Joshua

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Joshua 1:5-6

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

The LORD had appeared to Joshua and told Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead” and then immediately begins to prophesy to Joshua that Joshua will be successful and that he, Joshua, would divide the Promised Land to Israel. The LORD also tells Joshua to be strong and of a good courage which means that Joshua is going to face opposition and some battles in doing what he has been told to do.

Moses was an awesome man of God and according to Exodus 12 he lead “about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children” out of Egypt in the Great Exodus. Yet Moses was a human being and certainly not without issues as a man. Moses had killed an Egyptian and hid him in the sand. He had married outside his own people and many scholars assert that Moses’ wife was a black woman and so those things would have caused an uproar in the society of that day. Although marrying who you wish is completely acceptable in today’s world, it would have been a huge issue in the setting of these scriptures.

Moses also had an anger issue as he demonstrated when he came down from receiving the commandments and discovered the Israelites had made a golden calf and were partying and dancing. He immediately cast the tables of stone to the ground and break them out of anger.

Although Moses had not been allowed to enter the Promised Land and had died short of that, he was still an awesome leader and servant of God. How else would you govern that many people for 40 years wandering through a wilderness without being an awesome leader?

Even though Moses made mistakes at times, you never hear Joshua speak negatively to the Israelites about their former leader. Joshua was Moses’ servant and if anyone would have seen Moses’ shortcomings it would have been Joshua. Nevertheless out of respect for the LORD’s choice of whom to lead Israel, Joshua never scorns or ridicules Moses. Therefore Joshua is qualified to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and divide their inheritance to them.

To successfully lead someone into their inheritance and the discovery of their purpose on earth we do not have to scorn nor tear down and destroy the image of those before us. All we must do is simply love them for whoever they are, where ever they came from and accept whatever or whoever led them to where they are. Positive reinforcement and hope for the future will lead them much farther than negative reinforcement of the past and hopelessness ever will.

Let us praise the Lord of heaven for the example He has given us in Moses and Joshua.

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Jehovah-jireh

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Mark 6:41

And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

This is the record of when Jesus fed five thousand men, plus whatever women and children that were present, in the desert.

The multitude had followed Jesus out into the desert when He had sent the disciples there to rest after John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. Jesus had sent the disciples to rest, in Jesus’ words, and yet when they arrived at the appointed place there was a multitude there waiting on them.  When Jesus saw the multitude He was moved with compassion for them because Jesus saw them as sheep without a shepherd.

Things had changed. John had preached, led and protected the multitude up to that point and now John has been executed for standing against Herod’s immoral desire for his brother’s wife. Thus Jesus saw them as sheep without a shepherd and had compassion on them.

After spending a long time teaching the multitude many things Jesus tells His disciples to feed the multitude. The disciples respond by telling Jesus He will have to send everyone away to get their own food because they don’t have any. Jesus then has the disciples gather what food they do have which came to five loaves and two fishes. Jesus takes the paltry supplies and looks to heaven, He blesses and then brakes the five loaves and two fishes before giving them to the disciples to serve to the multitude. After feeding the multitude there were twelve baskets of food left over.

In this era of post-modernism and it could even be argued, post-christianity, the goal seems to always be more, bigger and better. Yet that is completely contrary to the way Jesus did it. Jesus feed five thousand plus people with five loaves and two fishes. He was able to do that because number one He looked to heaven. He wasn’t looking to the government, the corporate world, the rich, the educational system, the justice system or even the church to take care of those in the desert place. Rather He looked to “Our Father which art heaven”. He then divided what He had among those around Him that day. Miraculously everyone was fed and there was way more left over than Jesus even started with.

The way to succeed in whatever you are doing is to love the LORD with all your being by looking to heaven and then loving your neighbor as your self. You will always end up with more than you begin with when you implement and practice this on simple principle of the Kingdom of Heaven.

He is Jehovah-jireh!

No Offense

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Psalm 119:165

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Do I love the law of God? What is the law of God? Is it even possible to remember all of the laws of God?

When Jesus walked this earth He was questioned one day by a certain lawyer as to what was the greatest thing he could do in order to be pleasing to the LORD. Jesus answered that we are to love the LORD with all our being and then love our neighbor as ourselves. In Matthew 22:40 Jesus says, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”.

It may be said then, that if I can’t find peace in a situation and I am offended, it is because I have not yet embraced Christ’s love with all my being and I have not yet choose to love my neighbor as myself. I’m not talking about loving the wrong that someone is doing but rather choosing to love the person.

I am eternally grateful that Jesus Christ choose to love me and die for me on Calvary’s Cross even though I had plenty of wrong going on in my life. He gave His life for me because I had wrong, error and darkness in my life and needed Him and not because I was a good person who deserved it. Yet I am so quick to condemn someone and “write them off” when they commit wrong against me. Oh how unlike Christ we are!

