Monthly Archives: March 2019

March 31; Choose Today

Joshua 22-24

Most of us would probably say we are Christians. People who are not Christians will very often agree there is a God, or at least a higher power out there somewhere. Even those who say there is no God have something in common with the rest of us:

We all worship.

It might be self, or a job, or a philosophy, education, reputation, relationships, or something else. We all worship, serve, give honor to, adore, bow to someone or something. Worship is in our DNA.

Joshua challenges us to define our worship here in these chapters today. Choose today who you will serve. I am reminded of Matthew’s statement that a man can’t serve two masters. (Matthew 6) He’ll end up loving one and hating the other, or at least obeying one over the other, I know he was talking about money. But can’t we exchange “mammon” for anything else that would have the potential of taking the place of God?

I am also reminded that God will often describe himself as a jealous God. He will not accept second place, ever. He will not share the honor that is due him.

So after giving this some thought, here is what I choose:

I choose the Holy, all-powerful, eternal God of the Bible. I choose His Son Jesus Christ. I reject the politically correct god of our modern day. I reject the tolerant, love-god that many have fashioned for themselves. I choose the One True God over myself, my family, over the approval of the world.

Joshua said, even if you reject God you need to define what it is you worship. You might be surprised.

As for me, I will serve the Lord.

 

March 30; A Candle In The Window

Joshua 19:32-21:45; I Chronicles 6:54-81

Joshua instructed the tribes to assign cities for the Levites. Remember, the Levites did not receive an inheritance of land in Canaan. God Himself was their portion. But they had to live somewhere.

As a result, sprinkled throughout the Promised Land, there were forty-eight cities designated as Levitical towns. The Levites were the sanctuary protectors, the priests, the Truth authorities. And God made sure they were accessible to everyone in the country.

Matthew Henry says this about the Levitical cities we read about here in Joshua:

“Thus God set up a candle in every room of his house, to give light to all his family.” (Commentary In One Volume; Zondervan; 1991; page 235)

I like that analogy. I’m reminded Jesus called Himself the Light of the world. (John 8:12) And in Matthew 5 He tells us WE are the light of the world and should never hide our light under a bowl. Before He went back to heaven, Jesus told us to go into all the world, to share the Gospel and make disciples. In other words, to shine our light!

I think God would have us consider our spiritual wattage. Are we, as children of God through the blood of Jesus, shining His light into a world that desperately needs Him? If not, why not?

May we each be that candle through the window that bids people come to the Light which is Jesus Christ.

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

March 29; What’s Stopping You?

Joshua 16:1-19:31; I Chronicles 4:24-33

The Israelites had crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. For some, that was enough. I find it interesting, and a bit sad, that only five of the twelve tribes got busy to take what was their’s. The other seven tribes, for whatever reason, seem to be satisfied with where they were.

Some of Joseph’s descendants complained they’d have to cut down some trees to occupy their portion, and expressed fear concerning the strength of the enemy they’d need to conquer. Joshua, in reply kind of said, “Get over yourselves.”

Some of the other tribes needed Joshua to come up with a detailed plan before they followed through.

So, considering your own spiritual Promised Land, which tribe do you most identify with? Are you one who dives in, who is always learning, and growing, and serving our great God? Is your walk with the Lord everything He wants it to be as you move ahead in faith and defeat the enemy that would prevent you from enjoying God in your life to the fullest?

Do you seem to be more like the tribes who didn’t move ahead, seemingly unsure of what to do, or content with the status quo?

Or maybe you, like Joseph’s clan see the enemy and think it’s too hard to step out in faith, to do the work required to gain the land? Does the thought of disciplining yourself to be in God’s Word every day, to live a life set apart, to resist sin, to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus just too hard?

As a child of God through the blood of Jesus, God wants you to live a vital, blessed, life with Him at the center. It doesn’t just happen. You can live on the outskirts, missing out on the benefits of an active relationship with Him. But He promises to be with you, to guide you, to be your friend and advocate. God wants to bless you with Himself.

What’s stopping you?

 

March 28; Focus on the Future.

Joshua 13-15

Joshua was 85 years old, and felt as strong as he’d felt decades earlier. He was ready to take the Promise Land, to lead the Israelites into battle after battle, and to finally realize what God had promised them centuries earlier. The man doesn’t seem to be slowing down in his old age.

It reminds me that all of us have things to do in Christ’s kingdom. But sometimes we old folks get stuck in the past. We remember the good old days and lament their passing. We know things were better back then, we had more energy back then, people listened to us better back then. Some of us get a bit smug thinking we’ve done our time, now it’s someone else’s turn. We hit a certain age and think it’s time to retire.

I’m sure the Israelites were glad Joshua didn’t have that attitude.

Joshua was an old dude. But he wasn’t wasting time looking back. And neither should we.  Whether you are an octogenarian like Joshua, or a busy mom in her thirties; newly retired, or someone just beginning a career, God has something for you to do. You are a vital part in His kingdom, a vessel through which He wants to reveal Himself.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to look back. In fact, I believe we’re missing something if we don’t. But I think God would have us consider our focus. If our focus is on the past, how can we move ahead? If we focus on the past, we will miss what God has in store for us today.

