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Feb 2, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 33

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Conquest and Judges

You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land.  They failed to teach their children, and instead did what was right in their own eyes: Help me to keep my eyes on you and teach others what is truly right.

Reflection

The conquest of Canaan is to proceed strategically, with Israel striking first at Jericho and Ai. Defeating these two towns provides access to the hill country where they can gain control of the central ridge, effectively dividing the north from the south.  As you read about Jericho, pay attention to the Lord’s battle instructions:  the ceremonies that precede battle, the order of the procession, the weapons the people are to use.

The victorious entry into the land is short-lived as disaster falls at Ai.  You may wonder why Achan’s theft is such a big deal.  These first cities and everything in them are to be “devoted to the Lord” (6:17) – almost as the first-fruits of a harvest belong to God – but by destruction.  Achan does not steal just any plunder, he steals what belongs to God and at the very outset of their mission.  This sin will affect the entire nation and is punished accordingly.

Today’s Reading

Joshua 5-8

Today’s Question

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 speaks of the nature of the war we are carrying on today and the weapons God gives us to destroy the enemy.  Think about them in light of the fall of Jericho.  What insights do you gain?

Join the discussion below!

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  • God gave Joshua and the Israelites the Lord of the hosts with his sword drawn to fight with him against Jericho. The battle was a powerful sign of how God can bring down a people just by the mere sounds of the cheering and raising of the drums. In 2Corinthians we are told by Paul that the power of words can bring down the walls of arguments of others as well… And just as the Lord was with Joshua and his army to bring down the walls of Jericho…so when we ask God to be with us in our arguments today, the power of our words can turn the tide of the battle being waged. O Holy Spirit, guide us in our words as we speak to others about you this day. May the walls of arguments be surmounted as in the day of Joshua. And as with the Lord’s help the walls of Jericho crumbled and the army of Jericho was defeated, so may the walls crumble before us, and the armies against those of us who are following the Lord’s commandments prevail against our enemies. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • The battle of Jericho seems unlike any other battle because bringing down the walls did not involve physical or secular force but faith, trust and obedience. The only physical activity was walking quietly behind the priests who blew their horns and only making a noise when instructed. 2 Corinthians v3 and 4 says “For, although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments.” That seems very apt to the falling of Jericho.

    It seems to me that we have priests and some lay people, who go forth into battle today, blowing their horns (when instructed by God) and the rest of us should be marching silently behind them, showing our strength as the Church and then shouting with a loud voice. We might need to march around the many walls of sin, immorality and ignorance in silence whilst being mocked, however, if we remain faithful and obedient to God, our shouts will bring the walls down (when God chooses). I also thought that before marching out, that maybe we have interior walls to march around and demolish e.g. self, pride, sloth?

    • Liz. the silence of the people reminded of prayer warriors of the Forty Days for Life. They very quietly pray in front of abortion clinics. Through their quiet prayers and gentle admonitions many lives are saved. And yes the walls do come down quite literally

    • This helps me realize that God did the work of breaching the walls of the city and was quite specific about what to do with Jericho. He let the Israelites handle the next battle, encouraging them to step up in maturity. They failed to some degree – there were still some among them that did not trust in God’s providence. After the cleansing repercussions, the Israelites were able to move forward again. Growing pains over and over again. Sounds familiar!

    • I agree with you Liz, we may be mocked while being silent but as was stated in Joshua 1:5-6″I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be firm and steadfast… This phrase “be firm and steadfast” is repeated throughout chapters one and two. I too believe if we are obedient to God the walls will come down when He chooses!

    • The March around Jericho made me think about the WalK for Life in San Francisco. We are instructed to walk peacefully and not to engage with the opposition.

  • What a beautiful way to begin a day knowing a person has access at any time to fasten on the holy weapons that help crush the evil in the world and at the same time to protect our spiritual beings with these same holy weapons! God is so amazing, awesome, and supreme!
    The intimidation factor must have weighed heavy on the Israelites wondering what all the walking around this fortified city would do and also on the people of Jericho, quite frankly being scared of what they were observing.
    This is a perfect example of how we should meet evil head on!! God (His presence in the Ark) leading the way and surrounding the mighty evil that stands in our way of eternal happiness with our heavenly Father! We must stand together as a Catholic and Christian nation to overcome the machinations of the evil one! Unfortunately, the devil’s presence has entered so many areas of our personal lives. It is time to take our lives back with the assistance of the weapons God gave us. For instance the Mass, the Eucharist, the Sacraments, etc. Let us put on our amour and fight!

    • As a Nation seem difficult to attain. There were just few nations are faithful Catholics, of the over six billion people of the world barely about 1.2 billions are Christians and how many of these are faithful Catholics? Globalization and modernization of the world bring humanity much secularism.

      • I agree with you but as Christians AND Catholics we all need to fight the menacing evil that confronts us each and every day. I am certain that God wants us to band together because the devil sure knows how to get to me!

        • Yes, its our fight and Jesus assured us in his promise to be with us till the end of age and His Church would endure, despite human weaknesses from the past leadership of the Church, so they become unwise that caused the body of Christ greatly divided.

