The Faith of Joshua and Caleb

Warrior

WarriorWhat was the faith of Joshua and Caleb?. The same faith that made David stand before the giant  Goliath and say ” who is this uncircumcised philistine that He should stand against the people of God?”

1 Samuel 17:26

Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

In the time of the Exodus 12 spies were sent into the land promised to the people of Israel when they came from Egypt.   Ten of them said yes, the land is flowing with Milk and Honey, but there are giants in the land and we cannot come against them. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb saw the same thing, but they KNEW the promise of God would overcome all enemies and all giants and everything that would stand against them. But the people of God quailed and did not do what God commanded. And so they were left to wander the wilderness until that weak generation died off, and a new generation born to trial took its place and followed Joshua into the promised land.

How much is today’s Christian sitting on their haunches, afraid or willing to speak the hard truth to a wandering generation because they fear the reprisal and disapproval?  This world is literally going to hell in a hand basket, and the only ones who can show them a better way have allowed themselves to be bullied and shamed into hiding that saving light under a basket.

We , the whole world, could user a little the boldness of Joshua and Caleb right now, because it doesn’t matter what giants face us, we are marching on the orders of God.  It is time to put on your big boy and girl pants ( or as the bible says gird your loins) and put on the Armor of God and Go out into the world, your community your home, and make a stand for Jesus.

Because if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

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Be Still And Know That I Am God

wave
wave

Surrounded by trouble, somewhere there is a light

There are times I feel like chicken little, when an acorn to falls on my head and I think the sky is falling. Over reacting and panicking when there is little to be afraid of. Then there are times when we face great disaster with dire consequences where it would not be possible to over react to the impending doom that hangs over us, restrained only by the thinnest of threads.  In both cases the Christian response  should be the same.

“Be Still and know that I am God”

Each Christian should hold fast to the reality that it is God that is is in control of our life, and orders its days and outcome. He is God, and his way is supreme.   It doesn’t matter the evil man has planned, God will surely turn it for the good of his people. Though for a time we might endure a trial to get there.

We know that joseph grew up in the favor of his father Jacob who delighted in him. He was adorned with a special coat of many colors, surely his life was blessed. Until one day his brothers fell upon him and took it all away and sold him into slavery. Abandoned by his family and fallen from the favor of his father, Joseph was bereft and alone, but what was his response?

“Be Still and know that I am God”

We know how the story ends, through the tests of Joseph a family was saved, and because a family was saved, a nation was born, a nation accustomed to both happiness and tears. Because of a nation that was born, a Messiah was born that saved all who would come to Him. Because God takes the long view, and knows that a season of suffering can reap a bounty of eternal life

As Joseph tells his brothers: (Gen 50: 20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

“Be Still and know that I am God”

Today our country faces what seems to be disaster as the people who would like to destroy God and his morality seem to be taking power…but never forget, God is in control, and he is taking the long view. so what should be our response when we face and see the trial that is coming?

“Be Still and know that I am God”

God has it all in his hands, and if we face a season of suffering, it will bring a bountiful harvest of blessings.  Trust God, rejoice in Him and His promises to us and let not your heart be troubled.

“Be Still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
A[a] very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the [b]midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the [c]tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be [d]moved;
God shall help her, just [e]at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

 

 

 

 

 

Contending for the faith

Contending For The Faith

Jude is a small book in the bible. But it makes an important point,  that being we need to contend for the faith.

Jude 1 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction;[d] 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[e] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

It may be very politically incorrect and socially frowned upon to speak against certain sins (not the sinners) in today’s society, but only by speaking the truth of God in these situations can salvation be had.  If you contend for the faith and speak God’s truth in these situations you will be called haters and reviled, for some of these surely do not want to hear the truth. But some will. Some are dying to hear the truth.

The prophets of old contended for the faith, and they were hated

The apostles contended for the faith and they were hated

and the saints between that time and now who contended for the faith we also hated.

by men.

But they were loved and blessed of God, and people in those sins were saved.

Surely it is not everyone’s dream job to be reviled and hated by men, to speak the truth, to contend for the faith is not an easy task. But it is an important task.

If you can’t find it in yourself to stand up and take the fore front in this endeavor, you must at least make sure you do NOT roll over the the prevalent lies of today’s society

A compromising Christian is a lukewarm Christian, who God will not abide. If the bible says something is wrong, we cannot say “I don’t see anything wrong with it”.  If the bible says it happened a certain way (ie creation) we can not say “I don’t think the bible is literal”

Contend for the faith. if not proactively, then defensively. Do not roll over to the modern thinking of men.

