Posts Tagged “Joshua”

14“So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone.

15But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:14-15 (NLT)

What a crazy, crazy few weeks it’s been. Phil and I found ourselves in the middle of commitments at work that were a combination of poorly made agreements on my part and life just being life…only on steroids for some reason. All leading up to a seemingly hard deadline of a trip to visit my niece on the birth of her first child.

Well, I’m on the plane to visit that niece now. A day late and still without the deadline met (technically the due date is still about 5 days away, but with me gone, it’s not going to get met). Phil remains at home diligently making progress and I’ve had to explain missing a deadline to the customer. In the meantime, both Phil and I have been working crazy hours and sleeping little for the past three weeks.

It was all coming to a head yesterday as I tried to do some project planning with Phil. I kept using the wrong phrases when referring to different elements of the project. A few sentences in, I looked at him a bit discouraged and said “I’m sorry. I’m going crazy.”

His answer was simple and profound. “Well don’t. Going crazy is totally optional.”

What?

“Going crazy is totally optional!”

It is, you know! Every day, in every situation, we choose how to respond. We choose love or hate. We choose compassion or turning a blind eye. We choose anxiety or trust. Going crazy is optional – we can choose to trust God instead.

Phil went on to point out to me that “going crazy” is really another form of worry. Ugh! And I thought I’d gotten so good at not worrying!

13When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.
Luke 4:13 (NLT)

Yep, the enemy had simply left me for a while – until the next opportunity came – the next time I was overworked and overtired. (It’s easy to give up worrying when life is going according to plan and I’ve been practicing so it’s becoming easy not to worry when faced with the “normal” level of things not going according to plans.) I’ve also gotten better at recognizing the signs of worry, enabling me to choose trust instead of worry. So I guess it only makes sense that the enemy would change his disguise and come at me looking like “craziness” (i.e., chaos) instead of worry.

But as Phil pointed out, “going crazy is totally optional!”

So I began to choose peace. I continued to work diligently but I added faith into the mix – I chose to trust God to enable me to complete the tasks or give me grace with clients. Or find me a new clients or a new job if this project causes me to lose all my current ones! After all – all provision comes from His hands and He promises to provide. I don’t want to limit Him by lacking faith that He will provide or by prescribing how He should do it.

You know what! It works! Yes, sometimes I have to remind myself every few minutes to grab ahold of faith instead of craziness. But when I do, I find that the peace of God settle around me. And I find that the need for those faith refreshers stretches from every moment to every few minutes…to every half hour…to every hour…to …

Friends, going crazy is totally optional! Will you join me in choosing peace? Will you join me in choosing to trust God? It is a wonderful way to live – and it honors God more than you think.

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Paul’s prayers are wonderful. They go so far beyond what we typically pray. His prayer for the Ephesians is just one example. As Matthew Henry puts it, Paul doesn’t pray “that they might be freed from persecution; nor that they might possess the riches, honours, or pleasures of the world; but the great thing he prays for is the illumination of their understandings, and that their knowledge might increase and abound.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 689)

Like I said, not your typical prayer. Let’s look at it.

17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:17-21 (NIV)

Paul begins by saying that he “keeps asking” – Paul doesn’t say a quick prayer and consider the topic addressed. He continually prays that the Lord would give the Ephesians the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know the Lord better. What a great prayer. Oh how I want people praying that for me! (Feel free to pause in your reading and do so right now.)

I find it interesting that earlier in the chapter Paul praised God for two things related to this prayer:

He gave God praise because He has blessed us “in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (v7b-8).

He praised God because “He has made known to us the mystery of His will” (v9a).

Having already written that God has blessed us with these things, Paul then went on to pray for them – that God  would give the Ephesians the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they might know Him better. I’m reminded that it’s important to pray for the things that God has already blessed us with. God has blessed us but many of those blessings are apprehended through prayer. So go ahead! Ask Him to bless you with all spiritual blessings. Ask Him for greater revelation. Even when you are experiencing those blessings – go ahead and ask for a greater measure of them. For yourself and for those around you.