What ministry would God have you undertake? What has He gifted you with that He wants you to use for His glory? You might not be able to teach pre-schoolers anymore. But I bet you can use the phone to be an encourager to someone.  You might not be able to show hospitality to strangers as easily as you used to, but I imagine you can sing in the choir, or fold the bulletins, or sew on a button. You can do ANYTHING God has gifted you to do.

Let’s learn something from Joshua who didn’t think being 85 was any reason to slow down. Let’s find out what God would have us do for His glory. Forget the aches in our joints, or the shaking of our hands. Forget using our jobs and our families as excuses for sitting back. As God wants to move ahead in 2019 let’s figure out what we can do.

And then let’s do it!

March 28; Why Not?

Joshua 10-12

Joshua had been tricked into making a treaty with the enemy, now he was in a position to have to defend them. From God’s perspective, they’d been people the Israelites should have eliminated in order to gain the Promised Land. But Joshua, without consulting God, had made them allies.

God had every right to tell Joshua, “You got yourself into this mess. Don’t expect me to bail you out. Call me when it’s over.” God didn’t say anything close to that. In fact, what He did is one of the most amazing miracles recorded in the Bible.

But it’s not the miracle that speaks to me in this passage. It’s Joshua’s prayer. Joshua didn’t just ask God to help him win the war. He asked God to stop the sun and moon. And, he didn’t just pray that prayer in the privacy of a closet. He prayed that prayer in front of all Israel.

Who thinks of asking for anything so outrageous as stopping the sun and moon? God seems to be asking, “Why not?”

I think sometimes my prayers are way too small. It’s not that I don’t think God can make a cancerous tumor disappear. Is it that think He won’t? It’s not that I think God can’t provide, or overcome circumstances.  Maybe it’s that I don’t think it’s His will.

Joshua has challenged my prayer life. What should I be praying for today that hasn’t even crossed my mind until now? I never would have thought to pray that God would stop the sun. I’m asking myself…

Why not?

 

March 26; It Ain’t Easy

Joshua 7-9

If you are a Christian, I’m sure you pray that God will reveal sin in your life. Those of us who love God want to please Him, and we know sin in any form does not please God. But I’ve found sometimes I pray that God will reveal sin, hoping He doesn’t. Because when God puts a finger on sin in my life, it requires me to do something about it.

There was sin in Israel, and what I see here in Joshua is that God pealed away this sin one layer at a time, until He got at the heart of the matter. Then the Israelites had a choice. Deal with it, or do the easy, humane, “loving” thing and allow the guilty to survive. I can’t think it was easy for any of them to remove the sin from among them.

If you ask God to reveal a sin, He will do it. That’s a prayer I’m sure God loves answering because that sin builds a wall between us and God that He wants removed for love of us. So don’t pray that prayer unless you are ready to address the sin. No matter the cost.

If you are a Christian, if you are interested in having your relationship with God be everything it can be, then ask Him to reveal sin in your life. Let Him peal away the layers, get rid of all your defenses until He gets at the heart of your sin. He will do it.

Then ask Him to forgive you. Be ready to change, to walk away, to stop doing that which God calls sin. Sometimes that’s not easy to do. But faced with the reality of your sin, and not repenting is a very serious thing.

The example in Joshua tells us they eliminated sin completely, didn’t hold on to any piece of it. And they were blessed because they did. It couldn’t have been easy. But it had to be done.

Let’s determine the same. It ain’t easy.

But it’s worth it.

March 25; Next

Joshua 3-6

I was thinking about Joshua today and wondered what he thought about his new position as leader of the nation of Israel. Forty years earlier as a spy, he had encouraged the people to take the land. We know they chickened out, and as a result wandered around in the wilderness for decades. But now it was time to go into the land God had promised to give them.

It’s very likely Joshua was close to Moses during the wandering years. We know from Deuteronomy 33 Joshua was with Moses when Moses shared his song in front of the people. In Deuteronomy 34 Moses commissioned Joshua with the laying on of hands. What I see is Moses mentoring Joshua, teaching him to be a leader, introducing him to leadership by degrees. I think it’s a picture of discipleship at its finest.

I trust you who have walked with the Lord for a while are involved in discipleship, coming along side a new Christian, teaching and encouraging them, and helping to prepare them for leadership opportunities.

It was 40 years before Joshua was given the responsibility of leading God’s people. I think sometimes new Christians are eager to jump in and be teachers, youth workers, and take on leadership roles in the church. Who wants to dampen their enthusiasm? Not me. And, hey, if they want to do that stuff, why not? I’m tired.

Yet, it would appear that God places value on the growing years before a child of His takes on the important role of leader. Paul is an example of that. Even Jesus went into the wilderness before beginning his ministry. Often God tells us to be still, to wait on the Lord before we jump into battle.

If you are a seasoned Christian, I urge you to reach out to a new Christian. Be the Moses to him or her as you teach them, encourage then, and prepare them for what comes next.

And if you are a new Christian, let me suggest you find that seasoned Christian who will invest themselves in your growth.

I said I wonder what Joshua felt as he stood before the people as their new leader. I can only imagine he felt humbled, scared, yet prepared and determined. After all, he had had a pretty great example to follow, a mentor worthy of imitating. Joshua was ready for what came next because God had given him time to prepare.

I pray that we will all be working together, young Christian and old, to prepare for what comes next.