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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 10/26/2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

JOSHUA, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is my Prayer, Fri, 10/26/2012

Joshua 9:1-27
A LITTLE TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, Lesson 16a

There are certain kinds of ants have a passion for the sweet, glandular substance given off by the caterpillar of a species of large blue butterfly. They can become so “addicted” to it that they even seek out “the supplier” and carry him to their nest with delight.
In doing so, they unwittingly bring home an enemy in disguise, because the caterpillar gorges himself exclusively on one food item: ant larva. Usually such a threat to the colony would be repelled with great vigor, but the adults enjoy the tasty secretions of the “guest” so much that they are oblivious of the fact that their young are being devoured in the process. The ants find out far too late that their enemy is “A Little Too Close For Comfort”.

As I read this story of the foolish ants, I began to see a similarity between this story and what the Bible tells us about Joshua and Israel in Joshua, chapter 9. In these verses, we see Israel becoming a little too cozy with their enemies.

After decisive victories at Jericho and AI, and after a special time of worship and recommitment to the Law of God at Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, the people of Israel are preparing to march deeper into Canaan to claim the land the Lord had given to them. As I said, they are fresh from a victory. In fact, they now have a couple of impressive victories under their belts. They have seen the great walled city of Jericho defeated and they have witnessed the pesky little town of Ai defeated too. Before they can move forward to future victories, Israel must learn a valuable lesson about themselves and about the enemies they face.

In the battles and stories related to Israel’s conquest of Canaan, we can see a picture of our lives as children of God as we struggle to obtain the victory in our lives. As I look at the Bible’s record of these events, it is not too hard for me to see the parallels between the battles Israel fought in the flesh and the ones which we fight in the spirit. The cities that they faced teach us some spiritual lessons.

1. Jericho - A type of the world - It was defeated, and we have the promise of victory over the world in our walk with the Lord Jesus, (1 John 5:4), “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

2. Ai - A type of the flesh - It, too, was defeated, and we have the promise of victory in the flesh as we battle for the Lord Jesus, (Romans 7:24-25), “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

3. Gibeon - A type of the devil - This is a battle that still must be fought. However, we have been promised victory in this area as well. To obtain it, we must trust the Lord Jesus Christ and walk in His will day by day. He can be defeated – ( James 4:7), “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Eventually, the devil will get exactly what he deserves, (Rev. 20:1-10)
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Today, however, we must still contend with Satan and his attacks. Thankfully, the Lord has not left us without a word in this matter. In this passage, we can see a portrait of Satan and the way he works. As we will see, there is a danger in letting our spiritual guard down. Let’s take some time today to study this passage and learn more about how the enemy operates. There are some lessons in this passage we need to take to heart when the enemy gets, “A Little Too Close For Comfort”.

V. 1-13- OUR ENEMY IS DECEPTIVE
Note verses 1-2. When all the kings of Canaan heard what had happened to Ai and to Jericho, they joined forces to seek to defeat Israel. Isn’t it amazing how the devil’s crowd will join up to fight God’s people? Just look at the way Jesus was treated by His enemies. The Pharisees and the Herodians hated one another, but they came together in the common effort of seeing Jesus put to death. Another friendship that was formed over the death of our Lord was that which was formed between Herod Antipas and Pontius Pilate. We are still seeing these same kind of alliances formed in our day!

V. 4 He Uses Deceptive Wiles - When the Gibeonites heard that the Israelites were headed in their direction, they devised a scheme to trick Israel into making a peace treaty with them. They dressed in old clothes, carried old bread and wine and pretended that they were from far away. They did everything in their power to trick Israel.

What a picture of our enemy, the devil! The Bible tells us in Eph. 6:11 that we fight an enemy that uses “wiles” to get his way in our lives. The word “wiles” refers to “deceit, trickery, cunning arts.” You see friends, Satan would like nothing better than to trip you up and cause you to fall into one of his traps. Just before Jesus died, He told Simon Peter that Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat ,( Luke 22:31-32). Satan wants to do the same to you and me. He wants us to fall. He wants us to fail, and he will stop at nothing to bring that to pass. 1 Tim. 3:7 tells us that Satan uses “snares” to catch his prey. This word refers to “a trap set by a hunter in order that he might capture his prey.” So, Satan uses deceptive wiles, just like the people of Gibeon did.

V. 4-5 He Uses Deceptive Wares - The Gibeonites had taken every step possible to deceive Israel into believing that they were from a far- away country. They carried old sacks on their donkeys, broken and bound up wine skins, patched shoes, shabby clothing and even some moldy bread. Their entire aim was to trick Israel
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When the devil comes against you, he will not do so in a red suit with a pointy tail and horns. He will not be carrying a pitchfork and he will not smell like sulphur. When the devil comes to your life to cause you trouble, he will appear as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14), “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” He will make his plan appear to be the perfect thing for your life. So, beware of every impulse that comes into your mind. Check out everything by the Word of God and by the will of God, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, (John 16:13), and the Lord will always lead you in the right way!

V. 6-13 He Uses Deceptive Words - Notice that in these verses, these men from Gibeon lied, (v. 6, 9, 11-12); they used claimed to be something they were not, (v. 8-9); and they were careful in what they said and in what they referred to, (v. 10). They did not mention any of the events that had taken place since Israel had crossed the Jordan River. This gave the impression that they had indeed been traveling for some time, and did not know about Israel’s victories at Jericho and Ai.

This is a perfect picture of how our enemy, the devil, operates. He will use slick and enticing speech to get you to yield to his plans for your life. He practiced this kind of trickery in the Garden of Eden when he talked to Eve, (Gen. 3:1-6).

He taught Eve that she should question God’s Word, (v. 1)
He taught Eve that God did not really mean what He has said, (v. 3)
He taught Eve that God was keeping His best blessing for Himself, that He was holding out on her, (v. 5).

In other words, the devil will give you every reason in the world to justify the things he wants you to do. Then when you have followed him and are out of God’s will and in trouble, he will discard you like a piece of trash and leave you to rot in your sins!

I wonder:
1. What did the devil tell Cain to get him to kill Abel?
2. What did the devil tell David to get him to sleep with Bathsheba?
3. What did the devil tell Judas to get him to betray the Lord Jesus?
4. What has the devil told you in the past; and what is he telling you now?

2 Cor. 2:11 says, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” This verse teaches us that Satan desires to gain an “advantage” over us, and to do this, he will use every trick in the book to get us to follow him into failure. Be careful!

1 Peter 5:8 tells us what the devil is up to today. He wants you. He wants your family. He wants your marriage. He wants your children. He wants your testimony. He wants your church. If you have it, and you got it from the Lord, he wants it; and to get it, he will do anything.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Jesus Is Coming Soon” By R. E. Winsett (1942)

Verse 1
Troublesome times are here, filling men's hearts with fear,
Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake
Humbling your heart to God saves from chast'ning rod,
Seek the way pil-grims trod, Christians, a-wake.

Chorus
Jesus is com-ing soon, morning or night or noon,
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound;
All of the dead shall rise, Righteous meet in the skies,
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound.

Verse 2
Love of so man-y cold, losing their home of gold,
This in God's Word is told, evils abound;
When these signs come to pass, nearing the end at last,
It will come ver-y fast, trumpets will sound.
Chorus

Verse 3
Troubles will soon be o'er, happy for e--ver-more,
When we meet on that shore, free from all care;
Rising up in the sky, telling this world good-bye,
Homeward we then will fly, glory to share.
Chorus

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Father of Mercy, God of Truth and Grace! Help us not to be concerned with outward appearances, selfish pursuits, and the conditions of our house, but rather to be concerned with spiritual growth, unselfish service, and the condition of Your House. Enable us to have our priorities in the correct order so we may walk with You and continue to grow closer and deeper with You. These things we ask and pray in Jesus’ most Holy name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAT-IN-CJ 10/27/2012 12:31AM

    emoticon (pretend this emoticon is singing Hallelujia

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EDITOR 10/26/2012 3:12PM

    Vic, thank you for the note and goodie.

How appropriate for this upcoming Halloween that today's blog mentions and explains the deceiver. Thank you for presenting his many forms in an all Scriptual lesson. God bless you.

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WANTSZU 10/26/2012 12:25PM

    Thanks for reminding us that there is victory in Jesus and even though Satan tries to be sly and deceive us that there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. The battle belongs to the Lord and he will protect his believers.

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HAGIN2010 10/26/2012 10:41AM

    Thanks again for another wonderful informative lesson.

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SUNSETBREEZE05 10/26/2012 10:26AM

    Thanks Vic! Prioritizing is important..

Blessings upon your day!

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TONYVAND1 10/26/2012 9:24AM

  Vic

Thank you again for the reminder that victory can be ours through Christ Jesus. Also the reminder that Satan loves to attack us and is very sly in the way he approaches us. Yet we know that Jesus is Coming and the battle has been won.

Tony

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TONYVAND1 10/26/2012 9:24AM

  Vic

Thank you again for the reminder that victory can be ours through Christ Jesus. Also the reminder that Satan loves to attack us and is very sly in the way he approaches us. Yet we know that Jesus is Coming and the battle has been won.

Tony

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ANHELIC 10/26/2012 8:32AM

    Thank you for this awesome lesson, hymn and prayer Vic. I can now see how satan attacked me and I fell short of God's will two days ago. I am now praying for forgivness and know God will be here for me to lead me in the right direction. Thank you for everything. God bless you. You are a great man of God.
Joan

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LINDAMARIEZ1 10/26/2012 7:51AM

    God doesn't care what the inside of my house looks like; just the inside of me! I don't need to show up wearing a new Easter bonnet! He just wants me to show up!

emoticon

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DIANER2014 10/26/2012 7:16AM

    Amen! Thanks Vic! emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 10/25/2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

JOSHUA, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Prayer, This Is My Prayer, Thu, 10/25/2012

Joshua 8:1-35
VICTORY IS YOURS, IF YOU WANT IT, Lesson 15c

V. 27-35- VICTORY OVER AI IS PRESERVED

At this point in this story, Israel has followed God’s plan and that have achieved the victory. Now, they must maintain their victory. They take two steps that make this a reality for them.

We can achieve the victory over the flesh! We can walk in the will of God and be truly spiritual. We can be holy. We can live right. If we are going to maintain that victory, when God gives it, we must follow Israel’s example and do what they did at Ai. Let me share those steps with you.

V. 27-29- Victory Is Preserved By Death - Please notice that they did not leave a single person alive in Ai. No one, from the king down to the humblest servant, was spared from death in this battle. God knew that this enemy had to be totally eradicated or there would be problems down the road.

The lesson for us today is this: Your flesh is still alive and well, but it must be put to death! Some say that when a person gets saved, their flesh is put to death. I’ve got news for you, they are wrong! Your flesh is as alive today as it ever has been. It still likes all the things that it used to like, and if you turned it loose, it would run to sin like a pig to a wallow. Your flesh is not saved. Your flesh is not holy. Your flesh is rotten and it hates God and everything He stands for!

Now, we need to understand some things about our flesh if we are to have the victory over it today. Allow me to share some truths with you about your flesh.

Your flesh is at war with the Spirit of God, Who is in you – (Gal. 5:16-24). This is a struggle that the Apostle Paul dealt with in great detail – (Rom. 7:14-25).

Your flesh was crucified with Jesus Christ – (Rom. 6:6-7). This is our positional standing. In the eyes of God, our flesh, all it’s works and everything it stands for was crucified with Jesus at Calvary. God considers the wicked, sinful natures that we possess crucified with Christ. The flesh was reckoned dead when Jesus died on the cross.

We are to reckon the flesh dead daily – (Col. 3:1-10). This is how we are to live practically every day. The secret to victory over the flesh lies in seeing the flesh as God sees it. It lies in being able to reckon the flesh dead – (Rom. 6:11-14; Gal. 2:20). When we come to the place that we can look at our flesh and its lusts and live as if it is dead then, and only then, can we expect victory in our lives.

We don’t crucify the flesh by gratifying it! You cannot feed every lust that enters your mind and claim to be living a life that is pleasing to the Lord. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof,” (Rom. 13:14). The flesh must be reckoned dead every day we live. Listen, this is a conscious decision we must make in every situation we face in life.

The fact is, we never truly fall into sin; we usually walk into it with our eyes open.

We sin because we do not flee sin.
We sin because we allow the flesh and its lusts to control us.
We sin because we do not yield to the Spirit of God in everything!
We are told to flee those things that tempt us – (2 Tim. 2:22).

There will come a day when the battle with the flesh will end. One day, the Lord will deliver us from this vile flesh and we shall be changed to be like Him. God says that our flesh is dead to sin.

Practically speaking it can be, but only as we take the initiative to reckon it dead day by day.

One day, we will be changed and we will be delivered from the very power and presence of sin, (Rom. 7:24-25).

The altar was a place of death. It was a place of sacrifice. It served to remind them that they did not achieve anything by their own power; they only won the victory because God gave it to them. They were only victorious because they sacrificed their will, their pride and their ability at the feet of the Lord.

They built the altar without tools, reminding them that their victory over Ai was entirely the work of the Lord. They used rocks God Himself created to build a place to honor Him. The victory was not about them; it was about Him!

If we intend to enjoy God’s blessings in this life, we must learn to walk in the will of God. Before we can ever shout on the mountain, we must first kneel at the altar and acknowledge that we are incapable of fighting the battles, winning the victory, or hanging on to it after it has been won! If we are to win and preserve the victory day by day, then we must learn to live by the Word of God. We must learn to depend on the Lord. We must learn that we are helpless without Him!

V. 30-35 Victory Is Preserved By Devotion - After the enemy had been eradicated and victory had been preserved, Israel finished by doing what the Lord had told them to do in (Deut. 27:1-28:6).

Half of the nation was to stand on Mount Ebal and the other half on Mount Gerizim. The Levites were to stand in the valley between these mountains and were to read the curses and the blessings. As they read the curses, the crowd on Mount Ebal was to shout “Amen.” When they read the blessings, the crowd on Mount Gerizim was to shout “Amen.” This exercise was to remind them what God would bless and what He would not bless. They were also reaffirming their commitment to live by the Word of God every day!

So, in obedience to the command of the Lord, Israel made the 30 mile trip to those mountains and they stood there facing one another across a valley that was 2 miles wide. As the commandments were read that day, they shouted “Amen!” Imagine what that scene must have looked and sounded like that day! There’s was a devotion to living by the Word of God.

By the way, the name “Ebal” means, “The Heap Of Barrenness.” Ebal was a barren, deserted rock. Ebal was the mountain of cursing. “Gerizim” means, “Cutting Off.” This was a beautiful, wooded mountain, surrounded by a fertile valley. Gerizim was the mountain of blessing.

Ebal reminded Israel that disobedience to the Lord would result in barrenness.
Gerizim reminded Israel that they were to be a separate people, and that if they walked in the ways of the Lord, they would receive His blessings in the Promised Land.
Conc: Before Israel worshipped on the mountain they built an altar, and Joshua wrote the words of the Law of God in the presence of all the people,( vv. 30-31).

The path to lasting victory begins in the altar, in the place of sacrifice, on your knees!
Who would be honest today and say, “You know preacher, this message has been for me. I have a terrible battle with my flesh and all the things that it lusts after. I need help to overcome it today”?

If that describes you, there is victory in the Lord, if you want it.
If you have lost the battle and the flesh has whipped you again and again, there is forgiveness in our Lord, 1 John 1:9.
If you need to lay an ambush for your Ai, God has a strategy to help guide you to victory.

Some here deal with lust, some with anger, some with bitterness, some with that besetting sin.
Some here have been sneaking around doing and saying things that aren’t right.
Some here know that you are messing around in dangerous territory today.

I warn you now that if you keep letting your flesh feed itself and grow stronger, there will come a day real soon when it will take over your life.

Today would be a good day to come before the Lord and seek His help in reckoning your flesh to be dead.

Others here have never been saved. You don’t need to reckon your flesh dead, you need to know that your spirit is dead. What you need is a salvation experience. You need to be born again. It’s no wonder that you can’t achieve a place of victory in your life, you need to be saved.

I would just remind you that Victory Is Yours, If You Want It!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Battle Hymn Of The Republic” By Julia Ward Howe (1862)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, Sovereign God! In peace will we lie down and sleep, for You alone make us dwell in safety. May our trust and hope in you increase and expand the borders of our faith and spirituality. Keep us safe all through the night and wake us with the morning light. May our morning prayers be bookends to our evening prayer. Guide us, O Lord, both day and night, and when we awake in the morning light, teach us the path of love to take. This we pray today in the blessed name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen!

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EDITOR 10/26/2012 5:14AM

    The Battle hymn is one of my favorites. The lessons are always written in God's love. I am sorry that after your surgery and vacation, and then mine we couldn't catch up, other than your kind goodie and comment about where am I.

Today's lesson describes us ALL, somewhere in our walk and somewhere in an honest moment with the Lord and others

I praise God we both can physically get on our knees, not forgetting our brothers and sisters that now must do it spiritually.





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LOOKINGUP2012 10/25/2012 2:14PM

    Open our eyes Lord! emoticon

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ANHELIC 10/25/2012 1:10PM

    Thank you Vic for this lesson. It was for me indeed. My flesh took over yesterday and I am repenting today for it. Holy Spirit has been guiding me down the right path of eating. I went to the Bulk Barn to buy candies to give to a few of my neighbor's children. I weakened in there and bought a large bag of Cheetos. I felt I was OK with the candies, but the Cheetos, I couldn't resist. After I finished my work, they were staring me in the face and I ate nearly 3/4 of the bag. Flesh won, I lost at the moment I filled the bag in the store. To make matters worse, I ate a couple candies as well. This morning, I was up 1.2 lbs. and felt defeated. the rest of the Cheetos have gone in the garbage, but it's too late. I have this taste for them now and am afraid they will take over again after I have been working so hard to follow God's way. Please pray for me to be able to get back on God's path today. I am just hoping that there was not a lot of potassium in these Cheetos, I now call satan food for me. Between my tears as I read your lesson, I realized how weak I was. I am printing your message and keeping it to read whenever I feel weakened. I don't want to lose what level God has helped me get to.
Thank you Vic, you are my savior in helping me today realize what I have done.
God bless you.

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HAGIN2010 10/25/2012 10:11AM

    I learned so much today. A lot of this is what I have been going through.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 10/25/2012 8:11AM

    I pray Jesus walks with me and you through this day and always! I start my day mindful of him! thank you Vic! emoticon

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SANDRALEET 10/25/2012 7:35AM

    WE have to examine our self not the white washed version we tell our self and see around us.

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CAM2438 10/25/2012 6:49AM

    Thank-you for those wonderful words.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 10/24/2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

JOSHUA, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Prayer, This Is My Prayer, Wed, 10/24/2012

Joshua 8:1-35
VICTORY IS YOURS, IF YOU WANT IT, Lesson 15b

V. 3-26 VICTORY OVER AI IS PURSUED

V. 3-17- They Embraced God’s Plan - God told them in exact detail how they were to mount their attack against Ai. They were to lay an ambush for Ai and they would take the city and all its inhabitants. Israel learned at Jericho what happens when you do things the Lord’s way. They had also learned what happens when they refused to do it God’s way. They learned that failure awaits that person who goes against the will of the Lord.

We need to learn this lesson today! When you fight the battle God’s way, you cannot fail. When you do it your way, you are headed for trouble.

We are talking about fighting this flesh and its lusts. If you are going to pursue victory over your flesh, and if you ever expect to gain the victory, then you must go about it God’s way. No other plan will work! I will say more about God’s plan for dealing with the flesh in a moment, but for now, you need to know that if you will win the victory over your flesh, then you need constant contact with spiritual supports God has given us. We are strengthened spiritually when we are exposed to the spiritual blessings the Lord has given to us to help us walk in His will.

God’s spiritual support system must be made a huge part of our lives:
We need the Word of God – (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Tim. 2:15).
We need prayer – ( Luke 18:1; 1 Thes. 5:17; James 4:2).
We need faithful church attendance – (Heb. 10:25).
We need the constant fellowship of the saints – (1 Cor. 12:27).

None of these things will give victory in and of themselves, but we need each of them to strengthen us and to help us grow in the Lord. When we begin to neglect even one of these essential areas, then we are headed toward spiritual trouble. When we feed the flesh and ignore our spiritual needs, it is a sign of impending problems in our spiritual lives!

V. 18-23- They Experienced God’s Power - Israel fought the battle, but God gave the victory! The first time Israel went to Ai, they went in their own power and they suffered terrible, humiliating defeat. This time they went to battle walking in the power of God and they were victorious.

There is a lesson here for those who struggle with their flesh.
The battle with your flesh will not be won by your ability to say “no” to sin, because you can’t say “no” all the time.
The battle will not be won because you are more powerful than the temptations you face, because you are not.

The fact is, if you try to fight the spiritual battles of life in your own power, you are headed for terrible defeat in your life. You might as well plan now for a string of sins and defeats in the flesh.
There is just one way for us to prevail in this battle, and that is for us to learn to appropriate the power of God in our lives. We are unable to fight the flesh, sin and the world in our own power. We need to realize that when we cannot win the battle, only He can!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,” ( Eph. 6:10).
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” ( Phil. 4:13).
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,” (1 Cor. 10:13).
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” ( 1 John 4:4).
The only way any of us will ever see victory over this flesh is through the power of God!
V. 24-26- They Enjoyed God’s Performance - These verses tell us that Israel trusted in the Lord and absolutely prevailed over their enemy. God did what He said He would do!
We are serving the very same God that gave Israel the victory. He hasn’t changed! He is still the same God today that He always has been and always will be. You can count on God to keep His Word, (Rom. 4:21; Psa. 119:89; Matt. 24:32).
When we are engaged in a battle with this flesh, we must be able to count on God, and we can! He is all powerful and He is able to help you as you fight the flesh and the battles of life. “14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,”( Heb. 4:14-16).
TODAY’S HYMN!
“Victory In Jesus” By E. M. Bartlett (1939)

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory (how He gave His life)
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me
I heard about His groaning, (of His blood's atoning) of His precious blood's atoning
Then I repented (repented) of my sins (repented of my sins) and won the victory

Chorus:
Oh victory in Jesus (victory in Jesus), my Savior (my Savior) forever (forever)
He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood (bought me with His blood)
He loved me 'ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing
How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit"
I then obeyed His blest command and gained the victory

Repeat Chorus

I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the street of gold beyond the crystal sea (beyond the crystal sea)
About the angels singing (the angels are singing) and the old redemption story
Oh and some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of victory

Repeat Chorus (x2)

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, Gracious Lord! It is with a humble spirit and a grateful heart that we come into Your presence by means of this prayer. Hear us when we petition You. Make us aware of the way Satan works that we may be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Vengeance is Yours and we willingly relinquish it to You. May our days be filled with Your Love and Peace. This we pray in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 10/24/2012 6:36PM

    Thank you for another great lesson, hymn, one that I really enjoy singing, and prayer. I start every day with God along side me and ask for His guidance and when I have trouble laying before me, I turn it over to God. He will walk me through it. I am so grateful to have God in my life for my difficult times and to be able to praise him for all the blessings He sends my way. Thank you again for sharing Vic. God bless you.

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FEMISLIM 10/24/2012 5:36PM

    Glory!!!

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SUNSETBREEZE05 10/24/2012 3:35PM

    Amen!

I love praying with you emoticon

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HAGIN2010 10/24/2012 12:43PM

    Since I am avery new Christian I just need to trust God and that he will be there when I need it and the Holy Spirit will be there for advice if I will stop and just listen to it.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 10/24/2012 7:49AM

    I start my day with the lord in my heart and no other!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 10/23/2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

JOSHUA, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Prayer, This Is My Prayer, Tue, 10/23/2012

Joshua 8:1-35
VICTORY IS YOURS, IF YOU WANT IT, Lesson 15a

Our text speaks about the tiny city of Ai. From all indications, this city should have been a pushover for Israel as they marched through Canaan. However, in chapter 7, Israel experienced her only defeat when they attacked the little city of Ai. In that battle, thirty-six of their soldiers died and Israel was forced to flee from the soldiers of Ai.

Israel experienced this defeat for a couple of reasons. First, they failed to seek the Lord’s will before they went into battle. They were arrogant and proud after their victory at Jericho. They assumed they were beyond defeat. They learned differently.
Another reason they suffered this defeat was because there was sin among them. When Israel faced Jericho in chapter 6, they were commanded to destroy the city, but they were to take the wealth of the city and dedicate it to the Lord. A man named Achan took some of that wealth for himself and brought the wrath of God upon the whole nation. Because of these two failures, Israel suffered a tragic defeat at Ai.

The Lord used the defeat at Ai to teach Israel the importance of holiness and of seeking the Lord’s will in every situation. He used this defeat to teach them the danger of pride, (Pro. 16:18). One of the most valuable lessons Israel learned was the truth that they needed the Lord, His presence and His power, if they were going to defeat their enemies and walk in victory.

There is a sense in which we believers are a lot like Israel. If you are a child of God, then you know something about battles. You know that you have three very powerful enemies that must be overcome every day you live. The world, the flesh and the devil are all out to destroy the child of God, but each of these enemies can be defeated, if they are handled according to the will of God.

As we move into these verses, I want you to see that Ai is a picture of one of our enemies. Ai is a picture the flesh. The word “Ai” means “a heap of ruins.” That is a good way to describe our flesh, or our fallen, human natures. Paul reminds us about the wickedness of the flesh in (Rom. 7:18), “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing...” Our flesh is dead,( Eph. 2:1), and it is absolutely wicked and unredeemable, (Rom. 3:10-23).

Ai is first mentioned in the book of Genesis in connection with the life of Abraham, (Gen. 12:8; 13:3). The Bible tells us that Abraham pitched his tent “between Bethel and Hai.” Now, the name “Bethel” means, “The house of God.” Like Abraham, many of God’s people have pitched their tents somewhere between “the house of God” and “a heap of ruins.”

Do you see the connection? You can either live in a place of victory and blessing, or you can live in a place of defeat and misery. You can either have a Bethel kind of life or an Ai experience. The kind of life you live will be determined by where you pitch your tent!
Just like Israel, we often lose battles to our flesh, but by God’s help we can learn how to defeat our Ai and walk away with the victory in our lives.

I don’t know the battles that you are fighting with your flesh, but I do know that you are.
I don’t know the battles that you are fighting with your flesh, but I do know that you can experience victory over your Ai.

These verses have something to teach us about how that can become a reality in our lives. Notice with me the truths that present themselves in this passage. I want to teach on the thought: “Victory Is Yours, If You Want It”.

V. 1-2 VICTORY OVER AI IS PROMISED

V. 1 A Word About Winning - When the Lord speaks to Joshua, God tells him to go to Ai. God promises Joshua that things will be different this time. He assures Joshua and Israel of the victory.

It is interesting that the Lord called them to return to the place of their greatest defeat. God knew that they needed to overcome Ai before they could move on in the conquest of Canaan
.
The same is true for us.

How many times have we lost the battle to the flesh?
How many times have we been defeated by this old sinful nature’s lust for the forbidden?
How many times have we fallen and wondered if we would ever get back to where we were before.

If that has been your experience, the Lord has a word for you today!
He says to Joshua, “Fear not…I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king…”

To those who have fallen and have lost a battle to the flesh, God says, “Fear not! I am able to give you the victory!”
God has made some tremendous promises to His children. We do not have to live in defeat!

We are no longer slaves to sin, the flesh and the devil. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace,” ( Rom. 6:14)!
We have been made “new creatures” in Jesus Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” (2 Cor. 5:17).

We have been given the “divine nature.” “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,” (2 Pet. 2:4).

We are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, Who teaches us about the dangers of sin and about the blessings of holiness. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...”( John 16:13).

God has promised the victory to His children. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor. 15:57).

The Lord did not save you to leave you defeated, beaten, and enslaved by the flesh. He saved you to set you free, to enable you to walk in the victory that He gives to all those who walk according to His Word and His will.

V. 2 A Word About Waiting - Notice that the Lord tells them that they will do to Ai what they did to Jericho, except this time, they are allowed to take all the spoils for themselves! If Achan would have waited just a few more days, he could have had all the riches that he could have imagined. Instead, he ran ahead of God and grabbed for himself what God had forbidden, and as a result, Achan and Israel paid a terribly high price.

What a lesson for you and me today! If we could just learn to wait on God and let Him lead and bring into our lives the things that need to be there, we would be far better off. The flesh is impatient! Our flesh wants what it wants and it wants it now! It doesn’t want to wait for its gratification.

We are far better off to wait on the Lord to bring those things into our lives that He knows are best for us, than we are to run ahead of God. But, that’s what we do, isn’t it? We make our plans, do our thing, and never check with God about it. Then, when we make a mess, we expect Him to bail us out!

When we can learn to wait on the Lord, we are well on our way to victory in the Christian life.

“Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it,” ( Psa. 37:34).
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD,” (Psa. 27:14).

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Whispering Hope” By Alice Hawthorne (1868)

Soft as the voice of an angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word
Wait till the darkness is over
Wait till the tempest is done
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow
After the shower is gone.

Refrain:
Whispering hope
Oh, how welcome thy voice
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

If, in the dusk of the twilight
Dim be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over
Watch for the breaking of day.

Refrain:

Hope, as an anchor so steadfast
Rends the dark veil for the soul
Whither the Master has entered
Robbing the grave of its goal
Come then, O come, glad fruition
Come to my sad weary heart
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory
Never, O never depart.
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Father of all creation, Almighty God! Help us to understand how fleeting life is. Remind us how very fragile life is. We thank You for our blessed assurance through Jesus Christ our Lord. Remind us the life is fragile, to handle it with prayer. Remind us that the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want, and that His mercy never fails. This we pray in His Blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 10/23/2012 10:08PM

    Thank you Vic for an awesome lesson, hymn which is one of my favorites, and prayer. It was a great reminder to wait on the Lord for guidance. Since I started doing this more in the recent past, I have found not as many problems facing me. I pray and ask Holy Spirit for help along the way and then wait. Thank you so much for sharing God's word with us. Thank you for the goodie. God bless you.

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IAM_HIS2 10/23/2012 6:52PM

    What a powerful teaching...your blogs have been leading me to look deeper with me. I am realizing wrong choices I have made and how I have hurt others. I have to ask for forgiveness and confess my sins. I am praying for obedience and a more loving heart. Isn;t it funny, what I have so disliked in others, I too am guilty of. Oh, in now way can I judge another.

I so need the Lord 24/7.

Comment edited on: 10/23/2012 6:53:21 PM

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DARE2LIVE2011 10/23/2012 4:13PM

    Thanks for the invitation to join the team and read your blog! When I read the hymn for today, I cried, Whispering Hope was my Gram's favorite song. We wait. With his strength, and with HOPE! Many blessings, Jeanne (Dare2Live2011)
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JLLOVETT 10/23/2012 2:53PM

    Thank you for the reminder!

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TONYVAND1 10/23/2012 2:36PM

  Vic

Thanks for the reminder to wait upon the Lord. He will win the victory.
Blessings my friend.

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SAINTBETH 10/23/2012 12:27PM

    Chazak! Be strong!

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WANTSZU 10/23/2012 11:39AM

    Awesome lesson today Vic. You explain everything so well. Thank you.

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FERGSGIRL2 10/23/2012 9:46AM

    Amen we do not have to live in fear and defeat, rely on God!

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HAGIN2010 10/23/2012 9:34AM

    Thanks for the lessons. I am so new to the Lord and this is so great. emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 10/23/2012 7:50AM

    emoticon God leads us to victory!

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WENDYSPARKS 10/23/2012 7:27AM

    emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 10/23/2012 7:25AM

    The lord leads me on! He is my light! amen
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WILSON1926 10/23/2012 6:52AM

    emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 10/22/2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

JOSHUA, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Mon, 10/22/2012

Joshua 7:1-26
SOME THINGS CAN’T BE HIDDEN, Lesson 14c

v. 16-26 ISRAEL EXPERIENCED A TERRIBLE SENTENCE
v. 16-21 The Sinner Is Confronted – The process that God used to point out Achan. God knew who was guilty, why didn’t He just tell Joshua who they were looking for? In my opinion, He was giving Achan time to repent and to confess his sins. Achan squandered many opportunities to confess and repent. Be that as it may, the finger of God was getting closer and closer and finally landed on Achan.

This lesson needs to be heeded! God already knows your sins and His finger is getting closer and closer to your life. One day soon, He will point out those things in your life that need to be revealed! It is only a matter of time until the finger of God lands on your life and you are exposed in your sins! It will not and cannot be hidden forever! One day, your sin will find you out – ( Num. 32:23; Luke 12:3). You may try, but you cannot hide your sin, (Eccl. 12:14; Jer. 16:17; Heb. 4:13)!

v. 19-21 – Now that Achan’s sin has been revealed, it has to be dealt with. Notice the two aspects of this section.

v. 19 There Is Compassion – When Joshua speaks to Achan, he speaks with compassion in his heart. He knows that Achan is condemned, but Joshua still cares for this man who brought so much trouble to Israel.

In this passage, Joshua is a picture of the Lord. While God hates sin with His entire being, He still loves the sinner. Even though man is the enemy of God, God still commands men to repent and to come to Him for salvation and for forgiveness.
If you have sin in your life today, you need to remember that God is a loving and gracious God Who exhibits His greatness by cleansing sinners. You need to come to Him before it is too late!

v. 20-21 There Is Confession – In these two verses, Achan finally confesses his sin. Achan showed no signs of remorse or repentance. He only confessed his sins after he got caught in them. At this point, it would have been impossible to hide them any longer anyway.

Achan is like some others in the Bible who confessed their sins, but not in real repentance - Pharaoh, Balaam, and Judas.

Some confessed their sins and were forgiven. David – He was confronted with his sins, he confessed afterwards and he was forgiven,( 2 Sam. 12). So did Nineveh,( Jonah 3).
What’s the difference? David and Nineveh were sincere in their repentance. They were sorry for their sins. Achan was only sorry that he got caught!

This is not God’s method for handling sin! God’s way is for people to be open and honest about their sins and for them to confess those sins to the Lord,( Pro. 28:13). God’s way is for His people to throw the covers off their sins and tell Him the truth that He already knows. He can bless a person who handles sin the Biblical way.

However, the person who tries to hide his sins will never prosper, but will face God in judgment. You see, you will confess you sins one way or another. You can confess them where the confession will make a difference, or you will do it when you face the Lord in judgment. Either way, you will confess your sins – (Phil. 2:11).

Note the progression in Achan’s sin, v. 21. “I saw...I coveted...I took.” This is the same pattern that sin always follows. It was this way in the Garden of Eden, (Gen. 3:1-6). It was this way when David sinned with Bathsheba, (2 Sam. 11:1-4). It is and will be this way in nearly any instance of sin you can name.

Notice the progression that the Bible mentions – (James 1:13-15). You see it; it appeals to your flesh; you want it and you take it. Sin is always the same! Our reaction to sin should be just like that of Joseph, (Gen. 39:12). We are commanded to flee youthful lusts, ( 2 Tim. 2:22).

Another problem with Achan is found in v. 21. Achan calls the things he took “spoils”. This word refers to “the booty” that a conquering army can claim after a victory. These things were not spoils. God said in (Josh. 6:18-19) that these things belonged to Him. They were not to be gifts for Israel; they were to be placed in the treasury of the Lord’s house. God calls the items in Jericho “the accursed thing,” (Josh. 6:18-19). This phrase refers to that which is “devoted or dedicated.” In other words, all the items left in Jericho after the defeat of the city, were to be dedicated to the Lord. They were to be His and His alone. In essence, Achan was guilty of stealing from the Lord. The Lord claimed the “firstfruits” and Achan tried to steal it. Are you guilty of stealing from the Lord? (Mal. 3:8).

Achan had his stolen treasure buried in his tent but he could not use any of it! To use it would have exposed his sin to everyone. In other words, Achan sinned and died for nothing! The items he stole were no good to him at all!

Here’s the truly sad part of this story. Achan lost his life and condemned his family to death because he took things that were dedicated to the Lord for his own use. Imagine how he must have justified his choice to take those things. He might have said, “We did without so long in that desert. I deserve a little prosperity. No one will miss this little amount. After all, there is so much spoil. I’ll just take a few things to help my family.” Those few items cost Achan everything!

Had Achan been patient for just a few more days, he could have satisfied his needs and his greed, (Josh. 8:2).

This is where we all get into trouble. We want what we want, and we want it now. We never stop to think that God might have something far better for us if we would just patiently wait for His timing.

This just reminds us what sin really is. Sin is man seeking to fulfill a legitimate need in an illegitimate manner.

v. 22-26 The Sinner Is Condemned – These verses give us the sad conclusion to this tragic tale. Achan and all that he had were taken out and stoned to death by the people of Israel.

The tower of stones stood as a reminder to all who passed by that a criminal was buried there. It was common as late as the 1800‘s for passersby to throw stones on the graves of criminals, thus adding continually to the heap of stones over the grave!

It didn’t have to end this way! Yet, these verses demonstrate the horrible end that all sinners who refuse to repent will come to. It was a vivid reminder of the high cost of sin and of the terrible wrath of God.

The name of the valley was called “Achor”. This word means “trouble”. And that was what God said would happen to the person who took any of the “spoils” of Jericho. The word “trouble” means, “to stir up.” It speaks of “the troubling of waters.” If you are going to sin, you need to know that you are headed for trouble,( Pro. 13:15).

If you are God’s child, and you have sin in your life that has not been confessed, and that you have not repented of, you need to know that your life is a hindrance to your family and to the church. You also need to know that God will chasten you to bring you back in line with His will, (Rev. 3:19). He will do whatever He has to do to get your attention! My advice to you is: get right with God today! God knows what it will take to touch your heart, and He isn’t afraid to touch that heartstring if He knows it will bring you to repentance.

If you are lost today, you need to come to Jesus for salvation. If you die without Him you will wind up in Hell, lost forever and in the flames of torment. Is that what you want? Is that where you want to end up? If not, then come to Jesus.

You will notice that verses 24-25 tell us that Achan’s whole family suffered the same fate that he did. Why? They probably knew about his sin and they helped him hide his secret. They were just as guilty as he was. When Achan brought that sin into his tent, he brought suffering and affliction upon the people he loved the most in this world. At the end of the day, however, the reason Achan did this was because he loved himself even more than he loved his family.

I would just remind you again, that none of us sins in a vacuum. The things we do affects us and all those around us. Our children are shaped by the things they observe in our lives. That is the essence of Deut. 5:9, which says, “...I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

Conc: Years later, the prophet Hosea mentioned this same valley. Hosea 2:15, “And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” The promise is that this place of trouble could become a door of hope for those who turn to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The same is true concerning us. If we will come to the Lord in humble repentance, those sins, that have the potential to cause you so much trouble, can be taken care of today. This service can literally become a door of hope for you right now, if you will come to Jesus for the cleansing you need.

Some Things Can’t Be Hidden! If you have an Achan heart, God has the cure. If you have sin hidden in your life, the Lord can forgive you and restore you for His glory.
Come to Him while there is time. Come before judgment falls. Come so that renewal and revival can come to your family and to your church!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Lord, I’m Coming Home” By William J. Kirkpatrick (1892)

I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Refrain:
Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam;
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.

I’ve wasted many precious years,
Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Refrain:

I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord,
Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy word,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Refrain:

My soul is sick, my heart is sore,
Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my home restore,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Refrain:

My only hope, my only plea,
Now I’m coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Refrain:

I need His cleansing blood I know,
Now I’m coming home;
Oh, wash me whiter than the snow,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Father in Heaven, God who loves our souls, we recognize how sinful and needy we are. We know we cannot save ourselves in any way, but You have saved us in every way. That’s why we humble ourselves before You. We confess our sins and praise You for extending Your forgiveness and mercy our way. Redeem us O Lord and restore us into a loving relationship with You. This we pray in Jesus’ Holy name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 10/22/2012 11:27PM

    Thank you Vic for another awesome lesson, hymn and prayer. As you said, if we don't confess our sins and repent, we may as well continue living in sin. I know it is impossible not to sin because of our human nature. I am so grateful that we have a compassionate God who loves us and forgives our sins. God bless you for your teaching Vic.

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DIANER2014 10/22/2012 3:18PM

    Thank you Vic! Have a great Monday! God Bless! emoticon

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KIMPY225 10/22/2012 1:58PM

    Happy Monday! emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 10/22/2012 1:21PM

    Thank You for this teaching dear Vic! We are greatful to you to help us walk with Jesus!

amen!

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IAM_HIS2 10/22/2012 10:52AM

    Oh how true...we need to confess our sins. Sin blocks us from so much. This is why I go to confession every 4 weeks, it is a beautiful sacrament.

Thank you for this blog Vic. God bless you and welcome back! emoticon Joy

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HAGIN2010 10/22/2012 10:30AM

    Thanks for the teaching's Vic emoticon

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SANDRALEET 10/22/2012 7:41AM

    Thank God or we all are lost.

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