Category Archives: Courage / Fear

Opening the First Six Seals of the Scroll in Revelation

Chapter six in Revelation records what was contained as YHWH revealed to John the first six seals of the scroll. There were seven seals in all. Each one was opened according to YHWH’s timing. Sometimes we must wait to see in His timing what will come next rather than our typical desire to know all that will come, to know how something will end before we start. YHWH does not always let us know the ending before asking us to begin. There are countless examples in scripture including Moses, Gideon, Abraham, and many more.

There is much symbolism to be studied here for each of the elements. Consider taking time to read the commentaries or other study material. They may not all be correct, but they provide some thoughtful insight. Ultimately we must test the Bible against itself. For example, some have concluded that the rider on the white horse is a false messiah, imitating the return of Yeshua before He actually comes. This would not be a surprise, as we have to deal with false prophets and teachers throughout time in every generation… always coming in the guise of an “angel of light”, representing YHWH’s word all the while distorting it.

Those of us who face these times when they come will need courage and strong faith, and we will need to really seek the LORD to help us. We will not be fully protected through these times as you see the section on martyrs mentions more are being added still at this time.

Let us seek to praise and glorify Him no matter what. Yeshua mentions sticking close to YHWH and His ways several times in His message to the seven churches in Asia earlier in Revelation. It is important we do this in adversity.

Revelation 6

The First Seal—Rider on White Horse

      1Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

The Second Seal—War

      3When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

The Third Seal—Famine

      5When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

The Fourth Seal—Death

      7When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The Fifth Seal—Martyrs

      9When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

The Sixth Seal—Terror

      12I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

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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.

Slaying Giants By YHWH’s Power

When we are operating in YHWH’s will and submitting ourselves to Him in our lives, He will help us slay giants that we could not defeat on our own. This does not mean we have to face physical attack by large men. There could be many intimidating situations we face that He can help us through His power. It is important to remember, however, that this is not a license to go pick fights with giants. We want to be fighting only the battles that YHWH wants us to fight. David was fighting for the name (aka reputation) of YHWH and the nation that followed Him. David was not fighting for personal glory, although that came with the victory.

Another aspect I have found very much worth highlighting is that David recognized where YHWH had been acting in His life already and then applied that to future situations. In his case, YHWH had protected him from lion and bear in protecting sheep and David saw this as a clear pattern in which he had faith YHWH would protect him from the Philistine as well. I have witnessed similarly, certain aspects or patterns of my life in which YHWH has chosen to interact to guide my path or just communicate with me. As I see where He has been active in the past, I have increasing faith He will continue in that way in the future. Of course, it will not be in the same way for everyone, so pay attention to where He has moved in your life in the past.

1 Samuel 17

Goliath’s Challenge

      1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. 6He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. 8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9“If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

      12Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men. 13The three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. 16The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand.

      17Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers. 18“Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. 19“For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”

David Accepts the Challenge

      20So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army. 22Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. 23As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.

      24When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. 25The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.”

      26Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” 27The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.”

      28Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” 29But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?” 30Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before.

David Kills Goliath

      31When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

      41Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46“This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.”

      48Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.

      50Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. 51Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. 53The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. 54Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.

      55Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” And Abner said, “By your life, O king, I do not know.” 56The king said, “You inquire whose son the youth is.” 57So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. 58Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Don’t let the familiarity of the story hide from you the deep faith and boldness of David or the fact that YHWH can help all of us overcome “giants” in our lives. We should strive to live for the glory and honor of YHWH, as David demonstrated in slaying Goliath.

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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.

Obey the LORD, Even When We Are Afraid

Reading earlier in Judges 6, we see a messenger of the LORD visit Gideon and tell him YHWH will defeat Midian through him. Gideon is a bit surprised, to be sure. Now starting in verse 25, we see the LORD gives him a more modest mission to get started. Perhaps this was to build Gideon’s confidence or to test his faith before he was to confront Midian. He was clearly afraid, even though the LORD was speaking to him clearly. We should take a moment to acknowledge that. When YHWH tells us to do something, it does not mean we will not be potentially nervous or anxious about it in part. We choose to overcome that because we trust the LORD and perhaps as our relationship with the LORD continues to grow, we have less and less anxiety or fear over what he asks us to do as we know he will do it through us in his power. It is not dependent solely on us.

Despite being afraid, Gideon carries out the mission in obedience.

Judges 6:25-35

      25Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; 26and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.

The Altar of Baal Destroyed

     28When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. 29They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” 30Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” 32Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar.

Personally, I am amused by Joash’s response to defend his son. But we can take note that even when (or perhaps especially when) we obey YHWH, people will come against us. They like to live in their sin and do not like to be challenged about it.  We must put our trust, our faith, in YHWH and obey him anyway.

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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.

“Fear” of the Lord Leads to Blessings

The Hebrew root word for “fear” in Psalm 128:1 is ירא which can be translated as fear, but also as reverence, to hold in honor, to be in awe. I think this is interesting to keep in mind as we read about the blessedness of the “fear” of the Lord.

Psalm 128

Blessedness of the Fear of the LORD.

A Song of Ascents.

1How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.

