Monday, May 17, 2010

Funfacts + Verses from Joshua

I took a break from reading books for now, as I am trying to finish up my Bible reading for this year. (A bit behind - I'm supposed to finish in April! and I still have 8 books to go). Anyhow, since I am not sharing any book reviews or teaching notes - I thought I would just share some fun facts and good verses from the final few books I am reading. Today's book was Joshua =
- A portion of land was given to 5 sisters in Joshua 17- What's funny about it is some of the names = One is named "Hoglah"; and one is named "Noah" - I didn't know Noah could be a girl's name.
- Caleb was 85 years old when he went and kicked some butt in Joshua 14 - he said he was just as strong as an 85 year old as he had been at age 40. He took the most difficult land with the largest people (giants) living in it.
- "Be very careful to love the Lord your God." Joshua 23:11
- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
- The reason the "Valley of Achor" is called the "Valley of Achor" is because that is where Achan was killed. (Joshua 7)
- "And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15
- When the "Commander of the Lord's Army" shows up in chapter 5; Joshua says - "Who are you for? Are you for us, or for our enemies?" and the "Commander" just answers, "No. But I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come." I think it's kind of funny that he answers those questions with "No." Some people believe this character to be the pre-incarnate Jesus.
- "And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them." Joshua 8:34-35 This is interesting for several reasons - it talks about the Pentatuch as already having been written (by Moses, by the way). Also, he shared everything with everyone - even children. That's a pretty cool picture.
- Joshua warned that Jericho should never be rebuilt - and if it was, that the person who rebuilt it would lose his children. This warning/prophecy came true in 1 Kings, when a builder lost his children during the re-construction of the city. It's not clear if they died of natural causes or were sacrificed in an unbiblical ritual.
- Reading this today made me want to tell the story of Jericho and Ai to my kids.
- "One man puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as He promised you." Joshua 23:10

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Online Bible References

This is a great all-encompassing Bible resource - it's free, it's easily used and intuitive, it includes all versions and translations of the Bible including great commentary, atlas, visuals, etc.. Ryan uses this sometimes for CT. Also, it has a pretty usable children's Bible for daily devotions with kids.

This is from the navigators, and under the "speakers" button on the left-hand side there are dozens of amazing audio teachings from guys like Francis Schaeffer, John Stott, Billy Graham, and more.

I've shared this one before - it has a pretty good commentary and some other resources =

Here's one that we read with our kids sometimes (A children's Bible) =

Here's Ray Stedman's library - his expository teachings are a great aid for Bible teachers who need new inspiration on a passage =

That's all I have for now - but, I'll ask around and see if there are other good ones to share.

What does being "spiritually dead" mean?

We had a discussion about this last night at home church. Ryan found this really interesting article/blog. It includes a number of verses. the Greek words used, and sets out the argument that this instigates pretty well. He also gives pretty convicing proof that non-Christians are still spiritual beings who have a "spirit" or a spiritual dimension. When the Bible describes us as being "spiritually dead" before accepting the Holy Spirit -- it means alienated, not without spirit.
Anyway, here is the blog for further reading:

Monday, May 3, 2010

jill briscoe - 8 choices that will change a woman's life

The intro to the book is a bit cheesy and sugar-sweet; but the chapters are another story. Great, deep, hard-hitting, and biblical. There are certain moments when she talks about things (like the "Devil's cheese" left out to trap church mice) that I kind of inwardly groan - but if you can get past small moments like that; you can love this book. My only other complaint is that her own life may be un-relateable to most. She talks about being married to a husband who is a televangelist and flying all around the country doing speaking engagments, etc.. I can imagine a suffering person wanting to write her off for this - like, "Well, we can't all be Christian celebrities!" So, aside from those 2 small things - it's a very usable book. I'm even thinking of using it in my challenge group next year.
Choice #1 = To Resist Pain or Use it
Whether looking at verses about how a servant is not better than his master, or how we should consider it pure joy when we face all kinds of trials, the Scripture - especially the NT - is full of counter-cultural wisdom about suffering. This chapter confronts everything that is at the core of American belief and values. We are Americans with the unalienable right to pursue peace and happiness! But, Briscoe claims that while American Christians are praying, "God, get this trouble off my back!" - that other Christians around the world say instead, "God, strengthen my back to bear it".
She also quotes wisdom from some other great Christian thinkers =
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C.S. Lewis
"Not only is pain useful as a warning, it may also be an essential dimension in our richest experiences." Philip Yancey
One thing I really like about this chapter is that she spends a fair amount of time talking about serving other suffering people. Sometimes, when I read a book or chapter about Christian suffering - it turns me inward as I think about "woe is me". But, she is good at acknowledging that as Christians we will suffer; but that this life isn't all about us and our happiness. "Trouble trains us to serve troubled people." (p. 19)
She uses a few different Bible translations that I'm not as familiar with; and it can be nice to read familiar verses in a new way - such as:
"God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life." 2 Cor 7:10 TLB
"We can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. [Taken in the right spirit] these very things will give us patient endurance." Rom. 5:3 Phillips translation
"When the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete." James 1:3-4 TLB
The discussion/prayer guide at the end of the chapter seemed quite useful and cool too.
She gave a metaphor for us that I liked a lot. She talked about a little girl playing around in a crowded train car. A traveler watched her and began to wonder who she belonged to - she was so well-adjusted and friendly with everyone it was hard to tell. But just then the train entered a tunnel and was filled with darkness. As that happened, the girl ran to a man at the front of the traincar. As the darkness came, she showed who she belonged to. And so will we if we run to God in our own dark times.