Word of the Day

Grand Inquiry

Joshua 9: 14

but they did not inquire of the Lord.

What a great reminder this is. I wonder how many tasks I do and decisions I make in a day in which I err in the exact same way as Joshua and the Israelites. In this story, the Gibeonites tricked the Israelites. They pretended to be from far away to deceive the Israelites into making a treaty with them. God gave the Israelites certain land. He went with them clearing out the inhabitants of all those lands. The Gibeonites put on old clothes and put old provisions in their sacks. So, the Israelites sampled the provisions but did not inquire of the Lord and thus were fooled.

Worldly wisdom and analysis will never be as complete, thorough or accurate and God’s wisdom. God knew who the Gibeonites were and that they were from a nearby land. He would have gladly told Joshua or any of the Israelites had they paused to ask Him. How is it that Joshua, who witnessed so much and was led even as Moses was, could fail to continue in the way he was taught? Did he get comfortable in his leadership?

It seems when the pressure is on we seek God with all our hearts and strength but then when the pressure isn’t as intense, we kick back and begin to rely on our experience or our own assessments. What error! It is in those times that we can make grievous missteps as did the Israelites. We need to train ourselves to ask Father about all things. Along with that, we must grow accustomed to talking with Him all day long and hearing His responses. One who cannot hear the Lord, cannot be led by Him. We can develop a “Him with us” consciousness too. When we believe He is with us at all times, I mean really convinced in this, then speaking with Him becomes more spontaneous.

Seek the Lord’s wisdom and presence in all you do. Where are you headed right now? Take God with you. There may be Gibeonites there.

Truth or Consequences

Isaiah 35: 4

Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not.”

That is a good word to speak to your friends and family. Fear not, says the Lord.

I am increasingly surprised with the number of people who live with fear. I hear all kinds of confessions about the myriad of things that people are afraid of. It’s not just heights, it’s not just terrorists. People are living with what sometimes seems like fear of everything. It is a challenging world out there, but we have a declaration from God. He instructs us to speak to those with an anxious heart to tell them they need fear no longer. God is our peace, comfort and victory.

If I tell you the whole story, though, it is that even we Christians, who are the kids of the King, are plagued my fear and anxiety as those who don’t know Jesus. This is not as it should be. Why is that? Have we not seen God’s mighty right hand in our lives and hence our faith has faded? Some have the ability to read God’s Word and as simply as children, believe what they see there. How are they able to do that and others of us are not? People say that some times Christians worship the Bible more than the God of the Bible, and that may be true but we seem unable to apply what we read and worship to our own lives.

It is said that there are 365 places where the Bible tells us to not be afraid. If that is the case it is handy to have one for every day of the year. It seems we need reminding. Perhaps, though, there is something we need more, some way to believe what the Word says.

The Bible is a dead book unless you know Jesus. To those who know him personally, the book is alive and brimming with life giving sustenance. Perhaps our real issue is that we are becoming too insulated from our beloved. Maybe we don’t know him like David. So, the real question becomes, how do we get to know Jesus on a personal, intimate level?

Perhaps you will reply to this email or post a comment on our site describing the ways you have come to know God’s Word is true and applicable. Have you had an experience with the God of the Bible, His son, or their Spirit? What did you discover that can help others meet Christ face to face in all truth?

Give and Get

Proverb 3: 9 – 10

Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow.

We have all heard that we are supposed to give into the Lord’s work. Few seem to know why though. Nationally, only 10% of people tithe. So clearly, as a people, we are not giving regularly to the Lord. Part of the reason, I believe, is because so few understand the why of it all. People think that some preacher or church or maybe even God himself is trying to get something from them. It is just the opposite though. God is trying to get something to you.

God works by multiplying seed. He takes what you sow and multiplies it so that you reap thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold more than you sowed. His kingdom operates by the law of sowing and reaping. So, God wants you to give from your wealth and from the first of all your produce so that he can fill your barns, so that you will have all you need and then some. Bless the Lord and allow Him to multiply your gift back to you thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold.

