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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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

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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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Moldy Bread, Broken Bottles, and Old Shoes

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Today’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 – 3; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to 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.

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” – (Joshua 9:14)

In Joshua chapter nine, we see the children of Israel after their second successful battle in the land of Canaan. They had just destroyed the cities of Jericho and Ai, and they were on their way to conquer all of the other cities of Canaan that were in their path. The inhabitants of the land realized that this new nation coming in could not be beaten in battle, so they resorted to trickery in order to save themselves. The Gibeonites that inhabited four cities nearby that would have soon been destroyed came to the Joshua and the princes of Israel and pretended to be from a very far country, presumably outside of the land of Canaan. They even brought props with them in order to convince the Israelites that what they were saying was true. They brought with them mouldy bread, old and worn out shoes, and broken wine bottles; all designed to convince the Israelites that had travelled from far away. They were very deceptive, yet very convincing. They desired that Israel would make a covenant of peace with them, and Israel does. Without consulting the Lord, Israel takes the victuals that these people offer them, and promise them that they will not be destroyed.

The part about this story that I have the toughest time with is that even though the people of Israel were deceived, God still expected them to honor their covenant with these Gibeonites. It would seem to me that because the Gibeonites had not been truthful about where they came from, God would not expect His people to live up to their end of the bargain. I have struggled with this passage of Scripture for years, but I think I have it figured out now. You see, the people did not consult with God before they entered into this covenant. Had they talked to God about it, He would have told them not to believe the Gibeonites. As a result, Israel makes a tragic mistake, and God is going to make them live with their choice.

By the way, this is the second time that the Joshua Administration had acted without consulting God first. Remember when they went into the city of Ai the first time? They were defeated. Why? Because Achan stole the accursed thing back in the battle of Jericho. Again, it almost looked as if God was punishing the whole nation unfairly for the act of one man, which nobody else in Israel even knew about. But God knew, and God would have told Joshua, too, had Joshua only prayed before going into the battle with Ai. It seems that God’s people have this bad habit of praying after tragedy strikes, rather than doing a little preventive praying. Have you prayed today? Satan might right now be preparing a trap for you. You’d better be careful. What decisions are you about to make without a consultation with God, or perhaps at least a look into God’s principles found in His Word? What actions are you about to take? You had better take them to God first. You just may be on the verge of making a tragic mistake. God knows, and He can help you prevent it, but He wants you to come to Him first.

 


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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?

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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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Get to 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 – 3Proverbs 17Psalms 81 – 85

Scripture Memorization for March – 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 20

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

Read a great article by Pastor Cary Schmidt  – Eight Ways to Help Those Who Grieve

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,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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Give Me This Mountain

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 – 4Proverbs 16Psalms 76 – 80

Scripture Memorization for March – 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 20

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

Read a great article by Pastor Cary Scmidt  – Eight Ways to Help Those Who Grieve

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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Moldy Bread, Broken Bottles, and Old Shoes

Today’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

Scripture Memorization for March – 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 20

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read a great article by Dr. Steve Elwart – The War on Guns

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

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” – (Joshua 9:14)

In Joshua chapter nine, we see the children of Israel after their second successful battle in the land of Canaan. They had just destroyed the cities of Jericho and Ai, and they were on their way to conquer all of the other cities of Canaan that were in their path. The inhabitants of the land realized that this new nation coming in could not be beaten in battle, so they resorted to trickery in order to save themselves. The Gibeonites that inhabited four cities nearby that would have soon been destroyed came to the Joshua and the princes of Israel and pretended to be from a very far country, presumably outside of the land of Canaan. They even brought props with them in order to convince the Israelites that what they were saying was true. They brought with them mouldy bread, old and worn out shoes, and broken wine bottles; all designed to convince the Israelites that had travelled from far away. They were very deceptive, yet very convincing. They desired that Israel would make a covenant of peace with them, and Israel does. Without consulting the Lord, Israel takes the victuals that these people offer them, and promise them that they will not be destroyed.

