66 in 52 Challenge

Ruth – Week 8 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 8 - Ruth

The Big Picture of Ruth:

Ruth is the shortest book of the Bible we’ve encountered so far on the journey. Within the first verses we see that this book takes place during the time we were just reading about in Judges. A famine came upon the land and this is one family’s story of how they dealt with it. Facinating is that the book’s namesake is actually a foreigner who ends up marrying into God’s people and is part of the lineage that leads to David and then to Christ. In these four short chapters we see some of the laws God commanded in earlier books put into action, specifically those meant to protect and provide for widows and others in need.

People in the Book of Ruth:

One of things I find most facinating about the book of Ruth is the meanings of the names of the people we are introduced to. Some meanings are given even in the storyline. Here are the key players and the meanings of their names:

  • Elimelech (Naomi’s Husband) – my God is King
  • Naomi (Elimilech’s wife) – pleasantness
    Mara (later in the book Naomi changes her name to Mara for a while) – bitterness
  • Mahlon (Elimelech and Namoi’s Son) – sickly, weakness
  • Kilion (Elimelech and Namoi’s Son) – failing, pining
  • Orpah (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) – back of the neck, stubbornness
  • Ruth (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) – friend, companion
  • Boaz (Ruth’s husband…eventually) – in him there is strength
  • Obed (Boaz and Ruth’s Son) – servant

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “The Lord repay you what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:12
    REFLECTION: What does it look like for you to take refuge in God today?
    • “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty.” Ruth 1:16
      REFLECTION: Have you ever felt like Naomi did when she said this? What was going on? If you’re past that season, how did restoration happen? If you’re in this season right now, spend some time telling God about it and asking Him to fill you again.
    • “And now, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” Ruth 3:11
      REFLECTION: What about you would show others that you are a worthy or noble man or woman? Who is someone else you would characterize the way Boaz did Ruth? 

    God’s Grace in Ruth:

    The story starts out pretty rough. Within the first five verses a famine has caused the family to flee to another country as refugees and three women have been widowed. Despite all of that, I see the book of Ruth as one of provision. God provided Ruth and Orpah with a loving mother-in-law who obviously taught them about her God. God provided Naomi with Ruth who stuck by her in the hardest of times to provide for her. God provided food for Ruth and Naomi along with protection in Boaz’ field, not to mention an end to the famine. God provided companionship for Boaz who seems to have felt like he had given up on that dream completely. God provided a son to carry on the family name. And ultimately, at the end of the book, these people will play key roles in the lineage of David, out of which comes our Savior, Jesus.

    Some Other Resources:

    The Challenge:

    So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

    66 in 52 Challenge, Bekah's Heart, Devotional

    Reflections on Judges – Not My Generation!

    For me, the entire book of Judges can be summed up in this verse found early on in the book:

    “After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

    I find it hard to even describe my thoughts and feelings as I read this verse, because I feel like we’re living somewhere in the middle of it today. I look at my generation (as well as the one after us) and I sadly see these two things true of us as a generation:

    • We don’t know or acknowledge the Lord.
    • We don’t remember the things He has done for us.

    Of course, there are exceptions (I certainly hope I am one of them!) but as a generation, we don’t know God.

    Then, to go on and read the rest of this book with that in mind, fear starts to creep in a bit. With these two things defining their generation suddenly things like murder, idolatry, rape, deception flood the story line. When we don’t know God and don’t remember what He has done, life gets pretty overwhelming pretty quick.

    The repeating cycle in Judges continues today individually as well as generationally: we follow God for a while, then we don’t. We walk our own way until our lives get so horrible we can’t take it anymore and then we cry out for help. Of course, God, in His never-ending love and mercy, rescues us and sets us on the right path again. But, after a while, we forget again and turn our own way.

    I’m sick of the cycle and I guess I don’t want to be part of a generation defined by our wandering. But even worse than that, I don’t want to be the generation the first part of the verse mentioned. It’s easy to skim over, but I think the reason the next generation didn’t know God or remember what He had done for Israel, was because the generation before them didn’t tell them.

