Online Prayer Requests for October

Hey all!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week.

Please leave your prayer requests here and praises if you have some. There is power in prayer so the more the merrier!

Mine: stomach issues will settle.

Have a great week ahead and many blessings your way!

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Inspirational Quotes: Work Ethic

“You can’t just pray as if it depends solely on God; you also have to work as if it depends on you.  It’s your work ethic plus your prayer ethic that will inch you closer to your dream.  One moment, one day at a time.”  Mark Batterson Chase Your Lion

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Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose

Image result for a dog's purposeA Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron is an excellent book about a dog finding his purpose in this world. The book begins with one dog who keeps leading multiple lives and is perpetually re-born until his purpose is fulfilled. In the dog’s first life, he is feral and ends up being taken in by a kind-hearted woman who can’t take care of so many dogs. However, he ends up lame and unadoptable and is put down, but he made the woman laugh.

In the dog’s second life, he keeps having the nagging feeling that there’s something he’s supposed to do. He ends up in a home as a companion to a little boy named Ethan, where his purpose is to comfort the boy whenever the boy needed him. The dog learns humans are so much more complex than dogs and his job is not what he wants but what his master wants. His purpose was to love the boy and be with him and make him happy.

In the dog’s third life, he is trained as a search and rescue dog where he learned his purpose was to find people and save them.

The last life we find the dog abused and runs away. As he’s running, he runs into a familiar smell: that of Ethan’s girlfriend from long ago. The dog is determined to find Ethan who is still living in the same home except he is old now. He realizes his purpose in this world had been to save and Ethan was lonely without his girlfriend. The dog ends up re-connecting the two who eventually marry. He had fulfilled his purpose of rescuing people from despair of their lives.

FINDING YOUR PURPOSE

Ultimately, it is Ethan’s turn to leave this world. But the dog is by his side, fulfilling his purpose:

“The job of a good dog was ultimately to be with humans, remaining by their sides no matter what course their lives might take. All I could do now was offer him comfort, the assurance that he was not alone but was tended by the dog who loved him more than anything else in the whole world.”

I LOVED this book. Having come off of reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, I wasn’t for sure I wanted to read another book where the dog dies (let alone repeatedly). But A Dog’s Purpose is not sad because the dog lives on and the end of the dog’s life is not written as sad. I love how the dog finds his boy again, is 100% devoted to the boy, and is with the boy at the end of his life. I honestly hope I don’t have pets when it’s my time to go because I feel like it’s cruel to leave them without me, but I liked this book.

I love the insights the dog has to human’s lives as well and how the dog’s life just fits in with the human’s. This book is very realistic and not overly sentimental. If you love pets (especially dogs), then A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron is a must-read.

We all have a purpose and our job is to discover it while we’re here. This dog does and it’s encouraging to the rest of us who are still seeking our purpose in this world. Your pet may seem like it’s just being an animal, leading its life, but when it greets you at the end of a long day with love or jumps on your lap and purrs, it’s fulfilling its purpose. Now go and fulfill yours.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 5: Joshua 24:14-33

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Summary of Joshua 24:14-33:

Joshua tells the people to fear the Lord and serve Him in all your faithfulness. Choose whom you will serve: the Lord or pagan gods. The people repeated their history and swore to obey and serve God. The Israelites witnessed for themselves that they chose to serve the Lord and not bring disaster on themselves for doing otherwise.

Joshua renewed the covenant with the Lord for the people and wrote down the laws in the Book of the Law of God and marked the place with a holy stone to be a witness to the words spoken at Shechem.

Joshua died at 110 years old and was buried in his inherited land in Ephraim. Israel continued to serve God after Joshua’s death. Joseph’s bones were re-buried at Shechem. Eleazar died as well.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 5: Joshua 24:14-33:

13) Part personal Question. My answer: Choose whom you will serve: the Lord or pagan gods. Every day we choose to serve God by doing what Jesus would do or serve ourselves by putting our interests first, and doing what we want to do. We choose sin over obedience. By discouraging instead of encouraging. By not forgiving instead of forgiving. By withholding help. Being mean. Choosing to hurt others.

