Archive for the ‘Abundant Life’ Category


Congratulations! You have made a life-changing decision! Perhaps you are asking, “Now what? How do I begin my journey with God?” The Six steps mentioned below will give you direction from the Bible.

1. Make sure you understand salvation.

1 John 5:13 tells us, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

God wants us to understand salvation. God wants us to have the confidence of knowing for sure that we are saved. Briefly, let’s go over the key points of salvation:

  • We have all sinned. Our sinful nature means we are separated from our Holy Righteous Creator God. (Romans 3:23).
  • Because of our sin, God has declared us “guilty” and the punishment for our sin is eternal separation from God in Hell. (Romans 6:23).
  • Because God loved us, He sent His only son Jesus to die upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved. His resurrection proved that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay for our sins.
  • God grants forgiveness and salvation to all those who place their faith in Jesus – trusting His death as the payment for our sins. Faith means that we have opened our heart to believe that which is unseen, yet we know in our hearts is true. (John 3:16; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1).

Jesus-Salvation-in-No-One-ElseThis is the message of salvation! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are saved! You have entered into a Covenant with God sealed with the blood of Jesus His Son. God will not break His Covenant. All of your sins are forgiven, and God promises to never leave you or forsake you (Romans 8:38-39; Matthew 28:20). Remember, your salvation is secure in Jesus Christ (John 10:28-29). If you are trusting in Jesus alone as your Savior, you can have confidence that you will spend eternity with God in heaven! Salvation is entirely because of what Jesus did for you. It is a totally free gift. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

There is nothing that you can do to make you good enough or worthy enough to enter into heaven. You are “saved” ONLY by what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. When your heart is opened to believe in Jesus as your personal Savior, you are born again and the proof of you being a new creation, a child of God, is the seal of the Holy Spirit who now lives within you.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

2. Find a good Church that teaches the Bible.

churchDon’t think of the church as a building. The church is the people. It is very important that believers in Jesus Christ fellowship with one another. That is one of the primary purposes of the church. Now that you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, we strongly encourage you to find a Bible-believing church in your area and speak to the pastor. Let him know about your new faith in Jesus Christ.

A second purpose of the church is to teach the Bible. You can learn how to apply God’s instructions to your life. Understanding the Bible is key to living a successful and powerful Christian life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

A third purpose of the church is worship. Worship is thanking God for all He has done! God has saved us. God loves us. God provides for us. God guides and directs us. How could we not thank Him? God is holy, righteous, loving, merciful, and full of grace. Revelation 4:11 declares, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”word

3. Set Aside Time each day to focus on God.

prayerintimacyIt is very important for us to spend time each day focusing on God. Some people call this a “quiet time.” Others call it “devotions,” because it is a time when we devote ourselves to God. Some prefer to set aside time in the mornings, while others prefer the evenings. It does not matter what you call this time or when you do it. What matters is that you regularly spend time with God. What events make up our time with God?

(a) Prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. Talk to God about your concerns and problems. Ask God to give you wisdom and guidance. Ask God to provide for your needs. Tell God how much you love Him and how much you appreciate all He does for you. That is what prayer is all about.

(b) Bible Reading. In addition to being taught the Bible in church, Sunday School, and/or Bible studies – you need to be reading the Bible for yourself. A good place to start is with the Book of John. John presents the majesty and beauty of Jesus in the flesh. In John you will discover the Love of Jesus for His disciples.

The Bible contains everything you need to know in order to live a successful Christian life. It contains God’s guidance for how to make wise decisions, how to know God’s will, how to minister to others, and how to grow spiritually. The Bible is God’s Word to us. The Bible is essentially God’s instruction manual for how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him and satisfying to us. You have a new Teacher living within you – the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to teach you as you read the Bible.

4. Develop Relationships with people who can help you spiritually.

friendswalking1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The Bible is full of warnings about the influence “bad” people can have on us. Spending time with those who engage in sinful activities will cause us to be tempted by those activities. The character of those we are around will “rub off” on us. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with other people who love the Lord and are committed to Him.

Try to find a friend or two, perhaps from your church, who can help you and encourage you (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24). Ask your friends to keep you accountable in regard to your quiet time, your activities, and your walk with God. Ask if you can do the same for them. This does not mean you have to give up all your friends who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Continue to be their friend and love them. Simply let them know that Jesus has changed your life and you cannot do all the same things you used to do. Ask God to give you opportunities to share Jesus with your friends.

5. Be Baptized.

baptism pictures death burialMany people have a misunderstanding of baptism. The word “baptize” means to immerse in water. Baptism is the Biblical way of publicly proclaiming your new faith in Christ and your commitment to follow Him. The action of being immersed in the water illustrates being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. Being baptized is identifying yourself with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Baptism also makes you a part of a local church, and assures you of the watch care of a group of believers who will have your best interests at heart.

Baptism is not what saves you. Baptism does not wash away your sins. Baptism is simply a step of obedience, a public proclamation of your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Baptism is important because it is a step of obedience – publicly declaring faith in Christ and your commitment to Him. If you are ready to be baptized, you should speak with one of the Pastors at the church you attend.

6. Allow Christ’s Holy Spirit to Control Your Life.

Realize you can chose how you will live your Christian Life. These two diagrams illustrate in a simple way the struggle we will have to allow Jesus to lead our life, or to follow our own ways:Christ-Directed-versus-Self

In order to live a Christ-Directed Life you need to be filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit. We must realize that this is what God designed us for when we are “Born Again”.

1. God Has Provided For Us an Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life

  • Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).John10_10
  • “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
  • “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
  • The Spiritual (Holy Spirit Controlled) Man – Some spiritual traits which result from trusting God:Holy-Spirit-Directed-Life

    The degree to which these traits are manifested in the life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of his life, and upon his maturity in Christ. One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.

    • Why is it that most Christians are not experiencing the abundant life?

    2. Christians who follow the Flesh Cannot Experience the Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life

    The self-directed man trusts in his own efforts to live the Christian life: He is either uninformed about, or has forgotten, God’s love, forgiveness, and power (Romans 5:8-10; Hebrews 10:1-25;1 John 1; 1 John 2:1-3; 2 Peter 1:9; Acts 1:8).