        • Changing hearts and minds one Catholic at a time. I tell my youth group that I hope when I talk with someone they see Jesus shining in me so I can see Jesus shining through them and vice versa. The devil is always lurking and hoping to make an appearance. If we are living as God desires, even if we are out numbered we are never without hope. God will not abandon us.

  • The great battle of today is like in the days of Joshua, the battle of good conscience. We can never win this battle by our own mere natural person. We need to transform our natural being to a supernatural person clothe with the supernatural power of God that can win against the supernatural power of the devil.

    • I agree, Jose. Our consciences are our own – but our actions can certainly hurt others if we are not diligent about serving the Lord in humility.

      • Right, our tainted conscience is consequence of Original sin called as concupiscence, our human nature of strong desire, if it let loose can hurt others and ultimately offend God.

  • As Liz said, part of the success in battle is knowing when to be silent and follow God and those whom God has appointed to lead us. There is a time for speaking up, but the majority of the time silent obedience is what is called for.

    • I agree with you and Liz concerning discernment of when to speak, but I have to respectfully say I do not agree that “the majority of the time silent obedience is what is called for.” We each have different gifts, talents to share in the myriad ministries we are called into. I think we are called to use our voices to the best of our abilities and for the glory of God. Too much silence can engender an unhealthy imbalance and I would say this is part of the reason the Church has been in some trouble in recent years.

      • Kerry, I agree with what you say about the Church in many areas. Our Popes often sound the horn, but we don’t always hear or know when to shout. Many of us are told we have gifts, but haven’t a clue what they are or how to use them, so we hide or rush around trying to do everything. To that end our Diocese is planning to run the Gifted and Called course, so that we have the opportunity to discern our gifts and find where and how best to serve.

      • Tomorrow is the Feast Day of Saint Blaise, patron saint of throat illnesses. Our parish administered the Blessing of the Throat today after mass. I think that all blessings are wonderful, and as I contemplated whether I should go up for the blessing, it occurred to me that I want this blessing, for this throat of mine is an instrument for His voice… for His glory… to share the good news and to give others hope through our Lord Jesus Christ.

        • How cool! We were worshipping at the parish where our son goes to college and the priest spoke of this blessing. I always sing the hymns, responses and prayers enthusiastically – the music moves me even though I do not have the best voice. An elderly woman, probably in her nineties given her stoop and frail demeanor, told me afterward that she loves to worship next to someone who loves to sing. Well, yeah! Good or bad, God gave me this voice and I give it back to Him!

          • Amen, Kerry! I love to sing, though sometimes my asthma gets in the way. I love to sing His praises! I used to be ridiculously shy. But I’m thinking, if God could use Moses, who stuttered, to be His voice, then perhaps He can use me too. I pray that the Spirit will give me the right words at the right time, in all situations…

            “…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)

          • Yes we love to sing and praise our Lord in worship time with our own voice gifted to us, maybe not that good, hoping for the Lord’s love and kindness for us to fix it. Praise the Lord!!

        • We had Blessing of the Throat. The decon came down as I use a walker. My son made the witty remark that I really didn’t have much of a throat. (21/2 inches of the my esophagus have been removed and what was left of my stomach was attached to the remaining esophagus) I told him that I’ll bet I was the only member of the congregation who got their stomach blessed. 🙂

          • Well I’d say that you HAVE been blessed.

            Sometimes I think, we all have our crosses to bear. And there’s always someone worse off than we are.

            Think of a childless woman. Then think of a mother who has cancer. The childless woman would say, “I’d rather be childless than have cancer”. Yet if God gave the mother the choice… childless or cancer… I can’t imagine too many would rather lose their child than be cancer-free. It’s all relative. Am I making sense?

            I think, having your son right there with you, in church, is the greater blessing…

            Be well, Barbara.

            Peace,
            Mar

          • The blessing really worked. I had been choking very frequently. And I was worried that my Dr. would order an endoscopy (ugh I hate them) Well I haven’t choked once since Sunday Thank-you St Blaise for asking God about my throat.
            Yes both my children are miracles. My daughter was born at 25 weeks and weighted only three pounds. My son was a little less premature.

          • Oh my gosh, that’s really something. You ought to write a book… it sounds like your life is a real tribute to our Lord.
            How was Bible Study? What are you studying?
            After ten inches of snow, I was not venturing out anywhere!

          • We are taking the Bible Timeline series. Tomorrow I am taking the Exodus Series. Both are from Ascension Press.

        • Saint Blaise is my son’s confirmation name and when the Archbishop blessed Ben he said say a prayer to Saint Blaise as his voice was failing because of a sore throat and he was worried he would not get through the ceremony, I thought it was a lovely touch and he did get through it!

  • I read 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 Wow have we matured. Now more than ever we must trust God. We no longer have the Arc of the Covenant. instead we have the Sacraments. But we must have perfect trust in the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
    I used to believe that “Faith” meant only that you believed in the Three Persons in God , the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit easy to do with the overwhelming physical evidence. But “Faith” also means to trust in an All Powerful God, very hard to do.

    • Very encouraging! I might add, though, that the Church is a “type” of Mary, the perfect Ark of the Covenant, and we certainly have this for strength. We must also protect it as even as we call upon both the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church for intercession and strength.

      • Strangly enough I don’t find 2 Corinthians (or anything of Paul) encouraging. As for the Virgin Mary, I am afraid that I have only the minimal devotion to Her. I attend Mass on Her feast days , say the Hail Mary Daily and the Memorarie occasionally (without any petitions) You might say I try to follow the requirements of the Church. I have have a real problem getting my head around concept of Mary as the New Arc of the Covenant.

        • I was right where you are not too long ago, Barbara. Perhaps you devotions have been for particular discipleship needs that the Holy Spirit has directed you toward. Keep praying – the Spirit will reveal what you need when you need it. Here are a few bites, though, that might be helpful. 1 – The Ark of the OT housed the manna, laws, rod. Mary is the fulfillment of this Ark, the True Ark of the Covenant because she housed what these symbols pointed toward – Jesus Christ. She did this in perfect humility and obedience. 2 – At the foot of the Cross Jesus presented his Mother to the Beloved Disciple. Mary=Ark=Church; Beloved Disciple=body of Christ.

          • True Kerry, in the history of human salvation without Mary’s assent to Angel, the foreshadowed Arc, we do not have Jesus for our salvation today.

          • Very well explained Kerry, our Blessed Mother is the new Ark of the Covenant. She is our Spiritual Mother and devotions to her only gets us closer to Jesus. God bless.

          • Fifty titles in all I hadn’t realized there were that many. I knew there were a lot. I believe that I should take those titles that are most meaninful to me (ie the ones that I can understand) and not worry about the ones that are troubling to me. I believe that will strength my devotion to Mary.

          • Barbara, to my surprise, i am not even updated, here I counted 82:
            Holy Mary

            Holy Mother of God

            Holy Virgin of Virgins

            Mother of Christ

            Mother of the Church

            Mother of Divine Grace

            Mother Most Pure

            Mother Most Chaste

            Mother Inviolate

            Mother Undefiled

            Mother Most Amiable

            Mother Admirable

            Mother of Good Counsel

            Mother of Our Creator

            Mother of Our Redeemer

            Mother of Mercy

            Virgin Most Prudent

            Virgin Most Venerable

            Virgin Most Renowned

            Virgin Most Powerful

            Virgin Most Merciful

            Virgin Most Faithful

            Mirror of Justice

            Seat of Wisdom

            Cause of Our Joy

            Spiritual Vessel

            Vessel of Honor

            Singular Vessel of Devotion

            Mystical Rose

            Tower of David

            Tower of Ivory

            House of Gold

            Ark of the Covenant

            Gate of Heaven

            Morning Star

            Health of the Sick

            Refuge of Sinners

            Comfort of the Afflicted

            Help of Christians

            Queen of Angels

            Queen of Patriarchs

            Queen of Prophets

            Queen of Apostles

            Queen of Martyrs

            Queen of Confessors

            Queen of Virgins

            Queen of All Saints

            Queen Conceived Without Original Sin

            Queen Assumed Into Heaven

            Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

            Queen of Families

            Queen of Peace

            Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Sliema, Malta

            Other titles:

            Co-Redemptrix (controversial and not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church)

            Destroyer of Heresy

            Empress of the World

            Favoured Daughter of the Father

            Immaculate Heart of Mary

            Joy of the Just

            Mother of the Poor

            Mother of the Word

            Mother of Orphans

            Mother of Perpetual Help

            Mother of Sorrows

            Mother of the Son

            Mother Thrice Admirable

            Nova Eva (the New Eve)

            Our Lady of Confidence

            Our Lady of Victory

            Queen of Heaven

            Ravisher of Hearts

            Spouse of the Holy Spirit

            Star of the Sea

            Tabernacle of the Lord

            Temple of the Most Holy Trinity

            Treasure House of God’s Graces

            Untier of Knots

          • And not only that Jose, you forgot one that is an article of Faith the “Immaculate Conception”

          • There you see why I am so confused “Immaculate Heart” said something very different that of “Immaculate Conception” There is a feast of the “Immaculate Conception” It is dogma, as Catholics we must believe. It is a mystery therefore we cannot fully understand.

            Thank-you for this posting I have looked both titles in the “Catholic Encyclopedia” and bookmarked them for future contemplation. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07168a.htm

          • Thanks, Barbara, not only that, I should congratulate you with your devotions in the Catholic Church, whether they were for Mary, for Jesus or for the Saints. By those devotions that you have been a part now will deepen your love for the Church and your love of neighbors. There is a kind of devotion I wish to suggest if you have not been a member yet. The Legion of Mary. The moment you become a member of the Legion of Mary, you are a Legionary forever. it is because, you will be inspired to do the work of Mary, even when you are already separated from your group for some reason or another. I wish you could share me your experiences in your devotions and I am very much willing to listen.. I would love it Barbara. Thank you so much.

