All posts by John (HFJ Director)

A Covenant Requires Both Sides To Abide To Remain Valid

Joshua 2 documents how Rahab, a harlot, rescues the Israelite spies from capture by the forces of Jericho. As they part, they strike an agreement to save her family. It is not surprising to most of us, but there are conditions for both sides to obey in order for the agreement to be valid. If either side breaks the agreement, then the whole agreement is null and void. This is very common in our culture and has been common throughout human history. Very seldom is there a one-sided promise. There are almost always conditions on both sides.

Joshua 2:15-24

The Promise to Rahab

     15Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall. 16She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” 17The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19“It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20“But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” 21She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

      22They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them. 23Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24They said to Joshua, “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”

The agreement of Rahab and the spies is not surprising to most readers. The fact that both parties had responsibilities is normal. Why, then, do people who claim to follow Yeshua seem to assume so plainly that His offer of forgiveness is unconditional? It is not. It is a covenant whereby both sides agree to terms. If one side breaks the terms, than the whole covenant is broken.

Let’s look at one of the most quoted scriptures by Christians.

John 3:16-21

     16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

There is a clear distinction between those that believe and those that do not believe in Christ as Messiah. Not all are saved. But let us take care, that “believe” is not taken out of context. If I believe in Christ as an historical figure, sort of like believing in Greenland as a land mass, but it has no effect on my life, then we have missed the point. Rather, we see reference to those that do not believe doing evil deeds and loving darkness to remain hidden in their sin. Thus we can clearly see the reverse is implied. Those that believe in Him seek the Light. Their love is reflected in their actions and deeds. This is believe more along the lines of “I believe in gravity”. It affects how I go about my daily life. I know that if I step off a building, I will fall. I hold handrails going up and down stairs so as not to fall. I watch my steps so as not to trip, believing that if I do I will fall rather than fly.

We are called to believe in Christ in more than an historical context, but in a very personal way that influences our daily lives. We are to believe in Him as Messiah. If we do, then our whole lives change. We should desperately seek out what He taught and how He lived. We should not just limit ourselves to church once a week or prayer 5 minutes a day at a meal. We should be in awe of the opportunity to walk through this life (and beyond) with our Messiah…our God.

Let us not fail to embrace Christ fully in our belief, lest we miss out on the offer He graciously has extended.

It is not enough to acknowledge Him in name only, or even do miracles in His name. Let that sink in. Let’s make sure we are truly walking with Him fully in our belief in Him as Messiah. There are consequences if we do not.

Matthew 7: 13-23

The Narrow and Wide Gates

     13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit

     15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits.

      21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Let us consider carefully the words of Christ as He turns many away… “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ If we claim Him in name, but do not live according to His ways and in relationship with Him, than we have not truly believed and He will not receive us.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

With Faith And Repentance, No Sin Is Too Great To Forgive

None of us are too far gone to turn our lives around and put our faith in the Lord. The Lord can use even those who are not honorable for His purposes. Which one of us will say that we are unworthy to serve the Creator and Father because of our sin… that He will not want us to serve Him? He uses many unlikely persons. He used a harlot, or prostitute, to help Joshua’s spies. She put her faith in the Lord (Hebrews 11:31) and then put faith into action by helping the spies at risk of her own life. She ends up in the lineage listed in Matthew 1 for Christ. No sin is too big to be forgiven when we turn to the Lord and submit to Him.

Joshua 2:1-14

Rahab Shelters Spies

      1Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” 4But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5“It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.

      8Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11“When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12“Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

No matter what your sin, turn to the Lord and ask forgiveness. The fact is that none of us is worthy of Him. All of us are sinful (Romans 3:10-12). Put your faith in Him and put your faith into action to live for Him. You will find an abundance of forgiveness.  and grace.  As I reflect in my own life and in that of others, I am in awe of the sin He will forgive if we seek Him wholeheartedly. We are never righteous in our own right, but through Christ.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Put The Will Of The Father Ahead Of Our Own Desires

Yeshua is truly a perfect example of putting the will of the Father first and obeying, even knowing it will end in a painful death for Him. He does not whine or complain to His disciples. He willingly and courageously does the will of the Father. I appreciate the love and loyalty the disciples had toward Him also. They were not perfect. They often made mistakes or did not fully understand. However, they were genuine in their desire to follow and learn, even when they did not understand. They gave their full trust and support to Yeshua. We can all use fellowship like that to help us through hard times.