    • He has an up-and-down spiritual experience.
    • He cannot understand himself – he wants to do what is right, but cannot.
    • He fails to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 7:15-24; 8:7; Galatians 5:16-18)

    The Fleshly (Self-Directed) Man – Some or all of the following traits may characterize the Christian who does not fully trust God:Self-Directed-Life

    The third truth gives us the only solution to this problem…

    3. Jesus Promised the Abundant and Fruitful Life as the Result of Being Filled (Directed and Empowered) by the Holy Spirit

    The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us in the power of the Holy Spirit

    • One becomes a Christian through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, according to John 3:1-8. From the moment of spiritual birth, the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at all times (John 1:12; Colossians 2:9, 10; John 14:16, 17). Though all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all Christians are filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.
    • The Holy Spirit is the source of the overflowing life (John 7:37-39).
    • The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ (John 16:1-15). When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is a true disciple of Christ.
    • In His last command before His ascension, Christ promised the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1:1-9).

    How, then, can one be filled with the Holy Spirit?

    4. We are Filled by the Holy Spirit by Faith

    Then We Can Experience the Abundant and Fruitful Life Which Christ Promised to Each Christian.

    holy_spirit1Please remember that this does not mean your life will always be great. The Holy Spirit will take you through times of testing and tribulation, just as He did Jesus, but always with the goal of producing the Character of Jesus Christ in your life. Faith holds on when things are darkest. But whatever God takes you through, He will never abandon you there. He will bring you through the valley and you will find increased faith and strength of character that is more precious than the purest gold.

    You can experience the filling of the Holy Spirit right now if you:

    • Sincerely desire to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:6; John 7:37-39).
    • Confess your sins. By faith thank God that He has forgiven all of your sins – past, present and future – because Christ died for you (Colossians 2:13-15; 1 John 1; 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:1-17).
    • Present every area of your life to God (Romans 12:1-2)myjobmyrelationshipsmyfinances
    • By faith claim the fullness of the Holy Spirit, according to:

    1. His Command – Be filled with the Spirit. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

    2. His Promise – He will always answer when we pray according to His will. “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).

    Faith is expressed through believing prayer:

    We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. Sincere prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:

    “Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”

    worshipBeing Filled and Controlled by the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event like being Born Again (Becoming a Christian). It is a daily, moment by moment walk with the Holy One who lives within you.

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    sHE-LOVED-LIVER-AND-ONIONSA man loved a woman. As is common, he wooed her and courted her. During their courtship, on occasion, he met with her after she supped with her father & family on liver and onions. On these occasions, though he loved her dearly, even the scent of her breath repulsed him. He spoke to her of his illness at even the odor of liver and onions, while understanding that while she abode in her father’s house there really was no remedy.

    bride-and-groomEventually, he received her to himself as his wife. He had begun building their dream home and was not finished, so he moved her from her father’s house into a nice apartment. He often traveled  between their home he was building and their apartment, but he or his groomsmen were never too far to assist her in any and every need.

    The first Saturday evening after the honeymoon had ended, the groom approached their apartment for supper with his bride. He had been thinking of this all day and was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to again woo his bride, now his wife. As he opened the door, he was immediately sickened by the smell of liver & onions. His bride had prepared a heaping platter, presenting it splendidly … and causing him painful nausea. “Have I not told you the smell of liver and onions makes me ill? Come, come away. Let us go elsewhere and sup and later, after I am gone, please clean this away.” With this loving plea he called his bride to his side. Yet though they went elsewhere, still the scent of the liver and onions hung about her. Still, she was contrite and apologized sincerely, and he loved her dearly.

    The second Saturday … yes, it happened again. Again, his bride was contrite and apologetic.

    The third Saturday ... need I say it? This time, the bride excused herself with “It is a habit. I’m trying to break it. Be patient.

    The fourth Saturday … she explained, “In my father’s house, every Saturday night we make a platter of liver and onions and there is happiness and laughter. I want you to share in that pleasure.

    He tried to tell her he could not. There was no pleasure for him in the meal, nor in the type of happiness of her father’s house. He told her he had taken her from that house because there was no place for him in it, as he and her father were mortal enemies. She had come to him willingly and must put aside the customs of her father, even the little ones like the liver & onions.

    The fifth Saturday … yet again. This time, she did not excuse herself, explain herself or apologize. “If you loved me, you would accept that this is part of who I am.” He loved her, though she might not realize how much. By bringing her out of her father’s house, he had brought her away from the destruction soon to fall upon it.

    The sixth Saturday … she was not at the quarters when he arrived. A note on the floor said: “I’ve gone to my father’s house for liver & onions. You’re welcome to come enjoy with us.”

    Liver-aND-ONION-FEEDI wonder if the bride truly loves her groom.

    Jesus called us to Him, from the house of our father, the Devil – a liar and murderer from the beginning. We knew Jesus was Holy and could not abide sin, yet He loved us despite the stench of sin all about us.

    We know the writings of Paul to “put off the old” or to “mortify your members”, or John’s statements to “be holy even as He is holy”. Even James says “to him who knows to do good, and does it not; to him it is sin”. From Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and the Prophets we hear continually that God desires a sanctified people … but do we continue to crave our “liver and onions”.

    Contrition, apology, explanation, excuses, rationalization, defiance, rebellion. Is this the condition of a repentant heart? As we consider Jesus Christ, is our “heart-love” like Gomer or Ruth? Both were beloved by their husbands, but only one lived an abundant, satisfying life. One became the lineage of Blessing for all people (Jesus Christ), the other a source of shame for her children and husband. Christian, you are the Bride of Christ. Do you insist on eating liver and onions?

    Thanks to Robert Kent Reed for this modern day parable of stubborn “pretend-love”. The original is here



    A man asked God how long a million years was to Him. God replied, “It’s just like a single second of your time, my child.” So the man asked, “And what about a million dollars?” The Lord replied, “To me, it’s just like a single penny.” So the man gathered himself up and said, “Well, Lord, could I have one of your pennies?” And God said, “Certainly, my child, just a second.”

    Joshua How Long a SLackerWe Americans are known for being impatient. From the very first time your child says “How Long Before We Get there?” – To your husband asking “how long will your mother be staying” we are always occupied with time and how long something takes. By the way if your mother in law is Jewish, you can ask her: kama z’man tish’hu kan? כַּמָּה זְמַן תִּשְׁהוּ כָּאן? (How long will you be staying?)

    Everything about America is hurry hurry hurry. We have more time saving gadgets, we even have the internet on our phones so we can be instantly in contact with each other. Still everyone always seems tobe in a hurry, and everyone complains of not having enough time.

    However, there is a counter-culture at work in America. It’s called the Slacker Movement. FYI: Slacker: One who shirks work or responsibility.Slacker Movement

    The thinking goes that slacking allows more of your creative energy to flow out. You take more time to enjoy life, have fun. You take the easy way out in anything you do. There was even a movie that presented this philosophy. The real you comes out, and you spontaneously express yourself in whatever you see and do and feel. You are more relaxed, you feel great so you make the world a better place to be.

    When a slacker lies happily on his couch thinking about what will make him and the rest of the world successful and happy, the world is immediately a happier place. His happiness radiates out like ripples in a pond, creating a happier, successful world. Supposedly, there is actually “Good Slacking”:

    Slacking has evolved into an approach towards society, projects, and perhaps even life for those fully absorbed into the slacker movement. Slacking is now about harnessing the simple approach to complex situations. Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” the modern slacker presented with a complex situation will oftentimes examine what is already available,  assemble the provided basic components, and arrive at a solution – usually delivering a viable answer with increased efficiency, minimal fuss, less aggravation, and sometimes even decreased cost.

    But Most Slacking is Just Laziness

    Join Slacker MovementAnyone anxious to join the Slacker Movement? Lots of Cool Parties and Conventions where all you do is drink. Comes with a really cool T Shirt. You say no thanks? Are you Sure? What if we find out there is a bit of slacker in all of us? As we continue our journey with Joshua, we find that the book is getting boring. In fact, when you start reading in Chapter 15, you start skipping ahead, and you say “How Long” does this go on? What is happening is the division of Canaan to the Hebrew Families.Joshua Down to Business

    Chapter 15 details the Tribe of Judah

    Joshua 15:1 (KJV) This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

    Joshua 15:13-14 (KJV) And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.

    Chapter 16 details Joseph’s Children, esp Ephraim

    Joshua 16:1 (KJV) And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel,

    Chapter 17 details the Tribe of Manasseh

    Joshua 17:1 (KJV) There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.

    Chapter 18 details the remaining tribes

    Joshua 18:1 (KJV) And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.

    There the allotment of the territory could be most conveniently made, north, south, east, and west, to the different tribes. But “the tabernacle of the congregation was also set up there,” and its removal therefore must have been made or sanctioned by divine intimation (De 12:11). It remained in Shiloh for more than three hundred years (1Sa 4:1-11).—JFB

    Joshua 18_3 He is PerturbedAll of a Sudden We find Joshua sounding pretty PERTURBED!

    Joshua 18:2-3 (KJV) And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?

    Why Did Joshua Talk to them this way?

    Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, Ephraiam, and Judah had made their requests. They had been given their land by choice or by lot. But the remaining seven tribes-Benjamin, Zebulin, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Simeon, and Dan–were being a little too slow.

    The language of Joshua is quite harsh and implies that they are openly dishonoring God’s commands.

    Joshua is clearly perturbed that they seem to have settled down near Shiloh and are making no overt attempt to continue the conflict and subdue their own land.

    Sure there could be simple explanations for the delays, moving to Shiloh, caring for wounded, harvest, livestock, but Joshua being in tune with the Holy Spirit (as he represents the Believer filled with the Holy Spirit)

    Joshua is a Picture of the Holy Spirit

    Why Do I say Joshua is an example of a believer filled with the Spirit? Because at the beginning Joshua united himself with the Captain of the Hosts of God. He demonstrates that the battle for our inheritance is not by our strength or power, but by the power of God’s Spirit. Joshua is acting as the Holy Spirit does in our lives. He gets busy in the life of God’s Children, and He starts moving us along.

    Now what probably happened is this:

    Joshua got busy preparing to move and set up the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Everyone got busy, plus they had been on a frenetic pace for at seven years.

    One day he heard about Caleb’s great victory over the three sons of Anak, and in the midst of rejoicing he looked out and everybody was just having a big ol cook out, relaxing and playing frisbee and volleyball. Then it hit him, these people are getting comfortable here. They are starting to IGNORE God.

    But Joshua was too much alive to the duty laid on him by the Lord to let matters continue in that state; and accordingly, since a general conquest of the land had been made, he resolved to proceed immediately with the lot, believing that when each tribe should receive its inheritance, a new motive would arise to lead them to exert themselves in securing the full possession. God never wants us to get too content in this world. He always wants us focused on the battle, upon His Glory and Purpose.

    The churches of America fell asleep in the 50’s and 60’s. Life was good. The WW was over, economic prosperity was going great, tithes were rolling in, big churches were being built, but the old devil was working overtime. All of a sudden, prayer and Bible reading were out, sex and drug education were in, and abortion was government funded. Our great Nation was set on a course that we are living in today. We got slack!

    That is what Joshua was reacting too, a slackness in spirit in the people, a contentment with the status quo. But their inaction was in direct violation of God’s Goals and Instructions.

    Why do we need to go to church? Why do we read our Bible? Because we are all slackers at heart! We usually don’t want to do anything that involves conflict, confrontation, obedience to the difficult commands of Christ.

    But Jesus said: “Why do you call me Lord Lord, and do not the things that I say?

    Being a Christian is a RELATIONSHIP and NOT a RELIGION!

    It’s very much like a marriage relationship…

    Relationship Not a ReligionI can tell my wife I love her. O honey I love you so much. You are the cutest little thing! Oh you just make me all tingly inside! But if I just lay around and don’t help with chires, just lay around and don’t go to work, or worse yet, just leave and don’t tell her where I’m going, stay out all night carousing… Does it make it ok if I come home at four in the morning and go: “Oh honey, I just missed you so much! I love you so much!”

    NO. In fact, I would be lucky if my wife even tolerated that behavior for a week.

    You can use the same analogy about your conduct at work, at school, with friends. Words and smiles and high fives only get you so far. Pretty soon you have to back up your words with actions!

    That is our God! That is our Savior! He did not sacrifice His perfect Blood so you could say I love you so much, come into my heart, be my Savior, and then just go out and do whatever you want, whenever you want, with who ever you want! No, You have been redeemed, bought out of the slave market so that you can be HIS Treasured Possession, His workmanship!, before ordained for good works! (Eph 2:8-10)

    How Lons od ScriptureIn Order to Understand the Importance of Not Being A Slacker when it comes to God, we must understand the way God Works. To do that we must analyze and understand the  “How Long’s” in Scripture:

    The “How Longs” in God’s Word take three different forms:

    1. Man talking to Man

    2. Man talking to God

    3. God talking to Man

    Now understand this word that Joshua uses-rāp̱āh: it means to become slack, to relax, cease, to become discouraged, weak, feeble, disheartened, let go, forsake, abandon. It can also be used to imply laziness or complacency.

    • The Pharaoh used this word to justify his mean treatment of the Jewish slaves (Exodus 5:8,17)

    • Proverbs 18:9 (KJV) He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

    • Understand that Slackers are brothers to the destroyer, the corrupter!

    Man to Man

    • Job 8:2, ‘How long will you speak these words?’
    • Job 19:2 ‘How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? ‘
    • Psalm 63:3, ‘How long will you imagine mischief against a man?’
    • Proverbs 6:9 ‘How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?’

    Face it, we get weary of trouble makers, people who cause problems, people who never seem to get their life on track. We complain about the wicked,we complain about people not doing work when we are doing all the work. How many times have you become weary of all the horrible things that people do to good people, even their children, even their family? We live in a very messed up world.

    This prompts us to ask “HOW LONG?” to God.

    Man to God

    • Psalms 6:3 (KJV) My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
    • Psalms 13:1 (KJV) How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
    • Psalms 35:17 (KJV) Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
    • Psalms 79:5 (KJV) How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?
    • Psalms 89:46 (KJV) How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?
    • Psalms 94:3 (KJV) LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
    • Revelation 6:9-10 (KJV) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

    Cry Out HOW LONG GODWe take our complaints to God, we think He is leaving us in our problem far too long. We think he is letting the lions chew on us a little too long. We think He is hiding himself from us, not listening to our prayers. We think He is letting the suffering of the righteous go on too long. There is too much suffering in this world.

    God means our complaints to cause us to look at Him, to see Him at His throne. He wants us to submit our petitions before the throne, to plead our case.


    UNDERSTAND GOD”S PRAYER PROTOCOL

    Prayer Protocol with GodThe truth is, we must each learn that God is Sovereign. God is King. He has a well ordered throne. There is a protocol involved when we pray before the throne.

    Pray through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

    • Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Hebrews 10:19-20

    Pray in Confidence in His Righteousness

    • And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:21-23
    • Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

    Pray in the Power of the Name of Jesus

    • Ephesians 5:20 (KJV) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
    • Phil 2:10 At the Name of Jesus every KNEE Shall Bow.
    • Acts 4:12 No other Name under heaven whereby men may be saved

    But does that mean you don’t plead with God? NO. Sometimes We Must plead…

    Luke 18:3-8 (KJV) And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

    Expectation: Faith hears the voice of the Beloved, and says, ‘Make haste;’ it hears His ‘Behold, I come quickly!’ and it says, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’ We ‘look for and hasten (unto) the coming of the day of God’ (2 Peter 3:12).

    • REMEMBER GOD PROMISES TO BE WITH US (Joshua 1:5) “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”

    BUT REMEMBER THAT GOD HAS EXPECTATIONS FOR OUR LIFE TOO!

    Gods ExpectationsWe must always remember that our Relationship With God Comes With Certain Expectations… God looks at your relationship with Him and asks… HOW LONG?


    God to man.

    • God to Pharoah- Exodus 10:3, 16:28, How long will you refuse to humble yourself?’
    • Numbers 14:11 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
    • Numbers 14:27 (KJV) How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
    • 1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
    • Proverbs 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
    • Proverbs 6:9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
    • Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
    • Jeremiah 12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
    • Matthew 17:17 (KJV) Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

    God is:

    1. Long-suffering. ‘not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’
    2. He is the infinitely patient God, as such most unwilling to smite. He speaks in pity to the sinner, ‘how long will you not be saved?’—like Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.
    3. Pleading, but Never Forces Your Obedience.Loving. It is not at random that God says, ‘How long?’ His are not mere words of course. ‘It grieves Him at His heart.’ Every moment’s continuance in unbelief is vexing and grieving the Spirit.
    4. Warning. As He warned the judges and princes in Israel, so does He warn us. How long will you deal unjustly? He said to them. How long will you persist in your unrighteousness and unbelief? He says to us. The day of grace is ending. The day of wrath is coming. Be warned. Flee from the wrath to come!
    5. MOST OF ALL God is NO PUSH OVER!

    I have often heard somone who is back-slidden, or living in sin ask me, “why doesn’t God just send me a sign… why doesn’t He send a lightning bolt to wake me up and get me to do right?” But it is not up to God to Force us to Obey. God is after your heart, after your devotion, he is not building robots.

    Sometime He brings us Goodness:

    • Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

    Sometimes He uses Fear:

    • Jude 1:21-23 (KJV) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
    • 1 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

    But through it all, God asks each of us, “How Long are you going to slack off from Your Relationship With ME?

    • How long are you going to slack off making a decision to put off coming to Jesus Christ?
    • How long are you going to slack off from putting God first in your life.

    How to Claim InheritanceSure, you have tons of excuses. The demands of your job, demands of your family, demands for yourself. Fear of this fear of that. But God calls it what it is-laziness, slothfulness, lack of concern for His Word, apathy toward the eternity of your loved ones, lack of love for your loved ones. What kind of relationship does God require with us?

    Jesus said there are really only 2 commandments you need to follow:

    • Mark 12:30-31 (KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    HOW CAN WE CLAIM OUR INHERITANCE, OUR ABUNDANT LIFE IN CHRIST? HOW DO WE HAVE A MARK 12:30 RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD?

    Sigmund Freud’s favorite story was about the sailor shipwrecked on one of the South Sea islands. He was seized by the natives, hoisted to their shoulders, carried to the village, and set on a rude throne. Little by little, he learned that it was their custom once each year to make some man a king, king for a year. He liked it until he began to wonder what happened to all the former kings. Soon he discovered that every year when his kingship was ended, the king was banished to an island, where he starved to death. The sailor did not like that, but he was smart and he was king, king for a year. So he put his carpenters to work making boats, his farmers to work transplanting fruit trees to the island, farmers growing crops, masons building houses. So when his kingship was over, he was banished, not to a barren island, but to an island of abundance. It is a good parable of life: We’re all kings here, kings for a little while, able to choose what we shall do with the stuff of life.—Illustrations Unlimited

    Priorities & Focus:

    • “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 6:19-20).
    • And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Colossians 3:23-25

    1. God’s Inspired Word is the Final Authority for my Life

    Bible is Final AuthorityLike Joshua led the Hebrews to do at Shechem, Mt Ebal Mt Gerizim , to embrace the blessings and the cursings of God’s Word. The were setting forth God’s Word as the Final Authority for their life. They were embracing the Blessing Power of God’s Word, but at the same time they were acknowledging the power to curse, to wall them up in the way.

    The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalms 19:7-11

    This means you are going to commit daily to reading the Word. You are going to make being in God’s Word your number one priority each day.

    2. SURVEY YOUR LIFE


    Joshua 18:4-6 (KJV) Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north. Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.

    Survey Your LifeMake a list of your needs, the needs of your wife, the needs of your children. Learn to think in character qualities. List your assets, list your debts, list your concerns list your fears, list your health problems. List those loved one in your life that you don’t know where they will spend eternity

    3. COMMIT IT ALL TOTALLY TO GOD

    that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.”

    commit all totally to GodTake your list, commit it all to God. Give Him all your expectations. Don’t be envious of what you don’t have. Understand God has different expectations for each of us. Count on Him to bring His will to pass

    • We are a Living Sacrifice – Rom 12:1,2
    • My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. Psalms 62:5-8

    4.By Faith to Go Forth in the Power of His SPIRIT

    Power of the SpiritThen he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

    • The Inheritance is conquered by God, because we can claim none of the glory before Him. Romans 11:36 – of Him, through Him and unto Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.

    • He will show us our life, and only that which we have allowed Him to accomplish will last for eternity. He alone is our silver and gold!

    • Are YOU READY TO STOP SLACKING FOR GOD? ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT TO HIM TODAY!


    Caleb climbing mountains killing giantsLet us consider a man with extraordinary faith. Faith that enabled him to claim a mountain, and continue killing giants. Perhaps we will be encouraged by his faith, and God may open our eyes to what He wants to do in our life.

    The Conquest of Canaan continues in Joshua 10:28. Here we find the battle continuing that was begun on the longest day in earth’s history. The day the God made the sun stand still. The Southern Conquest continues. Then in Joshua 11 we find that the Northern Conquest takes place when some kings think they can take Joshua and his men out. Even though they have superior forces and weapons, they are no match for the God of Jehovah. In Joshua 11: 6 God gives special instructions to Joshua. He tells him to hough the horses. The Hebrew word is ‏עָקַר‎ (ʿāqar). Modern translators use the word “hamstrung”.

    What does it mean to hough a horse?

    Houghing the horses is done by cutting the sinews and arteries of their hinder legs, so that they not only become hopelessly lame, but bleed to death. The reasons for this special command were that the Lord designed to lead the Israelites to trust in Him, not in military resources (Ps 20:7); to show that in the land of promise there was no use of horses; and, finally, to discourage their travelling as they were to be an agricultural, not a trading, people.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

    HamstrungWhy did God give this strange command? After all, the Jews could benefit from having horses. They would make them stronger and more effective fighters.  Joshua was destroying the enemy and the enemies devices for war, but they were to rely on GOD for their Victory, not their own abilities. Furthermore, God had called the Jews to possess Canaan, to enjoy the bounty of her soil. He wanted them to settle down, not continue traveling, which horses would have encouraged. Horses would have also encourage trade, and open the Jews to the influences of the world, influences that God was having them destroy. Horses could also fall into enemy hands. No, God had specific reasons for hamstringing the horses. God wanted them to obey and not question His instructions. God wanted them to rely wholly upon Him. This is the lesson from Caleb. Caleb is in stark contrast to the Jews who perished in the wilderness. They were hamstrung because of their unbelief, because of the influence of Egypt. Caleb represented man in the FULLNESS of God’s Strength, man unhindered by the world, by Satan, because Caleb WHOLLY FOLLOWED GOD!

    So the subject of being Hamstrung applies to our own walk with Christ. God wants us to know the strength of following Him, a strength and vitality that Caleb experienced throughout his life. While the rest of the Jewish men were dying in the wilderness, Caleb remained strong and vibrant. He is a picture of what Christ promises to all those who follow Him. He promised an Abundant Life. Instead of walking victoriously, and hamstringing our enemies, we are often hamstrung by the accusations of Satan.

    SATAN IS OUR ACCUSER

    Satan Accuser Rev 12_10Satan is an Accuser in this age of grace. His work is to accuse the brethren, to cause defeat and discouragement to loom over our lives. He does not want us to see and know and revel in the power of God to bring victory! When the accusations of Satan become so large that we are defeated, we are allowing our  failures and transgressions to become GIANTS that block our seeing Him who is invisible. Satan’s accusations cause us to focus on our failures and inadequacies rather than on the AWESOME POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD! We must not allow Satan to Hamstring us!

    The greatest day in the history of the world is described in Revelation 12:10: “the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” 1 John 3:8 assures us that Jesus Christ came for this purpose: “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus rendered Satan POWERLESS. He hamstrung Satan. There is no reason a born again Christian should listen to Satan’s accusations, or be defeated by his wiles. Satan has been rendered powerless. We must learn to focus upon the POWER of GOD in EVERY situation we face.

    Joshua 12 lists the conquests of Moses and Joshua. Joshua 13 – Joshua Is Getting Old, Time to Divide the Land. Joshua 14 – Time for Caleb to Collect

    Notice especially Joshua 14:6-15

    What Kind of Man Was Caleb?

    Faith of CalebNumbers 14:24 (KJV) But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

    How do you recognize someone with “another spirit”? The Hebrew pictures an “excellent spirit or wind”. It has the meaning of BREATH. Caleb was a breath of fresh air, that cool gentle breeze in the midst of a scorching desert. One who has “another spirit” is one whose spirit is in touch with God, regardless of the heat of the situation you face. One who has another spirit is like the mighty tree whose leaves do not wilt no matter how severe the heat and drought become. You know someone has another spirit:

    • When your spirit is in touch with God!
    • When you see and believe God is
    • When God’s Spirit within you is influencing your 5 other senses-sight, touch, smell, hearing, seeing.

    GOD SENSE

    Caleb looked at the same things the other 10 spies looked at, yet he ran everything through his “GOD SENSE”. Sure, those giants were huge. Sure the walls were high and thick, but Caleb wasn’t controlled by his physical senses. He was controlled by his God-Sense. He knew God would give them the victory. Caleb had another spirit, an excellent spirit, and it controlled his life, gave him a fountain of youth, gave him a faith that was remarkable. If you are in the majority, as were the 604,998 other men (between ages of 20 & 60) that day, you will look at problems with only your five senses, and you will have three reactions:

    Defeat & Discouragement

    Numbers 14:1-The people wailed and wept.

    Oh no, mudpreacher, I don’t do that. No, but perhaps you show it in another way. Instead of openly showing your defeat and discouragement, you internalize it. You give up on believing God. You give up on having any enthusiasm for God. Your resolve is diminished, your shoulders become stooped over a bit more, your work for the Lord becomes less and less.

    Another way is you limit what you will do for the Lord. Serving others, being a friend, helping people, you are all into that. But doing anything that is outside your comfort zone, even asking friends if they know for certain they will live with God in eternity, no, that is too difficult. You end up doing just enough to be considered a good Christian, but Satan has taken the joy of your salvation away. He has you in that mediocre walk, that walk that does not impact the giants and problems that you will face.

    Complaining Spirit

    Numbers 14:2-the people murmured

    Spirit is breath. The words you speak reveal the spirit of your heart. Words of encouragement, words of joy, words of praise, words of hope, trust, these are the BREATH of another spirit. Words of complaint, murmuring, disgust, impatients, negative these reflect a wrong spirit, a self-sense spirit.

    Fail to Believe God

    Numbers 14:9 Only rebel not, neither fear

    What most people don’t understand, is that failure to believe what God has said is actually rebellion against God. Fearing the enemy when He has told you that you will have victory is slapping God in the face and saying I don’t believe you. You are allowing your flesh, your senses to override what God’s Word says. Ignorance of God’s Word is just as much rebellion as out and out disobedience.

    You are in rebellion to God if you ever find yourself saying:

    • I know I should but…
    • He knows my heart…
    • He made me this way so…
    • I’m not hurting anyone…
    • I need my sleep…
    • Just this one time won’t hurt…

    Anytime you offer up an excuse for not doing what His Word is telling you to do is REBELLION. Anytime you offer up an excuse for doing something contrary to what His Word is telling you is REBELLION.

    CALEB FOLLOWED THE LORD FULLY

    Caleb Another SpiritGod doesn’t enjoy halfway Christians. He delighted in Caleb because he followed the Lord “fully”, “wholly”. The phrase is actually two Hebrew words: ʾaḥar – the hind part, behind,and mālâ, to be filled up. God used mālâ to describe the earth when it was filled up with violence (Gen 6:13) Elijah used it to tell the widow women to fill up the vessels with oil. 2 Kings 4:6Dinozzo-Gibbs-On-Your-Six-Boss

    Caleb was filled up with the hind part of God. He kept so close! He had another spirit! He was always going “I’m on your Six, Boss!” (as Tony DiNozzo tells his N.C.I.S. boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs). To be filled with the Spirit of God means you are so dependent upon Him he can’t shake you! You are in his rear view mirror all the time! Like you’ve jumped on his back and nothing can shake you off!

    Caleb was a Man of EXTRAORDINARY Faith

    1. Carrying Faith
    2. Climbing Faith
    3. Conquering Faith

    I. CARRYING Faith

    Joshua 14:10-11 (KJV) And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

    Caleb Carrying FaithThere are certain memories that you always have. Caleb would always remember those grapes. He would always remember the sweetness of the juice, the way they exploded in his mouth, juice running down his beard. He was so excited to taste the bounties of the promised land. For two years they had been eating manna and quail. Now this! He wanted it so badly. He wanted this land. Joshua and Caleb just had to show the people, so they cut down a cluster of grapes so large it took both of them to carry. They just knew the people would get excited about this wonderful land God wanted to give them. He could hardly believe his ears as the people listened to the descriptions of the giants and the walled cities. Can’t you see these grapes! Can’t you see that God is with us. Instead, the people decided to listen to the 10 rather than the 2. They let their fears, their apathy, their unbelief rule their wills. They decided not to go into the land.

    Caleb-Grapes of escholCaleb had Carrying Faith. Faith that could carry his soul the next 45 years. Faith that could carry his family. Faith that could keep his spirit on the back of God, even though all those around him were complaining, murmuring, ignoring the power of God. Caleb had another spirit in Him, That spirit gave him faith that carried him through any discouraging situation. During those forty years I suppose that there were many chances for Caleb to become discouraged, to think he would never see the Promised Land again. After all, his friends were dropping like flies. The complaining continued, the manna continued. I can imagine everyday would say to Caleb, “Oh, brother Caleb, isn’t it terrible out here in this wilderness! It is so hot — it’s 118 degrees today!” But Caleb was a man of another spirit. He had another focus. He had GOD SENSE controlling his vision! Caleb would say, “I really hadn’t noticed. I guess it is pretty warm, but I was thinking about those grapes of Eschol that I saw. And I was thinking about the city of Hebron. Our father Abraham liked that place, and I like it. That’s where I am going.”

    Caleb, even in the wilderness, could think of the future. He had a great hope. It kept him young. Those forty years in the wilderness killed off the rest of the crowd, but they didn’t do a thing to him but make him healthy. They grew old, and he grew young. The giants in the Promised Land made the others tremble — they thought of themselves as grasshoppers. But Caleb thought of God. There was freedom from fear in the heart of this man. As Martin Luther said, “One with God is a majority.” God was bigger than the giants.

    Look at John 15:7-12

    abide-in-christIf you are lacking in carrying faith, perhaps you are not centering your life upon the right things. Jesus said to abide in Him, and you will have fruit and joy and love. But the basis for that abiding is obedience, obedience to his commands. What are you disobeying Jesus Christ in? Is your love for Him full? Is your Joy in Him full? Then you are disobeying Christ, and you will not have faith to carry you through the storms of life. Instead of feasting on the monster fruit of God, you are starving on Gerber’s processed baby food.  How is your Love for God, How is your Enthusiasm for God, How is your Spirit for God? Are you Following Him WHOLLY! Do You Have Carrying Faith? Are your Carrying anyone Closer to God!

    II. CLIMBING Faith

    Joshua 14:12 (KJV) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day…

    Caleb Climbing FaithCaleb is now eighty-five years old, and yet he can say that he is as strong as the day Moses sent him into Canaan as a spy! What he was really saying is that he was still able to tackle any problem same as when he was a young man. His power from God had not diminished, in fact, if anything, he had grown stronger! Most people when they get older, look forward to retiring. They don’t want the stairs anymore, the two stories. They want everything on one level. They want to live in the valley. They don’t want anything too difficult.

    When Caleb stepped forward to claim any land he wanted, he chose Hebron. He chose the Hebron mountain area, about 3500 feet above sea level. Why? Because he wasn’t through climbing in his life. He had not accomplished all his goals. He was still pressing upward for the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ.

    Caleb reminds me of Adoniram Judson, the missionary who spent twelve years in Burma without a convert. The board that sent him out didn’t sense the situation nor what a tremendous missionary they had in Judson; so they wrote him a very diplomatic letter, suggesting that he should come home. They asked him what the prospects in Burma were for the future. His reply was, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” His confidence in God was the reason he could stay in the wilderness of Burma all those years. Although he suffered a great deal and it took a long time for revival to break out, it finally did. His time was well spent. Today, in Burma, there are Christians thriving becasue of the work of Adoniram Judson. In 2013 they will have a huge 200th anniversary celebration.

    Are you enjoying all the spiritual blessings that God has for you today? You say, “I have lots of trouble.” I know that Christians have many troubles in the course of their lives. My heart goes out to them.  But I always think of the testimony of a wise old saint who said his favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.” When puzzled people asked him what he meant by that, he replied, “When I get into trouble and problems pile up, I turn to my verse and know my troubles have not come to stay; they have come to pass.” We can complain all day long, but that will only hamstring our walk. We need to focus on God, His Hope for us, His Future for us! These things will pass! Our Victory is Promised!

    Press-toward-the-MarkCaleb for forty years followed fully the Lord his God. Everyone else around him was dropping dead, was complaining, getting bit by snakes, getting swallowed by the earth, but old Caleb kept on following fully his Lord. He was thinking about going mountain climbing. He was still pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

    In this life you are either running a winning race or you are falling down in the wilderness.

    1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

    There are five reasons why we are overcome in the wilderness: we lust after evil things, we have idols before God, we commit fornication, we tempt Christ (fail to Honor Him), we murmur. These all could have infected the spirit of Caleb. These all could have overcome him in his walk toward the blessing of God, but NO, Caleb had ANOTHER SPIRIT, He Had God Sense, He focused on Him who is INVISIBLE, but ALL POWERFUL!

    Caleb kept on drinking from the Rock. He kept on thinking about those grapes. He kept on thinking about his land. He looked forward to climbing. After all, He was on the Boss’s Six!

    • Do you still have goals for Christ?
    • Are you still climbing towards him,
    • Or are you coasting, getting by, just doing what you have to.

    Watch out. If you are not climbing, you will get overthrown.

    Caleb followed God fully. This is why Caleb chose Hebron.

    Hebron means fellowship, it means fullness, and it means fruitfulness. So Caleb was saying, “Joshua, I want that mountain that represents fellowship with God; I want to walk with God. I want that mountain that represents fullness; I want everything that God has for my life. I know there are some giants left, but that is no problem when I am on the back of God!

    Have you heard of the man who was mountain-climbing in the American Rockies, along a very rugged track. Suddenly he slipped, falling over a cliff. He grabbed the roots of a tree and hung there. When he got his breath back he looked down and saw an enormous drop. If he fell, he’d certainly be killed. Looking up, the cliff top was so far above him he couldn’t climb back. In desperation, although he knew he was alone, he cried out ‘Is anyone up there?’ He was startled to hear a booming voice say ‘Yes!’ ‘Can you help me?’ ‘Yes’ came the response. ‘What must I do?’ The voice answered ‘Let go!’. There was a long pause, then finally the man called out ‘Is anybody else up there?’

    Someday we will be rewarded. We will not be rewarded according to the great amount of work done for God, nor according to our prominence and popularity. The important thing will be — did we wholly follow the Lord?

    Oh, that God’s people would learn today that the most important thing in this life is to wholly follow the Lord! Caleb, man of God that he was, took Hebron. There were giants there, but he said, “That’s the place I want. That’s the very best spot!” Oh, that you and I might keep climbing toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

    III. Conquering Faith

    Caleb Conquering FaithWhy did a man 85 years old pick a place like Hebron? It was mountainous, it was rocky, it was controlled by not just one giant, but by his three giant sons. But that was why he wanted Hebron. He wanted to PROVE the POWER of GOD! “Bring them on,” says Caleb. “They’re no match for the LORD!” Forty-five years before he had promised, “Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us” (Numbers 14:9). Now he had a chance to prove it as leader of “the men of Judah”. The giants represent the enemies of Conquest, and Caleb is ready for them

    Fear looks at the problems, faith claims the opportunities. Caleb had GOD SENSE! Sure the giants are big, their strength superhuman, their reputation terrifying. We may be like grasshoppers, but there is none mightier than EL GIBBOR! Faith filters every giant through the Power of God! There is no trick to Conquering Faith. If you believe Jesus saved you by His blood and He lives in your life, then you have experienced conquering faith.

    In Luke 17 Jesus says we should forgive someone who sins against us seven times in one day! The disciples ask – reasonably enough we might think – for more faith to do this. Jesus brushes off the request, saying, in effect, ‘What you need isn’t more faith, but using the faith you already have! Your problem isn’t faith or the lack of it, but obedience!’

    To grow stronger, you don’t need a muscle transplant, but to exercise the muscles you have! Trust and obey says the old hymn – and it’s still true.  They think of possibilities. Just as Augustine wrote the biography of sin in four words: a thought, a form, a fascination, a fall, so faith begins with your thoughts of faith.  We need to exercise our GOD SENSE and see His Power. We need to believe His PROMISES! We must unite our FAITH with the VISION of GOD ALMIGHTY! We must BREATH ANOTHER SPIRIT through our lives: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil.4:13). “I am more than a Conqueror through Him who loves me!” (Rom 8:37)

    See What Caleb Did at 85: “From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites — Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai — descendants of Anak” (Joshua 15:14).

    Why does the Scripture give their names? Because their names were well known; the giants were what legends are made of. You only name great opponents, and these giants were great enemies with great reputations to match. But Caleb fearlessly drove them out. Doubtless the story was told again and again around the campfires, “Do you remember when Caleb….”

    Just How Big were the sons of ANAK?

    Anak was How BigCaleb said in Numbers: “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us:

    • Caleb said, these giants won’t be the means of our defeat but of our growth.  We’re gonna eat their lunch!  He bellied up to the table and said, please pass the Anakim, Breakfast of Champions!
    • Why did your momma make you eat your spinach?  Because it was good for you.  “But I don’t want to!”  But you should, it will make you strong.  God says, eat your Anakim!
    • We need heroes. We need to know those who have gone before and have conquered the giants of life.

    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:1-2a, KJV)

    You can view life as a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

    Granny BrandDr. Paul Brand, (Pioneering physician in the field of leprosy), was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, “In His Image,” he writes about his mother.

    His mother, Evie “Granny” Brand had just lost her husband. Their mission term was up for renewal. A widow, 68, she was seeking another term. She actually took no support from the organization, becasue she lived off an inheritance. But the board said it made no sense to appoint a sixty-eight year old woman to another five year term.

    Evie did not see it that way. Years ago, she and her husband Jesse had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt that God intended for her to fulfill that vow. She saw one last chance. “Please just send me back for one year,” she pleaded. “I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire.”

    Reluctantly the board agreed. Had they known Evie’s secret plan, they would surely have refused. When her year with the mission ended, fellow missionaries gathered to wish her goodbye. Then came the shocker. Evie gleefully informed them that she was retiring from the mission– retiring to take up independent work in the mountains. She would fulfill the promise that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Protests and warnings fell on deaf ears.

    Paul BrandRejoicing, seventy-year-old Evie began to fulfill Jesse’s dream. Everyone called her “Granny,” now, but she felt young. She traveled from village to village, riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was hard because her body was thin now. Life became even more difficult when she was dropped by her carriers and whacked her head on a rock. She never completely recovered her balance after that. She took to walking with bamboo canes in her hands. Yet the face that she turned upon the world was full of joy and laughter. “Praise God!” she exclaimed continually.

    Despite broken bones and fevers, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalryan range. (Guinea worms grow several feet long under a person’s skin.) Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges. “Extraordinary,” said people. Granny insisted it was all God’s doing.

    Whether on her mountains or off, she proclaimed Christ. In a hospital with a broken hip, she scooted on a carpet from room to room and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers. Her son Paul visited her and found her looking not older but younger. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

    Granny-Brand2When she was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus. One day, at age 75, she was travelling alone & fell & broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her & put her on a makeshift cot & loaded her into their jeep & drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones.

    But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.

    Paul Brand wrote: “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, & moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.”

    He said, “At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire.” He said, “She turned around & looked at me & said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years & it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’”

    So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age 95.

    Paul Brand writes, “My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, & places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, & her skin so tanned by the weather & the heat. “I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them & saw the sparkle in their eyes, & the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven.”

    When her son, Paul visited her in the mountains, he found her looking younger. Her smile, brighter than ever, made the difference. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

    Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on this day, December 18th, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse’s while a multitude wept. The woman who had been declared too old for India had carried on for 24 more years, working almost to her day of death.

    We Need Heroes Like CalebAre you Wholly Following the Lord God?

    We need more Caleb’s. We need Heroes who exercise their God Sense, who can visualize God’s Power, Power to Keep on Carrying, Power to Keep on Climbing, Power to Keep on Conquering!

    Would you tell God each and every day “I’m on your six, Boss!”


    flowering apricotWe love flowers, but God wants fruit. After all, a dying world needs fruit. Flowers are necessary, but only the fruit gives LIFE. The flower of the vine is meant to last only a short time before it gives way to the fruit. Yet too often we praise the beauty of the flower, and treat the fruit as incidental. Jesus said that “every branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). God desires fruit which is a result of the branches being united with the Vine.Girl with Grapes

    dying-flowerUnless the flower fades away, there will be no fruit. Fruit brings life. It is for the purpose of the fruit that a vine is planted. The flower is necessary, but incidental. God is the vine dresser, His Son is the vine. We are the branches. Too often we want to emphasize our flowers, our beauty. Most training of Pastors and workers is aimed at the “Flower”, the program, the organization, the promotion, the “soul of natural man”. The aim is to make us independent, confident, quick-witted, slick, organized, confident, self-assured, – beautiful to the eye of the beholder (visitors, congregation).

    god vinedresserGod is actively engaged as the Vinedresser of the bride of His Son. He has promised His Son a bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Eph 5:27). As we will be a spiritual bride clothed in NEW Heavenly bodies, these spots and wrinkles are on our soul. Our Eternal Vinedresser must check and deal with these unfortunate growths and wrinkles. He is constantly cutting them off, performing “plastic surgery” on our soul and spirit-that which we will bring to the wedding.

    God is actively engaging us on two fronts. First to bring us to the place where we are living by the life of His Son-the exchanged life, the abiding life, planted within us by the New Birth. Second, He is doing a direct work in our hearts to weaken the fund of our natural resources which led to Adam’s sin in the first place. For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14)

    preparing-bride-of-christEveryday true Christians are learning these two lessons-a rising up of the Life of Christ as our life, and a checking and handing over to death of that natural, soulish life.

    In the process, the world may view us as weak, ignorant men who confess “I do not know – but He knows, and that is enough”. After all, it is all about His Fruit, not our flower. May God deliver us from today’s “Arrogance of the Soul!”