"Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lesson learned from Joshua

Good Morning!

I've finished Joshua!!  What an amazing book.  There are so many great truths and practical application to learn and apply to my own life right now.  I just want to share what I learned from Joshua and the Israelites and how God used what I learned in my own life.

One of the first truths that I read over and over again was "be strong and courageous".  Over and over again God reminded His people to be brave.  You know you don't tell someone to be brave unless you know that the future is going to be scary.  God had promised the Israelites Canaan, the promised land.  There was only one small catch....it was already occupied.  The people had to go in and fight for the land God promised.  They had to fight.  That thought keeps coming to my mind even days after I've read it.  They had to fight.  Do you see the similarity?  We, God's children, have been promised eternal life with him.  God in Jesus Christ has given us victory over sin and death and promised us a home in heaven with him.  BUT, in the meantime, we still have to fight the enemy of this world.

God told the Israelites that if they obeyed Him and keep His commandments that He would go before them and that He would be with them and that they would CONQUER their enemies.  God will do the same for us IF we obey Him and do what is right and pleasing to Him.  Some battles are going to be harder than others.  Some battles are going to leave us feeling every bit of the battle.  We're going to know that it was a battle and we'll have the scars to show for it.  Last week was such a battle for me.  It was a hard battle and an even harder lesson to learn.  I knew that during and even after that I had been whipped.  I didn't obey and I fell.  Humility is a very hard lesson to learn.  I asked God for forgiveness, and to give me the strength and wisdom not to make the same mistake twice.  I learned that I need to TRUST him and rely on His power to overcome the temptation to do things my way.

Another lesson I learned from Joshua had to do with an Israelite named Achan.  When the Israelites conquered Jericho God said that ALL the spoils belong to ME.  These were to be the firstfruits given to God for the victory.  Achan decided that didn't include him.  He took a robe along with some silver and gold and hid them under his tent. 

So, in the meantime, Joshua goes into battle with the city of Ai and is chased back and looses 36 men in the process.  WHAT? Defeated? Why?  First, Joshua didn't ask God what to do.  He sent a convoy to spy out the land.  They reported to Joshua that he didn't need to send all of his troops just a few thousand would do.  Joshua listened to the spies.  He didn't ask God what to do.  They were chased back.  Joshua started to wail against God and said why did you bring us here?  Why didn't you just leave us on the other side of the Jordon?  God told Joshua, "Israel has sinned, they have violated my covenant which I commanded them to keep."  They (Achan) had kept the things devoted for God.

ONE man's sin ruined a whole nation.  It was so easy for me to jump right in and say, "YES!" That's the problem with our family.  That's why we've had so much bad stuff happen lately.  This is all so and so's fault.  BUT, before I could even get up from the table God knocked me upside the head and said, "NO, it's not someone else's fault, it's your own heart you need to be looking". 

You know I do believe that God is capable of taking care of sin.  Why do I continually want to help him out?  I had to look at my own heart and yes God showed me the unconfessed sin in my own heart.  I needed to repent and ask forgiveness and be restored. 

Another lesson learned from Achan was what Warren Weirsbe said in his commentary.  "If Achan had just WAITED a few more days he could have had ALL the spoils of war he wanted.  You see after Achan was called out by God he was stoned and burned to death.  The people and Joshua attached Ai again and defeated them and took the spoils of war for themselves.

In our day and time waiting is not often a choice.  Decisions need to be made yesterday and everything is due NOW!!  Last week while I was discussing a decision that needed to be made with Bruce those words came immediately to my mind, "If Achan had just waited...."  So, I decided to wait and not act immediately.  Praying that God will honor my decision to wait and bless it.  "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him"  Warren Weirsbe.

One other lesson that really stood out involved Joshua.  Joshua, a faithful, steadfast believer in the One True God.  Joshua made a mistake and he didn't ask God about attacking Ai.  He was defeated.  But, I think Joshua learned a valuable lesson that day.  God went on give him the victory over Ai.  He actually used his mistake to His advantage.  It ALWAYS so encouraging to me that God showed us not only the great strengths of men like Joshua but He also showed us his weaknesses and how he STILL used Joshua to accomplish great things for Him.

The key here is OBEDIENCE and keeping God's commands to LOVE Him with ALL our heart and soul and strength and mind.  God wants to bless us and all He wants us to do is to LOVE Him so much that we're willing to pay the cost.