Notice the purpose of the wisdom and revelation – so that we might know Him better. It’s not wisdom for the sake of wisdom or revelation so that we might impress other people. It’s wisdom and revelation so that we can know God better. In my experience, knowing God better always leads to loving Him more. God blesses us with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we might love Him more.

Wisdom and revelation are “head knowledge” (albeit head knowledge that leads to heart knowledge). Paul then goes on to pray for “heart knowledge.” He prays that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.” Two great points in that prayer: (1) that we would know that we are people of hope and (2) that we are people of calling. Earlier in the chapter Paul wrote this:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:4 (NIV)

If you know Christ, you are called by Him to be a witness for Him. You have been chosen to be holy and blameless in God’s sight. It’s not holiness of our own making, although we’re to live a life that is pleasing to God. Yet no matter how hard we try, we will do things that are not pleasing to Him. Still, through the blood of Christ, we are holy and blameless in His sight. Without the blood of Christ, He sees our sin. Through the blood of Christ we are holy and blameless.

If you know Christ, you have a hope that goes beyond anything this world can give. The word translated as hope in the Bible means “confident expectation.” You have a confident expectation of the end game – and it’s not riches and a leisurely life. It is eternity with a loving, all-powerful God. It is the confidence that you have been blessed with every spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). It is the confident expectation that He is always with you – never leaving or forsaking you (Joshua 1:5).  It is the confident expectation that when you have breathed your last breath on earth, you will be in His presence (2 Corinthians 5:8). That’s the hope to which we’ve been called. The world doesn’t have those hopes. The world is negative because they see only the negative the world offers. Chistians – people called by God – are positive because they have hope. We are a people of hope. Hallelujah. Lord, when I forget that, please remind me.

Paul then prays that we would know the tremendous power God has for those who believe. I wrote about that as part of our “Living God’s Heart Series.” Check out the blog titled “A Beating Heart.”

Friends…

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.    
Ephesians 1:3-10 (NIV)

…As Believers, we are blessed, chosen, called, redeemed, forgiven, lavished with wisdom and understanding, and called. No wonder Paul calls us people of hope. Let’s live it!

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By guest blogger Pastor Dan Caudill

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.
(Philippians 4:12)

We live in a world of “more.” Pick any topic you want and the general consensus is bigger, faster, higher, just….more.” From TV shows to sports to our looks to our jobs to how much money we make to our possessions, we have this sense that somehow we have to out-do what we did yesterday, last month, last year – that if we have more, get more do more, see more , say more, are more, life would be better somehow. As a whole, we are in a state of discontent, dangling the proverbial carrot in front of ourselves with the thought, “I would be happier if… (Fill in the blank).” And because we often try to fill the voids in our lives with the wrong “filler” (that’s where the godliness needs to come in), when the newness of what we acquired or accomplished wears off we find ourselves wanting….well, “more.”

The Bible says “contentment with Godliness is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6). The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” (Philippians 4:12)

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we shouldn’t want to be happy. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t want to have a better world or a better life, or that we shouldn’t work toward improving ourselves and the situations around us. And I’m not saying that it is wrong to have possessions. As I once heard someone say, “It’s not wrong to have things as long as things don’t have us.” I also read somewhere “if you aren’t happy with what you have, you won’t be happy with what you get.”

What I am saying is that I believe it is possible in God’s economy to be seeking, hoping, wanting and working toward that “better tomorrow” and yet be perfectly content with today. In other words, we can be content with where we are and where we are headed at the same time. Each day is a gift. The Psalmist writes, “This is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)  Also, as the saying goes, sometimes “The joy is in the journey.” I am sure we have all set out for a specific destination (both literally and figuratively), only to find upon arrival that it wasn’t nearly as spectacular as we had imagined. But oh the things that happened along the way, the lives we touched and the ones that touched ours. The “getting there” far outweighed the importance and impact of the arrival.