          • Jose, Thank you for your kind invitation. I am afraid that Joining the Legion of Mary is beyond my physical abilities. I can no longer drive due to my physical handicaps. I do manage to take two Bible Study Sessions. I have two hour long physical therapy sessions a week to get me back to walking. Last year I had a reoccurance of my first cancer and developed a second cancer. The first one is incurrable. On recieving that news I created what I call my “Bible Bucket List” I prayed to the Holy Spirit and made a list of the Books of the Bible I would read one chapter a day straight through each book. The order of the books was up to the Holy Spirit. So I wrote the Books and Chapters into my Calendar. Ironically, I had marked my calendar to begin Genesis on January 1 I found this Study a little before Christmas and we began with Genesis on January 1. Now I ask you is that not the Holy Spirit at work?

          • I understand you very well, Barbara, may our Lord bless you so much. I am also like you as handicapped as stroke survivor. I know we have so much pain we are enduring everyday but in spite of that, our hearts is full of love for others not minding our body pains. W are even more inspired to live knowing how much Jesus love us more than anyone else as we share some part of Jesus sufferings. Like your situation, we are feeling the same way about cancer situation. In 2003, my wife and I were full time caregivers of my only daughter in Kansas City. we left jobs and home to take care of her while while in college with AML leukemia Cancer. Three months after stem cell transplant, I had my stroke, while she is still recovering. This is our most difficult trial of our faith, we almost lost everything except our faith in Christ and we survived all by the kindness of American people. By God’s grace my daughter survived with perfect match unrelated stem cell transplant. She is 10 years cancer free and 3 years working as RN. The rest of my kids have their own profession and work but they were scattered all over the globe. I plan to visit them all starting sometime this year. I am away from my family and with my situation, I just relied on the help and kindness of others. For you Barbara, may you be strong in faith and your physical body would be strong too with the love of Jesus our Lord and Savior. May your family and love ones surround you with their love and prayers. I will assure you to be always part of my prayers, Barbara. My best wishes for your healing.

        • Sometimes Paul is a little hard to follow but there is so much we can learn from him. He wrote all of those epistles to provide encouragement to new Christians in the various communities. He can pack seven or eight thoughts into one long sentence! As Jeff Cavins has said, “read slowly”. And as Kerry said, the Holy Spirit will guide you.

          Take 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, for example: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

          This was always such a powerful passage to me, in the times when I felt so weak and inadequate. Of course, it might mean nothing to you! But God will speak to you wherever you are at.

          “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect… For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us…” (Romans 12:2, 4-6)

          As for devotion to Mary, I want to deepen my devotion to the Blessed Mother, but time constraints make it difficult. Someone suggested that I pray a single decade a day instead of the entire Rosary. Even that is hard for me. I know a lot of people who don’t feel the need to pray to her. I used to be one of them. And yet, when I had the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in my home recently, and a family member stated that she didn’t see why we pray to Mary, why not just pray to God directly. I told her, we don’t “pray to” Mary, but we ask her to intercede to her son on our behalf. I asked this family member, “you ask me to pray for you all the time. Why don’t you just pray directly?” and she said, “your prayers are more powerful than mine”. Well, the Holy Spirit jumped right in because without even thinking I said, “just think how much more powerful Mary’s prayers are than mine!”

          Barbara, I can tell by your posts that your heart and spirit are receptive. We each go about it a little differently. As St Paul put it (quite simply), “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” (2 Corinthians 12:12)

      • True, the Church is the bride of Christ indivisible and indissoluble perfectly embodied in many church proclamations. Mary is our Co-Mediatrix and the despenser of all graces. Powerful, huh.

  • God gave Joshua the supernatural “weapons” they needed to destroy Jericho. All they had to do was obey God and follow His instructions. They circled around the city for seven days, carrying the ark of the covenant. On the seventh day, the wall collapsed and they marched right in and took the city.

    As I mentioned in my post for Day 32, we only have to follow these simple instructions: “Be strong and steadfast, being careful to observe the entire law which Moses my servant enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6) Obedience is the key.

    Today, God gives us the weapon of His Word to fight the enemy. Think of Jesus as He was tempted in the desert, quoting Scriptures to defeat Satan. We must learn as much Scripture as we can, because there is always something within the Bible that can address any situation we face. Whether it is temptation, sin, or protecting ourselves and others from the evil in the world, etc.

    Also comes to mind, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Jesus Himself is the Word. We look to Him for example, for courage, for strength, for all things that help us in battle.

    • Marianne, please don’t be hurt if I make a little clarification in relation to human salvation. You said, “We must learn as much Scripture as we can …..” This is marginalize and I am not saying that its wrong, it may not be right to a certain extent, because the fact is, the Bible is not necessary for salvation, it can only help. Perhaps you may still have hung up on the Sola Scriptura position from your detour on Catholicism.

        • I get you, Marianne. Jose: To know Scripture is to know Christ. Knowing Christ we can live as Christ. Living as Christ teaches, we can defeat evil, leading ourselves and others to salvation.

          • I get you too, Marianne. The Bible is the “living” word of God. The more we can be in it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it…..the more we will be able to apply it to our life. In other words…to “live” it and be able to live our lives in a Christ-like fashion.

