Right In Their Own Eyes

ends-justify-the-means

Today’s Passage – Judges 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6;  Proverbs 27Psalms 131 – 135)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 89:1

Read the “0327 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” – (Judges 21:25)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)

I hope that you are taking the time to carefully read these chapters in the Book of Judges. If you have, then you have noticed that there certainly is a lot of wierd stuff going on here in these passages; and you may be wondering if God is putting His stamp of approval on all that was happening. He certainly is not. The Bible here is merely recording honestly the condition of God’s people as they really were in this time period. They have certainly gone a long way away from the will of God. The concluding verse (above) to the Book of Judges seems to sum it all up: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. They could have sang the Frank Sinatra song, “I Did It My Way”. There was no earthly king, but the real problem was that they stopped submitting to the kingship of God. Israel was in a mess morally, and they had forsaken the system of worship that God had instituted for them as they wandered in the wilderness.

We can see this same problem in our country today. Our nation used to instill Biblical principles into the lives of her citizens. A lost heathen of 100 years ago knew more about the Bible, and could quote more verses than the average Christian can today. We are a Bible illiterate society, and the dearth of the Word of God is manifesting itself in every area of our society. We are in a mess here in America. We call “right” wrong, and “wrong” right. We tolerate, condone, and even support the vilest immorality imaginable; and it is getting worse by the day. As a nation, we know precious little about the Person of God, let alone the Principles of His Word. We need to have an awakening like the children of Israel had in these chapters in the Book of Judges. Maybe God will have to shake our world a little bit more in judgment in order to get us to wake up.

I hate to say this, but the problem is also huge within our fundamental churches. It amazes me that people will come to church; listen to the Word of God as it is preached, and sometimes even nod their heads or say “Amen” in agreement; and then go out into their lives, and do the opposite of what God just instructed. And the crazy thing is, they don’t even realize that they are doing it. We need to wake up. We need God to shake us back into an awareness of our utter dependence upon Him. We need to follow the Word of God wholly, and allow the Spirit of God to guide us into all truth.

The nation of Israel entered into the land of Canaan with full intention to live according to the will of God for the rest of their existence. If you were to somehow show them how far away they would get, they would think it absurd; but slowly, and very gradually they moved further and further away from the truth. Christians, we are doing the same thing; and it is happening so gradually that we do not even notice it. Let’s get back to the basics of loving God, winning souls, and living in and by His Word.

 


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Speak Your Mind

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Today’s Passage – Judges 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3;  Proverbs 26Psalms 126 – 130)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “0326 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.” – (Judges 19:30)

Judges 19 contains one of the strangest and saddest stories in all of the Bible. In this account we learn of a man from the tribe of Levi that was travelling through Israel with his concubine. In a polygamous society a concubine was a woman that was married to a man, but did not have the same status as the man’s wife or wives. At any rate this man and his wife were looking for a place to stay for the night while they were travelling through the city of Gibeah, which was occupied by the Israelite tribe of Benjamin. For a long time no one would offer them lodging for the night, until suddenly an old man who was also a sojourner in the city offered them food, and lodging at his house. During the night, the men of the city attempted force entry into this older man’s home so that they could “know”  the man that was visiting. In this case the word “know” meant that the men of the city wanted to have sexual relations with the man. What happened to this man in this story is very similar to what was attempted on the two angels who visited Lot in Sodom (see Genesis 19), which indicates the level of depravity that the men of this place had reached. They are finally content to take the man’s concubine and abuse her all night long until she ultimately dies from their cruelty. The travelling man then takes the body of his wife and cuts it up into pieces, and  sends a piece of her body to each of the tribes of Israel. I realize that this is a strange story, but that’s what happened, in a nutshell.

My attention is drawn to the statement made to the reader in verse 30. We are instructed to “consider of it, take advice, and speak [our] minds”. Why did God tell us to do this after reading this portion of Scripture. I believe the reason is because the wickedness committed by these people from the tribe of Benjamin in the city of Gibeah was so heinous, that God did not want it to be just wept under the rug or passed by. He wants us to think about it;  to get mad about it; and to do something about it. By the way, we will read tomorrow in chapter 20 what the rest of Israel does to punish this sin. I won’t spoil the story, but let me assure you that the people of Israel pay a great price for allowing this kind of wickedness to take place in the Land of Promise.

I believe that the advice given by God to the Israelites of that day is good for us today. He wants us to get mad about sin, and then do something about it. We are to speak our minds as well when it comes to condemning sin. This world ought to have no doubt in their minds about where we stand regarding the sin that is taking place in our land; and we ought to go beyond just condemning it with our mouths; we ought also to take action against it.

“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” – (1 Timothy 5:20)

“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;” – (Titus 1:13)

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – (2 Timothy 4:2)

Let’s not turn our heads to sin, but rather let’s speak the truth in love, and stand against it.

 


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Permissive Parents

Permissive Parents

Today’s Passage – Judges 14 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, JudeProverbs 25Psalms 121 – 125

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 55:17

Read the “0325 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.” – (Judges 14:1-3)

Years ago, my wife and I were at the boardwalk with Phil and Melissa who were, I think, around 6 and 5 at the time. As they were getting out of the “moon bounce”, there was another small child there that did not want to get out when the time was up. His grandfather pleaded with him to no avail, until finally he had to go in after the little boy. He grabbed the child and began to drag him out, and the kid started kicking and screaming, and finally spit right in his grandfather’s face. The grandfather just kept sweet-talking and pleading with the child, promising him other rides and ice-cream, cotton candy, etc. just to get the kid to want to come out. I remember thinking at that moment that I would have liked to be that kid’s dad for just 5 minutes. I would have let him have his little temper tantrum, and then I would have had my big one. We would have had a “pow-wow” – I would have done the powing, and he would have done the wowing.

We can see from our passage today that Samson’s parents were far too permissive. They appeased Samson by giving him whatever he wanted. Samson was a spoiled brat. Notice in vv. 1 – 3 of Judges 14 that Samson twice orders his parents to “get” this woman from Timnath for him “to wife”. Now this woman was not an Israelite, and did not share the same beliefs that Samson’s family did. The Old Testament Law was clear that an Israelite could only marry a woman that worshipped Jehovah God. Yet, the parents reluctantly gave Samson what he wanted. What a shame. Parents are supposed to be the ones who know what is best for their children.

The Bible has a lot to say about discipline and child-rearing. I will list a few of the verses here:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – (Proverbs 22:6)

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” – (Proverbs 19:18)

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” – (Proverbs 22:15)

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” – (Proverbs 23:13-14)

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” – (Proverbs 29:15)

When we read these verses, we might think that God wants us to be mean and abusive to our children, which is absolutely not the case. I have only had to spank my children a couple of times each in their lives. That is all that was necessary in order for them to understand that Mom and Dad are in charge, and that the children are to submit their wills to the will of their parents. We love our children, and they love us. We have a lot of fun together, and spend a lot of time with each of them individually as well as corporately as a family, but we are their parents, not their buddies. Three of our children are now grown, and our relationships with them have changes somewhat. We are now more like counselors to them, but there is still a great deal of love and respect showed to us by our grown children.

Parents, don’t buy into this modern philosophy regarding the rearing of children. Go to the Word of God. Biblical love and discipline your child before you produce a grown spoiled brat like Samson.


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

pinky-swear

Keep Your Word

Today’s Passage – Judges 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0324 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” (Judges 11:30-31)

This story in our scripture reading always amazed me.  There are so many truths you can glean from it but today I would like to focus on keeping your word, a vow.