Earth Management 101

Psalm 89: 34

My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

One of the questions, or comments which plagues us as Christians is, “Why did God let this happen?” People become dismayed over the misfortune in their lives and question why a kind and loving God would allow such devastation. It is a fair question and we need to have an answer. We tell people that God loves them and that He is all powerful so why does that not equate to His taking care of all the problems in the earth? The answer is that God will not go back on His word.

He gave the earth to us and He gave us both the authority and the responsibility to care for it and all its inhabitants, even the animals. We have done a pretty poor job of it. We have not managed our resources well but even more importantly, we are letting the devil and his minions run amuck here. We should take the authority God gave us, the victory Jesus won for us and the power of the Holy Spirit and lasso that dude and bind him forever. He has no real power of his own, only that which he robs from us.

This is a hard answer even though it is the truth. So often I find the problem staring back at me in the mirror in the morning. It is much nicer to blame someone else, anyone else. God isn’t going to rush down here and jump on the evening news to defend Himself. He is awaiting His agents to do that.

Each of us need to come to a fuller understanding of our power and authority in the Earth and then we need to act on it. As long as we sit in our easy chairs, Satan is going to keep making life as difficult for people as he can. We can make a difference in people’s lives once we know what we are able to do. God didn’t give us this earth so that we could go to church on Sunday, sing some nice songs and be done. He expects us to run it and care for it. We can learn to pray over people’s lives with the authority Father God gave us. And we should, because God is not going to violate His word to us. He will not break His covenant. You are a mighty warrior in Christ and an anointed care taker. You have power and authority from God Almighty. Now, go save the world.

Reasoned Idiocy

Ecclesiastes 7: 24 – 25

Whatever it may be, it is far off and very profound—who can fathom it? So I turned my heart to understand, to search and seek out wisdom and an explanation of things and to know the stupidity of wickedness and madness of folly.

I recently wrote a criticism on how Christians, perhaps especially clergy, seek to understand the things of God. Including myself, we often attempt to reason out God and His ways. We vainly try to comprehend spiritual matters through an application of our intellect. The bottom line may be this, we are just not that smart. We worship our great intellect, but it really is nothing when we probe the deep things of God. It’s like asking a gnat to understand our thoughts. They are just without capacity. I continue to watch us, though, attempt to reason out the great mysteries. It makes us look even more foolish and again the thought runs through my mind, “We just aren’t that smart,” and it seems the evidence is in our vanity.

See what this verse says in contrast. In order to understand the profound, we must turn our “hearts” to understand. Boy, that sounds soft, doesn’t it? I always hated that ooey gooey stuff at church, which might explain why I floundered so long at the pool of rationality and why I enjoyed philosophy and logic in college. Now, I have traveled this great distance just to find that all the answers were in the one who lives in my heart if I should be so bold and daring to search my heart.

I am not alone. Our entire culture has raised reasoning above God. If a thing cannot be understood through our intellectual prowess, then it lacks genuine credibility. Want proof of how we have enthroned intellect above seeking God with our heart? Here is this same verse from the NASB version, my preferred version, “I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation.” It’s not until you go to the footnotes that you discover that the editors couldn’t swallow the word “heart” so they replaced it with “mind.” How do you like that?

We will never find truth by seeking it with our minds. That is just the reality, like it or not. I wish spirituality and divine truth were a function of reasoning, but they are not, and really, it is for the best because, once again, “we just aren’t that smart,” we think we are but, that is fallacy on top of fantasy.

All of the great mysteries of the world and beyond are yours to know. God has saved up all His knowledge and wisdom for us. We must go down into our hearts and seek Him and His wisdom. He is more than willing to reveal His truths to us, but we must first connect with Him, and He does not live in our brains. To get to the “heart” of a matter, you must search with your heart. All truth lies within reach if we will learn to seek our Father humbly and diligently with our hearts. It’s all there for you if you can get out of your head.

Mercy Seat

Romans 3: 25                    God’s Word

God showed that Christ is the throne of mercy where God’s approval is given through faith in Christ’s blood. In his patience God waited to deal with sins committed in the past.

This is another Bible translation I wish to introduce to you. Actually, I have been using it for sometime now. You may have noticed (GW) beside some verses in the last couple of years. I still use my New American Standard as my everyday foundation but reading verses in other versions can give you the slightest nuance that makes the whole scripture go off in you.