John 13: 21-38

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

     21When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 22The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

      31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

      36Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

Let us seek the Lord’s help to put His will above our own in our lives. Seek friends that would support us in this pursuit, rather than discourage us.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Yeshua Sets A Powerful Example For Servant Leadership

Leaders in this world most often want to be treated well by those they lead. Yeshua turns this upside down. He is the servant and the leader. He sets a powerful example to show us how we should serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

John 13:5-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

     5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

      12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Are there areas in your life where you should make changes to lead more like Yeshua did? As you reflect on leaders around you, even in the church, are there some who do not follow the example of Christ? Take care to vet those whom you follow and test them against God’s word and His example. You do not seek perfection in leadership, but you should seek to discern the wolves from the shepherds.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Yeshua Loved His Own Who Were In The World

Our heavenly Father chose Yeshua to die for our sins because He loves us. He wants us to be reconciled to Him, but recognizing our sin separates us from His holy presence, there needed to be payment for our sin to cleanse us.

He chose for Yeshua to die at Passover for good reason also. This was not random. All of our Father’s holy days (Leviticus 23) are set out with intent and clear purpose. They may seem unfamiliar to most Christians today but that is because the Christian church has separated from God’s holy days and created their own set of holidays. Passover is a beautiful celebration. It reminds us of our Father leading His people out of slavery in Egypt and again it reminds us of Yeshua setting us free from slavery to sin through His death on the cross. It is clearly an important holy day to our Father for His people to celebrate.

John 13:1-4

The Lord’s Supper

     1Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Yeshua “loved His own who were in the world”. This is not the same as saying He loves everyone, including everyone who rejects Him and lives in disobedience. This is upsetting to hear for many, but it is what the scripture says here. John was obviously making a distinction intentionally with regards to what he was saying.  It is not unique in scripture either. Yeshua says clearly elsewhere that the way is narrow and few find it and that many will say they prophesy in His name or cast out demons but He knows them not. You hardly say to someone that you know them not and tell them to be gone if you love them.

Matthew 7:13-14

      13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21-23

     21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Perhaps one verse that is very much overlooked is Matthew 7:23. He did not say to them “Depart from Me, you who did not claim to follow me.” He says “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”… these people did claim to follow Him. They did miracles in His name. However, it appears that many who claim Him do not abide in God’s law and instruction. That is not to say the law saves us. It does not. But if we know Him and love Him, we should seek out His instructions and live by them. Rather than being quick to reject this significant verse and quickly move to a comfortable platitude about the law being obsolete and not saving us, I suggest we all pause and reflect on the words of Yeshua very carefully and test if we perhaps have something to learn and change in our lives.

Yeshua still loves HIs own who are in the world. He willingly died for them. Let us do our best to live for Him. Let us pray the Lord helps us to know, love, and serve Him more fully. Let us never grow complacent in our walk with the Lord so that we assume we understand it all and are living it all without any additional need for change to grow closer to Him. We should be constantly growing in our understanding of His word and adjusting our lives to reflect it.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Pray for the USA to turn back to God and become again a true light to the nations

The United States of America was founded based on Christian ideals and beliefs, but over the past few hundred years has largely turned their back on God and now embrace worship of self, worship of money, and many other sins. The word of God is tossed aside in favor of the wicked desires of men. God’s word shows us that when the people turn from God, He releases His blessing from that country. That does not mean He gives up on His people there, but rather that the country will suffer. There are consequences. The USA has great potential to serve God across the world if even those who profess Jesus with their lips would genuinely  turn toward Him and change their behaviors to be a light to the nation and the world.

2 Chronicles 7:12-22

     12Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’

      19“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21“As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22“And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.’”