The part about this story that I have the toughest time with is that even though the people of Israel were deceived, God still expected them to honor their covenant with these Gibeonites. It would seem to me that because the Gibeonites had not been truthful about where they came from, God would not expect His people to live up to their end of the bargain. I have struggled with this passage of Scripture for years, but I think I have it figured out now. You see, the people did not consult with God before they entered into this covenant. Had they talked to God about it, He would have told them not to believe the Gibeonites. As a result, Israel makes a tragic mistake, and God is going to make them live with their choice.

By the way, this is the second time that the Joshua Administration has acted without consulting God first. Remember when they went into the city of Ai the first time? They were defeated. Why? Because Achan stole the accursed thing back in the battle of Jericho. Again, it almost looked as if God was punishing the whole nation unfairly for the act of one man, which nobody else in Israel even knew about. But God knew, and God would have told Joshua, too, had Joshua only prayed before going into the battle with Ai. It seems that God’s people have this bad habit of praying after tragedy strikes, rather than doing a little preventive praying. Have you prayed today? Satan might right now be preparing a trap for you. You’d better be careful. What decisions are you about to make without a consultation with God; or perhaps at least a look into God’s principles found in His Word? What actions are you about to take? You had better take them to God first. You just may be on the verge of making a tragic mistake. God knows, and He can help you prevent it, but He wants you to come to Him first.


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Sin in the Camp

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 – 3Proverbs 13Psalms 61 – 65

Scripture Memorization for March – 1 Corinthians 6:9 – 20

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

Read a great article by Dr. Steve Elwart – The War on Guns

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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Keep Choosing The Lord

Today’s Passage – Joshua 22 – 24

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

Scripture Memory for March – Psalm 1

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1

“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 choose 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 life. 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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Trust His Promises

Today’s Passage – Joshua 19 – 21

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 1 – 4; Proverbs 18; Psalms 86 – 90)

Scripture Memory for March – Psalm 1

Listen to thus morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1

“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 were 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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I Want That Mountain

Today’s Passage – Joshua 13 – 15

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

Scripture Memorization for March – Psalm 1

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

View “Update from Costa Rica” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“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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The Day The Sun Stood Still

Today’s Passage – Joshua 10 – 12

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

Scripture Memorization for March – Psalm 1

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

“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” – (Joshua 10:13-14)

In Joshua 10 – 12 we have the nation of Israel now inside of the Promised Land, and they are in the process of ridding the land of all of the unwanted tennants. After the Battles of Jerich and Ai; and after the treaty made with the people of Gideon, it became clear to the people of Canaan that Israel was a powerful force and a threat that needed to be taken seriously. The kings of the land joined forces together to fight against Israel. They probably should have just moved out of the area, but instead they came out together to do battle. God, however, is once again with Israel and he defeats these kingdoms easily; but as these people are retreating, Joshua is afraid that the sun would go down before he got to all of them, so he asks the Lord to stop the earth’s rotation; and the sun and moon stand still until all of the enemies are defeated. The Bible says that there has never been a day like this before or since.

Have you ever wished that God would stop time for you? I know there have been many times when I was in school that I have wished that God would speed time up. However, except for this one time in the history of the world, God keeps time clicking away very steadily. The seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millennia just seem to fly on by. And the funny thing about time is that once it is gone, you cannot get it back. As I write this devotion I am 47 years old. It seems like yesterday when I was just starting out with my wife and family. It seems like just a few days has gone by since God brought us to Galloway, NJ to be the pastor of Jersey Shore. Where does the time go? I had all kinds of dreams and visions about what I wanted to do, about where I wanted to be by now; but many of those things never came to pass. There is so much more that I would like to do before I die.

