Monday, October 29, 2012
Joshua 14:6-13 NLT A delegation from the tribe of Judah, led by Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb said to Joshua, “Remember what the LORD said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the LORD, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave from my heart a good report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people and discouraged them from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I followed the LORD my God completely. So that day Moses promised me, 'The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your special possession and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God. Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as He promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So I'm asking you to give me the hill country that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the Anakites living there in great, walled cities. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the LORD said.” So Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave Hebron to him as an interitance. Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the LORD, the God of Israel.
Caleb was one of the twelve spies that Moses sent in to Canaan to spy out the Promised Land. He and Joshua came back with a good report that they could take the land, but the other 10 spies came back with an evil report that instilled fear in the people by telling them of the giants in the land and how they were so small in their sight. The people rebelled at the direction of the Lord because of the evil report and as a consequence had to spend 40 years wandering around in the wilderness until all the generation that didn't believe that God would go before them and enable them to conquer the land had died off.
Now they are ready, once again, to go in and take the Promised Land that God had given them. Caleb hasn't forgotten the promise that was made to him of his inheritance in the Promised Land. All these years, 45 in total, he has been waiting to receive his inheritance. He has been patiently occupying until this day when he would be able to go in and conquer the giants in his land. He is now 85 years old.
How many of us would stand strong waiting for our inheritance of God's promises for 45 years? Many times we get tired of standing in faith for just a few months waiting until God brings into manifestation the things that He has promised us. And here was Caleb, patiently continuing to stay strong so he could one day inherit God's blessing of his inheritance. We don't hear of him griping and complaining while he's waiting, he simply continued strengthening himself so he would be ready when that day came.
It would have been easy for Caleb to give up when the Israelites were told they would wander in the wilderness for 40 years. It would have been easy for him to blame his brothers and complain about their unbelief and how it was stopping him from receiving his inheritance but you don't hear of him doing that. He simply stood strong, knowing that what God had promised He would provide.
Are you waiting for a promise from God to be manifested in your life? Will you be ready to walk into your Promised Land when that time comes? Are you blaming someone else for you not being able to receive what God has promised? These are all questions that we need to ask ourselves when it seems that God is not doing anything; when our lives seem to be going nowhere and we are continuing to walk around that same mountain over and over again. Caleb knew that if he continued to follow the Lord his God wholeheartedly that eventually that which He had promised would happen.
Hebrews 10:35, 36 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward, For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
Endurance – Greek hupomone – means constancy, perseverance, continuance, bearing up, steadfastness, holding out, patient endurance. It describes the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances, not with a passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat.
When we look at Caleb's life we see the endurance that he exhibited during those 45 years while he was waiting to receive his inheritance. It was true that he was affected by the consequences of those around him who didn't believe that God would enable them to take their Promised Land. He spent 45 years in the wilderness with them because of their unbelief. Sometimes we suffer through things that are of no fault of our own. It is true that we are affected by those around us. Caleb could have had a really bad attitude by the time he had wandered around in that wilderness for 40 years. He could have allowed bitterness to grow in his heart because he suffered at the hands of someone else. But he didn't. He continued to stay strong; he continued to follow the Lord his God wholeheartedly.
This morning you may be growing weary of waiting on God to change something in your life. I want to encourage you to be like Caleb. Don't give in to feelings of discouragement. Don't succumb to a defeatist attitude that says, “why continue to stand in faith, it's just simply not going to happen”. Don't give up just before your breakthrough comes! God is always working on your behalf, even when you can't see it.
Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Look at those who have gone before you and have stood in faith patiently waiting to receive their promises. Watch them and imitate them. We have all kinds of examples in God's word of ones who have waited years and years and finally after standing strong in faith received what God had promised them. Don't give up; the best is yet to come!
Father, I thank You for the promises that You have given each one of us. You have prepared a good plan for our lives. You have given us precious promises that we can count on You fulfilling when we stand strong in faith believing and not doubting. Father, I pray for those this morning who may be growing weary in waiting for those promises to come into manifestation. I pray that You will give them a glimpse of the good things ahead of them so they will be renewed in their faith and strengthened to continue to stand strong while they wait. Father, I pray that they will not grow weary, but will reap the promises in due season as Your word says. Grant them strength for their weariness and a renewed vision to give them hope. Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness to bring what You have promised into our lives. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Psalm 34;17-19 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
I'm so thankful this morning that I belong to a God who hears my cries for help and runs to my rescue. Trouble comes to all of us at one time or another, but those who don't know Jesus don't have the help that they need when they encounter difficulties. They are limited to their own abilities to deliver themselves out of their crisis. But, the ones who know Jesus have the help that they need; the One who knows all, sees all and is all-powerful. He is our God; He will deliver us from all our troubles.
Jeremiah 32:17, 26 'Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.' “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?”
There is nothing too difficult for our God. He holds the answers to all our problems. He understands our limitations, and He longs to give us the understanding that we need to know what to do in each problem that we encounter.
Jeremiah 33:3 'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
God promised Jeremiah that if he would call out to Him, not only would He answer him, but He would show him great and mighty things that he did not know. The word “mighty” is also translated as “unsearchable” or “fortified”. These are things that cannot be known by man's intelligence, but can only be revealed by the Lord as we call upon Him. The idea in this verse is that if Jeremiah will call upon God, He will reveal insight that only He knows; that He would give Jeremiah the keys to the wisdom of God, revealing to Him things that otherwise would be inaccessible or isolated. This type of “revelational insight” is necessary to know how to pray effectively, how to have clear understanding into a situation and how to fight spiritually when you're in a spiritual battle.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James promises that if we will ask God when we need direction or wisdom that He will give it to us liberally, or freely, without mocking or ridiculing us for asking. He is not withholding the help that we need; we simply have to seek Him for it.
James 1:6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The only requirement that we have in asking God for the help that we need is that we must ask in faith, believing that He will hear and answer our request. When we don't have faith we become like a person tossed back and forth between hope and fear. One minute we believe that God will do what He has promised in answering us and giving us the wisdom that we need and the next minute we fear that He will not do it. To doubt means to have a conflict with oneself in the sense of hesitating, having misgivings, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear. This person, the Bible records, is unstable in all his ways and will not receive from the Lord because of his wavering instability.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Without faith we can't please God. Faith is what it takes to receive from God. When we come to Him we must believe that He is our God, ready and willing to give us the help that we need. We also must believe that He rewards us when we diligently seek Him.
God is not withholding anything from us. His grace is all-sufficient, holding everything that we need, ready to be released to us as we exercise our faith to receive it. I like to think of it this way: grace is like a big bag holding what we need and the cord that releases the opening to the bag is our faith. When the faith cord is pulled the contents of what we need is opened, releasing it to us.
What do you need wisdom, direction, or understanding about today? Have you asked the Lord for it? He is ready to release it to you if you will come to Him in faith and receive.
Father, I thank You that when I call unto You, You are right there to help me. Thank You for Your grace that supplies my every need. Thank You for Your wisdom that gives me the direction to take when I am wandering around trying to find my way. Thank You for Your understanding and willingness to deliver me from all my afflictions. Father, I pray for those who may be struggling today, trying to find their way out of some type of dilemma. I ask You to direct them by Your Spirit within; that You would help them and deliver them from their problems. Thank You for giving us the help that we need. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 MESSAGE Bible But friends, you're not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You're sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let's not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let's keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we're creatures of Day, let's act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation. God didn't set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we're awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we're alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.
The times that we live in, if not approached in light of the Word of God, will have an opportunity to bring in a spirit of fear that we must guard our hearts against. We live in uncertain times, but for the believer in Christ Jesus they are exciting times. Every day that we live moves us one more day towards the coming of the Lord Jesus! How exciting is that! But our attitude towards world events and the era in which we live will determine how we walk and talk in these last days. It is important that we look forward to the coming of the Lord with faith and expectancy. He promised to return for us and He will keep His word. THE MESSAGE Bible's introduction to the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians says this:
“The Christian faith had always been characterized by a strong and focused sense of future, with belief in the Second Coming of Jesus as the most distinctive detail. From the day Jesus ascended into heaven, his followers lived in expectancy of his return. He told them he was coming back. They believed he was coming back. They continue to believe it. For Christians, it is the most important thing to know and believe about the future.
“The practical effect of this belief is to charge each moment of the present with hope. For if the future is dominated by the coming again of Jesus, there is little room left on the screen for projecting our anxieties and fantasies. It takes the clutter out of our lives. We're far more free to respond spontaneously to the freedom of God.
“All the same, the belief can be misconceived so that it results in paralyzing fear for some, shiftless indolence in others. Paul's two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica, among much else, correct such debilitating misconceptions, prodding us to continue to live forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus.”
Do you have a strong and focused sense of future, charged by faith, love and an expectancy of His return? Or do you fear what might take place tomorrow or in the future that lies ahead of you?
1 Thessalonians 5:24 MESSAGE The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!
God is not slack concerning His promises, what He has said He will do! But our walk through life is to be a walk of faith. That means that we might see the larger picture of what is going to happen, but the everyday happenings are hidden from our view so that we must trust Him to lead us through them. Our walk of faith is not a walk of always seeing and knowing what lies ahead; it is a walk that trusts God to reveal our path as we walk it out. We are to focus our eyes on Jesus and walk as He directs us through every day, encouraging one another, loving both the unsaved and the saved and sharing the expectancy of His arrival with all around us.
2 Peter 3:13-15 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, with out spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
We are supposed to be looking forward to the promise of the new heavens and new earth that await us at His return. We have the joy of His salvation within us! He has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us! What joy it will be when we see Him again, knowing that the life that we have lived here on earth will no longer have a hold on us. We will be totally free to experience our eternity with Him. For believers, we have a hope and a future that is good, but for unbelievers there is no hope and no future. Ephesians 2:12 says that they are “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and with God in the world.” The thing that we are to do as we await the return of our Lord and Savior is to tell the lost about the future that awaits both us us; ours with promise of eternal life with Jesus, theirs without hope of a future with Him. We are to be about our Father's business!
