Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, 2015

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:" Psalm 37:3-5

Everyone wants to know how to get God to give them the desires of their heart. Delight in the LORD seems easy enough! So, how does one delight in the LORD? There have been many fanciful interpretations of what it means to delight yourself in the LORD, but only one revelation of what this means is found in the Scriptures.

"Delight" here in Psalm 37:4 is the Hebrew word "oneg", which means "to treat as a delicacy." There are very few places in the Scriptures were the word "oneg" is used. Yet, because it is a rarity, it will help us solve a mystery. There is one place, and only one, where it tells us exactly how to delight in the LORD, even using the word "oneg".

This word used in the combination and context as it is here has the connotation of worship, which brings us to our second idea of how to desire God. We should WANT Him more that we want anything else on the planet. In the words of the Psalmist, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"

A second way He tells us we should desire Him is through WORSHIP. What does that mean?

Our word "worship" comes from to old English words "worth - ship" and literally means "giving worth" to God. What gives worth to God? Your devotion and desire! So, if you want to keep your desire above temptation make God the object of your chief desire. Honor Him with your emotion and your will.

Worship is so much more than what you often think. When you think about worship you may think about several songs an offering and a sermon. If worship is only a one hour per week deal with you, you will not give God the worth He desires - and deserves. Worship is a 24/7 and a 365 proposition. Worship is absolute devotion to God. As the Apostle Paul, one of the most devoted Christ-followers of all time, wrote: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."

If you want to strengthen yourself against temptation aim your desire - your wants and your will - at God. In other words, worship Him. Not just for an hour on Sunday, but live a life-style of worship. Live in His Word daily, that's worship. Walk in His ways daily, that's worship. Love your spouse and your children, that's worship. Give eight hours work for eight hours wages, that's worship. Whatever you do you do it as unto the Lord - that's worship. That is what He desires and therefore, what you must desire.

This is what the Psalmist meant when he said, "Delight yourself in the Lord". Will you take delight in Him today? Will you aim your want and your will at Him? How will you do that today?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29, 2015

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all you mind.” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10 25-28

This is such a familiar portion of Scripture it’s easy to read over it when you read it. We can’t let that happen.

There are two big themes here: life that is eternal and love that is supernatural. You really can’t have one without the other.

Since this lawyer asked, Jesus told Him!

Boy did He!

You MUST love God with ALL your heart! Half-hearted love won’t work.

Do you love God like that?

You MUST love God with ALL your soul! Nothing less than your total essence will suffice.

Is that how you love God?

You MUST love God with ALL your strength! Wimpy love doesn’t get it done.

Did you ever get a muscle strain from loving God?

You MUST love God with ALL your mind! Distracted love, double-minded love doesn’t cut it.

Do you love God with a single-minded love?

According to Jesus if you love like that you will live!


Seriously, who loves like that?

God does! God loves you like that!

This is where it gets good!

Jesus is not only telling you to how you should love, He is communicating how you are loved – by Him!

And the reason you can love God like this is because God’s love is available to you! The call to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind is actually the call to receive His love in your heart and in your soul and with your strength and with your mind!

When you fully receive His eternal love you also receive His everlasting life!

“Do this and you will live!”

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 28, 2015

"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'What is written in the Law?' He replied. 'How do you read it?" 'He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all you mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" 'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied, 'Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jess, "And who is my brother?" Luke 10:25-29
If you were in a room with Jesus would you try to show Him up?
This guy did!
Why would anyone do that?
The Scripture says, "he stood up to test Jesus". In other words, this "expert in the law" was checking to see if Jesus really knew what He was talking about.

Well, that's a bit arrogant isn't it?
This "expert" knew the answer to the question he asked of Jesus, so it wasn't likely he was asking for information. Jesus knew that so He turned the question back on him to expose his arrogance.
You may have read this story before and found yourself annoyed with this "know it all" lawyer. But guess what, you've done the same thing! So have I!
How so?
You question Jesus every time you doubt or ignore or rationalize the clear Word of God and choose to do what you want to do instead. Just like the "expert" you knew what the right answer was so when you chose your will over God's will you were saying, "What I know is better than what you know!"
Ugh! That's ugly!
That is the very nature of sin! Sin is willfully disobeying the known will of God.
But it gets worse!
After this "expert" got exposed in his arrogance and impudence, rather than humbly apologize, he tried to justify himself! He doubled-down with another question even though he had no intention of answering this question either!
Oh, no!
Oh, yes! And you have done the same thing! So have I!
Whenever you willfully disobey God and then fail to repent you are trying to justify yourself!
Jesus is the only One who can justify us but only if we cease our efforts to justify ourselves and repent of all sin, disobedience and self-righteousness! 
That is one test He welcomes!
You will find the answer you are looking for!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 27, 2015

Here is a powerful testimony I came across yesterday and wanted to share it with you. It is powerful in its raw honesty and its presentation of Biblical truth and grace.