    If the generation after me doesn’t know God, that’s not on them. That’s MY generation’s fault. How can they “remember” the mighty works of God if they’ve never heard them? How can they know and acknowledge God if they’ve never been taught?

    Oh, I see so much of God’s grace in the book of Judges, but I also feel some conviction. I sense the Holy Spirit motivating me to not only be part of a generation that knows and remembers Him, but that makes sure the next generation has that opportunity as well. I want to be part of a time in history where, thousands of years from now, people can look back and say THOSE people acknowledged God in their lives! I want to be defined as a generation who knows God and makes Him known. I want to see passion in the next generation to follow God greater than their sinful nature to wander away.

    Our God is big enough to break the cycle in this generation. I’m ready and willing to join in on that work!

    66 in 52 Challenge

    Judges – Week 7 {66 in 52 Challenge}

    This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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    Week 7 - Judges

    The Big Picture of Judges:

    At some point along the line I found myself underlining the same 5 phrases over and in the book of Judges. While there are many fascinating stories and situations throughout the book, much of the book describes how people cycle again and again through these five phases:

    • The people sin/do evil/wander from God’s law.
    • God gets mad and sends them away.
    • The people cry out and repent.
    • God sends a deliverer to save them.
    • There is peace.

    After Joshua dies (and really we see this before all the way back to Genesis), this process repeats again and again. God’s people get swept up into sin and despite God’s call for them to come back, they don’t. God is not willing to let His people go and will fight for them, even if that means letting hard things happen to them. But He hears their call and sends a deliverer, a “judge”, to save them in their oppression and bring them back.

    Some of the Judges Written About in this Book:

    • Othniel (Judges 3)
    • Ehud (Judges 3)
    • Shmgar (Judges 3)
    • Deborah (Judges 4-5)
    • Gideon (Judges 6-8)
    • Tola (Judges 10)
    • Jair (Judges 10)
    • Jephthah (Judges 10-12)
    • Izban (Judges 12)
    • Elon (Judges 12)
    • Abdon (Judges 12)
    • Samson (Judges 13-16)

    A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

    Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

    • “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who neither knew the Lord not what He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10)
      REFLECTION:What small thing can you do this week to make sure that the generation after us knows the Lord and what He has done for us?
    • “After ___ died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (Judges 4:1 and many other places again and again throughout the book)
      REFLECTION:Like God’s people we find ourselves falling again and again into sin. What are the areas that Satan most often trips you up?
    • “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)
      REFLECTION:What is God calling you to do where you feel like you just don’t have the strength or energy to complete the task? Where do you need to “go in the strength you {DO} have” and trust that He is faithful as He sends you?

    God’s Grace in Judges:

    As I said back in the first section, again and again and again God’s people wandered into sin, and again and again and again, God heard their cries and saved them. Each of these Judges foreshadows not only God the Father as the Ultimate Judge, but also Jesus, our Ultimate Savior. The rescue and deliverance each of these judges brought was only temporary, but later a Savior came that defeated sin once and for all. Despite our unfaithfulness, God is always faithful.

    Some Other Resources:

    The Challenge:

    So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

    66 in 52 Challenge

    Reflections on Joshua

    Earlier this week I had a chance to chat for a while with a friend who is also reading through Bible as part of the 66 in 52 challenge. We were supposed to meet with our Life Group through church but we were the only two who showed up. Instead of spending our time in Ephesians we found ourselves sharing what we had been learning through the first 6 books of the Bible so far.

    One thing we found ourselves reflecting on was how overwhelming it must have been for both Moses and Joshua to lead. At the time of the last census there were hundreds of thousands of men over the age of 20 which indicates likely at least a couple million people when you add in women and children. As we start the book of Joshua we’re seeing another generation which means potentially even more people. I can’t even fathom trying to lead that many people. It’s one thing to “lead” in the sense that a mayor of a large city might “lead” that many people, but Moses and Joshua were LITERALLY leading people from one place to another. As my friend put it, “Some days it’s hard enough just to lead my FT Kids small group, I can’t imagine trying to lead millions”.

