In this week’s study of Ephesians chapter 2, we are first plunged to the depths of the darkness of human nature before being raised by the grace and mercy of the Father into the light of his love by two of the simplest, yet most profound words of the gospel: ‘But God.’ In this we will see the past, present, and future realities of all who place their faith in Christ for salvation. We each have individual stories, but once it’s boiled down, we who are in Christ share the same basic history and are headed together on the same path toward the same glorious destination.
Monday, March 13, 2017
This week we begin our study of the book of Ephesians with a hard gallop through the entire first chapter. Hopefully the truths in this precious chapter will be written large enough to read as we pass by. There are deep wells of doctrine and encouragement to be found here, and we will pause for refreshment as we come to them. So, giddy-up and hang on!
Friday, March 03, 2017
We have come, at last, to the final chapter of the book of Joshua. What a journey it has been! We have walked alongside Joshua as he has followed the Lord in leading the people of Israel into their promised inheritance. There have been many battles along the way, most with the inhabitants of the land who needed to be driven out; some with their own disobedience and the idolatry which so often lurked just beneath the surface of their obedience. Yet through it all we have seen the faithfulness of the Lord to fulfill his promises and settle the people in the land that he promised to their forefathers.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Last week I went with two women, Jana and Kathy, from our church to Atlanta to attend the Presbyterian Church in America’s Leadership Training conference for women in ministry (PCALT). We flew together, leaving the San Antonio airport at 7 am on Thursday and returning at 6 pm on Saturday. What happened in between departure and return is still dancing through my brain like a Cuban wedding—nonstop, energetic, all over the place, and beautiful.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Joshua chapter 23 is Joshua’s “farewell address” to Israel. By some estimates there has been a twenty to twenty-three-year interval between the end of the previous chapter and this speech by Joshua. The conquest is long over and the people of Israel have settled into their new homes and lands. By now there are young adults living in Israel who were not alive, or at least old enough to participate, during the conquest. Joshua led them from before they crossed the Jordan river, throughout the battles of the conquest, and into the first years of peacetime occupation of the land of their inheritance. As he approaches the end of his life we see what is uppermost in his heart: exhorting the people of the Lord to continue to walk in obedience to their God.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Self-discipline. These words can just suck the motivation right out of me. Why is such a positive concept cast in my mind in such a negative hue? Discipline which comes from outside one’s self can be painful and unwelcome, but even that sort of discipline is usually aiming for a good end. So it is with self-discipline. When I must employ self-discipline, it is for a desirable goal.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Chapter 22 of Joshua opens with an air of solemnity. The conquest is won, the allotment of lands is complete, and now the time is come for the warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh to return to their families and possessions on the East side of the Jordan River. The first four verses of the chapter parallel and show the fulfillment of a passage from the first chapter of Joshua, where Joshua addresses these warriors before entering the land.
Friday, February 10, 2017
This week’s lesson explores Joshua chapter 21 and the allotment of the Levitical cities. Choosing cities for the Levites was the final allotment, and it involved cities and land that had already been apportioned to the various tribes. Before we consider the allotment, we must first go back to see why they are only given cities rather than lands of inheritance as the other tribes were given.
Thursday, February 02, 2017
In last week’s study, we followed along as Joshua and the Israelites began dividing the promised land between the tribes of Israel. This week we will see them finish the process. As we re-join them in chapter 18, it seems that the seven remaining tribes have lost their momentum and need some encouragement to finish the task ahead. Before we consider why they have stalled, we are asked why it is that they are commanded to divide the land before it is entirely conquered; how are they able to “count their chickens before they hatch,” and what does this say about God? For help, we are referred to God’s promise to Abraham, as expounded by Paul in Romans 4:17:
“as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he (Abraham) believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
Monday, January 30, 2017
We are now zooming through the chapters of Joshua, taking three whole chapters in lesson 12, as much in them is concerned with real estate boundaries, and we will be focusing more on the people involved. We begin by reviewing the subject of the book of Joshua and how chapters 15 through 17 contribute to the theme. The theme can be summed up in two verses.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Alrighty now. The holidays are behind us and we have returned for our first week of Bible study, and so it’s time for the weekly summary of our study lesson. Let’s see if I can remember how to do this!