Sunday, December 30, 2018

December 31, 2018

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."  Joshua 1:1-8

A promise made nearly five centuries ago was about to be fulfilled as Joshua prepared to lead God's people across the Jordan River and into the land promised to Abraham and his descendants.

But, there were some choices that needed to be made first:

Once he decided to venture out of his comfort zone and answer the call of God, Joshua faced another choice: Would he choose God's courage or his contentment?

Twice Joshua is urged to be courageous. 

What does it mean to be courageous? Several insights are giving in these verses.

Courage is conformity to God's Word. "obey all the law my servant Moses gave you...."

Courage begins with a willingness to shape your life around God's Word.

Courage is consistency. "Be careful....."

Obedience would not be required just once, it would require consistent and continual care to remain obedient. Each time would take renewed courage.

Courage is conviction. You can be courageous if you are convinced that God has the power to deliver on His promises. Joshua was sure of that!

Courage is commitment. Because Joshua was sure that God would do what He promised, he found courage to do his part.

Entering into the promise land will require courage! Courage that is found in God and His Word.

Joshua had the courage to conquer and he wouldn't be content with less!

Are you courageous or contented?

Saturday, December 29, 2018

December 30, 2018

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.  No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them." Joshua 1:1-6

The Promised Land was to be a place to believe, a place to belong and a place of blessing!

If anyone needed such a place as this, it was these people who stood on the banks of the Jordan peeking across to the Promised Land. After 400 years in slavery and 40 years of circling in the wilderness, they were ready for a place like this!

But, they still had to cross the Jordan River at flood stage and then conquer the land from the Canaanites. There were some decisions they needed to make to God and to their new leader, Joshua before they crossed into the Promised Land. These are the same decisions that will be required of us at FredWes as we seek to lead people into God's Promised Land.

Here's the first decision: Will I live for His calling or my comfort?

There was nothing comfortable about being in bondage in Egypt. Nor was there anything comfortable about living in tents like nomads in the desert. Crossing the Jordan and possessing the land was going to be uncomfortable. I would imagine it had to be tempting to settle in on this side of the Jordan and get comfortable for awhile.

God was calling Joshua out of his comfort zone and Joshua was expected to call God's people out of theirs.

When you think about it, nothing is comfortable about being a Christian. If it is you probably are doing it wrong.

To become a Christian the Holy Spirit has to convict you of your sin - that is VERY uncomfortable because sin is what you have become comfortable with until now.

Once you accept Christ you face the discomfort of your will struggling with His will. He hasn't called us to comfort He has called us to conformity with His will and purposes.

Growing in Christ involves helping Him develop His nature within you until you more comfortable with obedience than you with sin.

Joshua had to decided if he would live for his comfort or for God's calling. You will face the same decision. Perhaps you are at that point now. 

Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Friday, December 28, 2018

December 29, 2018

"just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  Therefore know that [only] those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, [saying], “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”  So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham."  Galatians 3:6-9

By reviewing the call of God to Abraham and recalling the covenant that was made we can get a clear understanding of God's purpose for the Promised Land. It was to be a place of believing, a place of belonging and a place of blessing.

That sounds like a place I would want to be! What about you?

Believing is important. It was through believing that Abraham journeyed to the Promised Land and this new land was to become a place where believing God would be easy.

Belonging is crucial spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. Each of us need a place where we feel accepted and valued and safe. Belonging makes it possible to have an identity, to enjoy intimacy and to have involvement in the lives of others.

Blessing is God's stamp of approval on your life. It signifies you have found favor with Him through your obedience and faith. God's blessing crowns you with significance and supplies your needs. The blessing of God also gives you a way to bless others.

As I think of these things, it occurs to me that not only are these three purposes important to God's Promised Land but they also form the foundation for a healthy home.

Believing, belonging and blessing should also form the dynamics of a healthy church fellowship. 

I want FredWes to be a place where it is easy to believe God is real and His Word is true because if the strength of our faith and the sincerity of our fellowship.

I want Fredwes to be a place where it is easy to belong because of the acceptance and affirmation people receive when they come to visit. I want us to make it easy for people to be assimilated into the life and ministry of FredWes.

I want Fredwes to be a place of blessing where we experience His presence and favor. I want us to be a blessing to others as He blesses us.

