VIDEO Read and Obey

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

A mother helps her young daughter discover what happened to her first attempt at baking cookies. “Did you read the recipe carefully, sweetie?” the mom asks. “Yes, I read it twice before I made the cookies,” the disappointed daughter replies. “But, did you follow the recipe?” her wise mother asks.

We all know there is a difference between reading directions and following directions. Or, to use biblical terminology, there is a difference between hearing the Word and obeying the Word. When God prepared Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, He gave him a two-step recipe for success: Meditate (read carefully) on the Book of the Law and observe (obey) the Book of the Law. Only by following both steps would Joshua find God’s blessing for success.

We must follow Joshua’s example daily: Read God’s Word for the purpose of knowing how to walk in God’s ways. Reading and obeying is the recipe for blessing.

The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures will expect obedience to the Scriptures.  A. W. Tozer


Joshua 1-2 – Skip Heitzig

After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land. As we begin our study in the book of Joshua, we learn that though the Israelites had failed to trust in God’s promises in the past, they were now ready to step out in faith and claim their covenant.

All Roads?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6

“Don’t get on the expressway!” That text came from my daughter one day as I was leaving work. The highway home had become a virtual parking lot. I began trying alternate routes, but after experiencing gridlock on other roads, I gave up. The trip home would have to wait till later in the day, so I drove in the opposite direction to an athletic event my granddaughter was involved in.

Discovering that no roads would lead me home made me think about people who say that all roads lead to an eternal relationship with God. Some believe the road of kindness and good behavior will get you there. Others choose the road of doing religious things.

Relying on those roads, however, leads to a dead end. There’s only one road to take to God’s eternal presence. Jesus clarified this when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He was revealing that He was going to die to open the way for us to enter His Father’s house—to His presence and the real life He provides for today and eternity.

Skip the blocked highways that don’t lead to God’s presence. Instead, trust Jesus as Savior, for “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (3:36). And for those who already believe in Him, rest in the way He’s provided.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

Why is it vital to know that only Jesus can save us? Why are we prone to try to add to what it takes to be welcomed into His family?

Dear God, I want to trust You for eternity. Thank You for the salvation found in Jesus alone.

Read about the difference between relationship with Jesus and religion at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0215.

Purify Your Heart

James 4:7-10

Once we have received Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we are clean in His eyes. But that doesn’t mean we will never sin again (John 13:9-10). As we live in this world, we’ll continue to exhibit some fleshly patterns—at times thinking wrong thoughts, making hurtful comments, having inappropriate attitudes, and behaving foolishly. That’s why continual cleansing from sin is important. 

James gives us a process by which we can purify our hearts. When we resist the devil, mourn for our sin, and humbly draw near to God in submission, our Father is always faithful to forgive and cleanse us. Confession and repentance are like a spiritual shower that washes away the filth of sin so we can be clean and renewed (1 John 1:9).

Ephesians 5:25-26 speaks of cleansing the church “by the washing of water with the word.” Scripture acts like a sharp sword that convicts us, reveals our hidden sins, and teaches how to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

Let’s follow James’s advice today by submitting to God and renewing our minds with His truth. I pray that we can perceive and understand the Lord’s ways—and be confident of our salvation and eternal security despite our failures.

Whosoever Will

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

One could not imagine a more clearcut invitation to receive God’s free gift of eternal life than this final climactic invitation of the Bible. Anyone who is thirsting for the water of life may come and drink freely, for Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). Whosoever will may come! “There is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11, plus about seven other references), and the Scriptures abound with “whosoever” assurances.

“Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26). “Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).

“Jesus Christ the righteous:…is the propitiation…for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Therefore, “by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18).

Such promises as these (and many more in the Word of God) make it very clear that the substitutionary death of Christ is sufficient to “[take] away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), that salvation and eternal life are offered as a free gift of God’s grace to anyone who will accept it, and that anyone who will may come! It is only the voluntary act of our own wills that is required, but there are many of whom Jesus must say: “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). HMM

Been Hearing from God?

Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of [John] in Jordan, confessing their sins. —Matthew 3:5-6

Let me give you some reasons why I believe God could honor John the Baptist in that day in which he lived.

First, John had the ability to live and meditate in solitude. He knew the meaning of quietness. He was in the desert until the time of his showing forth unto Israel as a prophet. He came out of his lonely solitude to break the silence like a drumbeat or as the trumpet sounds. The crowds came—all gathered to hear this man who had been with God and who had come from God.

In our day we just cannot get quiet enough and serene enough to wait on God. Somebody has to be talking. Somebody has to be making noise. But John had gone into the silence and had matured in a kind of special school with God and the stars and the wind and the sand….

I do not believe it is stretching a point at all to say that we will most often hear from God in those times when we are silent.   CES130-131

Oh, Lord, help me to carve out of my busy schedule some time with “God and the stars and the wind and the sand.” Amen.

Kneel, Adore and Obey Him

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me….If ye love me, keep my commandments. —John 14:6, 15

Truth is forever the same, but modes and emphases and interpretations vary. It is a cheering thought that Christ can adapt Himself to any race or age or people. He will give life and light to any man or woman anywhere in the world regardless of doctrinal emphasis or prevailing religious customs, provided that man or woman takes Him as He is and trusts Him without reservation.

The Spirit never bears witness to an argument about Christ, but He never fails to witness to a proclamation of Christ crucified, dead and buried, and now ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high.

The conclusion of the matter is that we should not assume that we have all the truth and that we are mistaken in nothing. Rather we should kneel in adoration before the pierced feet of Him who is the Truth and honor Him by humble obedience to His words. BAM079

The first [principle and condition of divine guidance] is a surrendered spirit. Next, there must be a readiness to obey. He will not give us light unless we mean to follow it. WCC77

Interpreting the Scriptures

2 Peter 1:19-21

What are the guiding principles by which we interpret the Scriptures? How shall we know that what we believe is true? A sound foundational method is needed, and I contend that our own Wesleyan heritage provides that method for us with what is termed the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. As the name suggests, it identifies four keys for establishing Christian truth and doctrine: the Bible first, and then the interpretation of the Bible by tradition, reason and experience.

John Wesley held that Scripture has the first and ultimate authority, as the Reformers had taught before him. However, people interpret Scripture from various perspectives, and Wesley believed that the three major perspectives should be tradition, reason and experience.

The tradition of the church is of vital importance in determining theological truth. We need to look not only to our own church history, and not only to Wesleyan history. We must look to the tradition and teaching of the historic, orthodox Church and learn from that tradition.

Reason is also of utmost importance. People are mistaken when they pit experience against reason, as though we can serve God with our hearts but not with our minds. God is the creator of our minds as well as our feelings. He has given us the capacity to reason, and our minds are redeemed at the moment of salvation just as much as any other aspect of us. Full intention of the Scriptures will never be realized without careful study and thoughtful interpretation.

Finally, our experience has a contribution to make. Not the primary contribution. Too often Christian people make experience the chief means by which they interpret the Bible, their touchstone of theology. In experience there is both a danger and glory. The danger is that our experiences and feelings come and go. They can beget all kinds of strange and wonderful thoughts, as well as strange interpretations of biblical texts.

The glory is that God works through our feelings and emotions and accepts them as part of the way we understand Him. He has implanted in us a heart with which to worship, a mouth to praise Him, hands to clap, feet to dance and imagination to create in rejoicing in God our Savior. We rejoice in our experiences when we recognize their place in our lives. However, we recognize that there is no sustaining power in experience without Scripture, tradition and reason.

Roger J. Green, The War Cry