Archive for the ‘Victory’ Category


Football is a religion to many in America. They have their Sunday ritual of worship just as churches do. As the Giants and Patriots prepare for Superbowl XLVI, the Tebow phenomenon has quickly faded from memory.

I do not believe God is sitting on the sidelines cheering one team against the other. I know He watches, because He is intimately involved in the affairs of men.

I saw His involvement in the Ravens vs. Patriots game on January 22, 2012. I doubt if anyone else saw it, but the moment I saw that last second Ravens field goal miss wide left, I said, “Praise God, you have revealed your glory!”

I admit that I am not normal, for I try to see God at work in everything I observe, even a silly football game. Most people do not want a God that involved with their lives. They want a distant God who will come running to their aide in a time of trouble. However, God wants us to hear His voice every day, for He calls to us every day. He hates it when we shut Him out of our daily lives, coming to Him only in times of trouble. This is what He says to you who see God only as your “rescuer”.

Proverbs 1:24-28 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.

Now most football fans see the folly of asking God to help their team win, at least I hope they do. I hope they do not think that Tim Tebow is praying to God to help his Bronco’s win. If Tim Tebow understands the Word of God, he knows we are to pray that everything we do honors the Name of God and brings Glory to Him. We are to honor His Name in victory as well as defeat…especially in defeat. Winning is important, but Honoring the Name of God is more important.

Why do I think God involved Himself in the Ravens v. Patriots game? Because Terrell Suggs invited Him when he publicly dis-honored the Name of God. He did not mean to, but his boasting led to God taking a personal interest in that game, especially the fourth quarter. Here is what happened:

ESPN’s First Take reported this comment from Terrell Suggs, made in reaction to Tim Tebow:

“With all due respect, we don’t pray on sidelines”, Suggs told ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday morning. … “I don’t feel comfortable I gotta pray every 4th quarter, like oh my god please come save me again.”

Yahoo Sports changed his comment to say this:

“With all due respect we don’t need God on our sidelines,” Suggs said.

NBC Sports ran with Yahoo and made this their Headline: about his comments:

Suggs on Tebow: “We don’t need God on our sidelines”

I even used the headline to emphasize a point I was making about fools in writing about David’s encounter with Nabal. I said, “Terrell Suggs showed he is a fool by saying the Baltimore Ravens do not need God on their sidelines.”

I was using the Biblical definition of fool, from the Psalms describing a fool as one who says “God is not”. To me, Suggs was saying that God is not important, and so they do not need to pray to Him on the sidelines. He was saying “We don’t need God on our sidelines” in order to win in the fourth quarter.

While that statement may be true in itself, the moment Terrell Suggs exalted himself and the Ravens above God, and said, “We don’t pray on the sidelines”, as if they do not need God…he invited God into the game, especially in the fourth quarter!

God wants all men to know that they do need Him, regardless of how mighty their defense is, regardless of how great they ‘think’ they are. Man is in need of God, man is in need of a Savior. God involved Himself in the fourth quarter of a silly football game simply to show us that we all need Him!

Even Benjamin Franklin realized the need of God in the founding of our Nation:

And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest. I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service[1].

When I saw that easy chip shot of a field goal get pushed wide left, I knew God had done it, just to show Terrell Suggs they DO need God on their sidelines, especially in the fourth quarter.


I have seen many people who live their lives as if “God is not” get to the fourth quarter of their lives and realize that “God really is”. Most of the time their pride is so entrenched that it is too late. Some try to involve Him in their fourth quarter, but He doesn’t seem to respond.

God is not an “Emergency Responder”, even though He often does. He does not want to be someone you call only in the fourth quarter, when your back is against the goal line, and defeat is circling your team. God wants to be there at the opening kickoff, at the very first hike. He is our Creator and Giver of life, and He wants us to worship Him all of our lives because we need Him every day of our life.

I know Tim Tebow realizes He needs God every moment of the game, every moment of his life. His whole life is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. The outcome of any football game is not important to God. The outcome of your life is.

Who is on the sideline of your life? Is it Jesus Christ? Is He your Savior? Then the outcome of the game does not matter, for you are already victorious in Jesus Christ. You have won the most important game of all, the Game of Life!

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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.


    Fathers Men of GodBelieve it or not, God thinks Fathers are important. God will never allow test tubes to replace Fathers. Fathers are absolutely essential in God’s overall plan of providing an inheritance for His Son. We are in a tragic Cultural War, one which relegates the Father to the role of bumbling idiot. God sees Christian Fathers as a Fighters, Infantry Soldiers in the Battle for the Inheritance for His Son, Jesus Christ.

    “Wish You Were Here”

    Kendall Phelps will never forget the morning when a picture popped up on his computer in his Silver Lake, Kansas, high school classroom. There stood Chris, his oldest son, in desert camouflage in front of a bombed-out building in Baghdad. He was holding a sign written on the back of a discarded MRE carton: “DAD, WISH YOU WERE HERE. SEMPER FI!” Kendall, a retired Marine, rushed across the street to the elementary school where his wife, Sherma, teaches fourth grade. She had already received the same photo via e-mail and, in a spasm of giddy relief, was printing out copies to post at the church and all over town. Chris had not been heard from since just after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom a month earlier. Kendall’s elation that his son was all right momentarily erased his disappointment over not being in Baghdad himself. “Kendall is a Marine and a dad,” explains Sherma. “He could not stand it that he was not over there with Chris, fighting side by side, protecting his son.”

    In January 2005, against all odds, Master Gunnery Sgt. Kendall Phelps, 58, and Maj. Christopher Phelps, 35, deployed to Iraq together for a seven-month tour in the newly formed 5th Civil Affairs Group based in Fallujah. Ever since the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, tragically died when their cruiser was sunk in World War II, the U.S. military has been reluctant to deploy immediate family members in the same company. No one can remember a Marine father and son serving together. The mission of the 5th Civil Affairs Group is to facilitate the reconstruction of Al Anbar province, an area riddled with suicide bombers and insurgents. Chris, a team leader, is working with the Iraqi police, firefighters and contractors on rebuilding the infrastructure. His dad will use his 30 years of teaching experience to help establish new schools. They both know it won’t be easy. “It will be hot and nerve-racking and people are going to die,” says Chris. “My buddies say civil affairs is the most dangerous job in the Marine Corps right now. But I also think it’s going to be gratifying to get that grid system up and water pumping.”

    “When I asked him why,” says Chris, “he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I’m a Marine.’ For me, there were no more questions. I understood. As a Marine, you feel your time is never over.”

    Christian Fathers, your time is never over. We are always at war, a war that impacts Eternity. God Needs us to make a difference. God needs us to be different. God needs us to focus on Eternity, on the inheritance for His Son.

    An Army brat was boasting about his father to a Marine brat:

    “My dad is an engineer. He can build anything. Do you know the Alps?” “Yes,” said the Marine brat. “My dad built them.”
    Then the Marine kid spoke: “And do you know the Dead Sea?” “Yes.” “My dad killed it!”

    The Fathers of Israel were Fighters. They were fighting to take possession of a land they could call their own. After centuries of wandering, being enslaved, they wanted to provide their families with a permanent home, a place they could settle down and start spreading roots.

    Their Fathers Made the Wrong Decision

    Their fathers before them had witnessed a mighty miracle in the parting of the red sea and the destruction of Pharoah’s army. They had witnessed the victory over the Amalekites. They had seen God miraculously provide manna from heaven, water from a rock. Yet their fathers failed to give their hearts and minds to the awesom God who worked these mighty acts. In fact their fathers all perished in the wilderness, as God told them they would. They were fighters, but failed to become Mighty Men of God because of their heart belief.

    FightingFathersFaceDecisionNow the sons were fathers, and these fathers too were witnessing mighty acts of the awesome God known as Jehovah. They witnessed the mighty miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. They witnessed the walls of a mighty city fall down with just the blowing of Rams horns and shouting of God’s people. They shared in the foolish defeat at Ai, and then the mighty victory over both Ai and Bethel. Joshua knew that the time was right for turning these Fighting Fathers into Mighty Men of God. Only as Mighty Men of God would the total inheritance be claimed. SO Joshua led them to the Valley of Decision at Shechem.

    BY NOW THE MESSAGE WAS RINGING LOUD AND CLEAR IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS. THEY MUST MAKE A DECISION, A DECISION THAT WAS TO MARK THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, A DECISION THAT WAS TO MARK THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. That decision involved their HEARTS.

    THEIR FATHER’S FAILED TO HAVE A HEART BELIEF IN THE TRUE GOD

    FathersWrongBeliefSystemWhen it came time for their fathers to make such a decision, here is what they said:

    • Exodus 24:3 (NASB) Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!”

    In fact they said it again:

    • Exodus 24:7 (NASB) Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”

    But they were just mouthing words without embracing them in their hearts and lives. Look what happened a month or so later:

    Exodus 32:1-6 (NKJV) Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

    Instead of obeying this awesome Jehovah who had done these mighty miracles, they fashioned their own god, and blasphemed the true God by saying this golden cow had led them from Egypt. Then they made an altar to this new god, and made sacrifices and feasted before their new god. Their fathers rejected the God of Creation and worshipped a god of their own making. As a result, many died that day, but they all died in the wilderness over the next 40 years.

    Hearts_farfromGodTHEIR HEARTS WERE FAR FROM GOD:

    Isaiah 29:13 (NLT) And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

    JESUS SAW THE SAME IN THE PHARISEES:

    Mark 7:6-7 (NLT) Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

    The Hebrews wanted a god they could see and follow, so they quickly abandoned the God of Moses for a golden calf. The God of Moses was invisible, powerful, but scary and impersonal. The Golden calf they had seen in Egypt, they could see it and admire it, it wasn’t scary, it was a lot of fun. They could be themselves around it. It wasn’t too demanding. Men are constantly fashioning gods they like, gods that fit their lifestyle. This is why Jesus came into this world, to show us that god is not found in something we make, something we do, or some place we attend. God is found in Jesus Christ.

    JEWISH WORSHIP BECAME DEAD & IMPERSONAL -THE TRADITIONS OF MEN.

    John 5_40 refuse to come to JesusBy the time of Christ, the Jews had made the worship of God an impersonal. Lifeless, burdensome affair. It did not require heart belief, only tedious attention to rules. Obeying tradition was enough to affirm you were a child of Abraham. Tradition alone was enough to give you the hope of God’s Blessing. So Jesus cried out on the steps of the Temple:

    John 5:38-40 (ESV) and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

    God desired His People to walk before Him in the Power of a Real Relationship with a Real and Living Eternal God. In order for that to happen they had to believe His Word Gives LIFE (BLESSING). Joshua had been charged by Moses to renew the people’s covenant with God as soon as they were able to in Canaan. Joshua was charged with making sure these Fighting Fathers gave their hearts over to God’s Way of Life.

    HEART BELIEF SYSTEM

    Heart Belief System1HeartBeliefSystem_2God realizes that our actions are influenced by our Heart beliefs. This Covenant is a foundational commitment to embrace the Sayings of God as our belief system. His expectation is presented in Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Embracing those beliefs marked the day that the Hebrews became the children of God most high.

    The Day The Jews Became God’s Chosen People.

    Day Jews Became Gods PeopleDeuteronomy 26:16-19 (NKJV) “This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.”

    The Basis for them being the people of God was their HEART belief in God’s Belief System, as expressed in His Law. They were to walk in His ways, obey His statutes and commands, and listen and obey His voice. If they embraced God’s Belief System, He would set them high above all nations., and make them a holy people unto Himself.

    The decisions we make as to Who’s word we follow and believe in will effect our life, our future, and our families future. It will effect our eternal inheritance. If say you will obey God, but don’t build your life upon and around His Belief System, your heart will be far from God. You will perish in the wilderness. You will not enter into His Rest, His inheritance. You may even go to church, tithe, pray, but your heart is far from Him. You do your own thing through the week because you don’t have His Belief System in your heart!

    THE WINNING HEART BELIEF

    Winning Heart BeliefIn order to become Winners, Conqueror’s of Canaan, these Fighting Fathers must embrace the Winning Heart Belief. So Joshua led these Fighter Father’s to embrace God’s Belief System. Here is how He did it: He Took them on a 20 mile march to Mt Ebal & Mt Gerizim.

    COMMANDED BY GOD & MOSES

    While Moses was still with the people, before they crossed the Jordan, it had been commanded that they should meet at Ebal and Gerizim when they came into the land. (Deut. 11:29-32) It had also been commanded by Moses (Deut. 27) how great stones should be set up in Mount Ebal and plastered with plaster and on them should be written all the words of the law – the Ten Commandments (R. 662) -very plainly. These very stones or others set up near by should form an altar on which sacrifices should be offered. Six tribes had been named which should stand on either mountain, and curses had been given which the Levites should recite to the people with a loud voice. To each curse the tribes on Mount Ebal should answer, Amen; and as blessings were recited, the tribes on Mount Gerizim should say, Amen.

    MT EBAL AND GERIZIM

    Gerizim Ebal AmphitheaterStanding by the altar, Joshua or the Levites read the law with a loud voice, and the people answered from the mountain sides. “Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of his way,” and from the people on Mount Ebal came, “Amen.” And so with other curses. And after each blessing, came “Amen” from the people on Mount Gerizim. It was very solemn and sacred, for the people were promising the Lord that they would keep His laws in the land that He was giving them.

    The place appointed for this meeting is most remarkable. Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south stand facing each other. Shechem lies in the valley between as it slopes westward. At the highest point in the pass, east of Shechem, there is a hollow like an amphitheater in the face of each mountain. They seem made by nature for the tribes, six on either side. Joshua, with the elders, officers, and judges, stood by the ark, probably in the valley between. There he read the law, and the tribes from one side of the valley and the other responded to the blessings and the curses. You probably wonder how all those people were able to hear the words of Joshua. Wonder no more:

    An article on bibleplaces.com refers to an experiment conducted in the 19th century by J.W. McGarvey, during his tour of the Holy Land . He describes how these two mountains face each other with their slopes being about one mile apart, with the Biblical city of Shechem lying between them. On the side of both mountains there is a deep semicircular recess, which form two natural amphitheatres, where voices can carry for considerable distances. For his experiment, McGarvey stood between the two mountains, in the place where the Levities and the people of Israel would have stood. He said that there would have been enough space for 600,000 Israelites and their families. One of his two companions climbed halfway up Mt. Ebal , and another climbed halfway up Mt. Gerizim . Each evidently stood within the two natural amphitheatres, where they could each represent six tribes for the blessing and the curse.

