Wisdom

Today is my Re-Birth-day!

Today is my Re-Birth-day!

Today i am 26! Don’t let the gray hair and follically-challenged head fool you. In “re-birth” years, i’m a millennial! On this day in 1991, i surrendered my life, and fully entered into a personal love relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ. It has been a phenomenal adventure ever since — full of mountain tops, but also valleys — clear skies, but also stormy days — days of assurance, but also many filled with the uncertain and unknown.

Many of you know my story. i had prayed “the prayer” when i was six years old at a Bible Club meeting in the basement of my grandparents’ home. i had “walked the aisle” at a citywide evangelistic crusade when i was ten. Soon after, my pastor “baptized” me at the church my family was attending. To the best of my knowledge, i had “done” everything that i was supposed to “do” to know that i was “saved”. As i became an adult and i was asked these key questions:

Obedience without love is legalism

Obedience without love is legalism

Obedience without love is legalism! This morning as i read that statement by Henry Blackaby, i became acutely aware that in recent weeks, i somehow had settled into a walk in the dryness of spiritual discipline — “doing” all the right things, but empty of the intimacy of walking in a love relationship with my Heavenly Father. i could blame all the “stuff” that is going on in the world around us right now. i could blame those around me. But the reality is — i don’t need to look any further than myself.

Why do i keep leaning on my own understanding?

But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. …So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the LORD. Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath. (Joshua 9:3-5, 14-15 NLT)

Gibeon, which literally means “hill place”, at an elevation of about 2400 feet, towered over most of the other cities of Canaan. Gibeon was a fortress city dating back to the days soon following the flood. It had existed for almost 1000 years because it was easily defensible. But the leaders of Gibeon were not going to take their chances, and they most certainly were not going to wait for the Israelites to show up at their doorstep.

Run, Don’t Walk

Run, Don’t Walk

God will never lead us in a journey that does not bring glory to His Name. He has purposed to draw all men, all tongues, all tribes and all peoples to Himself that we might glorify Him. He sent Jesus to pay the price and make the way. And He has sent us, that through us He will make a global impact. As we saw in the first chapter the journey began with Jesus stepping from heaven to earth. If we would walk with the Master, we must in turn step from where we are to journey with Him.

This Time Let’s Do It God’s Way

This Time Let’s Do It God’s Way

Then 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.” Josh 8:1–2 NLT

A s a part of laying down roots in our new land of promise, we recently purchased an outdoor dining table and chairs for our deck. Since our old set served us well for over thirty years, i am planning that this one is our “last” set. This set came with those frightful words — “assembly required”. It is a well-known fact that the main difference between men and women is most clearly seen when they encounter those two words. Women, most frequently, will follow the wise course of action of reading and following the instructions. In so doing, they know each step to take — in the correct order — using the appropriate part. And the finished product tends to look just like the instructions show you that it will — and there are usually no leftover parts. Men, on the other hand — at least some of us — can’t seem to be bothered with reading the detailed instructions. We’re men! We intrinsically know how things go together! We can’t be distracted by the instructions. And we achieve great economies in that we frequently do not need to use all of the parts!

We Can Handle It!

When they returned, they told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.” So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. (Josh 7:3-4 NLT) The situation had changed, and Joshua and the Israelites had no idea. The memory was fresh of their absolute defeat of Jericho. The imposing walls of Jericho had proven to be no problem at all! The men bringing this recommendation had just returned from spying out Ai. And Ai looked nowhere near as imposing as Jericho! Defeating Ai would take no effort. And though they didn’t say this, the confidence in their remarks communicates – “we don’t even need God to do this; we can handle it ourselves!” “We can leave 597,000 of our fighting force back in the camp. We only need 3,000 warriors. And they won’t even break a sweat.” Obviously i am putting words in their mouth, but i believe it fairly expresses their sentiment.

Keeping Your Promise

Meanwhile, Joshua said to the two spies, “Keep your promise. Go to the prostitute’s house and bring her out, along with all her family.” The men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. They moved her whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel…. So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day. (Joshua 6:22-25 NLT) “In common law legal systems, a contract is an agreement constituting a binding promise that has been entered into voluntarily by two or more parties under an authoritative jurisdiction. Basic elements of a contract are the offer, the acceptance, the surety and the conditions.”1

Is that fleece really necessary?

Then Gideon asked for a sign to confirm that this was truly a word from the LORD. …The angel of the LORD touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all [of the offering Gideon] had brought (Judg 6:21). And Gideon knew that he had seen the angel of the LORD and heard the word of God.

Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded (Judg 6:33-35).