I guess if we insist on wanting “more”, why not go for more contentment and go for it today (kind of defeats the idea if we put it off until tomorrow or next week). I would like to offer some “helps” that aid us in our quest for contentment.

  1. Take God at His Word. Scripture says He knows our needs even before we ask. (Matthew 6:8)
  2. God promises that He has “given us everything we need for life and for godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
  3. Scripture says that the blameless will “lack no good thing.” (Psalm  84:11)
  4. If God is for us, who or what can be against us.
  5. With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27)
  6. We, like Paul, can do all things through Christ who gives us Strength. (Philippians 4:13)
  7. A man plans his course, but God orders his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
  8. God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. (Joshua 1:5)
  9. Jesus himself said the Father holds his children in the palm of His hand and nothing can snatch us out. (John 10:28)

Well, if you are like me, you have tasted slices of contentment here and there, but haven’t enjoyed that sweet taste on a regular basis. I think I’m ready to go for the whole “pie.” Holy Spirit teach me as I head back to school to “learn the secret of being content in any and every situation.” Let it come to pass Lord.

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But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.
Daniel 1:8 (NLT)

In 605 BC King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Judah. Most citizens of Judah were forcibly taken to Babylon. Soon thereafter, Nebuchadnezzar decided to bring some of the Israelites into his service:

3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives.

4“Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.”

5  The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.
Daniel 1:3-5 (NLT)

Daniel and three others from the family of Judah were taken. (You’ve probably heard of the three others. They were renamed by King Nebuchadnezzar and you mostly likely know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. But that’s another story.)

Put yourself in Daniel’s place. You are part of Judah’s royal family. You are conquered. Your enemy captures you and takes you to his country. Things are looking pretty bad for you. Then the king selects you to be part of his elite counsel of advisors. You’re to be fed the same menu cooked by the same chef as the king and you’re to receive the best training. It’s a lot better than living out your life in a dungeon. But it means serving the king who conquered your land and brought you to his.

Would you be angry or thankful? Would you oppose the king who conquered you or serve him? Would you pretend to be a friend of the king while secretly working against him?

Let’s look at how Daniel responded:

But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.
Daniel 1:8 (NLT)

Daniel made a firm decision. Various translations make this clear:

“Daniel was determined…” (NLT)
“Daniel made up his mind…” (NASB)
“Daniel purposed in his heart…” (NKJV)
“Daniel resolved…” (NRSV)

Daniel made a firm decision, not a wishy-washy, wishful-thinking decision. He didn’t think “well, maybe it would be best if…” He didn’t think “I’m going to try …” His approach wasn’t “if I can, I’m going to…” He made a take-a-stand, Joshua-like decision – “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Often the first step we need to take is simply to make a firm decision. I have been working toward a healthy weight for more than a year now. I am only successful when I make a firm decision to work toward my goals. When I approach them half-heartedly I fail. Consistently. When I approach them with resolve, with purpose in my heart, with a made-up mind, I am successful.

Daniel decided to honor God by remaining as pure as possible in a pagan culture. Daniel’s first recorded challenge to his decision came when he began receiving meals prepared by the King’s chef. There is little detail here about why Daniel might consider it inappropriate to eat the food, but it’s not unreasonable to conclude from the use of the word “defile” that Daniel had concerns about the type of meat he would be served, how it was prepared, and/or whether it may have been offered to Babylonian idols. Without knowing the details, however, we can identify with Daniel because we live in a culture that is increasingly unfriendly toward Christians. We live in a culture that encourages and celebrates lifestyle choices that are not consistent with serving God.

Every decision we make throughout the day involves a choice between honoring God or living life according to our own rules and wants and wishes. Every decision? Yes, every decision – every piece of food we eat, every television program we watch, every word we say to our coworkers, every assignment we complete for our boss, every look we give our spouses, every traffic law we obey or disobey, and every thought we nurture or kill. Regardless of the situation we face, we can choose to honor God or not honor God. But it’s not just the decisions we make, it’s also how we implement those decisions.

