan River in the book of Joshua.
God dried of the land in both cases, not just merely parting the waters and making his people sludge through the mud. As if parting the waters so his people could cross wasn’t impressive enough. The ark needed to make it with them and God was, in his covenant faithfulness, providing yet another way for his people to flourish by getting them into the Promised Land. The priests’ feet were lifted up on dry ground and once they crossed the waters returned as if nothing had happened.
After they all finished crossing, God …

the book of Joshua - listen

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This is Day 9 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is  LISTEN.


A lot of commands fly about in the book of Joshua. Things that seems normal “go and spy and find out what we’re up against”. Things that seem crazy, “March for seven days and you’ll win. I promise.”
There was much to be done. They were taking over the Promised Land. Kings had to be defeated. Cities overtaken. God’s people were obeying (most of the time), listening to what he said and following through to be successful the physically take over the land.
But what about spiritually?
In chapter 5, they set aside time to circumcise the new generation. This can be a “huh?” moment in a book mostly about war. Was it wise to delay a whole section of men fighting for a period? This wasn’t something they could do in a day and…

the book of Joshua - plan

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This is Day 8 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is PLAN.



They had a plan.
They went up to Ai to spy on the city, to see what their plan of attack should be. When they came back, they said to only send 2 or 3 thousand men, because there just weren’t that many of them to defeat. They expected a short battle with just a few men.
This was their plan. They planned for success.
But they didn’t know that God’s blessing had left them.
The sin of Achan, directly disobeying God by taking some of the things devoted for God’s treasury (6:18-19), had a collective consequence for the people of God. It wasn’t just Achan, the one who first disobeyed, that was punished.
Of the 3,000 went up to attack the city of Ai, 36 were killed. Considering the wars and battles and mass shootings we hear …

the book of Joshua - truth

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This is Day 7 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is TRUTH.

“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.” – Joshua 1:8
This was one of the rare Old Testament verses I had to memorize as a kid (I grew up in an almost entirely New Testament -focused church.) It’s inadvertently lead me to believe, for most of my childhood and a good portion of my adult life, that the Bible’s purpose was the Law. To tell us what to do. While that is part of what the Bible is for, it’s primary purpose is to
 impart the truth of God’s character. For it’s out of this knowledge the Law is built. The Law tells us a great dealt about who God is. It’s reminds us of his justice,…

the book of joshua - hold

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This is Day 6 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is HOLD.


We’ve been spending a lot of time in Joshua, but today I want to take you back to set up the context for the book. After all, context is king when it comes to Scripture interpretation.
I want to talk about those 40 years before the book of Joshua. After being released from their bondage in Egypt. (Remember the plagues and the Rea Sea parting? That was God getting them out.) But here’s the thing: from where they were to where they were going (Canaan, the Promised Land) it was only about 400 miles.
And it took them 40 years.

“Why did Moses wander the desert for 40 years? Because even back then men wouldn’t ask for directions.” 
I mean obviously this was not a day’s drive or anything. They had to walk or ride their camels…

the book of joshua - story

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This is Day 5 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is STORY.


There are a lot of stories in the book of Joshua that are fascinating to study and consider. But there is one more famous than all the rest.
I remember being in Sunday School as a kid, pretending to play a trumpet and marching around the room seven times. I remember the teacher telling me how cool it was that the walls of Jericho came down. I remember singing that child’s song , “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho // Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came a-tumbling down” I’m pretty sure our teacher had us collapse while singing the “a-tumbling down” part, too.
As a college student, I remember falling in love with Veggie Tales as I watched a bunch of french peas shoot purple slushi…

the book of Joshua - trust

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This is Day 4 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is TRUST.




At the beginning of the book of Joshua, there is a transfer of power. Moses has died and Joshua is now in charge.
I don’t presume to know what in the world God’s people were thinking at the time. But I feel like they had to be scared. The leader that defeated Pharaoh and took them out of Babylon, the leader that kept them safe while wandering the desert... he was not going with them into the Promised Land. Yet they trusted.
I would like to hope were I in that same situation that I would have responded with the same trust, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and where you send is we will go,” they cried with surety! “Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you” (Joshua 1:16-17)
I don’t know if they miss…

the book of Joshua - hope

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This is Day 3 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge.  I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is HOPE.


The book of Joshua is known by most to be a book of war. Battle after battle is recorded, violence like thousands dying because the Lord’s blessing left His people, heads of kings getting cut off, walls crumbling, cities and people plundered…
So why has this book captivated my heart for so many years?
Because I want to view all things with a lens of redemption.
I really hope that doesn’t come across as holier than though, but my heart grows weary with all that is broken in the world. My heart is tired of always going to a dark place when there is light. I learned earlier this year that I have a natural (psychological?) bent toward the negative. Left unchecked, I easily spiral into the worst possible side of any word sp…