There is one thing that we can learn from this passage of Scripture. It is that time is very precious. It is probably the most valuable thing that we possess, and we really don’t know how much of it we actually have left. We need to make the most of the time that we have left on this earth. What do you have left to finish in your life. What battles are you in the middle of fighting for the Lord. How about your family? Have you given your spouse, or your parents, or your children the time that you would like to have given them. Soon enough, either you or them will be gone forever; at least as far as our time on earth is concerned. Get busy! The sun is beginning to set on many of us.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – (Ephesians 5:16)

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” – (Colossians 4:5)

This evening, sometime around 6 PM, take a look outside, and you will see the dusky colors of a setting sun. Night will be right behind it, and soon the day will be over. This is a miniature picture of our lives. Soon, the sun will also set on our lives, and time will be up. What will you leave undone of your goals and dreams? More importantly, what will you have left unfinished of what God has called you to do?


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Things Aren’t Always As They Seem

Today’s Passages – Joshua 8 – 9

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70)

Scripture Memory for March – Psalm 1

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Watch Pastor Chappell’s – “Update from El Salvador”

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” – (Joshua 9:14)

In Joshua chapter nine, we see the children of Israel after their second successful battle in the land of Canaan. They had just destroyed the cities of Jericho and Ai, and they were on their way to conquer all of the other cities of Canaan that were in their path. The inhabitants of the land realized that this new nation coming in could not be beaten in battle, so they resorted to trickery in order to save themselves. The Gibeonites that inhabited four cities nearby that would have soon been destroyed came to the Joshua and the princes of Israel and pretended to be from a very far country, presumably outside of the land of Canaan. They even brought props with them in order to convince the Israelites that what they were saying was true. They brought with them mouldy bread, old and worn out shoes, and broken wine bottles; all designed to convince the Israelites that had travelled from far away. They were very deceptive, yet very convincing. They desired that Israel would make a covenant of peace with them, and Israel does. Without consulting the Lord, Israel takes the victuals that these people offer them, and promise them that they will not be destroyed.

The part about this story that I have the toughest time with is that even though the people of Israel were deceived, God still expected them to honor their covenant with these Gibeonites. It would seem to me that because the Gibeonites had not been truthful about where they came from, God would not expect His people to live up to their end of the bargain. I have struggled with this passage of Scripture for years, but I think I have it figured out now. You see, the people did not consult with God before they entered into this covenant. Had they talked to God about it, He would have told them not to believe the Gibeonites. As a result, Israel makes a tragic mistake, and God is going to make them live with their choice.

By the way, this is the second time that the Joshua Administration has acted without consulting God first. Remember when they went into the city of Ai the first time? They were defeated. Why? Because Achan stole the accursed thing back in the battle of Jericho. Again, it almost looked as if God was punishing the whole nation unfairly for the act of one man, which nobody else in Israel even knew about. But God knew, and God would have told Joshua, too, had Joshua only prayed before going into the battle with Ai. It seems that God’s people have this bad habit of praying after tragedy strikes, rather than doing a little preventive praying. Have you prayed today? Satan might right now be preparing a trap for you. You’d better be careful. What decisions are you about to make without a consultation with God; or perhaps at least a look into God’s principles found in His Word? What actions are you about to take? You had better take them to God first. You just may be on the verge of making a tragic mistake. God knows, and He can help you prevent it, but He wants you to come to Him first.


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Three Accursed Things

Today’s Passage – Joshua 5 – 7

(Second Milers also read – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5; Proverbs 13; Psalms 61 – 65)

Scripture Memory for March – Psalm 1

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

Watch a video of Pastor Chappell’s missions trip to Nicaragua.

“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 with 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 suffered 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  Wickedness – 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 an 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.

2 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 f 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 conquor, 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 first 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 our own flesh, 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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Where Are The Strong and Courageous Men Today?