        • As you said is just okey, when you confine yourself to physical and mortal enemy of today. But here, Marianne, it is imperative in the context, that you cited Christ, and no other sense, therefore, but referring to principle of human salvation, as both needed qualification is dealing with the Sola Scriptura, quite a misdirection to the tenets of Catholicism.

          • Thank you so much Marianne for you kind effort to response. May God bless you and your family.

          • I understand what you mean, as well, Marianne and found your words to ring true. We need only look within the Bible to find words of wisdom to help guide us in any situation whether defeating our enemy, strength when we feel weak or comfort when we need solace; the Bible is the written truth. Of course we must live our lives according to God’s ideals but thankfully our “playbook” is infallible.

          • Thanks for writing, Michelle. I also agree with your comments to pnkyB4brain. And I hope that people will see the Face of Jesus when they look at me. It’s all according to how we live our lives… our actions and our words…

            I believe we are justified (saved) by faith. But not faith alone. For a natural outcome of our faith is to want to be more like Christ… and that is evident by our good works. These works are different from the works of the law (which we are studying about right now in our study on Galatians). Paul explained to the Galatians that we are not saved by following a bunch of “laws” (like circumcision) but rather by our faith in Jesus. Well, I believe that’s a good thing, because if circumcision was necessary to our salvation, that would leave out the entire female population!

            “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, THEN CHRIST DIED FOR NOTHING.” (Galatians 2:19-21)

            A person of faith uses their Bible and the Scriptures within as their handbook and guidelines for living the life of faith. Everything they need is contained therein. It’s interesting to me, Michelle, that you used the term “playbook” while I used “handbook”.

            A handbook is a manual that contains facts on a particular subject or provides how-to instructions. A playbook contains a sports team’s strategies and plays, esp. in football. (I guess you had the Superbowl on the brain!) Anyway, we can learn and abide by the strategies for success found within the Bible. Then we will reap the blessings of the Lord and obtain salvation and eternal life.

            “If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God… Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you; they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways… The Lord will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings… The Lord will make you the head, and not the tail; you shall be only at the top, and not at the bottom—if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, by diligently observing them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I am commanding you today, either to the right or to the left, following other gods to serve them”. (Deut 28:1-2, 6-7, 12-14)

            Sorry if this is too long! My homework on Galatians is very timely… when my beliefs and my motives are called into question! See just how Scriptures can guide you!

            “Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)

            “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength.” (Habakkuk 3:18-19)

            Well, I’m off to shovel snow (again…)

        • In the same way, the rationality to avoid referring to human salvation won’t work, because in our mere human nature alone is impossible to defeat the enemy.

        • Kerry, sola fide and sola scriptura were on the same plane, that these new converts need to be alerted on and us who are welcoming Catholics shall be helping them to get into the intricacies of Catholicism in their own journey. If you had been in the field of Catholic apologetics, you would come to know the strength Protestant arguments in that their doctrine and as a result Protestant and all other non-Catholics bonded themselves together.

          • Sorry, Jose, not understanding this whole thread. Correct me if I have misinterpreted. First, I am well aware of the connections of sola fide/scriptura and Protestantism. I do not presume that all Protestants follow these tenets, though. As a cradle Catholic, I must also say my experience is that WE have much to learn from THEM who come into the fullness of the faith that the Catholic Church has to offer. Life-long Catholics typically, in my experience, have a tendency to take their faith for granted until shaken into greater awareness by a life-altering event or by an invitation to adult faith formation of some sort. Second, I have enough experience with apologetics to realize that effective evangelization and ecumenical dialogue requires open minds, hearts and the humility to ascertain that we can all learn from each other, without presumption or assumption.

          • All those virtues you mentioned are needed. There are more to learn in deepening and strengthening our Catholic faith as lay. Of course there are many ways to learn, but to me this is what I had gone through in my life time. In our prospective way of learning is this type of Bible of study. There are more to learn is a retrospective way which is in the venue of what does others say about Catholicism. To learn the deep fiber and intricacies of Catholicism is in being emerged in joining other denomination activities and fellowship and their services and get first hand of what their believing and what do they say about Catholicism. This is yet aside from getting into dialogue with them to defend your Catholic faith when you have acquired adequate knowledge and understanding of the other religious faith. But you are not ready to embark to get to other faith unless you are sure you have a strong Catholic faith that it cannot be swayed away by those twisted theological exposition, or you will just endangering your own Catholic faith.You will get this from friends invitations from different Protestants, non- Christians and Quasi-Christian denomination. So far by survey alone, there are over 38,000 existing denomination with competing bible interpretations and teachings. You don’t need to go through all this, just 5-10 will do. I don’t even know if you would like it. But what is important is we treat all of them as brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact there is truth to that, we are brothers and sisters with them in body but not in soul. So you need to have that wider circle fellowship and like the clergies they have inhibitions to all non-Catholics communities, so you won’t possibly have that wide fellowship. Kerry, you seem still too far to learn and understand our Catholics faith from the different religious faith point of views, to get into ecumenical dialogue without to assume anything. Kerry you could also email me: josesamilin181@yahoo.com.