14) Part personal Question. My answer: Joshua has known the Israelites for 100 years now. He understands man’s nature, and I’m sure he knows they will one day turn from God. He wants to reiterate the importance in hopes the Israelites will stay true to God. Joshua is seeking a deep commitment, not a light-hearted agreement. Repetition is a good tool for learning and imprinting in one’s mind. Say something over and over again, and it becomes truth.

15) God wants the people to only love and obey and worship. He wants our undivided devotion. With godly jealousy God is the recipient of our desire. We are jealous for the will of God in a situation. We are jealous for Him to be glorified. Godly jealousy wakes us up at night to intercede for a lost loved one. Godly jealousy motivates us to confront a sinning brother or sister when we don’t want to, in order to save them from the enemy (James 5:20). Godly jealousy created difficulties and sorrows for Paul because he refused to stop speaking the truth, even when his hearers did not want to listen (2 Corinthians 5:14). Godly jealousy is love in action (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

I love how Godly jealousy is love in action. Read this SNIPPET to see where I got my answer to question 15. We so want God in our lives that we’re jealous when we don’t have Him.  Jealousy is when you covet something for yourself. Godly jealousy is when you covet God in any situation. Awesome!

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

There were all kinds of gods the Israelites had encountered in Canaan:

  1.  Joshua 24:2-4–on the other side of the Euphrates were the gods of Sumerian and Babylonian culture – gods of heritage.
  2.  Joshua 24:5-7a –on the other side of the Red Sea were the gods of ancient Egypt – gods of upbringing.
  3.  Joshua 24:7b-13 and 24:15 –as the Israelites crossed the Jordan there were the gods of the Amorites – gods of your culture

Joshua states one of the most famous verses and bible sayings here: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” The Hebrew here has a fuller meaning as in continuous action: I have chosen and I will continue to choose God.

What Choices Has Joshua Made?

  • Joshua chose to fight against the Amalekites – choosing when it might cost everything.Image result for incredible animal photos
  • Joshua chose to reject the golden calf – choosing when the flesh might be satisfied.
  • Joshua chose to serve the Lord by serving Moses – choosing a humble place.
  • Joshua chose to believe God’s promise about the Promised Land – choosing against the majority.
  • Joshua chose to recognize the leadership of the Captain of the LORD’s army – choosing surrender to God.
  • Joshua chose to take leadership of Israel and lead them into the land – choosing faith instead of unbelief.

Joshua recognizes he was responsible for the choice of his household to serve the Lord as well.

Joshua’s choice to serve God showed:

  • No hesitation.
  • He was not influenced by others.
  • It was solemnly made
  • It was openly made.
  • He followed through.
  • He never strayed and followed God his entire life.

Joshua wants full commitment to follow God and a knowledge of the consequences if not. Jesus expressed the same kind of warning, explaining that following Him took total commitment (Luke 14:25-33). It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t want followers, but He did not want lightly made and easily broken commitments.

Why the Stone as a Witness?

The covenant needed the testimony of two witnesses, the people and the stone. Therefore, this was a binding covenant before God (Deuteronomy 19:15).

This covenant is similar to other ancient times covenants between a king and his people, especially among the Hittites.

Where did Joseph’s Bones come from?

This may seem like an inconsequential point, but it fulfills Genesis 50:25. God likes to tie up loose ends. This is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:22 as an example of Joseph’s faith. For well over four centuries Joseph’s remains have been preserved in Egypt, waiting for the fulfillment of the Promised Land. For 40 years, the tribes have carried Joseph’s bones during their desert wanderings. Now, at least, Abraham’s descendants have come home.

Eleazar was a witness to the crossing of the Red Sea. Another link to the past is gone.

We are still called to conquer our wildernesses–this time, Jesus is our guide. Is he your guide through the wilderness?

Fun Fact: The Israelites established at least 7 memorials to remind future generations of what God has done in their lives (see chapters 4, 7, 8, 10, 22). Even if people forgot their debt to God, the land would speak its own story.