Please take some time to pray for repentance and mercy for the USA as leader of the free world but also for other nations globally in which there still remains a remnant of true disciples seeking to follow the Lord’s will.

Psalm 85

Prayer for God’s Mercy upon the Nation.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

     1O LORD, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored the captivity of Jacob.

      2You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin.

Selah.

      3You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned away from Your burning anger.

      4Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

      5Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

      6Will You not Yourself revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?

      7Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

      8I will hear what God the LORD will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.

      9Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

      10Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

      11Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.

      12Indeed, the LORD will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.

      13Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.
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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.
Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Give Thanks To The LORD, For He Is Good; For His Lovingkindness Is Everlasting

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 118

Thanksgiving for the LORD’S Saving Goodness.

     1Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

      2Oh let Israel say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      3Oh let the house of Aaron say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      4Oh let those who fear the LORD say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      5From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.

      6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

      7The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

      8It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.

      9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.

      10All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      11They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      12They surrounded me like bees;
They were extinguished as a fire of thorns;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      13You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the LORD helped me.

      14The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

      15The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

      16The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

      17I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the LORD.

      18The LORD has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

      19Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.

      20This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous will enter through it.

      21I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.

      22The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.

      23This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

      24This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

      25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!

      26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

      27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

      28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.

      29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Let Us March In Unity Under The Direction Of The Lord

When we as God’s people stand (or march) together consistent with God’s clear direction and with Him to lead us, we are unstoppable. It is not because of our glory or goodness, but because of His.

Joshua 1:10-18

Joshua Assumes Command

     10Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’”

      12To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13“Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ 14“Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

      16They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17“Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18“Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”

We see God has started to give parts of the promised land to several tribes to begin to occupy, but they are still to march and fight with their brothers to help them achieve victory. They are not to get complacent only because they have been provided for.

Let us reflect on this in our own lives. Many of us have tremendous comforts in this world. We have hot and cold running water, indoor toilets, heat to cook at our fingertips, plentiful food, and safe from attack. In fact, we live in some ways more luxuriously than kings of old. Let us not get complacent to just settle into our own lives and activities. Let us seek God’s direction for how He wants us to gather together as one body and what He wants us to march against and defeat. There are some things which should be obvious from scripture… abortion, the move to normalize homosexuality and transgender. These are fundamentally leading many people away from God to their own sorrow and troubles. What about the decline in the family structure? There are many broken marriages and broken families. Many families which have a wife and husband have both working so many hours that neither is really home to raise the children, who are raised by the school systems (often godless). Consider those who follow Christ and face severe persecution around the world in the Middle East or other locations. Consider God’s chosen people, Israel, who face enemies on all sides. Let us stand with them, we who are grafted in to the same vine (Romans 11).

Pray that those who follow Christ would humble themselves and pray for our nation. Pray for repentance and genuine seeking of the Lord. Pray for His Spirit to move across our nation and lead us to unity and victory to take back our own “promised land” of the United States for Him. Just because we can have rest personally, does not mean we should settle down and get comfortable and quietly live within our own small circle of influence and friends.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Be Strong And Courageous Living Obediently For The Lord

I find the record in scripture regarding Yahweh’s charge to Joshua to be fascinating. I have read it several times over the years and the Spirit continues to reveal more depth each time. On the surface we may simply summarize it in passing as Yahweh told Joshua to lead the people into the promised land and they would have victory.

Joshua 1:1-9

God’s Charge to Joshua

     1Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3“Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4“From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

If we go a little deeper, there is more. Notice the focus is not on the leadership of Moses or Joshua. The focus is on the fact that Moses was the servant of the Lord and Joshua was the servant of Moses. This is entirely consistent with Yeshua’s teaching about who is truly great and contrary to how most people think.

Luke 22:24-27

  24And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26“But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27“For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

The next thing that strikes me is that the Father tells Joshua that “no man will be able to stand before you…” and that He is giving him victory. Even with this promise, Yahweh then goes on to tell Joshua several times to be strong and courageous. Most of us have a tendency to think if the Lord is with us everything will go smoothly and easily. Then why would He need to encourage Joshua to be strong and courageous? Even when the Lord is with us, especially when the Lord is with us sometimes, we will encounter difficult circumstances and need to be courageous and have strong faith to remember God’s promises and direction. This, also, is consistent with the teaching of Yeshua.

