Monuments – April 13, 2019

Joshua 7.16-9.2; Luke 16.1-18; Psalm 82.1-8; Proverbs 13.2-3

When the Israelites cross the Jordan, Joshua has the people collect 12 stones to stack them as monuments of remembrance. The author of the book of Joshua comments “they are still there to this day.” The writer says the same about another stack of stones, those covering Achan and his family, following the punishment that happened to them for disobeying God’s commands. Two stacks of stones. Two visible reminders. One choice. Which reminder will you leave?

Questions:

What have you heard about how God works through his people? What is your response to what you have heard?

How have you been faithful with even the little things of God today?

How well do we provide justice for the poor, the orphans, the oppressed, etc.? How can we do better at this?

In what ways have you seen the words of the proverb writer to be true: that opening our mouths ruin everything?

Notorious Sinners and Such – April 12, 2019

Joshua 5.1-7.15; Luke 15.1-32; Psalm 81.1-16; Proverbs 13.1

All throughout the stories of Jesus’ life, there are examples of the kinds of people he hung out with, people who were, according to the “right” people, the “wrong” people. Which makes me wonder: If you were going to evaluate your willingness to share the good news of Jesus using only the people you associate with as your standard, how would you stack up?

Questions:

Why was it so important for Israel to destroy everything in Jericho?

Jesus tells three stories about lost things that follow a similar pattern. When you read stories like this, the point of the collection of stories is often that which is different in one of the stories. What IS different in these three stories?

In what ways has God taken a load from your shoulders?

Why is it so hard for us to listen to correction? What can we do to hear this criticism better?

Step Right In – April 11, 2019

Joshua 3.1-4.24; Luke 14.7-35; Psalm 80.1-19; Proverbs 12.27-28

I wonder what the priests were thinking, walking toward an overflowing, fast-moving river, knowing they could not simply stop at the river’s edge and hope their way across. No, they had to step in by faith, all the way in, not just a toe to test out the water. I wonder what we think about stepping out in faith: just a small testing of what’s to come, waiting for a response or all-in, trusting God through the entire process?

Questions:

What reminders do you have for your children or for friends and family to help prompt questions about God’s faithfulness?

Who are you inviting to your banquets?

Pray today that God will show you his mighty power.

Rewrite Proverbs 12.27 in your own words.

Melting with Fear – April 10, 2019

Deuteronomy 34.1-Joshua 2.24; Luke 13.22-14.6; Psalm 79.1-13; Proverbs 12.26

The story we read from Joshua shows the contrast of what it looks like to be strong and courageous (Joshua) and what is looks like to be afraid and have no courage (the people of Jericho). Why are the people of Jericho afraid? How does God’s power allow us to have no fear, in contrast to the people of Jericho?

Questions:

Do you think you would like to know God face-to-face? Why or why not?

How have you seen the seemingly least important end up being the most important?

Have you ever wanted God to pay back your neighbors for what they have done? When is this an appropriate response? When is it not appropriate?

What kind of advice are you getting: Godly or wicked?

Closed for Business – April 9, 2019

Deuteronomy 33.1-29; Luke 13.1-21; Psalm 78.65-72; Proverbs 12.25

The Pharisees’ response in today’s story from Luke always boggles my mind. Here is someone in need of healing, yet the response they get is: Come back tomorrow, we are closed. Just how hard-hearted does one have to be to refuse to help someone in need? Or perhaps a better question would be: In what ways do we refuse to help those in need–physically or spiritually–because it does not fit with our schedule?

Questions:

If you were going to give a blessing to your friends or church family as you drew to the end of your time with them, what would that blessing be?

How have you seen a small amount of Christian influence creating a large result?

Psalm 78 goes through a long explanation of what God has done and how the people have responded to conclude with “God chose David.” What purpose do you think this psalm served for the people of God? For us today?

How has worry weighed you down? How can you be free from that worry?

Holiness – April 8, 2019

Deuteronomy 32.28-52; Luke 12.35-59; Psalm 78.56-64; Proverbs 12.24

As Moses concludes his speeches to God’s people in Deuteronomy, we are told he goes up on Mt. Nebo in order to look over into the Promised Land … the land he would not be able to enter because he failed to demonstrate God’s holiness. In many ways, this is a heartbreaking moment. Here is the man who put up with the disobedience and rebellion of the Israelites, yet at the end of the day, would not be able to join them in the land they were promised. What do you think was going through Moses’ mind as he looked out over this land? What goes through your mind as you read this story?

Questions:

What would you include in a song about your history of following God, recounting both how you had acted, but also what God had done for you?

What have you done today in anticipation of Jesus returning? How have you “kept your lamp burning?”

As you read through this account of God’s people in Psalm 78, how do you think you would have responded to them if you were God? In what ways are you thankful that God does not respond as you would?

How have you worked hard today?

God Will Lead You – April 7, 2019

Deuteronomy 31.1-32.27; Luke 12.8-34; Psalm 78.32-55; Proverbs 12.21-23

Near the end of Moses’ life, God calls Moses and Joshua in order to “formally” give leadership to Joshua. I think there are a couple of things that important here. One, there is no question who the next leader will be for God’s people. (This will not always be the case and will cause problems for the people later.) Two, and I think more important, Moses (for God) gives the command to Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” Why would strength and courage be so important for the leader of the Israelites?

Questions:

How does the fact that God goes before you affect your perception of the “battles” you face today?

How have you sought the Kingdom of God today?

Would you say you have ever given God just lip service in your dedication to him? How can you ensure you are fully committed to him?

Someone once said it is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubts. What response do you think the writer of Proverbs would have to this saying?