A Look Ahead–Free Choice

The choice may seem obvious: choose God, especially after all He has done for the Israelites. Still, the Israelites have a choice: follow God or follow the gods of those whose land they have entered. For now, all swear allegiance to God. But as we’ll see in Judges, many choose otherwise.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13

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Summary Joshua 24:1-13:

Joshua assembled all the people at Shechem and reminded them of all God has done for them since calling Abraham to the Promised Land. This includes their time in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the wandering, the fight for the land east of the Jordan River, and the fight against Jericho and all the Western Kings. God did it all. God gave it all. God provides all.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

10) Personal Question. My answer: God had it all planned out. God did it all, and the Israelites did nothing. I love seeing God’s hand and knowing He has it all and I don’t have to worry. It’s a great comfort in times of trial. God has a plan. Give it over to Him.

11) God has history all planned out in His own time. God does it all. He loves us enough to plan for eternity. Who else in this world does?

12) Part personal Question. God is great, and we don’t remember that enough. It’s easy to push God aside in our busy lives and not think about Him. We have to remember Him and what he’s done for us continually. And the details and little things matter like food and shelter—all the things we take for granted every day.  My answer: we need to remember all God has done for us for 2 main reasons: 1) we have hope in the bad times 2) in the good times we don’t become prideful and think it’s us doing it all. God does is all. We’re merely His players.

It’s important to be a good witness, to tell of times in our past when God has been faithful. It encourages and strengthens other Christians and it may influence others to become Christ-followers. Re-living those moments strengthens your faith as well. We can’t let activities in our lives push God out. He is central, and we must keep Him there.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

It’s important to keep history alive or we are doomed to relive it. Most of the Israelites weren’t alive to experience a lot of what Joshua spoke about. Our past gives us courage to face our future. Courage and hope–two things we all need more of in this world.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 4: Joshua 24:1-13:

This was a dramatic last gathering of Israel before the passing of Joshua. It may or may not be part of the same farewell described in Joshua 23. No specific place of gathering is mentioned in Joshua 23, so it could have been part of this same meeting at Shechem.Image result for shechem

Shechem is modern day Tel Balata. This ancient city was situated on the floor of a valley with Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal forming the respective walls. The contour of the land resulted in a natural amphitheater, the acoustics of which were so good that the human voice carried to exceptional distances.

Image result for shechemImportant Events that Happened at Shechem:

Shechem was a place of rich history for Israel. Four notable events happened here in the lives of the patriarchs. In the first two instances, we see Shechem was a place of calling and commitment. In the second two, we see Shechem as a place of shame.

  1. Abraham came into the Promised Land and first camped at Shechem. There God appeared to Abraham and confirmed His promise; Abraham built an altar to the Lord there (Genesis 12:6-7).
  2. When Jacob came back into the Promised Land, he first camped at Shechem. He purchased land at Shechem and built an altar there, calling the place, El Elohe Israel (God, the God of Israel, Genesis 33:16-20).
  3. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi deceptively lured the men of Shechem into a massacre, murdering all the men of the city (Genesis 34).
  4. God told Jacob to go to Bethel. Jacob did so and commanded all in his household to put away their idols. Jacob took those idols and buried them at the terebinth tree near Shechem (Genesis 35:1-5).

Some scholars believe the Israelites presented themselves before the tabernacle, which seems at this time to have been at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). Either they presented themselves before God without the tabernacle, or it was moved to Shechem for this occasion.

We saw this same occurrence of the people presenting themselves to God in Exodus 19:17.

Joshua’s speech has many similarities to the much longer speeches given by Moses in Deuteronomy. Both speakers pattern their speeches after a treaty between a ruler and his people.

Here we see Joshua as a prophet, speaking God’s words. Prophecy is not necessarily a prediction of the future. It can simply be a uniquely direct and spontaneous word from God. The Lord reminded Israel that their forefathers came from the other side of the Euphrates River and worshipped pagan gods there.

