Faith Handles (Joshua 3)

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Faith is believing God.  Implicitly, faith is believing when you can’t see or when you haven’t yet seen God’s answer or intervention.  For this reason, faith is not easy, it is totally rational if God is who the Scriptures say He is, but at times faith is a real challenge.

We know from Scripture that God wants us to believe, to trust Him, our Father loves it when we believe in all that He has revealed to us about Himself.  We should be able to believe because of what’s revealed to us in Scripture, we should be able to believe in the basis of the testimony of others in Scripture and in life because we know that God does not, can not change (Malachi

But in my experience sometimes I need to see God do something that I can experience and testify to to help me with my faith, as a handle for my faith…

Here in Joshua 3 I see God graciously giving His people a ‘faith handle’.  As they looked ahead at the Promised Land and all the challenges that were to face them, you could say they should have had faith because of all the things God had said and done leading up to this point.  God’s faithfulness in providing for 1million people in a desert, God’s words & miracles through Moses…

But God knows our fickleness.  And so God says through Joshua;

“Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you….when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” (Joshua 3:10-13)

God is so gracious to us, we should believe without seeing but God knows that sometimes we need handles as it were to grip onto for our faith.  God’s people needed to trust God going forward for all that lied ahead, God graciously gives them a visible tangible handle for the faith He wants them to have in Him.

How’s your faith right now?  Full or flagging?

Why don’t you ask God for something tangible even something small to help you trust Him for the BIG things like salvation…?

God is so gracious, so forbearing with us. Ask Him.

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God uses unlikely people! (Joshua 2)

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Rahab is a known prostitute from Jericho.  But she expresses belief in what God is about to do for His people (vs9-11) and so she acts kindly towards the spies.

Looking back at this moment in the story of redemption Hebrews 11:31 says that as a result of her faith, God included her in His big story of the redemption.

As we read on, Rahab is not only going to be saved from the coming destruction of Jericho, but God redeems her life by giving her a son Boaz, and both Boaz and Rahab receive the honour of being included ultimately the in line of Jesus’ ancestors and Rahab included in the list of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11!

All through the Scriptures there are unlikely characters like Rahab, people others would write-off, who believe God and so God redeems them and includes them in His plans and purposes.

Do you feel like an unlikely person?

Someone God wouldn’t use, someone others would overlook?

What matters is faith in God, believing God for who He is, for what He has done and has promised to do.  God loves faith and God is so ready to include you in His big story of redemption that’s still being written.

So believe God, trust Him and act accordingly.

 Promises & faith-filled action (Joshua 1)

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The pattern in verses 1-9 of this chapter is that God makes promises to Joshua and God exhorts Joshua to faith-filled action in response to these promises that have been given.

Read through verses 1-9 again and list all the promises God gives to Joshua. 

Read again through verses 1-9 and list all the exhortations for Joshua to respond to these promises with faith-filled action.

Theses were promises made to Joshua, promises made to God’s people in that day at that time and yet God’s word is living and active and through His Word, God wants to speak to you today.

Ask God to speak to you now for your life.

Ask God to assure you of things, and ask God what He wants you to do in response with faith-filled action.

In verses 10-18 Joshua does as God told him, and commands the people of God to prepare by reminding them of what God has said in the past and what God has promised to do for them.  And the people respond and promise to follow Joshua their God-given leader.

And end and a new beginning… (Deuteronomy 34)

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Moses dies and is buried by God (vs6) just outside the Promised Land.  His leadership chapter closes and a new one, Joshua’s one is just beginning.

Moses is really honoured here in these verses, even though he misses the Promised Land Scripture honours him saying; that Moses was a servant of the Lord (vs5), that “His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated” (vs7) even though he was 120yrs old,(vs10) says that there was no prophet like him with whom “the Lord knew face to face” and (vs11) says there was “none like him for all the signs and wonders” God did through him.

What will be said of you and I at the end of our lives?

How will we have served God with what God entrusted to us?
And Joshua, the new leader was full of God’s spirit and so the people were ready to obey him so as to enter into all that God had for them.

Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit today SO THAT you will be able to fulfill all that God has planned to accompllish through you.

The Warning of Moses’ life (Deuteronomy 32:44-52)

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Today’s reading is a solemn warning to us. How we live really does matter even for the one who is a follower of God. Moses is one of the hero’s of faith, he is in the list of great’s in Hebrews 11:23-29 and yet he still never entered into all that God had planned for him. He was saved out of Egypt, free from slavery, was God’s child, and yet still died outside the Promised Land as God swore he would because of his unbelief at Meribah!

Before you put God ‘on trial’ for whether that was fair or not, choose rather to learn from Moses’ mistake for if we do we can be warned, but if we just balk at God’s treatment of Moses we won’t be in a position to receive the warning we are meant to.

How we live does really matter, there are consequences to our faith and our following, and to our unbelief and going our own ways. Our God is gracious and slow to anger and abounding in love, we are in a new covenant era and yet God has not changed, nor can He.

May we desire to serve God all the days of our lives, may you and I be those who trust God and follow God obediently so as to enter into all the fullness that God has for us.  His intention, His plan is to bless us, we just need to follow, trust and obey Him.

Frustratingly wonderful

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“God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard.” – CS Lewis

I find solace in these words by CS Lewis in that as a Christ follower and as a church leader I desire to hear God, I want to know I am in His will.

Sometimes this means I carve out solitude time, time with no list, no agenda, no pressure and no distractions.

But over many years of climbing up mountains, getting onto quiet stretches of beach or finding a secluded spot in the hills and valleys of KwaZulu Natal I have discovered that God doesn’t speak when I want Him to and I can’t change God.

This used to get me all wound up, I’ve come here full of passion, I need to hear You God and then in those solitude moments there is just myself and…………………………….silence.

God’s not on my timeframe, doesn’t always pick up the ‘phone’ when I’ve decided to call.

Just yesterday I had set time aside for solitude, I had my venue planned, had my camping chair, had some snacks (I’ve found solitude with food way more effective than solitude with fasting) and as I was packing to go found myself saying this to God…

“I know You probably won’t speak to me while I am there and I just want you to know that’s totally cool.  I’m going anyway because I know You love it when I do seek you and I love it too!”

What seems to matter most to Him is that I came, that I sought Him, that I want to hear Him.  He wants relationship – we often want results, an outcome, a decision or direction.
And slowly I’ve learnt that I can’t change God, so I better change and I’m so much the better for it. My Father will speak to me, what matters is that I seek Him.  He will speak in unexpected ways that surprise and thrill me, sometimes He keeps me waiting till the final hour but He will speak to those who seek Him.

Resolving this has helped me grow in my love for God and my understanding of Him.  It’s also helped me enjoy times of solitude more and more knowing that what really matters is that I came, that I sought Him out.

By Gareth Bowley