Today’s Passage – Joshua 1 – 4

(Second Milers also read – Colossians 1 – 4; Proverbs 12; Psalms 56 – 60)

“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.” – (Joshua 1:5-8)

Three times in Joshua chapter one, God admonishes Joshua to be strong and courageous. Joshua had a very difficult task ahead of him: he was to take over for perhaps the greatest leader the world had ever seen – Moses. He was to bring the congregation of Israel into the land of promise, and he was to lead them in battle against all of the inhabitants of the land. This was a huge job for any man, and God wanted to make sure that Joshua was mentally prepared for what lay ahead for him.

Joshua had already demonstrated courage strength in his life prior to his being given the position as the leader of the nation. Consider the following qualifications that Joshua already had going for him:

1  He served the man of God. He was “Moses minister”. It takes a strong and secure man to serve another man faithfully. Joshua was the “behind the scenes guy” in much of the first five books of the Bible, but we never read of Joshual murmering or rebelling in any way against the leadership of Moses. He served Moses for 40 years as they wandered through the wilderness.

2  He stood for right. When the rest of the congregation, including Aaron, was worshipping a golden calf, Joshua was separated from them, waiting patiently for the return of Moses. When ten of the spies came back with an evil report after spying the land, Joshua and Caleb came back ready to fight. They knew that their God was far superior to any giants that were opposing them in the land of Canaan.

3  He studied the Scriptures. He was an expert in the Law that God had given Moses. God stated that the “Book of the Law” was in his mouth. He knew the Bible. He had studied the Scriptures with his mentor for 40 years.

Those three things listed above are the ingredients of a great leader. Joshua was someone who knew what was right to do, and was strong enough to do it, even when the rest of the crowd might be pushing him in the other direction. We could use some more Joshuas in America today.

Listen to the song – A Few Good Men sung by The Clark Family

What this dying world could use is a willing man of god
Who dares to go against the grain and works without applause;
A man who’ll raise the shield of faith, protecting what is pure;
Whose love is tough and gentle; a man whose word is sure.

God doesn’t need an orator who knows what just to say;
He doesn’t need authorities to reason him away;
He doesn’t need an army to guarantee a win;
He just needs a few good men.

Men full of compassion, who laugh and love and cry-
Men who’ll face eternity and aren’t afraid to die-
Men who’ll fight for freedom and honor once again-
He just needs a few good men.

He calls the broken derelict whose life has been renewed;
He calls the one who know His Son to stand up for the truth.
Enlistment lines are open and he wants you to come in-
He just needs a few good men.

Men full of compassion, who laugh and love and cry-
Men who’ll face eternity and aren’t afraid to die-
Men who’ll fight for freedom and honor once again-
He just needs a few good men.

Men full of compassion, who laugh and love and cry-
Men who’ll face eternity and aren’t afraid to die-
Men who’ll fight for freedom and honor once again-
He just needs a few good men.


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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: Joshua 22-24, Hebrews 5-8, and Proverbs 19

Today’s Passage: Joshua 24:14-18: Service With A Smile

While reading today’s passage, a question popped into my head: why serve the Lord? Israel knew God, and gave four reasons why they should serve Him, and not the false gods of the land. Joshua is giving his fair-well talk with the nation of Israel. They are ready to go to their homes and enjoy the promised land which God has given them. And Joshua is charging them: “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 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. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:14-18)

The Lord brought them out of Egypt: freed them from bondage: freed them from being slaves to the Egyptians. The Lord did miracles in their sight. The Lord preserved them as they journeyed to the promised land. And the Lord drove out the people He knew would cause Israel to chase after strange gods. Those were the four reasons that Israel had for serving the Lord. As Christians, we have the same four reasons to serve the Lord.

He freed you from the bondage: the bondage of sin.

From the day you understand the difference between wrong and right, sin has had you in it’s grip. One day you would die because of sin. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die…” We are all sinners and in bondage to sin: we have a death penalty placed on our heads. God saved us out of bondage through God the Son: the Lord Jesus Christ. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36)

Paul reinforces this with Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” So just as God frees Israel from the bondage of Egypt, He frees us from the bondage of sin.

