The most powerful thing about the Bible is that it is not neutral---in fact, there is no such position as a "neutral" one. One way or another, we must all contend with its claims. To not make a decision about whether or not it will serve as the authority for your life is, in fact, to decide against it. - Greg Hall in Already Compromised, co-authored with Ken Ham, published by Master Books

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Catching up with #WriteTheWord

Back again and for one last #WriteTheWord "catch up" post. The rest from here forward will be me writing along with you through the remainder of Joshua. In those posts I will also share some more techniques with you to add to your #WriteTheWord repertoire.

Without further adieu, here are the last parts I have previously written from Joshua which include chapters 13, 14 & the beginning of 15.
My Chapter 13 Side Notes:
Main point of v.1-7 - Our LORD will continue to guide us & work through us & fight for us---even in our very old age, should we live so long.

Main point of v.8-14 - When ultimately trusting God for victory & following His plan, we will receive the promised land as our inheritance---in spite of impatience, mistakes, & disobedience along the way.

Oops! Looks like I skipped writing verses 15-23
Here they are for you to read over (& write if you would like):

15 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Reuben, according to its clans:

16 The territory from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and the whole plateau past Medeba 17 to Heshbon and all its towns on the plateau, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth— 21 all the towns on the plateau and the entire realm of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon. Moses had defeated him and the Midianite chiefs, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—princes allied with Sihon—who lived in that country. 22 In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. 23 The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, according to their clans.

v.27 - Valley = part of God-given inheritance
Main point of v.24-28 - Valleys, though often difficult & dark, are necessary & special gifts to us. They offer nourishment and times of growth unmatched on the mountain top.

Main point of v.29-33 - Even if you have no known inheritance on this Earth, as a child of God---the LORD is your inheritance! You will inherit His riches which He has promised to us.

My Chapter 14 Side Notes:
Main point of v.1-5 - Sometimes even those in God's service receive no earthly inheritance, yet He always provides for their daily needs while on this Earth. He often does this so that we will depend on Him for our daily bread & draw close to Him in the process.

Main point of v.6-11 - Following the LORD produces a strong core, strength, & endurance for the training & trials of life.

Looks like I left out another small section in chapter 14
Here are verses 12-15 for you to read (& write):

12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)

My Chapter 15 Side Notes:
Main points of v.1-8:
As we roll away from our valley of trouble we roll full circle back into it only to find it is a doorway of hope & valley of fruitfulness.
- Valley of Achor = "valley of trouble",
but becomes a valley of fruitfulness & a doorway of hope
- Leads up (north) to Gilgal
- Gilgal = "circle" (of stones); also "roll away" (like a wheel)

So there you have it! Looks like I left you & me both hanging a bit with chapter 15 (there are a total of 63 verses in it)...sooo, I get to pick up with you in verse 9 of chapter 15 for our next #WriteTheWord session.

In the meantime, do share what you have learned from chapters 13-15 and/or whatever other portions of Scripture you are currently writing.

See you again soon! 

Keep on writing!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's next with #WriteTheWord?

Glad to have you back. 

I think about you all often in our in-between post times and wonder how your #WriteTheWord journey is going. I love when I get surprised by little posts and comments from you sharing what you are learning.

Now that we are back, I am getting very excited as we are sort of drawing to a close but really we are nearing a beginning.

What do I mean by that?

Well, we are nearing the point where I took a (very long) pause from writing The Word through Joshua. I stopped several months ago around chapter 15. My posts here have been taking you through what I had written and learned prior to that pause (so I have been learning it all over again, and more...definitely needed it!).

Once I get you all caught up to where I paused, I will begin writing fresh and anew with you the rest of the way through Joshua. (and if you are writing through another portion of Scripture, you can keep writing along with us and sharing what you are learning in the passages you are writing through.)

While I am catching you up, I'll continue with the multi-chapter posts to zip through. Once I start writing new chapters, I will also start showing you some more extra things I like to do to dig deeper.

Now, here we go with the next group of chapters. 
Are you ready?!

My Chapter 10 Side Notes:
Main point of v.1-6 - Put feet to the words of your oath---even in tough times. 
Do what you say. Live what you say.

Main point of v.7-11 - The LORD alone completes our battles. He fights the enemy FOR & WITH us, so we NEED NOT FEAR.

Main point of v.12-15 - Our God can & will stop the sun for us if that's what it takes to win our battles!