    The author read the blessings and the curses, and his two companions responded with, “Amen”, as Moses had instructed. The companion on Mt. Gerizim could hear the author clearly, and his response could also be heard clearly. The companion on Mt. Ebal could hear the voice of the author, but had difficulty distinguishing the words because of trees and terracing on the mountainside, which affected the acoustics. McGarvey suggested that if Joshua had a loud voice, he could have easily been heard by the whole the whole people of Israel , even without the Levites repeating his words.

    This experiment shows that God chose the best place in the land to conduct this ceremony of renewal of the covenant, so all the congregation of Israel could hear the words of the Law clearly, and agree to them. The natural amphitheatres do not work so effectively today because of recent building development, but still show clearly in photographs and aerial mapping.

    blessingorcurse1Imagine the scene as over two million people responded to Joshua:

    ‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’
    And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’ ‘
    Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’
    And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

    joshua altarAccording to Deuteronomy 27-28, the altar was built on the mountain of cursing, Mount Ebal.  We need the covering sacrifice exactly at the point where our sin and failures are revealed and God’s curse is pronounced on our sin.

    LIFE OR DEATH

    There is a Principle that rings throughout the Bible, and we see it come to the forefront when Joshua leds these Fighting Fathers to renew their covenant with God. There is no middle ground with God, there is only Life or Death. And as far as God is concerned, you are either dead in sin, or dead to sin, but alive to God. There can be no life without death. You must die to sin and what you want, and Live to what God wants. It’s either God’s belief system or your whatever belief system you make up on your own. You chose what you want to have upon your life. On this day they were acknowledging the Power of God and His Word, His Belief System. They were embracing His Word for their lives, to be their belief system for life.

    • They were professing their death to the way of the world, the way of the flesh, and confessing that they were alive to the Life of God.
    • They were acknowledging the Rewards that come from Living unto God!
    • They were also acknowledging the  Penalties that come from turning you back on God’s Belief System.
    • That Word and how they obey it will determine either blessing or cursing upon their life, their children’s lives.

    What Turns a Father into a Man of God?

    What Makes a Father a Man of GodGod wants Fathers who will be Men of God, Men whose Hearts are firmly planted in God’s Word. Joshua’s actions revealed why God chose him to lead these Fighting Men to become Mighty Men of God. From his actions in JOSHUA 8:30-35, we see what makes a Father a Man of God.

    Men of God Incorruptible1 Corinthians 9:25 (KJV) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    Men of God are Sound2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (Self control, disciplined)

    Titus 2:1-2 (NKJV) But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;

    2 Timothy 1:13 (NKJV) Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

    Men of God are CompleteJames 1:4 (ESV) And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    Revelation 3:2 (ESV) Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

    Men of God are SacrificialOur Eternal Father loved us so much that he gave the ultimate sacrifice-His Son.

    Ephesians 5:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

    1 Peter 2:5 (NKJV) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

    RENEW YOUR COMMITMENT

    Fathers Renew You Commitment to GodFathers, every so often we need to renew our commitment to having God’s Belief System in our heart. We need to check out our heart to see who and what we love. We need to examine it for false god beliefs, selfish loves. DO WE LOVE OUR GOD? We need to see if we are still standing firm in one spirit with Jesus Christ, with one mind locked sude by side for the faith of the gospel of our Savior.

    Lance Corporal Jeffry Nashton – Terrorist Attack 1983

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2008 – Twenty-five years ago, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Nashton lay broken, burned and blind in a military hospital bed in Germany, the victim of a brutal terrorist attack that nearly killed him.

    (a terrorist slammed a truck loaded with explosives into a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 23, 1983.)

    Faithful Fathers Godly MenGeneral PXKELLEYGeneral P.X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), went to the hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany to visit wounded Marines. One Marine, LCpl Jeffrey Nashton, USMC, was wired up for sound, covered by tubes, unable to speak, fighting to stay alive. The general came to pin on the Purple Heart. Nashton could not see or speak, and could barely hear. General Kelley knelt beside his bed, and Nashton reached out with his hand and rubbed over the general’s stars. Counting four, he managed a grin. He motioned for something with which to write. He received a pen and paper, and wrote, “Semper Fi,” and gave it to General Kelly. The general is reported to have wept.

    Kelley would later send the four gold stars Nashton touched to Nashton along with a special commendation. You might recall I mentioned LCpl John L’Heureaux earlier who was working as a forward observer on the roof when it crashed down. He was in the bed next to Nashton when General Kelley came. Mike Toma, whom we mentioned earlier as one of the first to be rescued, was under the debris next to Nashton. A mutual friend, LCpl. Bill Sanpedro was dug out and flown to Germany, but died on the way.

    lebanon PostAttackHNashton suffered a fractured skull, shattered cheekbone, eyebrow and right eye orbit, crushed arms, a broken left leg, bruised right leg, two collapsed lungs, burns on his arms and back, and internal bleeding, not to mention the psychological impacts. Incredibly he survived and returned to active duty in January 1984, just two months later.

    The two Marines, now both retired, met again yesterday, this time on a grassy knoll under a clear, blue fall morning sky at Arlington National Cemetery’s section 59. The section is dotted with the white headstones of those who died in the terrorist attack.

    Nashton, Kelley, and about 100 friends and family members, along with a handful of survivors, gathered at the cemetery for the White House Commission on Remembrance’s 25th annual tribute to the 241 Americans, mostly Marines, who died that day. The attack was part of a coordinated attack in which another suicide bomber crashed into a French military compound at the same time. Fifty-eight French soldiers died.

    Faithful Men 2 Timothy2Nashton was one of three Marines in his unit to survive the attack that morning. His unit was part of the 1,800 Marines serving in Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping mission.

    Kelley, who traveled to Beirut in the aftermath of the bombing, said he later took off the four stars that Nashton touched that day. He had them mounted in a shadow box inscribed with the Marine Corps motto, and he presented them to Nashton as he recovered at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

    “In my heart of hearts he deserved those four stars more than I did,” Kelley said.

    SEMPER FIDELIS-ALWAYS FAITHFUL.  These words come from a heart belief, a belief that does not change regardless of the circumstance. Just as Chris said:

    “When I asked him why,” says Chris, “he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I’m a Marine.’ For me, there were no more questions. I understood. As a Marine, you feel your time is never over.”

    So too, Christian Fathers who have become Men of God because of their HEART BELIEF will be ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Their time is never over. Once you give your heart to God, there is no turning back. The battle for God’s inheritance will ever be before you.

    SemperFiCling_largeMighty Fathers of God need to adopt the motto of Semper Fi. We need to be ALWAYS FAITHFUL to Jehovah God, and to His Son Jesus Christ. Semper Fi.


    Ai Ai AiMy favorite Mexican song is Cielito Lindo. There is a line goes “Ay, ay, ay, ay canta y no llores Porque cantando se alegran, Cielito Lindo, los corazones” (ENGLISH: Ay, ay, ay, ay sing and don’t cry because singing will make happy, heavenly pretty, the hearts). It has a catchy tune, lifts my spirits, but when Joshua first heard about what happened at AI, he might have used different words: “AI AI AI AI, man we’ve got troubles! No pretty sky no singing wives will fill our heart with joy.”

    Ai Ai GasaNot to make light of what happened at AI, but I find it interesting that there is a line of women’s designer clothes with Ai in their name. Ai Ai Gasa is a Brooklyn-based clothing line cut from recycled umbrellas. Umbrella’s are found, plucked, stripped, washed, cut and styled. Then they fashion them into puff-a-lump forms. (I wonder if they are water proof?)

    Well, when Joshua heard the report of the defeat at AI, he probably felt as if he had been plucked, stripped, washed and cut. The wound went deep into his soul.

    Joshua’s Reaction to Defeat

    Joshua reacted to defeat of Ai“Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. (Joshua 7:6)

    The MAAL MAAL

    From the great victory of Jericho it was only a twelve mile journey for Israel to find defeat at AI. It was a stronghold of the ungodly Amorites. The scenery is beautiful, with mountains nearby. It was between AI and Bethel that Abraham pitched his tent and offered sacrifices to Jehovah God. Now it was a city full of debauchery, witchcraft and idol worship.

    Israel did a maal maalWhat happened? Israel did a māʿal maʿal. Specifically Achan did a maal maal. Ezekiel 18:24 explains the maal maal principle: “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, (maal maal) and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” In almost all the biblical references māʿal is used to designate the breaking or violation of religious law as a conscious act of treachery. The victim against whom the breach is perpetrated is God.—TWOT

    Achan broke faithAchan deliberately broke faith with God, but Joshua 7:1 indicates that when one is allowed to do it, they all shared in the breakage of faith.

    But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things; for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things; and the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel. (Joshua 7:1)

    ACHAN SINNED (MAAL MAAL)

    Achans downward descentNow we have all heard how Achan sinned. He got hooked by something he saw. Some beautiful garment caught his eye. It got him to thinking and desiring, and then he saw some silver and gold. So he took it. Sin always has a hook. Sin always has something to grab you with. With Achan the hook was how great he would look wearing the forbidden garment. With Eve it was how great the forbidden fruit would taste. With David it was how tantalizing it would feel to be with such a beautiful woman. With Esau it was how great the stew would taste when he was so famished.

    Satan hooks us to break faithThere is always a Hook that Sin grabs us with. Successful salesmen look for something that will hook you. They watch your face to see how you react to different spiels. Drug dealers try to hook young people with freebies. Satan wants to hook us and lead us to make that decision to break faith. Achan did just that, but the Word of God says THAT ALL ISRAEL BROKE FAITH.

    We realize that Israel was complicit in Achan’s sin when we analyze the reasons they suffered defeat at AI. God’s anger waxed hot, because He saw something in Israel that was going to cause problems down the road. They needed to learn a collective lesson if the Nation of Israel  was going to KEEP THE FAITH.

    The victory at Jericho was fresh on the people’s minds as Joshua, being a good general, sent men to spy out the next strong city. But what is not mentioned is whether Joshua was in communication with the Captain of the Hosts as he was at Jericho. I believe the results indicate that he was not.

    ai ai CaptainThe spies reported that Ai would be an easy prize. Three thousand men would be more than enough to  take this small village. Any more would be a waste of manpower. No problem they reported to Joshua. The problem is that Joshua listened to his spies instead of listening to the Captain of the Host. Instead of Joshua going to the Captain and requesting new orders, and saying “AI AI Captain”, he listened to his spies, and as a result ended up shouting “AI AI AI Have We Got Trouble!”

    WHO YOU SAY AI AI TO OFTEN DETERMINES THE MESS YOU FIND YOURSELF IN.

    I did not get my driver’s license until I was almost 17. It was February 1970, and I was driving my aunts 1959 Oldsmobile. My Dad had let me drive it to a Forensics tournament. On the way home the guys who were with me suggested stopping and getting some beer. I knew I shouldn’t do it, my dad had said strictly to drive there and back home ONLY. But I decided to go with the flow and let one of the guys buy some beer. When he got back in, everybody started drinking the beer (except me of course). Well, they were kidding around and somebody dropped a bottle on the backseat floorboard, and all 12 ouces of beer spilt out. Beer has a very distinct odor, and my car was full of it. I was yelling, we had nothing to clean it us with. It made a big mess. When I got home I tried to clean it up, but the smell was real strong. Needless to say my dad somehow figured out that I had spilled beer in my car and I got into serious trouble. When you say AI AI to the wrong people, it will lead to trouble.

    Joshua found himself in serious trouble because he did not say “Ai Ai” to His Captain.

    DEFEAT AT AI

    “And the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.” Joshua 7:5

    • Even though the spies said they were few in number, the few was able to rout the many, and death was the result.
    • Few with God can turn the world upside down. Many without God can be as ineffective as a lifeless corpse. The difference is who is doing the fighting.

    In this case, God wanted His people to learn a priceless lesson. This Lesson Involved The Ground Rules For Success In Living A Victorious Life. The Marching Orders for Success Mean Depending Upon God for EVERYTHING! Even Little Ai’s!

    Most of us live a boring life. Sure, we fill our days with busyness, but for the most part our lives would never make an exciting reality TV show. Occasionally we may encounter a Jericho demanding an awesome display of God’s power, but most of the time we are facing little problems like AI. The problem with facing little problems is that we think we can handle them ourselves. We don’t bother God with the mundane, we figure He wants us to handle it on our own.

    Lords PrayerThe Disciples were intrigued because Jesus seemed to pray a lot. Imagine, the Son of God prayed a lot. They said, Teach us to pray. What in our lives is so important that we should pray all the time? He gave them this simple prayer:

    Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory forever and ever.

    I don’t know about you, but daily bread is pretty mundane. Most of us don’t pray about grocery shopping. Most of us don’t pray about a pay check (unless of course you are out of a job). But the impact of the Lord’s prayer is that we need to pray constantly about the will of God in our lives, about His provision for our lives, about His deliverance (Victory) for our lives, and about His Protection for our lives. God wants to be involved intimately in our mundane, ho hum, boring everyday lives. God says that our lives make a really exciting reality show, and He wants to be the director!

    The problem with living the Christian Life, is that when you deal with the mundane in your flesh, you are weakening your hearts love for God. You are weakening your FAITH walk and run the risk of getting weak hearted. Another way of saying weak hearted is hard hearted. A hard heart is a weak heart, for both are distant from the POWER of GOD!

    As the result of failure in dealing with the mundane, the Israelites suffered a horrible defeat and Joshua records: “The hearts of the people melted and became as water.”

    When we fail to have victory in the Mundane affairs of life, we lose faith, we lose our heart, we become weak as water. We become in our own mind too weak to fight our way out of a wet paper bag. Even the smallest defeat can lead you to despair to even questioning what God is doing with your life.

    See The Cry Of Joshua And Listen To His Despair:

    Defeat in little things causes despairHe fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the sun went down. He was bowed down with shame and sorrow. The success he had so recently gloried in was stripped from his memory; and the dark storm cloud of defeat threatened the whole host. The great cause of which he was the leader would fail unless this tide of defeat could be speedily rolled back and the cause of so great a disaster be discovered.

    Why are Christians living defeated lives?

    Defeated ChristianWhy do we spend most of our time in the wilderness valley instead of rejoicing on the mountain top? You say sin, not reading Bible, not going to church etc. But I believe that what Israel did is exactly the reason we are defeated. The reason we aren’t living victoriously is because WE are trying to do the living. God warned Israel of the danger of living our life in our own strength through the original Mudpreacher: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)

    This is what Achan and the Hebrews did to enter the Valley of Trouble and Defeat:

    1.  Pride.

    Pride goes before fallJust as the spies thought, we think. We live our daily lives thinking, “I can do this, no big deal. I know how to do my job, I know how to drive, I know how to budget, I know how to do most of the things I do to live.” So we aren’t in constant communication with the Captain. We don’t think we need His marching orders for how to eat a bowl of shredded wheat.  We figure God has the big stuff taken care of, we can handle the little stuff. Scripture states that by HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST!

    The Victory of Jericho was because they had no confidence in their flesh. They had total confidence in God! We will only continue to have victory if we continue to have no confidence in the flesh. If we rely only on ourselves for the mundane, soon we start to think that everything we have accomplished is because of what we did.

    Imagine a woodpecker working on a tree when lightning strikes and splits the tree in half. He goes over to his friends and says come see what I did. Totally impressed, they say, lets see you do it again. He starts to work on another tree and hours later, nothing has happened. He ignored the fact that a Greater Power than he was at work!

    Our temptation when blessed so much is to think that we somehow are responsible for our situation. God warns: 1 Corinthians 10:12 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” The Proud heart will soon discover the Valley of Trouble.

    2.  Presumption.

    Presumption of victory Mohammed AliThey presumed that God was with them, that He would always be with them because they were His chosen children.

    It’s not the Jerichos that defeat most Christians…it’s the Ai’s. We don’t get tripped up by the huge crises. It’s the little molehills that cause us to fall. We thought we could handle them. “No Problem”. Solomon wrote: “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” (Song of Songs 2:15)

    In 1961 Boxing Champ Mohammed Ali was preparing to fight Joe Frazier.  He said, “There’s not a man alive that can whip me.  I’m too smart, I’m too pretty, I’m the greatest, I’m the king.  I oughta be a postage stamp…it’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”

    The next night Frazier beat his brains out.  Why?  Because there’s a difference between confidence and presumption. When we don’t look to God for every aspect of our life, we are just as guilty of presumption as the Hebrew’s.

    There’s no power of Satan too great for us to overcome in the power of the Spirit of God…but there’s no power of Satan so small that we can overcome it in the power of our flesh.

    Israel shared nationally in the guilt of Achan’s sin because of their pride and presumption…

    3.  Prayerlessness.

    PrayerlessnessJoshua didn’t pray about Ai.  He never consulted the Captain. Because as soon as he did get around to praying God showed him what was wrong. If he had prayed before God would have showed him the sin before and they would not have been defeated.  God has a prescription for America today, and we need to take it before it’s too late!

    We do the exact same thing.  We wait  until we make a mess of things and then we go to prayer.  Prayer should be our first thought, not our last resort.  Most of our failures are prayer failures.  Prayerlessness opens our lives to providing a safe harbor for sin.

    Pride is the father of presumption and the grandfather of prayerlessness. The Pride, Presumption and prayerlessness are seen in the life of Achan, the man whom you can say was responsible for the death of 36 fellow countrymen.

    • His pride led him to defy the direct Command of Joshua, not to take any of the cursed good of Jericho.
    • His presumption led him to keep his sin quiet and hide the contraband under his tent. He presumed no one would know, that his sin would go unpunished.
    • His prayerlessness led to the separation of his family and possessions from the inheritance of God. He and his family and all his possessions were tragically stoned and burnt.

    We look at what happened and say that is so unfair! Look Achan confessed. He knew he had done wrong. Can’t you give him another chance? What about his family. They didn’t do anything wrong.

    I will say it over and over until you realize the truth of God’s Word. This life that we have been given is a gift from God. Our lives are not about us and what we want and what God owes us. Our lives are about God and what He wants and what we owe God. God has given us everything. We owe our very existence to Him. Our existence is about His inheritance, what He is giving His SON. If we refuse to follow His Son, if We refuse to follow God and depend upon God, then we will get whatever we deserve.

    God’s mercies are new every morning, but His Law will exist for all eternity. If Achan had simply obeyed at Jericho, he would have been able to take spoil from Ai. He simply couldn’t wait. He had to be in charge. When we choose to be in charge of our lives we are an enemy of God. We are robbing God of His inheritance.

    Achan loses his inheritanceEven though Achan confessed, his deliberate sin caused the loss of the inheritance of his family. The servants who stoned the prophets and killed the son of the vineyard owner were cast into outer darkness for eternity. The choices you make in this life will vibrate on the chords of eternity. You are either following God in claiming His inheritance, or you are robbing God of His inheritance. You make the choice. You have no one to blame. When you allow pride and presumption and prayerlessness to run your life, you are influencing you family, your descendants. You are working to rob them of their inheritance.

    If you want to live in Victory, you must depend on the leadership of God for every aspect of your life. God is Captain of all of your life or he isn’t your captain at all. You have no one to blame but yourself. The entire nation of Israel suffered because of one man’s sin. Yet his sin exposed their sin. God had to set things aright, which is the meaning of mishpat (JUSTICE). He did that by destroying the inheritance of Achan.

    What have you traded your inheritance for? Esau did it for a bowl of pea soup. Achan did it for a fancy garment and some silver and gold. Judas did it for 30 pieces of silver.

    What is your pride? What presumptions guide your life? Are you in constant communication with the Captain?

    You will find yourself crying “AI AI AI What trouble I’m in”, when you are not daily saying “AI AI Captain”.

    OUR STORY DOES NOT STOP AT DEFEAT, JUST AS THE BELIEVER’S LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO WALK IN DEFEAT!

    FOCUS ON THE VICTORY

    Running and looking unto JesusHere is the amazing thing about God. God always want us to focus on the Victory. He never wants us to brood over our defeats. He wants us to be Hebrews 12:1&2 Christians. He wants us to see the great cloud of witnesses who have shared in the Victory of the Risen Christ. He wants us to see them waving their arms, cheering us on. He wants us to lay aside the sin and the weights that try to trip us up. He wants us to FOCUS on Jesus, because He is the one who began our faith walk and He will finish our faith walk! God is faithful! God is true! God wants us to GET UP and say AI AI Captian! Instead of looking at ourselves and our Pride, God wants us to Focus on the Jesus and His Promises

    4.  Promises Instead of Pride

    It’s one thing to suffer a defeat, but it’s quite another to let that defeat define your life. God wasn’t going to stand for a defeatist attitude. He IMMEDIATELY SAID:  “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? (Joshua 7:10)

    God says to all Christians walking in defeat:

    Focus on the PromisesSTAND UP STRAIGHT, BRUSH OFF YOUR CLOTHES, WASH YOUR FACE, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, START ACTING LIKE MY SON! START ACTING LIKE I AM IN YOU! (Christ in You, the Hope of Glory!) Then he told Joshua to take care of the problem.

    Sometimes we need to search our hearts, sometimes we need to examine our walk. But we are never meant to stay there. We are never meant to brood over our mistakes. God is God of the Living. God is God of the Inheritance. Christ lives in each of us and Jesus Christ is not a Loser. He has never known defeat. Even in death He is the Victor!

    God tells Joshua to focus on the Promise and Power of God. Say “AI AI CAPTAIN!”

    Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. (Joshua 8:1 (NIV)) I have given you the victory. You Just need to learn to rely on me!

    When we strip away our pride and confess our sin, when we humble ourselves before Almighty God, He lifts us up, brushes us off and say “NOW COME ON AND ENJOY MY VICTORY THAT IS WAITING FOR YOU!”

    5.  Follow God’s Plan instead of Presuming

    Follow Gods PlanThen the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land. You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the town.” Joshua 8:1-2 (NLT)

    God has a plan, he always does. That Plan is us becoming like Christ. “For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) God has a plan of victory already marked out for us. We simply get up each day and say, “Captain, here I am reporting for duty! What are my orders today?” When He tells you, you snap to attention and salute saying “AI AI CAPTAIN!”

    Joshua followed the Captains plan to a T. They laid the ambush out, and at the time appointed he held out the javelin banner, signaling the other men to burn the city. Joshua kept the javelin raised high, until the inhabitants were slain, the victory assured. In Man’s plan, they suffered a horrible defeat by a tiny foe. In God’s Victory, they got a bonus city-Bethel. When God is allowed to work He always does more than we even expect or imagine. That is the Power of God when we follow His plan!

    6.  Prayer and Worship instead of Prayerlessness

    “At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal.”(Joshua 8:30) Joshua had all the people offer sacrifices to God. They worshipped, they prayed. They acknowledged their total dependence upon Him!

    Prayer and Worship by JoshuaHave you allowed pride and presumption to lead you into a prayerless powerless defeated life? Is God not a part of your daily life? Are you not following the Captain even in the mundane things of life? Do you think you’ve got it handled. You are setting yourself up for defeat. You will encounter your Ai.

    The Captain of the Host stands at the door of your life, and He says open up. I have so many Promises for your life. I promise with me as your Captain you will have victory. You will drink from a fountain and never be thirsty. I have so many Plans for your life, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. You just need to say AI AI each and every day, no matter how boring you think things are. You need to make me part of your everyday life. You need to communicate with me, pray with me, worship me. I came to give you an abundant life! But you must abide in me!

    The Choice is yours. You can live your life as your own boss, but one day you will cry out “Ai Ai Ai Ai Have I Got Trouble!”

    Valley of HopeBut God Promises, if you seek Him, he will turn the valley of trouble into a place of feasting and rest. “The Valley of Achor (will be) a place for herds to lie down, for my people who have sought me.” (Isaiah 65:10)

    He promises to turn the valley of trouble into the door of HOPE, and to give you abundant vineyards. “And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” Hosea 2:15

    When you say “Ai Ai Captain”, he turns the valley of Trouble into the Valley of Hope and Blessing!


    Walls Came tumbling down“Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, Jericho Jericho; Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.”

    walls came tumbling down2Do a Google search on “the walls came tumbling down” and you get everything from Martin Luther King and the fall of racial barriers, the Berlin Wall and the fall of communism, Madonna dumping the Record Industry for a 120 Million dollar deal with Live Nation, to the song by Def Leppard. Evidently God doesn’t know how to make His miracles pop up first in the Google search engine. No matter, regardless of popularity on search engines, GOD IS IN THE DEMOLITION BUSINESS. WHEN YOU NEEDS WALLS AND STRONGHOLDS TORN DOWN, CALL 1-800-WALLFALL

    Jericho AncientJericho was a massive walled city for 1400 BC. Considered impenetrable, unbridgeable. They had a spring inside the walls for water. They had just completed the barley harvest so food was plentiful. Joshua 6:1 says the city was shut up inside and outside. They were anticipating a long siege. Then the Lord says something astounding to Joshua in verse 2: “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.” The walls had already come tumbling down in the mind of God! Joshua couldn’t see it! That is Faith-seeing the invisible, seeing the impossible!

    GOD CHALLENGES US TO BELIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE!

    God challenge believe impossibleIn order to Claim our Inheritance and Rest in God, we have to tear down Walled Strongholds! Have you ever looked at something in your life and wondered how you were going to get through it? Have you ever encountered a wall in a relationship, in your family, at work, in church, in life? Walls are Strongholds.

    WALLS  CAN STOP US.

    Job 19:8 (ESV) He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths.

    Numbers 22:24-26 (ESV) Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again. Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.

    Walls are dangerousWALLS CAN HURT US

    1 Samuel 18:10-11 (ESV) The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.

    WALLS CAN SHAME US

    1 Samuel 31:8-10 (ESV) The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.

    WALLS CAN LEAD US TO SIN

    2 Kings 3:27 (ESV) Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.

    WALLS CAN HIDE SIN & ABOMINATIONS

    Ezekiel 8:7-13 (ESV) And he brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, there was a hole in the wall. Then he said to me, “Son of man, dig in the wall.” So I dug in the wall, and behold, there was an entrance. And he said to me, “Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.” So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ” He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.”

    WALLS CAN LEAD TO IMPRISONMENT

    Lamentations 3:7 (ESV) He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy;

    WALLS CAN DESTROY FRIENDSHIPS & FAMILIES

    Proverbs 18:19 (NLT) An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

    WE BUILD STRONGHOLDS BY PRIDE

    Amos 6:8 (ESV) The Lord God has sworn by himself, declares the Lord, the God of hosts: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”

    HOW DO WE REACT TO WALLS & STRONGHOLDS:

    IGNORE OR WHITEWASH IT

    React to StrongholdsEzekiel 13:10-16 (ESV) Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out. And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the coating with which you smeared it?’ Therefore thus says the Lord God: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end. And I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Thus will I spend my wrath upon the wall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it, the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, declares the Lord God.

    TRY TO GO AROUND IT

    The enemy, the problem is still there. They are always strategically placed. They will trip you up in the future. If it is a stronghold of hidden sin, it will be revealed. Your Sin will come to Light

    TRY TO DEAL WITH IT YOUR IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH

    Look at what happened at AI. Look at what happens when you try in your own strength to kick a habit, or struggle with a problem sin. Even Paul discovered that self effort is futile (Romans 7)

    TO CLAIM GOD’S INHERITANCE, WE MUST DEAL WITH THE STRONGHOLDS.

    Strongholds rob inheritanceStrongholds will rob us of our inheritance. One of the greatest example of generational strongholds was conducted in 1900.  A.E. Winship tracked down fourteen hundred of the descendants of Jonathan Edwards a pastor and university president and Max Jukes, he published his study of the Edwards children in contrast to the Jukes children. (From a Study JUKES-EDWARDS: A STUDY IN EDUCATION AND HEREDITY BY A.E. WINSHIP, LITT.D. HARRISBURG, PA.: R.L. Myers & Co.1900.)

    Jonathan Edwards:  Born 1703

    A man of God and married to a woman of like character. He was 24 and she was 17. On their wedding night they committed their marriage to the Lord. Their descendants included: 300 clergymen – some missionaries and theological professors. 100 professors. 100 attorneys. 30 judges, 1 dean of a law school. 60 physicians, 1 dean of a medical school. 3 mayors of large cities. 60 authors of fine classics. 14 presidents of universities. 3 State Governors. 1 Controller of the US Treasury. 1 Vice-President of the USA.

    Max Jukes:  Born 1700

    A non-believer, who married a woman of like character. She lacked principle, among other indecencies, including the occult. Of their 1200 descendants –  310 were professional vagrants. 440 wrecked their lives through debauchery. 130 went to jail – 7 for murder, average sentence: 13 years. More than 600 became alcoholics. 60 were habitual thieves. 190 became public prostitutes. 20 became tradesmen, 10 of whom learned their trade in prison. That descendancy cost the state of New York $1,250,000. 

    TO CLAIM THEIR INHERITANCE: THESE MEN HAD TO TEAR DOWN STRONGHOLDS

    • Jacob: Had to meet Esau
    • Jesus: Went to Samaria, Healed Gentiles, had to go to the Cross.
    • The disciples Fear was met head on by the Holy Spirit. In the face of persecution they said “we must obey God rather than man.

    Tear down StrongholdsStrongholds of quarrels, pride, and selfishness will rob the church of God’s inheritance if not MET HEAD ON!

    Paul: Euodia & Syntyche: Philippians 4:2-3 (NLT) Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

    Apostle John: Going to confront Diotrephes. 3 John 1:9-10 (NLT) I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

    HOW GOD DEALS WITH WALLS: DIVINE POWER

    • Power to Go Over the Wall

    Divine Power strongholds2 Samuel 22:30 (ESV) For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. Psalms 18:28-29 (ESV) For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

    • Power to Destroy the Stronghold

    Jeremiah 51:58 (ESV) “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”

    2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

    God doesn’t want us to avoid or run away from problems. He wants us to know His Divine Power to tear down walls. Psalms 89:40 (ESV) You have breached all his walls; you have laid his strongholds in ruins. God wants these stronghold torn down because He wants to be our stronghold. God will not share affections. He is a Jealous God. He desires to be the one we depend upon.

    God Must Be Our Only Stronghold

    Psalm 94_22 StrongholdGOD WANTS TO BE OUR ONLY STRONGHOLD. ANY STRONGHOLD THAT IS NOT OF GOD IS A CHALLENGE TO HIS AUTHORITY, HIS INHERITANCE, HIS REST FOR OUR LIFE. Psalms 27:1 (ESV) The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? God COMMANDED JOSHUA TO DESTROY THE STRONGHOLDS OF CANAAN. JERICHO WAS FIRST. Isaiah 23:11 (ESV) He has stretched out his hand over the sea; he has shaken the kingdoms; the Lord has given command concerning Canaan to destroy its strongholds. God knew that if these Canaanite strongholds were not destroyed, they would HINDER the Hebrews from gaining ALL of their inheritance, then they would ROB the Hebrews of future inheritance, and finally they would STEAL the Hebrew’s away from total devotion to Jehovah God.

    Need To Battle Strategy2In order to tear down and destroy strongholds, God has a “Need To” Battle Strategy. But it does not work if you don’t see your “NEED TO”

    God presented Joshua with His Need To Strategy, one which He presents to us. But very few Christians walk in Victory, free from strongholds that are robbing our inheritance. Christians are very boisterous about their great lives (look at facebook) but plain facts reveal another story. Divorce is as prevalent in the church as without. Drugs and Prescription Drugs are as common place among Christians as the world. Christians have strained family relationships just like the world. Christians have just as bad a problem with money and debt as the world. Christians struggle with depression, despair, defeat just like the world.

    Jericho stands for all those things we can’t get victory over on our own but will hurt others and destroy our walk and our inheritance if we don’t.

    These are the things that we hide in our lives: our fears, defeats, anxieties, petty envying and outright deceit. God knows there is only one solution: lead them into battle against them. We live in a pretend age. And so marriages are falling apart but we pretend things are normal such as marriages falling apart. They pretend their families are fine when in fact the parents and children are in a constant state of war.

    We live by ignoring our failures. We hope that they will never get big enough to erupt the normalcy of life. God knows better. If crossing the Red Sea or Jordan River stand for salvation, taking over the land of Israel represent sanctification: the process where God’s people are freed from their sins and find the fullness of life in living God’s way.

    The Israelites had been in the wilderness for so long that they NEEDED TO EXPERIENCE THE MILK AND HONEY OF CANAAN! GOD WANTS YOU TO GET TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU ARE NOT CONTENT WITH A MEDIOCRE WALK, A MEDIOCRE WITNESS, A MEDIOCRE LOVE FOR Him. HE WANTS YOU TO DESIRE HIM TO BE YOUR ONLY STRONGHOLD, YOUR ONLY GOD.

    GOD is out for victory and success. He desires both to show His power and bring grace to our lives. He leads them straight into the hard battles and will do it in our lives too. When a person becomes a Christian, he will often face some big sudden challenges. He should not fear. God is with you to show Himself great. If they are not rightly dealt with at the beginning when our faith is strong, then it takes a long time to work them through.

    Many of us do not understand how deceit, lies, fears, anxieties, lusts and anxieties are chains about our lives. We have grown so used to them that we just get use to them. God wants to give us genuine freedom from their influence in our lives.

    The world boasts of freedom and choice, but are they not enslaved by their very desires? This is what Peter the apostle saw in the world around him, “For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. (2 Peter 2:18, 19, NASB).

    DO YOU HAVE A “NEED TO” IN YOUR LIFE?

    Need to Battle StrategyHow Did God Give Joshua Victory over this Stronghold? Joshua and His people followed God’s “NEED TO” Battle Strategy!

    1.  Need to Depend Upon the Lord

    Joshua 5:15 (ESV) And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

    • No Room for Pride
    • No Allowance for your ability
    • Nothing of the flesh allowed
    • He is Holy, He is without compare
    • We Must Sacrifice our will – make ourselves Holy by doing as He desires.
    • The Lord Must be Central in ALL our undertakings. Look at the position of the Ark

    2.  Need to Obey

    Joshua 6:3-5 (NKJV) You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

    Imagine you are a mighty soldier. You have experienced some mighty battles against some mighty kings on the other side of the Jordan. You are a man of action, a man of battle skills. Joshua tells you to get in column and start marching around the city. And you cannot speak, you simply march. The city was only about 11 acres. The march of 600,000 men would have taken only about 45 minutes to an hour at the most. The march to Jericho and back took longer. The first couple of days were OK, everyone was obedient. But by the sixth day, I can just imagine the guys were getting antsy. They were having a hard time figuring out what was going on.

    Strongholds are not destroyed all at once. There is the behind the scenes work of God! We must obey God even when it seems crazy.

    • Going to church
    • Tithing
    • Going to someone you have wronged.
    • Showing Honor even when they don’t deserve it.

    There are things we need to do in order for God to work His timing and His power to tear down strongholds in our lives.

    In Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, Jim Cymbala tells of amazing transformations in the lives of people with horrible strongholds. One of those stories (page 40 and following) contains a letter from Roberta, who tells of her terrible battle with drugs and depression.  When she “finally hit bottom,” (HIV Positive) she drove to the Brooklyn Tabernacle and cried to God to save her.  Her experience with God has had its ups and downs, including a relapse. Sometimes the strongholds need more “need to”. She persevered in obedience, despite being near death more than once.

    Cymbala tells of the time that Roberta was asked to give her testimony before the church.  Her father was present that night.  The story that this young woman had to share, Cymbala says, was not a pretty one, and certainly not one that a father would smile in pride to hear coming from his daughter’s lips.  As she came to the most disturbing parts of her story, Roberta stopped, looked at her father, and said with tears in her eyes, “Daddy, I know this is hard for you to hear.  But I have to say it, because it shows how Jesus can forgive the worst in a person’s life.”

    3.  Need to Quietly Wait

    1 Thessalonians 1:8 (NASB77) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

    Americans are not very patient. God is the God of eternity. He sees things that you and I can not even imagine. Strongholds are not built in a day. Some are built up over years. God will take us through many things before He believes we are ready to tear down a stronghold. Always Give God one more day to show His Power. Never never put time restraints on God. Never lose heart at the trials and afflictions that God allows to tear down strongholds. You’re learning to patiently wait upon God will be taken with you into eternity, for Paul says afflictions work an eternal weight of glory! Focus on that which you cannot see, on eternity!

    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    Patient waiting displays FAITH, which is more precious than gold! 1 Peter 1:6-9 (ESV) In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    4.  Need to Believe

    Jim Cymbala and ChrissyDo you even believe God can do mighty things in your life. Have you given in to Satan’s lies and stopped looking for miracles from God? Are their situations you have stopped praying for because you figure God doesn’t care? Is God asking you to march around a few more times and you are giving up, tired of this nonsense?

    From an Interview with Jim Cymbala:

    Q: You also experienced some times of real personal crisis as the church matured, didn’t you?

    A: My oldest daughter, Chrissy, drifted away from God when she was a teenager, and a wall went up. We lived through a 30-month nightmare. We tried everything—begging, crying, yelling, trying to use money to manipulate her, sending her away to a better environment. Nothing worked. At one point she was away from home for about three months, and we weren’t sure where she was. The Lord impressed on me not to seek any more contact with her but to give myself to prayer. This was just before Thanksgiving. We had a very difficult Christmas, but we learned things about prayer and trusting God that I had never learned before.

    When February came, I was in the prayer meeting on Tuesday night talking about the Book of Acts and how the Holy Spirit alone can produce boldness in us. You can’t teach boldness; it’s something the Holy Spirit produces. As we were praying for one another, a girl in the church sent up a note to me saying that she believed we were supposed to pray for my daughter. I called one of my associates to the pulpit, and he prayed. The whole church began to pray. It was like being in a labor room with a woman giving birth. I can’t describe it any other way. I had not made a big thing about it in church because I felt that people had their own problems. I couldn’t make myself the center of attention. But this night, we really prayed! The intensity was overwhelming.

    The next morning when I was shaving, Carol came into the room and said that Chrissy was there. She was on her knees weeping, and she said, “Daddy, I’m so sorry. I’ve sinned against God, myself and you.” She drew herself up to me, put her head on my chest and asked, “Who was praying for me last night? God woke me up in the middle of the night with a dream where I saw myself heading toward this pit that had no bottom. I was racing toward it, and at the last second He stopped me. And instead of yelling at me, He put His arms around me, and I knew He loved me!”

    Chrissy is now in her 30s and married. She and her husband have three beautiful children. God totally transformed her, and it was through the power of believing prayer.

    5.  Need to be Enthused

    When the Priests were blowing the Rams Horn, they were doing it with all their might. When the People Shouted they did it with all their might. They loved the Lord. He ENTHUSED them He energized them!

    Two pastors’ wives sat mending their husbands’ pants. One of them said to the other, “My poor John, he is so discouraged in his church work. He said just the other day he was considering resigning. It seems nothing goes right for him.”

    The other replied, “Why, my husband was saying just the opposite. He is so enthused, it seems like the Lord is closer to him than ever before.”

    A hushed silence fell as they continued to mend the trousers; one patching the seat and the other the knees. —Illustrations Unlimited

    6.  Need to be Fearless Warriors

    They had to go in and destroy the people. There were children, but God said destroy them. We Need to be Like Billy Sunday:

    I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!” –  Billy Sunday

    7.  Need to Guard the Stuff

    Joshua 6:9 (ESV) The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually.

    Rear Guard Follows the ArkThe tribe of Dan guarded the stuff in the Wilderness Wanderings: NUMBERS 10:25 Then the standard of the camp of the sons of Dan, according to their armies,  which formed the rear guard for all the camps, set out, with Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai over its army,

    Basically, ʾāsap refers to “bringing objects to a common point.” Gathering Food as at harvest time, Gathering all the supplies. The rear guard is not an exciting job, but you must do it, or you run the risk of having all your supplies stolen and plundered. Then how could you keep on fighting?

    God is our Rear GuardIsaiah 58:8 says God will be your rear guard. He will guard your stuff, if you keep true to the battle. But I also like to thank that there is always a place in the Lord’s Army. No matter how old you are, how achy you may feel, you can be a guard –guarding the stuff. As we’ve seen in Ephesians, a Warriors weak point is always his back. Roman soldiers would usually have a buddy who would cover his back. Infantrymen are always molded into a unit with the credo to watch each others back. The rear guard is usually your prayer warriors, your people who have faith in an awesome God to protect the stuff. Front line warrior need someone praying for them, watching their back.

    God Calls us to See our Victory

    The Holy Spirit is speaking to our heart (if we are His) and He wants us to see the VICTORY we have in Jesus Christ.

    In Ephesians we learn: We are His Sons, we are accepted in the Beloved, in Christ we have obtained an inheritance, in Christ we have Mighty Power-the same power that raised Jesus from the grave. In Christ we share in the Dominion He has over all things!

    This is why Paul prays for us:

    Ephesians 3:16-21 (ESV) that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    Do You want to be filled with ALL the FULLNESS of GOD?!, Then knock down these foreign worldly strongholds that ROB God of His place in your Life. GOD Must be our Stronghold. God Must be our Rear Guard.

    TO MAKE GOD OUR STRONGHOLD,

    Light the Fuse God Stronghold1. REFUSE – WE MUST REFUSE THE WORLD, WE MUST REFUSE THE FLESH

    Ephesians 4:17-24 (ESV) Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    2. INFUSE – Then we infuse our heart & minds with GOD

    Ephe 4:23 -and  to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

    Put on the New Life – new heart attitude, new speech, new honor for authorities, honor for family relationships, honor for your employer.

    Whole Armor or Holey armor3. ENTHUSE – GET THE BATTLE GEAR ON!

    The Whole Armor, not just part. Make sure it passes inspection by the Captain of the Host! Some of us have nice looking helmets, but we don’t have the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, our swords are looking real bad, our shields of faith are looking like swiss cheese, our sandals of the gospel of peace are falling apart.

    A well dressed and well equipped army is an enthusiastic army. INFUSED WITH GOD SHOWS IN ENTHUSIAM FOR GOD AND HIS CAUSE!

    ARE YOU READY TO SHOUT?

    Shout for VictoryGod wants us to believe He can do the Impossible!

    WE NEED TO GO AFTER GOD AND HIS INHERITANCE FOR US! The VICTORY is OURS! DO we see our “NEED TO” remove worldly strongholds? Are we willing to make God our Stronghold?

    “Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ. If you want to drive the devil out of the world, hit him with a cradle instead of a crutch. Billy Sunday