Daniel honored God by living respectfully in a pagan culture. When I read the words of verse 8 – that Daniel was determined and resolved, that he had made up his mind – an image begins to take shape in my mind of a man who is going to stand up boldly to authority and resist it if necessary to accomplish his goals. That image is inconsistent with the second half of the verse: “He [Daniel] asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.”

Daniel didn’t approach the chief of staff with a demand or refusal – he asked for permission. This caught me by surprise. Having made a firm decision to remain pure, Daniel then seemingly puts his ability to keep that commitment in the hands of his captors. There is an expression that I truly hate: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.” That statement doesn’t honor God in any way. Daniel didn’t subscribe to that statement. Daniel’s approach showed respect for those in authority. It actually went much further than that.

Daniel trusted God to make a way for him to fulfill his commitment. Choosing to ask permission instead of taking matters into his own hands, defying authority and then asking forgiveness, Daniel demonstrated trust in God. Daniel may have made the commitment to honor God, but he also recognized that it would only be by God’s grace that he could keep the commitment.

I realize that Daniel’s humility takes me by surprise in light of his determination because I view determination as strength and deep down inside I view humility as weakness. That would be because I have a flawed view of humility. In God’s economy humility is king:

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
Matthew 5:5 (NLT)

But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 (NRSV)

And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5b (NRSV)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:10 (NKJV)

It certainly proved true in Daniel’s case. What was the result of Daniel’s actions? Read it for yourself:

18When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.
Daniel 1:18-20 (NLT)

Determination and humility – two great qualities that work great together. Who knew?

Do you need to make a firm decision to honor God in a greater way in some area of your life? How’s your humility quotient?

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Track your reading along with us using the table below, the downloadable half-page PDF or the May/June bookmark.

Share with others what God is teaching you. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Enjoy God as you begin to enjoy summer!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the May/June 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the June Reading Plan Here

Here’s June’s reading plan:

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Track your reading along with us using the table below, the downloadable half-page PDF or the May/June bookmark.

Share what God is teaching you with otherse. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Enjoy God as you watch spring unfold!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the May/June 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the May Reading Plan Here

Here’s May’s reading plan:

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“If you keep my laws and are careful to obey my commands…
Leviticus 26:3 (NLT)

Blessings Follow Those Who Obey God
Leviticus 26 is all about the consequences that the Israelites would experience if they kept their covenant with God. Let’s briefly look at what He promises to those who kept His laws and obeyed His commands

I will send the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees will produce their fruit….
Leviticus 26:4 (NLT)

The Lord promises provision – abundant provision.

6“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep without fear. I will remove the wild animals from your land and protect you from your enemies…
Leviticus 26:6 (NLT)

The Lord promises protection – from those who might do harm, whether man or animal.

“I will look favorably upon you and multiply your people and fulfill my covenant with you. 
Leviticus 26:9 (NLT)

The Lord promises enrichment of your family and the fulfillment of all His promises.

11I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 
Leviticus 26:11-12 (NLT)

The Lord promises His presence living among His people. This is an awesome promise to those who keep their covenant with God. It is a promise that continues to this day. The Apostle Paul repeated this passage in 2 Corinthians. In encouraging the Corinthians to separate themselves from unrighteous people and things, he said this:

And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
2 Corinthians 6:16

God’s presence follows those who live the way He instructs them to live.

Curses Follow Those Who Turn From God’s Ways
Leviticus continues:

“However, if you do not listen to me or obey my commands, 15and if you break my covenant by rejecting my laws and treating my regulations with contempt, 16I will punish you.
Leviticus 26:14

Just as there are blessings for obedience, there are punishments for disobediences. I’m not going to spell out the punishments – you can read them for yourselves. They’re not pretty.