At every point, Joshua emphasizes that God is the sole source of their success. Joshua reminds the people of all that God has done and of their obligation under the covenant with God.

What do We Learn from Joshua’s Farewell Speech?

  1. Note God does not remind the Israelites of their sin. It has already been forgotten (Jeremiah 31:34).
  2. All of God’s blessings are undeserved. A reminder of this should make the Israelites (and us) extremely grateful to God for all He has done in our lives.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23

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Summary Joshua 23:

Joshua, old himself, calls the Israelites together and reminds them of all God has done for them and tells them God will be with them to take the rest of the Promised Land. He tells them to be strong and obey all the laws written in the Book of the Law of Moses. He tells them to not associate with the nations that remain among them and not to serve their gods. Hold fast to God.

God fights for them and one of them is equal to 1000 enemies because of this so Love God. Joshua warns them not to intermarry with the pagans nor ally with them or God won’t drive them out. Instead, they will become snares, traps, whips, and thorns.

Joshua says he is to die soon. God has kept all his promises and God’s anger will burn against them and they will die if they forsake him and worship other gods.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

6) Joshua calls the Israelite leaders together and reminds them of all God has done for them and tells them God will be with them to take the rest of the Promised Land. He tells them to be strong and obey all the laws written in the Book of the Law of Moses. He tells them to not associate with the nations that remain among them and not to serve their gods. Hold fast to God.

7) God is faithful. God keeps His promises. God is with us. God does not forsake us. We are powerful in Him. God is just. God will punish us if we turn from him.

8 ) Joshua warns them not to intermarry with the pagans nor ally with them or God won’t drive them out. Instead, the Canaanites will become snares, traps, whips, and thorns. The Israelites are to love God and obey God.

Joshua says he is to die soon. God has kept all his promises and God’s anger will burn against them, and they will die if they forsake the Lord and worship other gods.Image result for obedience to god

9) Part personal Question. My answer:  Joshua addresses the leaders separately for two reasons: 1) Practical. There are simply too many Israelites nowadays to call them all together. 2) There are higher expectations placed on leaders of the people by God than others, so Joshua expects them to lead by example and convey the message to the Israelites. We need strong, Godly leaders to guide us. When you find them, you keep them.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

I’m always amazed at how simple it is to get to heaven: choose Jesus and obey. Here, the Israelites must obey God and love Him. Not hard one would think, but, in actuality, it is. Joshua also says to avoid those who sin because they may influence you to sin and turn from God. We as Christians needs to love sinners, but we don’t have to be best friends with them. which I think is where people mess this one up.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

The Israelites number in the millions. It would be like getting the whole state of Delaware to a meeting! Thus, be effectively communicating to the leadership, Joshua can get his message across.

Joshua begins by giving glory to God. He does not begin by listing all he’s done and his military accomplishments.

Each tribe must still fully possess what God has given them. There is still work to be done, and we all have a part to play.

How will Israel succeed?

  • With courage to have complete obedience to God.
  • Don’t even talk about the Canaanite gods. Stay as far away from sin as possible.
  • Love God.
  • Separate from ungodly influences and don’t compromise.

God is faithful.

Joshua repeats the principle of blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience that was a part of Israel’s covenant with God (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). God will be just as faithful to judge as He had been to bless.

Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-14), so we no longer have to experience God’s curse. Instead, we are corrected (Hebrews 12:7) and will experience a lack of blessing if we do not abide in Jesus.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22

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Summary Joshua 22:

The eastern tribe that had before been asked to help the Israelites conquer the Promised Land on the western side of the River Jordan are now released from their service and able to return home. Joshua left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Joshua blessed the men and sent them away—but not empty handed. They had their share of the plunder from their enemies and were to share it.

On the way home, the Israelites built an “imposing altar” to God. Well, the rest of the Israelites took this as a sign they were turning from God so they sent representatives to see what was going on. They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan) and they would all suffer for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that witnesses they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River. Appeased, the Western Israelites returned home happy.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

3)  Joshua told them they had done all Moses had commanded them to do, and they had done all he had asked them to do left them departing words of advice that we all need: “keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

4) They were afraid God’s wrath would fall upon them (like it did with Achan and Peor), and they would all suffer (or perhaps be killed as well) for this rebellion.

