Joshua 6 Part 2–God Exalts Joshua

It was the last day of Jericho. The people had followed Joshua’s lead and did exactly what God commanded.  The city fell.  The people of Israel gathered the God , Silver and Bronze and stored it in God’s treasury while everything else was destroyed.  Rahab, the prostitute that hid the spies and helped them to escape, was saved and she and her family brought safely to Israel’s camp; where she spent the rest of her life as a member of God’s people, and ultimately a member of Jesus’s family tree.

Joshua made sure that all was completed according to God’s command and then cursed the rebuilding of Jericho. God used this first epic battle to set the stage for what was to be the complete victory for His chosen people.  

The last sentence of the chapter, speaks volumes, “The Lord was with Joshua and his fame was in all the land.” Joshua did not care about his personal fame. He was focused upon trusting and honoring God. As he followed God’s lead and honored God’s name–the Lord exalted Joshua.  He prepared Joshua for the campaign, God provided all that Joshua needed to win the victory and God then allowed the world to know that Joshua was God’s man with access to all that God would provide to complete the victory.

During difficult times and horrendous odds, we need to trust God even more.  He is the victory. God leads, and God directs us to a place of victory and peace even when the odds are not with us.  Israel lost no one, and Jericho was completely destroyed. 

We need God’s same leadership through these most difficult days.  Please join me in prayer as we seek God’s healing of this great nation.  The enemy would love to see us destroy one another–but, that is not God’s plan for His people. If we will trust God and seek Him, He will direct our path and heal our land!

God Bless You


On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. 17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.[b] Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” 20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.

22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. 24 And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
    lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
    shall he set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

Jehovah Rapha–The God That Heals–Exodus 15, 1Chronicles 7, Matthew 9

As we learn the many names and attributes of our Lord, we realize that the names simply reinforce the fact that God is complete in every way and meets all of our needs. In our lives, it is a great thing that God is a God of healing. Since the fall of man, we lost the ability to be immortal.  Then, after the flood, people’s bodies became more and more frail and limited in life.  From the time of Noah when Methuselah lived almost a thousand years, peoples lives have diminished to the point that they now average 80 years.

In the midst of the reality of our mortality, God reminds us that he is available to heal us.  The  healing of our bodies, our souls and our spirits become a wonderful gift from a wonderful God.  In our lives, we can never underestimate the great healing and restorative power of God.  In James 5, James tells us to pray and anoint the sick, so that God will heal them. 

Jesus, in his ministry to show men the character of God, went village to village healing the sick and raising the dead.  He brought hope to the hopeless  and peace to those living in chaos.  That aspect of Jesus ministry–literally changed the live of many and established Jesus authority as God. (Matthew 9:5).  Our God heals and restores us physically, spiritually and mentally and emotionally–not simply because he can…but, because that is who he is.

God Bless You

Exodus 15

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

 

1 Chronicles 7

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
 
Matthew 9
 
But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you harbor evil in your hearts? 5Which iseasier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”…

Table for 5000 Please–John 6 Part 1

Can you imagine the staggering impact Jesus’ question must have had on the disciples…How are we going to feed these folks. The buzz among his men must have been a mixture of shock and awe.  Clearly, there was no way either economically or logistically for the disciples to feed this crowd.  Yet, they have seen Jesus do amazing things every day.  So the brainstorming begins–it will take a half year’s salary, but that does not even deal with who will have that kind of supply! Andrew found a boy with a fish–kid’s meal–I am sure Jesus smiled at that one and said, “Okay, that should work!”

Remember, this same Jesus called the universe into being.  Light, earth, vegetation, sea creatures, birds, land animals and ultimately man. He has turned water into wine.  He has healed the sick, raised the dead, made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He has cleansed lepers, and astounded Rabbi’s–So what’s a little bread and fish among friends!!!

We need to remember–God has faced countless and impossible challenges for thousands of years.  He can handle the big ones like parting a sea or feeding a mob.  But, he takes equal care in  protecting his kids and meeting their needs.  He gets giddy about feeding a family.  But nothing brings him more joy than restoring that eternal bond with one of his own. We do not always know how God will execute his plan, but, with a little faith, we can rest easy that he is absolutely going to do so with excellence and power. What a guy to have a picnic with…right?

God Bless You

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Told Ya So, Part 2-Genesis 42, Continued

As Joseph received his first glimpse of the character of his brothers, the jury was still out.  Clearly, the brothers now knew their treatment of Joseph was wrong–but was it wrong because they may now have to pay a price, or was it wrong because they sealed an innocent boy’s fait. That is what Joseph needed to know.  As he listened, they clearly pointed fingers at one another placing blame, but they also at least intimated they were the reason for their own problems.  a beginning of recognition and repentance.  It broke Joseph’s heart, but, it also gave him some hope for their future.

We all fail! When we are willing to take responsibility and face our failure, that recognition and repentance begins the restoration in our lives.  Like any parent, God loves us and wants nothing more than to forgive and move forward. In order for him to do that, however, we have to be willing to be open, honest and submissive to his leadership.  There is no room for placing blame on others, there is simply the choice to submit and honor our Heavenly father.  It is tough, it is humbling–but it transforms us into his image so we can claim with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live–but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

God Bless You

They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”

22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

24 He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.

25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”

Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

Keep Moving–2 Thes 2 part 1

We are constantly hoping for Christ’s return.  In this life, we face challenges, trials and temptations that make staying here more of a chore than a pleasure.  As our culture continues to remove God from all aspects and replace it with self or other created things, we see continued chaos and despair.  We wonder about the world we are leaving for our kids and pray Christ will return soon.