The Dead End of Sexual Sin

Unbelievers don’t “struggle” with same-sex attraction. I didn’t. My love for women came with nary a struggle at all.

I had not always been a lesbian, but in my late 20s I met my first lesbian-lover. I was hooked and believed that I had found my real self. Sex with women was part of my life and identity, but it was not the only part—and not always the biggest part.

I simply preferred everything about women: their company, their conversation, their companionship and the contours of their/our body. I favored the nesting, the setting up of house and home, and the building of lesbian community.

As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and an opponent of all totalizing metanarratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.

Conversion and Confusion

It was only after I met my risen Lord that I ever felt shame in my sin, with my sexual attractions and with my sexual history.

Conversion brought with it a train wreck of contradictory feelings, ranging from liberty to shame. Conversion also left me confused. While it was clear that God forbade sex outside of biblical marriage, it was not clear to me what I should do with the complex matrix of desires and attractions, sensibilities and senses of self, that churned within and still defined me.

What is the sin of sexual transgression? The sex? The identity? How deep was repentance to go?

Meeting John Owen

In these newfound struggles, a friend recommended that I read an old, 17th-century theologian named John Owen, in a trio of his books (now brought together under the title Overcoming Sin and Temptation).

At first, I was offended to realize that what I called “who I am,” John Owen called “indwelling sin.” But I hung in there with him. Owen taught me that sin in the life of a believer manifests itself in three ways: distortion by original sin, distraction of actual day-to-day sin, and discouragement by the daily residence of indwelling sin.

Eventually, the concept of indwelling sin provided a window to see how God intended to replace my shame with hope. Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is—and what to do about it.

As believers, we lament with the apostle Paul, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:19–20). But after we lament, what should we do? How should we think about sin that has become a daily part of our identity?

Owen explained with four responses.

1. Starve It

Indwelling sin is a parasite, and it eats what you do. God’s word is poison to sin when embraced by a heart made new by the Holy Spirit. You starve indwelling sin by feeding yourself deeply on his word. Sin cannot abide in his word. So, fill your hearts and minds with Scripture.
One way that I do that is singing the Psalms. Psalm-singing, for me, is a powerful devotional practice as it helps me to melt my will into God’s and memorize his word in the process. We starve our indwelling sin by reading Scripture comprehensively, in big chunks and by whole books at a time. This allows us to see God’s providence at work in big-picture ways.

2. Call Sin What It Is

Now that it is in the house, don’t buy it a collar and a leash and give it a sweet name. Don’t “admit” sin as a harmless (but unhousebroken) pet. Instead, confess it as an evil offense and put it out! Even if you love it! You can’t domesticate sin by welcoming it into your home.

Don’t make a false peace. Don’t make excuses. Don’t get sentimental about sin. Don’t play the victim. Don’t live by excuse-righteousness. If you bring the baby tiger into your house and name it Fluffy, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and Fluffy is eating you alive. That is how sin works, and Fluffy knows her job. Sometimes sin lurks and festers for decades, deceiving the sinner that he really has it all under control, until it unleashes itself on everything you built, cherished and loved.

Be wise about your choice sins and don’t coddle them. And remember that sin is not ever “who you are” if you are in Christ. In Christ, you are a son or daughter of the King; you are royalty. You do battle with sin because it distorts your real identity; you do not define yourself by these sins that are original with your consciousness and daily present in your life.

3. Extinguish Indwelling Sin by Killing It

Sin is not only an enemy, says Owen. Sin is at enmity with God. Enemies can be reconciled, but there is no hope for reconciliation for anything at enmity with God. Anything at enmity with God must be put to death. Our battles with sin draw us closer in union with Christ. Repentance is a new doorway into God’s presence and joy.

Indeed, our identity comes from being crucified and resurrected with Christ:

We have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:4–6)

Satan will use our indwelling sin as blackmail, declaring that we cannot be in Christ and sin in heart or body like this. In those moments, we remind him that he is right about one thing only: Our sin is indeed sin. It is indeed transgression against God and nothing else.

But Satan is dead wrong about the most important matter. In repentance, we stand in the risen Christ. And the sin that we have committed (and will commit) is covered by his righteousness. But fight we must. To leave sin alone, says Owen, is to let sin grow—“not to conquer it is to be conquered by it.”

