Saturday, May 28, 2011


Purpose:  To give the history of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.
Author:  Joshua, except for the ending, which may have been written by the high priest Phinehas, an eyewitness to the events recounted there.
Setting:  Canaan, also called the Promised Land, which occupied the same general geographical territory of modern day Israel.
Key People:  Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Phenehas, Eleazar
Key Places:  Jericho and Caleb were the only two survivors out of the original group of adults who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land.
Key Points:
  *Success:  God gave success to the Israelites when they obeyed his master plan, not when they followed their own desires.  Likewise, we must adjust our mind to God’s way of thinking in order to see his standard for success.
  *God’s Faithfulness:  Remembering how God fulfilled his promises in the past assured the Israelites that he would be faithful in the future.  In the same way, God’s promises reassure us of his love, faithfulness, and guidance.
  *Leadership:  Joshua’s dependence on God made him a strong and effective leader.  To be a strong leader like Joshua, we must be ready to listen and act on God’s commands.
  *Conquest:  God commanded his people to conquer the Canaanites and take their land.  But Israel’s commitment to the task didn’t last long.  Commitment to God means more than being enthusiastic about him.  We must complete all of the work he gives us and apply his instructions to every part of our lives.


Purpose:  To remind the people of what God has done and encourage them to rededicate their lives to him.
Author:  Moses (except for the final summary which was probably written by Joshua after Moses’ death)
To Whom Written:  Israel (the new generation entering the Promised Land)
Date Written:  About 1407/6 BC
Setting:  The east side of the Jordan River, in view of the Promised Land
Key People:  Moses, Joshua
Key Place:  The valley of Arabah in Moab, east of the Jordan River
Key Points:
  *History:  Moses reviews God’s efforts to set Israel free from slavery in Egypt.  By reviewing God’s promises and might acts, we can learn about his character and grow in faith.
  *Laws:  The legal contract between God and his people had to be renewed for the new generation entering the Promised Land.  Commitment to God and his truth cannot be taken for granted.  Every person in each generation must respond anew to God’s call.
  *Love:  God’s faithful and patient love is portrayed more often than his punishment.  His love forms the foundation for our trust in him.  We can be confident that the one who loves us perfectly can be trusted with our lives.
  *Choices:  God reminded his people that in order to enjoy the blessings of his will for them, they would have to continue in obedience.  Our choices make a difference.  Choosing to follow God produces good results in our lives and in our relationships with others.  Choosing to abandon God’s ways brings harmful results to us and to others.
  *Teaching:  God commanded the Israelites to teach their children his ways.  God’s truth must be passed on to future generations.  It is not, however, just the traditions or commands that are to be passed on.  Rather, we are to teach each new generation to know and love God personally.


Purpose:  To tell the story of how Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, how they sinned and were punished, and how they prepared to try again.
Author:  Moses
To Whom Written:  The people of Israel
Date Written:  1450-1410 BC
Setting:  The vast wilderness of the Sinai region, as well as lands just south and east of Canaan.
Key People:  Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, Balaam
Key Places:  Mount Sinai, Promised Land (Cannan), Kadesh, Mount Hor, the plains of Moab
Key Points:
  *Census:  Moses counted the Israelites twice for the defense of Israel as they entered the Promise Land.  People have to be organized, trained and led to be effective in making a difference in their world.  Before beginning great tasks, it is always wise to count the cost of what lies ahead.
  *Rebellion:  At Kadash, the people of Israel rebelled, having accepted the negative report of ten out of twelve spies.  Rebellion against God is always serious.  Usually, rebellion is not an abrupt, radical departure from God; instead, it is the result of long-term drifting, often characterized by complaining and criticizing.
  *Wandering:  Because they rebelled, the Israelites had a forty-year stay in the wilderness.  During this time, God rained a new generation to follow him while those who still had wrong attitudes died.  He judges sin not just because he dislikes it but because he is holy and cannot tolerate it.
  *Canaan:  Canaan was the Promised Land – the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Canaan was to be the dwelling place of God’s people, those set apart for true worship.  Today, the place for true worship can be found in the human heart - the home of the Holy Spirit.