God designed His land of promise to be characterized by these three things because He desired the Promised Land to not be just real estate, He planned on it being a relationship! God is our promise! Only in Him will you find true belief, true belonging and tremendous blessing!

Are you dwelling in the Promised Land?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

December 28, 2018

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God." Leviticus 25:38

Following 400 years of bondage and 40 years of wandering through the wilderness, God's people stood on the verge of entering the Promised Land of Canaan. Essentially, they were one more obedience from realizing this long awaited promise. The land of Canaan awaited on the other bank of the Jordan River.

The Exodus and the wilderness wandering were historical events. They actually happened and are recorded in the first several Old Testament books. But they also illustrated the spiritual journey God wanted to lead them on.

Egypt and the years of bondage are a vivid picture of the life of sin. Living apart from God leaves you as a slave to your selfish sinful desires. Like generations of Hebrews, you are born into "Egypt". Spiritually speaking, you and I are born into the captivity of a sinful nature. And like the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, it takes a supernatural act of God to set us free.

Just as God sent Moses to the Pharaoh to declare, "Set my people free!" God sent His Son to set us free from the bondage of sin and death! He was conceived by the Spirit and born of a virgin and subjected Himself to the cross, taking the penalty of sin and the bondage of death upon Himself. When He shed His blood for our sins He made it possible for you to escape Egypt! And when the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead, He put you within reach of God's Promised Land!

2014 lays before you full of promises and challenges. Perhaps 2013 has been a year in Egypt for you. Or, maybe you have found yourself wandering through a wilderness period. God, through Christ and by the leadership of His Holy Spirit can bring you out of your Egypt and through your wandering. He wants to lead you to the edge of His Promised Land where you can experience His best, and find His rest, and grow from His tests!

Will you listen to His voice?

Will you obey his call?

Will you repent and reconcile with Him?

Will you make the necessary restitution?

Will you be willing to make 2019 a truly NEW year?

I believe that is where we are as a church! God has led us out of our Egypt and through some wilderness experiences. On the eve of a New Year He is going to give us some peeks into His Promised Land. He bids us to take the risks associated with obedient faith and cross over our Jordan into new a level of life and ministry in Him.

It will be a little scary and a lot exciting!

Are you willing to get your feet wet?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

December 27, 2018

"Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” Deuteronomy 34:1-4

After 40 difficult and frustrating years of leading God's people to God's Promised Land, he only got to see it from a distance. Though, most of those he had led would not get to see it at all. They were done in by their rebellion, idolatry and disobedience. Moses was done in by a single act of disobedience.

Maybe you are tempted to believe that one little disobedience isn't a big deal. Well, Moses would beg to differ with you. The next time you entertain thoughts of disobeying, think again! Think, "Moses".

Other than a promised piece of real estate by several rivers, what is special about the Promised Land?

The Promised Land is God's Best!

From the moment that Eden was corrupted and Paradise was lost, God was looking to restore a place where His people could enjoy His best.

God promised that day He would undo what the Serpent had done. To keep that promise he needed a land where His people could dwell and raise up a great nation. Out of that nation would come the Promised Messiah to save His people from their sins.

The Promised Land Was God's Test!

After 40 years of testing God's patience, God was now prepared to test them. The generation of their fathers had been rebellious and disobedient to God bringing His judgment upon them. But now their obedience would be tested. Would they follow Joshua across the Jordan River in flood season? Would they be willing to march around Jericho with Him?  Would they faithfully fight against the ungodly people people dwelling in the land they were to possess?

They were about to be put to the test in the Land of Promise.

The Promised Land Was God's Rest!

If they would follow Joshua and obey God, there would be victories over their pagan enemies. Once all of their enemies had been conquered and destroyed, they would have the rest that comes with peace.

Moses missed the Promised Land because of his disobedience, but he had experienced some of God's Best as God opened a sea, and sent manna from heaven, and met Him on Mt. Sinai.

Moses missed the Promised Land but he had certainly been tested dealing with the Israelites in the dessert.

Now, after climbing the Mt. Moab and glancing at Canaan from a distance, he finally found his rest.

What about you?

Do you want God's best?

Believe and obey in His promises.

Do you want to pass God's tests?

Fight in His might.

Do you want His rest?

Destroy all the enemies of your heart and surrender completely to Jesus!