4. Daily Cultivate Your New Life in Christ

God does not leave us alone to fight the battle in shame and isolation. Instead, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the soul of each believer is “vivified.” “To vivicate” means to animate, or to give life to. Vivification complements mortification (to put to death), and by so doing, it allows us to see the wide angle of sanctification, which includes two aspects:

1) Deliverance from the desire of those choice sins, experienced when the grace of obedience gives us the “expulsive power of a new affection” (to quote Thomas Chalmers).

2) Humility over the fact that we daily need God’s constant flow of grace from heaven, and that no matter how sin tries to delude us, hiding our sin is never the answer. Indeed, the desire to be strong enough in ourselves, so that we can live independently of God, is the first sin, the essence of sin and the mother of all sin.

Owen’s missing link is for believers only. He says, “Unless a man be regenerate (born again), unless he be a believer, all attempts that he can make for mortification [of sin] … are to no purpose. In vain he shall use many remedies, [but] he shall not be healed.”

What then should an unbeliever do? Cry out to God for the Holy Spirit to give him a new heart and convert his soul: “Mortification [of sin] is not the present business of unregenerate men. God calls them not to it as yet; conversion is their work—the conversion of the whole soul—not the mortification of this or that particular lust.”
Freed for Joy

In the writings of John Owen, I was shown how and why the promises of sexual fulfillment on my own terms were the antithesis of what I had once fervently believed. Instead of liberty, my sexual sin was enslavement. This 17th-century Puritan revealed to me how my lesbian desires and sensibilities were dead-end joy-killers.

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women—the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

With peace, I found that the gospel is always ahead of you. Home is forward. Today, by God’s amazing grace alone, I am a chosen part of God’s family, where God cares about the details of my day, the math lessons and the spilled macaroni and cheese, and most of all, for the people, the image-bearers of his precious grace, the man who calls me beloved and the children who call me mother.  

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield is a former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University. After her conversion to Christianity in 1999, she developed a ministry to college students. She has taught and ministered at Geneva College, is a full-time mother and pastor’s wife, and is author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (2012) and Openness, Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ (2015).

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 26, 2015

"Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" Matthew 15:1-9

I have to confess to a passionate love affair that has been happening in my life for a long time. I am madly in love with the local church. I have devoted my life to it. If I had a second life I would also devote that life. Healthy local churches are the hope of the world. If God is ever going to transform our world, it will happen through local churches. That is why I am still leading the charge in a local congregation after all these years.

However, true love never runs smoothly. The majority of heartbreaks I have experienced in my life have happened in the local church. I have seen it at its worst and grieved.

But, I have also seen it at its best and there is nothing like it! I have seen lives transformed through salvation, through being filled with the Spirit, and through miraculous healings and deliverance. When a church is unified and focused and Spirit-led, the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it.

What makes the difference?

Primarily, it is this issue of hypocrisy. That is why Jesus was so hard on the religious leaders of His day. He had a vision of what the Church would become and their attitudes and actions were destructive to that.

Jesus summarized the problem of hypocrisy this way, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

That is the climate which breeds hypocrisy. Where rules and rituals are allowed to trump relationships, there is an unhealthy atmosphere of judgmentalism and a noticeable lack of love. The church degenerates into an organization rather than a living, breathing organism. Playing the part without having the heart will kill you and harm the church where you belong. Saying the right sounding things without sincerely believing them confuses people and hinders true fellowship.

If healthy local churches are the hope of the world, as I believe. And if hypocrisy is an illness that infects a church and threatens its health. Then it is no wonder Jesus was so aggressive in attacking it. We should be, too.

Your local church is made up of people like you. If you want to improve the spiritual climate of your church stop giving lip service to your faith and give it life service. Surrender your heart to God and allow His Spirit to fill it. Seek Him passionately and serve Him humbly. When you do, suddenly relationships will be a priority and rules will become servants of love.

Hypocrisy is an issue of the heart. If you want to defeat hypocrisy, let God do spiritual heart surgery on you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 25, 2015

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” Numbers 14:24

Life is about change, but you have probably noticed that!

We don’t mind change when it is our idea or when we feel in charge of it, but realistically how often does that happen?

Dealing with change generally requires making mental and emotional adjustments first.

That brings me back to the statement that is our theme for the week-end – If you want to change your outcome change your outlook. That is the Caleb difference!

You can call it a paradigm change or a new mindset or an attitude adjustment, whatever you prefer, but until your outlook is right your outcome will be wrong.

God had some major changes for His people. They were good changes but they called for drastic changes in their outlook.


God was calling them out of being victims and into being victors.

As slaves in Egypt they had no rights, no privileges, and no freedom. They were at the mercy of their masters and where forced to take what they were given.