Here we have the account of Jephthah, the son of a harlot. The Bible says his mother married Gilead and they had other sons. Now, like in many blended marriages, children will fight over the inheritance left by parents, and this was true of Jephthah’s brothers. So they sent him away. But when times got rough, they sent for him to lead them in battle. Now in verse 30, Jephthah makes a vow (deal or promise) to God, and God kept His end of the deal. Israel defeated the children of Ammon. In verse 31, we read the vow, ‘Whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me … I will offer it up for a burnt offering.’ After the war, he returned home and his only child, his daughter, came dancing in through the door of his home. At the end of Judges 11, we read that Jephthah kept his word that he vowed to the Lord and sacrificed his only beloved daughter to the Lord.

Keeping our word is a lost trait. Nowadays a hand shake just won’t do it. People just don’t keep their word. The Bible calls them fools.

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecclesiastes  5:4-5)

How often are our children disappointed because of a promise we made to them, and then broke it? I think it’s similar to when we pray to God and He doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Have you ever lent someone money and they promised to pay you back and didn’t? Maybe you did a job and didn’t get paid what you were supposed to. Keeping our word honors God. After all, He always keeps His.

Let’s try to do our best to keep our word and to show others the love of Christ.

Thank You

John 3:16

 

 


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When Good Men Do Nothing

When Good Men Do Nothing

Today’s Passage – Judges 9 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Peter 1 – 3Proverbs 23Psalms 111 – 115)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0323 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” – (Judges 9:15)

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

This is a very strange passage of Scripture, but I think it contains a very valuable lesson for us. In chapter 8, we have Gideon who was mightily used of the Lord to rid the land of Israel from the hand of the Mideonites. After the battle was over, the people of Israel ask Gideon to be their leader, but he refuses, saying that the Lord is their ruler. However, without a good man leading them, the people once again begin to stray away from the Lord, forcing God to bring about judgment. Now when we get to todays passage, we see that one of the sons of Gideon does desire to reign over the people, and goes to all of his brothers asking them to support him, and they do. The problem is that this man, Abimelech, is a very wicked man. Once he gets his power, the first thing he does is have all of his brothers (70 of them) put to death. One of the brothers escapes, and stands upon a mountain and delivers this parable unto the people of the city of Shechem:

“The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” – (Judges 9:8-15)

The olive tree refused to act; the fig tree refused to act; the vine refused to act; so there was nobody left but the bramble, a sticker bush.

What he was saying through this parable was that oftentime good men will refuse to take ther place of leadership, perhaps because they are already busy doing good things. However, when good men refuse to act, there will always be an evil person that will sieze the opportunity to gain power, and use it for his own purposes. This is what happens to the people of Shechem. Gideon refused to lead, and then his sons willingly turn over control of the city to this one brother. Eventually, as a result of all of this, just about everybody is put to death.

Bad things happen when good men do nothing. By refusing to get involved, we sometimes create a scenario where the wrong kind of people start calling the shots. Let’s apply this to the local church. Often times there are carnal people within the church that are hungry for power, and they are always looking for opportunities to advance themselves. And there are others within the body, who are good men, who just sit back and let it happen: perhaps because they have a lot of things going on in their lives, or maybe because they are just trusting men, who are willing to yield to others. By the way, it is never a good sign when an individual is seeking position. Truly spiritual people will often be reluctant to take positions because they either feel unworthy, or doubt their own ability. However, we need to not neglect the opportunities and responsibilities that God places in front of us, because when we refuse, it opens up the door to someone else who may not be God’s choice.

We can also see this in government. Good people often refuse to get involved, leaving the door wide open to men who may not have the best interests of the people at hand. The end result of all of this is that things begin to change for the worse for everybody. Good people need to stay in the process, so that we all can keep the good things that God has entrusted to us. How involved are you in the process? Do you get involved in the local church, and in your community and local government? Do you even vote? We need good people to do their part. The devil never stops trying to advance his agenda. We need to stay in the game in order to keep him from taking from us the wonderful blessings that God has given us.

 


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Little Is Much

Little Is Much

Today’s Passage – Judges 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 47:1

Read the “0322 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.” – (Judges 7:4)

This is one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible. The nation of Israel was at war with the Midianites, who numbered 135,000. The Bible says that even the number of their camels was too large to count. The camp of Israel, on the other hand, was much smaller, numbering only 32,000. The people of Israel were already outnumbered by more that 100,000 men, yet God said that Israel had too many men, and He wanted most of them weeded out. First, He eliminates all that are afraid. I have to admit right here that I know that I would have been eliminated in this first cut. Afraid!! I would have been scared to death. Israel was outnumbered  nearly 5 to 1. Amazingly, after the fearful left, there was still 10,000 left. Now they were outnumbered 13 to 1. This is not good military strategy folks. Yet, God said that they still had too many. At the next cut the troops of Israel were reduced down to 300. This was 440 Midianites to every 1 Israelite. You would agree, that this left Israel in a (humanly) hopeless situation. But you know what happens, don’t you. God gave the victory.

Consider some other verses:

“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” – (1 Samuel 14:6)

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – (Luke 1:37)

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” – (Genesis 18:14)

Sometimes, I get a little discouraged that we don’t have more people in our town that are saved and living for the Lord, serving Him in one of the Bible preaching churches. It also bothers me when there seem to be so few within the local church that are really surrendered to the Lord. But when I read passages like this I am reminded that God can do an awful lot with a little. He took down a great big giant with a little teenager. On numerous occasions He destroyed powerful armies with a few sold out soldiers. God loves to be the “underdog”. He loves to show Himself powerful in impossible situations. We may only have a few soldiers in the army at Jersey Shore Baptist Church, but God is more than able to reach the multitudes with them. And God is also ready to show Himself powerful in your life. What impossible situation are you facing today? Remember, Little is much when God is in it.


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Gideon’s Fleece

fleece

Today’s Passage – Judges 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34:6

Read the “0321 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.” – (Judges 6:36-37)

Three times in Judges 6, Gideon asks the Lord for a sign of some sort in order to assure him that it was, in fact, God that was speaking to him. The first time occurs when the angel of the Lord first appears to him in verse 17. Here he wants to be sure that it is the Lord. Maybe he was afraid that he was hallucinating, or perhaps being tricked. The Lord proves Himself to Gideon by consuming the kid and the bread upon the rock with fire.

The second and third time was regarding the fleece. He puts out the fleece twice: two nights in a row. The first night, he asked that the fleece would be wet with dew, and the ground dry. The second night, just to be sure, he asked that the ground be wet and the fleece be dry. God graciously proved Himself to Gideon on all of these occasions.

I have often heard people say that Gideon was not acting in faith because he kept asking for some sort of a sign. However, we must remember that God had not recorded in His word at this point anything about Gideon’s situation. Had God written through Moses or a prophet that there would be a man named Gideon that would deliver the children of Israel from the hand of the Mideonites, there might be a reason to accuse Gideon of lacking faith; but this was totally unpredicted, and unprecedented. I don’t blame Gideon for wanting to be sure that He was doing the will of God.

