Friday Funnies

A family of hillbillys were staying in a high-rise hotel for the first time. There was a big brass elevator right off of the lobby. The mother and daughter stared at it in amazement, wondering what it was. After staring at it in awe for a few minutes the girl looked up at her mom, “Ma, what do you reckon that there thing is?” she asked.”I don’t rightly know, girl,” the mother replied.

Just then an old, frumpy man in a robe with messy hair walks up, steps in the elevator and the doors shut behind him. After a few seconds the doors opened again and a handsome, muscular young man in tight work-out clothes walks out.

The mother leans over to her daughter and says, “Girl, go and get your Pa!”

* * *

A lady lost her purse while shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. She looked in the purse and discovered that something was different. “That’s odd,” she commented. When I lost my bag there was a $100 bill in it. Now there are 100 $1 bills.”

The boy quickly replied, “That’s right, ma’am. The last time I found a lady’s purse she didn’t have any change for a reward.”

* * *

A lady had just totaled her car in a horrific accident. Miraculously, she managed to pry herself from the wreckage without a scratch. When the state trooper arrived he was astonished that she had survived.

“My goodness!” the trooper gasped. “Your car looks like an accordion that was stomped on by an elephant. Are you okay, ma’am?”

“Why, yes, officer, I’m just fine.”

“Well, how in the world did this happen?”, he asked as he surveyed the wrecked car.

“Officer, it was the strangest thing! I was driving along this road when I started to doze off. When I woke up this tree from out of nowhere pops up in front of me. So I swerved to the right, and there was another tree! I swerved to the left and there was another tree! I swerved to the right and there was another tree! I swerved to the left and there was….”

“Uh, ma’am,” the officer said, “There isn’t a tree on this road for 30 miles. That was your air freshener swinging back and forth on your rear view mirror.”

Bible Study

THE LEADER MEETS THE LORD Joshua 5:13-15

Many in our day do not remember the name of the fame of Sergeant Alvin C. York York was the most famous soldier of World War I. Many people do not know that Alvin York single-handedly captured 132 German soldiers one day in France. York was the recipient of many great honors from several nations for his bravery in combat.

However, Alvin C. York was a most unlikely man to become a legendary hero. York felt that his Christian faith barred him from killing anyone, even in war. After being drafted, York made it known that he was a conscientious objector; that he would not be able to kill other men. He was sent home on a ten-day leave to think about his situation and to consider the scriptures a Christian captain had shared with him. York was promised that he would be dismissed from the Army if he still felt the same way when he returned.

Finally in a crisis of faith, God showed York that he could obey God and defend the helpless in Europe at the same time. He wrote, “As I prayed there alone… I knew that He was there. He understood I didn’t want to be a fighter or a killing man… He took pity on me and gave me the assurance I needed… It was His will and that was enough for me.” Sgt. York had to win the war in his mind before he could win the battles that lay ahead of him in the trenches of France.  Alvin York had to yield to the Lordship of God in his life before he would ever become a great war hero. The same truth is seen in this passage. Israel is about to attack the city of Jericho. Before that battle, the leader of Israel, Joshua, goes out to inspect the site of the coming battle. On that important day, Joshua came face to face with the real leader of Israel. He had an encounter with One Who was far more powerful than he was.

  That day, outside the walled city of Jericho, the leader meets the Lord. When he did, Joshua was humbled, but he was also prepared for the battle that lay ahead. It may be that the Lord will use this passage to speak to our hearts. It may be that He will remind us Who is in control of the situations we face in life. It may be that we will come to realize that no one is qualified to lead who has not first learned to serve. It may be that He will remind us of the necessity of humbling ourselves at His feet. If we would enjoy real spiritual victory in our lives, we must come to understand Who really fights our battle. 

 I.  V. 13  THE IMAGE OF A SHEPHERD

As these verses open, we find Joshua, the leader of the people of Israel, all alone outside the walls of Jericho. I think it would be to our benefit to consider just what Joshua is doing out there all by himself.

A.  The Shepherd’s Burden – Joshua was the leader of the people. God Himself had chosen him for that position. When the Lord called Joshua to lead Israel, the Lord gave Joshua some very precious promises. In Joshua 1:5, the Lord said the following to Joshua, “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

  It was on the basis of this great promise that Joshua had assumed the leadership role in Israel. Now, he has led them over Jordan. He has led them in obedience to the Law of the Lord. He has led them in observing the Passover. He has led them to the place where they are ready to begin their battle for the land of Canaan.