The thing is that when someone does me wrong it offends me and I feel justified in those feelings because they are the one that is wrong. It’s difficult to see where I am lacking when I feel so justified because they did such a horrible thing to me. Yes it was horrible but it certainly doesn’t make sense to descend into their wrong when I could live above it in the love of God. Do you prefer living in offense or in love?

It doesn’t make their wrong right and doesn’t mean I must continue to submit to the wrong of someone else. It just means I live above that wrong in a place of no offense as Jesus did on the cross when He said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

Dear Jesus please teach me to love as you do.

Waste Places

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Isaiah 51:3

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

The LORD had said to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

The LORD fulfilled His promises to Abram. He changed Abram into Abraham and Abraham became a rich man spiritually and naturally. Yet in between the time Abram left Haran and the time when the LORD’s promises were fulfilled to Abram, he went through many experiences and was gradually molded by the Potter’s hands into Abraham, the vessel the LORD had appointed for him to be. A vessel of blessing to all the families of the earth.

In Isaiah 51 we are instructed to “look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”

There was a day when the LORD spoke to us and we left the presence of our Father in heaven above and then were born into this world. Between the time we left the presence of the Heavenly Father until we return one day we will go through many things. Some of those things will be pleasurable and some will be painful. This we can count on though, the LORD will fulfill all of His promises to us.

As we submit ourselves to the hands of the Potter, let us look unto the rock from whence we were hewn and unto the hole of the pit from whence we were digged for surely we are being fashioned into vessels of honor. Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”

God cannot lie. Look at the substance He began with when He first began to fashion and form us. He began with good substance, even the substance of Himself. Look at hole of the pit you came out of. It was God Himself. He is going to comfort you and make your wilderness like the Garden of Eden.

May it so be even as you have commanded, blessed God Almighty.

Love of Pleasure

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Proverbs 21:17

He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

The love of pleasure is a sure road to destruction and destitution. As the rich man in Luke 12:18 died and lost everything, including his soul, after he expressed his love of pleasure by saying,” This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods”, so shall we experience destruction and destitution when we seek pleasure of self instead of the LORD’s pleasure in our life.

We are commanded clearly in God’s Word to love the LORD with all our being and our neighbor as our self. Therefore the love of pleasure results in a poor outcome. The soul who seeks God’s pleasure by loving the LORD with all their being and loving their neighbor as their self, with whatever riches they have, is the soul that goes to sleep at night with an inexplicable satisfaction and pleasure that is beyond understanding.

There was a certain ruler in Luke 18 who had kept the commandments from his youth but was instructed by Jesus that he needed to sell all that he had and distribute to the poor in order to have treasure in heaven. This certain ruler was trying to love the LORD with all his being but was still lacking in loving his neighbor as himself.

There was another time when the disciples were faced with feeding five thousand men, beside women and children. All the food that the disciples had available to them came to five loaves of bread and two fish. As Jesus gave thanks for the food that was available and distributed it to the hungry it was miraculously multiplied and there was more left over at the end than they started out with.

The one that is truly rich is the one who loves the LORD with all their being and loves their neighbor as their self. Jesus please teach us to love as you do.

Who I Am

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1 John 3:1-3

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Did you ever think, “How can they treat me like that”? We can work as hard as we possibly can and yet someone in a trusted position in our life does their best to thwart, disrupt or undermine our efforts to do right. We feel like if they just understood who were and what we were doing they would, at the least, give us the common courtesy and respect you would give any human being.

According to God’s Word the Father hath bestowed His love upon us and we should be called the sons of God. We are not the Only Begotten Son of God born to a virgin but we are one of the sons of God. That’s why that in Matthew 6 we are taught to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven”. We have been adopted into the brotherhood because of our Father’s love that He hath bestowed upon us.

So that poor soul that seems set on destroying you doesn’t know who you are. If they really knew who the Father was they would know who you are as one of the sons of God. “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

The world didn’t know who Jesus Christ was either and Jesus was stood up and tried, convicted and executed publicly as a criminal. Yet it was the deplorable acts of cruelty and hatred that released the stream of love, also known as Jesus’ blood, that brought forgiveness of sin and salvation to as many as will receive it.

So how do I accomplish this purifying that the Bible teaches? I do it by choosing to not look on what someone did to me but rather by choosing to look on what Jesus Christ did for me. “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”. When I look upon Jesus I am changed to be like Him. That is an awesome tool to possess!

Dear blessed Jesus please teach me to look on what you have done for me and not on what others have done to me.

Meekness Brings Peace

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Psalm 37:11

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Spurgeon refers to Psalm 37 as “The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous”. This Psalm has also been understood as a prayer of the persecuted who has taken refuge in the temple or figuratively of refuge in God. This verse was cited by Jesus Himself during His sermon on the mount in Mathew 5:5. Psalm 37 is a great explanation of how to rid our lives of negativity and live in peace in the midst of all the turmoil of this life.

