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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Take Your Inheritance … by Wesley Clayton

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 – 3Proverbs 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.

Read a previous post on this passage – “Get to Work

“And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” (Joshua 18:1-3)

Joshua 14 – 16 deals with the inheritance given by God to the children of Israel.  Joshua 14:2 tells us how God wanted it done, “By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.” We skip to Chapter 17 and we see the land still being given out, but something happens that does not follow suit with the previous verses; someone isn’t happy: “And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?” (Joshua 17:14) We read in chapter 16:1 – 4 about the lot they were given and what it sounds like is they had some coastal land, some wilderness and some mountainous land. It sounds pretty awesome to me.  This brings me to my first point: listen and follow the man of God.  The Pastor is just doing what God has revealed to him.  As Christians, or humans in general, we have a tendency to complain about anything and everything.  Sometimes we just don’t understand what God is trying to do through His man, but it is his job to lead and our job to lift up his arms while he is doing so. In this instance they have some legitimate concerns, the hill is not big enough and the Canaanites have iron chariots.  We all have the same concerns and worries, and it all can be boiled down to something like this: “something is in our way.”  One of my favorite passages and the prayer that I prayed before going out on any mission while I was deployed was “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:2-3). Remember, we serve the God of the impossible. 

We start chapter 18 with these simple words: “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh.” This is one of those things that you could easily just read and keep going, but when you put it into context this is what happened, a family of the church was having a problem so the pastor called the church family together to help.  The houses of Ephraim and Manasseh saw no possible way to handle their situation, and they were not alone, they and five other houses were in the same position. This is quite possibly one of the greatest attributes of a Godly church; one that will come together in a time of need, sacrificing much for the well-being of others. Some may have said something to the effect of: “oh well, not my problem,” and a lot of times that is our attitude with our church family. We feel bad or sad about the situation but we are not willing to do anything about it. Let’s take some notes from the children of God and put some action to our words.  The family gathered together, God gave Joshua a plan to solve the problem, and together the family, led by God, attacked the situation.  

Finally Joshua issues their challenge, “How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?”  This may sound familiar to you this goes all the way back to March 10 postI Will Be With Thee” – Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23 

“And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. … And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23)

Pastor Larry Brown once said, “God already has the check written, He’s just waiting on faith to pick it up.” We are not talking about a name it and claim it prosperity gospel, instead we are talking about the actual promises of God.  

Is God waiting on you to do something? Maybe talk to that neighbor or co-worker that you see everyday; or, maybe just to go share a kind word with that person that no one likes. Remember, Jesus died for them too.

Wesley, Melissa, Amelia, and Barrett

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A Pep Talk from the Master … by Sara Scates

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 – 5Proverbs 12Psalms 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?”

“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 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. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:1-9)

In these first verses of Joshua, we see Joshua is faced with a very challenging task.  After serving as Moses’ assistant throughout his ministry, it is now up to him to finish the job that Moses started now that he has passed.  It is now up to Joshua to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land.  This was a daunting task for sure, especially given the fact that the people were known to be rebellious and difficult to lead.  However, as we see in these verses, God does not assign this mission to Joshua and “throw him to the wolves,” He gives him a little pep talk and reminds him of His promises.  Just as we read here the encouragement and advice God offers to Joshua, we can apply these same truths to our lives and the challenges we face.

First, we see that God was preparing Joshua for this difficult job for years in advance.  Joshua faithfully served Moses for the forty years of his ministry, working beside him and learning from one of the greatest leaders there ever was.  God gives us experiences and examples to prepare us for what lies ahead.  Sometimes these experiences can be uncomfortable and sometimes it may seem that these experiences last forever, but we know, “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Next, God offers Joshua the encouragement that He will be with him and that men will not be able to stand in the way of what He has for him.

            There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Joshua 1:5

Just as God promised Joshua, he has offered us the same promise.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

In verse 6 of Joshua 1, God tells Joshua for the first time to “Be strong and of a good courage…”. In verse 7, he repeats again, “only be thou strong and very courageous”.  Again, in verse 9 He expands on this and tells Joshua: 

Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

God was planning to use Joshua for a very special and difficult job, one that would surely be wrought with challenges and obstacles far beyond what he would be capable of conquering in his own strength.  Joshua, in his own strength, would surely fail but God reminds him that, “the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”.  He tells us too that we are never alone when doing His work in Matthew 28:20.

            “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)

Lastly, we see in God’s pep talk to Joshua the importance of keeping His word and precepts at the forefront of our hearts, mouths, and lives.

“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)

God reminds Joshua that only when he keeps the Word central in his life and obeys it, will he be successful in his endeavors.  We are not promised that what He calls us to do will be easy, but God does promise that being daily in the Word and obeying His precepts will help us to be successful and even prosperous.

Sara, Lexi, and Jeremiah


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What Have You Seen … by Pastor Dominick Cuozzo

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.

Note – The following thoughts were developed from Deuteronomy 29:1 – 29, which was yesterday’s reading passage.

“And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 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 29:2-4)

It is no accident what God has allowed you and I to see in our lives. In this passage of scripture, the Lord is using Moses to remind His people of all that He has allowed them to see before they enter the Promised Land.

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

God has not revealed everything to us, but the things that He has revealed, He wants us to recognize that there is a reason He has revealed these things to us in our lives. So…what have you seen? Moses lists at least three things that God had allowed them to experience and what He wanted them to see in those experiences. He was worried that even though they had seen these things…that they were still missing the point that everything was from God. vs 4 – Moses knew what they had seen with their eyes, but He was worried about whether or not they were allowing God to reveal Himself to them in these experiences.

  1. They saw all that God had done to deliver them from Egypt. (vs 2)
  2. They saw God’s provision for their needs in the wilderness. (vs 5)
  3. They saw the sinful abominations of the people of the nations they passed thru on their way. (vs. 17) 
  • Moses knew that they saw all that God had done to deliver them from Egypt. But had they perceived the reason? God delivered them so that He could be their God and they could be His people. vs 13. God wants us to see that the reason that He has delivered us, was not just to get us out of a bad situation, but to get us into a relationship with Him.
  • Moses knew that they had seen God’s provision in the wilderness. But had they perceived the reason? God put them in a place where it was impossible for them to provide for themselves, so that they would learn to trust Him and rely on Him for their prosperity. He tells them in verse nine that all they have to worry about is keeping the covenant and obeying God and He would handle their provisions.
  • Moses knew they had seen the abominable sins of the other nations and the dead idols they worshipped. But had they perceived the reason? God’s interaction with His people would include His judgement and chastisement. Because He is a living God, He takes action. Because He is a loving God, He cares about future generations. He allowed them to see the worthlessness of worshipping a false god so they would appreciate His active involvement in their lives. 

In many ways, we are very similar to the people that Moses is speaking to here in Deuteronomy 29. We have seen God deliver us when He saved us. We have seen Him give us all that we need for life and godliness when He provided His word. And all of us have seen the fruitlessness and emptiness of lives lived apart from the living God. At some point, we must set aside the false notions of fate, chance or determinism and see past our circumstances. We must see the hand of God in our lives. He is at work. What does He want you to see in your life today? Are you looking to try to see Him at work in your life?

The Cuozzo Family

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Love Not Lust – The Saturday Morning Post

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 – 6; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

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

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.” (Deuteronomy 22:22-30)

Good morning. The Beatles sang all you need is love. The Grass Roots had a song about the bass player’s love for a married woman. Crosby, Stills, and Nash told us that if you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with. Gangster, Al Capone died of Syphilis. Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, died from Aids. Arthus Asch, the first black man to win the Wimbeldom US open (Tennis); and Rock Hudson, both died of Aids. Writer Oscar Wilde, and Artist Paul Gaugin, both died of Syphilis. This was a lust, not a love for just one woman as God intended. Lust can be for other things also. In 1771, Adolf Frederick, king of Sweden died after eating a meal of Lobster, caviar, saurkraut, smoked herring, champagne, and 14 servings of deserts. This was a lust for food. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison died in their lust for drugs. What do you love? Or is it a lust.