Main point of v.16-21 - Don't let your guard down just because you have small victories along the way.
DON'T STOP! The battle is still on. 
PURSUE YOUR ENEMIES (the strongholds in your life). 
The LORD has given them into your hand.

v.25 - Just as the LORD had said to him... 
(Joshua told his army the same thing God had told him.)
Main point of v.22-27 - Encourage others in the LORD just as He Himself has encouraged you.

Main point of v.28-33 - When we follow & obey the LORD in battle, He gives the enemy into our hand. We have FULL VICTORY with our LORD.

Main point of v.34-39 - Stay on the offense against the enemy by staying in the 
Word of God & in prayer.
Attach the enemy.
Win the victory.
Keep marching.

Main point of v.40-43 - Our LORD is not a dictator. 
Yes, He is holy & mighty, but He also comes alongside us & carries our burdens.
Our LORD fights for us so that we can follow His commands & 
be victorious against our enemy.
He promised us the land. He will help us take it & claim His promise to us.

My Chapter 11 Side Notes:
Main point of v.1-5 - When we are victorious against our enemy 
because our LORD is fighting for us, word spreads!
Often our enemy will gather larger & stronger forces to attack us, 
but our God is still bigger, stronger, & victorious.

Main point of v.6-9 - Our LORD commands us not to fear the enemy & promises us that He will be our DELIVERER!
He guides, instructs, & commands.
We obey.
He delivers.
AND He even delivers when we don't obey!
(P.S. Do you like my superhero sheets to go along with the "deliverer" theme?!)
Main point of v.10-24 - Sometimes we have to wage against the enemy for a long time.
(Big enemy = satan; small enemies, too, like debt, etc.)
Once we have taken the entire promised land, 
we & the land will finally have rest from war.

My Chapter 12 Side Notes:
v.2 - Borders are often waterways of some kind.
Main point of v.1-6 - Even before we reach our Jordan crossing, 
we have some battles to fight & win.
But once we cross the Jordan the battle is not over---
there are many more to come.

v.8 - Arabah = plain or wilderness
Negev = dry, arid; south
WOW! 31 total kings on west of Jordan.
Main points of v.7-8 - Many lessons here:
1.  We will have many leaders in life---
often a different leader for each season.
2.  Sometimes YOU will become the leader for the next season.
Be teachable & ready!
(#3 & #4 are on next pic)

v.8 (cont'd) - Kings are like CEOs on steroids!
Even the ones who may have a quiet, humble strength 
are strong nonetheless or they would not be in their position.
- 2 on the East; 31 on the West. 
I told you there were MORE battles 
AFTER crossing the Jordan!
Main points of v.7-8 (cont'd) - More lessons here:
3.  Even though our equivalent to crossing the Jordan 
may be difficult & take tremendous bravery, 
life will not necessarily be easier on the other side---
it may be harder for awhile!
4.  Can you imagine conquering that many KINGS!?!
With God's help only can you defeat 
the strongest opposition in your life.

WOW! That was a LOT! 
But every bit of it hit me right square between the eyes all over again! 

It's just amazing how God works like that. I did this part of the study a little less than a year ago, yet it is pertinent and perfect timing all over again. Some in the same way as then, and some in a whole new way for this season of my life.

How about you?! 
Keep the updates coming!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Movin' along with #WriteTheWord

Back again!

What did you think of that spin I threw you last time? Have you been contemplating any word or words to dig deeper into? Have you already been digging? Can't wait to hear more about that.

Now, I would like to jump back into Joshua for some more #WriteTheWord.

Speaking of Joshua, have you been continuing on further in your Joshua #WriteTheWord study? If so, where are you and what have you learned? Please share! Also, I know some of you are using these #WriteTheWord tips and techniques to study other portions of Scripture, so please do share what you are learning as well! LOVE learning what God is teaching others as we journey together in studying His Word!

Back again to Joshua. Movin' along...

What I want to do now is share several pics of my pages I have written in the next couple of chapters of Joshua. I want to share more than one chapter this time (even though I know that may be a lot of content for one can handle it!). I want to do this so we can build and keep some momentum and also so we can get to the spot where I honestly left off in my own #WriteTheWord study of Joshua that I am sharing with you now. I am ready to pick it up again and start learning new stuff along with you once we hit that spot. (And besides, you know how my consistent post intentions don't always match my actions, so this way I am giving you extra content to chew on and work through in case it takes me a while to come back and post.)

Buckle up! Here we go!