  On the eve of the battle, Joshua goes out to look at the city they are about to attack: the great walled city of Jericho. There can be little doubt the reason he is out there, partially to consider the defenses of the city and to formulate a plan of attack.

Joshua is the leader of a couple of million men, women and children. Every decision he makes will affect the people under his leadership in profound ways. Some will die, others will be injured, families will be torn apart, and lives will be altered based on the decisions Joshua makes. Before those decisions are made, Joshua goes out alone, under the weight of the burden of his office, to seek counsel from the Lord.

In verse 13, the text says, “…he lifted up his eyes, and looked.” This seems to imply that Joshua has his head bowed and his eyes closed in prayer. It seems to me that this man recognizes the terrible burden that rests on his shoulders, and that he is seeking the Lord’s help to make the right decisions for himself and for the Lord’s people.

Anyone who has ever filled a position of leadership knows, to some degree, how Joshua must have felt. The decisions you make in your life will affect the lives of those in your circle of friends and family. 

Leadership always comes with great responsibility. There is the responsibility to seek the will of the Lord in every matter you face. There is the responsibility to make decisions that honor God above feelings. There is the responsibility to do everything with the understanding that every decision is like tossing a pebble into a pond. There are ripples from every decision you make. When a Christian fails, a testimony fails.

  Sometimes people will understand your motives; other times they will not. At the end of the day, it does not matter what people think; all that matters is what the Lord thinks. Because we will face Him, and not them, with the decisions we make in life. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God,” Rom. 14:12.

Consider the following passages.

·      1 Cor. 4:1 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

·      2 Cor. 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

B.  The Shepherd’s Bravery – As Joshua meditates and contemplates the upcoming battle, he sees an unidentified man standing nearby with his sward drawn. This is the posture of battle. It is the picture of a man who is ready for a fight. Joshua does not hesitate, but he approaches the man and demands to know which side the man is on. Is he on the side of Jericho? Or, is he on the side of Israel?  When Joshua first sees this man, he identifies his as a possible threat to Israel. His instincts as a shepherd are aroused and steps up to the defense of his people. Joshua is burdened by the weight of leadership, but he is also consumed with the protection of those under his care.

That same characteristic marks true leaders, regardless of the area of their leadership. The husband who will not defend this wife, or the father who will not defend his children is not much of a man. The mother who will not defend her children is not much of a woman.

  We are living a time when the church, our doctrines, our Bible, our worship, and all the other things that identify us as the Lord’s people, are under attack. We are living in days when the family, the institution of marriage, and our children are under assault. We need men and women who are not afraid to stand up and fight for the things that matter. We need people who are not ashamed to take a stand against the rising tide of evil and ungodliness. We need people who will stand for the Lord to protect their church, their family and their community from all those who wish to destroy it.

God’s command to His people is this: Eph. 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand,” 

Some things in this life are worth fighting for! The church is worth fighting for. The truth is worth fighting for! Integrity and obedience to the will of God are worth fighting for! Marriage, the family, and our children are worth fighting for! If this present generation does not grow a backbone and learn to take a stand against the encroachment of evil, we will have very little to pass on to the next generation. It’s time for God’s people to take a stand!

 1Peter 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you,”

I.  The Image Of A Shepherd

II.  V. 13-14  THE IMAGE OF SOVEREIGNTY

While there is an image of a shepherd in this passage, there is also the image of Sovereign Lord. This text reveals the problems, perils and pitfalls of leadership, but it also draws our attention to the idea of lordship. Even though Joshua was the leader of the people, he himself was under the lordship of God Almighty.

These verses identify and clarify the person and the power of the One Joshua encountered outside Jericho that day.

A.  The Lord’s Posture – When Joshua encounters this man, He is said to be standing, “with His sword drawn in His hand.” It is the picture of a Person ready for battle. This is not the image of some passive observer of events. This is the image of Someone Who is ready to make something happen. It is the image of man Who has come ready for a fight. It is the image of someone Who is ready to take on the enemy.

I would just remind you today that God does not react to events that take place in our human world. He is not sitting in Heaven waiting to see what we will do first, so that He can decide how to respond. No, He is in control of both the actions and the reactions. He already knows what we are going to do, and He has already made His plans accordingly.

