Hello Sweet Sisters,
This week's reading has been a little tough. Most of our reading has consisted of long lists of towns and territories that Joshua and the Israelites conquered in order to take possession of the land God had promised them. I hope you stuck in there, and read through the lists dilligently. I know these types of things are easy to just skim through, but they are important! Every detail given in Scripture is for our benefit. There is nothing in the Bible that we don't need to know, so be brave and courageous, Ladies, we have a few more chapters like this to go!
Even among these long lists of towns that we can't pronounce, there is much for us to learn! We began our week with a storm coming! Just like the kings of the south, the kings of the north heard how the Israelites were conquering the land. So they joined forces to fight Joshua and the Israelites. Take a look at the list of the Northern territories:
Northern Hill Country
Jordan Valleys of Galilee
East & West of Canaan
The Hivites of Mount Hermon in Mizpah
This wasn't just a group of a few hundred men, this was an enormous army! Scripture describes it this way:
"All these kings came out to fight. their combined armies formed a vast horde. And with all their horses and chariots, they covered the landscape like the sand on the seashore." ~ Joshua 11:4
A vast horde! Can you imagine? This was most likely the largest army they had faced yet, and they were coming! Have you ever been in that position? Standing still, just watching the enemy close in on you. Not knowing what to do, but certain you have no way out. The circumstances continue to escalate. Things get more and more out of control, and suddenly you are faced with a "vast horde" of your own and you have no idea how you will be able to fight it! But God.
"Then the Lord said to Joshua, ' Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men. Then you must cripple their horses and burn their chariots.'" ~Joshua 11:6
So many times throughout the book of Joshua, we see God reminding Joshua to not be afraid. When the army is vast in front of you, Friend, do not be afraid. You are not alone, and you will not fight the battle by yourself. God will give you the victory, just as He did the Israelites. Joshua led his men to fight and God did, indeed, give them the victory over their enemies. They left no survivors, but this was not a quick fix. It didn't happen over night. In fact, war raged for approximately 7 years with these territories, but victory did come. Sometimes, when war rages around us or even within us, we feel there is no end in sight. I encourage you to stay strong, cling to the Lord, be obedient to Him and trust Him to bring you victory.
"As the Lord had commanded His servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the Lord had given to Moses." ~ Joshua 11:15
Obedience. It's not always easy. As a Mama, I see first hand, every single day, what comes with obedience or the lack thereof. When my children are obedient I bless them, reward them. Their obedience brings peace, joy and contentment into our home. It allows are family to grow stronger, closer and brings joy in our everyday lives. Our obedience to the Lord and His Word brings the same: blessing, peace, joy and contentment. Joshua was obedient to the Lord. He left nothing undone. He carefully and completely obeyed the commands of the Lord, and the Lord blessed him and the Israelites for it.
The last half of chapter 11 shows us the outcome of Joshua's obedience. Joshua conquered the whole region, he took control of the entire land just as God had instructed. God gave that land to Israel as their special possession and He blessed it with rest from war.
Keep going strong, Sweet Sisters! Be obedient to the Lord and do not be afraid. Rest is coming!
This is our third week in the book of Joshua, and God's Word has given us so much in every chapter! After this week, we will be more than half way through our first study together. Keep up the good work!
This week we are reading, Joshua, chapter 11-15.
Just a reminder, we will be wrapping up our study of Joshua on November 12th and will begin in the book of Galatians on November 13th. I'm so excited to continue studying the Word of God with each of you. May God bless your desire to spend more time with Him!
Many of you may recognize the above lyrics to a Sunday School song about the town of Jericho. This week's reading has brought that song to my mind and I've caught myself singing it quite often. :)
"Now the gates of Jericho were shut tightly because the people were afraid of the Israelites. " ~ Joshua 6:1
God gave Joshua detailed instructions on how to take down Jericho. Joshua then led the people to march around the town of Jericho once a day for six days. On the seventh day, the Israelites were to march around the walls of the city seven times with the priests blowing their rams' horns. Joshua then commanded the people to shout as loud as possible. They did. And the walls crumbled. The Israelites were told to destroy everything. As the walls fell down, the Israelites charged and destroyed everything in town. And take note, God kept His promise to stay with Joshua.