The Eastern Israelites explained this altar was indeed an altar to God—a witness altar—that they are indeed God’s people for the Easterners were afraid the Westerners would one day exclude them from God since they were on the Eastern side of the Jordan River.

Deuteronomy tells us the Lord commanded the Israelites to only sacrifice burnt offerings at the place he commands as well as Leviticus 17:8-9.

5) Personal Question. My answer: Make sure you have all the facts first before accusing others of wrong-doing. Often, we don’t understand the situation or the other person’s side, and we get ourselves into trouble when we shouldn’t. We should confront with God’s heart, with a willingness to help, and with a clear idea of what God would want out of the situation. Come with an open mind.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

How frequently this happens in our lives when something simple blows up into something big—all because we didn’t have all the facts, and we didn’t take the time to discover all the facts. Many a relationship has been hurt and impacted by being falsely accused of something without a chance to explain ourselves. Great Biblical example of dealing with confrontation and misunderstandings.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 2: Joshua 22:

The Eastern tribes had fulfilled their obligation and helped the Israelites take the Western side of the Promised Land. Now it was time to return home. Joshua tells them what he tells all the Israelites all the time: Keep the commandments and the law, love God, follow God, obey God, and serve God. He then blesses them. The Eastern tribes left with riches and probably with a bit of sorrow to leave their brothers.

Before crossing the Jordan, the men build an altar, which was a place of sacrifice. When the other Israelites heard an altar had been built, they immediately gather arms to go and purge this scourge from the nation. There is no discussion, only action. They were going to fight to defend God’s holiness.Image result for joshua 22

Phinehas led the group because he had the authority as High Priest over the whole nation. The Israelites thought that the altar at the Jordan represented a rival place of sacrifice and worship, to compete with God’s tabernacle, presently at Shiloh.

Why the misunderstanding?

God had clearly commanded that there was one place of sacrifice and burnt offerings for Israel: Also you shall say to them: Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people. (Leviticus 17:8-9)

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

ii. We understand from this that we cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spiritand in truth. (John 4:24)

The reference to Peor was an example of when Israel had been punished for rebellion against God before. Peor was when Israel’s men had sex with Moabite women, and they gave themselves over to the worship of the Moabite gods. In judgment, God sent a plague that killed 24,000 people.

Phinehas was the one who stopped the plague by making a dramatic stand for righteousness in the midst of gross sin.

Just like Achan, Phinehas knew that the sin of these tribes would reflect on the whole nation. He knew that no one really sins unto himself.

Phinehas offers the returning Israelites to come to their land to avoid sin. This would have been a great sacrifice of land for the eastern side of the Jordan, but all that mattered was eradicating sin.

Who among us are willing to sacrifice to help others? We tell people to stop sinning, but are not willing to help them if it costs us something.

How does the Eastern Tribes respond when accused of sin?

  1. The eastern tribe go to God first who knows their hearts. He is our refuge when we’re misunderstood.
  2. The eastern tribes put themselves in the shoes of the westerners and can see why they think what they think. We all must try to see the other person’s point of view in misunderstandings.
  3. The eastern tribes then explain themselves and acknowledge once again the western tribes concerns. They wanted to remain connected to their western brethren, and this is how they chose to do so.

The explanation is accepted, and the relationship between the western tribes and the eastern tribes is restored.

What lessons do we learn from this misunderstanding amongst the Israelites?

We cannot worship God any way we please, or justify a manner of worship just because we like it. First and always, our worship must be pleasing to God. We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

How to Respond to Misunderstandings with God’s Heart:Image result for altar at geliloth joshua 22

  • Have a concern for God’s holiness.
  • Have the courage to confront in love.
  • Attempt to reconcile before you fight.
  • You are willing to sacrifice to help them; don’t confront unless you are willing to help.
  • You will see the situation from the perspective of the other person.
  • You will believe the best of one another.