·      Isa. 46:9-11 – “9Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” 

·      Eph. 1:11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

·      Psa 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

·      Dan 4:3, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

These verses, and others, make it clear that our God is in control of all the affairs of life. He is always ready, in every situation, because He has decreed all events that come to pass. That is why He is never surprised by life. We are often surprised by the various turns in the road of life. God is never caught off guard. He never has to resort to “Plan B.” He never has to alter His will. He is never left at a loss as to what to do, because He is God and He is ever in control of all things!

B.  The Lord’s Position – When Joshua encounters this man, Joshua does not know who he is, so he asks Him. Joshua asks, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” The man’s answer must have taken Joshua by surprise. The man says, “Nay; but as the captain of the Lord’s host am I now come.” In other words, the man answers Joshua by saying, “I did not come to take sides in this battle; I came to take over.”

His answer tells us exactly Who this Man is. It is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is a pre-Bethlehem appearance of the Lord. This is not the first time He appeared in this world, and this will not be the last time He appears either.

·      He appeared to Hagar, Gen. 16:7-14; Gen. 21:16-20

·      He appeared to Abraham, Gen.18:10

·      He appeared to Jacob, Gen. 28:12-15; Gen. 32:24-30

·      He appeared to Moses, Exod. 3:4-5; Exod. 23:20; Exod. 33:22

·      He appeared to Gideon, Judg. 6:11-24

·      He appeared to Isaiah, Isa. 6:1-13

·      He appeared to three young Hebrews in the fiery furnace, Dan. 3:24-25

·      He appeared to Daniel, Dan. 6:21-22; Dan. 7:13-14; Dan. 10:5-6

·      He appeared to the prophet Zechariah, Zech. 1:8-13; 2:8-11; 3:10; 6:12-15

It must have encouraged Joshua to realize that he was not alone. There is a certain loneliness in leadership that can be discouraging and depressing when you consider how much impact your decisions have on others. Harry Truman once said, “To be President of the United States is to be lonely, very lonely at times of great decisions.” Surely Joshua felt that same sense of being alone. What a comfort it must have been to him to know that God, Who had promised to be with Joshua, Josh. 1:5, 9, had kept that promise! Joshua was not alone; the Lord was with Him!

By the way, that is a promise He intends to keep to you too. He has promised you that He will ever be with you as you face the ups and downs of your life, Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5. The same Lord Who stepped out of eternity to move in the lives of His people in the past, is the same God Who intends to do the same thing for you. You are not alone; the Lord is with you!

C.  The Lord’s Power – The Lord identifies Himself as “the captain of the host of the Lord.” That is, Joshua could not see, but there was a vast army of heavenly warriors camped about him, ready to take on the people of Canaan. The implication is clear: Israel would not face their enemies alone; they would face them aided by the armies of Heaven. Joshua now receives the assurance that the Lord is about to this battle and that victory is assured.

There is a spiritual realm around us that we cannot see. In that hidden spiritual dimension, there are angels and there are demons. Those spiritual beings are continually waging war in the battle of good against evil. That invisible host aided Elisha, 2 Kings 6:14-17. That invisible host struck fear into the hearts of the Assyrian army, 2 Kings 7:5-7. That invisible host protected the city of Jerusalem and destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night, 2 Kings 19:35.

The same power that came to the aid of Israel in Jericho, and the same power that came to the aid of Israel time and again, is the same power that surrounds you today. Our Lord is still the Captain of the Lord’s host and He still fights battles on behalf of His people.

All these truths serve to remind us that our God is a sovereign God. That simply means that He is in control of all things, of all people, at all times. He is the Lord both time and eternity. He is in charge and he can be trusted to take care of you!

  I.  The Image Of A Shepherd

 II.  The Image Of  Sovereignty

III.  V. 14-15  THE IMAGE OF A SERVANT

When Joshua realizes just Who is standing before him, he assumes the place of a servant before the Lord. Joshua’s attitude toward the Lord has much to teach us about how we should approach the Lord as well.

A.  The Servant’s Humility – Joshua realizes that he is face to face with the Lord Himself, and he falls down before the Lord to “worship” Him. Joshua exalts the Lord and acknowledges His position by bowing at His feet. This is an indication that Joshua is submitting to the will of the Lord and that he knows Who is in control. Then, Joshua wants to now what the Lord would have him to do. He is yielding his role as leader to the Lord. He is assuming the place of a servant before a Master. In an instant, General Joshua falls before the Commander-in-chief and yields all authority and power to Him. A crucial step on the road to victory is learning to relinquish leadership to the will of the Lord! The leader had to bow to true leadership. The one who commanded the people had to held to the One Who commanded Him!

