February 24

1Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai.  For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.”  (Joshua 8:1)

The Book of Joshua is a complete 180 from the first five books of the Old Testament.  Under Moses’ command, the Israelites seemed lost, confused, constantly unsure of their destiny and their God.  Joshua takes command and instantly we see a conquering nation that decimates the people of Canaan.  While this is the book that shows the promises God gave to the fathers of the Hebrew faith (Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, and Moses) brought to fruition, this is also the book that can easily turn off many from the God of Israel, as they invade a foreign land and slaughter most of the inhabitants.  Do not read “put to the sword” lightly when going through this book.  This was a brutal time in humanities history:  up-close, personal fighting, limbs lost, swords impaling through the heart, heads chopped off.  And this was for the men, women, and children.  All God’s creations, divided to the spoils of the Israelites.

This is part of the reason I have you reading the Old Testament and New Testament together, so the brutality is redeemed through the hope and peace that only Jesus can provide.  In one way I see why the Israelites still believe Jesus is not their Messiah.  They are awaiting the return of a “Joshua.”  There will never be a conqueror like the old Hebrew leaders.  Jesus said enough was enough.  The Son came to Earth and showed the Father that peace and love were the way to salvation.  The way of the sword is forever in the grave.

Today’s reading takes you through three more gory chapters of Joshua, with kings being impaled on poles for display, city after city falling to Israel and Yahweh’s military might.  In the New Testament, you’ll read Jesus’ trial for the second time, as Mark gives his brief recount of the story, and Peter denies his Messiah three times.  I know I have been putting a lot on your plate by putting together these extra devotions, plus the Daily Devotion in CSRDD2021, plus your chapters from the Holy Bible.  It’s a lot!  But I am hoping that this helps keep you busy in a good way, gives you something important to consider and ponder, and engages you in a whole new light.  Below I am sharing another great new song and Pastor Steven Furtick’s amazing word from this weekend.  Fill your days with nothing but the Word of God and see your life transform in miraculous ways!

Click to hear our Song-of-the-day.

Reading plan:  Mark 14:43-65

Deeper reading plan:  Joshua 8-10

Prayer and meditation:  continue to pray for all the families who have lost loved ones to COVID and pray for those currently sick from the deadly disease.

Fitness challenge:  Week eight of our 7×14 challenge.  2 sets of 14, slow your reps down again and incorporate that one-two second pause.

1.  Standard push-up 2.  Sit-up or crunches

3.  Air squats 4.  Hand-release push-up

5.  Leg lifts 6.  Lunges (14-each leg)

7.  4-count flutter kick

Another must watch from Elevation Church.

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