"So the Lord was with Joshua, and his reputation spread throughout the land." ~ Joshua 6:27
God keeps his promises. We have seen this week, two specific incidences of His kept promise. First, we see Rahab and her family were spared. The spies, whom she had hidden, went in and rescued her and her family. Not only was their lives saved, but they were welcomed among the Israelites.
God also kept his promise in another situation. The Lord commanded the Israelites to destroy everything in Jericho. They were told not to take anything, or they would be destroyed and trouble would come upon the camp of Israel. Unfortunately, one man chose to disobey.
"But Israel violated the instructions about things set apart for the Lord....." ~ Joshua 7:1
A man named Achan chose to steal these things God said to set apart. Bcause of his disobedience, all of Israel suffered. Joshua sent spies to check out the town of Ai. It wasn't very large so he sent about 3,000 warriors to conquer Ai. But Israel was defeated. Can you imagine Joshua's distress? We are told that he and the elders mourned this defeat! God promised Joshua that they would conquer the land. Surely, Joshua was confused about why this had happened. He cried out to God, and God answered. He made Joshua aware of the sin against Him and gave Joshua instructions on how to find the man responsible. He also stated what the consequence of this sin would be.
"The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the Lord and has done a horrible thing in Israel." ~ Joshua 7:15
Make no mistake, Sweet Sisters, we cannot hide anything, ANYTHING, from God. He sees all. He sees our good and He sees our sin. He is not oblivious to our disobedience and our sin will come with consequences.
Each tribe in Israel was brought before the Lord, and the tribe of Judah was singled out. Every clan of Judah was brought before the Lord, and the clan of Zerah was singled out. The families of Zerah were brought before the Lord, and the family of Zimri was brought out. Every member of Zimri's family stood before the Lord, person by person and Achan was singled out. He admitted his sin. God is just. Achan had to pay the consequences of his sin. Achan, his children and all that he had were stoned and then burned. These are unthinkable circumstances, that we probably can't imagine, but there is much to be learned from the sin of this one man.
We cannot think that our personal sins will not affect those close to us. We may choose to give into the temptation of sin all the while thinking that it is our own life and what we do on our own is no one else's business. We may think our sin and choices will not affect those around us, but we are wrong. Yes, it is our sin and we will pay the consequences, but our loved ones will pay consequences for our sins, too. They will feel the hurt, rejection and shame of our sin. It can touch them mentally, emotionally, financially and even physically. Our choices will greatly influence those we love. Let's think twice before we put them in that position by giving into our flesh.
Let's live boldly for God. Let's be obedient to His Word and His calling on our lives. And let's trust Him to be with us, protect us, and keep His promises!
Week two is here! I hope you are enjoying Joshua as much as I am! I am learning so much.
This week we will be reading:
Joshua, chapters 6-10
Remember to check back here through the week for study notes. And don't forget to comment here, on what God is teaching you through your daily study of Scripture. Spending time with God each day is so important, so don't over think it. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to "do" quiet time a certain way. Read the Bible, pray fervently, and just soak up what God has for you! :)
OK, here we go! Week Two! Let's jump in with both feet!
I think it is important for us to talk about Joshua, chapter 2. There is a lot packed in this small chapter that we don't want to miss or overlook. Before going forward to the "Promised Land", Joshua secretly sent 2 spies to check out the town of Jericho. While there, they needed to find a hiding place that wouldn't be too conspicuous. So, Rahab, the prostitute, took them in and hid them from the king's men and then helped them escape. We may find this hiding place strange, but God always has a plan! :)
Rahab informed the spies of how the people of Jericho felt about the Israelites.
"No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below." ~ Joshua 2:11
Her people were scared. She knew who the Israelites belonged to. The one, supreme God. Rahab asked the spies to be kind to her family and let them live since she had helped them. The Spies then agreed to spare Rahab and her family if she agreed to their terms, and she did, indeed, accept.