You see, before you can have the victory, you must be vanquished. Before you can conquer, you must first be conquered! Many today need to do just what Joshua did right here. Many need to lay down their swords at the feet of the Captain of the Lord’s host; surrender their pride and yield to His authority!

That is the Lord’s will for all His children.

·      1 Pet. 5:5b-7, “5b…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

·      Matt. 23:11-12, “11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

We are all under authority. Ultimately, we are all under the authority of the Lord. He is our Commander, and His will is what matters most of all. Whether we are leaders or followers, we are all the servants of the Lord. We must all find ourselves at His feet, humbly submitting ourselves to His will. Whatever that will may be!

B.  The Servant’s Honesty – The Lord makes a strange demand of Joshua in verse 15. Joshua is commanded to “Loose thy show from off thy foot.” Why did the Lord just ask for one shoe? The answer lies in ancient custom. When a covenant was made between two individuals, in which one person possessed power to keep the covenant and the other didn’t, the weaker individual handed the other individual one of his shoes. It was his way of saying, “I can’t, but you can.” This is seen in the book of Ruth 4:6-8.

For Joshua, this was a challenge for him to come to the place where he could admit his own weakness and inability to gain the victory. It was a call for him to surrender to the Lord. 

For us, we need to learn the truth that we can’t, but He can! There are some people here and you have been trying to fight your battles in your own power. You keep getting whipped. You need to draw off your shoe, hand it to God and say, “Lord, I can’t fight these battles, but you can! I can’t win the victories I need in my life, but you can!” What I am saying is that we need to come to the place of absolute surrender! To that place where we and all we have are at the feet of God. To the place where we are willing to say, once for all, “I can’t Lord, but You can!”

This is a very unusual situation! Joshua is a warrior, right? When he bowed before the Lord, he placed himself in a vulnerable position. He exposed his neck. He placed himself in a position where he could not use his own sword. He placed himself in a position of extreme weakness. He was totally yielded to the Lord! Live or die, he placed his all in the hand of the Lord.

Have you ever come to that place in your own life? Have you ever come to the place where you placed yourself and your sword on the ground before the Lord and surrendered fully to His will for your life? If not, you will have to do just that if you will ever enjoy absolute victory over all the strongholds and enemies in your life.

The sooner we reach the place where we understand that we lack any power to accomplish anything, the sooner we will be to rely on the power of God in our lives. The sooner we learn the truth of John 15:5, which says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” the sooner we can lay down our sword and humble ourselves at His feet.

As long as you demand your rights, your will and your way, you will have problems. When you yield to His rights, His power, and His will, you are on the fast track to victory!

Who is Lord in your life? Are you totally yielded to the Lord, or do you really call the shots? Who is your master? You or Him? If it is you, prepare for a life of pain, sorrow and suffering. If it is Him, there will still be battles, but you will be firmly on the road to victory!

Conc: Romans 12:1-2 sums up the gist of what I am trying to say about yielding to the Lord. It says, “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Wade’s Wednesday

For the Sake of Christ

By Ricky Smith

Values should drive our actions. Because of my walk with Christ, I have always prioritized gathering for worship with fellow believers. While in college, I actually was fired for a job because I refused to work on Sunday. I was not willing to compromise this value because it was rooted in my faith, and if the consequence was a loss of job, then that was a consequence that I was willing to endure. While not to the extreme of my life being threatened, this was a personal experience of persecution.

Pexels Craig Lloyd 3993513

I’ve never had a gun held to my head and been threatened to die or denounce God. Have you? Many have truly had their life threatened because of their faith in Jesus. I pray for my brothers and sisters who daily face threats of death and celebrate their courage to shine brightly for Christ. Furthermore, there is a strong likelihood that in my lifetime, there will be a day in America where I will face that level of threat in my life. If so, I have already resolved in my heart that the cross of Jesus is worth dying for. 

The badge of honor worth dying for is not a matter of my personal preferences or political persuasions. Matthew 5:10-12 encourages a fortunate blessing for those who are persecuted for the sake of Christ. It is the righteousness of Christ that must be defended. It is the righteousness of Christ that must be on display in our life, and others will take notice.

1 Corinthians 1:18 reminds us that the Good News of Christ is foolishness to those who have rejected this glorious hope. When you display the glory of God in your life, you will experience rejection. Take joy in that trial. As you mature in your perseverance, you continue to display the hope of Christ for the world to see. We join in prayer that they will see our good actions and we will deflect them to see our Father in Heaven. Whether we live or die, it is for His glory!

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

When Your Heart Needs A Hug

When your heart needs a hug, His arms are open wide,
Extended to you always with love and care inside;
All you need to do is come to Him in prayer,
He’ll hear every word, for He’s already there.

When your heart needs a hug, speak to the Lord again,
There is nothing sweeter than words from a Faithful Friend;
The Lord says everything we need to hear or know,
He’s the Best Friend we’ll have upon this earth below.

When your heart needs a hug, He’s waiting to give an embrace,
With comfort from His love, & strength from His grace;
He knows what you’re feeling, no matter where you are,
He’ll keep you within the safety of His arms.

When your heart needs a hug, go to the Lord anytime,
He gives the sweetest peace you will ever find;
So when life’s trials & heartaches are more than enough,
The Lord’s arms are waiting to give you a hug!

Fill Your Heart

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Like many people, when I read a newspaper or magazine I notice the misteaks in grammar and spelling. (You saw that, didn’t you!) I’m not trying to find errors; they leap off the page at me! My usual reaction is to criticize the publication and the people who produce it. “Why don’t they use ‘spell check’ or hire a proofreader?”

You may have a similar experience in your area of expertise. It seems that often, the more we know about something, the more judgmental we become over mistakes. It can infect our relationships with people as well.

Yet Philippians 1:9 expresses a different approach. Paul wrote this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. God’s plan is that the more we know and understand, the more we love. Rather than cultivating a critical spirit and pretending we don’t notice or don’t care, our understanding should nourish empathy. Criticism is replaced by compassion.Instead of our being faultfinders, the Lord calls us to be “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (v. 11).

When the Lord fills our hearts, we can overlook mistakes, hold our criticism, and love others, no matter how much we know about them!

 

How are you living?

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I want to point out a phrase that I believe is very dangerous ground for the Church in America today. It is the phrase, Ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness.”

Lewdness literally means unrestrained lust, wickedness, and immorality. These people believed that once you were saved, you could live however you wanted.

There are people in the Church today with this type of thinking. They believe that if you are saved by grace, and good works do not merit salvation, then you can do whatever you want. You can sleep around, commit adultery, get drunk, the sky’s the limit. It’s grace, baby! Your works don’t have anything to do with it. You can live however you want!

One of the things that I have heard throughout the years is, “Hey, it doesn’t matter. It’s grace. God will forgive me, so I’m going to go ahead and do this anyway.”

You do not want to live that way. Believe me, something begins to break down inside of you, and you will pay the piper eventually.

If you are turning the grace of God into lewdness through immorality, or any other sin, I challenge you to stop today. Confess your sin to God, turn from whatever it is that you have been doing, and ask God to help you live for Him. If you do, you will experience the true grace of God, which teaches us that we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

In The Clouds

In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?

There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

“…they were fearful as they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34). Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud? If so, it will only get darker until you get to the place where there is “no one anymore, but only Jesus …” (Mark 9:8; also see Mark 2:7).

Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

Friday Funnies

Housecleaning

An employee went to see his supervisor.

“Boss,” he said, “we’re doing some heavy housecleaning at home tomorrow, and my wife asked me for some help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff.”

“We’re shorthanded,” the boss replied. “I can’t give you the day off.”

“Thank you,” said the employee. “I knew

I could count on you.”

A New Aesop’s Fable

Mr. Rabbit was walking down the road when he spotted a crow at the tip top of a very tall tree. He shouted, “Good morning, Mr. Crow.”

Mr. Crow shouted back down, “Good morning, Mr. Rabbit.”

Mr. Rabbit shouted up, “Whata ya doin’ today?” and the answer shouted back down was, “Absolutely nothin’ Mr. Rabbit! Absolutely nothin’ and loving it.”

Well, that sounded pretty good to Mr. Rabbit. So he shouted back up, “Do you think I could do that too?”

Mr. Crow shouted back down, “I don’t see why not!”

Well, Mr. Rabbit lay down on the side of the road and began doing absolutely nothing. In 30 minutes a fox came along and ate him.

The moral of the story: You can get away with doing absolutely nothing, but only if you’re really high up.

today’sThots

Getting a hair stuck in your mouth has to be a million times more gross when you’re bald.

My doctor said I was paranoid… well, he didn’t actually say it, but I could tell he was thinking it.

To keep paper from folding put it in a folder

If you want to save face, just keep the lower part shut.

Bible Study

ARE YOU READY TO CONQUER YOUR FEARS/CANAAN? Joshua 5:1-13    

Verse 1 tells us that the heathen nations in Canaan saw the powerful manner in which the Lord brought His children through the Jordan and that they were totally demoralized by these events. It would seem that they were absolutely resigned to their fate. It would appear that this would be the perfect time for Joshua to lead the people forward into the attack. However, instead of commanding His people to go forward into the battle, God commands them to remain at Gilgal and to do several things that, on the surface, appear very strange. It even appears that the things they are required to do puts them at risk before their enemies.

While the ways of the Lord may appear strange to you and me, we must remember that the ways of the Lord are not our ways, Isa. 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

You see, God never gets in a hurry! He has the liberty to take His time and do things on His schedule. While the things that happen in this chapter appear strange against the backdrop of impending battle, the truth of the matter is God is simply preparing His army to fight. He has them do some things that may appear odd when preparing for the battle, but may I remind you that God’s people are engaged in battles that go far deeper than the physical realm? In fact, before the battle ever begins in the physical realm, it had already begun in the spiritual realm. God’s battle are spiritual battles. If we expect to fight in these battles and do well, then we must make the right kind of spiritual preparations, 2 Cor. 10:3-5. That is what the Lord is doing right here in the life of His people Israel. It is also what He wants to do in your life and mine today.

You see, we all have battle to fight, and if we expect to overcome and achieve the victory, then we must learn to make the right kind of spiritual preparations.

Israel appeared ready for the battle. They possessed a large army and they faced an enemy that was terrified at their presence. However, God knew that they would never be ready to fight and win the battle until the proper spiritual preparations had been made. That is what this passage is all about. The lessons taught here can help us today.

Let me ask you a question. Are you ready to conquer your Canaan? The answer? Only if you are willing to make the right spiritual preparations. Let’s consider the steps that Israel was commanded to take before they could conquer their Canaan. As we do, ask yourself whether or not these things have been taken care of in your life. Because, until they are, you will never be able to conquer your Canaan. Are you ready to conquer your Canaan?

I. V. 2-7 RENEWING THEIR COVENANT WITH THE LORD

A. The first command the Lord gives to Israel is that all the man are to be circumcised. It would seems that all the  men who came out of Egypt were circumcised according to the demands of the Abrahamic covenant. However, those men who were born during the 40 years of wilderness wandering had not been circumcised. The fact of the matter is this, during the 40 years of their wilderness wandering, the rebellious generation that was dying off were no longer a covenant people. Now, before these men can claim their Canaan, they must be circumcised. This was symbolic they must renew the covenant with the Lord if they wanted His blessings on them and if they wanted to be guaranteed the victory and sign of ethnic belonging and biological lineage.

B. The lesson for us is simply this, just as Israel was required to remove from their bodies a piece of flesh as a sign that they were a part of the covenant, so too, we must remove from our lives anything that stands between us and total surrender to the Lord. The Bible is clear that there are times when you and I must engage in spiritual surgery in our lives. 

2 Cor. 6:17”Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

C. To the Jew, circumcision was a reminder that they were a “marked people.” They were to never forget that they were the servants of the living God and that they were under obligation to obey Him in all things. 

Circumcision was to be the outward reminder of an inward work of faith, Deut. 10:10 “what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes”. 16 “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.”

I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II. V. 8 REAFFIRMING THEIR CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD A.   At this point, Israel is camped in the heart of enemy territory. After they have been circumcised, every male in the nation of Israel is temporarily disabled and is rendered unable to fight. It took great faith for them to submit to the rite of circumcision! They had to be willing to trust the Lord to protect them until they healed. They were literally sitting ducks for the enemy. However, their faith was the secret to their success. These men had learned the valuable lesson that their battles would not be won by military might and by superior battlefield tactics. They knew that if they ever saw victory, it would be because God gave it to them. Their’s would be a victory based wholly in faith. 1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

B.   As we move through this life, we face times of testing just like these men in Israel did. They had just come from a great victory and often, that is the time when pride will rise up in us and we will think that we are unstoppable. When those times come in your life and mine, you can be sure that the Lord will allow us to go through a time of testing. When we do, we must have faith in the Lord! It isn’t enough to be clean spiritually, we must also be walking in faith before the Lord. We need to remember that our God can and will take care of His children.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

1 Timothy 3:6 … “lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

C.  This spiritual truth is taught over and over again in the Word of God. When God’s people aren’t able to take care of themselves, their God is more than able. Note just a few instances where faith in a great God paid amazing dividends.

