It’s all about obedience I just finished rereading the book of Joshua, and I continue to be amazed at the difference between God’s instructions to Joshua before and after the conquest of Jericho. When about to conquer Jericho the Lord said, “Keep away from the devoted things… all the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into His treasury” (6:18-19). And what happened?
Achan took some of the plunder and as a result 36 men lost their lives unnecessarily and his entire family were killed. “Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks which remains to this day” (7:26), the biblical scribe reports. But now watch this: with that heap of rocks still somewhere close in sight, the Lord tells Joshua, “I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land…. Except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves” (8:2).
Had I been Joshua, I think I would have wanted to say, “Really Lord? We just killed a man who did that.” But Joshua must have learned a lesson from Moses. Remember when Israel was in the desert without water and God told Moses, “Strike the rock and water will come out of it for the people to drink” (Exodus 17:6)? Remember also that at a later time when the nation was in need of water, God told Moses, “Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water” (Numbers 20:8). And what did Moses do? He “struck the rock twice with his staff” (v. 11), and even though “water gushed out,” Moses was never allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Why? He disobeyed God’s instructions. The first time he was told to strike the rock. The next time he was instructed to speak to the rock. It’s all about obedience. Lord, give us open ears to hear from You and open hearts to obey You. We pray in the powerful Name of Jesus.
On this day, 3500 years ago,
lambs were slaughtered throughout Goshen in Egypt.
Hyssop brushes stroked Jewish doorposts with lamb’s blood.
The children of Israel met quietly,
sequestered behind their bloodstained doors,
waiting to be delivered from 400 years of slavery.
On this day, 2000 years ago,
another Lamb was slain.
Human hearts were stroked with Lamb’s blood
and freed from centuries of slavery.
Today…Lamb’s blood is still found on human hearts.
Deliverance is found behind a blood-stained door.
If the doorpost of your heart is stained with Lamb’s blood,
have a glorious Passover season.
If not, grab quickly the hyssop
and look for the Lamb’s blood.
The exodus will come suddenly
and we will be ushered into a whole new glorious future.
The slain Lamb has risen
and will return as King of kings and Lord of lords!
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”
How do we hide God’s Word in our hearts?
I don’t know any way other than memorization.
But don’t let that scare you. I’m not talking about memorizing whole chapters, although that’s great if we can do that, but I’m talking about single thoughts or verses. You may not consider that you are good at memorizing Scripture, but if you are walking strong in the Lord, you have certain scriptures inside you that hold you closer to the Lord, even if cannot quote those scriptures word for word in any of the many translations.
For example, how many of us take comfort again and again in Paul’s assurance that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose?” We may never have actually memorized that verse, or may not even know where to find it (it’s Romans 8:28), but we know its content, and we rely again and again on its truth.
As we read through Scripture again this year (and I trust you have some kind of plan for reading regularly through Scripture), let us find those truths that will transform us, let us mark them, learn them, journal them, hide them in our hearts, quote them, and use them so that, as Paul says when writing to the Corinthians, we will continue to “reflect the Lord’s glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18) and be transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus.
That’s my hope for you. That’s my hope for me. As we move through this new year. Have a blessed year.
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
Many of us probably identify with Peter. He would make bold statements and even take bold actions, only to fall flat on his face a few moments later. Or perhaps I should say only to fall in the water a few moments later.
Remember the time when Jesus walked out on the Sea of Galilee to join the disciples when their “boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it” (Matthew 14:24)?
When they saw Jesus, they were terrified. They thought they must be seeing a ghost. But then Jesus cried out, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter’s whole perception changed immediately. He took his eyes off the waves and looked at Jesus: “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” Jesus said.
So Peter, with eyes still fixed on Jesus, “got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”
Stop and imagine this. Peter did something he never imagined that he could do – as long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus.
But when he looked at the waves, he began to sink.
We are living in stormy times. Some of the waves are fierce. But as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will walk forward in strength. If we begin to focus our attention on the waves, we will begin to sink.
The story goes that Smith Wigglesworth would not allow a newspaper in his home. He did not want to focus on the reports coming from man, but on the message that was coming from God.
May we all run with confidence the race marked out for us, “fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
This Psalm has been a strength for many believers who turn to the Bible looking for answers during this trying and unknown time. The psalmist even foresaw times like the one in which the world is experiencing now. Twice he spoke of being protected from the pestilence – the “deadly pestilence” and “the pestilence that stalks in the darkness.” Once he speaks of the “plague that destroys at midday.”
But the opening verse is the key for our focus: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Dwelling in the LORD brings rest.
Paul tells us that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:8). And from our perspective with God, we see Him at work in all situations. He will never allow the enemy to win the battle. Jesus has been given “all authority” not only in heaven but also “on earth” (Matthew 28:18).
Let us pray for all those who will turn to the Lord during this worldwide “pestilence/plague.” Let us become the believers who put our trust in Him, trusting that even this will be turned for our good as we trust in Him.