Love is an action word…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

God also tells us how to love…

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

And Jesus said…

If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John14:15)

You can kick a tire, but you may break your toe. You don’t test drive a woman.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:25-31)

Lust will eventually lead to sin, and sin to death.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15)

It takes time to get to know someone. If you can’t wait, you are probably lusting and not loving. If you love someone, you will not want to hurt them. If you follow the instructions that God has given you in His Word, you will be happy.

Peace.


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Spiritual Demolition … by Chaniece Clark

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.

“These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 12:1-4)

One the greatest gifts given by God to the Jews, at this time, was the Promised Land. In acceptance of this gift, God had a few stipulations; one of which being removing the high places where the previous owners of the land used to worship their idols. In doing so, the Israelites had a better chance of:

1 – focusing on true worship, and

2 – not getting tempted to follow after the false gods of their enemies. I liken this to Ephesians 4:22-24 where we as believers are commanded to put off the old man:

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Our Promised Land is Heaven and our gift salvation. Upon accepting the gift of salvation we become His; at which point we are to destroy the old man and follow Him. Why are we to destroy the old man? Just like with the Israelites, we must destroy the altars of the previous owners (self) in order to, in turn, truly and wholly worship God, and to remove the temptation of following after our sinful lusts – the flesh. Just as when God gave the Israelites the Promised Land, he expects obedience and true worship out of a grateful heart.

Now, we know the rest of the story. It was manageable for the Israelites to tear down the altars when they first reached the Promised Land. They were thrilled to finally be in the place the Lord had promised them, and would do practically anything out of relief for not having to walk through the wilderness another day. Yet that excitement soon wore off and they and their desired rulers became complacent and forgot where God brought them from. At salvation the majority of people are geared up and excited to tear down the altars of self and wholly surrender to God, but eventually one becomes complacent about removing those high places that were once taken down. The enemy (the flesh) is allowed back in and worshipped in place of the Giver of Salvation.

Have we as Christians utterly destroyed all the places where the previous owner worshiped- self, the flesh, lust? Are we continuing to wholly worship the one true God, or are we piece by piece putting back together the high places because we have forgotten the gift of the Promised Land?

Travis and Chaniece Clark

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How Blessed Do You Need to Be to Forget God… by Pastor Matt Swiatkowski

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 – 4Proverbs 3Psalms 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 “Let’s Get Back to the Bible.”

“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.”

The LORD God gave the children of Israel a land they did not build, and he gave the warning to be careful not to forget him. How is that even possible? Yet it happened because they did forget him and served the gods of the people they just conquered. The book of Judges records just how rotten the people had become. The description of their sins is appalling, and you wonder how they could forget God and commit such terrible sins. Yet we don’t have to go back in time 3500 years ago; we just have to look at the last 75 years. The generation that fought WWII can not be mentioned enough. My dad was the oldest child and quit school in sixth grade to support the family because his dad was a drunk. He knew what it was like to go hungry and wear ragged clothes. He knew the threat of eviction and to have next to no possessions of his own. He then went off to war and sent most of his money back to mom so she could care for the children at home. After the war he married mom, bought a house and worked tirelessly to provide for his wife and six children. We never missed a meal and always had clothes to wear. My dad is typical of that generation; they went without and most of their children did not.

Today we live in a land blessed beyond measure and but are we a grateful nation? Do we find ourselves on our knees thanking God for all his blessings while we enjoy all the stuff we have? The answer is clear; it’s no. We have become ungrateful, we look at what we don’t have and are angry when the neighbor is blessed more than us. Is the church house full during mid-week service? No, because the stuff we are blessed with keeps us from God. The mid-week prayer service was born out of need for revival as people realized they needed God. Today who needs God when we are enjoying the fruit of others labor. How many pray for work only to let that job keep them from serving the Lord? How many prayed for a spouse and for children only to have them keep them from God? How many times has a loved one been sick, and you prayed, and God heard. Did you show God gratitude with service to him? Did you open your wallet and sacrifice in giving because you understood it was God who gave you that money in the first place? 