Purpose: A handbook for the Levites outlining their priestly duties in worship: a guidebook of holy living for the Hebrews.
Author:  Moses
Date of Events:  1445-1444 BC
Setting:  At the foot of Mount Sinai, God teaches the Israelites how to live as holy people.
Key People:  Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazer, Ithamar
Special Feature:  Holiness is mentioned more often (152 times) than in any other book of the Bible.
Key Points:
  *Sacrifices:  The system of sacrifices that God established for Israel helps us understand the high cost of sin.  An animal had to be sacrificed to pay the price for someone’s sin.  Jesus’ death, however, did away with this temporary system by permanently paying the penalty for all sin.
  *Health:  God established rules for all aspects of life.  He wanted his people to be different from the surrounding nations.  Through these rules, God preserved them from diseases and genetic problems while teaching them spiritual principles.  Following his rules will make our lives different from those of unbelievers around us.
  *Holiness:  Holy means “separated” or “devoted to God”.  God called his people to be committed to his ways and forsake the lifestyle they had in Egypt.  God calls us to this level of commitment. 
  *Levites:  The Levites and priests taught the people how to worship God.  They regulated the moral, civil and ceremonial laws of the people.  Understanding their role enables us to comprehend more of Jesus’ role as our High Priest and our role as priestly believers.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I was comparing myself to the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well.  He was tired from walking on dusty roads and met her at the well.  He asked her for a drink of water and she, realizing he was a Jew asked why he was asking her for water. At that time Jews thought Samaritans were inferior to themselves. Jesus replied that if she only knew the gift his father had available to her she would be asking for it and Jesus would give her the living water that would quench her worldly thirst forever.  She then inquired how he would get this living water without a rope or bucket from a very deep well.  She also doubted he could provide water better than the water given to Samaria by Jacob.  Jesus esplained to her that the water she provides will only quench thirst for a few moments, but the living water he can give her will give her a fresh, new life, an eternal life.  Finally convinced, the Samaritan woman asked for this living water so she wouldn't have to be thirsty again.  Jesus tells her to go get her husband and she admits she isn't married.  She could have lied to this man, but chose to tell him the truth.  Jesus lovingly told her he knew she didn't have a husband and in fact he knew she was living with a man out of wedlock.  He comends her for telling the truth.  In that instant God's shining light reaches into the deeply hidden places in this Samaritan woman's heart and she is set free from her sins.  We all have a hidden place or two.  I challenge you to speak the truth to God, the deep, ugly truth hidden by your fear, shame and guilt.  Concentrate what God is going to do with your future, and leave the past behind you.  Allow God's shining light and everlasting light shine in you and through you and be set free from your sin by the mercy and grace Jesus provides.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Testing if new posts allow comments


Next August I will be attending BSF again and we will be studying the Acts of the apostles.  I thought I'd start spending my summer reading Acts and making notes along the way.  This is what I have so far as an introduction to Acts.

Acts was written to give an accurate account of the birth and growth of the Christian church.  Luke wrote it to the people everywhere.  It was written around 63 and 70 AD.  It speaks of the link between Christ's life and the life of the church. 

The community of believers were unified by faith in the risen Christ.  The disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit and thousands more boldly told others about their faith in Christ.  Because early Christians were persecuted, this opposition was the spark that helped spread Christianity.

Try to put twelve people in a room with different values, backgrounds and skills.  Do you think they could accomplish a task to completion, together?  I would find this difficult, but the disciples were led to work togther.

Paul was a persecutor of Christians and then met Jesus on the road to Damascus and became a believer.
Paul's many missionary trips encompasses much of acts.  He spread the gospel everywhere he went.  He was arrested on his third mission trip and retuned to Rome under guard.  I'm assuming that's where he died, but I haven't read that far yet.


Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.

While I support our nation's government, even when I disagree with them, and I'm glad Osama was caught, I'm a little disappointed in everyone's facebook messages stating they wish he had suffered, or we should have hung him and how happy everyone is that he is dead.  I personally would have preferred he be kept alive to interrogate and also watch the wrath he caused.  The point is we should celebrate justice, not death.