This entire chapter is dedicated to the spies' time with Rahab. Let's not overlook the importance of this woman. By description we know exactly who she is. She is a prostitute. The Word is very clear about her position. But who is she really? Rahab, like us, was created by God himself. He loved her enough to create her. And despite her sin and the choices she made, God chose to use her for His purpose. The spies did not choose her home that day. God chose Rahab's home. He chose her, to ultimately, save her.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. " ~ II Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
We are all sinners. We have all made mistakes. But God. He loves you, adores you and cares for you. He is not willing to let you perish. He sent the spies to save Rahab but He sent Jesus, His son, to save you!
I'm praying for each of you as you have committed to this study. May God shower you with His blessings through His Word!
I prayed for weeks for God to show me what book of the Bible we should read to start our study together. Immediately, Joshua was on my heart. After looking at my calendar I felt like something shorter might be a better option, but I couldn't get the book of Joshua out of my mind. So, I finally obeyed the Lord and chose Joshua, not knowing what God had in store. Let me just take a moment and say, I am so glad that I listened to that stirring in my heart. Joshua is exactly what my heart needed and I hope it is a blessing to your heart too!
Let's look at Joshua, chapter 1, a little closer. Israel had come to the end of their 40 year wilderness journey, and oh what a journey they had been on! But things were just about to get good! :) God called Joshua to lead the Israelites into the "Promised Land". Within the first nine verses of this chapter, God not only calls Joshua to this huge task but He encourages him .
"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you." ~ Joshua 1:5
Joshua was not alone. God would not leave him. He called Joshua to this task and He would see him through it. He would not allow anyone or anything to stand between Him and Joshua. In the next few verses, God tells Joshua three times, to be "strong and courageous." What a picture of our christian lives! So many times, when God calls us to do something, fear quickly takes over. Fear that we can't do it, fear that we are not qualified, fear that we won't be taken seriously, fear that we don't have the resources or fear that we don't have the patience for it. God knows us. He knows our hearts. He knows our skepticism. Before Joshua could even question God's calling, God told him 3 times to be strong and courageous. Sweet Friend, whatever God is calling you to do in His name, do it. Be strong and courageous. God will be with you and He will not fail you. No one will stand against you if you are trusting God at His Word.
I now know why God wanted us to start with Joshua. The answer is in the following verse:
"Study this book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. " ~ Joshua 1:8
The purpose of this ministry is to encourage Christian women in their daily walk with Christ. Specifically by being intentional about reading the Word of God every day. I do not find it a coincidence, that God's call to Joshua included a command to study and meditate on Scripture daily. Now, in Joshua's time, the "Book of Instruction" was only Genesis through Deuteronomy. But we have the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation as our "Book of Instruction". We are to be in the Word daily. To study it and meditate on it.
What does that mean for us?
~Read the Bible with thoughtfulness.
~ Linger over God's Word.
Scripture is the main spiritual food for those who serve the Lord. If we don't feed ourselves, our Spirit will be weak. Don't forget the second part to this verse. Studying and meditating on God's Word comes with a promise: "Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." In order to fulfill our callings, we must be in God's Word. Before Joshua could lead his people, he needed time alone with the Lord, to be fed, directed and strengthened for the task ahead.
Following the Lord's instructions, Joshua directed the people to possess their land. Verses 13-15 tell us that God had already given the land east of the Jordan River to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manassah. Even so, they were instructed to help the other tribes claim the land God had promised them. They were told to go fully armed, help conquer the territory, and stay until the Lord gave the others rest and possession of their land. I believe this is an illustration of the Church.
As believers, we are to stand beside each other and help carry each other's burdens. We should desire to encourage, love and support our fellow believers. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manassah did just that. They agreed to move forward with the rest of the Israelites and to fight side by side until the job was done. Not only did these men promise to be obedient, but they had strong words for Joshua. "So be strong and courageous!"
Sweet Sisters, God loves you so much! He delights in you and He has made you for a purpose! He will strengthen you to complete every task He brings before you. He will not leave you nor fail you. He tells you to be strong and courageous, and when you won't listen to Him, He sends others to stand by you, encourage you and cheer you on! :)
Be strong and courageous,
Welcome to Week 1 of our Fall Bible Study! We will be reading Joshua, chapters 1-5. Remember this is not meant to be complicated, but to be fulfilling to our spirit.
Each day, ask God to speak to you through His Word, read one chapter, journal notes or favorite verses if you feel led, and meditate over the verses you read. That's it! Just soak in God's Word, every day.