Today, we certainly are to walk by faith and not by sight. Most of what God calls us to do is clearly revealed in His Bible; but every once in a while, He reveals His will to us personally through extraordinary means. This does not happen very often, but it does happen. I have been saved for twenty-five years, and I can only point to a few times where I put forth a “fleece” in order to determine God’s will. I will share one of these incidents with you. When I was in my senior year of Bible college, I was very burdened about what I was going to do after I graduated. There were a few opportunities offered to me in various places and capacities; but I wanted to be sure that I was completely following the will of God. In my heart, I wanted to come back home to New Jersey, but I was not sure that my heart was lining up with God’s will. I began to pray. I decided one day to call up Pastor Charlie Clark who pastored in south Jersey, in order to get some advice from him. I told him that I was praying about coming back to New Jersey to start a church, or work for a church. He recommended that I head back to New Jersey upon graduation, and we would begin to pray and work toward the planting of a church. I was very excited about that prospect, but God had a slightly different plan. You see, as God was working in my heart about coming to New Jersey – unknown to me – He was also working in another pastor’s heart about moving away from New Jersey. Just a few minutes after I got off the phone with Pastor Clark, He received another phone call from Pastor Dan Owens. Brother Owens was the man who started Jersey Shore Baptist Church. The Lord was leading him to go back into the military as a chaplain, but he wanted to make sure that he left his church in good hands. So Brother Owens called Pastor Clark in order to see if He knew of any pastor that was praying about coming to New Jersey. “Coincidentally”, Pastor Clark did know of someone. Pastor Clark has since shared with me that he has had very few phone calls through the years regarding people either looking for a church, or looking to leave a church; and to get two such calls within minutes of each other was definitely a “sign” that this was of God.

I am not saying that we should be tempting God, or asking God to prove Himself to us. If we are His children, we have already placed our faith in Him, and in His revealed will through the Word of God. I am saying, though, that it is OK to ask God to clearly reveal His perfect will for your life. If your like me, you want to be sure that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do. There are a lot of big decisions to make in life, and they are not all completely covered in the Bible. For instance: Who are you going to marry? Where you are going to live? What will be your life’s vocation? Where will you go to college?  These are all important questions, and you want to be sure you are in the perfect will of God. I don’t think you are wrong to ask God to miraculously reveal His will to you personally, as He did to Gideon in our reading today.


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Hold the Line

Hold the Line

Today’s Passage – Judges 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 10 – 13;  Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34

Read the “0320 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “God Sent Them A Deliverer”

“And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.” – (Judges 2:7)

“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” – (Judges 2:10)

“And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.” – (Judges 2:12)

Years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to see the place where that great Civil War battle took place back in 1863. On the second day of the battle there were a group of men from Maine, lead by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, who were entrusted with holding the southern end of the Union line at a place called Little Round Top. If the Confederate army could breach that line, or somehow get around it, they would have been able to defeat the Union army that day, and may have been able to win the war. Colonel Chamberlain, and the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment held the line, and held back the Confederate Army. Toward the end of the battle, the Union army had run out of amunition, and were forced to repel their attackers with a charge down the hill with only their bayonets as weapons.

Our Scripture passage today in the Book of Judges tells us that when Joshua and the leaders from his generation were alive, they held the line against idolatry and immorality in the land of Israel. On their watch, they kept evil from creeping into the land. However, when Joshua’s generation died off, the next generation allowed all kinds of wickedness to enter into the lives of the people of Israel. They didn’t hold the line. It seems that, though Joshua and his contemporaries were good at leading the people in righteousness, they failed at training the next generation to do the same.

I made a similar observation this morning about our generation today. In America today there are many churches that are attracting large crowds, but unfortunately they are drawing people in by making their worship services as comfortable as possible to a lost world. Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not against people being comfortable in church, and I want people to enjoy their time at our services. However, I don’t want to compromise what I know to be right, in order to make lost people, or carnal Christians, feel more comfortable at our church. I am more concerned with the Saviour’s pleasure, than with the Seeker’s. Today, our churches have become so like the world, that there is little difference between Christians and the lost people around them. My point in all this is that I believe that by watering down everything that we stand for, and by opening the church doors wide to worldliness, we are going to lose the next generation. If we have only “a form a godliness”, what will our kid’s have? If we have to tickle the ears of people now to get them to come in, or keep them from going out, what will the next generation have to do?

We need to hold the line, and we need to work to raise a new generation of godly Christians that will be more sold-our, more separated, and better soul-winners than we are. If we don’t, America will be totally lost. Somebody’s got to hold the line.


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Keep Choosing the Lord

Keep Choosing the Lord

Today’s Passage – Joshua 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 25

Read the “0319 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – (Joshua 24:15)

“And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.” – (Joshua 24:22)

I have been considering this 24th chapter of Joshua for many years. It is one of those victorious portions of Scripture where the people of God do exactly what they are supposed to do. Joshua lays it all out for them. He basically tells them to pick a side. In other words, he gives them the option to choose to serve God, or to serve the many gods that were worshipped by the former inhabitants of the land of Canaan. The Israelites chose wisely. However, having studied the rest of the history of the Jewish people, I also know that they will often go back on their choice. Though they decided at this time to serve God, and forsake all other gods, they will soon begin to allow idolatry to come back into their lives. Though they once chose wisely, they didn’t keep choosing wisely.

I find that we are much the same way today. At one point in our lives we choose God. We come to Him for salvation, and surrender our lives to Him for service; but down the road, we change our minds. I don’t mean that we decide that we no longer want to be God’s child, but we often decide that living for the Lord isn’t as fun as we thought it was, and we start going in alternative directions. My encouragement to you today is to keep choosing the Lord. You chose Him as your Saviour in the past, choose Him as your Lord today. Choose today to yield your life to Him. Choose today to spend time with Him through Bible reading and prayer. Choose today to serve Him by serving the people He loves. Keep choosing the Lord.


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God Is a Promise Keeper

Rainbow

Today’s Passage – Joshua 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4Proverbs 18Psalms 86 – 90

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 19

Read the “0318 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” – (Joshua 21:45)

In the Book of Joshua, in chapters 19 – 21, we see the continuation of the division of the land among the 12 tribes of Israel. Chapter 20 specifically deals with the six cities of refuge; and chapter 21 reveals the 48 cities that were to be given to the the Levites. These cities were to be given from within the borders of all of the other tribes so that the priests and ministers of the Lord would be nearby all of the people of Israel. The Levites were not really given a possession of land, but they were provided cities to live in, and suburbs for their cattle to graze in. This is probably where we got the idea of the church parsonage; and it is probably also why the United States Government does not tax these dwellings. God made sure that His ministers were well taken care of.

The verses that really captured my attention, however, from this morning’s reading was in chapter 21, verses 43 – 45. Here it says that God held up His end of the bargain. He did everything that He said He would do. He promised them a land, and He delivered. He promised them victory over the inhabitants of that land, and He gave it. He promised them provision all along the way, and they were provided for. In fact, the only time that things did not work out as they were supposed to was when the people did not listen to God’s instruction, and acted outside of His will.

We can trust in the promises of God. There are many promises for us in the New Testament. Some of them are unconditional, like our eternal security once we’ve placed our faith in Christ. However, many of them are conditional upon our obedience and faith. God says that if we will follow Him, He will do certain things for us. For instance He says that He will provide for us, and protect us, and give our lives purpose. These are only a few general samples of what God promises His children today. And God will keep up His end of the bargain. He will do what He says He will do. The question, however, is, will you follow Him? Will you trust Him, and do what you’re supposed to do. If things don’t turn out as He promised, it’s not because God slipped up. It is because we haven’t done what we are supposed to do. Why not find and believe God’s promises for you today; and why not do what He says that you have to do on your end in order for Him to bless you and your family.

By the way, the picture of the rainbow at the top is a reminder of one of God’s promises. He promised back in Genesis that He would no longer destroy the whole earth with a flood. There has been flooding at many times and in many places, but the water never again engulfed the entire earth. He told us that He set His bow in the clouds to remind us of that.


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Get To Work

Hard Work

Today’s Passage – Joshua 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Titus 1 – 3; Proverbs 17Psalms 81 – 85

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0317 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.” – (Joshua 17:15)

In Joshua chapter seventeen, we see the land of Israel being divided up among the twelve tribes. The two half tribes that belonged to the sons of Joseph were a little concerned because they felt that they needed more land than what was given to them. They reasoned that because they were a “great people”, one portion of land would not be sufficient for them. The leader of Israel, Joshua, basically tells them that there is plenty more land available, but they would have to work a little to get it. The land he offered them was very mountainous and wooded, and needed to be cleared; and it also contained some pretty heavily armed Canaanites that also needed to be removed. I think the tribe of Joseph really wanted to just move right into a place where they would not have to put forth too much effort.

There is a great lesson to be learned here for us today. We often have desires for great things in life, but we usually are reluctant to work for those things. I know a man who today is very wealthy. He and his family enjoy many material possessions, and are very well off. However, those things did not come easy to him. He worked very hard over the course of many years to accumulate the wealth that he enjoys today. In fact, I knew this man when he was a boy in school. He studied hard, and applied himself. He continued to work hard through college; and when he received his first employment opportunity, he applied himself diligently there as well. Nobody handed his wealth to him. He had to work for it. He is envied by many people today who want what he has, but most of those people would not want to pay the price that he paid in time and sweat in order to achieve what he has.

As Christians, we need to get away from this entitlement mentality that everything is owed to us. There are plenty of opportunities out there for us to take advantage of, but few of them will come without a sacrifice on our part. We can see this lazy attitude in the ministry today. Some preachers, right out of Bible college, want a large ministry handed to them. They look for the perfect opportunity. Yet, there are millions of people out there who need a preacher. I remember when I came to Jersey Shore, there was no parsonage and there was no salary. We did have a beautiful little building, and a good group of people gathered together, but there were few perks that would attract many prospective preachers today. I was just thrilled that somebody wanted me to be their pastor. The church has grown some since then. By God’s grace we have been able to add on to our building, purchase more land, and add new ministries. But it took work. We had to cut down the woods, and drive out some of the Canaanites. It wasn’t easy, but God has blessed us all through the process.

Don’t expect all of the good things in life to be handed to you. Our God is a wonderful, gracious, and very giving God; but aside from our salvation, He often doesn’t hand us things on a silver platter. What He does do, however, is offer us opportunities to fight and work for things. Do you want something more in life? Go get it. Work for it.


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I Want That Mountain

colore-rosa-esiste-o-no

Today’s Passage – Joshua 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here  to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0316 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.” – (Joshua 14:12)

One of my favorite men in the Bible is Caleb. He had an unshakable and an unwavering faith in the Lord. He wholly followed the Lord his God, and there was no obstacle that was too large, and no enemy that was too powerful, to keep Caleb from fulfilling God’s will for his life. You will remember that when the spies were sent in to check out the land of Canaan there were only two of them that came back with a positive report; only two that knew that God was much bigger than and giant Canaanite. One of those two men was Caleb. Ten of those spies came back and said, “It can’t be done; it’s too hard; we’re not ready yet. Not Caleb. He and Joshua were ready for a fight:

“And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – (Numbers 14:6-9)

In our passage today, it is now forty-five years after the spies came back, and Caleb is an old man; yet, he still has a lot of fight left in him. He is not thinking about retirement. He is still looking to conquer more giants for the Lord. We need more Calebs in the church today! Men and women who trust the Lord wholly to do “greater works than these”. We need people who are willing to fight for what is right; people who still see areas that need to be conquered for the Lord.

What does God want you to conquer for Him? What giant obstacle is in your path that God is waiting for you to trust Him to remove in His power? What neighborhood, or city remains unreached with the gospel? What are you afraid of. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know that there are giants trying to stop you, but your God is greater than any Giant. Trust Him and take the mountain!

 


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Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears

Today’s Passage – Joshua 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 6Proverbs 15Psalms 71 – 75)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Deuteronomy 32:4

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Day the Sun Stood Still

Read the “0315 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.” – (Joshua 11:21-23)

Remember the Anakims?

“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” – (Numbers 13:32-33)

You might want to read Numbers chapter 13 in order to completely understand the point of this devotion. In a nutshell, Numbers 13 deals with Moses sending the 12 men into the land of Israel to spy out the land. They saw that the land surely was a good land, a land that flowed with milk and honey; but they also saw that the people of the land, especially the Anakims, were huge and pretty fierce looking people: they were giants. Instead of the spies returning with a good report of the wonderful opportunities that awaited them in their furture home, they returned with an evil report describing only the obstacles that stood in their way. To the people of Israel, the giants of the land were bigger than the God they served. As a result, God was highly displeased with their lack of faith and sentenced them to wander the wilderness for forty more years, until all of the naysayers had died off.

Here in our text in Joshua, we see the nation of Israel, forty plus years later, conquering those same giants that their fathers were afraid to face. Had that previous generation simply looked past the obstacles, they would have seen that their God was well able to bring them victoriously into that wonderful land of opportunity; but they let their fears control their destiny.

Don’t let your fear rob you of the opportunities that God is placing in front of you. Dr. Paul Fedena once preached a message at our church on the subject of fear. He taught that fear often paralyzes us from moving forward in the will of God. Fear is a natural human emotion, but we must not let it stop us from doing the things that God has called us to do. God will not ask us to do something that He will not enable us to do, in His strength. Too many Christians are wandering still in the wilderness of their fears, missing out on the wonderful blessings that await them in the promised land of a Spirit-filled life. Face your fears, not in your own strength, but in the power and might of the Lord.


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Lesson Learned? – The Saturday Morning Post

second-same-mistake-is-a-choiceToday’s Passage – Joshua 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3Proverbs 14Psalms 66 – 70)

This Morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0314 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Moldy Bread, Broken Bottles, and Old Shoes

“And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.” (Joshua 8:33-35)

Good morning. If you are working for someone, that someone is the boss. He may want the job done in a certain way. You need to do the job his way: he is the boss. It is always good to check with the boss, and get the job done right the first time.

Joshua had a boss too, The Boss: the LORD. Joshua did not check in with the Lord before attacking Ai. If he did, the Lord would have told him not to attack Ai; take care of the sin in the camp first. Instead, they attacked, and 36 men of Israel were killed as they ran from the men of Ai.

Joshua obeyed God’s instructions in the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down. But Joshua did not know that one of his men did not. He should have checked with the LORD first. Joshua checked with the LORD, the problem was taken care of, and the LORD showed Joshua how to set up an ambush to destroy Ai. Ai was defeated. Lesson learned, right? Wrong.

“And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.” (Joshua 9:3-15)

Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, sometimes we don’t. If Joshua would have checked with the LORD first he would not have had to defend Gibeon in chapter 10. God only wants what is good for you. If you want your life to run smoother, check with the LORD first. Also, when tribulation comes, and it will, remember to seek God first in what you should do.

Peace! (John 16:33)


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Sin in the Camp

achan

Today’s Passage – Joshua 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Proverbs 13; Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0313 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.” – (Joshua 7:2-5)

In our passage today, we read of the great victory of the Lord’s people in the Battle of Jericho. The large, fortress city of Jericho fell completely without one casualty in the army of Israel. It was perhaps the greatest military victory in history. Unfortunately, soon after the conquest of Jericho, the people of God suffered an horrible, embarrassing defeat against the much smaller city of Ai. Israel fled from the army of Ai, and mourned the loss of thirty-six men. Why would God give Israel such a tremendous victory at Jericho, and then remove his blessing from them so that they would lose so easily against a much smaller foe? I believe there are three reasons: three accursed things found within the camp of Israel that caused God to allow Israel to be punished before their enemy.

1  Disobedience – There was sin in the camp.

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” – (Joshua 7:1)

Achan took a garment from Jericho, which seems like a small thing; yet, God was very upset about it. He had given clear instructions that nothing from Jericho was to be taken, save the silver and gold, which was to be brought into Israel’s treasury. Not only did Achan take the garment, but he also stole some silver and gold for himself. The sin of one man can greatly affect the blessing of God on an entire congregation. You might think that God was unfair to judge the whole nation for the sin of one man, but you may change your mind when you consider the next two reasons.

Overconfidence – The people of Israel underestimated the power of the enemy, and overestimated their own strength. They thought Ai was too small to worry about. They were wrong. Christians often do the same thing today. We underestimated our enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil; and we overestimate our own strength. Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing”. (John 15:5)

3  Independence – When you review the account of the victory of Jericho, you will see that “the Captain of the host of the Lord” had given Joshua complete detailed instructions as to what Israel should do. However, when you look at the battle of Ai, you will see that not once does God speak to Joshua about going into Ai; nor does Joshua pray to God about going in. Now, we know that Ai was one of the many cities that God wanted the children of Israel to conquer, but they should have consulted the Lord first as to when and how they should do it. They didn’t, and as a result, Israel was on their own in this battle, without God. They didn’t think they needed God for this little city. Boy were they mistaken. I’m willing to bet that if Joshua would have just asked God about Ai before going in, God would have told Joshua about Achan’s sin. One little prayer would have prevented the demoralizing defeat as well as the death of thirty-six men. How often have you and I done things without consulting the Lord first?

When we think of Ai, we often think of “the accursed thing”, but as we have learned, there were really three of them. There was more than just one sin in the camp. Along with the sin of taking the garment and the gold there was also the sin of trusting in their own fleshly abilities, and the sin of not praying to God. Let’s not you and I make these same mistakes in our lives.


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What Mean Ye By These Stones?

whatmeansstones2-3

Today’s Passage – Joshua 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5; Proverbs 12; Psalms 56 – 60)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0312 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Where are the Strong and Courageous Men?”

“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

God is all about remembering.

The Passover is a Memorial:

“And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” - (Exodus 12:11-14)

The Lord’s Supper is a Memorial:

“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” - (1 Corinthians 11:24-26)

All throughout the Bible there are examples of God commanding His people to remember:

“And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” - (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

God doesn’t like it when we forget what He has done for us. That is why He has set up occasions for memorials – reminders.

By the way – God doesn’t forget us either.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” - (Hebrews 6:10)

According to Hebrews 6:10 – it is unrighteous – it is sin – to forget what God and others have done for us.

Forgetting begins with a lack of reflection; and results in a lack of appreciation, and ultimately leads to rebellion:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

All of the sins listed in Romans one were preceded by a lack of thanksgiving by a people who “knew God”, but failed to remember Him or give Him the glory that He deserves.

Don’t be guilty of forgetting about God, and all of the wonderful things that He has done for you.


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Well Done!

Well Done

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 32 – 34 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Colossians 1 – 4;  Proverbs 11Psalms 51 – 55

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0311 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. … And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” – (Deuteronomy 34:5, 10)

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” – (Hebrews 9:27)

“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:” – (Acts 13:36)

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” – (2 Timothy 4:7)

In Deuteronomy 34 we see the death of one of God’s choicest servants, Moses. Moses had served in the will of God for forty years, leading a stiffnecked and rebellious group of people through the wilderness, finally delivering them to the border of the land that God had given them. Moses had finished what God had called him to do. God was well pleased with the service of Moses, and I am sure that he heard the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” – (Matthew 25:21)

I think if we look back on Moses’ life, we can certainly see that he had a fulfilling life. Most people never find that kind of fulfillment. They live their lives trying to accumulate toys, and experience all of the pleasures of this world; but in them they never find the fulfillment which fills that empty cavern in the center of their souls. Too often, people die today with many regrets, many unrealized dreams. They often wish that had a chance to do it over again, or at least were granted a little more time to make things right. I don’t think that Moses had many regrets. I am sure there are some things that he would like to have redone. I bet he wished that he had kept better control of his temper at Kadesh; but for the most part, I believe that Moses was ready to go home to the Lord.

Moses found the will of God for his life, and he fulfilled it. I think that statement really sums up the secret to living a life that ends without regret. By the way, he also poured his life into others before he left so that they could carry on the work when he was gone. What are you living for? I think most of us who know the Lord really have a desire built in us to accomplish great things for Him, but we often put God’s will on the back burner so that we can do our own thing for a little while. The devil tricks us into thinking that there will always be time later on in life to get busy serving the Lord; but all too often the days just race by, and before we realize it, our lives are at the end. Time flies by, doesn’t it? Let me encourage you to not wait another minute to start the process of finding God’s will for your life, and then fulfilling it. What does God want you to do? Get busy! You will someday be on top of Mt. Nebo yourself, and then you will realize that your time is up. Like Moses, you will be able to see from that vantage point, not only what had been accomplished, but also what could have been accomplished. We will all have some regrets, but if we get busy now, we can die with the joy of knowng that we fulfilled God’s purpose for our lives.


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

Count Your Blessings

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 29 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philippians 1 – 4; Proverbs 10; Psalm 46 – 50)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0310 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” (Deuteronomy 29:3-4)

We see Israel before they crossed over the Jordan into Canaan, the Promised Land. Moses was reminding them of all the things that had happened to them on their journey from Egypt. They watched as the Red Sea destroyed their enemies. They saw water coming out of a rock and manna falling from the sky. They never had to buy shoes, and they saw the Lord do many other amazing miracles. They were to be lead away from sin, so that they could worship God freely. But, they kept failing – something would happen and the children of Israel would mummer and complain. They desired to return to their former life in Egypt.  Then, they would repent and God would bless; and the cycle would start all over again. That’s why Moses was reminding them of their blessings.

But let’s not be so hard on the children of Israel. Are we not just as guilty? Let’s take a look.

We come to a very low point in our lives where we turn to the Lord (Israel’s 400 years in bondage). We accept what Jesus did on the cross and He becomes our Saviour (Israel flees from Egypt). You start going to church, read and learn God’s word, and make other changes in your life (Israel sacrificed in the wilderness). We follow the first teaching and get baptized, (the crossing of the red sea). Then, the honeymoon is over and the trials of everyday life happen (they had no water and they also got tired of the manna God supplied). We think, ‘I had it better before’, and we want to go back to the old ways. Our heart is set to return to the land of sin and the corruption, then we fail which brings destruction instead of life (Israel wanting to go back to Egypt). We are so quick to forget what God has done for us. With living the life that God has for us, we should bring others into the Promised Land forsaking our former life.

God really wants us to have the good life, but we have to want it too.

If we are not thankful for what we have, then God may withhold other things from us. But, if we are truly thankful for all that we have then God seems to pour out His blessings abundantly upon us. Instead of grumbling over what we don’t have, we should be a living testimony of Christ by doing what He told us to do.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Remember that in God’s kingdom there is no pain or mourning or death. A pure heart does not just seek after material things, but seeks ways to serve and please God.

So when Satan is tempting you to turn aside from the ways of God and you are thinking of going back to Egypt, walk away from those people and situations that pull you down.

Thank You

1 John 5:13


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What Do They See?

What Do They See?

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 27 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Ephesians 4 – 6Proverbs 9Psalm 46 – 50

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read another post from this passage – “Choose Wisely

Read the “0309 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.” – (Deuteronomy 28:10)

I was captivated by the verse above. Notice that it says that people will see that the Israelites were called by the name of the Lord. It does not say that the people will hear mere words. The people were not to just talk about their relationship with God, they were to live it; and live it so powerfully that the surrounding nations would fear them.

It is rare today that the world looks into the life of a Christian and sees the hand of God working so evidently and powerfully in them that they are actually feared. For the most part Christians today are mocked and made fun of, but not feared. Why are we the laughingstock of the world today? There are many reasons, but I believe the main one is that our lives do not demonstrate the power and abundance of the life of faith. We dabble in God, but we don’t let Him get all of us, and unless He has all of us He cannot demonstrate His power in our lives.

Christians should be walking billboards illustrating the power and blessing of an omnipotent God. People should be able to take one look at us and tell that there is something radically different about us; something almost intimidating. The story is told of the great preacher, Charles Finney, who visited a factory one day in New York, and after merely making eye contact with a woman in the factory, she began to weep uncontrollably. That is pretty powerful. Our lives should declare loudly and boldly that we are the children of an awesome and all powerful God. People may not agree with us, but if our lives are fully surrendered to the Lord, they should respect us. Do the people around you fear you because of the presence of God in your life, or do they mock you? Sobering thought.


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And Such Were Some of You

And Such Were Some Of You

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 23 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 9 – 13; Proverbs 8; Psalms 36 – 40)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0308 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:” - (Deuteronomy 26:5)

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” – (Psalm 40:2)

“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” – (Jude 1:23)

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” – (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Read again Deuteronomy 26:1 – 11

In this passage the Israelite was commanded to bring an a firstfruit offering to the House of God, and then he was to recite a statement to the priests acknowledging that he remembered where he was when God found him. Actually, he was really speaking on behalf of the nation in that he was recognizing that God took Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and brought him into the Promised Land. He also was acknowledging that all of the blessings that he was enjoying was given to him by God.

There are a lot of ways that we can apply the principle found in this passage. First, I believe that God would want us to keep fresh in our minds what it was like for us when we were not saved. I think as time goes on in our Christian life, we tend to forget about where God delivered us from. We were lost, without direction, without purpose, and without God’s blessings on our lives. God truly did bring us up out of “an horrible pit”, literally plucked from the fire. Don’t let time dim the memory of where you came from.

Secondly, because we remember what it was like before God saved us, we need to express our appreciation to Him for all of the things that He has done for us now that we are His children. Besides just a future home in Heaven, God abundantly provides for our needs here on the earth. He protects us from many of the harmful things that plague those that don’t have a relationship with Christ. He also give us purpose: a reason for living. We have been priveledged with the task of being His ambassadors to this fallen world. All because of salvation. Don’t forget where you came from. Realize that if it wasn’t for the marvelous grace of God, you could still be there.


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Put Your Game Face On!

Put Your Game Face On

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 19 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  Galatians 4 – 6Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0307 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon. 

Read a previous post from this passage – “Feminine and Modest”

“And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.” – (Deuteronomy 20:8)

In Deuteronomy chapter twenty, God gives instructions to the people of Israel regarding going into battle. Before going into the fight, God weeded out anybody whose hearts and minds would not be in the fight(vv 5 – 8). If these soldiers were not not fully committed and focussed on the battle ahead, they may be a danger to the other men. If they were consumed with fear, God knew that their fear may spread to the others and discourage them as well. God wants those who fight for him to be “in the fight”.

These verses bring several thoughts to mind, but the one I will share with you is one that I have given quite a bit of consideration to lately. In Christianity today, there is an awful lot of “half-hearted” effort in the battle to fulfill the Great Commission. So many are distracted, and so many more just do not seem to care at all. We need men and woman who are willing to give their all to and for the Lord. Consider these verses:

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” – (Revelation 3:16)

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – (Luke 9:62)

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” – (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” – (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

We are in a battle today: against the devil; against the evil of this world. We are fighting for the souls of men, and God needs us to be focussed and determined as we fight. We need to decide whether or not we want to be in the battle or not, because turning back is not an option. We need to get in all the way or get out of the way. By the way, I understand that there will be times when we need to break from the battle temporarily for rest and restoration, but that does not mean we give up altogether. Sometimes we will have to fight on even when we are weary, but we must keep fighting. The time of eternal rest will come soon enough, but right now we have something to fight for. Christian, put your game face on!

I heard Brother Roloff (via a tape) sing this song years ago:

I Came Here To Stay

Well the champion marched, for forty days
said “Gimmie a man to fight!”
The Israelites said “We got a brave heart,
but our feet are sorta full of fright!”
Then a boy with a sling and a pocket full of rocks,
who knew how to trust and pray said:
“If you’re gonna run, may as well start now cuz I came here to stay!” 

Run if you want to run if you will
cuz I came here to stay
If I fall down, gonna get a right up
cuz I didn’t start out to play
Its a battlefield brother, not a recreation room
Its a fight and not a game
Run if you want to, run if you will,
but I came here to stay

The kids wouldn’t bow, the king got mad
said: “Turn that ol’ furnace up high!”
“Tie ‘em up, throw ‘em on in,
those Hebrew boys are gonna fry!”
A little while later, they looked in the furnace,
they heard brother Shadrach say:
“Pull up a chair boys, warm your hands,
we came in here to stay!”

Run if you want to run if you will

 


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Did You “Write” Your Bible Today?

Did You Write Your Bible Today?

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 15 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  Galatians 1 – 3Proverbs 6Psalm 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0306 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” – (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

A few years back, our church began using a one-on-one discipleship program called “Daily in the Word”, which is a tremendous tool for teaching new believers the foundational truths of Christianity. One of the things that I like about this training is that it emphasizes the practice of writing Scripture. I had read the Bible many times, and had memorized and studied portions of the Scripture prior to taking this course, but I must confess that I had never made it a practice to write out portions of Scripture; and to be honest, I was skeptical about the benefit that I would receive by it. However, I have been amazed at how writing the Scripture has helped me to see some things that I had never seen before, and has also helped me to retain much more than just reading alone. I have actually filled up whole notebooks with the Books of the Bible that I have now written. Recently, I purchased an expensive leather journal, and I am writing the Book of Psalms in it. I intend to pass this along to one of my children when I am finished.

Our passage this morning tells us in Deuteronomy 17:18 – 20 that the kings of Israel were required to write out a copy of the law for themselves, and they were to keep that copy with them so that they would know what to do. I don’t believe that all of the kings actually did this because many of them certainly did not follow the precepts contained in the law, and as a result were not very successful at ruling the people of God. However, some of the kings, like David, Hezekiah, Josiah, and others did know the Word, and followed it closely as they ruled over the people. During their reigns the kingdom had the blessing of God evidenced by His abundant provision as well as His protection from enemies. God’s Word certainly made a big difference in the nation when it was revered and obeyed.

We need to place a high priority on the Scripture today. I believe we ought to set aside a special time when we read, listen to and write the Word of God. I believe the more Scripture we absorb into our hearts and minds, the more our faith will be increased (Romans 10:17), and the better we will be able to fulfil the will of God for our lives; not to mention the fact that we will enjoy more prosperity and less problems in life simply because we will know what we should do.

Have you ever thought about writing the Bible? If the Lord tarries, I would love to eventually write out a complete copy of the Word of God. I know the time and effort that I put into it will reap a far greater return.