    It is no wonder that God repeats this message to Joshua over and over throughout his life:

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. I will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

    While that message stood out, there was another verse in this book that I just can’t stop thinking about. It comes later in the book as the people are beginning to settle into Canaan. The name “Promised Land” gains even more meaning as I read this truth:

    “The Lord promised to do many good things for Israel, and He kept His promise every time.” (Joshua 21:45; emphasis added)

    We serve a Promise Keeper. He is faithful and good. He is powerful and mighty. He is loving and compassionate. He is just and merciful. HE KEEPS HIS PROMISES EVERY TIME!

    When I remember these truths I am empowered to live bold and to serve even in hard situations. Whether God calls me to lead millions like Joshua or shovel snow for my neighbor, I can be obedient because I serve One who keeps His promises 100% of the time. Jen Hatmaker once said it this way:

    “It is safe to be faithful to a faithful God.”

    One of my favorite things to do to help hide God’s Word in my heart is to personalize it. This is a fun verse to do that with. Go ahead and replace your name for “Israel” and speak this truth to your heart today.

    “The Lord promised to do many good things for Rebekah,
    and He kept His promise every time.”

    Amen! Let it be so! May we be strong and take courage without fear for whatever God is calling us to this week. He promises to go with you and He never fails!

    66 in 52 Challenge

    Joshua – Week 6 {66 in 52 Challenge}

    This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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    Week 6 - Joshua

    The Big Picture of Joshua:

    As Moses dies and Joshua takes over leading God’s people, they prepare to enter the promised land. First God prepares Joshua and then Joshua prepares the people. The book outlines their journey into Canaan, the necessary battles to secure the land, how that land was divided, and all kinds of adventures along the way as God’s people follow Him some times, but also wander away from God’s call. This book takes place approximately between the years of 1406 B.C. and 1380 B.C. Although the author of Joshua is unknown, it is likely that at least part of the book was written by Joshua himself and/or some eyewitnesses to these events.

    Some Important Themes Seen throughout Joshua:

    • God is holy and acts on behalf of His people.
    • God fulfills His promises.
    • A life of faithfulness to God brings blessings to our lives.
    • A call for Joshua and all people to be strong and courageous because God is with them.

    A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

    Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

    • Haven’t I commanded you; be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
      REFLECTION: Jesus, where are you calling me to use the strength and courage you provide this week? Where are you asking me to put down fear and trust you?
    • “We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:6-7
      REFLECTION: What can you do or make this week that will serve as a prompt to be able to tell future generations about the goodness of God in your life so far?
    • But be very careful to obey all the commands and instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
      REFLECTION: What might it look like to ‘hold firmly’ to Christ this week?
    • After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant.” Joshua 1:1
      “After this, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110.” Joshua 24:29
      REFLECTION: What do you think it would have been like to be known for so long only as “Moses’ assistant”. What takes place in this book that transistions Joshua from being “Moses’ assistant” to “the servant of the Lord.” How do you hope people will remember you years after you have died?

    God’s Grace in Joshua:

    Joshua can be a challenging book to read at times with war and violence all over it. It can be easy to quickly lose sight of God’s grace and redemption in the middle of all that. However, we get little glimpses here and there. One that stands out clearly is the story of Rahab. This woman, a known prostitute in the town, hides these men and declares to them that she knows God will give them victory. She shares that everyone in the town is afraid of God’s people because they have seen and heard the ways God had acted on their behalf. Rahab asks the spies to save her and her family. They follow through on this and Rahab’s family remains safe despite the fall of Jericho. Later on we see Rahab is even included in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, a link in the chain that leads to Christ’s birth and God’s ultimate act of grace in sending a Savior for all people, not just the Israelites.

    Some Other Resources:

    The Challenge:

    So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

    66 in 52 Challenge

    Reflections on Deuteronomy

    I struggled to write this week’s blog reflection just because there were so many words, phrases, and themes that jumped off the page for me. I lost count of the times God talked about fighting for his people or reminded them/us that we don’t need to be afraid. I also read a lot of this book in a new translation (CEV) that I hadn’t read it in before which made new things stand out. One of those verses was near the end of the chapter in Moses’ song:

    “Even our enemies know that only our God is a Mighty Rock.” (Deuteronomy 32:31)

    God is our Rock, mighty, secure, reliable. This is why we can depend on Him to fight for us. This is why we do not need to fear. What stands out most in this verse though is the truth that even their enemies know how powerful their God is. We’ve seen evidence of that a few times throughout the first five books of the Bible and Moses is glad to repeat the fact.

    Sometimes though perhaps our enemies know more about our God than we do. In the New Testament, the demons and evil spirits were proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God and Savior long before His disciples. Satan certainly knows that our God is a mighty rock.

    Satan also knows who WE are because of Christ. He knows that we are powerful as well… that we are dearly loved and that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Our Enemy knows that we were created unique and special and with a purpose. The Devil shudders to think of the amazing plans God has for us to be used to bring Him glory in this world.

    Last month at a conference I attended Priscilla Shirer spoke and said these words:

    “What a shame it would be if the Enemy believed more about your identity in Christ than you do!”

    What a shame it would be also if our enemies trusted God more than we do. As I reflect on this thought at the end of this week it is not one of guilt or condemnation, but it does convict a bit. It draws me out of fear and into trust. It takes away worry and invites me to depend on our God, the only Mighty Rock!

    66 in 52 Challenge

    Deuteronomy – Week 5 {66 in 52 Challenge}

    This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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    Week 5 - Deuteronomy

     

    The Big Picture of Deuteronomy:

    The word “deuteronomy” actually means “second law”. At this point all of the original wilderness wanderers have died and the new generation is preparing to enter the Promised Land. Before this happen, Moses gathers them all together and reminds them of all God’s done for them so far. He also repeats the law and the covenant of God and then sends them out with a challenge saying basically: You now know how to have a life filled with blessings and joy and God’s provision… live in that blessing! Moses knows though that they will likely rebel, because that’s what people do, and tells them how to turn back to God when that happens too. We also see Moses “pass the baton” off to Joshua who will lead these people next after his death.

    An Outline of Deuteronomy:

    • Historical Overview of what’s happened so far in the wilderness for God’s people (Chapters 1-4)
    • Reviewing God’s Covenant and Rules (Chapters 4-28)
    • Israel’s Choice from here on out to follow God or go their own way (Chapters 29-30)
    • Joshua becomes Israel’s Leader/Moses’ Successor (Chapter 31)
    • The Song and Blessing of Moses (Chapter 32-33)
    • Moses Dies (Chapter 34)

    A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

    Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of Leviticus you want! These are just some ideas.

    •  “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.” (Deut. 6:4-8) 
      This passage is one of the most important passages of Scripture in the lives of Jews still today. Why do you think that is? What might it look like in our lives today to have this kind of focus on God’s Word in our every day lives?
    • “Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut 8:3)
      Jesus, where do I need to be humbled today so that I can remember that all I need comes from You and IS You?
    • Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly.” (Deut 26:16)
      What might be God calling you to do this week wholeheartedly?
    • “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deut 30:19)
      What does it look like for you today to “choose life”?

    God’s Grace in Deuteronomy:

    Remember. That is the word that stands out to me when I think about God’s grace in Deuteronomy. Moses echoes God’s heart of love for the people as he calls them to remember. Remember what God had done for them so far. Remember the ways He’s provided. Remember what has happened when we chose our own way. Remember the way He came back and rescued us again even after we stumbled. Remember the life that is worth living. Remember that you will face hard times but God will be with you. Remember. God could have chosen to just let his people continue to fall and stumble through out all generations saying, “I told you this once (or many times) already and I”m not repeating myself”. Instead, he helps them pause, reflect, and remember His love which will lead them into whatever comes next.

    Some Other Resources:

    The Challenge:

    So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!