          • Respectfully, Jose, you do not know anything about my capabilities, experience, knowledge. I appreciate your zealousness in defending the faith; I probably would go about it a little differently than you do – – let’s leave it at that. Peace.

          • Thanks Kerry, mine is really nothing when we look at Dr. Scott Hahn, James Akin, Karl Keating, etc., etc., who both with high academic achievement and practice.

          • When you say that WE have much to learn from THEM, I am interpreting this is meaning as far as their efforts at evangelization, period. I don’t think you are referring to deepening and strengthening your own faith.

            I agree, we Catholics are way behind in evangelization. Which is ironic, because that is how our faith originated and was formed in the first century.

            I was thrilled that Pope Benedict gave us the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization. I was also thrilled (here’s another plug) that when I went to the National Catholic Bible Conference, it had a strong evangelical theme.

          • I mean more than just evangelization, Marianne. I agree with what you say here about evangelization and what the Catholic Church is aspiring to through Pope Benedict, the NCBC and now through Pope Francis. But I also aver that Protestants’ love of Scripture, and their methods of exegesis have been a great gift – they have given Catholics back the Bible, in a way. Just think what Scott Hahn, Sarah Christmyer, Jeff Cavins and many others have done in the area of ongoing catechesis for adults when they brought their love and knowledge of Christ through Scripture into the Catholic Church!

          • I gotcha, Kerry. You are 110 percent correct.

            And we are so fortunate to have Sarah, Jeff, Scott and other Catholic converts who share their knowledge of the strengths of their former evangelical background.

            As Catholics, the more Scripture we know, the more effective we can be in leading others to Christ through the Catholic faith.

    • Marianne, please be patient with me to straighten few things like this one. You said.” ….. careful to observe the entire law………… ” This is another marginalize phrase when referring to salvation today, since we cannot be saved by mere obedience to the law, but the law is a necessary stepping stone.

  • Just came back from Mass with an excellent homily using the Super Bowl as an analogy and to me, it goes along with today’s question. I will paraphrase what Father said – the football playing field is like the world. We are the players doing battle to win the prize. (The way for us to do battle has been well listed in participants earlier comments.) But unlike the ring & Vince Lombardi trophy that the football players have their eye on, our trophy is Jesus and an everlasting life in Heaven. Just keep our eye on Him & win the battle!

    • I know huh!! The celebrant’s homily is true to life in America and properly directed to them, where many in American tradition can’t place Christ as their priority.

    • I like that analogy. I’ve heard another one, too, where we are the field and the battle is between God and Satan. That analogy was used to warn against thinking we could fight Satan ourselves – that the fight is over to whom we belong. That’s a lesson the Israelites (and I) seem to forget in their/my zeal to overcome.

  • Every time we let our guards down, committing what we consider to be a “little” sin, we are committing an act of arrogance and compromising our covenant promises. We are watering down and risking the faithfulness of the whole community. This is no way to do spiritual battle.
    Before we can take up the weapons of spiritual warfare, we must dedicate ourselves to the Lord: availing ourselves of the Sacraments, scriptural knowledge, prayer for deep discernment. The humility of which St. Paul speaks is the first stepping stone toward righteousness and success in the warfare we face each day. There is a thin line between righteousness and self-righteousness and prior to facing off against the enemy, we better know the difference! Are we after personal glory, winning at whatever cost, merely to claim the spoils, the credit for ourselves? Or are we truly seeking to advance the Kingdom and give glory to God?

    • Ah, Kerry,
      You words ring so true! Thank you for saying what I was trying to get across. May God bless this Bible Challenge for assisting with continuing thoughts, phrases, etc. May God bless you.

    • I agree. Before we arm ourselves with God’s armour, we better fix our sin problem first. God cannot be with us if we are in sin as an individual or as a nation.

  • Who is our enemy today? We can not defeat the enemy with our human strength but only with faith in the LORD.. It is certain that the devil / Satan or evil ideas are controlling the world today. We can not defeat the devil with our strength without the grace of the LORD. Let us pray for the grace of the LORD to defeat the enemy of today..

  • We can arm ourselves every day with our minds and loyalty in Spirit to God our Father. We remain strong to fight the fight when we fail to let anything else take over our minds and hearts that is contrary to Gods word. Not only can we remain strong, but the power of our minds is an amazing thing that will effect those around us as well. I think of Church and the collective mindset of the parishioners each week, steadfast in spirit. What love and loyalty God must feel when we come together, fighting with mind and spirit.

  • So often I focus my prayers on others who I see as needing God in their lives or I pray to turn people away from their evil ways or I pray for peace and justice in war-torn areas in the world. That is fighting the good fight Paul talks about in 2 Cor 10: 3-6. But I often forget to ask God to strengthen me against “sin from within.” I need to purify my thoughts so that I am not jealous or covetous, impatient or demanding, acting superior or self-righteous (and on and on….) I need as Paul says to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” I pray this morning for God’s help to keep my eyes turned to Christ so that his will is ever my desire.