      2When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
You will be happy and it will be well with you.

      3Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
Within your house,
Your children like olive plants
Around your table.

      4Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the LORD.

      5The LORD bless you from Zion,
And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.

      6Indeed, may you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!

Excellent guidance indeed. Holding YHWH in awe and reverence, even fearing him as we may a Father whom we choose to disrespect or rebel against, will help set us on the right path to seeking to know him and obey him. We will be blessed if we pursue his ways 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.

Peter Denies Christ, But He Does Not Remain Defeated

Peter famously denies Christ three times after Christ is taken into custody by the Romans and chief priests. He was bold enough to follow as the led Christ away, and he then found himself in a situation where he felt they would perhaps capture him also. It appears he was bold enough to follow as the led Christ away, but still afraid of the consequences he might face as they recognized him there.

We also may face this  type of situation in our lives. Perhaps it will not literally be the same exact scenario, but we will have opportunities to be bold for Christ in our lives. When we take them, we will face more opposition and perhaps some tense situations.

Of course, YHWH wants us not to deny him at all. He wants us to live boldly for him. We can look at Yeshua’s example in this scenario and see someone who faced pain and death and did not compromise or deny. He is again the perfect standard. Peter fell short. We may do the same at times.

John 18:25-27

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

     25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Peter repented. He never again is recorded as denying Christ and even was executed for his faith without denying Christ to save himself. If we stumble in living out our faith, let us take Peter’s example to repent, seek forgiveness, and keep living for Christ. Do not give up because of our own weakness.

Another factor to consider is the Helper, the Holy Spirit. Peter failed before the Spirit was sent to help. One can contrast the boldness of the disciples before and after the Spirit and see a significant difference. When we are struggling, let us remember to ask the Lord to help us in our faith, to fill us with the Spirit.

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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.

How Shall We Respond When Facing Conflict Over Yeshua?

As the book of John records Yeshua being brought before the priests by the Roman cohort, there are a couple points that catch my attention in today’s scripture passage. Read with me and let’s reconnect on the other side.

John 18:12-24

Jesus before the Priests

     12So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

      15Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. 17Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

      19The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21“Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Simon Peter and another disciple were bold enough to follow with Yeshua to where he was being questioned. When they did, Peter found himself confronted by some who recognized him as a follower of Yeshua. He flinched under stress and made a mistake in denying Christ. Let us not be too quick to condemn Peter, but rather recognize how easily we may find ourselves even under less dramatic circumstances remaining quiet when we should stand up for Christ or even denying our allegiance to him or not defending the full truth of scripture to a hostile audience.

We also see, in contrast, that Yeshua remained calm. He spoke truth and made no excuses when confronted. He spoke boldly and directly. What he said, made sense and actually comes across as a bit of a rebuke toward the priests for arresting him in such a secret manner when he preached publicly throughout his ministry. They did not like being rightly rebuked and reacted poorly, as those in authority sometimes do when they feel challenged.

I have never before thought to contrast specifically the example of Christ compared to Peter in this scripture. They contrast one another in striking fashion. Even when directly threatened and knowing he faced painful death, Yeshua reacts boldly and calmly and in truth. Peter, though bold in coming this far, experiences fear and flinches, denying Christ… as many of us may be apt to do from time to time in conflict. Once again, Christ shows us the proper standard by how he lived. Of course, we also see that even those who stand boldly for him will make mistakes and need both his forgiveness and grace… both of which Peter receives later.

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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.

Let Judas Remind Us That We Should Not Betray Christ

Judas betrayed our Lord, Yeshua, in a very bold and obvious way. He took money to lead the Romans to him. Perhaps one thing which may be difficult for us to grasp at a personal level, however, is that this was in keeping with the Father’s plan for Yeshua.

John 18:1-1-11

Judas Betrays Jesus

     1When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. 2Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. 3Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” 10Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

None of us will face the same exact situation as Judas. Most of us may never face any situation even remotely like this one. However, we all have an opportunity to speak out for and defend our Lord, Yeshua or reject him throughout our daily lives. Sometimes it may be by deliberate action, giving into temptation or sin. Other times, we may simply reject his ways by remaining quiet or not taking action to help another or defend his name.

Let us not look upon Judas as the only one who betrays Yeshua. Instead, let us reflect on our own lives and seek to honor and glorify him through our actions and thoughts. Let us seek his help for us to be loyal and not betray him when situations we face may be uncomfortable or hard or when greed may tempt us to turn from his ways.

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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.

Yeshua Focused On The Father and Others

Even as Yeshua faced His impending arrest, He remain focused on the Father, His own mission on earth from the Father, and those that were close to Him that would still need the Father’s help after Yeshua was gone. What a loving and selfless example that we should follow in our own lives!

John 17:1-12

The High Priestly Prayer

     1Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

      6“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7“Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The Father’s purpose should remain paramount as a focus in our lives, even when it leads us down a path of difficulty and suffering. We must trust in Him to fully please Him. Let us follow the example of Yeshua in our own lives and not focus only on our own comforts and desires, but the plans of our Father for us and also those around us who also need the Father’s help.

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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.

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.

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.