1. Noah was protected in the Ark while the rest of humanity perished – Gen. 6-9

2. The firstborn of Israel were spared while the Egyptian children died – Ex. 12.

3. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were spared from the fire – Dan. 3.

4. Daniel was spared from the hungry lion – Dan. 6.

5. Elijah was fed by the ravens and the by a poor widow – 1 Kings 17.

6. Paul was given grace for his race – 2 Cor. 12.

The Lord will take care of you during the difficult times of life. He is still God and He is still able to all that you need. His one requirement is that you trust Him. 

I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II. Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord

III. V. 9 REMOVING THEIR CONDEMNATION BY THE LORD

A.  The term “reproach of Egypt” has reference to 2 events during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. The first is found in Ex. 32:1-12 when the Children of Israel made a golden calf and worshiped it as God. The other happened at Kadesh-Barnea when the children of Israel displayed unbelief and refused to enter into the promised land, Num 14:11-14. On both occasions, the Lord threatened to destroy the nation of Israel and start fresh with Moses. And, both times Moses interceded with the Lord and reminded Him that He would give the Egyptians a reason to mock God. They would say that He brought them out of Egypt, but could not bring them to Canaan. However, now they are in the land and God has proven that He is well able to bring His people into their possession. Therefore, He tells them that He had rolled that reproach away! In other words, their past was no longer an issue. It was a new day!

B.   In a sense, many of God’s children are still living under the “reproach of Egypt“. You may be living with the shame of things you did before you came to faith in Christ. You may be ashamed of times when you have failed the Lord since you were saved. Either way, you live under the constant stab of self-condemnation.

C.   Let me remind you that if you have place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, you past is not an issue any longer, Psa. 103:12 ”As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” 

Isa. 38:17 “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” 

Isa. 43:25 “ I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” 

Jer. 50:20 “ In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”   

Micah 7:19 “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” 

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 

The reproach of the old life has been removed forever! You must get past the guilt of those days before you can walk in victory in your Canaan! By the same token, many Christians have failed the Lord in a big manner. As a result, they are defeated and fell like they are second class citizens in the kingdom of God. My friend, if you have confessed your sin and repented of it, then it has been taken care of as far as God is concerned, 1 John 1:9.

God is telling Israel that yesterday is forever gone and they are to walk looking to the victory of today rather than to the defeat of yesterday. If you have made your sin right with God, you might as well put it behind you, because the Lord has certainly put it behind Him! You will never be able to walk in victory until you come to realize that the Lord has forgiven your past.

I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II. Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord

III. Removing Their Condemnation By The Lord

IV. V. 10-12 REMEMBERING THE COMMITMENT OF THE LORD

A.   In these verses, we find Israel once again keeping the feast of the Passover. They first observed it when they were still in Egypt, Ex. 9-14. They also celebrated it at Mount Sinai before they left for Kadesh-Barnea, Num. 9:1-14. However, there is no evidence that they had celebrated the Passover in 40 years. The fact is they couldn’t! The new generation had not been circumcised and this was a requirement for participating in the Passover.

Now, it might help us to remember what the Passover is all about. When the Lord sent the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn, upon Egypt, He told His people to select a lamb, kill it, put its blood on the door posts and lintels of their houses and then cook and eat the lamb. When the Lord passed through Egypt that night, He would see the blood on their doors and would “pass over” those protected homes and the firstborn would live. Israel was commanded at that time, to make this a yearly feast. They were to remember that night when they were passed over by the Lord and spared from the plague of death. They were to remember that it was that night in which the Lord had delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. The Passover was a time for the Jews to remember the deliverance of the Lord!

Now that they are in the promised land, they are to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They are to remember the things God did for them in bringing them out of Egypt and in providing for them along the way.

B.   What a lesson the for redeemed people of the Lord! When we face the battles of life, we must remember some of the great things the Lord has done for us in our pasts. We need to remember when:

1. He called us in love. 2 or.5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us;”

2. He saved us by grace. Rm. 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

3. He forgave our trespasses. Colossias 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

If we take time to remember the way God has proven that He was strong in your life all along the way. It will give you courage to face the next battle. If He was God then, He is still God now!

C.  V. 11-12 Just as Israel needed to remember the Lord’s commitment to them, they also needed to remember their commitment to Him! You see, for 40 years they had eaten manna every day. However, when they ate the fruit of the land of Canaan, the manna ceased. Surely, Israel was glad that the manna was no more. Now, the Passover reminded Israel that God had brought them out of Egypt, but the manna was constant reminded of what they had left behind in Egypt, Ex. 16:3. You see, it was easy for God to bring His people out of Egypt, but it was hard for God to get Egypt out of His people.