Friends, which camp are you living in today? Are you in the fellowship of the saved, the redeemed, those who look forward to the coming of the Lord with great expectation of good? Or do you live in the land of darkness, the place where there is no hope and no future expectation of good? The decision to change camps is yours. All you have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. You can change residences by simply praying and asking Jesus into your heart, believing that He is the Christ, the Messiah and that He died for you personally, so that you might have eternal life with Him in the Presence of the Father. Won't you pray that prayer today so you can know for sure that your salvation is secure in Christ Jesus?
Father, I thank You for so great a salvation that reaches down to the lost and dying and pulls them out of the muck and mire of darkness and sets their feet on the solid rock of Your love. Father, I pray today that those who read this blog will be encouraged to place their faith and trust in you, both those who already know you and those who don't. Father, today is the day of salvation! Today it is not too late for them to come to You to receive eternal life. But tomorrow might be too late. I pray that they will not enter into eternity without You. I thank You for delaying Your coming to give as many as possible the opportunity to come into the fold; into Your family. I ask that You would prepare hearts to receive You today, Lord Jesus. Knock on their heart's doors and soften them to receive you. Father, I ask You to cause those who do know You to look at the future with great expectancy of the good things that await them. Drive fear far from them and cause faith to arise with in them. Thank You, Father, for Your word and how You direct us by Your Spirit to those scriptures that will fill our hearts with hope. Thank You, Lord, for Your precious Spirit that fills us within with faith, love, and hope. To You be the glory for what You are doing in our hears and lives. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the LORD! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Did you know that when God speaks a word into your life that you will never be the same again?
Mary had a visitation from the angel of the Lord that totally changed her life. She received what He told her by faith and humbly submitted herself to God's plan for her life without questioning every detail of how it would happen or what others would think of her. By understanding her position as a servant of the Most High God, Mary was willing to pay the price to be the vessel that God would flow through to impact the world for His Kingdom. She simply responded with her desire that His will be done in her life.
“Let it be to me according to your word.”
Can you imagine what could have been going through her mind at that moment? Here she was a young teenager engaged to Joseph, ready to being her married life, and an angel appears to her and tells her that she is going to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and impregnated with the seed of Almighty God and will give birth to the Son of God! Her only question was, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Mary knew what it took to get pregnant. She was a virtuous young lady, and yet she willingly submitted to God's will for her life. She knew the risks of becoming pregnant before marriage and how she could possibly lose her future husband and be stoned to death for unfaithfulness. She knew the possibility of her family rejecting her and all of society looking at her as an outcast. All of these things must have been going through her mind and yet.....”Let it be to me according to your word.”
The calling that God had on Mary's life was a very real calling; He wanted to do great and mighty things through her life. He has a calling on each one of our lives. Will you be willing to surrender to His calling regardless of the possible consequences on your life?
Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, later made this statement about her: “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Elizabeth called Mary “blessed” because she believed the message from the Lord that the angel had delivered to her. Mary was blessed to be a vessel that God could use to usher His salvation into the world. Each one of us is blessed to be a blessing to those around us, no matter how small or how great. We tend to view the ones that are more visible as being of greater use to the Lord, but He sees each one of us as His own special messenger, sent to do the work that He has called us to do. None is greater than another in God's eyes. But each calling is just as vitally important as the next one. The only requirement that God has of us is as we yield to His will for His life that we have faith to believe that, as Mary, it will be as He has said; that we will believe Him to fulfill His work through us.
Father, I thank You for choosing me to do whatever You desire to do through my life. I yield my will to Yours and receive the calling that You have on my life to effect change in my world. Father, I ask You to make it clear to me what You would have me to do and say as You direct me to share Your word and Your love with those around me. I ask You, Lord, to give me the courage that I need to stand up and be counted for Your righteous cause in this day and hour; that I might not give in to the ways of the world, but will continue to stand in faith believing that You will do in me and through me what You have planned for my life. I pray for my friends this morning that they might also seek Your will for their lives and then stand in faith believing that You will bring it to pass in Your time. Give them the vision that You want them to have of the calling that You have on each of their lives. Empower them by Your Spirit to do the work and give them courage to stand strong in the face of adversity. Thank You, Father, for making us world changers in these last days. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
My life is in You, Lord
My heart is in Your hand.
Each day Your Spirit guides me
And causes me to stand.
I listen for Your voice,
I love to hear You speak.
You brighten up my valleys,
Without You I am weak.
Thank You for Your love, Lord.
You are my life, my light.
You are my King, my Master,
My song in the night.
I pledge my love to You, Lord.
I give You all I am.
I'll walk this day with You,
My shepherd, like a lamb.
~Avanell ~ 1999
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