My Chapter 7 Side Notes:
v.1 - All for one & one for all.
Main point of v.1-5 - When God's holy anger burns, guilty hearts melt. BUT GOD---uses melted hearts to mold & form new hearts set on Him.

Main point of v.6-9 - Sometimes life will be difficult in the Promised Land & we will question whether we ever should have crossed into it.

v.11 - Don't whine about times when it seems like God has misled & unfairly left you to fail. INSPECT THE SITUATION. You may need to repent of sin.
v.12 - Are you secretly holding on to things that are Devoted to Destruction?! GET RID OF THEM!
v.13 - So thankful that, because of the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross, God is ALWAYS WITH His children now. His Spirit is INSIDE OF US, unlike in the Old Testament days.

v.15 - SO THANKFUL that Jesus took God's wrath upon Him IN OUR PLACE so we don't have to.
v.16 - Joshua didn't wait to obey. He did it early.
Main point of v.14-19 - What a way to confess! Give glory & praise to the LORD first. Then truthfully, openly confess what you have done.

v.24 - Valley of Achor = "deep ravine" - named after Achan but means "trouble" (Remember my "valley" study in the last post?! God is the BEST weaver of the tapestry of our lives and our studies in His Word!). 
Isaiah 65:10 (after Joshua) "...the Valley of Achor (will become) a resting place..."
Joshua 15:7 - part of the boundary of the Promised Land.
Hosea 2:15 "...(I) will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope..."
Achan = "one who troubles"
Main point of v.20-24 - WHAT'S IN A NAME? Achan = "one who troubles" - The valley where he & his stolen goods were taken was named after him. Achor = "TROUBLE" - BUT that valley later became a valley of REST & a doorway of HOPE!

v.25 - Achan = one who troubles
v.26 - Valley of Achor = Valley of Trouble - later became a doorway of hope & a resting place
Main point of v.25-26 - Again so thankful that Jesus paid the price for our sin, ONCE & FOR ALL. Because of His shed blood, we don't have to face the wrath of our Holy God's anger & can instead bask in His unending, undeserved LOVE & FORGIVENESS and MERCY & GRACE!

My Chapter 8 Side Notes:
Main point of v.1-5 - Our LORD has already won the war, but we still have battles to fight. We have to go into battle on the alert but knowing OUR GOD IS WITH US & ALREADY HAS DELIVERED US! NO FEAR! NO DISCOURAGEMENT!

v.6 - Their previous mistake of not consulting God for plans is now being used for good.
Main point of v.6-10 - RISE UP from past mistakes! Seek God & do what He commands & He will turn your past mistakes into stepping stones toward His best for you.

Main point of v.11-16 - Sometimes in battle, fleeing is the right thing to do & the desert is the right place to be. Trust God's plan even when others may think it's crazy.

Main point of v.17-20 - When God tells you to stretch! When you do, victory is sure to rise!

Main point of v.21-26 - Matthew Henry quote - "Joshua conquered by yielding, as if he had himself been conquered; so our Lord Jesus...seemed as if death had triumphed over Him...BUT in His resurrection He rallied again & gave the powers of darkness a total defeat."

Main point of v.27-35 - In times of victory & success, we must be very careful to stay focused on The Source of our blessing. We must be deliberate to read & meditate on the Word of God & give Him the praise for favorable outcomes & circumstances.

My Chapter 9 Side Notes:
v.1 - Lots of description about the kings & their locations & the people.
Main point of v.1-15 - If you do not inquire of the LORD, you will likely fall for the enemy's ruse & make a treaty of peace with the enemy.

Main point of v.16-21 - Godly leaders are to uphold their oaths & keep their promises, even when the situations are tough.

Main point of v.22-27 - Some curses can be blessings as well. 
Curse = Gibeonites serve (in tough, hard-working service jobs) in God's house.
Blessing = Lifelong service in God's house & exposure to His teachings.

So there you have it! 
3 chapters of Joshua to chew on as you #WriteTheWord along with me.
And if you notice, I was writing these portions around the same time last year. As a matter of fact, the last page was written on last Easter Sunday. Interestingly, as I write this today, we are nearing the beginning of Lent in just a few short days. (Yep, it's Mardi Gras time here in South Louisiana!)

Looking forward to your Spirit-led takeaways from this section of Joshua and/or whatever sections of Scripture God has you writing The Word in right now.

Do share! :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A little somethin' different with #WriteTheWord

Well, it's been a day or two...or a few...since I last posted. Yep, that's how I roll. As long as we're all on the same page with that. There will be no false pretenses here. I may have good intentions, but I won't promise to post consistently when I know that may or may not happen. Just want to be honest with you since you are on this journey with me and all.