I think the answer is clear to all these questions. While there is always the remnant that are thankful, the vast majority go on with all their blessings, only to gripe and complain about what they don’t have. We will miss church and fail to serve in church because our stuff prevents us from doing so. The nation of Israel would go off into bondage in the book of Judges and I fear about the future of our nation and wonder what fate awaits a people who have had more than any other generation in history. I trust this is not true of you my friend, but that instead you live with a heart filled with gratitude towards God and are truly thankful for all he has done for you.

The Swiatkowski Family

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The Rocking Horse – The Saturday Morning Post

A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

Good morning. Happy Leap-year. There is no scheduled reading for February 29th, so Preacher said I could use any scripture I wanted. When my wife, Camille, found out, she put in a request to repeat this blog: The Rocking Horse. This was a few days after the death of our daughter, Melissa. (It was February 16, 2012, at 1:15 am Thursday morning. Some things you don’t forget.)

It’s been a long week. Monday was the funeral for my daughter, Melissa. The first two verses of Psalm 121 say, “ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

And all I can say is thank you. I have never seen an out-pouring of Christian love like that, ever. From the one who may have prayed once or twice, to those who helped with the cooking, to those who helped my family out financially, all I can say is thank you. My help cometh from the LORD, and He sent you. Thank you, also to the Wimberg Funeral Home. We went there the week before Melissa went home to be with the Lord. We went there nervous, confused, not knowing where to turn. We left there happy, having our burdens lifted, having a set direction in which way to go, and having new Christian friends. My help cometh from the LORD, and He sent us to the Wimberg Funeral Home. Thank you Loyd, Brian, and all the others there, and God bless them for allowing themselves to be used for His glory. And what can I say about all Melissa’s friends and relatives; the funeral home was packed. My help cometh from the LORD, and He sent you all. Thank you. Jimmy Dilley (Melissa’s father), and Diane his fiance made it there from Arkansas. The weirdest thing to happen was Jake. Jake was married to one of Camille’s friends, and she hadn’t seen him since Melissa was one. He came down from Lakewood. Only God could arrange something like that. Everything went great. Even Ed’s chili was great! My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

There were 104 families who signed the book at the funeral home. That’s probably around 200 people who filed past the coffin to say goodbye (not forever, but only for a season). I wonder if anybody noticed the little wooden rocking horse in the casket? Well, I put it there for a reason. I had dated another woman who had a 2 year old daughter. Me and my dad build her a rocking horse for Christmas. I had taken a picture of it and put it in a photo album. Melissa came across it one day, and since that day she would always bust on me saying, “How come you never built me a rocking horse?” The Saturday before the funeral, I knew what I had to do. I went to several stores to find a rocking horse the size of a Christmas tree ornament. Nothing. I know what happened: Melissa and the Lord were looking down at my situation. She was telling the Lord, “Don’t let him find one – he’s got to build me one!” So I picked up some Balsa wood, glue, and paint, and I built her one. Why? To say thank you for being my daughter for 30 years.

Life is short. Nobody knows how long or how short their lives will be. Maybe we should treat everyone we meet today as if they were not going to have a tomorrow.

“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:50)

“My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Peace.


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Wholly Following God… by Hannah Erickson

Today’s Passage –Numbers 32 – 33 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4Proverbs 27Psalms 136 – 140)

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

Read the “0227 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out.

Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.” (Numbers 32:11 – 13)

In this passage, it mentions that none of the Israelites were wholly following the Lord except for Caleb and Joshua. Because Caleb and Joshua wholly followed God, they were the only two of their generation who were able to see the promised land. As Christians, we need to wholly follow God. God doesn’t just want a part of us, He wants all of us.

Caleb and Joshua had to be different than the rest of the Israelites in order to wholly follow God. If we are going to wholly follow God, we have to be different than the rest of the world.

 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

I’m sure it was not easy for Caleb and Joshua to follow God when no one else was. Not only did they have to be different, but they also had to be unashamed. To wholly follow God, they had to go against the grain of what everyone else was doing. They had to be bold and they had to be unashamed.