Are you familiar with the Mercy Seat from the Old Testament? Okay, so God had the Ark of the Covenant made. It’s cover, or top, is called the Mercy Seat (See WOTD “Plan for Mercy” at this link: https://iveyministries.org/2014/03/gods-plan-for-mercy/). So God created a seat of mercy. Amen and glory to God. The angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament capped off His presence with mercy. Are you getting this? God was never who we have painted Him to be. He was always love (1 John 4: 8). Alright, let’s see where that leads us.

People twist themselves in knots trying to figure out when they are saved from their sins. If I sin right now, am I forgiven? Am I clean? Or do I need to ask God to forgive me? The answer is “God is love.” You were forgiven before you were born. God knew what He was getting when you answered His call. He knew the mistakes, and yes sins, you were going to make before your parents were born. At the dawn of time, when the earth was just being formed God knew you were going to blow it from time to time and so He made a plan for your deliverance.

Did you see this sentence, “In his patience God waited to deal with sins committed in the past”? What does this mean? Sin has been happening since humankind set foot on the earth. The Father developed the plan to send Jesus into the earth to be the propitiation for all sin. Actually, it is bigger than that. He didn’t just atone for sin, he blew it from the face of the earth and from the Father’s memory. So, Father God, knowing He had this plan in place, waived the punishment for sin until the time He could get the perfect lamb here to take on that sin. Then He, God, put the entire sin of the world on that precious lamb. That is to say, He put all of the sin from the past, before Jesus came, all the sin of the present and all of the sin of the future on Jesus. So Abraham and Sarah were cleansed in that moment, the same as Peter and John, and you and I. God withheld His judgement until He could give us all a judgment of “Forgiven”! Amen? Will somebody shout?

Yes, you have been judged already. Hallelujah! You have been judged clean and holy because Jesus’ blood has you covered. God employed great patience for thousands of years until He could get the Messiah into the earth at the opportune time. Then He released His revulsion of sin on that sacrificial lamb. Now judgment has been satisfied. Now we can walk with our heads up into the throne room of God, because we wear Jesus as an outer garment and are filled up with him. There is still not much to recommend us to the throne room of God in ourselves but Jesus has made you perfect in God’s eyes. Glory to God! Thanks for the patience! Jesus has become our Mercy Seat and we praise God for this miracle of faith.

TV Bomb

Joshua 1: 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.

Joshua was about to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel from Moses. How would you like to follow in those footsteps? Yahweh God went to Joshua. This is the advice the Father gave him. If you were about to take over the leadership of an entire nation of people, the nation of God’s people, wouldn’t you expect the advice God gives will be the most critical piece of advice available. Perspective on the situation Joshua found himself in when God gave him this instruction gives great insight into its importance.

Should we expect God’s guidance to us to be any different? Of all the things God could tell us, this is the one bit of wisdom He chooses for us. Keep this Word in your mouth; meditate on it day and night. Well, one would easily conclude that to keep the Word on our lips constantly, we will have to read it and meditate on it continually. How else will we know enough of it? We have major impediments in modern life, though. Joshua didn’t have television or the internet. He didn’t have a video console or an electronic tablet. He didn’t run his kids to soccer practice or any of the many other distractions we have.

We are busy people, over busy really. Somehow we have to learn to control the chaos so that we do as Mary, Martha’s sister did, put first things first. If we don’t have time for prayer, mediation and time in the Word, then we are too busy. Most of us, I find, have time for TV and few of us miss many meals. If I had a red button that, when pressed, would blow up every television, I bet many of us would find more time for contemplation and our Bibles. There are just too many things demanding our attention and who doesn’t enjoy sitting in front of the TV to relax? Perhaps we could have our time with our beloved and then turn on the TV. I know that I am much more productive if I don’t turn it on. Once on, it is hard to pick up my book and read or to pray.

God gave Joshua the secret to success and prosperity. In truth, He has revealed this key to us as well. What do we have to do in order to find the time necessary to engage this all important principle? Each of us must decide for ourselves but I would suggest we each have that button which will disable the television, at least for a while. Push the button. Go ahead. You will find some time you didn’t have before. Here’s to your success and prosperity.