Now, that said, where did I leave off?

Oh yeah. A little something different is what I promised and is what you will now get.

So, on our #WriteTheWord journey up to this point we have tried several different spins on this, each going a little deeper than the next. I have shown you mostly the book of Joshua up until now, but this post will be a bit different.

I actually started writing The Word several years ago, and during one phase of doing it I had a few key words in mind about which I wanted to read more in the Bible. For instance, one specific word I was interested in was "valley." I wanted to know everywhere in the Bible that the word "valley" was mentioned and what exactly was said about or even around it. So, I delved into a #WriteTheWord journey that took me through some amazing places and lessons.

Here are some pics of how I did this kind of keyword #WriteTheWord journey:

 To begin, I made a list of all of the named valleys in the Bible and the chapter(s) of the Bible it was mentioned in that came up when I did a search on using the word "valley." Then, I started working my way through writing each chapter or passage that was on my list (on a separate page). After I had done so, I came back to my master list and checked off the passage and ultimately the valley itself. 

Initially I began going through my list from top to bottom, but over time I started jumping around working on ones that were mentioned more often first (or maybe I saved them for last...really can't remember now).

As you can imagine, this whole process (to cover ALL of the valleys on my multi-page list) took quite a while (months), but I was in no hurry. I just wanted to dig in and see what God wanted to teach me through valleys in His Word. And boy did He!

 This (and the following few pics) is an example of the Valley of Berakah in 2 Chronicles 20 and how I wrote that chapter and made some notes about it. As a matter of fact, even if you can't read my notes well from these pics, you can check out the post I wrote back then on this blog since I was so inspired by that chapter and that valley. I called that post "The Blues Really Jazz Me Up!" (Please excuse any formatting issues, as I have yet to go back and fix the goofy formatting that occurred in that post.)

 This last pic is another example of a page of writing I did of another valley, the Valley of Ben Hinnom, which is in Joshua chapter 18. Does that book sound familiar? :) Yep, I think this might have been when I started to fall more in love with the book of Joshua than I even had been before...and look at us now!

So, with some of those examples, I wanted to show you how you can do a simple word search and embark on a Bible study journey which can lead you down some unexpected paths and can take you as short or long as you may want to spend in that Word study. 

As a matter of fact, I may expand on this some more in some later posts to show you what else you can do with this kind of a #WriteTheWord study.

Now that you have seen this new concept, what word or words seem to be standing out to you these days?

Think about that. Pray about it. 

That word or those words may just be God's Spirit speaking to your soul to nudge you along in something He is preparing your heart to learn. 

Listen to Him. 

While you're at it, please share that word or those words with me and our #WriteTheWord crew. 

Can't wait to hear!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Finally...more #WriteTheWord

Have you been writing The Word lately? 

How is it going? 
What are you learning? 
What are you writing?

I must admit, I have not been doing it nearly as much as I should and I can tell by my lack of clear direction right now. Time with God in His Word cannot in any way be replaced by nor substituted with any amount of deep thought, contemplation, nor analysis of any situation. Direction and strength for our paths are in God's Word alone.

With that, let's dig in together! 
I need it, and I bet you do, too.

To continue along with my Joshua study, I'll show you my pics of my Joshua chapter 6 #WriteTheWord pages. And then...I have a little something new for you. :)

Here you go...
My side notes:
v.2 - The LORD speaks deliverance even before it is done.
v.5 - How will the priests know the details and when to do it?
Did God talk to them separately? or did He just guide them?
Main point of v.1-7 - Sometimes advancing is as simple as just marching---putting one foot in front of the other.

v.7-8 - They (the Israelites) marched in front of / ahead of the Ark of the LORD.
v.10 - Be silent when God says to, but shout when God says to.
Main point of v.8-11 - Sometimes the beginning of the battle (for souls and all) is just quiet, faithful obedience.