1 Timothy 6:  12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Thessalonians 5: 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

2nd Corinthians 10: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Fight the good fight, stand up for what is right, speak the truth some people do not want to hear, or at the very least hold the line and do not give in to the lies of the day.

 

May the Lord richly bless you this day.

 

Fervency – The Steam Of Determination

Fervancy

fer·vor
ˈfərvər
noun
intense and passionate feeling.
“he talked with all the fervor of a new convert”
synonyms: passion, ardor, intensity, zeal, vehemence, emotion, warmth, earnestness, avidity, eagerness, keenness, enthusiasm, excitement, animation, vigor, energy, fire, spirit, zest, fervency


There was a story from my childhood called “the Little Engine Who Could”. It was about a steam engine that had to drag a train up a hill, a big train. He needed coal, he needed fire and he needed water and the combination of these three things produced steam – the fervency of determination. No one thought he could do it, but with the fervor of determination “I think I can, I Think I can…..” he could and did  “I knew i could”

Life can wear you down and when you let the world come in and attach to you like a leach it can empty you of the zeal of Christ, the fervency. We must protect our fervor, we must nurture it and grow it and not let it get robbed by circumstances that can act like a relief valve and dump all of our steam. How do we do that? We produce spiritual steam. Read the word (the coal), praise the Lord (the fire), Be one with the Holy Spirit in prayer (the water) stoke them all and you will possess the steam of fervency to get your self up that hill and over that hill.

 

Romans 12: 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

The prayer that avails much has three components, effectiveness (that is inline with the word and will of God), that the prayer is righteous (that is saved) and it must be fervent, full of faith and the energy and determination that we will see it through to the end.

James 5
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

If you want to overcome that hill that has been placed before you, you must stoke your engine with the things of God

Your Father In Heaven

Father In Heaven

1 John 3:  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.


Sometimes it can be a little hard to wrap our head around what it means to have God as our Father. Most of us grew up with a earthly father or father figure, and from the stories I have heard I was extremely fortunate.

My dad was loving, caring, took time to stretch our mind, exposed us to new and wonderful experiences. Sure he wasn’t Mike Brady, but who really is. He has absolutely flavored my take on “Father” God as someone who cares, who loves, and who does not take any nonsense.

And while it is not a perfect picture of Father God, it is a good start. I didn’t have to change a lot of my thinking to embrace that I was a child of God and He was my loving Father.

Others among us do not have such a pretty picture of a father, so much so they have a hard time calling God Father, instead they call Him what they never had, daddy.

Whatever you have to do, however you have to do it, to get the reality and image of a loving God, who is not just out there, but FAMILY, loving, caring, nurturing and yes when called for, chastising, you need to find a way to fully embrace Him. Because that love is priceless and will keep you serene when the storm blows around you.

Who are you?
You are a Child of a most loving, most high God. Embrace it.

Communicating with God

Father

ourfather2The following is regarding your personal prayer, praying for others and intercessory prayer, is something else.

Matthew 6:8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

In Matthew 6 Jesus gave us a form of prayer.  You can say it as is, or you can modify and add two it. But do note very little of this prayer deals with what we need, and none of it deals with what we want.

Jesus continues to tell us that God knows what we need and what we want, and if only we will put our eyes on the Father, everything else will be taken care of

Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This prayer is broken up into 5 parts

Part 1

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Acknowledging that God is God, that he is superior, above us in all things, and in this way we humble ourselves before Him.  As the bible says God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. So first in prayer is putting ourselves in a position of humility. But more than that..this Almighty God is no stranger to us, He is no task master. He is our Father. He cares for us. He loves us, and we come to him not as supplicants or slaves, but as children

Part 2
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Placing yourself into obedience to God. Allowing HIS will to be preeminent in our lives.  THY WILL BE DONE….and again the words were said by Jesus as he faced death, “not my will but thine be done”. Obedience to the will of God, in all things

Part 3
11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Our needs, simple short and complete. Give us what we need Lord, and leaving what that is to him.

Part 4
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.

Cleanse us from our sins, forgive us our error, make us right and holy with you God. And as you forgive us, we will forgive, that is forego the right to punish, others

Part 5
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.

Help us in our walk, help keep us holy, and upright as we walk each day, knowing that while we may stumble on a daily basis, like the Mannah that sustain your people, your mercies are new every morning

And finally the reason why we pray, because He is in control, He can provide and to His Glory He will provide
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

So take heart people of God, and do not worry.  God has you in his hands and He will provide.

