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Be Strong

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

We all fear sometimes the challenges of what might lie ahead.  Our fears stem from a misperception that God is absent in the conflict, that He isn’t in control. It is as if we push forward and cross the river, if we act on His commands, that He will leave us hanging in the middle of battle.

Sound familiar? What challenge lies in front of you now? Like Joshua, what do you fear might hinder you? What I am interested in is what makes some people more confident in God than others. If God asked Joshua to trust Him as he faced his challenge, isn’t God asking us the same thing? What is the secret to the success some people experience when facing the odds?

Check this out, Rosa Parks, mother of the civil rights movement, was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man. Boycotts and protests followed and eventually the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation unconstitutional. In Quiet Strength she writes:

“I have learned over the years that knowing what must be done does away with fear. When I sat down on the bus that day, I had no idea history was being made. I was only thinking of getting home. But I had made up my mind. After so many years of being a victim of the mistreatment my people suffered, not giving up my seat-and whatever I had to face afterwards-was not important. I did not feel any fear sitting there. I felt the Lord would give me the strength to endure whatever I had to face. It was time for someone to stand up-or in my case, sit down. So I refused to move.”

Like Rosa Parks, when you settle in your mind on what is right, you will find confidence in your heart.  Confidence comes from knowledge that whatever God commands, it will happen.  The word “command” means to make something firm, to establish, like when a commander appoints a soldier to a task.  It’s a picture of a superior giving a verbal communication to a subordinate.

Whenever the Lord gives a command, He is not to be questioned regarding the work of His creation. In the same way, Joshua was not to question the Lord about crossing the River. Now, the Lord isn’t provoked by our questions, only the resistance to obeying the command.

According to Isaiah 29:13, there are two ways of responding to God’s Commands: lip service and real obedience.  “Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me.”

What has God asked you to conquer? That wrong attitude towards your spouse or that bad habit that’s plaguing you? Maybe you have a call to do a ministry but you lack the confidence to obey? What is it that you are facing today? Do you need confidence? Confidence to face all dangers and creepy things and tempting things, true confidence begins when the Lord God is your light and your salvation.

The Lord told Joshua not be be afraid or dismayed, I am with you. Like Joshua if you are overwhelmed by an assignment, tired, and discouraged, remember God’s purpose for your life. Be strong, and very courageous!

Your in Christ,

Pastor Bob

 

 

Do What is Right in God’s Sight

“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”  2 Kings 22:2

Josiah became King at the age of eight and yet he changed his world. How did little Josiah change his world?  He did what was right in the sight of God. In Matthew 5:19 Jesus said, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

What makes a person great isn’t his education or athletic abilities, but whether he does what is right in God’s sight.

God is not content with our doing what is right some of the time. He wants us to do what is right all the time. We are under his orders to eliminate any thoughts, practices, or possessions that hinder our devotion to him.

The world we live in is at odds with God’s standards. He has not left our conduct up to us and our opinions. Josiah had the remarkable ability of not conforming to society’s low standards by taking God’s commands seriously and applying them to his life. Independence and self-reliance are positive traits, but only within the framework of God’s standards.

We also see from this verse, that Josiah walked in the ways of David.  This is another way of saying, “Wow, you remind me of King David.” David was Israel’s greatest and most beloved king because he had a heart for God. Josiah was like that also. He was focused on the Lord. So focused was this young king on the Lord, he didn’t turn away from his goal, to follow the Lord.

If you have become easily influenced by the flesh, or society, there are a few things you can do to recapture a heart like David’s. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, the Lord said to Moses, “And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning.” Home is a place to learn about God.

To God, it’s really important for us to read the Bible ourselves and to teach the Bible to our kids. No pastor on the planet, no matter how good a teacher he might be, can take the place of a mom or a dad reading the Bible to their kids.

David wrote in Psalm 24: 1-6 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.”

What is your spiritual report card? When you think about Josiah’s report card, how does yours match up? Do you do the right thing even if it’s at odds with society’s standards? Is your heart like David’s? Can you remain focused on what God wants you to do, or are you easily turned to the right or the left towards the world?

My prayer this week is that we will all keep our focus on the Lord and do what is right in His sight.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

 

 

 

 

Feed Your Spirit

“Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.”  2 Kings 20:3

This was the prayer of Hezekiah. His prayer was a simple one, and simple prayers are the best prayers. This was proof that Hezekiah had a prayer in his heart, that he had a believing heart, and that God Himself put that prayer in his heart.  We know that Hezekiah had a tremendous sense of need, because verse 3 goes on to tell us that he wept bitterly. Do you know those bitter tears? They come when life squeezes them out, and they flow because we feel crushed.

In the Bible, we read a lot about Myrrh, a plant they used to harvest for its fragrant oil. They get the oil by tapping; making an incision with a specially designed tool about 2 inches long, into the bark of the tree. The milky liquid that flows out hardens on exposure to air into droplets called "tears," which are then easily detached by the collector about two weeks later.

So it is with our lives. Bad news comes along and makes an incision, and we often shed tears, but the Collector comes along and saves them in His Bottle. God knows every tear you shed as you face life’s wall.

God loves you so much, and just when you think you can’t pray another prayer, you find one deep inside your heart, and so you speak that prayer, and God hears. I have found out that God always shows me first what He intends to do in my heart. I will just have discernment about it. It will be on my mind and heart for some time, then He will use someone to confirm it with a word of knowledge, thus bringing an awesome confirmation, and that was what Hezekiah was seeking.

Every day of our lives we sow seeds into the fertile ground of our mind. Because our mindd are so fertile, we can be sure that whatever we sow there will bear fruit, and if what we are sowing in our mind is corrupt, that’s what will grow!

So many Christians today are having problems with their flesh because they are sowing to the flesh and, as a result, are having problems at work and in their marriages and with parenting their kids because they are sowing seeds in their hearts and minds that are corrupt.

The really beautiful thing is that you can choose today to sow to the spirit as you worship the Lord and study His word! When a person reads the Scriptures, something amazing happens! As you read it, you are starting to sow to the spirit the very words of God and as the words pass through your eyes and into your mind, you sow seeds that will take root and grow and bear tremendous fruit in your heart. Wisdom, knowledge, peace, joy, God’s promises, God’s encouragement, and the power you need in order to walk with Him.

God’s word feeds your spirit, and if you sow His word in your heart, you will reap everlasting life.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

 

Do Not Worry

“Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body,        what you will put on.”  Luke 12:22

 

The word “worry” or “anxious” in Luke 12:22 means “to be torn apart. It is the picture of a ship being tossed in a storm. Our English word worry comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means “to strangle.”  “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,” said Corrie Ten Boom; “it empties today of its strength.” 

As we continue in Luke 12:23-29 we read; “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.” 

The phrase “anxious mind” in Luke 12:29 means “to be held in suspense.” 

Continuing in Luke 12:31-34, we see that Jesus encourages us to trust God to meet our needs. “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”                 

Notice in the text that if God feeds the birds, He will surely feed His children. If He is so careful to clothe the plants that grow up one day and are cut down the next, surely He will clothe His own people. The problem lies not with His abilities or His power because He is all-powerful and He can do anything he wants; the problem is our little faith. 

God promises you that He will faithfully provide to meet your needs! Here Jesus is seeking to teach His disciples about trust. But not trust in things or people, but in Him. Friends, are you trusting in Him today?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob 

 

 

 

 

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