About That Holy War…

As we run into the topic of divine war or “holy war” in the book of Joshua,  here are 2 articles that I have found very helpful concerning the morality of God’s actions in waging war against the people of the land of Canaan.  This is a topic often raised by skeptics of our faith.  Hopefully these resources can help you help your friends with their concerns and questions:

Paint Your Treasure in Hues of Gold and Purple. (Wear Out That Highlighter.)

pexels-photo-272337.jpegIn the Survey of God’s Goodness in Joshua 1-5, Pastor Larry Trotter described himself as a treasure hunter:

When you open your Bible, look for God. [Among] lots of fascinating, wonderful, delightful things in the Bible — God’s will, Geography, Culture, Language, Poetry, Literature, all kinds of things you can learn about, but I want to suggest right at the center of it all, we should open our Bibles to look for God.

I look for insights into who God is, to what he’s like. I’m looking for what the pages of scripture show me is good and beautiful about my God. I look for that intentionally. I’m on a treasure hunt of sorts — and God is that treasure.

So, even above looking for God’s will and God’s guidance, I find it helpful to look for glimpses of God himself. (Larry Trotter sermon, BOUGHT, April 15, 2018)

Author and Pastor Robert Morgan wrote:

When I was a college student, I had the privilege of being taught by Ruth Bell Graham, who opened her home to me on several occasions; and I was impressed by her personal “collection” of memorized verses. “Some people collect paintings and some collect coins,” she said, in effect, “but I collect Bible verses.”

Treasure collections concentrate value in a single place. Most coin collections are small, so you could easily see and examine them. A collection of family recipes may be bulky, but could be precious and highly useful.

I, too, have made a collection in my Bible study, similar to Larry’s and Mrs. Graham’s. I’m searching for passages that tell us just about God himself using clear statements. I just highlight these passages purple. My “oldest” treasure in the collection is:

Psalms 3:3 — But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

God is a shield. God is my glory. God uses his power to lift my head. This tells me a great deal!

Another in this collection is from Nehemiah:

Nehemiah 1:5 — And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,…

And another from Luke:

Luke 1:68-69 — Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

Every passage asserts something direct and specific about God. I pull them out in prayer and reflect on the God I’m praying to. I use these to open LifeChange Fellowship; if we’re to be Mature & Ministering Worshipers of God, these scriptures are a straight line to worship. After 6 years I’ve found over 300 direct statements that are eternally true about God. I’m proud of my collection.

And because I have highlighted them, I see them as I’m reading. These bright, clear statements occur in unexpected places, like:

Malachi 1:11 — For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

So go on your own treasure hunt. Buy a highlighter, and go searching. Wear out your highlighter, and treasure your collection.

iPhone6_TextHighlight
Highlighting in the OliveTree Bible Study app. Other apps provide similar functionality that allow you to save and access your highlights anywhere.

Full disclosure — I don’t actually use a paper highlighter. Instead, I highlight in my Bible Reading app, Olive Tree Bible Reader. My highlights are automatically visible on my phone, my iPad, and my desk computer, and in every Bible translation I use. But beware: some apps won’t keep your highlights. For example, Amazon Kindle will delete your old highlights — don’t let that happen to your collection!

By Mark Lindsey

No More Mr. Nice God? The Destruction of Jericho

This past Sunday (4/8/18), I (Carson) mentioned that I would post a couple of articles that deal with the difficult moral issues surrounding the Canaanite conquest.
First, here’s a link to a relatively brief article found in the Apologetics Study Bible by Mark Durie.
Second, if you are more into video-watching instead of article-reading, the Bible project video has a few helpful points regarding the destruction of Jericho. (And an article to boot in case you accidentally find yourself reading!)
And lastly, here’s a few thoughts of my own that might be helpful to you as we consider why God would have ordered the destruction of an entire group of people.

Forsaken And Cursed For Us…

On Sunday (3/11/18) we explored the significance of Jesus’ cry in Matt. 27, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  If you would like to read more about the forsakenness/cursedness of Jesus on our behalf on the cross, this link to a sermon by R.C. Sproul is a powerful and weighty exploration of those themes.
You can read it here:
Or you can watch it here:

Short Scripture Prayers

Over the years I have complied a list of short Scripture Prayers that are useful in my own praying.  You can easily write the ones you would like to use onto a 3X5 and carry them with you or you can pull them up on your phone or even commit them to memory!  They are good stimulus to praying God’s good and perfect will for our friends and family and for our own souls.

Enjoy!

Short Prayers for Meditation

Vll:  the Last Words of Jesus

This is the title to our new series on Sunday mornings at NW. During the season of Lent (which began this past Wednesday), we will be reflecting together on the last sayings of Jesus while on the cross.  They are, as you would imagine, words that reveal to us the very heart of Jesus for us that we are then to share with others.

I’ve linked a short devotional on the seven last words of Jesus written by the folks at Breakpoint.org.  I hope it will help you ready yourself for worship each Sunday as we consider together…”that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3.117-19)

In addition, we have a boatload of resources available to you and your family to use during lent.  You can access them here.

If you are looking for a daily Lenten devotional to use personally, here is one I am using: