Sunday, November 11, 2012

Caleb and Joshua

Today as I consider the Numbers story of Caleb and Joshua, I wonder how often we as Christians back up our faith with courage.  In Numbers chapter 13, we are told that spies were sent to the land of Canaan.  Among those spies were Caleb and Joshua.  After spying on the land for forty days, the spies returned to Moses and the Israelites.

The children of Israel surely were expecting a good report.  They had been delivered from the Egyptians and were ready to claim the land promised to them by God.  Caleb did indeed give a good report.  However, verse 31 says, "But the men who had gone up with him said, 'We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.'"  The congregation then wept.  After everything they witnessed God do for them, they allowed a few men to convince them they could not fight against the inhabitants of Canaan. 

Yet Caleb and Joshua believed in God.  They had faith.  And they were ready to back up their faith with courage.  In Numbers 14:8-9, Caleb and Joshua tell the Israelites, "If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey.  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."

Caleb and Joshua were ready to go, even though the spies who accompanied them were not.  And when Caleb and Joshua tried to change the minds of the Israelites, they said Caleb and Joshua should be stoned!

The question I have to ask myself after reading this passage is this: would I have the courage to go where God sends me? If everyone around me was too afraid, would I have the courage to trust God and go alone? That's a question we all need to ask ourselves.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Being Vigilant

by Charity Pence

This Week's Verse: "Be sober, be vigilant; because the adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Isn't it amazing how we can read something in the Bible and get one message, but the next time we read it we get something else? God does this to me all the time, and maybe you've had this experience also. 1 Peter 5:8 is a verse I've long been familiar with. In fact, it is one I have posted on a wall in my house. Every time I've considered that verse, I always took it to mean that we have to resist temptation. And I think that's a fair interpretation. However, this morning as I was doing my "God time," I was shown something else. You see, I'm also very familiar with 1 Peter 5:6-7. However, for whatever reason, I've never associated those verses with the ones following. In my mind I have separated them as if they were two different messages. Cast your cares upon the Lord. Okay, don't worry; trust that God will take care of our needs/circumstances. Be sober, be vigilant. Okay, be aware of the devil's schemes. All that makes sense right? But what God reminded me of was that the devil doesn't just tempt us to separate us from God. He also tries to hinder us, to turn our focus.

This is an area that was causing me quite a struggle recently. The devil was keeping me so busy with negative circumstances that I was keeping my focus on my "worries" instead of on God. But when reading verses 6-9 as one passage, I am reminded that we have to remain vigilant because the devil will try to destroy us with negative circumstances. But instead of giving in, we are to give those concerns to God and be comforted that we are not alone in our struggles. The devil does this to our brothers and sisters in Christ because he wants nothing more than to keep us away from God.

I heard something else recently in a sermon. The devil doesn't mess with us because he wants our souls doomed with him. His true focus is on God, who he hates so much that he doesn't want God to win. To the devil, we are just casualties in his war. Is that what you want to be? A casualty? Or do you want to be one of God's warriors?

Ephesians 6:13, 14 gives us this challenge, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, stand." Don't give in. Be God's warrior and fight the devil. Don't let him use you as his pawn in his battle against God.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are so amazing. Thank You for this revelation You have given. I needed this reminder, Lord. Thank You for equiping me to be Your warrior. Please help me when I grow weary. I refuse to become a casualty. I want to be Your warrior. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Power Verses:
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind."