Archive for May, 2009


Gracelyn in Mommys TummyGracelyn, today you are Five years old! I want you to know how special you are to me, and what you mean to me. When Lydia and I heard your Mommy (our daughter Tonya) was pregnant with you, she was working for me at Tompkins Paving. It was the fall of 2003, and we were having a disastrous year. Stupidly I had allowed the company to grow too fast and we were doing  jobs we had no business doing. Cash flow was horrible. We lost over $600,000 even though we had our best sales year ever-over $7 million in revenue. I owed the IRS $200,000 and the pressure was too much to take. I kept thinking I would have to shut the company down. Every week was a tremendous struggle to meet the payroll for 50 employees. On top of all that, I was also pastoring a small church in Edgerton, and some of the people were being fleshly and causing problems over trivial things.I was beating my head against a wall there as well.Jim and Gracelyn

Gracie July 2005021All this time I was constantly going to the Lord, seeking His strength and provision, but my faith was deteriorating badly. I was having so many troubling thoughts-thoughts of running away, giving it all up, even thoughts of suicide. I thought that there was no way for God to turn things around. But every time I was tempted to give up, I would look over at your Mommy and see the growing baby in her stomach. I would think about you and pray to God that I would be able to see your birth and watch your grow into a Godly woman. I prayed that I would have an influence on your life, that I would be able to see a Godly Heritage begin in my grandchildren. I wanted to be able to tell you about a Mighty God, Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai, who TRULY is able to provide our needs! God began to keep you ever before my heart, and used you to keep my heart open and depending upon His matchless GRACE, the GRACE that kept me having the WILL and the DESIRE to do His goof pleasure!

Gracie painting toesAlthough I had no part in your name, I know that God did, for you have become a Living Monument to God’s Grace for my life. It was almost miraculous, but at the time of your birth, God started to do amazing things to turn the business around. Profit and cash flow improved dramatically. God even brought a buyer for the business just 10 months after your birth. The church turned around, problems were solved and people came together. God’s Grace showed once again how powerful He is. He even enabled me to pursue that full-time ministry He had called me to over 34 years before.

Gracie-on-ScooterSo Gracelyn, I pray that someday you will give your heart and life to Jesus Christ. He is God’s only Son, the one He gave to die on the Cross for you and me. Jesus is the Monument of God’s Grace for the whole world. When you give your heart and life to Jesus Christ, you immediately come into the awesome Grace of God, the same Grace that kept my trust in God through all my trials. God has a miraculous purpose for your life, it began when you were but a tiny bump in your mommy’s stomach. God used you then to keep my eyes focused on eternity. I pray that God will continue to use you to turn others to Him!

Gracie Luke Wrestling with Big D

Gracelyn, you are a constant reminder to me of the Amazing Grace of God in my life. I am praying that you will allow God’s Grace to capture your heart and lead you to LIFE in Jesus Christ. I LOVE YOU! You are a Visible Monument of God’s Grace in my life! Love – “Big D”

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Scarlet Cord Memorial of Rahab

The book of Joshua is a Mighty Book of Faith in God and His ability. An insignificant people face insurmountable obstacles and enemies and all they have is a willingness to believe and obey an unseen God! That is the very essence of faith, for faith is at its strongest when we are at our weakest. The Power of God is never wasted on trifling matters. He delights in answering the call of people facing impossible situations.

Joshua Sends Spies to JerichoIn Chapter 2 we find Joshua sending a couple of young men to spy out the city of Jericho. I ask, why, Joshua? Remember the last time spies were sent out? Didn’t God tell you to be Strong and of Good Courage, for you would overtake the land? This is the mystery of a life aligned with the Holy Spirit’s purpose. When you align yourself with the Holy Spirit, He will lead you do things which make no sense to a rational thinking man.

Surely you have made decisions that at the time seemed stupid or even irrational, yet God used that decision and the events that resulted to dramatically impact your life and the lives of those around you. I remember one particularly irrational decision I made:

After my brothers had voted me out of Tompkins Industries in 1988, I had gone to work for Kenneth R Johnson Co. It was a very difficult 2 years financially because I had taken a 40% cut in pay and with no savings tried to keep my wife and six children fed and clothed. In the meantime I built up the hydraulic adapter business for KR Johnson from $20,000 a year to over 1.5 million dollars a year in little over 18 months. The owner was an old oil man with a bank and real estate holdings. This was kind of a sideline for him. He offered to sell the company I had built up for him for no money down but with a note of $1,000,000. But there were a lot of strings attached. At first I was chomping at the bit because it would mean a lot of good things for my young family. I could realize the rewards of my labors. But it also meant that I would really be butting heads with my two brothers. It also meant that the family would not be restored. We were all set to close the next day and I just had a feeling like none I had ever had before. I can’t explain it, but it was very gut wrenching. I am one to honor my word, but I told Lydia that I just could not go through with it. So I called John and told him I was not going through with the purchase and was quitting my job.

Boy you should have heard the fur fly. I experienced more grief from that decision and added to the grief caused by my brothers I should have taken my life. Before I had a little debt and a little income. Now I had a lot of debt and no income.  Plus a teenage driver. God used that moving of His Spirit to affect my family’s inheritance. It worked to the saving of my family, because that combined with my grandmother’s death got my brothers back together. It brought my parents back into my children’s lives.

In God’s Inheritance that He wants us to claim, our FAMILY is always in view. So many families are falling apart because of putting fleshly pride and possessions ahead of the family. Yet God wants our families, all of them. I could have made the business work, but God would have brought leanness to my soul because my family would have been destroyed.

In sending the two spies to Jericho, God saved an entire family! Are you working to toward the salvation of your family? Have you let selfish ambition, pride, possessions get in the way of your love for your family, your concern for their souls, for God’s work in their life? You are losing your inheritance. Gaining inheritance will always involve faith to follow God’s leadership. He will never, never lead you to put money, possessions, reputation, fleshly rights before your parents, your siblings, your wife, your children, your extended family. God has the inheritance of a Godly heritage in view and claiming that inheritance will always involve death to self and following God by faith. Faith in Him doing the impossible.

We Now Meet A Young Woman Named Rahab.

Meet Rahab the ProstituteJoshua 2:1-7 (NKJV) Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.

Rahab is not your typical gal. She is a harlot, a prostitute. There is no disguising what Rahab did. Both the language here and in the New Testament indicates she was a whore. Now you can speculate why these young men went into her place, but I think the language and Rahab’s statements indicate it was the easiest place to hide without being too conspicuous. Obviously these men looked like out of towners to be so easily discovered. So they sought sleep in a place that normally would not look too suspicious. They were not there very long before the King’s soldiers came knocking, looking for them. Obviously their lives were in danger.

This Prostitute, Rahab, Lied.

Rahab LiedNow I’m not condoning lying. God says lying lips are an abomination to Him. In her defense, she knew not God’s Laws, and was merely doing what she thought was best to spare the lives of the two young men. Does God excuse small sin to prevent a greater sin? I don’t believe so, as sin is sin. But the greatest evil that God hates is when we go our own way. Rahab was not going her own way when she lied. Something was happening in her heart, and that led her to protect the lives of the two young God-Followers.

We See Two God Events Taking Place In Her Heart.

We hear a phrase quite often nowadays. It’s a God Thing. I just used a God Event. I could have said God Thing and you all probably would have said, sure I understand. A God thing-that’s when something happens that only God could have done or manipulated. Something happens in your life causing you to do this or take this job or etc and you look back and say “That was a God Thing”. I just want to offer you a caution. God is at work every day of our life. He doesn’t’ just do God Things now and then. In fact, He wants us to every day say, wow God, thanks, wow God, you are so awesome. The flat tire, the sunset, the storm, the person who smiled at us, the person who cut us off, all of it is a God Thing!

Paul prayed that we would know the Love of Jesus Christ that surpasses our knowledge, that we might be filled with the fullness of God! If you are filled with the fullness of God everything is a God Thing! This is what the Hebrews were bringing into Canaan. They were bringing the Fullness of God into a God Empty Land. And Whenever GOD EMPTY People Encounter GOD FILLED people, God wants to see happen what happened in the life of RAHAB.

1. Rahab FEARED the GOD of the Hebrews.

Rahab Feared God of the HebrewsJoshua 2:8-11 (NKJV) Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

In an age before CNN, the news still traveled fairly quickly and accurately. The people of Jericho had heard about the Jewish Nation, how they had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. They had heard about the destruction of Pharaoh’s Army. They had heard about the destruction of two mighty Kings, Sihon and Og. They heard how they had killed everyone, and left no survivors, not even children.

  • Deuteronomy 2:24-25 (NKJV) “‘Rise, take your journey, and cross over the River Arnon. Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle. This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
  • Deuteronomy 2:31-34 (NKJV) And the Lord said to me, ‘See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to possess it, that you may inherit his land.’ Then Sihon and all his people came out against us to fight at Jahaz. And the Lord our God delivered him over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people. We took all his cities at that time, and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and little ones of every city; we left none remaining.
  • Deuteronomy 11:25 (NKJV) No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.

Listen to her fears:

  • We are afraid because of you.
  • All the inhabitants are faint-hearted.
  • Our hearts melted;
  • Their courage vanished.

She concluded in her heart that the Lord God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. To Rahab, He who is invisible suddenly became visible because of the presence of the Jews.

Fear Should Open Our Eyes to See God!

Fear Opens the Eyes to See GodMen do different things in response to fear. Some run away, some give up and commit suicide, some relish the fear and channel it into a fight. Rahab allowed the fear of her heart to open her eyes to see God! FEAR SHOULD OPEN OUR EYES TO SEE GOD! When Sennacherib threatened to invade Judah and King Hezekiah with his considerably larger army, Hezekiah allowed his fears to open his eyes to the power of God. Listen to his prayer in 2 Kings 19:14:

2 Kings 19:14-19 (NKJV) And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands–wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”

What fears do you face? What foes are at your doorstep? If you trust in Jesus as your Savior, allow them to open your eyes to almighty God. Allow your fears to drive you to trust in God and God alone. Perfect love casts out fear. Rahab is about to meet perfect love – the love represented by the scarlet cord.

2. Rahab’s FEAR led her to FAITH in the God of the Hebrews.

Joshua 2:12-21 (NKJV) [Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”] Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.” So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.

Rahab had Faith in GodShe knew that God would cause the Hebrews to prevail against the mighty city Jericho. Her fear had led her to see the Invisible and she knew He would prevail. She boldly told the young men to promise to save her and her family. She had faith that they could save her family. She had faith that God was powerful enough to protect her! This coming from a prostitute, one whom the world rejected, used and abused, yet she believed there was a God who could love her and her family.

Rahab Fell into the Hebrews 11:6 Principal:

TO PLEASE GOD, WE MUST BELIEVE TWO THINGS: FIRST, THAT HE IS & SECOND, THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM!

Hebrews 11_6 Without FaithHere was a woman with a bad reputation, with no important status in the world, and all of a sudden the future of Israel is bound up in her faith. With God, there are no special privileges because of who you are, or what you do. We all stand before God with the common ground of faith. There is a little child over there with more faith in God than a wizened old preacher. There is a young teenager with more faith than a dying saint. God does not call good people to follow Him. God does not call perfect people to Him. He calls flawed people, but the one thing we must have to come to God is FAITH! This lowly prostitute became great in the eyes of God because of her faith in Him. That is why she is listed in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV) By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

Her fear of Almighty God and her faith in His power to save her led her to choose to protect these two young men rather than give them up to the authorities.

This is why Peter and John told the authorities in Jerusalem: Acts 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. Rahab chose to fear God rather than man, and so she protected the two Jewish men. Who do you fear? We have many, many fears in this world. Yet our fears should lead us to faith in the Power of God to KEEP us, and to Work His Perfect Will in our lives.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Archeologists have discovered that Jericho at this time was probably at the peak of their prosperity and safety. The walls were the most fortified in Canaan. Water was plentiful from underground springs. Crops were abundant. There was no human way this city could fall and be destroyed. Yet this woman was afraid of the power of God, and that fear led her heart to choose to believe in God rather than the power of her civil government.  Who is your faith in? What is your faith in?

When Fear Produces Faith It Always Encounters the Grace of God

3. Rahab Found the Grace of God

Rahab Found Grace of GodJoshua 6:25 (NKJV) And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Fear of the Lord that leads to Faith in His Provision ALWAYS brings one into the Marvelous GRACE of God! Look at what the Grace of God brought into this prostitute’s life:

  • She Found Freedom
  • She Found A New Family (Joshua 6:25; Matt 1:5; Ruth 4:21)
    • She Went From Sinner to Saint
    • She Went From Being the Cursed Of God to Being a Child of God
    • She Went From The Dying In A War To Participating In A Wedding. (Revelation 19:7-9)
  • She Found A New Fame. (Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31)
    • She Went From The House Of Shame To The Bible Hall Of Fame.
    • That Scarlet Cord was a Memorial for the Hebrews to See. To Save.
    • The Scarlet Memorial Begins at the Cross and Runs Past Present & Future

No one lies outside the possibilities of God’s grace!

scarlet cordWhy A Scarlet Cord? Was it something peculiar to her profession? It was obviously something she had on hand. It became the salvation of the two young men, and it became the salvation of Rahab and her entire family. The Scarlet Cord represented the sins of her former life. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as wool. The Blood of Jesus cleanses the vilest sinner and makes them clean, set apart, and usable for Holy God’s purposes.

Look at What the Grace of God Accomplished

Rahab met a nice Jewish man named Salmon who loved her and accepted her completely, just the way God accepts and loves all those who come to Him through His Son. God blessed her with children. In fact, her oldest boy was Boaz, who gave such grace to Ruth. She was the Great grandmother of Jesse, the father of King David. The Grace of God in Rahab’s life extends to King David, all the way to the birth of Jesus Christ, and all the way to my New Birth! What a testimony of right response to fear!

Matthew 1:5-6 (NKJV) Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

  • Hebrews 7:25 (NIV) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.,

What a heritage because one woman chose to let her fear draw her into the matchless grace of God. That Wonderful grace found root in the heart of her son Boaz, who loved a young poor, widow woman who also feared God.

The Scarlet Memorial is a Memorial to God’s Grace

Scarlet Cord is a MemorialGod’s Holy Spirit was working in the people of Jericho. He was giving them an opportunity to turn to Him. Of the several thousand inhabitants, only one woman along with her family saw a ‘GOD THING’. She is the only one who opened her heart to seek after this Almighty God. The picture of God’s Grace is such that it is able to bring beauty into the ugliest life. Those lives that the world considers most decrepit, most destroyed, most likely to be cast aside are the lives that God can make most valuable, most beautiful. This is not to minimize sin. Yet when we learn of something someone once was, we recoil, we say no way, but there is no sin that the Grace of God cannot conquer. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. God was bringing His people into their inheritance, a place of rest. Too many Christians are running around all worried, frustrated, angry, upset, acting as if there is no Almighty God who is working in their lives. Rahab, a sinner in the world, found rest in God because she trusted in the Scarlet Cord.

You say you trust in the Scarlet Memorial of Jesus death on the cross, yet you run around as if there was no resurrection, there was no power of God to conquer sin and Satan and this world. Rahab could say I know this God. He is all Powerful. He will keep me safe. He will save me! No matter the quaking of the walls, no matter the screams of those around me, no matter the fainting hearts of mighty men, I will rest in the power of Jehovah God!

Do You Have a Scarlet Memorial in Your Life?

Do You Have Scarlet Cord MemorialThe Lord is after getting us inwardly resting in HIM. Unrest, anxiety, is ever the ground of defeat. Uncertainty about the Lord brings weakness and defeat; the Lord sets great value on BELIEVING GOD – faith in GOD. In the list of the heroes of faith in Heb. 11, the Holy Spirit records Rahab the harlot, and links her with Abraham in James; she believed God and leapt out of ungodliness into righteousness, because her fear led her to believe God and she put her faith into action. Rahab was the key to Jericho and Jericho is the key to the land. That is the kind of key He uses. He uses the Key of Restful Faith!

Let us Remember the Blood of JesusThe Scarlet Thread runs through the Bible. It is a Memorial to our Savior and His precious blood. How are you responding to the pressures of this life? Is there a Memorial in your life, a Scarlet Cord of the Saviors Blood?


2-Cor-4_11-Delivered-unto-death As followers of Christ we are to seek to see Jesus manifested in our flesh. This is what Paul says in 2 Cor 4:11: “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus‘ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. After all, it is our visible displays that the world can see. They see peace in the midst of storms, joy in the face of disease or death, calm and peace in the face of frustrating circumstances. What controls the inner man always reveals itself in the outer man. This is why Jesus placed such emphasis on love for one another, especially the unlovely-the poor, the hungry, the naked. The Christian to be effective in this world or cynicism needs to make the invisible Christ known in our visible bodies. Paul says how we are to do this, by being constantly delivered unto death and then by the implied relying on Jesus alone for life.

Adam depended upon God for LifeA man delivered unto death has no power over his own life. He has no power to act on his own. Adam in the garden was to be dependent upon God and all that God gave him to have power over. Adam was to have no power over the fruit of two trees in the midst of the garden-the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the tree of Life. Adam was to depend totally upon God for life, and totally upon God for the knowledge and power to live this life. Adam was not to live independently of God. Adam was not to know about evil and good, and thereby have the power to act independently of God. jesus-tattoo-God and the knowledge of Him was to be Adam’s life.

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they became possessed with an inherent power to act independently from God, a power that played into Satan’s hands. You lose that power when you come to new life in Jesus Christ. He is your new Lord. You are to live life now by the life of Jesus Christ, and draw everything for living from Him. (Gal 2:20).jesus-on-backpack2

jesus in my backpackWe say we desire to give glory to God with our lives, yet by acting under our own power, we give glory to ourselves. We fool ourselves into thinking we are living in Christ when there is very little we do that does not require His power to act. We live, eat, work and play with Jesus carefully tucked in our backpack, or tattooed on our body.answer-me-jesus-prophet-ball Occasionally we even consult our magic Jesus Prophet doll and ask Him “what would you do”? We do so little trembling in our lives. If we were being delivered unto death, we would be trembling. If we were facing our Creator God, we would be trembling. We do not know what it is to be “always delivered unto death”. And so the life of Jesus is not manifested to the dying world around us. They see a different Jesus, a powerless Jesus, a Homeboy Jesus.

My Homeboy Jesus ShirtBecause we are acting under our own power, we live a self-assured, yet self-possessed Christian life. In such a life, Jesus Christ cannot be revealed. Too often we have decided, acted, and had power apart from Him. The Christ we manifest is too small because in ourselves we have grown too big.

Prayer: Lord, deliver me unto death. Deliver me into the life which depends totally upon Jesus Christ. I give you my heart, my soul, my body and my strength. My life is under your control. My life will be in your hands from this day forward.


Joshu Lets Go Across the JordanIt is time to cross the Jordan River.

Reminds me of a couple of gals at their 40th High School Reunion. This was the first time they had seen each other in 40 years. The one gal asked the other, “You were always so organized in school, Did you manage to live a well planned life?” “Yes,” said her friend. “My first marriage was to a millionaire; my second marriage was to an actor; my third marriage was to a preacher; and now I’m married to an undertaker.” Her friend asked, “What do those marriages have to do with a well planned life?”

“One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”

Well, it’s time to go. Let’s look at Joshua one this morning and we will find three important things from God’s Word:Challenge Confidence Conduct

  1. T he Challenge God Presents
  2. The Confidence God Provides
  3. The Conduct God Presumes

The Challenge God Presents

1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel.

Crossing the River JordanIt is time to go through the Jordan River. The Israelites could not build a bridge. They could not go around. They had to go through the Jordan. The reason is because the Jordan River represents death. As we learned last week the entire purpose of the wilderness wanderings was to teach them that they had to put off the old man, the old flesh, and live by the power of God. Joshua in particular had to align himself with the Captain of the Hosts, He had to die to what he thought was best, and follow what God wanted to do. In that respect Joshua represents a man who has joined himself with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Challenge God Presents

Now it was time for the entire nation of Israel to claim the inheritance God was giving them. In order to do so they must die to the flesh, and their fleshly desires, and live according to God and His Word.