When faced with such clear delineation of the consequences of our actions, you would think we would never choose anything but blessing. But the Israelites did and so do we. But God loves us so much, that He gives us still another chance:

44“But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out. I, the LORD, am their God. 45I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of Egypt while all the nations watched. I, the LORD, am their God.”
Leviticus 26:44-45

God will remember His covenant and He will continue to be their God. He will continue to be our God. If you have turned your back on Him, He still waits for you to return. Waits with open arms. Waits with forgiveness. Waits to pour out the blessings of Leviticus 26:4-13.

A generation later, Joshua challenged the Israelites saying “choose today whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) We each face that decision daily. I’m siding with Joshua who said “as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) I’m siding with the Lord.

Is the Book of Leviticus Relevant Today?
I hope this series of blogs on the book of Leviticus has helped you to answer that question affirmatively – yes, the book of Leviticus is relevant for us today. Perhaps not in the same way that some other books are, but relevant none the less. It is a book that encourages us to be holy, as God is holy. It is a book that shows us God’s heart to bless us. It is a book that shows us how to worship in a greater way. I need those lessons.

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Arizona Representative Giffords was shot in the head during a town-hall like outdoor meeting less than an hour ago. There are conflicting reports about whether she is still alive. There are reports of others who have died. I was preparing to upload a blog about pursuing God as I took a break and heard the news. I am holding that blog as a way of respecting those touched by the horror of the day.

Lord, bring healing to those who have not died and comfort to the survivors and family members of those who have died. Bring healing to our country and show your mercy. Send revival.

Friends, as a Christian, it is my desire that you all come to know Christ as your personal Savior. Only Christ saves us for a life that endures forever. Yes, we die in this life, whether from horrific evil, a tragic accident or from natural causes, yes, we will die in this life. But there is a life that follows this one and the choices we make in this life determine where we will spend eternity in that second life. As Joshua said to the Israelites, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) and the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2b)

Lord, open our eyes that we might see You more clearly and respond to you with all our heart. Again, Father, bring healing and comfort. Reach down into the operating rooms and sustain life. Reach down into people’s hearts and sustain life.

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Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2010-2011

Six Books in One Month – A Treasure Trove of Good Stuff!

During the month of June, we’ll be reading from six different books! It’ll be one of our busiest months, in terms of books, but it will still be maintaining our pace of three chapters a day. Here’s where we’ll be:

Joshua: I am thoroughly enjoying this book! Seeing how God passed the baton to Joshua and solidified his leadership among the Israelites, and then reading about how God’s unique strategy for taking the city of Jericho has me looking forward to the rest of the book.

Judges: After Joshua we’ll move on to the book of Judges. It’ll be “déjà vu all over again” as the Israelites fall into the cycle of following after other gods and finding themself in a jam, crying out to God for help, God raising up a righteous Judge to lead them and then the Israelites repenting and following God…until that judge dies and the cycle starts again. The book ends on the following very sad note:

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Joshua 21:25

Israel had forsaken their true King and everyone did as they pleased.

Psalms: After Judges we’ll take a break from the history for a few weeks by reading through the first 41 Psalms. The book of Psalms is broken into five “books” or “collections.” We’ll be reading the first one. It’s interesting that these divisions probably existed as early as the third, and perhaps even the second century B.C. Some think that the five-part division may have been deliberate, matching five books of praise with the already existing five books of the law (i.e., Genesis through Deuteronomy). Each of the books end with a final verse or psalm of doxology (praise).

Galatians: After we finish the last chapter of 2 Thessalonians, we’ll read Galatians. Paul is writing to correct heretical teaching that has infiltrated the church and writes about grace vs. the Law. My favorite passage of the book (favorite because the Holy Spirit brings it to my mind often when I need to hear it) is this:

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Galatians 3:1-3

Lord, let us not fall back to relying on our own efforts, our own strength (or lack thereof), but to fully trust You for everything in our lives.

1 & 2 Corinthians: Finally, we’ll read 1 & 2 Corinthians. These books might be summarized as being about a church behaving badly. We’ll find many verses we quote regularly and I trust God has some new nuggets for us as well.

