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HEAVYWEIGHT

Joshua 23:3 “And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord your God is He who has been fighting for you.”

IT’S HIM, NOT US

I don’t know why, but I have this picture in my head of a heavyweight boxer when I read this verse.  I know, dumb, right?  I can just see our Father punching out the devil and all his minions who attack us.  This verse reminds me that God is the one fighting my battles, not me.

Sure, I try to fight back.  I get all mad and puffed up and think I have the moral superiority to fight.  But, of myself, I won’t last one round with the puniest demon.  Thanks be to God that I don’t have to go fifteen rounds with my attackers.  I just have to tag out and let my loving Father take over.  He is always there to defend me.  He is always there to fight for me, just like He did for the children of Israel.

TEACHING MOMENT

Has your little Johnny or Susie gotten into a fight with someone yet?  Chances are they will.  Sometimes those fights are more than just a misunderstanding. Sometimes those are true life lessons.  How your child responds to adversity is so important.  Read this verse, better yet the entire 23rd chapter of Joshua, to them.  Let them see and understand that the God who led the children of Israel is the same God who will lead them.

Now, I am not saying that your children should stand there and “take it” when someone physically attacks them.  We should always teach our children to defend themselves and the defenseless.  But I am saying that many “battles” we take on are better left to the Father.  He knows how to respond.  He can calm our spirit.  He can direct us how to respond to others, even those who are against us.

Who are you having trouble with today?  Who is “pushing your buttons” right now?  Lay it down.  Talk to the Lord.  You may have to examine yourself.  In fact, you should examine yourself first to make sure you are not the problem.  When you are confessed up and are sure that you are not the problem, how about this?  Pray for your enemy.  Yep, I said that.  Give them over to God.  He can handle them.

Today, put down your fleshly attitude and allow the Lord to take over.  He can handle anything you give to Him.

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STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 

CONFUSING

This statement by Paul is really confusing.  He says here that the Lord told him that His “power is perfected in weakness.”  That really makes no sense to us.  How can something that is weak have power?  How can the Lord exhibit His power through weakness?

Only He can!  He takes our emptied vessel, our surrendered will, and fills it with His Spirit which empowers us to do amazing things in His name.  Our strength gets in the way.  Our abilities can get in the way.  He needs to show others that it has NOTHING to do with us.  It has everything to do with Him.

TEACHING MOMENT

Has your little Susie ever said, “I just can’t do it!”?  What a perfect time to share this verse.  Perhaps they are trying to do something for the first time and are struggling.  You step in and help them.  Explain to them how the Lord does the same for us when we turn to Him for the help that only He can give.  He wants to work through us, but we have to let Him.

In the same way you can’t help your Elrod unless he allows you to, God will not intervene in our lives unless we allow Him.  He wants to help, and He is watching us struggle, but He won’t step in unless we yield to His authority.  Our children need to learn that at an early age.  They can’t blame God for their failures.  He is always there to assist and guide, if they will let Him.

How about you, Mom or Dad?  What are you struggling right now to achieve in your lives on your own?  What are you refusing to turn over to the Lord?  Stop it!  Give it up to Him!  He wants to come alongside you through His Spirit.  He gets joy out of being with us.  He gets joy in seeing us surrender to His Will.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of trying all this stuff on my own.  I have learned that it is much easier to relinquish control of things to Him to begin with.  That way He can make it what He wants to make it.  I can just step back and watch Him work.  He will expect me to do my part (what He tells me to do), but He is the one who decides how and when.  What a relief!

Let Him use your weakness today!  Let Him burst through your strength and give you real power.

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REWARDED

 

Joshua 19:49 “When they finished apportioning the land for inheritance by its borders, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance in their midst to Joshua the son of Nun.”

IT PAYS TO BE FAITHFUL

Over forty years has passed since Joshua walked the land of Canaan with the other spies.  He is finally getting his reward.  Notice what the verse says – “the sons of Israel gave an inheritance in their midst to Joshua the son of Nun.” They recognized Joshua as their leader and wanted to bless him.

Don’t you think Joshua thought this day would never come?  He had been waiting and waiting.  He was probably tired of waiting.  The day has come.  He has been faithful to the Lord as Moses’ servant and now as the leader of the children of Israel.  God said, “Rest.”

TEACHING MOMENT

One thing our children today don’t seem to understand is sometimes you have to wait to get what you truly want or deserve.  Our society today seems to expect instant gratification.  They want it now.  They want it immediately.  We have to teach our children to wait.  You’ve heard the expression “Good things come to those who wait.”  Well, it’s true. And we have the most to wait for – eternal life.

The next time your child(ren) can’t wait for something, use this story about Joshua to teach them about patience.  This is not an easy task, but it is one that is so needed.  What you teach them now about patience will help them later.

Now – how about you?  Are you patient?  Are you willing to wait?  Do you believe God has a blessing for you, if you are faithful?  He wants to bless you, but sometimes that blessing is delayed.  You may not see that blessing this side of eternity, but it’s coming.

Remember, Joshua waited over forty years for what God had promised him.  All during that time he was faithful.  We never see him complain.  He just did what God asked him.  Will you?

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NOT FINISHED

 

Joshua 18:1-2 “1 Then the whole congregation of the sons of Israel assembled themselves at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them. 2 There remained among the sons of Israel seven tribes who had not divided their inheritance.”

DON’T STOP UNTIL YOU’RE DONE

It’s hard to understand why the sons of Israel hesitated taking the land that had been given to them. God had done so many miracles in their midst, and yet, they were still slow about claiming what was theirs.  Only Judah and Joseph had claimed their land in the Promised Land.  The rest of the people were just hanging out, I guess.  They had not completed their tasks.

I will never forget a dear friend of mine who passed away in his eighties.  He was in church the night he died. It was a Wednesday night, and they were giving testimonies.  He had stood up to give his when he collapsed.  When the person next to him knelt down to him he heard him say these last words, “But I’m not done yet!”  I have thought of that often.  This friend of mine had much more living to do for Jesus, he thought, but the Lord called him home.

TEACHING MOMENT

Children have to be taught how to complete chores, don’t they?  You can’t just tell them to do something and expect it to get done.  You take the time to show them how to do it and how it should look when they are finished.  A half-mowed lawn does not look good.  A half-loaded dishwasher won’t get the dishes clean.  They must learn to follow through to the end. Complete the task.  Finish the job.

We are preparing them for their future.  This applies not only to their jobs, school work or hobbies, but it also applies to the task they will receive from the Lord.  Finishing well pleases Him.  Notice I didn’t say it has to be perfect.  Only God is perfect.  But He does want us to do our very best and complete the tasks He gives us.

Are you putting off something the Lord has asked you to do?  What have you started and not finished?  Commit today to finish that task.  Let the Lord show you exactly how and what He wants you to do for Him.  He is a great teacher.

Finish the job!  Complete the work!  Then rest in knowing you have pleased the Master.

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GIDDY TO GIVE

 

2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 

IT’S HIS ANYWAY

I have often said if I ever won the lottery I would have so much fun giving it away.  The only trouble is I don’t play the lottery, thus I never win. Lol  But if I did…

I can, however, give that way anyway.  The Lord tells us here to give with a cheerful heart.  I have so many missionary friends whom I would love to support.  I know, first hand, the work they are doing, and it blesses my heart.  I would love to be able to give to all of them beyond what I could imagine.  That would be so much fun.  So, I do what I can when I can, knowing God can take my little bit and make it large.

TEACHING MOMENT

There probably isn’t a bigger lesson to teach our kids than that of giving.  Most people aren’t givers.  We like to hold on tight to what we have or spend our money on things WE want.  Teaching little Susie to give to the Lord is a lesson she will carry with her into adulthood and her marriage.  We must teach our sons, especially, to be a giver.  When they marry they need to be the one to set the tone for giving.

How much should we give?  You have to decide that.  We aren’t limited to the tithe (10%).  We can give as much as we want, but we should always consult the Lord on that.  He will give you a peace about giving if you ask Him.  Let your children know that.  Teach them to pray for direction in giving.  Then let them give as the Lord directs.

Are you giddy to give or do you dread writing that check?  Do you put off giving to the Lord until everything is paid?  Trust the Lord to direct your giving and to bless what you have left.  He can do that.

And, when you are faithful to give, He will give you the joy.  He will bless your faithfulness.  Will He give you more?  Perhaps, or maybe He will just give you the peace to live with less.  Either way, He blesses you.

You may have heard the saying, “Give til it hurts.”  I say, “Give til it feels good.”

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BETTER THAN GERITOL

 

Joshua 14:10-11 “10 ‘Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.’”

GOD’S ENERGY

Forty-five years have passed since Joshua and Caleb and the other ten spies had gone into the land of Canaan at Moses’ command to bring back a report of the land.  Of course, you know that only Joshua and Caleb said, “Let’s go!”  The other ten, whom I bet you can’t name, were scared and discouraged the people.

Now here we are at the same spot, ready to enter the land.  Caleb steps up to Joshua and says, “I’m ready again!  I am still strong and can fight.  Let’s go!”  He’s eighty-five!  But God has sustained him all these years in the wilderness.  Age is relative.  God can give anyone the strength and power if He chooses.  And because Caleb had been obedient and faithful, God empowered him.

TEACHING MOMENT

The next time your children come in from a long day of play and fall out on the couch or the floor, share this passage.  Talk about how long Caleb was in the wilderness.  Explain how discouraged he may have become knowing that he had done the right thing but still had to endure the 40 years.

Sometimes fatigue is hard.  Sometimes we feel we can’t go on.  Remind your children that God is our source of strength.  It doesn’t come in a Monster drink or a dose of Geritol (I’m telling my age now).  Real strength to achieve great things only comes from the Father.

Are you tired?  Are you weary? Do you feel you have been wandering in the wilderness?  Turn to Him.  He can refresh you and give you the strength you need to carry on.  Remember, Caleb had seen the Promised Land.  Those forty years may have seemed long and hard, but he had the image of what was to come.  We have that same vision.  We know what is coming.

Look ahead!  Look to eternity!  With that in mind, the things of this earth seem meaningless.  God has prepared us a place.  Prepare yourself for it.

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SORROWFUL

 

2 Corinthians 7:10 “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 

NOT A BAD THING

Why is it we think having sorrow is a bad thing?  We are always trying to “cheer up” those who are going through a hard time.  God says very plainly here in this verse that sorrow which comes from God is good because it produces repentance.  Feeling sorry or remorseful for a wrong done is a good thing.  It drives us to repentance without regret.

Have you been sorrowful lately over your sins?  Too many of our churches today are afraid to confront sin and bring believers to repentance for fear of driving them off.  Other churches want to accept anything just to keep up the membership.  That is NOT of God.  God demands repentance, and all of us need to repent.  None of us have arrived.

TEACHING MOMENT

Your children need to understand that sorrow is not a bad thing, when it comes to God produced sorrow.  The Holy Spirit in them will convict them of sin which can produce sorrow.  That’s okay!  We do not need to live there, but we must pass through it.

How can you tell your child is saved?  Do they show remorse for a wrong done, not for getting caught?  Do they truly feel bad and want to make it right?  That is the Holy Spirit in them driving them to the cross.  They may not use all the “churchy” language, but you will know when they repent.

As the old hymn asks, “How long has it been since you knelt at the cross and told Him your heart’s hidden secrets?”  We need to be on our knees so much more, bearing our souls in repentance.  We need to be sorrowful for our wrongs.  Don’t allow the world to make you feel sorry for politically incorrect things. That is world produced sorrow that leads to a false repentance.  As the verse says, that leads to death.

Will you get on your knees right now and make things right with the Father?  Will you thank those who confront you regarding your sin?  Will you be obedient today as you hear the Holy Spirit speak your name?

Repent!  Be sorrowful! And then accept the cleansing power of the Lamb.

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