Not only that, can you imagine chasing after the Amorites with Israel? Then seeing the Lord cast down great hailstones at the enemy which killed more than Israel did with the sword. Can you imagine seeing this? And right after that, “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” (Joshua 10:12-13)

Can you imagine seeing that? Israel saw it happen, miracles from God. Have you seen any miracles? No? When you see someone bow their head and ask Jesus to come into their heart, you see a miracle. You see a dead spirit coming back to life. That’s a miracle. When you see someone you’ve been praying for healed of cancer, or some other disease, that’s a miracle. That’s the work of God the Holy Ghost. The Spirit quickens: gives life (see 1Peter 3:18). When we receive Christ, the Holy Ghost gives life to our spirit which has never lived. But this is not the only job of the Holy Ghost. Israel was preserved on their journey to the promised land, even their clothing, Moses reminded them of this in Deuteronomy 8:4: “Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.” God preserved Israel as they journeyed to the promised land, and He preserves us as we journey through life to our home in heaven. Ephesians 4:30 says: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Holy Ghost preserves us. The Holy Ghost preserved the apostle Paul. He suffered more than anyone reading this today for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read the account he gives in 2Corinthians 11:20 thru 28. Paul went through a lot, yet God was there and took him through it all. God preserved him.

The forth reason the people gave for following the Lord, is that He drove the people out. God knew that if the people of the land remained, that the would turn Israel away from following God. Israel would follow after their little ‘g’ gods. In looking back, I find that many of my old friends are not around anymore: the ones I knew before I got saved. It wasn’t anything I did. They didn’t run away because of giant hailstones. God got them out of my life because He knew they would turn me away from following Him. The Bible says in 2Corinthians chapter 6, verses 14 thru 18: “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.” He brought us out, and we may not notice it until we take a look back to whence we came.

So the Lord sets us free from the bondage of sin. He does miracles in our lives. He preserves us on our journey to heaven. He separates us from the things that may turn our hearts away from Him. Can you think of any of the many other reasons we have to serve the Lord? Yes? Then why aren’t you? God has given you a gift to edify others in the church. Using your gift to lift up the spirit of a brother or sister who is hurting is a gift that edifies. Being a “pew warmer” is not. If you are not sure how you can serve the Lord, ask your preacher. Did you know that on the average, 10% of church members do 90% of the work? Maybe the gift that God has given you will influence others to serve also. When you exercise the gift that God has given you, that 10% will grow. How much? I can not tell you, but it is a lot easier for 11% to do 90% of the work than it is for 10%. No matter what the reason, start serving the Lord.

Peace. (Romans 14:19)


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He Keeps His Promises

Today’s Reading – Joshua 19-21; Proverbs 18

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 1 – 4; memorize 1 John 5:7)

“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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Work For It

Today’s Passage – Joshua 16-18; Proverbs 17

(Second Milers also read – Titus 1 – 3; Philemon; memorize 1 John 5:7)

“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.

I think 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. 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 the average preacher today. I was just thrilled that somebody wanted me to be their preacher. 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 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. You want something more in life. Go get it. Work for it.


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Give Me This Mountain

Todays Passage – Joshua 13-15; Proverbs 16

(Second Milers also read 2 Timothy 1 – 4; memorize 1 John 5:7)

“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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Redeeming the Time

Today’s Passage – Joshua 10-12; Proverbs 14

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 6; memorize 1 John 5:7)

“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” – (Joshua 10:13-14)

In Joshua 10 – 12 we have the nation of Israel now inside of the Promised Land, and they are in the process of ridding the land of all of the unwanted tennants. After the Battles of Jerich and Ai; and after the treaty made with the people of Gideon, it became clear to the people of Canaan that Israel was a powerful force and a threat that needed to be taken seriously. The kings of the land joined forces together to fight against Israel. They probably should have just moved out of the area, but instead they come out together to do battle. God, however, is once again with Israel and he defeats these kingdoms easily; but as these people are retreating, Joshua is afraid that the sun would go down before he got to all of them, so he asks the Lord to stop the earth’s rotation; and the sun and moon stand still until all of the enemies are defeated. The Bible says that there has never been a day like this before or since.

