Saturday, December 30, 2023

December 30, 2023

In Israel’s forty years of wondering, they didn’t circumcise their babies on the eighth day. Once they came into the plains of Jericho, the land of promise, the Lord told them to do it now. After they complied, they celebrated Passover on the fourteenth day of the month. The manna stopped because they could eat the old corn of the land. Then suddenly, the captain of the host of the LORD, with a drawn sword, stood before Joshua. 

Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. Joshua 5:13b-14a

They cleansed themselves of sin before crossing the Jordan; they circumcised the reproach of Egypt from upon them, and then Jesus showed up! We know it was Jesus because he made Joshua remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. 

Two things to take away from this: 1) Jesus wasn’t for or against Israel. That’s good news for those who aren’t Israelites, which is most of us. He is for righteousness! If those countries hadn’t worshipped other gods, they wouldn’t have been overtaken. 2) When you cleanse yourself of unrighteousness by repenting and asking forgiveness, Jesus will show up. Cleansing yourself of sin should be a daily thing. Be remorseful, and sincerely ask that He forgive you. I always want Jesus brandishing his weapon before me as he did for Israel. Don’t you?

Friday, December 29, 2023

December 29, 2023

There must be some significance for the timing of delivery from Egypt to the crossing of the Jordan into the promised land. It was five days less than forty years that they crossed over, most likely to give them time to prepare for their very first feast in the new land: Passover. I can’t help but compare it to our deliverance and all the years it takes us to learn how good and perfect God is. Is it a significant comparison? We receive our salvation, but then we have to learn to walk in it, and sometimes that can take a long time. 

When they crossed the Jordan, God had Joshua select 12 men to gather a large stone from the river for their tribe and make a stack before God released the water. It was to be a memorial of their entry into the land he promised so that they could educate their children in the future. 

I was saved at nine years old, but it took me many years to truly come to know Jesus through studying my Bible and beginning to walk in his way of life. I did a study called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and a couple of others on how to hear God’s voice, and that was the beginning of an amazing change; I think that’s when I entered the Promised Land. Like the Israelites, we have to continue fighting the enemy, but when you keep your focus on Jesus, the fight becomes his, and he gives us strength to endure. We must set up memorial stones as we pass through the river where God held back the force of the waters so we can always recall how good he was to us by making a way where it seemed there was no way. 

Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Isaiah 43:16

And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. Joshua 4:21-22

Thursday, December 28, 2023

December 28, 2023

Are you waiting for a move of God in your life? Joshua moved the camp of Israel to the banks of the Jordan River to prepare to pass over to Jericho. They were about to take their first steps into the promised land. Joshua instructed them to sanctify themselves because they were about to watch God bless them with miracles, just as he did when they exited Egypt. Joshua probably didn’t want their initial entry into the new land contaminated with sin. As soon as the priests stepped into the Jordan, they were on dry land; the water heaped up on their right side, and every Israelite crossed without getting their feet wet.

Unusual things are happening throughout the earth, in every country. Is God about to make a move and show us his glory? The way looks complicated, but we are different, because we have nothing to fear since God is for us and will help us as difficulties presents themselves. The banks of the Jordan were overflowing its boundaries, so the way looked impossible. That’s when God stepped in and showed them that he is the one who makes a way when there is no way. We must all sanctify ourselves as we wait for God to make his move, whether for us individually or all mankind. Fear no evil because God is with us.

And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you. Joshua 3:5

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

December 27, 2023

The story of Rahab the harlot is one of intrigue. She opened her door to the spies sent to look at Jericho before Israel overtook it. She knew their country was doomed to destruction because of what she had heard, and the whole country was fearful. Rahab believed that their God was the God of Heaven. Because she helped them, she asked that they deal with her and her family kindly when they came to take over. They told her to hang the scarlet fabric in her window and make sure her family was in her home during the raid, and they would all be protected, but if they were caught outside, they would die like everyone else. She had to keep it a secret. Isn't it interesting that the ribbon was red, like the blood of Jesus that protects us from destruction, and that it was all they needed to be saved? Side note: Rahab is in the lineage of Jesus. I can't help but wonder if one of those spies became her husband. Salmon and Rahab were the parents of Boaz, who then married Ruth and gave birth to Obed, Jessie's father, and Jessie was the father of King David! Can you believe it? There was a Canaanite woman in the lineage of Jesus! What a picture of God's mercy showing that someone outside his chosen people could become the catalyst to bring our Savior into the world. That gives us hope that even someone with a checkered past could receive salvation because of their belief in the name of Jesus. There is hope for all of us.

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee. Joshua 2:18

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

December 26, 2023

We are pressing closer to the new year, which is only a few days away. This time of year, I begin praying for God to give me a word to ponder for the following year. I spent this entire year with the word “persevere.” Unsure what God had intended, I was fretful of the trouble I may endure because of that specific word. However, God is so good and means no harm in his impressions. I was challenged to persevere in my writing and go in a slightly different direction by commenting chapter by chapter on the books of the Bible of my study. It has been the most eye-opening experience of my entire life, and if I had not persevered through it, I may have abandoned it and preceded to return to my old way of writing. Thankfully, I heard God loud and clear and persevered. 

God told Joshua that Moses died, and Israel mourned his death for a month. But it was time for them to prepare to go into the land of promise. This first chapter of Joshua is replete with words of encouragement. God told Joshua to take courage, be strong, not be afraid, and not be dismayed because he was with them wherever they went. Joshua is the image of perseverance. As we venture into the next chapter of our lives, we may face challenges, especially in this upcoming new year. We would do well to heed God’s words to Joshua and accept them as our own. Take courage; God is with us wherever we go. 

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9

Monday, December 25, 2023

December 25, 2023

After admonishing the children of Israel for the wicked direction they would eventually go, he didn’t want to leave them discouraged, so he set a blessing over each tribe. 

And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. Deuteronomy 33:1

Moses was not feeble and still had vision in his eyes and strength in his body, but God had told him he was going to die soon but promised him he could see the land of Canaan before being gathered to his family. He climbed to the top of the mountain alone, where he saw the land and then passed away and was buried. Who buried him? God. It was an angelic burial, but no one knows where his sepulcher is located except God and the heavenly beings.

So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. Deuteronomy 34:5-6

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. Jude 1:9

Who wrote the last chapter of Deuteronomy? Some think Joshua, but others believe Ezra. Was this chapter put into the Ark of the Covenant, which only Moses could access? If so, how did it get there? Your guess is as good as mine. Some mysterious things are only meant to be answered by God; therefore, we may never know this side of Heaven.

Take courage; God is in control, and everything happens for a reason. God is good; therefore, all things he allows are pleasing in his eyes, whether you think they are good or bad. You may not like it, but God’s plans will succeed and be favorable. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

December 24, 2023

We are reaching the conclusion of the days of Moses in the book of Deuteronomy; God tells him his days are nearing the end. In chapter 31, he appoints Joshua to take over and replace Moses after his death and encourages him to fear not nor be afraid. Then, in chapter 32, Moses writes a song that God gave him for the people and teaches it to them. God knows the sandwich method! Good news first, lots of bad stuff, then end with good. When I read this song, I immediately thought it was terrible; it’s not uplifting at all! It’s more of a prediction or prophecy. God knows his people and realizes that even though he is wonderful, people go their own direction without regard for him, forgetting how amazing he is.

Sometimes, God shows his glory. Friday morning, I threw out some bird seeds. Shortly after, I noticed my all-time favorite bird, the Painted Bunting, came up for a bite. It is the most beautiful bird that comes to Florida for the winter and is wrapped in colorful feathers. I get excited every time I see them, but Richard has never seen one. The bird stayed around for a few minutes and was coming in closer, so Richard came to see. Amazingly, the bird came right up to the window and gave us both a closeup. Many try to dismiss that God is among us, but sometimes he gives us a show. Make a point to remember all that God has done for you; teach your children to remember so that everything goes well with you. 

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:2-4