Be blessed as you read this month! May God reveal His Word for you.

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of June’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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6Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’

10“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

13Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.
Joshua 14:6-14

In our Resting at the River’s Edge reading today, we read about Caleb receiving the land that was his inheritance. It had been 45 years since Moses promised the inheritance to Caleb. He was now 85 years old. He had wandered around for 40 years because of the disbelief of the other Israelites.

Forty-five years ago, Caleb, Joshua and 10 other leaders had been sent to check out the land that God had promised to give them. Caleb had stood with Joshua and had believed God and urged the people to follow Him. The other spies were afraid, however, and convinced the people that they could not do what God said they could. So instead of taking the land and receiving his inheritance in a matter of months or a few short years, Caleb wandered in circles with the other Israelites until the entire generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, died.

Five years ago, Joshua was given leadership of the Israelites and they began to take the land that God had promised. Caleb valiantly fought battle after battle to secure the land for other tribes. Many of those tribes had already received their inheritance. Still, Caleb had not.

It had been a pretty busy and hectic five years, I’m sure, but I can’t help wondering if Caleb ever became discouraged at waiting so long for his inheritance. There’s no indication of it in the text, but human nature being what it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t times, perhaps in the dark of night, when he despaired that his dreams of an inheritance would ever be realized. Perhaps he did, perhaps not.

I find three things in the text, though, that are an indication of how he encouraged himself either to avoid such thoughts or to stand against them.

  • In verse 8, Caleb says “I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” Caleb knew in his heart that he had followed the Lord wholeheartedly, and he knew the Lord well enough to know that He is faithful to keep His promises and that He rewards our obedience. My favorite Scripture that promises this comes from the New Testament:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6

God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Caleb followed the Lord “wholeheartedly.” Caleb was continually and diligently seeking God. Knowing God gave Caleb confidence that He would receive his promised inheritance.

  • Caleb reiterates Moses’ promise to give him an inheritance in the land in verse 9. In the following verse, we read that Caleb understood it wasn’t just a promise from Moses, but it was God Himself who was promising Caleb his inheritance. Caleb trusted in that promise. Perhaps he held God’s own words in his heart – the words God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai about being “abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).

When we are tempted to grieve because of the inheritance we have not yet received, we can remind ourselves of the promise God gave us and of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ. And so through him the “amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:20

God’s faithfulness is a fact, a truism, about God. It is His nature to be faithful. It is impossible for Him to be unfaithful. So when we are tempted to despair over the fulfillment of His promises to us, we can remind ourselves of those promises and of His faithfulness.

  • Finally, Caleb saw God at work toward the fulfillment of the promise. In verse 10 he declares that he is as physically fit to take the land as he was 45 years ago. Why did Caleb add that detail to the story? It wasn’t a necessary ingredient for him to receive his inheritance. Yes, he still had to fight the inhabitants of the land, but there were many others who could help in that fight. The fulfillment of the promise wasn’t dependent on Caleb being in good shape when he received it. When I read the statement, I had a sense that Caleb was saying “look at me – I haven’t aged a day – God is keeping me alive and well as a sign of His faithfulness to me.”

I am not saying that God will keep each of us healthy and strong until He fulfills His promises to us. God treats each of us in a way that is uniquely suited to our talents, our personalities, our faithfulness to Him, His promises to us, and His purposes for our lives. In Caleb’s case, God used the supernatural health that Caleb enjoyed as a sign to him that God would fulfill His promises.

What is God doing around or in you that gives you assurance that He will keep His promises? It may be something quite small or it may be something dramatic and miraculous. But there is something. Ask God to open your eyes to see eternity in the everyday things around you. Then hold on to those things that He is doing in and around you as signs of His ultimate fulfillment of His promises to you.

Does it seem like God is taking a long time to fulfill His promises in your life? Encourage yourself as Caleb did. Remind yourself regularly of those promises and of God’s faithfulness, then look for God at work in your life today. Be encouraged. He will do what He has promised to do.

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