The Jordan River always represents Death in the Bible.

  • It feeds into the dead sea.
  • Lot spied the Jordan Valley and thought it was a Valley of Life. But actually it was the way of death.
  • (There is a way which seems right to man, but the ways thereof are the ways of death)
  • Elisha had to cross over the Jordan to get Elijah’s power
  • Elisha told Naaman to go to the Jordan and dip himself seven times in order to be cleansed of the Leprosy.
  • The axe head fell into the Jordan River and Elisha made it float with the tree.
  • John the Baptist baptized those who brought forth works meet for repentance in the Jordan.
  • Jesus was baptized in the Jordan.
  • Baptism is a picture of death to self and rising to new life.

In order to live in the promised land, in order to enter into God’s rest, in order to be born again and put on the new man, we all must cross over the Jordan River. We must die to self and sin and what we want and then rise to walk in newness of life, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Victory over the FleshThe challenge that God presents is that this inheritance, this rest can only be claimed by dying to the flesh, dying to what you want, and by living in the power of the Holy Spirit! The Jordan is a picture of the Cross. You always have to die by passing through Jordan to get to Canaan. The only way to be born again is to experience the Cross. When you are willing to die, then you are in the place where God raise you up and use you.

Joshua Is The Man United With The Holy Spirit

Joshua a man united with the Holy SpiritYou Must Be Willing to Die to the Flesh in order for God to Raise You Up and Use You to Claim the Inheritance.

  • Romans 8:8-9 “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.
  • Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

The Mark of a Christian: No Confidence in the FleshNo Confidence in the Flesh

  • Philippians 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”
  • James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”
  • “When all the nation were clean passed over Jordan” God Spoke (Joshua 4:1)

The Confidence God Provides

Confidence God ProvidesWhen God presents a challenge to us, a challenge to die to what we want, and to live in His power, He always gives us the confidence of a promised victory! God provides us three-fold ammunition to assure us of victory:Promises, Presence, Past Performance

God’s Promises

  • Verse 2 I am going to give this land to you.
  • Verse 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot.
  • Verse 5 No one will be able to stand up against you.
  • Verse 6 You will lead these people to inherit the land.

The outcome was promised. They would be victorious over the enemy. They would claim the land that God had given them for an inheritance. No matter how long it took and no matter how many casualties were sustained the outcome was guaranteed – God promised. The full extent  of the inheritance was not realized until David and Solomon. But in God’s mind it had already been secured. God had promised this to Abraham (Gen 12) God had promised this to Moses (Deut 34:4) There was going to be no repetition of what happened at Kadesh Barnea (Num 13) Joshua 14:9 (ESV) And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 1 Kings 8:56 (NKJV) “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.

In God, Joshua Can’t Fail, Because GOD CAN’T FAIL..

God Can't FailGod has given us a mission that can’t fail because he won’t. God had already given them the land; it was their responsibility now to step out by faith and claim it. Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” You Have An Inheritance That Is SURE. All that we need is in Christ. We are seated with Him and Blessed in Him in the heavenlies. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He has made us to be more than conquerors. He is the author and perfector of our faith. What more do you need to know that you can live a victorious, joyful life, regardless of the circumstances.

You Have No Enemies That Can Defeat You.

No one can stand against you if you are claiming Christ’s Inheritance. We normally think of Satan when we think of enemies. Or maybe terrorists with masks and bombs. But for most of us the enemies that can defeat us are friends, family, gossip, money problems, discouragement, sickness, disease, circumstances. These are the enemies we encounter everyday. The saddest thing in God’s mind is a Christian who has let their heart be overcome by hatred for a fellow Christian or family member, or overcome with discouragement because of a financial setback, or become depressed because of a sickness or even the loss of a loved one. I guarantee you that even though most everyone in this church claims that Christ lives in your heart by faith, that there are some here who are living in defeat because of some situation that has defeated you either emotionally, physically, or psychologically. If Jesus Christ is in your heart, there is no such thing as living a defeated life. He reigns over every situation.

The only way to claim this confidence that God wants us to live in is by seeing Him who is invisible. There are rooms in our lives that we tend to block Jesus out of. We don’t let the Holy Spirit in. He stands at the door of that room and knocks. He says let me come in and show you the victory I have for your life. In 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 (NIV) we are told: For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” The promises of God are completed in Jesus Christ. He is the YES to all God has promised. When we live our lives in Jesus Christ, we are the AMEN to God’s promises. Our testimony shouts to the folks around us “AMEN to Jesus Christ!”

“O God, you promised, and I believe in your promise.  Please do what you have promised.”  That is praying according to the will of God.

God’s Presence

God's PresenceJoshua 1:5 “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” What a promise God gave to Joshua! “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you” (Josh 1:5, NIV). God had given a similar promise to Jacob (Gen. 28:15), and Moses had repeated God’s promise to Joshua (Deut. 31:1-8). God has given this promise to His people today! The Gospel of Matthew opens with “Emmanuel…God with us” (1:23) and closes with Jesus saying, “Lo, I am with you always” (28:20 NKJV).

The writer of Hebrews 13:5 quotes Joshua 1:5 and applies it further. Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” to Christians today: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (NKJV).

Covetousness and Confidence in God’s Presence

Jesus cant come where there is covetousnessHe relates confidence in God’s presence to lack of covetousness or fondness for money. Christians have come a long way since that moment when Joshua led the people across the Jordan. Our confidence is too often in our money our possessions. If you want God’s presence in your life, you confidence must be in Him alone. Many Christians have a real fondness for their possessions, their money. They watch it all the time. Here God was bringing Israel into a place where money was not going to do the job. It was an impossible task. God offered Joshua the promise of His presence, and in so doing, there can be no confidence in anything else!

Romans 8:31 says if God be for us, who can be against us? But if we be not for God, why should He battle for us. In fact, if our confidence is in our money, God says He will vomit us from His presence

Revelations 3:17 mentions this Laodicean church. The people were saying: ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. When our confidence is in our money, our things, when that is what we delight in, God withdraws from us, or at very best lies grieving in a basement closet of our life. We think we are blessed, but God says Here, Look in My Mirror-you are wretched, inwardly miserable, poor, blind and naked. Here, God was promising His presence to a scared insecure band of runaway slaves. They had nothing in which to be confident. All the Gold the Egyptians gave them was useless in the fight against the Giants of Canaan.

JESUS is with us NOW! But We Can Shut Him out of our Lives

That is the promise of Jesus to us that many of us ignore – And ignoring it is not so much a sin as it is sad. At the end of the letters to the churches in Revelation 3:20 (NLT) “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Even though we are Christians, and the Holy Spirit indwells us, IT IS POSSIBLE TO SHUT JESUS OUT OF YOUR LIFE, AND NOT FEAST WITH HIM ON HIS WORD. We must repent of our fleshly confidence in our wealth and things and talents. These things make us indifferent to the Cause of Jesus Christ. Repent and open the door!

God’s Past Performance

Joshua 1:5 – Just  as I was with Moses, so  I will be with you.

Gods past performanceJoshua knew the history of God’s faithfulness to his people. He had heard how God had steadfastly worked in Abraham’s, Isaac’s, Jacob’s and Joseph’s lives.  He had heard the stories over and over again of God’s protection, God’s provision and God’s power on behalf of his people. As a very young man he had witnessed the miracles of the plagues in Egypt, the saving of the first-born Israelites from the angel of death, the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, and the manna from the skies. God had proven himself faithful.

“Living victoriously is not your responsibility – it’s your response to God’s  ability!”

Those stories and countless others like them are our stories too. Yes you can be cynical and say that the good things of life are just coincidental. But if you believe in God and believe that he sent his Son Jesus for us, then it is illogical not to accept that “every good and perfect gift is from above” as James said it, and not to take courage that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joshua is the same God who is faithful to me today.

Confidence in God comes from trust in His promises, His Presence and His Past performance.

God Gives Us The Challenge To Claim Something He Has Secured, God Gives Us The Confidence Of Victory Based Upon Unbeatable Ammunition, God Assumes We Will Abide By His Rules.

The Conduct that God Presumes

Joshua 1:6-9 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Before God could fulfill His promises, however, Joshua had to exercise faith and “be strong and of good courage” (1:6).

Promises of God no pillowTHE PROMISES ARE NOT A PILLOW BUT A PROD

Divine sovereignty is not a substitute for human responsibility. God’s sovereign Word is an encouragement to God’s servants to believe God and obey His commands.

As Charles Spurgeon put it, Joshua “was not to use the promise as a couch upon which his indolence might luxuriate, but as a girdle wherewith to gird up his loins for future activity” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 14, p. 97).

Real trust involves action – God says if you trust me you will obey me.

  • Be Strong & Of Good Courage
  • Focus On Your Responsibility (You Affect The Others Inheritance)
  • Be Strong & Very Courageous.
  • Build Your Life Around The Word And Instructions Of God
  • Be Purposeful Obedience Will Bring GOOD Success.
  • He Mentioned It Twice – Emphasizing Keeping It In Your Mouth.
  • Be Strong And Of A Good Courage; Be Not Afraid, Neither Be Thou Dismayed
  • I Am With You Always.

God says if you are going to live a worthwhile life, if you are going to accomplish the mission I have given you then this is what you must do – know and obey my Word, make it YOUR LIFE!

Covenant RelationshipOUR COVENANT RELATIONSHIP

God was reminding Joshua of the foundational strategy of living a worthwhile life – live an intimate relationship with God in his Word. God doesn’t give Joshua military instructions at this point. Wouldn’t that have been what you would have wanted? God give me the military intelligence I need on the armies we must fight, give me the battle plan, give me the names of the men I should put in charge. But God says if you want success in your mission, here is what I am telling you to do – meditate on my Word so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Meditate on God’s Word.

  • When are we going to learn that there is LIFE in this Word. There is Healing Power in this word. You want strong bones – meditate on the Word. You want a Strong Heart – meditate on the Word. You want to know how to Battle enemies – meditate on the Word.
  • It’s one thing to say to a leader, “Be strong! Be very courageous!” and quite something else to enable him to do it. Joshua’s strength and courage would come from meditating on the Word of God, believing its promises, and obeying its precepts.
  • It isn’t enough to have the Bible on your coffee table or in your car or next to you at church. Take time to read it daily and make it a part of his inner person by meditating on it (Ps. 1:2);. The Hebrew word translated “meditate” means “to mutter.” It was the practice of the Jews to read Scripture aloud (Acts 8:26-40) and talk about it to themselves and to one another (Deut. 6:6-9). This explains why God warned Joshua that the Book of the Law was not to depart out of his mouth (Josh. 1:8).

“If you don’t talk to your Bible, your Bible isn’t likely to talk to you!”

The Word is Like the Covenant Feast

Word is our covenant feastThe modern ideal is individualism, self-interest, and self-centeredness. We glory in the philosophy that says, “I will do what I want to do, when and how I want to do it, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” But the moment we are converted, such life must come to an end, for as Christians we are called to live in covenant relationship with God and with each other. A covenant is an agreement between two or more persons; therefore, covenant life is community life, and a covenant person will seek, not his own interest, but that of the entire community. So a husband will look after the interests of his wife; parents will look after the interests of their children; and a believer in Christ will look after the interest of the whole community of believers of which he is a part.

Many who enter into a covenant-based life fail to live up to their promises and commitments to others. They become self-seekers instead. But the Bible detests such people. Instead, it praises those who keep their oaths even when it hurts (Psalm 15:4). Take, for example, Joshua’s agreement with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9). As inhabitants of Canaan, the Gibeonites were slated to be destroyed by the Israelites. But they deceived Joshua and the leaders into making a covenant of peace with them, and Joshua kept that covenant, even though it hurt him. Jesus Christ calls us all to live a covenant life, putting the interests of God and our fellow believers before our own.

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY?

Where Are You ChristianEach of us is on our own spiritual journey that will ultimately end in either Rest and Reward, or Punishment and Pain. I wish it were that easy. Good and Bad, Life or Death, Heaven or Hell, Black or White. But life is far from easy. In this life on earth we are usually in one of four places:

  • In Egypt, still in slavery to sin, and you need to be saved.
  • In the wilderness, redeemed, but going nowhere other than in circles.  Time of testing, dealing with the flesh, a time where the Holy Spirit is dealing with fleshly habits that keep you wandering. Been saved for years but you still aren’t really digging into your Bible, still not really praying, still not tithing consistently, still not making commitments to be faithful and to serve.  Been saved for years but never led a soul to Christ!  You’re not much closer to God than you were the day you got saved.
    • After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years due to their own unbelief and rebellion. An entire generation murmured against the covenant God had made with them and, as a result, they died in the desert. They did not enter into their inheritance of rest because of their disobedience.
  • In Canaan, excited, growing, having the joy of the Lord.  They’re not a wilderness wanderer, but a giant conqueror! You struggle with enemies, with the flesh, but you are in the Word, living your life and home in Jesus Christ. You are feasting on the Covenant Feast – the Word.
    • Enjoying Covenant Relationship
    • Marriage Relationship as the Bride of Christ
  • An “EASTSIDER” living on the dead side of Jordan. You are saved, but in the world, living for the flesh, for what you think is right. Occasionally you eat some of the milk and honey from the Lord. You cattle are well fed. You probably have money. But your family is falling apart, there is sin at the door. Satan is having a heyday stealing your inheritance.

Heb 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest.

Now the second generation were east of the Jordan River, ready to enter the land. They had already defeated Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan (Deuteronomy 1:4), thus gaining possession of the territories of these two Amorite kings on the east side of the Jordan River, stretching from the Arnon River in the south to Mount Hermon in the north, beyond the Sea of Galilee. They controlled hundreds of cities of the Amorites, including such fertile lands as Bashan and Gilead. The Bible speaks about “the cows of Bashan,” meaning cows that are healthy and well-fed because of the fertile land. Numbers 32:1 and Deuteronomy 3:19 tell us that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh possessed large numbers of livestock. So they approached Moses and the other leaders with this request: “Please do not make us cross the Jordan, but let us possess these fertile lands on the east side of Jordan” (Numbers 32:5). In this request, we can see their sinful rejection of the covenant obligations of community life. They were rejecting God’s plan and not living by faith. They were placing their own interests and that of their cattle over the interests of all the other tribes.

lot chooses Jordan ValleyJUST LIKE LOT: many centuries before. Genesis 13:10-11 tells us that “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt . . . So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan.” Lot made his choice based on one reason – he owned many cattle. Lot based his decision on sight, not on faith.

Like Lot, these two and a half tribes were making their decision based, not on faith, but on selfish, material interests. They were refusing to cross over the Jordan, to die to their self and selfish wants. Jesus once warned his followers, “The pagans run after all these things” (Matthew 6:32). “These things” there means money, or material possessions. Pagans live for money, making decisions based on the possibility of making more money.

Moses was mad at their request. In anger he called them a “brood of sinners” (Numbers 32:14) and asked, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?” (v. 6).

You see, they were not thinking about being brothers and part of the twelve-tribe community. They were only thinking about themselves. They did not want to cross the mighty Jordan to endanger themselves by fighting wars against the Canaanites. They wanted to enjoy the good life while the others fought on their behalf. In effect, they were saying, “Let the others cross the Jordan and fight the wars of the Lord. We just want to rest and take care of our livestock. We are sick and tired of wandering. We have no more stomach for battles.”

Just as these tribes rejected covenant community life in favor of a self-centered life, so there are believers who confess Jesus as Lord and take upon themselves covenant responsibilities, only to reject them. They refuse to cross over the Jordan, to die to self, to the flesh.

They Repented and Agreed to Fight

Numbers 32:16-19 tells us that these two and a half tribes repented of their sins and renewed their covenant. They entered into an agreement with Moses, Joshua, Eleazar, and other leaders which included these three promises:

  1. Their armed men would cross over the Jordan with their brothers;
  2. They would go ahead of everybody else as the vanguard to face the greatest danger of fighting; and
  3. They would not return to their homes until every Israelite had received his inheritance.

IN OUR COVENANT RELATIONSHIP, GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

Yes, when God makes a promise, we can rely on it, for God is not a man that he should lie, nor does he ever change. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ’Yes’ in Christ’” (2 Corinthians 1:20). He promised rest to all the tribes and he would keep that promise. But would the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh fulfill what they had promised?

Consequences to not crossing the Jordan

Although these tribes ultimately repented, there were some consequences to their decision to obtain land on the east of the Jordan. The wives and children they left behind were deprived of the privilege of witnessing divine miracles – the parting of the Jordan River, the destruction of the walls of Jericho, and the many battles fought and won. And in later years, due to their great distance from the temple, these tribes came more and more under pagan influence, and were the first to go into captivity.

We Must Agree to Obey & Join the Battle

  • This is exactly what we mean when we say, “Jesus is Lord.” We are telling the greater Joshua: “Whatever you command, we will do, and wherever you send, we will go. If we do not do it, put us to death.” That is covenant language. Joshua was so pleased with these people that he gave them this certification in Joshua 22:2: “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded.”

Some people live under the mistaken notion that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love yourself.” But is that what he said? No, he said, “Love one another” (John 13:34). That is covenant life. In fact, Jesus said we must love one another “as I have loved you.” We do not even have the right to love the way we want to love. How did Jesus love us? By dying on the cross for our sins! Therefore, we too must lay down our lives for our brothers. This is serious community life. I hope we will not say, “Who is that person? I don’t have anything to do with him!” No, you have everything to do with that person because he has been saved by Christ and brought into the family of God. Jesus then said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (v. 35).

East-siders’ settle for less than God’s best.  They may have marched the football all the way down the field, but they allow the devil’s goal line stand to keep them out.  With the promised land in sight, they give up and are shut down, just inches away from victory!

It’s easy for Christians to get into a ‘comfort zone’, and never reach the ‘end zone.’  They’re better off than they were in Egypt or the wilderness, and that’s good enough for them.  God’s best for their life is just a step away, but they don’t take that step, and cross the Jordan River.

“I may not be on fire for God but I’m not exactly living in sin, either!”

Ready to Join the Battle

The peril is that having begun in the Spirit, you might turn aside to make some compromise with Amalek, because of the hardness of the way, the greatness of the cost, by reason of the conflict and forgetting God’s word – “utterly destroy Amalek” (1 Samuel 15:3). “Walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

We settle for a peaceful coexistence with the flesh. God says to destroy Amalek.

People, it’s time to Roll. It’s time to Go.

Hebrews 6:1 (NLT) So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.


Seeing Him Who Is InvisibleGod does not waste time with headaches and hangnails. When staring at the Red Sea, Moses told the people: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today!”

He that is Invisible loves dealing with the impossible. It is a GOOD THING when have mountains on either side of us, an enemy behind us and a sea before us. It is a GOOD THING when we find ourselves in a situation that is overwhelming and impossible. When God blesses us with NEED, He will bless us with FAITH. The greatest hindrance to FAITH is lack of NEED. Faith to see the Invisible works really well in desperate situations.

faith sees the Invisible dealing with the impossibleFaith can move mountains. Jesus didn’t mention anthills. Jesus never healed a mild headache. Our Lord dealt with the impossible cases. Americans don’t like impossible situations. We can fix anything. So when God gives us an opportunity to exercise great faith, we often set it aside for a fleshly fix. We rob ourselves of the chance to see Him who is Invisible. There is little sense in saying “I believe” if you already have an alternative plan in mind. Faith works best when there is no other way out. Faith is strongest when you are completely hemmed in on all sides with NO escape plan, NO backup plan. Dare we pray for the opportunity to be completely shut up into some impossible situation? Only if we want to see Him who is Invisible. For without faith it is impossible to please Him who deals in the Impossible. For all those who come to God must believe that He is. And if we really believe He is, then we will know Him as the “I AM”.  Then, next time we face an impossible situation and ask ourselves “Can God?”, we look up and see Him who is Invisible and say “He is able!”

Prayer: May I know you as the God who is able. May I never lean unto my own understanding, but in all my ways seek to see You who are Invisible.

From Pathway of Blessing