  • Reading 2 Corinthians, I see the struggle going from an outward war to an inner war; from a war of the world that is set to disavow the Lord by pagan worship to a war within our selves to follow the Lord’s path and that of his Son, Jesus Christ. The strategy for victory is not so different – preparation and being at the ready by vowing true allegiants to and faith in God; keeping the end goal in sight which is the Promised Land be it physical land that belonged to the Canaanites or the Gates of Heaven where we will be united with Christ Jesus and God; giving what it is the Lords to Him and sharing the rest with our brothers and sisters as a sign of love of others. While we don’t use the sword to destroy our enemies, we use prayer to fight the demons of sin with an intent to destroy them mightily just as Joshua destroyed the 31 kings. Joshua’s armies slew all the would be captives to eradicate the traditions of paganism to make way for only those who believe in, worship, and follow the Lord. We are doing the same by directing our thoughts, actions, desires, et cetera to the pursuit of Jesus Christ. Just as Elaine mentioned below, “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

    • You’re right Susan. We don’t use swords against the enemy, we use prayer. And the Word of God, which is given to us like ammunition when we need it.

      “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)

  • By saying “We live in the world”, “in the flesh” (v. 3), I suggest this has a positive meaning, referring to the life we have when we are here on earth. But he says in the previous verse (V2) “acting in worldly fashion” is the same thing as acting from purely human motives: “Acting in a worldly fashion applies to people who make worldly things their goal and therefore design their actions so as to obtain worldly things. Since these things can be taken away from them by men, those who have a tendency to be drawn towards worldly things behave in a deferential and mild way towards others”. The powers with which we are endowed will easily overturn all obstacles, or fortifications which evil may raise against us. This is a reference to Joshua 6:20 where “ As the horns blew, the people began to shout. When they heard the sound of the horn, they raised a tremendous shout. The wall collapsed,and the people attacked the city straight ahead and took it.” We will not win heavenly battles with human means. Our faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5). And wasn’t Jesus indeed crucified out of weakness, but he lives by the power of God?! See also Ephesians 6:10-14 where we are told to “Put on the armor of God”.

    • Pope Francis gave a talk about resisting and fighting the devil. He uses the words “putting on the armor of God.” And what is the “armor of God”? It is reading the Bible, prayer, looking at the Gospel, girding our loins with the Truth which is Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Living in the presence of God. Putting on the breastplate of righteousness (in our hearts). Noah and St. Peter were righteous. Our feet are to walk in peace with the shield of Faith, prayer, and supplication.

  • Thank you Anthony, Susan and Elaine for your thoughts. For they helped to clear up the meaning of the “battles of Joshua” . Now I understand what a battle it is to do away with evil and how important it is to use tactics with humility and faith. The fact that Joshua used his army to steer the enemy soldiers out of the city, leaving their city open for attack had to have been inspired by God as a way of drawing out the poison from the wound. It was difficult for me to understand the initiation of war by God and the killing of the people, but when I look at it as destroying Satan with all the evil of stealing what belongs to God, as Achan did, I understand it better.

  • Pope Francis says for a happy life, he has certain things he does–

    “The Pope readily gave a 10-point recipe for happiness: “The Romans have a saying, which can be taken as a point of reference,” the Pope said. “They say: Campa e lascia campà (Live and let live). That’s the first step to peace and happiness.”

    2. ““giving oneself to others.”

    3. “move quietly” He also said, “a people who doesn’t take care of its elderly “has no future.”

    4 “The Pope advocated playing with children and the importance of a healthy culture of leisure, reading and enjoying art. “Consumerism has led to the anxiety of losing” this culture, he said.” He asked a mother about this and she said that it hard to find the time for it. The pope said that still it must be done.

    5. “The Pope stressed the importance of sharing Sundays with family. He recalled that on his recent visit to Campobasso in southern Italy, the workers did not want to work on Sundays.”

    6. “He said helping young people find employment is a key to happiness. He said it’s important to be creative with them because if they lack opportunities, “they fall into drugs.” He said the rate of suicide is “very high among young people without work.”

    7. “looking after nature”

    8. “quickly forgetting the negative (speaking badly of others shows “low self-esteem”

    9. “respecting those who think differently”

    10. “actively seeking peace.”

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-top-10-list-for-happiness/#ixzz3Qhk430Iq

  • Pope did some extraordinary things—-
    “He donated $1 million to help Iraqi refugees.

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-donates-1-million-to-iraqi-refugees/

    He hates gossip: “I am convinced that if each one of us would purposely avoid gossip, at the end, we would become a saint!”

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-gossip-is-poisonous/

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-faith-is-a-meeting-with-jesus-christ/

    http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/life-must-be-guarded

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-christian-families-make-a-place-for-jesus-in-your-homes/

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-to-couples-let-the-cross-illuminate-your-marriage

    http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-women-first-and-foremost-in-transmit

    http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/awareness-of-dignity

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/popes-hug-embraced-everyone-with-disabilities-dad-says/

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-embraces-man-afflicted-by-tumors

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-the-devil-is-no-myth-and-we-must-fight-him

    http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/pope-francis-house-rises-in-north-Carolina

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-on-solemnity-of-immaculate-conception-mary-shows-us-that-everything-is

    http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-to-families-be-examples-of-holiness-p

    http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-to-families-be-examples-of-holiness-p

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/gift-from-heaven-pope-receives-unexpected-visit-from-st-therese-of-lisieux-35005/

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-be-joyful-witnesses-of-christian-hope/

  • St. Blaise pray for us! Feast day is February 3. He died in 316 A.D. He was Armenian. And later the Armenians in the 20th century had to suffer and be murdered in what is modern Turkey. In 1915, the Ottoman government exterminated between 1 and 1.5 million of its minority Armenian peoples from what is the present-day Republic of Turkey. This horrible atrocity occurred during and after World War I. The Ottoman authorities took some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Those who were able males were massacred. Those conscripted in the army were forced to manual labor. The women were deported along with children, and the elderly and infirm on death marches to the Syrian desert. Military led them and deprived them of food and water and subjected them to other unmentionable horrors.
    St. Blasé (or Blaise) was from a rich family. He was blessed with a Christian education. The young Blasé thought about all the sufferings and problems of the world. He knew that only the spiritual would bring him joy and happiness. First, a priest, then bishop of Sebaste in Armenia (now modern Turkey), he sought to spread, with his whole heart and soul, holiness and happiness, among the people. Prayer and preaching were his life. Then, he lived in a cave on Mt. Argeus, healing men and animals who were brought to him. Legend says that sick animals would come to him voluntarily, yet not disrupting his prayers. Governor Licinius at a point in time harassed Christians. Captured and imprisoned, he was slated to be beheaded. People crowded along the road to see their loving bishop for the last time. He blessed them, including the pagans.
    The familiarity that we all know is his working a miracle concerning a child who was choking to death from a fishbone. The mother asked St. Blasé to help him. With a prayer and a blessing, the child became peaceful and well. Today, we celebrate St. Blasé, bishop and martyr blessing our throats from all diseases. He converted many in prison who did not believe. Torture did not change St. Blasé from giving up his faith. He was thrown into a lake to be drown. He stood on the surface and summoned his enemies to walk out and show the power of their gods. They did and drowned. When he went back on land, they beheaded him.
    We pray for healing in some way in our lives. St. Blaise, pray for us!

  • http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020315.cfm

    Reading of the day..

    « February 2 | February 4 »

    Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
    Lectionary: 324

    Reading 1 Heb 12:1-4

    Brothers and sisters:
    Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
    let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
    and persevere in running the race that lies before us
    while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
    the leader and perfecter of faith.
    For the sake of the joy that lay before him
    Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
    and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
    Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
    in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
    In your struggle against sin
    you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

    Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:26b-27, 28 and 30, 31-32

    R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
    I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
    The lowly shall eat their fill;
    they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
    “May your hearts be ever merry!”
    R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
    All the ends of the earth
    shall remember and turn to the LORD;
    All the families of the nations
    shall bow down before him.
    To him alone shall bow down
    all who sleep in the earth;
    Before him shall bend
    all who go down into the dust.
    R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
    And to him my soul shall live;
    my descendants shall serve him.
    Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
    that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
    the justice he has shown.
    R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

    Alleluia Mt 8:17R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Christ took away our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    Gospel Mk 5:21-43

    When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
    a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
    One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
    Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
    “My daughter is at the point of death.
    Please, come lay your hands on her
    that she may get well and live.”
    He went off with him
    and a large crowd followed him.

    There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
    She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
    and had spent all that she had.
    Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
    She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
    and touched his cloak.
    She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
    Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
    She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
    Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
    turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
    But his disciples said to him,
    “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
    and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
    And he looked around to see who had done it.
    The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
    approached in fear and trembling.
    She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
    He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
    Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

    While he was still speaking,
    people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
    “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
    Disregarding the message that was reported,
    Jesus said to the synagogue official,
    “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
    He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
    except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
    When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
    he caught sight of a commotion,
    people weeping and wailing loudly.
    So he went in and said to them,
    “Why this commotion and weeping?
    The child is not dead but asleep.”
    And they ridiculed him.
    Then he put them all out.
    He took along the child’s father and mother
    and those who were with him
    and entered the room where the child was.
    He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
    which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
    The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
    At that they were utterly astounded.
    He gave strict orders that no one should know this
    and said that she should be given something to eat.

  • Numbers28:9-10 The Sabbath is a day set apart from all others and it is a special day. Food offerings of lambs, cereal, and wine is presented in addition to the regular oblations. The Sabbath offering is double that of the other days.

  • The fall of Jericho prefigures the end of the world as I read. The waters during the time of Moses point to the sacrament of baptism. St. Clement of Rome saw the scarlet cord of Rahab, hanging out of the window as a foreshadowing of the blood of Jesus and all who put their trust and hope in the Lord, shall find, through the blood, redemption.

  • Purifying the people and leading them as People of God was the real battle, as the Israelites succumb to many temptations not to follow the Lord. The victory is the Lord’s-He is the armor of light. He is the weapon to defeat our enemies.

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