Far too many Christians are just like the Israelites. That is, they have an appetite for the things of the world just like Israel did for the things of Egypt. God help us to develop a hunger for the harvest of our inheritance. God didn’t save us to satisfy our hunger with the things of the world. He saved us so that we might learn to enjoy Him and feed off the things He would give us. Let us not look back to the world or to the wilderness to try and find something to satisfy our hungers. Rather, let us learn to feed on the things of the Lord. He will feed us in the place of victory if we will look to His had. We do not need to scrounge around for scraps! We are children of the King! We can feed on the best if we are willing to allow the Lord to lead us and feed us.

I.   Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II.  Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord

III. Removing Their Condemnation By The Lord

IV. Remembering the Commitment of the Lord

V. 13-15 RECOGNIZING THE CONTROL OF THE LORD

A. The final step in getting ready to conquer your Canaan in learning Who is in control. One day, as Joshua was looking over the city of Jericho, he saw a man standing with a drawn sword. Joshua boldly asked the man to identify himself and to state which side he was on! When the man responded, He said that He was the Captain of the Lord’s Host. He told Joshua that He did not come to take sides, but to take over! That is, He was in control of the Lord’s armies in Heaven and in the earth. He told Joshua that He was in charge. General Joshua had just met the Commander in Chief! Joshua’s response is to fall down before Him and to worship Him. This is an indication that Joshua is submitting to the will of the Lord and that he knows Who is in control. You see, before you can have the victory, you must be vanquished. Before you can conquer, you must first be conquered! We must do what Joshua did right here. That is, we must lay down our swords at the feet of the Captain of the Lord’s host.

B.  This is a lesson that many of the Lord’s children have yet to learn. May I remind you that a crucial step on the road to victory is learning to relinquish leadership to the will of the Lord! He is Lord and we are His servants. Therefore, what He says must be followed to the letter.

C. That having been said, let us not miss the great blessing that in contained here. Joshua is under a great deal of pressure. He is trying to lead an army in the successful conquest of a powerful enemy. More than anything, he needs to know that the promises God gave him when He called him are real, Josh. 1:5. Here, Joshua is experiencing the reality of those promises. God is telling Joshua that he does not have to fight the battles alone. He is even telling Joshua that the battles are not his responsibility. The Lord is the Captain of the Army of God and He is present to direct the battle and to give the victory!

We must remember that the same is still true as you and I are called upon to face the battles of life? Just as David told Goliath, “the battle is the Lord’s”, 1 Sam. 17:47, so it still is! Child of God, He has promised to be with you, to support you and to lead you to victory. The key to seeing these promises fulfilled in your life is to do what Joshua did. Get on your face before the Lord, seek the Lord’s will for the battle and let Him lead you to victory.

Wade’s Wednesday

If You’re Not Loving Life

By Steve Goodier

An efficiency expert once concluded her lecture with the comment, “Please don’t try these techniques at home.”

“Why not?” she was asked.

“I used to watch my husband prepare breakfast and wondered why he made so many trips to the table carrying only one item at a time,” she replied. “One day I asked him, ‘Wouldn’t it be quicker and more efficient if you organized yourself to carry several things to the table at the same time?’”

“Did it work?” she was asked.

“Oh, yes, it worked,” the expert replied. “It used to take my husband twenty minutes to prepare breakfast. Now I do it in seven.

Not all advice is readily received. And sometimes it is not heard the way it was intended. But neither should all advice be followed; rather, wisdom learns to separate kernels of truth from weeds.

Some advice worthy of consideration, though, comes from multi-billionaire Warren Buffett. These are some of his rules to live by.

1. Pay off your credit cards every month.

2. Put integrity first in your life.

3. Be smart about whose habits you decide to copy.

4. Don’t do something just for the money. Happiness comes from loving the work.

I have a friend who believes in trying to do what you love. He says, “Seven years ago I decided to do what I loved most—loving people. Since that time my cup has slowly been filled and is now flowing over the brim with love.

Simultaneously, while seeking humility and significance, I lost pride and prominence. During those seven years I have had several mottoes. Probably the most significant one is: If you are not loving life, you are not living love.”

There’s a motto worth keeping. If you are not loving life, you are not living love.

I may never be a multi-billionaire like Warren Buffett. But if I get better at living love, I may just be about the richest person around. —Steve Goodier