Matthew 7:24-27

      24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

What builds the foundation for us to endure difficult times? Yeshua points to the hearing of His teachings or words, not to Himself. It is our hearing and our living out the instructions and commands of Yahweh that put us on a solid foundation for what we face in the world. And we see in Joshua 1 that Yahweh gives this same direction to Joshua… 7“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Let us not overlook that Yahweh specifically told Joshua to be strong and courageous in following the Law. I think it is reasonable to assume that this implies that sometimes when we live out the Law or other instruction from God, we can expect others to come against us. In Joshua’s case, no enemy was going to stand against Him and certainly not going to challenge following the Law. So it likely then points to being strong and courageous leading his people to follow the Law even when they begin to stray from it and do not want to follow it. (This a situation we face today throughout Christianity. People continually redefine God and His instructions rather than redefining themselves to align with what His word says.) How many of us do as Yahweh told Joshua to do?

8“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Indeed, Yahweh felt it important to emphasize that even with Him promising victory, Joshua would face difficulties and would need courage. He would need to stand on the Law and commandments of Yahweh. Then He would be prosperous and have success. It is the same for us.

Pray for the Lord to help you and other followers of Christ. That we would have eyes to see and understand His glory and to live courageously according to His ways rather than blending in with our society and living according to man’s ways. Pray we would have ears to hear His instruction and courage to follow it and go forward where He sends each of us for His glory rather than our own.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Walk In The Light

Yeshua is the Light. He came to show us how we should live in relationship with the Father. He came to die for our sins so we may be reconciled with the Father. He came in order that the Father’s purpose would be fulfilled. Let us seek to walk in the Light. Seek out and understand what Yeshua taught and how He lived.

Let us pray that the Lord would give each of us and others we pray for eyes to see and a heart that is not hardened, that we may receive the message of truth and not a corrupted version of it.

Let us challenge ourselves that if we truly believe in Him, we do not keep it a secret. May we never love the approval of men more than the approval of the Father. It is a harder thing than we would like to admit. The approval of men is vivid and immediate around us in our lives. The approval of the Father is sometimes not immediately visible, especially if we face persecution. However, pray that He would strengthen you and that you would live for Him and His approval rather than that of man.

John 12:27-50

Jesus Foretells His Death

     27“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” 39For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40“HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” 41These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

      44And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Do not be quick to say to yourself, “I walk in the Light” or “I never seek approval of man over the Father”. Instead, pray for wisdom and clarity. Ask the Lord to show you if there are areas in your life where you are doing so.

If we walk in the Light, then we should be seeking the Light more and more, studying, discerning and continuing to learn and change our behavior and attitudes. Who among us would claim we know the Lord fully? We are walking fully and completely with Him in our lives? If we are not, but we seek to walk in the Light, then we should be continuing to study and learn and change our behavior to be more and more in line with Christ. Our attitudes should be changing. Many have found a “comfortable” lifestyle where they have settled in, complacent to accept that this is the way to live in relation with Christ. We should be continuing to learn and change as our understanding grows.

If we truly seek the approval of the Father over that of man, then we should be continuing to experience some form of confrontation or adversity. If we boldly live for Christ, and there are many who stand against Him, or even stand in His name but are living such that they are clearly far from Him, we should be encountering some conflict. If we are encountering no conflict as we live out our faith, even with other church members, we must ask ourselves if we really are living for Christ boldly as a light or if we are blending in with others around us into the darkness. Are we only hanging out with those who agree with us or are we presenting Christ  and our full understanding of Him to others who do not agree? If we are to make disciples, we must bring the truth of His word to bear even for those who may not seek to hear it. We saw this in Yeshua’s ministry clearly. Some accepted. Some rejected.

With help from the Father, what changes do you need to make in your life to walk closer with our Lord?

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.