VIDEO It’s Not Complicated – Joshua The Servant Leader

It’s Not Complicated

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Joshua 1:8

The primary lesson of life with God is not complicated: His Word (His leading and instruction) is given for our blessing and our benefit. God honors those who honor Him and follow His instruction in this life.

After the Exodus from Egypt, Israel was in the wilderness on the way to the land God had promised them. But when they approached Canaan, fear overtook them; they failed to believe God’s promise of blessing in their new homeland. So that generation spent the next forty years in the wilderness until their children reached adulthood and could enter the land (Numbers 13–14). When that time came, Joshua, their new leader, reminded them of the primary principle of success in walking with God: Follow His Word in all things (Joshua 1:8).

Today, life in this world can seem like a wilderness, but the principle of success remains the same: Trust the Lord; obey His Word; follow His direction in all things.

The Bible is the book of my life. It’s the book I live with, the book I live by, the book I want to die by. N. T. Wright


Joshua 1:1-9, Joshua The Servant Leader

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A Tale of Two Thieves

 

Two criminals were crucified with Jesus on Good Friday. They hung in naked shame and agony on cruel crosses for approximately six hours. Both blasphemed Jesus at first, spewing vicious insults His way. Their names were not recorded. Ultimately, one was saved; the other was lost. One was forgiven; the other was condemned. One was transported to paradise; the other was taken to perdition. One’s heart was hardened with hate; the other’s was melted by love. One cursed God with his dying breath; the other whispered a soul-saving prayer.

What made the difference? What caused the believing thief to change his mind about Christ? One plausible explanation is that when he saw Jesus forgive His own murderers, it made a profound impression on him. His eyes were opened and he realized that this was no ordinary man. He’d never witnessed such an extreme expression of love. In one of His seven recorded statements from the cross, Jesus prayed:

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34).

Included in that prayer were not only the religious leaders who conspired to His death, the Jews who consented to it, and the Romans who executed it, but every fallen man whose sin made the cross necessary. Since our sins helped put Jesus on the cross, we too were the enemies He forgave and for whom He died. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said:

 

“Let us go to Calvary to learn how we may be forgiven. And then let us linger there to learn how to forgive.”

The cursing crook was so moved by Jesus’ benevolence, it ignited faith in his heart that he too could be saved. He offered a simple, sincere, nine-word prayer that changed his eternal destiny:

“Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.” (Lk. 23:42).

Author Max Lucado observes:

“The only thing more absurd than his request was that it was granted . . . He who deserved hell got heaven.”

The only thing that thief and Jesus had in common was their method of execution. One was a common criminal; the other was the just Judge of all the earth. One was as guilty as sin; the other was the only innocent man to ever live. To the thief’s request to be remembered, Jesus replied:

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43).

That thief, though crucified on earth for his crimes, now walks a free man in heaven due to the power of forgiveness. What Jesus said to that thief is a message of hope to us all. If Jesus forgave his own murderers, He will forgive us. If Jesus saved a desperate, dying thief, He will save us too. Friend, there is no sin too big for the blood of Jesus and no failure too great for the grace of God to overcome.

The Gospel account of the thief’s redemption answers the question, is there such a thing as death-bed repentance? Absolutely! Do I recommend it? Absolutely not! Why give God the crumbs of your life instead of the cream? Why burn the candle of your life for yourself and blow the smoke in God’s face? Yes, God will save any person who prays with sincere repentance and faith, even up to their last breath. But who is to say if a person takes that risk that they will have such an opportunity? Such a procrastinator might die suddenly in an eternally lost condition. That’s why the Bible emphatically states:

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Friend, don’t gamble with your soul. Why roll the dice on eternity? Call on God now, while He is dealing with you. He will save your soul and radically change your life.

On October 8, 1871, D. L. Moody preached a sermon entitled “What Shall I Do with Jesus?” As he concluded, he asked his congregation, the largest church in Chicago at the time, to take a week to consider this question and return the next Sunday to make their decision. By his own admission, Moody called it the biggest blunder he ever made in his ministry. That same day the Great Chicago Fire roared through the city, killing over 300 people, destroying over 1,000 buildings, including Moody’s church, and leaving thousands homeless. Some of the people who attended his service that day were among the dead. Afterward he reflected, “What a mistake! Since then I never have dared give an audience a week to think about their salvation . . . now is the accepted time.” He went on to say that he would have given his right arm to be able to do it over again.

If the redeemed thief could talk to us today, he’d probably say, “Don’t wait until the last day of your life to receive salvation.” It’s far better to serve God all along and give Him your best years, not your leftover last days. And, as one author noted, while “God guarantees forgiveness for repentance, he doesn’t guarantee tomorrow for our procrastination.” Two thieves were crucified with Jesus. One is now glorified with Him. We can share that same glorious fate. We don’t have to die lost in our sins. Our decisions determine our destiny. Destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice! The dying thief changed his eternal destiny by making the right choice. We can too. Isn’t it amazing how much we learn from a thief?

Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. To read more articles, visit his website at bengodwin.org and take advantage of his 4-book bundle for $25.00.

 

https://narrowpathministries.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/a-tale-of-two-thieves/

 

 

Know God as Our Father

Galatians 4:4-7

God has many names—such as Creator, King, and Shepherd—and they reveal various facets of His character. But there’s a name for Him that meets one of our human needs in an intimate way: Father. Every person is born with a deep desire to be loved unconditionally, but when this yearning isn’t fully met, many hurts and scars can result. What security and wholeness there is in knowing that we can call God “my Father” and receive that unconditional love! Scripture tells us He is “a father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) and that He will never leave us, even if our earthly parents abandon us (Psalm 27:10).

Jesus sometimes addressed God as Abba, which is Aramaic for “father” (Mark 14:36). That was a brand-new concept at the time; we do find God spoken of as a father to Israel (Jer. 31:9), but the word was used sparingly in the Old Testament. Even God’s personal name, Yahweh, was considered too holy to be pronounced out loud, so few people thought of having a personal connection to almighty God.

From the very beginning, God has shown Himself to be a loving parent, but it is only through Christ that we’ve inherited the privilege to call the Him “our Father” (Gal. 4:4-7). The New Testament gives witness to Christ’s revelation of the wonderful relationship we can have with our heavenly Father: The name appears 245 times—over 100 times in John’s gospel alone. Paul opens each of his letters acknowledging God as our Father. The fact that man could know God as the perfect parent was a radical new idea in Jesus’ time, and it continues to be a life-impacting truth today.

Be Ye Strong and Courageous

“And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 28:20)

This admonition—to be strong and of good courage—is found 11 times in the Bible—thrice on the lips of Moses, five times in Joshua, then twice from David, and once from Hezekiah. Although these all involved specific challenges confronting God’s people at the time, the principles behind them indicate the need for courage of conviction for God’s people at all times.

The first occurrence is in the command given by Moses to the Israelites just before his death as they were about to enter the Promised Land. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6). In the next verse, Moses gave a similar exhortation to Joshua, their leader.

The next-to-last occurrence is in our text, containing almost the same words as in the first occurrence, with David this time exhorting Solomon to build the great temple in Jerusalem. Whether entering a new field of service for God or beginning a great work for God, the people of God will encounter opposition and must be strong and courageous to carry it through.

The word “courage” occurs more in Joshua than in any other book of the Bible, and this specific exhortation is given five times: three by God, once by the people to Joshua, and once by Joshua to the people. In all these, the context stresses obedience to the Word of God, especially in resistance to sin and pagan belief systems. Especially significant is God’s command: “Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law . . . that thou mayest prosper” (Joshua 1:7). HMM

Top Side of Our Souls

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

—Mark 6:31

Every real Christian, however practical, is in some degree a mystic, his mysticism lying on the upper side of his life. He prays, meditates on spiritual things and communes with God and the invisible world. Also, every Christian, however he may be dedicated to the holy art of prayer and worship, must of necessity descend to work and eat and sleep and pay his taxes and get on somehow with the hard world around him. And if he follows on to know the Lord he must serve in every useful way outlined for him in the Scriptures of truth. To be a Christian it is necessary that he serve his generation as well as his God.

The big problem is to keep the two elements of the Christian life in proper balance….

Today the Christian emphasis falls heavily on the “active” life…. The favorite brand of Christianity is that sparked by the man in a hurry, hard hitting, aggressive and ready with the neat quip. We are neglecting the top side of our souls. The light in the tower burns dimly while we hurry about the grounds below, making a great racket and giving the impression of wonderful devotion to our task.   PON045-047

Lord, help me to keep the proper balance. Help me especially to cultivate the top side of my soul. Amen.

 

It is good for you and me to draw near to God

It is good for me to draw near to God.—Psalm 73:28.

 

—And the sea of care grows still

In the shining of Thy smile;

And Thy love’s all-quickening ray

Chases night and pain away,

That my heart grows light the while.

Wolfgang Christoph Dessler.

 

If we believe that God is always at hand, always ready to hear, surely we should take delight in telling Him all our little cares, and woes, and hopes, as they flit by.

H.L. Sidney Lear.

 

If you have not much time at your disposal, do not fail to profit by the smallest portions of time, which remain, to you. We do not need much time in order to love God, to renew ourselves in His Presence, to lift up our hearts towards Him, to worship Him in the depths of our hearts, to offer Him what we do and what we suffer.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

There is always time to look up to Him for His smile.

F.B. Meyer.

 

These frequent looks of the heart exceedingly sweeten and sanctify our other employments, and diffuse somewhat of heaven through all our actions.

Robert Leighton.

 

No, Not Forgotten

“Thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be for gotten of me.” Isa. 44:21

Our Jehovah cannot so forget His servants as to cease to love them. He chose them not for a time, but for ever. He knew what they would be when He called them into the divine family. He blots out their sins like a cloud; and we may be sure that He will not turn them out of doors for iniquities which He has blotted out. It would be blasphemy to imagine such a thing.

He will not forget them so as to cease to think of them. One forgetful moment on the part of our God would be our ruin. Therefore He says: “Thou shalt not be forgotten of me.” Men forget us: those whom we have benefited turn against us: we have no abiding place in the fickle hearts of men; but God will never forget one of His true servants. He binds Himself to us not by what we do for Him, but by what He has done for us. We have been loved too long, and bought at too great a price to be now forgotten. Jesus sees in us His soul’s travail, and that He never can forget. The Father sees in us the spouse of His Son, and the Spirit sees in us His own effectual work. The Lord thinketh upon us. This day we shall be succored and sustained. Oh, that the Lord may never be forgotten of us!