Fasting (Part 1)

Matthew 6: 16-18 16“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18that your fasting may not be seen…

Before I Go

Palm Sunday – 2015 This week I have been reading Luke’s account of the time between Jesus’ riding a colt into Jerusalem (on Palm Sunday – Luke 19:28) and his arrest (Luke 22:47). There are a large number of short vignettes and teachings. I’ve outlined them here: He weeps over Jerusalem as he foretells its…

Seeing Myself in the Other Guy

Read Joshua 7 and 8 When I read stories in the Bible and try to glean its lessons, I naturally identify with one of the characters more than another. I confess I never see myself as Goliath but always as David, battling to have faith and slay the giant. When I read the story of…

Never Really Hidden

Read Joshua 7 and 8 After the miraculous conquest of Jericho, Israel experiences an unexpected defeat at the small outpost of Ai. The defeat is dramatically traced back to the actions of one man, Achan, who takes items from Jericho that had been placed under a ban. This ban, called herem, means that the items belonged…

“Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” or did he?

Read Joshua 5:13 – 6:20 Immediately preceding the attack on Jericho, Joshua encounters a divine being (Joshua 5:13-15) who identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. Whether this being is an angel or a theophany (a manifestation of God himself) isn’t specified but what is made clear is that a holy God and…

A Call to the Arms of God

Read Joshua 5:13- 6:27 “Joshua fit de battle of Jericho” go the words to the old spiritual. But as I’ve reread the well-known story these past few weeks, I’ve come to understand that it clearly wasn’t Joshua who fought this battle; it was God. Joshua 6:2 reads – “And the LORD said to Joshua, “See,…

Wet Feet and Natural Miracles

Read Joshua chapter 3 When you get in a swimming pool or lake, are you a “dip your toe in” type or the “jump in and get in over with” sort?  Either way, you can’t experience the water if you aren’t willing to get wet. In Joshua 3, the people are at a flooded Jordan…

The Knock at the Door

Read Joshua chapter 2 If you were looking for characteristics that would help someone achieve “insider status” in the ancient Jewish world, being a Canaanite, a woman, and a prostitute would not get them very far. As a Canaanite, you stand outside God’s chosen people and are part of a tribe that God declares must…

Possessing and Receiving

Read Joshua chapter 1 In my family, when a gift was too big to wrap, we would have the recipient sit down, close their eyes, and put out their hands. Then the present would be placed in their laps. It saved us a lot of wrapping paper over the years! I contrast that to the…

Fit to Enter

My family took a cross county trip when I was 11. I most anticipated spending a day at Disneyland in Anaheim. I’d been watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights for as long as I could remember and going there in person seemed like a dream. But then came the sobering disappointment that,…