Check back here through the week for encouragement or join the RSS feed on the side bar to subscribe to be notified when new posts are up! And don't forget to comment on what God has spoke to you through His Word or share your favorite verse of the day. Keeping each other accountable will help each of us succeed on this journey. :)
I'm praying for each of you sweet ladies! Grab your Bible, your coffee and let's get started!
I hope you are gearing up for our first fall study! It starts this Monday, October, 12th. We will be reading one chapter a day in Joshua.
The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to spend time in God's Word each day. This blog is to help you stay focused and bring accountability to your personal devotion time. But I also want to invite and encourage you to use our reading plans and notes to equip and encourage your small groups. Whether you meet with a group of ladies personally each week , connect through facebook or host a text group, our reading plans, notes and encouragement will be a great asset to your small group!
I am very excited as we begin this journey together. I pray for each of you ladies, who are here wanting to draw closer to Jesus by making time with Him each day. May God bless your hard work and determination abundantly!
Autumn is in full swing around here and I absolutely love it! There's just something about the chill in the air the changing leaves and the appearance of pumpkins around every corner. I just love this time of year and as excited as I am about being in this season, I'm even more excited to start our daily time in the Word!
So, here it is, our Fall Reading Plan!
We will start our reading of the book of Joshua on Monday, October 12th and will then follow up with the book of Galatians starting Friday, November 13th.
Our fall reading will run 6 weeks and we will commit to read both an Old Testament book and a New Testament book. Please remember, the whole purpose of this site is to encourage you to read your Bible each day and grow in your walk with the Lord. This isn't complicated. We will read one chapter a day and then check back here through the week to find accountability and encouragement as we study together.
Make plans to join us here, Monday, October 12th, 2015!
I can't wait to dig into God's Word with you!
I am so excited to begin this adventure with you! I have been asked many times how I fit a special, quiet time with God, into my very busy daily life as a wife, mom, and homeschooler. It's tough! Our lives are busy, and many things vie for our attention, every waking moment of each of our days. There have been times when I am lucky to get in a shower, let alone a few quiet minutes to read my Bible and pray. There are mouths to feed, dishes to wash, laundry to be folded, babies to nurse, toddlers to chase, children to drive to multiple activities, teenagers to argue with, husbands to love, churches to attend, work to be done, bills to be paid, appointments to be made and our lists go on and on and on. How can we possibly add one more thing to the list?
Believe me, I get it. No matter what season of life you are in, there will be things to keep us busy. But I have found the best way to handle our toppling plates, is to immerse ourselves in God's Word and His abounding grace. A few years ago, God stirred in my heart, a desire to begin making daily time with Him a high priority. I haven't got all the kinks worked out yet, but I am learning along the way. The one thing that seems to help any woman I have spoken to about this subject, is accountability. Being held accountable seems to help us stick with something, and make arrangements to make it work for us. That is how Redeeming Elegance began. I needed the accountability to study God's Word and pursue a more intimate relationship with Him.
Our Bible time is very personal. It will look different for every person and there is no right or wrong way to do it. So, we will keep it simple. We are going to read one book of the Bible at a time, a chapter a day, hoping to reach the goal of reading 5 chapters a week. You will notice I said five chapters, not seven. This gives us a little extra time if life happens and we miss a day or two. Don't beat yourself up if you don't get all five chapters in. It's okay. God loves that your heart desire is to get to know Him better and He knows you are trying!
I will join you here each week with study notes and encouragement. I hope you feel led to comment on what you are learning through the studies as well or even make note of the verses that God speaks to you. My prayer is that God will use this blog to strengthen your walk with Him. Along with our study we will support and encourage one another through prayer and we'll share life together too. So pour a cup of coffee, grab your Bible and join me in God's Word! I can't wait to see all the wonderful things he has in store for us!
I will post our fall reading plan soon!
May the Lord bless you abundantly,
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "
Hi! I'm Andrea, wife to my handsome hubby, homeschooling mama to my 5 amazing blessings (with one more on the way), and daughter of the King of kings. I am so glad you have stopped by my little piece of the web. My prayer is that the Lord will use this blog to encourage you in your personal, daily walk with Christ.