As For Me and My House!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” Joshua 24:15-18, 20 NIV

Looking at Joshua’s adamant stance regarding serving The Lord, we should be reminded of how God functions through those who truly love Him.

If we serve other gods–whether people or things–we cannot love God of all Creation. Not once has a “thing” ever created anything. All the things that people worship are made by the hands of man. And man–has never created anything from nothing. All man has invented was with all that had already been created. It doesn’t take much to invent when materials are already accessible. But show me–one thing–created from nothing by the hands of man.

Since not one thing has ever been created by man, my household will serve The Lord.

I pray all will read Joshua’s experiences with God and God’s promises to Him and make a determination to serve Him and Him alone. When we seek Him for answers and direction, He will provide them–for His glory, not our own.

To God be all glory and majesty forever and ever.

The Person Who Prospers!

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

One of the insults hurled at any many televangelists is that they are “fleecing” people and misleading them with their prosperity messages. Well, I cannot speak for all of them, in fact I cannot speak for any of them, but I do know–the message of prosperity and how to accomplish it–is found in The Word and as long as they are preaching and teaching The Word, I find no fault with them.

When I listen to those who do find fault with anyone preaching about prosperity (and everything else in The Word), observation of those who are complaining are those who are barely surviving–in their personal life and in their church life. For it is envy that prompts their animosity towards others who dare to say anything about prosperity. And it is envy that clogs up their ears and blinds their eyes when they do not hear those they preach against–also teach obeying God’s Word, totally. They do not hear the message of repentance, love, and obedience for they have closed their minds to hearing the “whole matter” and judge those things they do not understand.

It is not a sin for God’s children to prosper and when we are obedient to His Word–it is a promise to us–that we should prosper in everything we do. What does it mean to prosper–when we obey? We end up having more than enough–for our needs and to help others.

Now we know that the wicked also prosper and we only have to look at the events occurring in the world to see how. The drug kings–both legal and illegal–prosper when they sell their wares. The illegal drugs keep people dependent and poor, committing criminal acts to support their habits. The legal pharmacies are just as bad when they overprice medicines needed and end up scamming insurance companies and leaving the elderly making choices between eating and taking their medicine. We see the wicked in high places of authority, making deals with the devil that ultimately create chaos and disaster for others. We see the wicked in families and churches who say one thing, but live a lie–scamming their families, neighbors and friends–trying to make themselves to be something when they are not. But God has a solution for the wicked and their wealth–it is laid up for the righteous–those who obey God no matter what.

But then the Word also says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:3 NKJV). So now, we see that prosperity “in all things” is God’s desire for us–in our finances, our health as long as our soul–our will to obey Him in all things–prospers.

When people complain about the prosperity of those who preach and teach the Gospel, I’m led to believe that they did not believe God from the beginning–of the Word. Throughout the bible, we find promises of prosperity (along with repentance and obedience). One of my favorites is Joshua 1:7,8 and then there is the entire list of things that are ours when we obey found in Deuteronomy 28 as well as the curses for disobedience. It’s all in there.

The bottom line is this–we should not be “best buds” with those who deliberately live in opposition to God’s Word or hang out with them unless it is an effort to be a witness to them about God’s goodness. And we most certainly should not take up their habits, but be strong and courageous in obeying God’s Word and stand back and see how He causes us to prosper in all we do that honors Him. That is the person who shall prosper in all things–when they are living The Word–for all to see.

Don’t Be Afraid!

“Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.” (Joshua 10:25 NLT)

FEAR–is an attitude (primarily developed out of ignorance of the unknown) that keeps people from doing the very best they can. When people “act” on their fears, innocent people are killed; hatred drives them to destruction, and nothing good ever results from it.

Perfect love–unconditional love towards all human beings–casts fears aside and opens the door to knowledge, revelation, and understanding. Just because are different or do things differently than how we do them–they are still human beings, worthy of love and our understanding.

How can we say, we “hate” someone or a group of people, when we really do not understand them? Racial strife and religious bigotry should never be part of anyone’s life who claims to know God. Did He not make us all in His image? Regardless of our racial background, nationality, ethnicity or religious affiliation–God created us all for His purposes, not our own.

There are so many cultural differences in the world that they are far too numerous for me to disseminate in this commentary, but suffice it to say, that we are “all uniquely created human beings” and if God had wanted clones, He could have done that! We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” so God gets the glory for our uniqueness and various talents and gifts that He gives so we can do all that He would have us to do.

Rather than hate people because of differences, why can’t we spend the time getting to know people and getting to understand why they do what they do, instead of assuming they are wrong and we are right? Are we always right? NO! Are they always wrong? NO! Do people have a right to be who they are rather than who we want them to be? ABSOLUTELY!

The only thing that Christians have a right to judge is “sin” (according to God’s Word), not people. We have a right to call sin what it is, but we do not have a right to hate people or to condemn them. Judging what they do (as does the law of the land) is one thing. Judging them and concluding they can never change–is not our job. In the end–God will determine where we all spend eternity based upon our works in the earth (what we actually do).