I shared with my son how God used His Word to help me in making a decision.  My son is not real clear about how God speaks to us through His word.  I showed him that while I was making that decision those words came to mind immediately and it helped make my decision.  We NEED desperately to be teaching our children how God works in our lives.  We need to share with them these precious moments of revelation.  We'll find as we go on to the book of Judges that the next generation of Israelites has forgotten God.  They will learn that a life without the Lord on your side is a life of bondage and despair.

"God delights "to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (wholly devoted) toward Him"  2 Chronicles 16:9

May the grace and peace of God be with you today.


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Victory is Yours

Good Morning!

"You are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting, and suppose you can have the crown without the conflict." - John Chrysostom.

In Joshua Chapter 6 we read about the fall of Jericho.  God tells Joshua and the people what they must do to take Jericho.  God had promised the Israelites the land but they still had to fight to take it.  They probably thought it was pretty silly to walk around the city once a day for six days and then seven times on the seventh day.  God's plan may have seemed foolish but God's wisdom is far greater than ours.

The Christian life is not an easy life and I'm learning that truth more and more everyday.  Becoming more like Christ and being santified is a battle. It's a hard battle!  It's a battle against the enemies in the spiritual relm (Eph. 6:10-18)  We are going to face challenges.  We are going to face situations that we wish we didn't have to face.  Our faith is going to be tested because God wants to know our heart.  He wants to know and He wants us to see that we trust Him even when we don't understand what He's doing.

When we face the battles we must be prepared.  First, we must remember that we already have victory.  We are fighting from victory, not just for victory.  Joshua was victorious because he feared the Lord.  Warren Weirsbe says, "The Christian soldier stands in a position of guaranteed victory because Jesus Christ has already defeated every spiritual enemy.  Jesus defeated Satan not only in the wilderness but also during His earthly ministry, on the cross, and in His resurrection and ascension."

Joshua also had victory because he had the promises of the Lord.  Victorious Christians know the promises of God.  We can know God's promises by reading the Bible, memorizing scriptures and then burning the truths of these promises to our hearts. We should think about them all day long.

We are going to have hard times in our life.  There will be times when we don't understand why this is happening to us.  We'll be unsure of our future.  It's times like these that God is saying I want you to trust me and I want you to know that I can take care of you. 

When the battle is over and it will be.  It may be a long, hard battle but when it's over and you've praise God for His faithfulness and His goodness, you'll see how he changed you to be more like Him.  And, that dear friends, is what this journey is all about....becoming more like Christ.

To God Be the Glory forever and forever.

The victory is yours today.  Rejoice and be glad.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Be Strong and Courageous

Good Morning!

Yeah!! I'm so excited!  I've started the book of Joshua.  It was long getting through Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy but interesting.  Brother Allan read scripture from Romans this past Sunday that I had just read in Deuteronomy.  I love how God does that; how he gets my attention to notice His word.

I started Genesis in July so I'm hoping that now the pace will pick up as I start the history of the Jewish nation.  So far, it's great and I'm looking forward to all God wants to show me.

The theme of Joshua 1 is "Be Strong and Courageous".  God tells Joshua to be strong, be courageous in verses 6, 7, 8 and 18.  In verse seven God says, be strong and very courageous.  In verse eight God says, "be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

How reassuring is that?  Joshua is taking the Israelites into a new place.  This is a place, a land where he hasn't been before.  He doesn't know what to expect, what challenges are ahead, how the people will react and how this will all end.  God knows that.  God knows Joshua's heart.  He knows Joshua's fears, his doubts.  So, God tells him over and over "be strong and courageous". 

As I read that yesterday, and I came to the part that said, "do not be terrified", it resonnated with my own heart and I could hear God speak to my heart and say, "do not be terrified".  Don't be afraid, Kelly.  You can trust Me with this.

My sister, Stephanie, posted yesterday that "God is attracted to weakness.  He cannot resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him.

It's in our weakness that we are the most afraid.  We scream "Lord, I can't do this".  And, He says, no, you can't do this in your own strength you need Me to help you."  God doesn't want those that can do it on their own without His help and direction.  God wants those of us who are afraid so that we will totally depend on Him and trust Him to do all things through us for His glory and not our own.

Yes, sometimes, a lot of the time, the things that God wants me to do scare me to death.  Thousands of excuses come to mind quickly as to why I cannot do them.  But, I hear the words He spoke to Joshua, "be strong and courageous" and I am reminded today that it is my God, the One True God, who goes before me and prepares the way if I just ask.  He will go with me and stay by my side teaching me to follow Him and obey.  Just like he told Joshua, "do not turn from it (the law) to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go." 

Don't turn away from following God and His teachings.  The blessings are in obedience.  Go and don't be afraid. 

"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy."  Psalm 126:3

May the grace of God be with you all!