Additional Note – Notice vs. 16 – 17 regarding what the king was not supposed to do:

“But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” – (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)

The king was not supposed to multiply horses, wives, or wealth for himself. Boy, Israel sure got away from that, didn’t they? How many wives and concubines did Solomon have? 1000! It must be that the kings of Israel and Judah neglected to “write [them] a copy” of the Word of God, and they certainly must not have been reading it, because if they had, they would not have gotten so far away from where God wanted them. The same is true for you and I today as children of the King. We need to stay close to the Bible; flood our lives with it, so that we will know what we are supposed to do.


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Rejoice Before the Lord

 

Rejoice Before The Lord

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 9 – 13Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0305 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.” (Deuteronomy 12:7)

And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.” (Deuteronomy 12:12)

“But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.” (Deuteronomy 12:18 KJV)

“And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,” (Deuteronomy 14:26)

In each of the verses above the people of God were commanded by the Lord to come to the place that the Lord would choose, and there they were to bring their offerings, whether they be the “firstlings” of their flocks, or the tithe of their crops, or even in some cases they were to bring an equivalent value of their offering in money, with which they could then purchase an appropriate offering. The place of the Lord’s choosing was wherever the Tabernacle of the congregation would be set up. Eventually, the Temple would be built in Jerusalem, which would be the permanent place for the Lord’s people to assemble. Anyway, once at the temple they were to eat “before the Lord” of the sacrifices that they had brought, and rejoice.

Here is how the process worked: God gave the people commandments to live by in their new land. As long as the people obeyed the Lord and kept Him first in their lives, He would bless them with abundant provision and prosperity. Every once in a while, God wanted them to gather together, and sort of have a celebration with Him, rejoicing in all that He had done for them. He wanted them to come to where He decided, and celebrate His abundant provision with Him.

I see a beautiful parallel today to the local church. God has ordained that we gather together often, and we too are to bring with us a portion of what the Lord has blessed us with, and we are also to rejoice before the Lord because of His abundant provision. It’s easy to rejoice when we reflect upon all that we have in Christ. Besides the eternal blessings of salvation, we also enjoy the protection and provision of a wonderful Heavenly Father who takes care of us. God wants us to gather together often and rejoice before Him, praising Him for all that He has done. Let’s not forsake the “assembling of ourselves together”, but let us get together as often as we can, and when we do, let us bring back to Him some of what He has blessed us with, and then let’s be sure to “rejoice before the Lord”.


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The Choice is Yours

Choice-is-yours

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 9 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 5 – 8Proverbs 4Psalm 16 – 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0304 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” – (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

The choice that God “set before” the people of Israel 4000 years ago is the same choice that he places before His people today. If we love Him and live for Him, His hand of blessing will be upon our lives and families, and we will also be fruitful and productive in our ministry for Him. However, if the world, with all of its attractions, lures us out of the will of God and causes us to live for ourselves, then we will lose God’s blessings of provision and protection.

It is very frightening to me the number of casualties that there are among the ranks of Christians. It scares me because I know that it is only by the grace of God that I haven’t fallen myself. But I believe that our chances of surviving this wicked world with our faith intact will greatly increase if we heed the commandment that God gave the people in the verses prior to v. 26:

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” – (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

“For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.” - (Deuteronomy 11:22-25)

The Bible teaches very plainly that our faith in God will grow proportionately to amount of time we spend in the Word of God (“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 ); not merely reading the Word, but also meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it to our lives. If we spend time daily in the Word, our faith in God will increase, and if our faith increases, we will then have a desire in our hearts to obey Him; and if we are obedient to Him, He then can bless our lives.

Are you struggling with your faith? Get back into your Bible, and get back into the church services. Increasing your time in the Word, will increase your faith, which will increase your obedience, which will increase your blessing. The choice is yours.


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Let’s Get Back to the Bible

King James Bible

 

Note – We are very sorry for the inconvenience. Apparently, this blog has been attacked with some sort of a virus. We are working diligently to fix it. Please be patient with us. We are preachers, not technical experts. 

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 6 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 1 – 4; Proverbs 3; Psalms 11 – 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0303 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Remember Who Butters Your Bread

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Just before the children of Israel entered into the Land of Promise, God gave them a few important instructions that, if heeded, would guarantee their success in their new home. He told them that if they loved Him with all of their hearts, and obeyed what He commanded them, they would “increase mightily” in the land. He also warned them to completely drive out all of the inhabitants of the land. They were not to make any covenants with them, but were to completely remove or destroy them. The people of God were also warned not to forget God Who gave them this wonderful and fruitful land, and could easily remove them from it if they forsook Him.

God didn’t just want the people to hear these commandments one time, He wanted them to be constantly reminded of them. In Deuteronomy 6:6 – 9, God tells them that He wanted His Word to be memorized, and it was also to be posted everywhere so the people could always remember what God had done for them, and what God expected of them. His Word was also to be diligently discussed and instructed in the home so the children could learn about and revere God also. Knowing and obeying God’s Word guaranteed the prosperity of God’s people. God reminded Joshua of this very same truth in Joshua 1:8:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

David also understood this principle and wrote extensively about it in his psalms:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:1-3)

In fact, the largest psalm (Psalm 119) is dedicated completely to the Word of God:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105)

This principle is still applicable today. God’s people need to immerse themselves in the Scripture through individual daily reading, studying, and memorization. It is also important to gather together with other believers in the church and hear the Word of God preached and taught from the pulpit. People say that too much of anything is not good, but I can’t imagine that too much of the Bible is bad. In fact, I believe the problems in America today are largely due to a neglect of the Bible. 

Let’s get back to the Bible.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)


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Who’s In Control? – The Saturday Morning Post

 Todays Reading – Numbers 34 – 36

“They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.” (Proverbs 28:4-5)

Good Morning. Dontcha just love the Spring-like weather we’ve been having lately? Dontcha just hate when when people cry out, “Global warming! Global warming!” Dontcha just wish that those in control would fall to their knees and pray to Almighty God, Creator of everything, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the only God to lay His life down and shed His precious blood for the sins of man, and then rose up three days later as proof of payment? Sorry…

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)

Those in control need to know that their control comes from God. Those of us who are oppressed by those in control need to acknowledge that their control comes from God. Everyone needs to come before Almighty God, confess our sins, and beg for His mercy on our country…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicals 7:14)

Elections are coming soon. Vote righteousness, and not money. Healing for our nation can only come from the Great Physician. Put Him first.

When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.” (Proverbs 28:28)

Peace! (Revelation 22:21)


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God Knows Why?

 

Today’s Passage –Numbers 30 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 13 – 16; Proverbs 26; Psalms 131 – 135)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0226 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.” (Numbers 31:15-17)

Numbers 31 is a very somber passage of Scripture. Moses is commanded by the Lord to perform one last task before he dies, which was to “avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites”. 12,000 men from Israel went out and attacked a much greater number of Midianites, and were able to conquer them completely without  losing one of their own men. Of course, the Midianites were not so fortunate; they ended up losing everything with all of the adult males being immediately slain. At first, the women and small male children were all spared. However, when the victors returned to camp with the spoils and the captives, Moses commanded that all of the small male children, as well as all of the adult women would also have to be slaughtered. Only the small girls were spared.

I must confess that Bible passages such as this are not the ones I look forward to reading. Later on, in 1 Samuel 15, God would once again order the annihilation of an entire nation of people (the Amalekites), again including all of the women, children, and even the livestock. I have often wondered why God would command such a thing. I have examined these Scriptures carefully in the past and have even preached messages from them. I have explained to people some of the reasons why God would need to be so severe, but I was always left with more questions in my own mind. Wasn’t there any other way? Couldn’t God have spared even just the children? How do we reconcile this Old Testament  God of vengeance with the New Testament God of love and mercy? My human reasoning cannot fully comprehend the answers to all these questions regarding what God was thinking when He chose such drastic courses of action.

I still don’t have all the individual answers to these and many other questions, but I have come to a place in my faith that has helped me tremendously. I no longer question God. There are a lot of things about God that make absolutely no sense to my finite brain, but I trust that He knows what He is doing, and He does not have to offer me any explanation. Why did God kill all of the Midianites? Why did He destroy the entire world with a flood? Why did He kill the Amalekites? Why did God allow the Towers to come down on 9/11? Why does He permit the pain and suffering of millions of people today? I know why, and yet I don’t know why. I mean, I may understand partially, but I can’t comprehend fully; but I do know God, and I trust Him that He knows why, and that’s good enough for me. I know God loves me, and I know He loves the world and all of the people in it, and I know that God does everything right, even when I can’t see any right in it.


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A Pastor’s Heart

Today’s Passage – Numbers 27 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 9 – 12; Proverbs 25; Psalms 126 – 130

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read a previous post from this passage – “Bring Your Cause Before The Lord

Read the “0225 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered. … Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.” – (Numbers 27:12-13, 16-17)

Notice in Numbers 27:12 – 17 that Moses is being told by God that he is going to die. Can you imagine being given the time and location of your death? Consider Moses’ reaction to the news. There are no complaints, no arguments; just one request: Moses asked God to make sure that the people would be cared for. Moses was a true pastor/shepherd. He was not merely an hireling. He loved and cared greatly the people that had been placed in his care. Moses wanted to be sure that God would give the people of Israel another leader that loved them just as musch as he did.

Sadly, there are many people involved in the ministry today who do not have a pastor’s heart, as Moses did. Too many spiritual leaders are hirelings. They may be great administrators, and they can often preach and teach the doctrines of the Bible with passion and clarity; but they lack a love for the people that they minister to. They love the crowd, but avoid the individuals from within the crowd. The people are seen as a means to an end, and not an end in themselves. I find myself falling into this category at times. Perhaps it is because I have been hurt on occasion from individuals within the congregation. For whatever reason, I have caught myself distancing from the flock that God has given me to pastor.

The ministry is people. People have problems, needs, questions, and burdens. God has called pastors and other spiritual leaders to minister to the needs of people. The pastorate is not just about preparing and preaching sermons, though that is certainly important. It is also not just about praying in private for the people. It is not just about administrating budgets, facilities, and staff. All of these things are necessary and good, but they do not take the place of personal ministry – one on one – in the trenches, in the streets and lanes of the city, in the highways and hedges, and in the homes of the people.

Moses loved his people. He preached to them, he prayed for them, he protected them, and he personally cared for them and involved himself in their lives.

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – (1 Peter 5:1-4)


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A Strong Message

Today’s Passage – Numbers 25 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8; Proverbs 24; Psalms 121 – 125)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0224 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

 “And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.” – (Numbers 25:6-8)

In Numbers 25, we have a very strange story. It seems that as the people of Israel were sojourning in the land of Moab on their way to the Promised Land, some of the men began to get cozy with the women of Moab. God had a big problem with this for several reasons; but the main reason is that these women were not Jews by birth or by conversion. They were an idolatrous people, having entirely different standards of morality as well as an idolatrous system of worship. It wasn’t long before the people of God began to participate in the sacrifices to these false gods. This was a violation of God’s sternest warning to the people when they left Egypt. The Israelites were to be a separated people. God didn’t want them to fellowship with any other people because He knew that they would eventually turn the Jews away from Him.

God was furious with the people; and He wanted Moses to do something in order to purge this idolatry out of the camp of Israel. Eventually, a strange thing happens. A man took a Midianitish woman into his tent in the sight of Moses. I do not think they were going in there to have a Bible study. Anyway, this was also witnessed by one of the priests: a man named Phinehas; and he, in his zeal for the Lord, went into the tent and thrust a spear through both the man and the woman at the same time. At first glance, we might think that God would not support this kind of action; but on the contrary, He is very pleased with it; and He rewards Phinehas, and his family for doing it. Why? Because what Phinehas did served two purposes. First, it appeased the wrath of God; and secondly, it sent a strong message to the people of Israel to stay away from the inhabitants of the land. God is a jealous God.

By the way, these people were from the land of Moab. Remember yesterday’s blog about Balaam. Balak, the king of Moab wanted Balaam to curse the children of Israel. Balaam was unable to do this because God would not allow it, but it appears that the people of Moab were able to as much damage to Israel by fellowshipping with them as they could have done by fighting them. We really need to be careful who we fellowship with. My preacher used to say: “we are now, or we soon will be, who we hang around.” I believe that is a true statement more often than not.

I believe that today our churches are being inundated with sin and compromise. Most of God’s people, including many preachers, are looking the other way. We have almost given up the fight against sin. We need a Phinehas today, that will stand up and send a strong, yet loving message against it. We need some bold Christians that will stand against the incoming tide of immorality and cultural idolatry that is flooding the lives of the people of God.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – (Ephesians 5:11)

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

 


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Which One Is The Jackass?

Today’s Passage – Numbers 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4; Proverbs 23; Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0223 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)

“And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” – (Numbers 22:28)

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” – (2 Peter 2:15 – 16)

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” – (Jude 1:11)

Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers presents a very interesting and familiar story of a mule that was given by God the ability to speak audibly to her owner, Balaam. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to carefully read the passage in order to get the most out of what I am about to say. Besides, what God says in His Word is far more important that what I will say in this blog, so don’t skip the reading.

Anyway, in this passage we have the prophet Balaam, who is living in the land of the Moabites. Why he lived there and not with the people of God is a mystery. The king of the Moabites is watching very closely the nation of Israel as they are sojourning very close to his border. He wants them out, so he goes to the man of God and asks him to place a curse upon Israel. He doesn’t go himself, however, he sends some of his princes to do his bidding. After hearing their request, Balaam inquires of the Lord, and the Lord tells him not to go with these men, and not to speak anything against Israel because they are a nation blessed by God. Balaam the prophet goes to the men and gives them God’s answer. The men return a short while later and press him to reconsider. Now this is where Balaam begins to err. He already asked God, and God had already said no; but the princes promise him if that he would go with him, their king would give him great honor and a lot of money. Now, he should have just repeated what God had already told him; but instead he tells them that he will go back and ask God again. He wanted God to give him what he had already been told that he wasn’t going to get. Balaam’s problem is that he really wants God to curse the Israelites, because it would mean that he would receive great riches from this Moabite king. God is not at all pleased with Balaam, but he allows him to go. He permits him to do what is in his heart. He was not permitted to curse Israel, but he was permitted to cozy up with the enemies of Israel, and receive the rewards that came with it. So, I ask you the question: which one was the real jackass?

This is not the only time in the Bible that God has permitted things that were against His will. He gave Israel a king because they kept asking for one, even though He knew that it wasn’t what was best for them. Notice another example of God granting the continual request of a complaining people when the Israelites complained to God as they wandered in the wilderness:

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:13-15)

I know many people today who keep asking God for things that are clearly against His will. Why don’t we just take “no” for an answer. God knows what is best for us. Don’t keep pestering him to give you what He has already closed the door on. Too many Christians are practically breaking doors down that God has chosen to keep closed.


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