Nothing ever changed and they had lost hope of it ever changing.

But God had a better plan! His plan was to deliver them from slavery and make them His sons and daughters! That’s a huge change and it demands a major change in outlook. Though it was a very positive change it wasn’t an easy one. All their lives they had thought like victims but now they must begin thinking like victors. God was calling them to be victorious in the conquest of the Promised Land! That is a paradigm change many are never able to make.

How is your outlook?

Before God can change your outcome you must ask Him to change your outlook!

Also, God was calling them out of bondage and into boldness.

God created His people to be free and placed the desire for freedom in their spirit. But freedom is hard to get and even harder to keep. Freedom demands responsibility. Freedom requires self-discipline, self-denial and sound decision-making.

When bondage is all you’ve known, the boldness to break free is hard to muster. When bondage is all you have known discipline has been imposed upon you, decisions made for you and much has been denied you.

Bold actions must be preceded by bold thoughts and bold desires. To change that outcome requires a change in outlook.

God’s people had difficulty breaking the bondage of Egypt and finding the boldness to enter Canaan.

Will you be bold enough to ask Him to change your outlook?

Thirdly, God was calling them out of hopelessness and into their home.

People in hopelessly victimized by the bondage of slavery are in a bad place. That is where God’s people were when Moses answered God’s call to set them free. God had hopes for them when they had no hope.

God’s hope for His people involved a home where they could live in freedom and peace! Moses was called to lead God’s people out of His land of promise. The promise of this Promised Land was rest

When God called them out of hopelessness into His home He was calling them to His Self! He is the hope! He is the rest! He is where we belong!

God had wonderful plans for His people! But before they receive His plan they had to believe it. Before their outcome could change they would need to change their outlook!

This story is not just an ancient Old Testament story. This story is the foreshadowing of God’s plan for your salvation!

Egypt is your old life of sin and bondage. You were a hopeless victim of your own self-destructive nature.

Moses was the God-sent deliverer called to set His people free. He foreshadowed the Son of God who would be sent to save His people from their sins.

The Promised Land is the rest that God desires for us. It is a land that has where every enemy has been conquered and every passion has been brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. That is the different spirit demonstrated by Caleb!

In between Canaan and Egypt was the wilderness. That represents the life of salvation. Following God, learning to trust Him, getting to know Him and serve Him is what happens in the wilderness walk with God. The wilderness is where slave becomes sons and where outlooks and changed.

You can’t get into Canaan unless you go through the wilderness but you can’t get to the wilderness until you get out of Egypt! You can’t get out of Egypt until you trust Christ for your salvation from sin.

So this old story is as hopeful and helpful and powerful as it was in Egypt. God can still bring you out of your bondage into victory and boldness and into His rest!

Do you know this story?

Is this story your story?

Do you have the “different spirit” like Caleb had?

Are you ready for a new outlook?

April 24, 2015

“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.Numbers 14:24

This week I have highlighted some of the ways Caleb was different from the other ten spies and the differences are stark.

One of the principles I was to pull from this story is this: If you want a different outcome you will need a different outlook!

Caleb clearly had a different outlook than the others spies ten spies (Joshua not included). He brought a realistic but optimistic report to rebut the negative discouraging report brought by the ten.

Obviously they all saw the same things but they saw them with different outlooks.

Caleb saw the grapes. They were huge and juicy and tasty! He imagined feasting on them the rest of his life once they conquered their promised land.

The other spies saw the grapes, too! They tasted them. They cut down a bunch of ripe juicy grapes to carry back to Moses. But despite the evidence they bore, their attitude was sour grapes!


Although the desired the grapes they also saw the giants. The big, bad, burly giants were the ancestors of Goliath and the descendants of Anak. As much as they wanted the grapes they wanted nothing to do with the giants! So the fear of the giants became their focus.

Caleb saw the giants, too. But he wasn’t about to let them keep him from the grapes! While the other spies saw the giants as big threats Caleb saw them as big targets!

Caleb remembered that God had promised this land to them! So those were their grapes! In fact, it tells us in Joshua 14, when the Israelites finally did cross over and conquer Canaan, the land that Caleb chose was Hebron, the territory of the giants!

So, there were grapes and there were giants. Caleb saw them and the spies saw them, but Caleb has a different spirit! His outlook was fueled by faith while theirs was fueled by fear.

Here’s the heart of the difference! When the spies saw the giants they saw themselves as grasshoppers. But when Caleb saw the giants he saw God!

Grapes, giants, and grasshoppers cause the other spies to grumble to the people.

But the grapes and the giants from the perspective of Godly faith stirred Caleb’s spirit within him! He was fired up and ready to go get himself some giants!

