Ezra was a great leader whose whole life was dedicated to serving God. He wrote of 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Psalms 119…and led a council of men who compiled the OT. The Book of Ezra is about God’s promise...
What if you had the job of communicating Pizza Ranch’s history? Its leaders, struggles, events, economic cycles, etc. ? What if you had to do that for our nation? Oh, and it needs to start at the beginning of all mankind?
When my family and I first moved to Iowa, I was always in awe of the sky and how big it was. I often felt so close to God when I was outside. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” I feel the same way today as I experience a beautiful sunrise or sunset, when I’m out on a lake, at the ocean, or up in the mountains. Seeing God in nature is powerful.
Fear is real. And, during these crazy times with COVID-19 and rioting, fear has gripped many people. Not to mention the many other things that bring anxiety to life. Fear can be a daily battle for people. What do we do with this? How do we defeat it? Well, let’s talk about what the Bible says about it. Fear is a topic that’s talked about a lot in Scripture.
Our world has a plentiful harvest of souls waiting to know and accept Jesus. And, God has given each of us a different role in that harvest.
The river of society has a current that’s flowing fast and furious. We can feel it pulling us down at times. Just think of the pull we’re feeling right now with the riots and coronavirus stuff going on. With all its political pull, with the elections coming up, it’s crazy. It’s pulling our society downward with all its might. It would be much easier to just give in and float along with the current, right? But God calls us to fight against that current, to swim against the flow with everything we have. It may not be easy for us, and we may feel like we’re swimming alone, but we definitely know it’s the right thing to do. In the Books of Kings, we read of many rulers who go with the flow. It might even be said that they actually add to the downward pull, just like our leaders can do. They openly sin, serve and worship other gods, and really don’t care one way or the other what is right, or what people think.
These books are called Samuel, not because he’s the author, but because he’s the one that God directed to anoint the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. The books talk about who these two kings were, how they ended up on the throne, and how they did while leading. But in truth, the books are really about the Ultimate King. We see who God is, what He does, and what life is like with Him or without Him. These books are honest about sin and society, and full of hope and salvation.
What does redeem (redemption) mean? It’s the act of paying off a debt or the act of someone else doing it for you. It’s the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. It can also be the act of being saved from faults, sin, error, or evil. The language of redemption is all over the Book of Ruth. Words built on the root “redeem” appear 23 different times in 4 chapters. The Book of Ruth points us to Jesus, the Ultimate Redeemer, 1,000 years before He was born.
When we think of Judges, we think of people dressed in black robes sitting in a courtroom. In the Book of Judges however, we need to think of them more as heroes, warriors, military leaders, or champions, even saviors. So, it’s a Book about Biblical heroes; 12 men and women who helped rescue Israel from its oppressors. Heroes like Gideon, Samson and Deborah. These judges were not perfect at it, but when they submitted to what God wanted they did amazing, God glorifying things.
The Book of Joshua is about a great leader, a man named Joshua. He was originally introduced as one of the spies who went in to look at the Promised Land. He, along with Caleb, were the ones that were confident they could go in and defeat the people of the land. They had faith. If you remember right however, the rest of the spies and people were scared and showed no faith. As a result,
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth and final book of what’s called “The Law of Moses”, also known as the “Torah” or “Pentateuch.” The Book is called Deuteronomy because it means “Second law giving.” God was so fed up with the people of Israel’s lack of faith, that by the time they got to the Promised Land He turned them around and put them out in the wilderness for 40 years. No one who left Egypt would be able to see the Promised Land because of it (except for the 2 trusting spies, Joshua and Caleb). So now, the people are finally back and ready to possess the land. But before they do...
Do you trust God? The Old Testament Book of Numbers has a lot to do with trust. It tells the story of how the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, how they counted their “numbers” with a census, how they sinned and were held accountable, and then how they prepared to enter the Promised Land again. Because they didn’t trust God, they ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. During this time, we see a continuous pattern of grumbling, defiance, discipline, and death. How much better would it have been to have trusted God? I believe that the same is true today.