Take heart–Christ is still in charge.  He still loves us and provides, prepares and protects us until we either join him or he returns.  He gives us the strength to face the journey we are taking and the hope of spending eternity with him.  But, we simply cannot sit around and wait for the sign of his coming back.  We must live each day to honor him  and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of his gospel.  When he returns, it will be obvious–we have not missed it.  But, we cannot live as though that is all that matters.  Help me, Lord to live in a way that honors you and prepares me for your return.

God Bless You

 

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

God’s Children-Galatians 3 Final

Being someone’s child is not a thing you do—it is simply a function of who you are. The reason God has chosen to make us his children is to free us from the bondage of performance.  The “Children of Israel” followed God from Egypt to the promise land and through the desert for 40 years and, as the bible records, did not behave very well.  None the less, God’s commitment to them never diminished, he always stuck with them.

When Christ came and gave himself for us, he simply expanded the relationship from a national commitment to one that crossed all boundaries. If we follow him, we will be his kid’s. He will love and care for us as a father does. He will make no distinction related to race, gender, tradition or other human distinction. He simply adopts you as you are–to allow you to become free from human bondage and prepared for an eternal life with him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it best, “If anyone is in Christ they are new creations; the old is gone-the new has come.” Trust him and become a Child of God not a slave to the world and its rules.

God Bless You

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

It’s Friday–Mark 15 Final

Tony Campolo, renowned evangelist, did an Easter Sermon called, “ It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a Comin’!” That Sermon conveyed the essence of the agony and Joy related to the cross.  As Jesus hung alone on the cross—beaten beyond recognition, all around him were degrading him, harassing him and relishing the joy of his demise. The sky grew dark and Jesus cried out for the Father—whom, for the only time in eternity was not with Jesus. The physical pain was so minor compared to the separation from God. That separation was the very emptiness all who are without faith experience—except, that Jesus had been united with the Father for all eternity. It was clearly a Dark Day, that Friday.  But—Sunday was a comin’!  Jesus had bridged the gap separating God from men.

 The epic nature of Jesus sacrifice is as compelling today as it was 2000 years ago—our need for Jesus is as great today. The opposition to submitting to him is as strong.  But, when we realize he loves us and wants to restore our relationship with God—It is the greatest decision of our lives.  We need to understand the great sacrifice that occurred that Friday, but we also need to embrace the incredible freedom it restored.  We are loved and blessed.  We simply have to accept the gift his death provided.  It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a comin!

 God Bless You

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,[d] and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Who’s your Family–Mark 3 final

When one is at war, the enemy will use every means possible to destroy us.  As Jesus ministry was growing and his message reaching the world—the enemy was using the religious establishment to bring him down. Jesus was wise o the attacks and met them without any concern.  So, the enemy had to change tactics.  He brought Jesus’ family to bring him down.  What a dirty trick.  But Jesus, in his wisdom, net the challenge with grace and honor.  He knew the enemy would use all means to destroy him and refused to submit to his strategy.—Who is my family??  Those who follow the Fathers will.

In our lives, it is not much different.  The enemy attacks us at our greatest vulnerabilities.  Our jobs, our families our churches…He will use anyone or anything to disrupt our walks or ministries. We must remain vigilant—we remain in his word and in prayer and as we are attacked, we realize the battle is not against people or circumstances; but, against an enemy that wants to destroy us.  That is why we are told to be on guard as our enemy prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour.  Help me Lord to be aware, and vigilant.

God Bless You

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[b] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Let’s Get to It–Mark 1 part 4

Jesus preparation was done, his followers were coming aboard and his reputation growing in the community—time to go to work.  Jesus began his ministry by healing the sick and breaking the chains of possession by Satan.  It is quite revealing, however, that along with the highlights on miracles, Mark reports about Jesus’ personal time in prayer. It is no coincidence that after a day of ministry, Jesus headed out to be alone with the Lord.  It was as important to his mission and ministry as was his followers or his miracles.

We often forget that our walk with the Lord is the key to our doings for the Lord.  When we tie our personal relationship to activities and actions, it is easy to stop spending time in the word and in prayer.  But, the time alone with God is the key to successful ministry—Jesus knew that and demonstrated that from the start.  Martin Luther, the priest that started the reformation of the Catholic Church, used to say that because  of his hectic schedule he would have to spend an extra hour in prayer…He understood the nature of warfare.  No matter what is ahead, failure to prepare for battle and to arm yourself properly is a certain recipe for disaster.

Doing ministry and facing trial and temptation is a huge part of the Journey, but, personal time in God’s word and prayer are the critical part of your faith and walk with him.

God Bless You

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

I Samuel 16 part 3–God Looks at the Heart

The great thing about worshipping and serving the Lord is that God focuses upon what is in our heart.  How we look and what we wear does not affect how we are perceived by God.  From the beginning of time, God has always focused on the condition of our heart.  Most times, that is a great indicator of what our impact on the world will be. It was not that David, son of Jesse was an ugly oaf—scripture said he was healthy and handsome. The difference was that David was passionate about God.  His heart was as beautiful as was his person.

In our lives, we are perceived by how we appear on the outside.  What we wear, how we look and what we own often make a big contribution to how we are perceived. But, now, as then, the condition of our heart and not our appearance are what is most significant to God.  He wants us to trust him, follow him and seek him.  As we do that he provides guidance and direction.  As we diligently seek him, he walks with us and meets our needs.  We simply need to focus on our heart and allow God to lead us to freedom and bless us with his hand. 

God Bless You

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.