Main point of v.12-16 - Getting up early to do God's work and study His Word sometimes seems repetitive, pointless, and fruitless. Sometimes it feels like "just going through the motions." BUT...there IS a 7th day ahead with a 7th march around and then we will SHOUT in VICTORY!!! He HAS GIVEN us the city!!!

v.17 - God doesn't cut out words nor people associated with shame. 
v.20 - Trumpets Sound & People Shout! Walls Collapse & People Charge! 
Battles are WON!
Main point of v.17-21 - Our gracious Redeemer shatters walls and wins our battles.

v.21 - To be honest this was a tough verse (which I actually included in the page above and realized it after I had written it and therefore drew a line through it on this page). It was tough as many of the battles in the Old Testament are. I have to trust my sovereign God with His purposes and plan and ways, even when they are tough for me to wrap my head around. I have since read and studied and listened to many commentaries on battles like these. The perspectives have been helpful. I encourage you to seek out trusted Bible scholars and pastors to help you understand things like this as well.
v.23 - God BRINGS OUT sinners from their sinful life by His forgiveness and grace.
Main point of v.22-27 - Do NOT attempt to rebuild or revisit what God has brought you out of!!!

Wow! That was a lot in one fairly short chapter!

As a matter of fact, I will leave you to chew on that for a while then will come back in the next day or two with that new stuff I was telling you about earlier.

Now, go #WriteTheWord and come share with me where you are and what you are learning!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Diggin' a little deeper with #WriteTheWord

Hope you're staying warm and safe during all of these Polar Vortex conditions we are having!

What better time to #writetheword than now?!

So, let's dig a little deeper now...

I'll start with my typical #writetheword style for Joshua Chapter 5.

First of all, I want to point out here that in much of my first few chapters of writing The Word through the book of Joshua, I didn't always write verbatim, but would write a summary of what each verse was stating by pulling out the high points in each verse. This is another way to #writetheword as it forces you to focus on leaning on God's Spirit to help you comprehend it right then as you write. It often helps it make more sense to you. However, I later began to write the chapters more verbatim. That way is great as well, since many things (that you would have breezed over and missed before) jump out at you in ways they may not otherwise do.

Now, on to some of what and how I learned in Joshua 5.

From these initial writings/reading, these are the points of interest that stood out to me the most.
  1. v.1 - Another mention of "their hearts melted" (I'll come back to this one in a bit.)
  2. v.7 - "So He raised up their sons in their place..." - If you read the chapter, you will see that all of the disobedient, whiny generation of Israelites who were delivered from Egypt died as they all wandered through the desert on the way to the Promised Land since God said none of them would be able to enter it. Now, in this verse it is pointed out that their offspring have been raised up by God in their place to now inherit the land.
    • My takeaway from that: He will raise up our offspring in our place if we are disobedient and unfaithful.
  3. v.8 - "...they remained where they were in camp until they were healed." - 
    • My takeaway from that: God allows time to heal before moving us on to the next part of the journey.
  4. v.9-10 - God "rolled away (their) reproach" and called the place they camped "Gilgal." (I'll come back to that in a bit as well.)
  5. v.11 - God provided the produce of the land the day after their first passover in the Promised Land, and then... 
  6. v.12 - ...the manna stopped...the day after they ate the food from the land (that was provided by God.)
  7. v.13 - repeated references to looking & going UP.
  8. v.14-15 - God showed up!
    • As we celebrate God's past and present goodness, He not only provides more but He shows up!
So, there you have it. Some of what jumped out to me, just by writing The Word.

Then I took it a step further...
...dug a little deeper, if you will.

First, I opened my Bible (because up to this point I was using my digital Bible).
This Bible I use most often is one I have had since high school and often take notes directly in it.
As I skimmed Joshua 5 in that Bible, I noticed several notes from past sermons and individual studies. Even a sermon from Johnny Booty, a Shreveport pastor and coach for many years. (Yes, one of his sons is Josh Booty.)

It's always neat and enlightening to look back over past things I have heard and learned about portions of God's Word.

Now, after reviewing past notes, I also dug a little deeper with some of what was standing out to my now.
Basically, what I did first was did a little keyword search on on "hearts melted" since that phrase was standing out to me a lot throughout Joshua. Then I wrote the verses it showed up in.

Additionally, as you see on the bottom of that page, I looked up the definition of Gilgal (in Easton's Bible Dictionary on I then wrote the definition (which is "rolling") and a couple of other things mentioned about Gilgal in that dictionary.

Finally, I looked up the definition of "reproach" online and went with my favorite go-to online dictionary, Merriam-Webster. (Easton's didn't have this definition, which is why I googled it.)

If you can read my writing, I will let you gather insight from what I wrote and learned. Also, feel free to do the same kind of searches that I did. You can search parts of Joshua or whatever else you are writing and learning right now.

I look forward to hearing more of what you are learning! 
I am loving this journey with you!


Please share!!!
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