Have you ever wished that God would stop time for you? I know there have been many times when I was in school that I have wished that God would speed time up. However, except for this one time in the history of the world, God keeps time clicking away very steadily. The seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millennia just seem to fly on by. And the funny thing about time is that once it is gone, you cannot get it back. As I write this devotion I am 47 years old. It seems like yesterday when I was just starting out with my wife and family. It seems like just a few days has gone by since God brought us to Galloway, NJ to be the pastor of Jersey Shore. Where does the time go? I had all kinds of dreams and visions about what I wanted to do, about where I wanted to be by now; but many of those things never came to pass. There is so much more that I would like to do before I die.

There is one thing that we can learn from this passage of Scripture. It is that time is very precious. It is probably the most valuable thing that we possess, and we really don’t know how much of it we really have. We need to make the most of the time that we have left on this earth. What do you have left to finish in your life. What battles are you in the middle of fighting for the Lord. Get busy! The sun is beginning to set on many of us.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – (Ephesians 5:16)

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” – (Colossians 4:5)

This evening, sometime around 6 PM, take a look outside, and you will see the dusky colors of a setting sun. Night will be right behind it, and soon the day will be over. This is a miniature picture of our lives. Soon, the sun will also set on our lives, and time will be up. What will you leave undone of your goals and dreams? More importantly, what will you have left unfinished of what God has called you to do?


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Moldy Bread, Broken Bottles, and Old Shoes

Today’s Reading Joshua 8, 9; Proverbs 14

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; memorize 1 John 5:7)

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” – (Joshua 9:14)

In Joshua chapter nine, we see the children of Israel after their second successful battle in the land of Canaan. They had just destroyed the cities of Jericho and Ai, and they were on their way to conquer all of the other cities of Canaan that were in their path. The inhabitants of the land realized that this new nation coming in could not be beaten in battle, so they resorted to trickery in order to save themselves. The Gibeonites that inhabited four cities nearby that would have soon been destroyed came to the Joshua and the princes of Israel and pretended to be from a very far country, presumably outside of the land of Canaan. They even brought props with them in order to convince the Israelites that what they were saying was true. They brought with them mouldy bread, old and worn out shoes, and broken wine bottles; all designed to convince the Israelites that had travelled from far away. They were very deceptive, yet very convincing. They desired that Israel would make a covenant of peace with them, and Israel does. Without consulting the Lord, Israel takes the victuals that these people offer them, and promise them that they will not be destroyed.

The part about this story that I have the toughest time with is that even though the people of Israel were deceived, God still expected them to honor their covenant with these Gibeonites. It would seem to me that because the Gibeonites had not been truthful about where they came from, God would not expect His people to live up to their end of the bargain. I have struggled with this passage of Scripture for years, but I think I have it figured out now. You see, the people did not consult God before they entered into this covenant. Had they talked to God about it, He would have told them not to believe the Gibeonites. As a result, Israel makes a tragic mistake, and God is going to make them live with their choice.

By the way, this is the second time that the Joshua Administration has acted without consulting God first. Remember when they went into the city of Ai the first time? They were defeated. Why? Because Achan stole the accursed thing back in the battle of Jericho. Again, it almost looked as if God was punishing the whole nation unfairly for the act of one man, which nobody else in Israel even knew about. But God knew, and God would have told Joshua, too, had Joshua only prayed before going into the battle with Ai. It seems that God’s people have this bad habit of praying after tragedy strikes, rather than doing a little preventive praying. Have you prayed today? What decisions are you about to make without a consultation with God; or perhaps at least a look into God’s principles found in His Word? What actions are you about to take? You had better take them to God first. You just may be on the verge of making a tragic mistake. God knows, and He can help you prevent it, but He wants you to come to Him first.


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