Waiting on the Lord

Waiting

waitingPsalms 130:5-6 “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
Psalms 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD
Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Patience may be a virtue, but sometimes it seems impossible.  But you must let the Lord have His time, because He is preparing something wonderful for you.  Like a great feast it can’t be hurried, or it simply will not be nearly as good.

Thanksgiving, is a week and a day away, and it is a perfect example in the reward of patience.

It starts the day before as side dishes are prepared and the smells of pies and stuffing fill the house, but not yet.

Then the next morning , bright and early the turkey is prepared, and stuffed, and covered with wonderful smelling spices, and then for the next six hours you are tormented by the smells most wonderful, but not yet.

Then people start coming over bringing dishes that look absolutely wonderful and smell great and they are set on the side board, all wonderful and inviting, but not yet.

Then the turkey comes out of the oven in all its golden glory and adds to the symphony of smells enticing in all its ways, but it has to sit for at least a half hour. So, not yet.

And then the moment comes when everything is ready and laid out on the table, glistening gravy, sumptuous turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, but first we have to remember why we are here! We have to give our thanks, so not yet

And then it is time to feast.  a feast made some much sweeter because of the waiting and anticipation.

Imagine if you tried to eat the turkey raw, and the potatoes in their skin….it wouldn’t be nearly as nice. So let God have his time to prepare what He is bringing you.

Besides there are his blessings and grace that will hold you in the mean time.  They are the chips and dip and cold cuts of the day. Just don’t fill up on those, because the feast is coming

When the devil pushes you down-push back

push back

Humble Resistance

runJames 4: 

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 

This fight we are fighting in our life is a curious thing. This enemy we have is only allowed to inflict us, if we allow him to.  He requires our complete acquiescence.  He knows this, and is very clever. He won’t come at you straight on, he will come at you sideways, whispering temptations and doubts in your ear, preying on your fears, your weakness and most importantly. your pride.  He has to convince you to let him in and fiddle about.   And make no mistake he is very good at his job, and on our own we easily fall victim to his machinations.

But we are not alone.   Not by a long shot. We have, if we remember, our Big Brother Jesus standing behind us, and he has already  beaten satan and our enemy wants no part of Him.  The enemy wants to lure us away from Him, from our faith and our reliance on Jesus. To pull us out to the dry places where he can push you down.

But if that old devil wants to push you down, push him back.

Submit your life to God, if you’ve been pulled away by worry, fear, desires or pride; repent! Get yourself right with Jesus, submitted to His will, then and only then can you turn around and bare your teeth at the enemy and he will flee. Don’t let the enemy snare you with his whispers and if he does, remember this scripture.

Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can beagainst us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who ishe who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Be Content Where Ever You Are.

Be Content

 

romans-8_25Philippians 4

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Matthew 3

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The message today is a simple one, where ever you are in your life, God is with you, and unless you stumbled out into the wilderness alone, He has you there for a reason. His reason.  And if you did go blundering out on your own, he is bringing you back.  So be content.

This does not mean you should have a lack of ambition or goals. It simply means you should not stew in bitterness and dissatisfaction because of where you happen to be at the moment.  God has the long view in mind and He will get you where you want to go. Most likely if you are following Him, he put those desires in your heart to begin with.  Because He knows what you want and what you need and He has chosen the best for you with those in mind.

When I was a kid, we took a trip from San Jose to Anaheim California, about eight hours.  It was the longest trip in the world, looking out the window, seeing hundreds of cows, dry land, farms and countless other monotonous images. The trip was made more intense by what was waiting at the end….Disneyland.  I could hardly stand it, soon farms gave way to freeways , and concrete vistas and yet we were still more than an hour away. I was beside myself because i didn’t not understand what I understand now. If I wanted to enjoy Disneyland, then the cows and the farms and the miles and the hours were part of that process.

Well we may be in a very uninteresting and even difficult part of our lives right now, but remember, the reward is coming, and if you can’t enjoy the moments along the way, at least be content in them knowing that in the end, its all worth it.

Be still and know that I am God

futureAs we go through life we go through trials and tests that move us to doubt, that move us to fear that move us to wonder what God has in mind, we don’t always see the purpose of what we are going through, but God does. Who better than God can decide what is best for us?  If you are in one of those trials I would encourage you, as God is encouraging me, to be still, and know that he is God.

I used to pray for my will, but then I realized God has the advantage of knowing what is down the road for us, that we don’t. The dry spells we pass through  while following Him are really for our benefit, in a way we cannot see.  Because we are not omniscient, we do know what awaits us.  All we can know is that God is with us, and he will never leave us, nor forsake us.  So trust in God. Be still and know He is God.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah