Falling walls…and New beginnings

Considering the iconic story of Jericho this week on RTP…we get to see another wild illustration of the unusual ways in which God works issues out in our lives. Marching bands & a six-day religious procession of priests ? All to serve as the apex of an unusual military strategy to begin the long-awaited, five hundred year old promise of re-settlement for an entire generation…

I think all of us would agree, marching around a city with musical instruments is an unusual way to win a battle, a strange way to start to build a nation?

I pondered this story as I fell asleep and wondered about the “why’s” and “what if’s” of this famous and unusual biblical story… I mean “why” include this strange battle in the biblical narrative? Why spend so much time describing & detailing this very short moment in the overall Hebrew historical record?  The author of the book of Joshua took several long chapters to clearly describe and emphasize the biblical importance of this odd Jericho event,including many seemingly insignificant details leading up to…during & after the famous walls fall down.

I woke up with a poignant sense I needed to dig deeper into the details contained in this very intense story… one so familiar and yet so odd. A story that may have been relegated to just a fanciful children’s sermon, paired with a cute, full color, feltboard picture story and little else.What if this epic historical moment represented a significant symbolic “type and shadow” of the divine process that God takes us all through, a foreshadowing to the New Testament model of redemption… when we grow out of the old us, leaving behind the broken walls of our past fears as we start to grow into something different, healthier and new?

What if the battle we have within ourselves, within our hearts and minds is being illustrated in practical detail by the physical reality of a prosperous Canaanite city-state, its customs and our weaknesses providing stark contrast-context for the struggle each generation has with faith. What if we were the weary and worn, the chosen but dispirited children of Abraham? What if God wanted to clearly leave a testimony to His faithfulness and sovereign will that all people of all ages & generations could understand & learn & be changed by? I believe this Jericho passage has deep and profound layers of truth, just waiting for us to make the effort to peel them back and apply them to our lives!

So… join with me, take a moment, re-read the first few chapters of Joshua, and consider the story of those famous walls again, reading through the eyes of faith.  Ask God to show us/you, what walls in our life, might be blocking our progress out of the isolating wilderness of our past. Preventing us from entering into the land God has promised. Things, issues or events in our lives  that we might be afraid to admit or consider, issues that we have struggled so long with that they seem to be a part of us.

If you are struggling with a un-ending cycle of old sins and forgotten promises, if you are tired of the same old patterns of life…then come along with us and lets see if these truths from Jericho will help break us free from the bondage & fatigue of our waterless days. I believe God is reaching out to us from the ancient history of the Old Testament scripture… , offering an antidote to heal our wandering hearts and aimless ways.

This will be a different kind of RoadTrip without the aid of engines or modern conveniences, it will …I hope, prove to be life-changing in the present. Especially for parents…

Struggling to Spend the time…

Joshua 1:8

8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (courtesy of the e-bible.com)

Wow… some days my time just evaporates… up before dawn, shower, energy bar, coffee, commute, work, dry cleaners, pick up dinner, eat dinner, dishes, meeting with someone at or with church, laundry, talk with the wife, kids and check on parents…  am I the only parent who finds that it’s a constant battle, a struggle to spend the limited time I have to be alone with God?

It’s really hard, harder than it should be.

It’s easier to sit on the couch, catch a few minutes of the local news… then pick up one of my mobile devices and re-check my emails, Facebook and twitter… it’s much easier for me to find the time to walk the dog, workout, catch a movie, re-arrange a closet or clean up the house. It’s more gratifying to do something that provides me with immediate and visible results, or something that actually entertains me or distracts me from life…than to go read the bible.

Out of water

Problem is… when I go more than a day or two without spending some time in the word, without being alone with God. I start to wilt… like a plant that goes a bit too long in the sun without being watered. I’m still there, kind of green on the outside, but weak and droopy. If I don’t re-immerse myself in the living water of God’s word I start to get dry and brittle. Irritable, short-tempered, inflexible.

Photo by: Andrey Armyagov

Joshua reminds us… don’t let this word of God depart from us, it should be all around us, in us… until we learn to abide. I’m learning that spending time with God is not only a dedicated time each day, but a constant re-focusing of my mind and heart throughout the day. To remember the bible verse  that encouraged me somehow in my last reading, to hang onto the key thought my pastor shared on sunday that I know was just for me… this effort of the mind to reconnect with Him all through my day is as legit a time with God as much as breaking out a thick journal and study bible on the kitchen table.

So, today on my way to work.. Instead of a Fox news broadcast with the latest in political scuttlebut…I tuned in a Christian radio station and listened as Chuck Swindoll encouraged me to never compromise… I took the extra 3 minutes to read my e-bible.com verse out of my email in-box and shared it online. When I get home tonight, I will take 15-20 minutes somewhere before I fall asleep to read the word, Not because I “should”, or “have to”, but because without it, I can’t survive…

Psalm 1:1-3

(ESV) “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers…”

I’m not able to negotiate anymore with my personal time and God time, I‘m going to make every effort to blend them into one. I don’t think we were ever meant to live outside of His presence, that’s why it’s so hard for me / us to segregate our faith during the day and then try to re-engage with God later. It’s not natural… and its way to hard to try to raise our kids well, stay in a healthy marriage and struggle to make a difference in the world we live in… all on our own. So let’s not.

Peace and Grace,