Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31, 2012 … Who, … Me?

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Judges, Chapters 6-7 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Judges 6: 13-17 … 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” … 14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” … 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” … 16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” … 17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” … And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”

My Journal for Today: Okay, in my chronological study through Judges, I arrived at one of my favorite characters, … Gideon in Chapters 6-7. And maybe I so closely identify with this God-selected Judge because he is so like me when God pursued me and called me out for His kingdom and His service. That comparison testimony is far too long a story to journal here this morning; but a couple of points of description are in order.

First, I identify with Gideon because, when God called him out, he recognized how weak he was. He was hiding from the world (i.e., the Midianite oppressors), recognizing his own spiritual weakness. Even when God’s angel came to Gideon (which BTW may have been a theophany of Jesus), as you can read above, Gideon acknowledged how weak he felt he was. That was me in the early 1980s.

Secondly, God saw much more in Gideon than this fearful recruit saw in himself. The Angel called him a “mighty warrior (or hero)” in Judges 6: 12; and Gideon basically said, “No way, Dude!” to that. And this was also like me back when I had an encounter with God’s Spirit in April of 1983 when I finally surrendered to the Lord much as Gideon finally did after a lot of questioning and struggle of faith.

And finally, Gideon just couldn’t see himself in the role of God’s “mighty warrior;” and that was certainly the way I balked when God called me into His kingdom service of ministry and eldership in our church … even after being a declared and seasoned as a disciple of Christ well into the 1990s.

So, I really identify with this fearful, broken-down believer in whom God saw something which called this man into service for God and God’s kingdom. … My friend, I hope you recognize that any who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior are called into some purpose of kingdom service. If for no other calling, there is the “Great Commission” (I hope you know Matt. 28: 19-20); and there is the calling to witness in Acts 1:8. And then there is the calling to use the Spirit-given gift (or gifts) we Christians have been given to serve the Lord for His glory (see Rom. 12, 1st Cor. 12, and Eph. 4, where the charge to our gifting is documented). And finally, we believers are all called into the battles with our spiritual enemies in the spiritual warfare we all find ourselves daily (see Ephesians 6: 10-20).

So, we’re all called out as was Gideon; and when we recognize these callings, we probably all feel a bit like Gideon when we recognize and acknowledge how weak we are … in-and-unto ourselves. But the truth is what Gideon was to discover, as did many others in the pages of the Bible … that we are God’s heroes. And the truth is … God’s calling is His enablement. God’s word says it over and over again.

Again, as I have in the past, I site … Isaiah 41: 10 … Rom. 8: 28 … 1st Cor. 10: 13 … 2nd Cor. 12: 9 … Phil. 4: 13 … 2nd Tim. 1: 7 …and … 2nd Pet. 1: 3 … all of which tell us, just a the Angel convinced Gideon, that anyone called into service for God will be given all the enlightenment, enablement, and empowerment needed to carry out the purpose which God has called us to accomplish for His glory. Gideon became God’s victorious warrior (see Judges, Chapter 7 – linked above); and so can we be!

Dear one, I hope you know, believe, and are applying all those scriptural truths I’ve referred you to above; and let’s all take heart from the story of Gideon … that we can be God’s heroes when we believe God’s calling through His word and we act on His will for our lives.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I do want to be Your hero and serve You for Your glory. Amen

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30, 2012 … And the Beat Goes On … and On … and On

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Judges, Chapters 3-5 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Judges 3: 1-7 … 1 These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. … 5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. … 7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.

My Journal for Today: Back in the 60s, a time when I was off to college and feeling my oats, and separating myself from my relationship with God, a rather comical couple, Sonny and Cher, wrote and sang their signature song back then, And the Beat Goes On. If you’re too young to remember them singing it, here’s a link for a You Tube segment of that great 60s hit.

And what, you say, does that have to do with Chapters 3-5 of the book of Judges? Well, in these chapters we have the beginnings of a beat and refrain which began in Israel when Joshua took the Israelites into the promised-land and continued on with a repetitive chorus of sinful, disobedient living for over 300 years. And here, in these chapters of Judges I was led to read today, we see this pattern beginning.

Israel does “… evil in the sight of the Lord;” … God sends a JUDGE to rescue His people; … the people are shown the error of their ways – usually through some defeat or subjugation on the part of the pagan peoples who had not been eliminated from the promised lands as God had commanded; … God’s people repent, … which is followed by some years of peace and pridefulness, allowing again for the worship of pagan gods like the Baals or the Asherahs (see above in verse 7). And as you read ahead in Judges … “the beat goes on” … and on … and on.

Six periods of Judges – 12 Judges; … and the people, even though they would be given a leader, even a Judge like Deborah, whom we read about in today’s chapters, … a judge who broke all the norms of the culture being a female national leader, … but God gave His sinful, disobedient children a way out of their idolatrous living … over and over again; … and they kept falling into repetitive and redundant patterns of sinful, idolatrous living.

Maybe you have had or now have some stronghold of sin which has been the “beat which goes on” in your life. For some it may be drugs or alcohol; … for others it may be gambling or shopping: … for others – especially in this culture – it may be an obsessive/compulsive habit of viewing p0rnography. I was wrapped up in that one for over 22 years of my life before I came to know Christ as my Lord; and even now the beat goes on in my life in the area of gluttony, … my recurring bondage to my eating desires. I really don’t know what this beat may be in any of your lives; but I do know that the Book of Judges is, as I wrote yesterday, a mirror for our lives today; … and yes, in our sin natures, “the beat goes on.”

BUT (again, a very big “but”), … just as we read in Judges, if we’re willing to seek the LORD, just as in Judges, God never leaves nor forsakes His people; and for us, He sent His own Son as the final Judge, … the ultimate Redeemer, … the One Who shed His blood so that the beat of sinful living never has to go on in the life of a believer.

Yes, I still struggle with my sin nature; and yes, I still sing “the beat goes on” with regard to my pridefulness and my pursuit of the flesh. But when I choose to receive and use the grace which God has provided me in His final JUDGE, Jesus Christ, I have the song stopper; and that beat NEVER needs to go on in my life again.

We’re going to see more of this refrain as we proceed through the book of Judges; … so, get ready as the “beat goes on!”

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to sing Your son and not the song of my flesh which desires that the “beat go on.” Amen

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29, 2012 … Again and Again and Again …

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Judges, Chapters 1-2 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Judges 1: 21-36… To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Judges 1: 21 … The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.

My Journal for Today: Okay, for those who’ve trekked with me chronologically through the book of Joshua, we’ve been reading of promised-land conquest. Now, we move on into a period of over 300 years of cyclical failure and redundant disobedience as I’m led into the book of Judges, the first two chapters of which I’ve linked anyone reading with me this morning.

And if you’ve ever studied the six chronicled periods of the Judges in this book, it’s not easy reading, is it? In fact it’s like God holding a crystal clear mirror of truth in front of us, saying to believers, who look into His mirror, … “See what happens when you disobey!” I hope you take the time to read through these first two chapters; and when you do, you’ll get the picture of what’s to come in the entire book. … God has laid out the promised-land from His covenant promise; and even knowing that obedience to God’s ways and His will is the price the people will have to pay for God’s provision and protection, God’s chosen ones disobey, … over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Notice I said “over” six times, because that represents the six periods of judges represented in this book of the Bible, where twelve “judges” had to be sent after each of the six periods of disobedience to give the people the leadership they would need to get back on track and follow their God.

And as I said, the book of Judges is like a mirror of truth as we redeemed sinners read it, because in the history of Judges we see ourselves and the failures of our own recurring sinfulness; and we see, almost like a series of videos, how God, the heavenly Father, never leaves nor forsakes His children, … and how His mercy and grace keeps pursuing His beloved. And ultimately as the Old Covenant yields to the New, we know of God’s ultimate rescue mission, … where He sends His Son to save us all.

And as often happens, God gives me remembrance of a song to seal His love in my quiet time. I hope you take a few minutes in reading my journal into Judges to click on this link and listen to Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing one of my favorite songs of Christian blessing and God’s loving grace.

But in future days, we’ll continue to see ourselves in the Judges mirror of truth; though I’m afraid, my dear one, it’s not going to be a pretty picture.

My Prayer Today: … LORD, thank You for staying with me. Thank You for pursuing me. Thank You for rescuing me. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for redeeming me. Amen

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28, 2012 … Say It Again, Josh!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 22-24 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua 1: 1-9… To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 22: 4-5 … 4 Now that the LORD your God has given them rest as He promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses, the servant of the LORD, gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Highlight Reference Passage #2 : Joshua 23: 6-8 … 6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now.
Highlight Reference Passage #3 : Joshua 24: 14-15 … 14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 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.”

My Journal for Today: Today in my chronological reading plan, we’re closing out on the Book of Joshua – the last three chapters. And in reading and meditating through them, a theme resounded out of redundancy from words God gave Joshua right back in the first nine verses of Joshua’s book.

Remember God’s pep talk to Joshua in Joshua 1: 1-9, as the LORD was encouraging the leader of God’s chosen just before they were to cross the Jordan and enter the promised-land? If you don’t recall those words, I’ve provided a link to that passage above. But when you study that directive of encouragement from the Lord, you will read many of the same words/thoughts which Joshua used to commission and encourage the people to move forward in their lives after they had taken the promised-land.

Meditate on the three highlight passages I’ve copied for you above; and you’ll see how Joshua mirrored the instructions God had given to him before the land was taken. And when you study Joshua’s charge to the people, you realize that this is God’s bottom-line charge to all of us, just as it was (and IS) Jesus’ bottom-line instruction for us as we live in God’s promises today.

And isn’t it wonderful symmetry that Joshua’s name in Hebrew is “Yeshua,” which, of course, is the translated Hebrew name for “Jesus.” And here they both are giving us the same choices as we cross over the Jordan river of our lives, and in repentance, leaving behind the old life, we live in the promised-land which the LORD has for us.

Joshua laid it out very clearly for the people [in Joshua 22: 5] … “…be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses, the servant of the LORD, gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” And then old Joshua, just before he died, told the people ever so clearly where he stood; and we quote him from one of the most oft-quoted passages in Joshua’s memoirs, … [written in Joshua 24: 15] "… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

And that, my dear one and fellow follower of the LORD, it is our choice as well this day. Whom will we serve? And my friend … as for me, I choose to follow Joshua … Yeshua … Jesus!

My Prayer Today: … LORD, I follow You!!! Amen

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 2012 … God Is A Promise Keeper

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 19-21 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 21: 43-45 … 43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Highlight Reference Passage : Numbers 23: 19 … [God speaking through Balaam, the sorcerer prophet] 19 God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?

My Journal for Today: I’m forging on today in my chronological read through the Bible in a bit of darkness. The website at which I follow the reading plan is down this morning; so, based on past patterns of reading in the plan, I’m just leveling a guess that Day 87 of the reading plan will take me to Joshua, Chapters 19-21 - linked for your co-study above.

Actually, the fact that my internet shepherd seems to be darkened this morning presents an interesting word picture; because the internet, which we rely upon so heavily these days may be defective/broken for select websites; but God’s word is never broken or defective. Therefore, though my web shepherd may be down this morning, God’s word is always up. So, my moving on my own into more chapters of Joshua’s book, can not and will not lead me astray because I am reading the always true word of God; and He will always have something true and purposeful for me because I’m reading from and meditating on God’s very word. That’s His promise to me from Isaiah 55: 11 and 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17; and I believe it!!!

So, today in these three chapters of Joshua, right at the end of Chapter 21 – in verses 43-45, we read the highlight statement from God which stood out so much for me that I copied it in bold/underlined text above. And it’s worthy of repetition: “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”

And immediately, when I read that verse today, up from my memory archive of verses bubbled the other highlight verse I’ve quoted this morning, which was God speaking through a rather weird source, … Balaam, the sorcerer prophet, who was chosen by God to bring a message directly from God to a pagan king. And you may recall, in Numbers 22, Balaam became convinced of God’s power and truth when he had a speaking encounter with his own donkey. And then, we read of God using the witness and words of a pagan prophet to speak truth to a pagan ruler and to all of mankind as documented in God’s word. Amazing, isn’t it!!!

And when we take both of the truths spoken in those passages above to heart, we strongly realize that our God is a promise-keeper God. And when our God makes promises, He keeps them [!], … not necessarily the way we might want them fulfilled and in the timing we might arrange for them to be fulfilled. But God keeps HIS promises, … in HIS manner, … and in His timing.

Think about it. If you were God and you had promised to Israel that you would give them a promised land, would you have chosen a former murder and disgraced Hebrew who had become a lowly shepherd to lead your people out of slavery in Egypt? … Would you have marched these chosen ones through the desert wilderness for 40 years to purge all the bad apples from the twelve tribes? … Would you – as GOD - have taken residence in a tent as you led the people through the wilderness? … Would you, knowing that these people were going to fail – miserably – allow them to go onward into the land you had promised them? … And finally, would you – as their LORD – give up your only Son in the Godhead to save these pitiful, miserable sinners?

“No,” on all counts, right? Or maybe you’re saying, “I just don’t know what I’d do if I were God.” And that would be “RIGHT ON!” my brother or sister Christian. We can’t know what God will do; because God is God and we are not! (see Isaiah 55: 8-9) But God, being God, will do things HIS way in HIS time and by HIS will, as documented in HIS word, to accomplish what HE promises. And that’s the message we all need to take away from this trek through truth today.

God gives His promises; … DONE DEAL! He says, it … we believe it!! And it’s not our place, as His chosen ones, … to question the Master’s will and His way and His timing. If God promises that we are going to be completed in His image (see Phil. 1: 6), it’s going to happen … in HIS way and in HIS timing. What we need to do when we have the promises of God (and we do – in His word) is to seek them, to believe them, and to actively wait for them to transpire … as God meets them out in His time and in His way.

My Prayer Today: … My dear LORD, You are my promise keeper! Amen

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 … They Did Not Drive Them Out

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 16-18 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 16: 9-10 … 9 It also included all the towns and their villages that were set aside for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites. … 10 They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.

My Journal for Today: If you’ve been reading along with me chronologically through our Bible this year, you’ve noted that God, in these passages in Joshua, instructs the people – VERY CLEARLY – that He will help them eradicate all the peoples who occupied the lands that the Israelites would take as they entered and settled in the promised-land. For example, you can read such an instruction in Joshua 13: 6. BUT, (yes, another very big “BUT”), God’s people had to choose to follow God … or not!

And as we read above, the two tribes from the family of the patriarch, Joseph, the Ephraimites and the Manassites, who actually got a double portion in the inheritance of the lands, were unwilling to follow God’s instructions and, in disobedience to God, they “… did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer.” And because of taking the Canaanites as slaves rather than following God’s command to eradicate these pagans, these two tribes never were able to live in peace, covered by the promises of God in their inherited portions in the promised-land.

I know it’s tough to read of our God instructing His people to wipe out and kill ALL of the peoples who were living in the promised-land as His chosen people took the lands under Joshua. But God’s plan was HIS plan; and He knew what was best for His people to avoid the pagan practices of worship and living practiced by the non-believers who occupied the lands which God was taking and distributing to His chosen peoples.

I hope all can see the application here for all of us. God wants us to COMPLETELY wipe out all ungodliness and unholiness from our lives as we march forward in life, leaving no such remnants of the ungodliness of the world in the process. This, in essence, was the instruction of the Apostle Paul to God’s people which we read in Romans 12: 1-2; and maybe you have this passage memorized; but if not, here it is copied for your meditation below [in the NKJV, which is my memory version] …

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

My dear ones, … my brothers/sisters in Christ, … God wants us to eradicate every remnant of unholiness, i.e., worldliness, from our lives once we cross over our “Jordan,” and we choose to make Jesus the LORD of our lives. And as our Lord, Jesus, makes it clear (in Luke 9: 23) that we’re to deny our selves and follow Him and live life HIS way, following HIS will, as we march toward HIS promised-land in heaven.

We simply (though never easily) must eradicate ALL the pagan practices of those who will try to influence us in ungodly ways as we take God’s promised-land. I’ll leave it to you to inventory your life, as I’m doing this morning, to see if we are driving all the ungodliness from our lives by worshipping our God in obedience to His way, avoiding the influence of the world in our lives.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to purify ALL in me to conform to Your holiness. Amen

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25, 2012 … No Retirement In God’s Kingdom

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 12-15 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 13: 1 … When Joshua had grown old, the LORD said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”

Highlight Review Passage : Joshua 14: 10-12 … 10 [Caleb’s witness] … “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

My Journal for Today: In reading and meditating through Chapters 12-15 of the Book of Joshua this morning, two passages (highlighted above) struck me emotionally, personally, and – I believe- spiritually. And they were saying to me – from God’s Spirit, I believe – … “Bill, don’t let Satan turn you out, feeling that you deserve retirement from the work I’ve called you to do; because I, your God, need you to do what I have prepared and purposed you to do for My glory.”

Sometimes, I have to admit that I get wrapped in feelings of entitlement, … thinking, … “Well, I’ve worked hard on the front-lines of spiritual warfare for a lot of years; and I’m getting up in age; and my strength is waning somewhat in my latter years.” But then, I read these highlighted passages above, which remind me of two of God’s great warriors, Joshua and Caleb. And as I meditate here this morning, I remember the life of Moses as well, who carried God’s banner of glory well beyond his 100th year.

Bottom-line lesson today for me [and maybe for you];… God can use anyone at any age for any task which HE lays out for us to do as part of HIS plan for HIS glory. So, … though I might be tired and even a bit broken down physically, if God has called me to go to battle for His Name and His glory, he’s going to supply me with all I need to accomplish what He has to do for me. And as I’m declaring this, a number of passages from God’s word bubble into my consciousness to lift me up and give me strength and courage.

And I hope you, who are reading here with me, will be encouraged by Isaiah 41: 10 … 1st Cor. 10: 13 … Phil. 4: 13 … 2nd Cor. 12: 9 … 2nd Timothy 1: 7 … and 2nd Peter 1: 3. And if you can meditate on the stories in the highlight passages from Joshua above, as well as these truths from God’s word which I’ve documented here, I pray that, since we all have God’s charge of witness (in Acts 1: 8) as well as God’s GREAT COMMISSION (in Matt. 28: 19-20), we must move onward, … ignoring feelings of inadequacy and weariness, to carry out what God has purposed for us to do for His glory. Remember one last passage from the Apostle Paul – go to Galatians 6: 7-10 - linked here – and taking in all of this … ONWARD FOR CHRIST!!!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, lift me beyond feelings of “retirement” and onward to action as long as you have purposed me to work for Your kingdom. Amen

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012 … Keeping our Vows [Lesson #2]

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 9-11 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 9: 16-21 … 6 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. >>> The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.
Highlight Review Passage : Numbers 30: 1-2 … 1 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: "This is what the Lord commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said. …”

My Journal for Today: Ever made a promise that you wanted to take back because you knew, after making it, the oath or vow was a mistake? Well, that’s what happened to Joshua and the Israelite leaders when they made a deal with a tribe of Hivites from Gibeon. These Gibeonites were clever and conned the Israelite leaders into giving these Hivites a covenant of promise that Joshua would spare them. Read about it in Chapter 9 of Joshua, linked above.

But even though Joshua was under the instructions of God, through Moses, to destroy all of those in the lands occupied in the promised-land, having been duped by the Gibeonites and having made a vow of mercy to them, Joshua – in our highlight passage of today – convinces the Israelites and gives instructions that the Gibeonites were to be spared.

Some days back in my chronological reading plan, I blogged on this principle of integrity which God honors so highly. If you go back to this link and read my blog of March 6, 2012, you’ll see my exposition about God’s desire that we keep our word when we promise something to Him or to someone. And in today’s scenario, even though Joshua was under the definite and clear instructions from God to wipe out the people in the taking of the promised-land, Joshua – even though he had been conned – was bound to keep his word to the Gibeonites.

This is yet another reason to follow what Jesus would later teach His disciples (see Matthew 5: 33-3733 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

But why do you think it was so important for Joshua to honor the promise he had made to the deceitful Gibeonites over the promised he had made to God Himself to eradicate all of the peoples who occupied the promised-land? And the answer is in the character of God Himself. God is a promise-keeping God; and when He makes a promise to His people, He keeps it; and He expects the same promise-keeping character from His people which He models for us as a promise-keeping God.

And so, even though a mistake was made and the Gibeonites where able to pull a fast-one on Joshua, the Israelite leaders were bound to keep their vow of mercy to these specific people; and we are bound to keep our vows to God and to others, especially when we make a promise. Hopefully, two blogs full of this principle is enough for me to really get it and to live it as God intends for all of us to live … as His promise-keeping peoples.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to be a promise-keeper - … ALWAYS! Amen

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012 … Our Commander in Chief

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 5-8 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 7: 24-26 … 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.” >>> Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from His fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

My Journal for Today: Reading through Joshua’s Book, chapters 5-8 today, we see how God began to assert Himself on behalf of His chosen people as Joshua began to assert God’s power in taking the lands God had promised to His people. They marched across the Jordan, with miracles happening in their march; and hearing about these miracles, the Canaanites folded before them; and of course, we know the so oft repeated story of how the walled-city of Jericho fell in the wake of God’s, power, chronicled in Joshua, Chapter 6.

Then in Chapter 7 of Joshua’s book, there is the troubling story of one of the leaders of God’s people, Achan, … who, after the defeat of Jericho and against God’s specific instructions, stole some of the spoils of Jericho which, according to God’s instructions were to be thoroughly destroyed and left behind. Nothing was to be taken into the lives and culture of God’s people from the leavings when Joshua led God’s army to victory. In this way, God’s people would not be impure and involved in the covetous culture of the pagans the Israelites defeated.

The story of what happened to Achan and his family is a tough one to abide as we view our God as a loving God so full of grace and mercy. But we must never forget that, though our God truly is a God of grace, He is also a God Who is jealous of His holiness; and the Lord will not abide anything which defiles that holiness. Note that the effects of Achan’s sin, which was felt by an entire nation. Achan’s sin even dampened the power of God’s army in going up against the men of Ai; and Joshua’s army sustained a temporary set-back against these Canaanites until the sins of Achan could be eradicated from the midst of the Israelites.

Sometimes, we underestimate the effects of what can seem like such a momentary and minor-league lapse into sin; and then, in dealing with the after-effects of the sin, we come to realize that no sin against God, … no disobedience of His will, … no transgression of God’s word is unimportant or trivial. And do not be surprised if the ramifications of one’s sin can overflow into carnal damage involving one’s entire family – as was the case with the stoning of Achan’s family along with his own punishment.

The overflow circumstances from sin can be devastating; and I have seen that in the ministry I lead where men, who “dabble” in sexual sin, when it’s uncovered, will often see their marriage severely damaged, their ability to parent dampened significantly, and often irreparable damage sustained in leading God’s ministries/missions. Cases like Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, and others are more modern, Achan-like, stories where one’s short-term, selfish, sexual sin has enormous consequences for God’s people and a crippling effect upon the family of the sin-tarnished Christian leader.

I hope we all read and internalize these chapters, and especially the story of Achan, realizing that one cannot “dabble” in sin without reaping the potential whirlwind of circumstances which can result when that any sin choices which are revealed. May we all walk-the-walk of purity so that we can march toward the promised-land in the strength of a purified relationship with our Lord.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, that is my prayer today. Amen

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012 … The Prescription for Spiritual Success

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 1-4 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Added Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua 1: 1-9 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 1: 8 … Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

My Journal for Today: My chronological read in the Bible today takes me from the “Book of the Law,” i.e., the first five books of the Bible, penned by Moses, into the chronicle of God’s people, led by Joshua, moving into the promised-land. And the highlight passage from these four chapters, which I was led to read/study today, and to which you’re linked above, was easy for me to pick. Joshua 1: 8, which was God’s specific prescription to Moses for spiritual success, is a passage which has helped to shape my life; and hence I have a particular personal/emotional investment in this blog this morning.

First, the key verse today lies at the outset of Joshua’s charge and encouragement – by God Himself – for Moses’ hand-picked leader to take the people across the Jordan, moving from what is now the country of Jordan into the designated and God-given promised-land in what we now know of as Israel. This was certainly a daunting task for the man who had been Moses’ right-hand warrior and co-leader for so many years. But here was Joshua, tagged as the complete and singular leader of God’s people; and he wasn’t used to wearing the mantle of leadership which Moses had held. So, at the outset of Joshua 1, verses 1-9, we read of God’s pep-talk to Joshua, encouraging him with a remembrance of the covenant that God would give Joshua and the people every parcel of property where they walked into the new land; and with their obedience to His word – past and present – God would be with Joshua in all he did.

But the highlight verse today, Joshua 1: 8, is key in this task directive God imparts to Joshua. And the Lord tells Joshua that for this task to which Joshua has been selected by God, Joshua must discipline himself to be in and stay in God’s word (and that would be those first five books of the Bible) day and night, being “… careful to do everything written in it;” … and if Joshua did this, God promised him success and power in carrying out God’s charge [i.e., His will].

My reading friend, I hope you can see the immediate application for you and me for this prescription for success when we are moving in life across whatever Jordan we must cross and when we move through life toward God’s promised-land. But whenever we know where God is leading us (i.e., His will or direction for our lives), it usually involves some decision to cross a “Jordan River” in our lives. Perhaps you know that you need to begin living in a manner which involves courage to change some habit or lifestyle pattern. At one point in my life I knew that God wanted me to turn from pursuing sexual sin and other habitual patterns of idolatry and/or covetousness in my life. The decision to repent and move from ungodly behavior to Godly behavior was my “Jordan.” Well, it was a mentor, the Moses in my life, who helped me, as his Joshua, to see the application of Joshua 1: 8 to the task that God was laying out for me … i.e., to be obedient and follow Him (much like Jesus instructed His disciples in Luke 9: 23).

So, using the instruction and personal interpretation of Joshua 1: 8 for the life choices which lay ahead of me, my mentor helped me realize that I was going to have to be in and stay in God’s word daily and continuously, letting God’s word and His purpose guide me, … much as is put forth in other Scriptures like Isaiah 55: 11 and 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17. So, needing desperately to reform my life under God’s will and direction and away from fleshly pursuits, with the help of my mentor, I got involved in a rigorous daily scripture memory process; and he helped me begin and develop the discipline of a daily morning Bible-led devotional, where I would be in God’s word daily and getting God’s word deeply into my being in a disciplined way. And that, my friends, is the essence of what God was instructing Joshua to do to be successful in carrying out the will God had for his life.

My dear one, how much is God’s word a part of your pursuing personal success with regard to God’s will in your life? Is there some task or direction which you know God is leading you toward; but you have retained selfish desires to satisfy your flesh rather than fulfilling God’s will successfully? Well, if so, have you tried carrying out and following through with the Joshua 1: 8 prescription?

And one of the scripture passages I was given by my mentor to contextualize, memorize, and internalize years ago was Psalm 119: 9,…11, where God’s word states - How can a young man (i.e., an immature Christian) cleanse his way? … By taking head to Your word. … Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.

My friend, I don’t know about you; but I want to be a Christian who is successful in the way I live, avoiding sin in my life, and being able to live in fulfillment of God’s will. And today’s prescription for success in living this way is the same for me (and for you) as it was for Joshua; and if we desire to be successful as “Christians,” being in, living in, and living out God’s word is the key to that success.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, Lord, how I desire to stay in Your word everyday of my life, letting Your word guide me and empower me to be successful in shining Your light in a very dark world. Amen

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012 … Songs for Salvation

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 32-34 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Added Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Psalm 91 … To study thus Psalm, go to this link -

My Journal for Today: Yesterday, if you were with me in Deuteronomy 31, the last verse (i.e., vs 30) announced that Moses was about to sing/recite a song; and that song is found in its entirety in Deuteronomy, Chapter 32, to which you’re linked above for study. And at the end of Deut. 32, we read of God’s charge to Moses just before he was to die; and that is to go up to the peak of Mount Nebo and look out from what is now the country of Jordan westward into Israel; and for Moses and Joshua to survey visually where God was going to take His chosen ones … into their promised-land. I can just imagine that looking out over that landscape [which I’ve seem myself and captured in the photo below], Moses was inspired to write the song in Deut. 32 as well as the very encouraging words in what is generally attributed to him in Psalm 91, which is also part of my chronological reading for today.

I hope you take the time to go back and read the lyrics in these two songs, realizing that they were penned, with God’s Spirit-led inspiration, by a man who had gone through all of 120 years in his life, being prepared to lead God’s people out of Egypt, and then through all those challenging times in the wilderness with those grumbling people, right up to the Jordan river, where Moses had to lament that he would not be able, by God’s plan, to take even one step into that glorious promised-land. But when we read Deut. 32 and Psalm 91, we read songs of remembrance, psalms of the joy of God’s salvation, and great songs of God’s expectation and protection for His people.

When I was up on Mount Nebo a couple of years ago; and I was able to see (and photo) the glorious expanse of God’s promised-land [see below], I had a great sense of admiration for the faithfulness, loyalty, and “stickability,” which is my word for the courage of a leader of God’s people to pursue and follow God’s plan at all cost. And seeing that expanse of the land in Israel, I had to bow to a man, like Moses, who humbly stayed with God’s will even when he felt inadequate and the people’s overwhelming grumbling would have dissuaded almost any Godly leader.

And also in looking out at the promised-land, which God’s people still have not claimed completely, and thinking of Moses looking at the same scene, it helped me to see that there’s still so much more out there ahead of me in this life until God chooses to bring me into His final promised-land, … heaven. And Moses’ songs help me to be uplifted and encouraged no matter how much in this world can be discouraging.

I hope you’re uplifted in this way today, … especially as you read Moses’ songs of salvation and promise.

My Prayer Today: … Heavenly Father, guide me to Your great reward in the promised-land you have for me ahead. Amen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012 … Life or Death – The Choice is Before Us

Blogger’s note: I know this one is long; but trust me, it’s worth the read!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 30-31 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Deuteronomy 30: 1-6 … 1 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Highlight Reference Passage #2 : Deuteronomy 30: 11-16 … 11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. … 15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
Highlight Reference Passage #3 : Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 … 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

My Journal for Today: Today I was led to Chapters 30-31 of Deuteronomy; and I think I could write a small book in journaling on these chapters. In fact, as you see above, I had trouble limiting the highlighted passages that I really wanted you to read and study along with me this morning. And really God’s message – through Moses to His people – back in that day, when the people were about to follow Joshua into the promised-land, was quite stark … and really quite simple. Certainly I’m not saying it was easy, because God knew that His beloved and chosen people were going to fail Him; and for Moses and Joshua God even predicted that one day He, the Lord, would have to abandon His loved ones for a season for them to realize the consequences of their collective sin (to see this prediction, read Chapter 31 from the link above).

But God’s mercy and His promises are everlasting; and God will one day bring His recalcitrant Hebrew children into the promised-land; and so, in the meantime as the history of disobedience was to unfold in their future, as they crossed over the Jordan and were to follow Joshua into the promised-land, the people were reminded (again) of their options; and I charge you to read and meditate on those options in the Deut. 30: 19-20 above.

And my dear ones, who might be reading with me today, aren’t these the same choices that have today? In fact the Apostle Paul even reminded New Covenant Christians of this life-death choice when he wrote – for God – to the Romans (and now for all time to all Christians) in Romans 10: 5-8, and in doing so, he referred to the Deut. 30: 11-14 passage copied above for you.

By reading and meditating on the words of God through Moses and repeated later in history by Paul, we must realize that everyday we have these choices in front of us … obedience versus disobedience … life versus death … selfishness verses “Saviorness.” And so many times, our choice can seem so difficult. Yet, as Moses and Paul point out, it is really quite simple. Do we really believe God and His promises; or do we believe what Satan would want for us to believe? It was the same choice which Adam and Eve had in the garden, knowing God’s commands and being confronted by Satan. And we know the result of their choice, don’t we?

Today, you and I will confront something which says to us, “Okay, which choice will you make, … life or death … sinfulness or Saviorness?” And we’re going to have to make the same choice which was made by God’s people in response to the charge given to them as they were to march forward into the promised-land; and we know, from the Bible, how miserably they failed. But we also know, from the same Bible, that God has provided the perfect redemption and atonement for the sins of His people; and that redemption also comes from a choice. And oh how I pray you have made that choice … to receive God’s everlasting grace of salvation; and I pray that we’re marching – this very day TOGETHER – toward God’s promised-land.

Now, one last word, my friend; … I know, from experience, how easy it is to make sin choices and get so mired in habitual sin, walking far away from God, that you don’t feel you can choose to move back into a state of harmony with God. But my friends, God always has the choice of sinful death or eternally cleansed and blessed life out in front of us. And if we’re willing and able to make the “life choice” today in repentance, He’s ALWAYS ready to take us back in to His loving arms. That, of course, was the message of Christ’s wonderful and powerful “prodigal” parable, wasn’t it? And if you’ve been away from God for a season in your life; and you want to know what God has waiting for you IF you can make the choice to come back to Him today, listen to this wonderful song, performed by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, and relish in the love of God as He says to us this morning, “Come back home!”

Here’s the link to that song on You Tube; and I so hope you’ll take 5 minutes and be lifted up by the reality of God’s grace. And then if you have a few more minutes, listen to this song by the same group, singing of how God and His angels will celebrate when and if we can make the righteous choices He lays out for us today. And then one last link to a song in this little mini-concert about the grace of God when we choose the Savior over self.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I’m so grateful that You were willing to pursue me with Your grace and to give me the time to choose Your grace; and now I’m so grateful for Your patience in allowing me to become the Saint You are shaping me to become. Today, from the choices You will offer me, … I will choose LIFE! Amen

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012 … Choosing Our Course In Life

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 28-29 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Deuteronomy 28: 64-66 … 64 Then [if Israel disobeys God’s Covenant] the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. 65 Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. 66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.
Highlight Reference Passage #2 : Deuteronomy 28: 9 … Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.

My Journal for Today: Okay, Moses reviews and lays out God’s Covenant with His chosen people who’ve been purified in the wilderness for 40 years in preparation for their cross over into the promised-land; and when you read Chapters 28-29 of Deuteronomy, knowing what the people knew, hearing Moses lay out God’s promise for obedience and His warnings for disobedience, and looking ahead to the exciting promise of finally being able to claim what God had promised His people in the land across the Jordan, I just have to shake my head with ire as I read the prophetic promise and historically fulfilled truth in the first highlight passage in Deut. 28: 64-66.

Obviously, we know that God’s people did, in fact, disobey the Mosaic Covenant [see Deut. 29] and were dispersed all over the known world (Israel by the Assyrians and Judah by the Babylonians and then all of the Jews by the Romans). And we know that they have – for centuries – lived in oppression, awaiting the complete fulfillment of God’s promises, which we Christians know will take place when Jesus, the Messiah, returns for His Bride (i.e., His chosen peoples), … the Jews and His Church.

But I charge you today to read through what I studied this morning in these two chapters in Deuteronomy. If you were a family, hearing what Moses laid out by reviewing the consequences of obedience or disobedience to the Covenant God had given His chosen people, and you believed what Moses was saying as the very word of God, what would your choice be – obedience or disobedience?

>>> No brainer; right?!!

Well, then we have to ask ourselves, knowing what we know from having all of God’s word [i.e., our Bible] and having the New Covenant from the life, death, and resurrection of THE MESSIAH, why do so many today refuse to believe and live according to the word which God Himself says is the only truth we can rely upon in the world (see Numbers 23: 19, Isaiah 55: 11, and 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17)?

Duh! … We falter in this world – today – for the same reasons which God’s people faltered when they finally crossed over the Jordan and moved into the promised-land for the first time. And God did exactly what He said He would do – through Moses – by dispersing His chosen people into every corner of the world. And we know – from history – that His people have been chastened and challenged throughout known history, … just as God promised would happen. BUT – big “but” - God’s promise to His people, including that promise now available to those of us, through Christ, in the New Covenant, is still out there, awaiting all who believe in His Son, the bearer of the promise of eternal life.

And what we have ahead of us is to believe and to cross over our Jordan, from our past into our future, headed for the promised-land, our place in Heaven, which is reserved for us by the One Who shed His blood so that we could be saved from our own deceitful hearts. But we have to choose to believe and to live as God demands by His word. And when we do, we will become children of the promise, living in the light of His promised-land and avoiding all the pitfalls of death and despair which come from disobedience. I pray that you are living in that light and doing al you can – as am I – to be children of faith in the promise of life rather than those who must live in the despair produced by sin and death.
And if you have about five minutes and would like to tag on to this devotional a wonderful song about the promise which comes by living in the faith of Christ, go to this link and hear a great song, by Keith and Kristyn Getty, which will raise your faith and make your choice of obedience much stronger.

My Prayer Today: … Thank You, Lord, for pursuing me until I saw that believing and following Your light was my partially fulfilled promised-land in this life, and being realized completely in the next. Amen

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18, 2012 … Where’s the Fruit?

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 24-27 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage #1 : Deuteronomy 26: 16-19 … 16 The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.

Highlight Reference Passage #2 : Deuteronomy 27: 9-10 … 9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God. 10 Obey the LORD your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today.”

My Journal for Today: In the chapters I was led to read/study for my chronological read in Deuteronomy today (i.e., Chapters 24-27), Moses was reviewing the law for the people and laying out God’s protective guidelines (i.e., His rules and regulations for their living when they crossed into the promised-land). And the bottom-line charge to this sin-purged generation of Israelites was “obey and live as God’s mercy will provide; … disobey and die in ignominy.” And this is born out by the review declarations by Moses in the two highlighted study passages above.

Do you realize that if you, as have I, accepted Jesus Christ as your Messiah and Lord, you have crossed over the Jordan, leaving behind the old life of sin; and being cleansed by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God, you can walk into the promised-land, pure and clean, to become a light of God’s love as you take the land of eternal promise which our Lord has for us in Heaven. It’s the Apostle Paul’s promise in 2nd Cor. 5: 17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Okay, let’s say you’ve crossed over your own, personal Jordan River, declaring in your own mind of faith that Christ is the Lord of your life, … that He died on the cross to save you, and allow you to move into His promised-land of eternal life. So, therefore, as a promised-land disciple of Christ you believe and aspire to what Christ said of His followers (in Luke 9: 23: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” And, … you also know the truth of Christ’s proclaimed way to tell the real-deal Christian from the pseudo-christian, when he used the fruit-tree word picture, declaring, in Matt. 7: 20: 20 Therefore by their fruits [i.e., of false witnesses] you will know them.”

So, knowing what Moses declared to God’s family of believers about disobedience and obedience to His word; and also knowing what Jesus has said about His family of disciples, what fruit do we have in our lives to show that we are obedient disciples of the One Who, by His blood shed on the cross, has allowed us to cross over the Jordan river, leaving behind the wilderness of sin behind and claiming the life He has for us in His promised-land?

I will leave that question for you to ponder as you walk, prayerfully WITH Christ in this life, shining your fruit-bearing light to lead the way so that others can walk out of the darkness, cross over the Jordan river of faith, and walk themselves into the Promised-Land, showing clearly, by our fruit, that we are part of the family of God.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, my dear Lord, I pray that others see Your light shining in me and there is obvious fruit on my tree of life for others to see and sample, leading them to You by the way I live. Amen

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 17, 2012 … God’s Sex Talk

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 21-23 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Chronological Passage : Deuteronomy, Chapters 22: 13-30 … To study this passage, go to this link -
Highlight Reference Passage #2 : Colossians 3: 5-75 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
Highlight Reference Passage #3 : 1st Corinthians 6: 18-2018 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Highlight Reference Passage #4 : Ephesians 5: 3-6 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Highlight Reading #5 : Proverbs, Chapters 1 - 9 … To study this passage, go to this link -

My Journal for Today: Today’s chronological Bible reading has me (us) in Deuteronomy, Chapters 21-23, linked above for your reading; but the passage which hit me hard today was in Chapter 22: 13-30. And studying it bubbled up several other Bible passages from the Apostle Paul’s teaching in the NT as well as from Solomon’s proverbs; and I have referenced them above for your review and my discussion below.

Today, in our primary highlight passage, Moses was going through a number of the laws and practices which God needed to relay to His chosen people to help keep them on His pure and righteous pathway, especially after they were to enter the promised-land. And the section I’ve highlighted today reminded me of a father sitting down with his young son and giving him “the sex talk,” … much as Solomon was doing with his son in the latter referenced Proverbs, Chapters 1-9.

It is of interest to me – especially in light of the ministry God has led me to found and lead (see – to read the extent to which God’s word emphases the avoidance of sexual sin, both in the Old and New Testaments. God knows the sinful and disobedient nature of His fallen children; and He puts this much emphasis on the sins of the flesh, knowing how vulnerable we humans are to this particular stronghold of sin. And Satan knows it too; and God’s #1 enemy, who has been given a certain degree of reign over this world, has developed more and more sexually oriented weapons to come against God’s people, using sexual temptations and minefields to bring down the children who would desire to follow God’s way and His will.

So, God through Moses and Solomon under the Old Covenant and the Apostle Paul under the New Covenant, laid out strong warnings for God’s people, through God’s written laws and word , charging God’s children to exercise their free-will and to avoid letting the body be a vehicle of disobedience and desecration against God.

And the applications in today’s world, reading and mediating on the Scriptures I’ve highlighted above, speak, from God’s very own word, as to His purpose to have His children to do all they (we) can to avoid falling into Satan’s tarpit of sexual sin. And it would take a fool not to be able to see how strongly Satan and the world uses this strategy of sexual temptations to distract the attention of the unsaved away from God’s call and to discourage the saved from being able to live and witness with purity the life God desires for His children.

Today’s “triple-X industry,” as I call it, is a fortified cadre of sexualized super-weapons which attempts to lure people away from the purposes of God. And for 22 years of my own life, before I came to know Christ as my Lord/Savior, I was deeply bound up in my own habitual pursuit of selfish sexual pleasures. And even now, living in Christ and having been delivered from that past of habitual sexual sin, I have to arm myself EVERY DAY to do battle in a world which tries to distract me, especially as men are so visually and sexually driven, away from the empowering grace God, in Christ, provides for me to make Godly rather than ungodly choices. Every day is a battle in this hypersexual world; and that’s the reason we call our ministry Battle Plan Ministry; and we’ve been called and anointed by God to help Christians, especially men, walk strongly and with purity in Satan’s world … a world which is set up to bring them (us) down.

I hope I don’t need to give you, my beloved, God’s sex-talk. Because God’s word, highlighted above, does it with far more authority than I can write here warning you to DO WHAT GOD SAYS to live a life which shines God’s light of purity into a very darkened world.

So, … my last assignment – and one of God’s strongest sex-talks – is to study through Solomon’s warning to his son, linked above in Proverbs, Chapters 1-9, where Solomon, speaking for God, the Father, lays out one of God’s strongest warnings to walk circumspectly in this world, avoiding all of the pitfalls and temptations which Satan will use to lure us into his tarpits of sexual sin.

I am praying that we all take heed to God’s sex-talk and walk in a way which glorifies our Lord.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, Heavenly Father, empower me through Your grace this very day to walk Your walk of purity and to honor You with this Temple You have given me … my body. Amen

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012 … God Is With Me

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 17-20 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage #1 of the Day: Reference of #1 Highlight Passage for Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 17: 14-20 … To study this passage, go to this link -
Highlight Passage #2 of the Day: Reference of #2 Highlight Passage for Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 18: 9-14 … To study this passage, go to this link -
Highlight Passage #3 of the Day: Reference of #3 Highlight Passage for Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 18: 15-22 … To study this passage, go to this link -
Highlight Passage #4 of the Day: Reference of #4 Highlight Passage for Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 20: 1-4 … To study this passage, go to this link -

My Journal for Today: Wow! Each morning when I come to this place, my closet of worship, I pray for God, through the chronological Bible reading plan to which I’m committed this year, to give me something special. In other words, I’m asking Him to highlight something which He can use to grow me into His image or something from His word which I can use to disciple someone else who might need that highlighted truth. Each day He comes through for me.

And, … as you can probably tell from the multiple passages I highlighted above, there was a lot from the reading of Deuteronomy, Chapters 17-20 which I could have blogged for my own journal entry today. In fact, I’ve highlighted and linked four such passages above for any disciple here to go back and study. Let me comment briefly on the first three; and then I’ll go more into a little more depth on Passage #4.

Passage #1 from Deut. 17- 14-20: In this passage we have a great discussion of the need for Godly leadership for God’s chosen people. God knew that His people were going to call for a king one day; and so, the Lord prophetically laid out the boundaries for such an anointed office, even though God would have not preferred the people have kings. Think how badly we need to have true, GODLY, leadership in today’s church, in our nation, and in our world.

Passage #2 from Deut. 18: 9-14: The Israelites had a history of conforming to the ungodly habits and traditions of the cultures with whom they intermingled and especially intermarried. God knew they were going to enter a land where pagan practices like child sacrifice were practiced. So, in Passage #2 we see God’s warning to avoid child sacrifice; and He charged HIS PEOPLE to replace such ungodly practices with the worship practices He would institute. Think about the application today with the hideous and ungodly practice of abortion, which is perpetuated to worship the idol of convenience and selfish desires. And make no mistake; … God is going eradicate this ungodly cultural practice … somehow, … in His way and time; and may God have mercy on us when He does.

Passage #3 from Deut. 18: 15-22: God sent Prophets to be His messengers, forward from the days of Moses, to be His voice of truth to the people. These called and God-anointed Prophets held an a recognized office in those times; and the last and greatest of these Prophets was prophesied by Moses (in Deut. 18: 15) to which Stephen, the first martyr of the New Covenant, referred to when he proclaimed Jesus was The Christ [see Acts 7: 37]. Although we don’t have the “office” of PROPHET in the New Testament church, we do have Christians who have the Spirit-endowed gift of prophesy to help us see how we can apply God’s truth (from His word) in our cultural times. Unfortunately, it seems that our culture and country are paying more attention and following the ways of the the world rather than following those who can clearly interpret God’s truth for our world.

I could devote a lot of my application and writing time to any of those three topics in today’s reading. However, let me focus my attention primarily on Passage #4 this morning.

Passage #4 from Deut. 20: 1-4: The other three passage spoke loudly to me about God’s truth this morning; but Passage #4 almost jumped out at me with encouragement; and I want to give it a little more space in my journaling. And this passage shouts out a wonderful message from God, through Moses, to His people [and by extension of context, to us], saying that no matter what they [or we] will encounter and face, as God’s people are led toward, He, the Lord, God, would always be with them [us].

Go back and meditate on that passage, my friend; and be uplifted by its truth. God is saying (as His word says in this passage): Deut. 20: 3 “Hear, [My people]: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the LORD, your God, is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

My friend, today you and I are going into a battle. And we have fortified spiritual enemies, … Satan, the world, and our own flesh, against which we will have to fight. Personally, it is greatly encouraging to know that I have the same God - IN ME – which the Israelites could rely upon … the God Who is much stronger than the evil I will face in the world. And He is the God I and follow into battle and to rely upon to carry me through (go back and read 1st John 4: 4, Rom. 8: 31, 1st Cor. 10: 13, and 2nd Cor. 12: 9.

Yes, I am weakened by my own flesh; and today I will encounter an enemy who is much stronger than I am, … and enemy who has developed a worldly beachhead of temptation and trouble which will try to bring me down. But just like God promised the Israelites, if I follow Him into battle, I will ultimately be victorious; … because God’s ULTIMATE WARRIOR, my Lord and Savior, Jesus, has won the war; and no matter what happens in battle in this world, I will LIVE with Him forever in His promised-land.

My Prayer Today: … Praise You, Lord; because today all my enemies could do is to smite my flesh; but You are with me and will never forsake me; … and in that promise, I am saved!! Amen

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012 … The Telling Tithe

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 14-16 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Deuteronomy 14: 22-23: … [Tithing Tells the Tale of Faith] 22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.
Deuteronomy 15: 10-11: … [Tithing, A Measure of Generosity] 10 Give generously to them [i.e., the poor] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Proverbs 3: 9-10: … [Tithing Honors God] 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Malachi 3: 8-10: … [Withholding the Tithe Robs God] … [God’s proclamation] 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob Me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing You?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
2nd Corinthians 9: 6-8: … [Tithing With A Glad Heart] 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work..

My Journal for Today: Tithing! … Ugh! … Tithing is always a subject which raises eyebrows among church-going Christians. And why? … Simple answer: Few Christians tithe.

In an April 14, 2008 report, the Barna Research Group reported: ”Whether they believe in the principle of tithing or not, few Americans give away that much money. In 2007, the research revealed that just 5% of adults tithed.” … My guess is that the tithing percentage has only gone down in these last five years.

Today, in my chronological read through Deuteronomy 14-16 [linked above for your study], I encountered God’s instructions to Israel about tithing. And rather than give my fellow readers and followers a verbose blog on the subject, I decided to copy/paste above the Scripture passages which I could remember were pertinent to the subject of Christian giving and just let you, my fellow Christian, deal with what God’s Spirit has authored into His Word about tithing and giving.

I’m not going to say very much beyond what God tells us from His word on the subject (above). But it’s obvious – from these texts – and the poor record on tithing by Christians according the Barna research, that Gods’ church is robbing and dishonoring God of what He is due; and I believe that is what has made our country so vulnerable to the government become our welfare agency rather than the church. I’ve heard it said that if 50% of the American Church would tithe, there would be no need for our government to have a welfare system because the CHURCH in the USA could take care of all who needed assistance from the coffers which would be available to help the poor/needy.

If you read those passages above – as I did this morning – I think we all need to do a self-exam and ask ourselves …
>>> As a Christian, am I tithing; and if not, why not?
>>> Am I honoring God with my giving of tithes, talents, treasures, and time?
>>> Am I a cheerful giver; or do I give begrudgingly, out of obligation?
>>> Why don’t I test God and get my heart right by willingly giving more?

I’ll leave it to you to take my little test on the tithe this morning? Because God has challenged us in the Malachi 3 passage above to test Him and give our tithes and offerings, promising to bless our lives (see the Proverbs 3 passage) if/when we do. And then there is God’s sowing and reaping principle (see 2nd Cor. 9 above). For when we take all of God’s word above into account, we’re not only robbing God by withholding our tithes, given generously, we’re robbing ourselves.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, may I give to You with a joyful heart, knowing how much You have given me. Amen

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012 … Say it again, Moses!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 11-13 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Deuteronomy 11: 26-28: … [The Choice!] 26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

My Journal for Today: Actually, as we read through Deuteronomy, Chapters 11-13 (if you’re with me), I was taken by Chapter 11 today where Moses (AGAIN) lays out God’s choice for His chosen ones with regard to the Mosaic Covenant. I hope you’ll use the link above and read all of Chapter 11: but THE CHOICE is spelled out again for us by Moses, laying it out for a people who had a track record of forgetfulness, selfishness, and blatant childish disobedience [sound familiar?]. And Moses was concerned that the children of the current generation of Israelites, those who had never seen all that God had done for His people, miraculously delivering them from Egypt, providing for them in the wilderness for 40 years, and being there with them in the Tabernacle as they traveled, would very easily lapse into disobedience as they went into the promised-land. The Prophet could easily foresee the likelihood that this youngest generation would be vulnerable to disobedience and, therefore, breach their obligations to follow God’s commands as they traversed into God’s promised-land; and Moses knew what the result would be. So, the aging Prophet laid the fateful choice out for God’s people once again, writing it down in what was to become God’s Book of the Law. And, my friends, we of the New Covenant, in this age of God’s grace, really have the same choice, don’t we?

We can choose to live or die under the covering of the blood of Christ. We can choose to believe in Jesus and obey Him and live eternally as His disciples; or we can choose to reject, in disbelief, what He did on the cross; and the result of the latter choice is eternal death, … i.e., never being allowed into God’s heavenly promised-land. And even after we make the choice which leads to eternal life, it is God’s New Covenant (in Christ) to give us His resurrection power in our lives, living eternally blessed in God’s promised-land. In other words, even as saved believers, we can choose to be disobedient and experience the deathly consequences of our disobedience in sin, which will render us impotent against the powers of our spiritual enemies, … Satan, the world, and our own flesh. The choice is still obedience and power in the promised-land … versus … disobedience and death in our lives; … and WE CHOOSE.

I’m praying this morning – as I do so many mornings – that I will see the power of surrender to God’s will, seeking and finding His way by following God’s word, which was what Moses laid out for God’s people in God’s Book of the Law; and it is what we have laid out before us as believers in the truth of God’s word. Let me pray that you see the choice as Moses and Jesus have laid it out for us; and I pray that we all choose life.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I pray that all who read here with me have made their choice, as I have, and we choose to follow You in obedience to Your word, knowing that You will provide life for all who do. Amen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012 … The Red Flag of Blessing

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 8-10 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Deuteronomy 8: 10-14: … [Beware the Good Times!] 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

My Journal for Today: As I was reading through my directed chronological read in God’s word this morning [Chapters 8-10 of Deuteronomy], there were a number of lessons about which I could blog. However, the issue of being aware of blessing struck me as the one on which I should journal because it’s a matter which hangs me up frequently; and that is why I’m calling this entry “The Red Flag of Blessing.”

In all of Deuteronomy 8 (upon which you can study/meditate by the link above), Moses is trying to get God’s people to remember that God takes His children through the tough times to prepare them for the good times. And Moses clearly reminds his people that as God took them through all those years in the wilderness, the Lord provided everything they needed … even though the times seemed so hard. But one warning God lays out through Moses can be found in the highlight passage I’ve copied above from Deut. 8: 10-14; and that has to do with watching out for what is produced when we are led through life when “the good times roll.”

In our culture, and especially our Christian culture, we have a tendency to think of “blessings” as all the warm and fuzzies and goodies which come during those “good times” in life. It’s when we feel “blessed” by abundance, good health, and well being. But when we’re in times of privation, problems, or pain, it’s very hard to feel and acknowledge that we’re being BLESSED by those hard times.

So, as Christians do we really take to heart what Moses writes about for God’s people in Deuteronomy 8; and in our internalization of these truths, as well as passages in God’s New Testament, for example Romans 8: 28, do we see the tough times as times of “blessing?”

AND … when we’re being blessed by the warm and fuzzy times, when God is allowing us to see “the good times roll,” are we duly grateful, openly expressing our thanks to God for all of what is easy to see as “blessings?” … No, … I think Moses nails it in the section of Scripture which I’ve emboldened and underlined above in Deut. 8: 12-14. When the good times roll, with our deceitful hearts (see Jer. 17: 9), we have a tendency to default to becoming prideful; and we generally think we – our SELVES – have created the good times rather than acknowledging Jehovah Jireh, our Lord and Provider.

Hence, I call attention to the “RED FLAG OF BLESSING;” and I hope we can take heed from the teachings of Deuteronomy 8, … that the tough times teach us humility and the good times call for that humility to recognize – with gratitude – from Whom all “blessings” flow – good times and bad.

And in that regard may I link you to a wonderful song, written and performed by Laura Story, whose personal witness is found in the lyrics. Here’s the link: … and then I want you to hear Laura’s story at this link. And when you hear Laura Story’s song and witness about “blessings,” you will see that she has experienced the “blessings” of the tough times as well as the gratitude for seeing God’s “blessings” in the good times.

I pray that we all can see the truth and believe Paul’s words in Romans 8: 28 and live in all the “blessings” of this life – the tough times and the good times as the Prophet Moses wrote about for us in Deuteronomy 8.

My Prayer Today: … Thank you for all your “blessings,” Lord … the good times and the tough times. Amen

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012 … Hear … Learn … Obey!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Deuteronomy, Chapters 5-7To study these chapters, go to this link -

Deuteronomy 5: 1: … [Hear, Learn, and Obey] … [God to His people] … Moses summoned all Israel and said: “Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them”
Deuteronomy5: 29: … [Again … To Obey and Live] … [God to Moses] “Oh, that their hearts [i.e., the people of Israel] would be inclined to fear Me and keep all My commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”

My Journal for Today: Wow! Two verses and two three point sermons right from God’s mouth to the ears of Moses, who, in writing them the Book of the Law, transmits these two power-packed homilies to all of God’s people; and that includes you an me.

The first three-point sermon [in Deut. 5: 1] says “Hear My Laws! … Learn My laws! … and … Obey My laws!” Could God be any more direct and any clearer? I think not! And as I’m confronted by this God-given directive to His people, God’s Spirit in me bubbles forth, from my memory, a powerful truth from another part of His Book … this one from Isaiah 55: 11, which states, for followers of the one, true God, …

“ … so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

How much clearer could God’s directives be for those of us who are covered by both of God’s Covenants (Old and New)? Through His prophets, Moses and Isaiah, directly to us, God is saying … [my humble summary and paraphrase of God’s Deut. 1 and Isaiah 55 sermons] … “HEAR what I say, … LEARN what I say, … DO what I say; and everything you do will be powerful and productive to accomplish My WILL, in My WAY, through My WORD?”

And then we read in Deut. 5: 29 God’s promise to His people (and to you and me in Christ), God’s three-point sermon of promise and what will result (God never lies!!!) when/if we hear, learn, and obey God’s word. God says (again my humble paraphrase), “LISTEN to My word, … REVERENCE My word, … and … OBEY my Word; … and YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER!”

I certainly couldn’t make it any clearer than God gave it to His people through Moses and how God promised power to His people through Isaiah. God was giving His laws to His people so that they [we] could learn them, obey them, and live. But we know that so many of these people, hearing the straight stuff of love from God Himself, couldn’t – or wouldn’t – cut it; and they disobeyed and died.

I don’t think I need to go on here any more about this, do I? God says it! Done deal! … Now, … I need to say to myself here this morning; … knowing God’s truth and dwelling in it daily, … I’m deeply convicted by my memory of the old Nike company motto, which used to say, “JUST DO IT!”

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to hear Your word, learn Your word, and do Your will … today and everyday. Amen