Simply put the Psalmist is saying that if we live in meekness we will have an abundance of peace. While it certainly seems in these days that many people find pleasure and fulfillment and thrive on living in turmoil and stress, I am not one of those. Although there will always be conflict and confrontation in this life, I believe we can exhibit meekness and have an abundance of peace even when walking through conflict and confrontation.

To be meek is to be humble and lowly. What better example could we possibly look for other than Jesus Christ Himself. When on public trial with His life hanging in the balance Jesus exhibited the ultimate meekness before Pilate. Matthew 27:13-14, “Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.”

It is one thing to speak up and defend the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and an entirely different thing to attempt to convince someone that I am righteous and without sin in a situation. Although it seems counterintuitive, it is when I humbly place my faith and trust in God Almighty that an abundance of peace floods my life and I can stand before my accusers knowing that I am a child of the Most High God and He loves me and will never leave me nor forsake me. Jesus alone is worthy of all our praise, blessed be His great Name.

Little Children

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Matthew 18:3

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

We must become as little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Little children are trusting, dependent and forgiving. Little children trust their parents to take care of them, protect them and provide for them. Little children are dependent upon their parents for food, shelter and clothing. Little children are forgiving and immediately forgive the pain of being corrected by their parents, the pain of accidentally falling and skinning their knees or the pain of another child pushing them down or taking something from them.

Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of heaven we must be converted and become as little children. We must become trusting, dependent and forgiving. We must be converted to become trusting, dependent and forgiving when our heavenly Father allows the situations and circumstances of life to teach us and direct us into the place where we can learn of Him.

To be converted means to turn oneself. Mary had this experience at the tomb of Jesus in John 20:16. The Bible says, “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” She turned herself or she was converted from the pain and death she was looking at to see the resurrected Jesus whom she immediately recognized as her Master.

So I know I have experienced conversion in a situation when I recognize that Jesus has been resurrected and He is my Master and not the pain of life that I may be experiencing at the moment.

Blessed Jesus teach me turn and see you instead of the pain and grief of humanity.

Arise

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Psalm 10:12

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.

In verse 1 of this chapter the Psalmist had cried out, “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” As the great Charles Spurgeon so rightfully said, the refiner is never far from the furnace when he is refining his gold and scripture says in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” In fact the LORD walked in the fiery furnace with the 3 Hebrew children in their time of refining.

By verse 12 the Psalmist had grown in his faith and trust in the LORD and no longer felt like the LORD was standing afar off and instead of questioning the LORD he speaks directly to the LORD, “Arise, O LORD”.

In verse 1 the Psalmist was more concerned with others and now in verse 12 he has grown and is concerned with himself. “Arise, O LORD”.

This word arise was used by the LORD when He spoke to Abraham in Genesis 13:17 when He said, “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” The Psalmist was asking the LORD to arise inside of himself.

When we find ourself in the midst of the fiery furnace or in the Lion’s Den as God’s people have done over the years, we can rest assured that the LORD is there with us although our humanity will have doubts. Let us not walk after the flesh but rather walk after the Spirit and as the Psalmist did, let us say, “Arise, O LORD”. Arise O LORD and walk through our heart and our being, refine us and create in us a clean heart for it is in thee that we place all our faith and trust.

Peace of God

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Romans 5:1-2

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

My faith or my trust and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteous death on Calvary’s cross puts me at peace with God. When I am lacking peace in my life, the first step for me to find that peace is to return to the foot of that old rugged cross. There is a peace of God that passeth or excels and goes beyond all understanding and it is found at Jesus’ cross.

When I have found and tasted that peace with God, the understanding of what is happening all around me is not necessary. I will gladly walk through the misunderstanding all over again to find the peace of God that floods my soul when I am at the foot of the cross. Divine, infinite and inexplicable peace so great that I don’t care if I ever understand the situation that brought me into the grace and hope I have discovered!

Jesus was misunderstood and persecuted by His own people and the religious leaders of His day and yet He stood in great peace as He was publicly tried and convicted of blasphemy. It was one of His own, Judas Iscariot, whom Jesus had loved, taught and walked with who sold Him out for thirty pieces of silver. In John 13:27 Jesus said to Judas, “And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.”  Jesus didn’t try to stop Judas or change Judas mind. Jesus knew that misunderstanding and betrayal was the door into the grace and peace of God. That thou doest, do quickly!

As this world accelerates its downward spiral into misunderstanding and betrayal I would say to you that there is a peace that passeth all understanding when we enter the grace of God that is found only at the foot of the cross of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Place your faith in Jesus’ death for you and enter into His peace today. Accept His love and forgiveness and discover an infinite peace beyond all understanding.