While there is yet time–open your heart and hear God–know His heart and how He feels about all of His people. Embrace the cultural differences and get to know people rather than judge them. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to see things your way or understand why you do what you do and enjoy discussion and interactions with those who are “different” from you. This is how we make a difference in the world–acceptance of people–without judgment or hatred–allowing ourselves to understand them and for them to understand us. So, don’t be afraid to get to know someone who is “different” than you! You just might be surprised at how wonderful your life and theirs will be!

“Red, yellow, black or white–we are all precious in His sight!” Jesus loves and so should we!

The God Who Guides!

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end” (Psalm 48:14 NIV).

The Sons of Korah had a revelation about which God truly has power. They knew the history of the Israel who had been caught up with worshipping gods made–with the hands of man–whose only power was in the superstitious belief of the people. But now, they understood that there is a God–one whom man had not created and could not be seen with the natural eye–who had power to change the course of things and did. With the discovery and understanding, they praised Him for His mighty acts on their behalf and submitted to His guidance.

How many gods are people worshipping today? Are they worshipping the gods made by the hands of man–cars, careers, money, status, power–their idols (trophies, certificates, degrees, all which can be seen and touched) and for some–their spouses? What real power do any of these things have? How can they guide a person anywhere? How can anyone really put their trust in these things or people and expect them to last forever?

At one time–as recorded in the history books and in the bible–images were made of men and things (animals in particular) and the things were given power by the imaginations of the people. The best record of their total impotence is the story of “their gods” pitted against God with Elijah and the “fire consumed everything” in the troughs and around them. No magic, just the power of a God who created all things and without whom, nothing was created. The Sons of Korah got it–have we?

We should not expect our God to act like a magician when we need anything, but we certainly need to learn to listen and hear Him when He speaks so He can guide us into the direction in which we will receive all we desire. The true power of God lies within us and in our obedience to God. As He told Joshua, “if we will keep His commandments, then everything we put our hands to would prosper and we would have good success.” Are we obeying? Have we made any effort to accomplish anything?

When we don’t receive the answers we want from God, perhaps we should look at our responses to Him when He speaks to us. Can He count on us to do what He asks us to do? Will we obey Him even when we don’t understand what it is He wants us to do? Have we clearly demonstrated that our trust is in Him and Him alone?

Consider the “things” that you have amassed. What power have you given them? Do you trust them to guide you in all things? Can they provide you with answers to questions that arise in your life? Are you building a kingdom in which you want to reign or are you a Kingdom Builder–leading others to the God who reigns forever?

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to be as wise as those who have gone before us in recognizing that though there may be many gods that people worship; You are the only God who guides–forever. Amen!

Posted Signs!

Following directions, in just about anything, means to do what is specifically stated.

If we follow the directions given, whether baking a cake, or trying to get from one destination to another, we can usually accomplish our goals without incident.  However, when we decide to “ignore” the posted or stated directions or signs, we invite trouble into our lives.

For instance, the posted speed limits, in just about any city, indicate the maximum speed allowed in that vicinity.  When we ignore those posted signs and get pulled over by ambitious police officers, some of us tend to get angry with them, instead of ourselves.

When there are posted signs on a highway indicating construction or impending lane  changes, people ignore them, wait until they reach the end of the open lane and then try to force their way into the right lane, getting angry with the people who moved over when they first saw the signs.

When we mess up a recipe by using alternate ingredients and then don’t get what we expected, we get irritated because we didn’t follow the directions.

When students don’t follow directions in a classroom given by the teacher, they tend to get angry and rebellious with the teacher when they fail a test or the class.

“Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7 NIV).

Our success depends upon our ability to “follow the posted signs” on a highway, in the neighborhoods, in a cook book, and especially the Bible. When we are not successful in those things we attempt to do, perhaps we need to evaluate whether or not, we’ve been following the directions given for success, and not blame others for our lack of success.

If we don’t want to pay for traffic tickets, we must obey the signs or written instructions for driving.  If we want the food we cook to look and taste right, we must follow the recipe.  If we want good grades in a classroom setting, we must follow the instructions given. If we want God to bless what we do, we must follow His instructions in order to get the success He has promised. Pay attention to the posted signs–no matter where they are posted.

Help us, O God, to understand Your instructions and to follow them on a daily basis. Open our spiritual eyes and ears so we may hear and see what lies ahead of us so we can move into the right lane, accomplishing our goals without incident or anger.

After The Facts!

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

We do many things without thinking about the consequences of our actions, until we are confronted with the consequences and have to deal with them.

What led us to this juncture–doubt, fear, greed, indecision–or lack of knowledge?

We have all probably made a decision impulsively or simply made based on the information we had at hand.  After we reap the consequences of our immediate action, we then have an opportunity to re-think and re-live the event--viewing what we did then and contemplating what we could have done–after the facts are obtained–because we now have more information.

Our lives are like being on trial or the jury–when we make decisions with limited information–sometimes we discover we made the wrong decision and realize–after the fact–that had we obtained all the information pertaining to the matter, we would have made a different decision.

There is one decision we must make now and we have access to all the information.  That decision is a determination to live for Jesus Christ.  If we don’t make the decision now, we won’t have an opportunity to rethink our lack of a decision, after we’re dead.  Choose now, while you have the opportunity to choose and to receive His many benefits. After the fact–of death–opportunity no longer exists and the lack of decision for Christ, puts you in opposition to Christ.  Choose this day!