There are grapes in your life and there are also giants! Your outlook with determine whether you feast on the grapes or fear the giants. If you want a different outcome you will need a different outlook!

At FredWes this year your Leadership Team and your Trustees have diligently been spying for a new promised land. They have found some grapes but there are also some giants. They will soon be presenting their report. When they tell you about the grapes you will get excited. But then you will hear about the giants. That will test your outlook! Will you be overcome by the grasshopper outlook?

Or will you have a different spirit like Caleb who saw God beyond the giants?
In every group there are Calebs and there are spies.

Ultimately, like God’s people, FredWes’ outcome will be determined by our outlook.

God, let me be a Caleb!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 23, 2015

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” Numbers 14:24

Caleb was one among twelve spies but he stood head and shoulder above the rest! He prospered when the ten faithless spies perished!

Over the last few days we have been learning why:

·         He was a devoted servant
·         He had a different spirit

And the third thing different about Caleb is:

·         He was dead to self

As you look at this story it is obvious there were two different spirits at work in the ten spies than in Caleb and Joshua.

If you are going to have a different spirit as Caleb did why not have God’s Spirit? You cannot have God’s Spirit and your selfish will co-existent in the same heart. Your sinful nature must die in order for God’s Spirit to fill you with His presence and power.

The Apostle Paul said it this way:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:1-2

When you look at the difference in Caleb’s report and that of ten other spies you have to wonder, “Wow! What a difference! What’s that about?”

They saw the same things but they saw them with a different spirit.

The difference was about seeing Canaan through eyes of faith rather than eyes of flesh. And the difference was having the confidence of a victor instead of cowering as a victim.

The difference was about Caleb being dead to himself and alive to God! He wasn’t worried about anything except pleasing God. He didn’t have to b defensive or fearful or timid, he just had to size up the enemy, measure them against God and share the optimistic report.

The difference was about Caleb sensing God’s presence, God’s peace and God’s protection as he scouted behind enemy lines.

It was a big difference and it raises a big question. If they knew they were going to spy out God’s Promised WHY didn’t the other spies prepare spiritually as well?

How about you?

Are you spiritually prepared for the next big thing God has for you?

Have you died to yourself?

Do you have a different spirit?

April 22, 2015

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” Numbers 14:24

Wouldn’t it be great if God could brag on you?

If God were to brag on you, what would he brag about?

God was bragging on Caleb in our Scripture text today. In yesterday’s post I mentioned three things about Caleb that impressed God.

First, he was a dedicated servant.

This morning I want you to notice the second praiseworthy trait Caleb possessed. He had a different spirit – “Caleb has a different spirit”.

What was different about Caleb’s spirit?

Caleb had faith!

“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30

When nearly every other Israelite was overcome with fear over the report from the Promised Land, Caleb had the contrary opinion. Ten spies were moaning and lamenting the giants that would confront them across the Jordan River. Those spies saw the same things when they scouted out the land for forty days. But they returned with vastly different reports.

Why were there two such opposite forecasts about their future when all twelve of the spies went the same places and saw the same things!

At least part of the answer lies not in WHAT they saw but in HOW they saw.

The ten spies who gave the bad report were looking through eyes of flesh while Caleb was looking through eyes of faith!

They saw the giants in light of their own weaknesses and inadequacies, while Caleb saw them in light of God’s strength and power!

That’s the difference that faith makes!  And it’s a BIG difference.

Facing giants in the flesh is a losing strategy that incites fear. But Caleb’s spirit, the spirit of faith, inspired hope!

Caleb had fervency!

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.  If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:6-9

Caleb was zealous for the will of God. He knew how God had delivered them from the bondage of the mighty Egyptians.  He was mindful of how God had brought them safely through the Red Sea and then closed it back to destroy their enemies! He was convinced God was able to give them the Promised Land as well!

He could not let the skeptics and the doubters have the last word! He fervently pleaded God’s case before the people!

Caleb was fearless!

“Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” Numbers 14:9

Caleb’s courage came from his conviction that God had the power to keep His promise! He had seen what God had done in the past and believed He would do it again!

Caleb had a “different spirit”! His spirit was a spirit of faith, a spirit of fervency and of fearlessness. His spirit stood in stark contrast to the defeated, discouraged and doubting attitudes that surrounded him that day.

No wonder God took notice of him!

No wonder God was pleased with him!

No wonder God bragged on him and help him up as a model for all His people.

How is your spirit today?

Are you living by faith?

Are you fervent for His will?

Are you fearless in His promises?

There is a spirit better than Caleb’s spirit available to you this day! It is God’s Holy Spirit offered to those who will ask for it, believe and receive it.