According to my earnest expectation and [my] hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but [that] with all boldness, as always, [so] now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether [it be] by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:20)

In addition to being different and unashamed, they had to be focused. If Caleb and Joshua were not focused on God, they wouldn’t be able to wholly follow after Him. You can’t follow something if you are not focused on it. If you are not focused on God, you can’t wholly follow him because He doesn’t have all of you. We as Christians need to be fully focused on God, if the things of this world have our attention than we are not following the Lord “wholly.”

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

We can’t wholly follow God in our own strength. Caleb and Joshua were not able to be different, unashamed, and focused because of their own strength. In fact, if you turn back to Numbers 14:24, it says that Caleb “had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully.” The secret to wholly following after God is to have God. We can only wholly follow God if we are relying on God to help us.  

Because Caleb and Joshua were wholly following God, they were able to enter the Promised Land. If we are different, bold, and focused, wholly following after God, He will bless us just like he blessed Caleb and Joshua with the Promised Land.

Sisters – Sami, Melissa, and Hannah


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Leaving a Legacy… by the Real Travis Clark

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 – 12Proverbs 25Psalms 126 – 130

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read previous posts from this passage – “Bring Your Cause Before The Lord;” and “A Pastor’s Heart.

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

“Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.” (Numbers 27:1-5)

Here the daughters of Zelophehad come to talk to Moses. They were making their case to Moses saying there father Zelophehad, was a good man who loved the Lord. They continued to explain that he had no sons, and that the daughters should be able to have his inheritance. In 2020 this may not seem like a crazy request, but in that time women never received an inheritance. The first born male would receive a double portion, then if there were more sons they would divide up the rest. As you may remember with Jacob And Esau in Genesis 25, Jacob stole Esau’s birthright which eventually led to Jacob stealing the blessing. So for the times, this request the daughters made was a very bold request.  I want to focus on the reason why they made the request. They felt comfortable to make this request, because of their dad’s testimony. Their father with someone who walked with the Lord, and loved the Lord. They took that petition to Moses to tell him their father was a good man, therefore he should have an opportunity for his name to continue  through this inheritance.  This made me think:  would someone be able to make a bold request and the premise of their argument be my walk with God? Now back to the text-Moses did not have an answer for their request, so he decided to go to the Lord, and ask him.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father’s brethren. And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Numbers 27:6-11)

The Lord’s response was that the daughters were right! They deserved the inheritance of their father. Not only were they able to receive an inheritance, but God made it where families in this situation or something similar would be able to receive an inheritance. God changed the law because of a request. Not just a request, but also because of the life their father lived by loving the Lord. Let this be a challenge to us. We need to love and serve the Lord not only for us, but for the people behind us.

 “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. For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, 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. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Numbers 27:12-23)

I don’t find it a Coincidence, but after God recognized the legacy of a man, He addresses Moses’ legacy. Moses unfortunately  was not able to enter the promised land because of his disobedience:

 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. … And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:7-8, 11-12)

Moses loved the Lord, and his “inheritance” which would be the promised land is going to be passed on to Joshua. I thank God that even when we mess up God still will do His will, even if the person he chooses doesn’t cooperate. Jonah ran from Gods will, but God still made a way!

 “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

God now gives Moses’ “inheritance”  to Joshua, and Joshua becomes one of the greatest leaders of all time! This is also a great reminder to make your past exactly that your past! Even though Moses fell he got back up, kept serving God, and also was a huge mentor to and influence on Joshua. The Devil would love to take your impact by reminding you of your past, don’t let him!!

Numbers 28 And 29 talked a lot about offerings. And you may not think that chapters 27, 28, and 29 should go together, but they go together perfectly. Chapter 27 talks about a good heritage- having a good godly role model or father or mother in your life. Chapters 28 and 29 talk about personal offerings and sacrificial giving. Some of us have a legacy that was left behind by a parent, grandparent, or maybe a spiritual parent in our lives. We need to be thankful for our goodly heritage (the inheritance), but we cannot rely on it. We have to make it personal through sacrificial living.

Travis, Chaniece, and Ember

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