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Let the walls of Jericho fall down by faith!

“And when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6:5).

The shout of steadfast faith is in direct contrast to the moans of wavering faith, and to the wails of discouraged hearts. Among the many “secrets of the Lord,” I do not know of any that is more valuable than the secret of this shout of faith. The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” He did not say, “I will give,” but “I have given.” It belonged to them already; and now they were called to take possession of it. But the great question was, How? It looked impossible, but the Lord declared His plan.

Now, no one can suppose for a moment that this shout caused the walls to fall. And yet the secret of their victory lay in just this shout, for it was the shout of a faith which dared, on the authority of God’s Word alone, to claim a promised victory, while as yet there were no signs of this victory being accomplished. And according to their faith God did unto them; so that, when they shouted, He made the walls to fall.

God had declared that He had given them the city, and faith reckoned this to be true. And long centuries afterwards the Holy Spirit recorded this triumph of faith in Hebrews:

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” – Hebrews 11:30
— Hannah Whitall Smith.

“Faith can never reach its consummation,
Till the victor’s thankful song we raise:
In the glorious city of salvation,
God has told us all the gates are praise.”

Hebrews 11_30

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Standing still

I waited patiently for the Lord. – Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)

Psalm 40:1

Waiting patiently for the Lord seems to be a total failure at times. You are compelled by the Lord to stand still. You remember your calling; you are called to do great things for Him, and initially you are busy with so many things. Yes, trials, tribulations, afflictions and suffering – all are present, but none of that matters, because you are doing great work for the Lord, and then suddenly there is an enforced inaction.

Initially, you are not even sure if it is the will of God. As you attempt to do few things, all of them end up as failures and in disappointment. Slowly, as you see the hand of the Lord behind your standing still, initially there is a joy as you realize it is God Who is asking you to stand still, and there you are, standing still, like the sun over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12-13).

Then you realize though your sun and moon are standing still, the earth is still rotating, and everyone’s life keeps going. They come to you often, complain about the various things happening in their life, but at least things are happening in their life. Though they are struggling, and are afflicted in every side, at least they are moving forward. For you, though, there has been no movement forward for so long. You are there, waiting patiently for the Lord.

And, you already know that, it is thousand times harder to stand still for the Lord, than being active in the work of the Lord amid the day-to-day’s troubles. It may look like a failure as the life moves on for others, but dear friend, this is one of the truest tests of your faith. To stand still, waiting for the Lord, without losing hope and losing your heart, to give up the work and honor to others, to be quiet, rejoicing in the promises of the Lord requires greater faith, especially when those busy multitude go ahead and go away. But you are chosen, by God, to stand still and see His salvation.

Exodus 14:13

Your share in the Savior’s Victory

“Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance (victories, margin) for Jacob”
(Psalm 44:4 RV).

Here is no foe to your growth in grace, no enemy in your Christian work, which was not included in your Savior’s conquests.

You need not be afraid of them. When you touch them, they will flee before you. God has promised to deliver them up before you. Only be strong and very courageous! Fear not, nor be dismayed! The Lord is with you, O mighty men of valor– mighty because one with the Mightiest. Claim victory!

Whenever your enemies close in upon you, claim victory! Whenever heart and flesh fail, look up and claim VICTORY!

Be sure that you have a share in that triumph which Jesus won, not for Himself alone, but for us all; remember that you were in Him when He won it, and claim victory!

Reckon that it is yours, and gather spoil. Neither the Anakim nor fenced cities need daunt or abash you. You are one of the conquering legion. Claim your share in the Savior’s victory.
– Joshua, by Meyer

See God, not difficulties

“There we saw the giants” (Numbers13:33).

Yes, they saw the giants, but Caleb and Joshua saw God! Those who doubt say, “We be not able to go up.” Those who believe say, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able.”

Giants stand for great difficulties; and giants are stalking everywhere. They are in our families, in our churches, in our social life, in our own hearts; and we must overcome them or they will eat us up, as these men of old said of the giants of Canaan.

The men of faith said, “They are bread for us; we will eat them up.” In other words, “We will be stronger by overcoming them than if there had been no giants to overcome.”

Now the fact is, unless we have the overcoming faith we shall be eaten up, consumed by the giants in our path. Let us have the spirit of faith that these men of faith had, and see God, and He will take care of the difficulties.

– From “Streams in the Desert” Devotionals

SeeGod

Invitation to command

“Concerning the work of My hands command ye <e” (Isaiah 45:11).

Our Lord spoke in this tone when He said, “Father, I will.” Joshua used it when, in the supreme moment of triumph, he lifted up his spear toward the setting sun, and cried, “Sun, stand thou still!”

Elijah used it when he shut the heavens for three years and six months, and again opened them.

Luther used it when, kneeling by the dying Melanchthon, he forbade death to take his prey.

It is a marvelous relationship into which God bids us enter. We are familiar with words like those which follow in this paragraph: “I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” But that God should invite us to command Him, this is a change in relationship which is altogether startling!

What a difference there is between this attitude and the hesitating, halting, unbelieving prayers to which we are accustomed, and which by their perpetual repetition lose edge and point!

How often during His earthly life did Jesus put men into a position to command Him! When entering Jericho, He stood still, and said to the blind beggars:

“What will ye that I shall do unto you?” It was as though He said, “I am yours to command.”

Can we ever forget how He yielded to the Syrophenician woman the key to His resources and told her to help herself even as she would?

What mortal mind can realize the full significance of the position to which our God lovingly raises His little children? He seems to say, “All my resources are at your command.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” — F. B. Meyer

Isaiah 45_11

Selfish praises

Last month, we arranged a 7-day praise and worship meeting in our church. For seven days, we would assemble for one hour a day, just to praise the Lord and worship His name. This was besides the regular prayer meetings, and hence we announced that there would be no other prayer pointers during this one hour – just one hour of praise and worship.

But what happened was something exactly opposite. Before the praise and worship every day, the believers were told of three blessings they would be receiving if they praise and worship; how whatever their prayers are, will be answered if only they raise their volume and praise the Lord. And the three blessings are:

1. The walls that are blocking your progress will be brought down. The Scripture quoted was, of course, Joshua 6:20 – how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down when the Israelites praised the Lord for seven days, and on the seventh day, they shouted. So let us praise for seven days with loud voices and shout, and all the walls against us will come tumbling down.Joshua 6_20

Now, my problem is, that Joshua explicitly commanded the Israelites not to shout or make any noise with their voices, nor to utter any words (Joshua 6:10). Only on the seventh day, they were to shout, that too only when Joshua told them to. This was done because the Lord told Joshua to do so.

But we are not keeping mum for six days. We were shouting and praising through all the days. So, how would Joshua 6:20 applicable? You must not take only a part of Scripture and fit into your purpose, ignoring the other relevant parts.

2. The enemies will destroy each other if we praise and worship the Lord. The verse that formed the basis for this is 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 – when Jehoshaphat and his army started to sing, “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever”, their enemies started fighting with each other and destroyed each other.

2 Chronicles 20_22

It is true that it was when they started to sing and praise the Lord, the enemies started to fight with each other and were destroyed. But the command to sing the praises of the Lord were not giving by our God. In distress, Jehoshaphat and his men cried unto the Lord and they received a prophetic word: this: “this battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chron. 20:15). And they believed the prophetic word (v. 20) and in faith, kept the singers in the forefront of the battlefield to sing the praises of the LORD.

If we have prayed for a particular problem and the Lord has spoken to us through the Word or sent us a prophetic word, then in faith, that the LORD has spoken and hence we are delivered, let us raise our voices and praise the Lord. But here we are assembled to praise the Lord and we must not change that into something about us – what will I gain from this?Acts 16_25-26

3. The chains and the yoke will be broken if we praise the Lord. And the Scripture quoted is from the Book of Acts 16:25-26. Paul and Silas were praying and then singing hymns to God and at midnight, there was an earthquake which loosened their chains. So, let us praise and sing to the Lord, all our chains would be loosed and all our bondages would be broken.

IMHO, I don’t believe (and I may be totally wrong here) that Paul and Silas started to sing hymns, because they thought that it would break their bonds. They prayed and they believed their prayers were heard; the great apostle took pride in suffering for Christ. If he wanted to be delivered, he could have used the “Roman” card (see v. 37) right there and no one would have touched them. Being set free was not in their minds. They were praising the Lord because He deserves to be praised.

Anyway, every single day, these three blessings were mentioned and the believers started to come in throngs and the volume went higher and higher. So, why am I grouchy about this whole thing?

I went online and gave a search about praising the Lord. Almost all the top hits were about the kind of blessings we will receive when we praise the Lord. It is really sad that we would praise the Lord only if we would receive some blessings in return.

Why must everything about “me, me, me”? Why must there be some gain in everything we do for God? Why can’t we praise Him, because He deserves to be praised/ “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised”, sang the psalmist (Psalm 145:3).

Psalm 145_3

The LORD needs to be praised. Even if we do not receive one more blessing in our life, we must praise Him forever. For “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things”, declare the twenty-four elders (Rev. 4:11). All the creation sings in unison, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12). Yes, our Lord deserves all our praises. Jesus Christ does not need to bless us to be praised.

Revelation 5_12

And most importantly, let us not forget why we are created. In Isaiah 43:21, the LORD tells us why we are formed: This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.

Isaiah 43_21

Yes, let us praise the Lord for He deserves to be praised and we are created for that one purpose.

Voice of strangers – Bildad

To do everything in this world, there are ways to go about it. We can do it our way, or follow someone else and there is always a traditional way – the way things are done always. This is the voice of Bildad – the second friend of Job.

Whenever we want to follow the voice of the LORD, there will be always some distraction from the traditionalists. If you don’t believe me, try to do something different in your church and see how many are offended by your action. Been there, offended many, got hurt in return Smile, much wiser now.

Always beware of the voice of Bildad. It explains how things are done always in the world and how it is good for us to do the same. And if we ever give in, it will lead to losses that we never could dream of.

spies

Most of us know about the incidents of chapters 13 and 14 in the Book of Numbers in the Bible. The Israelites sent 12 spies to the Promised Land and they came back with the report about the Land they were meant to inherit. 10 of them gave bad reports about the Promised Land, but two of them, Caleb and Joshua, had different things to say about the same land as they saw the Promised Land through the eyes of faith.

The Israelites, disheartened by the bad report, murmured against the LORD and as a result, they had to spend the next 40 years in the wilderness, till the every single person who murmured had to die in the wilderness. During the 40 years, both Moses and Aaron died in the wilderness, forfeiting their calling. Why did these things happen? The answer is: the traditional way – the voice of Bildad.

In Numbers 13:1-2, we see the LORD giving permission to Moses to send the spies to the Promised Land. Note that the LORD did not COMMAND Moses to send the spies, He just gives PERMISSION to a petition that Moses submitted. So, why did Moses, the servant of God, who asked the LORD’s advice for every single thing, submitted a petition without asking the LORD first?

In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses recounts what happened during that time. Under direction from the LORD, Moses gives this command to the Israelites in Deut. 1:21.

h_deuteronomy1_21

The command was given by the LORD through Moses to go and occupy the Promised Land. But instead of obeying the LORD’s command, the Israelites come to Moses with a suggestion.

Then you all came near to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.” The idea seemed good to me. – Deut. 1:22-23 (NIV)

God had given a command to them. Instead of obeying it, they had an idea. God was leading them in the way they should go, but they decide to send spies to find their own route. Why?

Because by tradition, before invading a land, they send spies ahead to find out the weakest link in the enemy’s fortresses. And, Moses, who grew up in courts of Pharaoh, would have known about this tradition better than anyone else there. So, that idea seemed good to him.

As a result, they spent the next 40 years in the wilderness and except Joshua and Caleb, everyone else lost his life in the wilderness.

Today, there is the LORD’s command to you regarding your future, your blessings, your family and your church. And there are people who suggest you to wait and approach the problem methodically – the proper way to deal in the traditional manner. Who are you going to listen to? To the LORD Almighty or to the tradition? Let us not forget the admonition of our LORD Jesus Christ.

Matt15_3

Psalm 112:5 “Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.”Brought to you by BibleGateway.com. Copyright (C) . All Rights Reserved.

Achan and giving glory to the LORD

The Book of Joshua talks about the sin of Achan. Some translations say that Achan took of the accursed things. But did he really take those things that were cursed? The Literal Translation Version (LITV) says that Achan took things that were devoted to God. Previously Joshua had instructed the Israelites that the gold and the silver were holy to the LORD.

Many times we think of Achan and wonder how could someone be this stupid – stealing from the LORD Himself. But when we look at few things that are holy to the Sovereign God, we will realize that deep in our heart, we also bury them, just like Achan did.

worship_man_kneeling

Worship belongs to the LORD. Revelation 4:11 clearly mentions this:

“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and dominion…” – Rev. 4:11 (AMP)

Yet, there are times we worship the LORD for yet another reason. A promise of the LORD Himself.

“Wherever I cause My Name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.” – Exo. 20:24b (NIV)

Keeping this promise in our minds, we worship and honor the LORD, hoping that He will bless us. Deep in our hearts, there is a desire to be blessed which causes us to worship. Yes, there is a Achan hiding deep inside our heart.

praise1

Another thing that belongs to the LORD is praise. The Bible mentions why God created us. The LORD proudly declares this about us:

“… the people whom I formed for Myself, that they might declare My praise.” – Isa. 43:21 (ESV)

Yes, we are formed for one purpose: that we may declare the praise of our Father and His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. But there are times we praise the LORD for a different reason.

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. – 2 Chr. 20:22 (NLT)

So, now we praise the LORD, but our eyes are focused on our enemies. We are wondering when will they start fighting among themselves. When they don’t, we start to praise louder, hoping that will sow confusion among our enemies. Still nothing happens, we lose our heart and start to wonder whether praising the LORD is even worth it. Yes, there is a Achan hiding deep inside our hearts.

So, how to get rid of this Achan from our heart? Joshua gives us the way to get rid of this Achan from our heart.

“Give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, by telling the truth.” – Jos. 7:19 (NLT)

Yes, admitting the truth that is hidden deep in our hearts is also a way of giving glory to the LORD. Yes, the LORD desires truth in the inner being. (Psa. 51:6)

But, we may ask one thing: didn’t Achan get killed along with his family when he told the truth? Yes, that’s true. But, there is a good news, dear friend. Jesus Christ, our Savior, has paid the cost of all our sins in the Calvary.

Jesus-Paid-It-All-Cross-Picture-HD-Wallpaper-1024x768

So, dear friend, let us admit the truth before the LORD, let the Achan in our hearts die, and may be the LORD our God be glorified in our life. Amen.

Psalm 46:10“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.””

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Today I will begin to … Joshua 3:7

Joshua37

YHWH Shammah – The LORD is there. The LORD is with us, so we do not have to fear. The LORD is with us, He will watch over us and He will not leave us until He has done everything that He has promised. But that’s not all that the LORD is going to do for us.

One thing almost everyone wants is to be exalted in the eyes of others. Especially when the “others” include those who looked down on us – remember how many times we were left to feel that we are not good enough for this task. Those who belittled us – no matter what we achieve, it is never good enough, there has to be always an explanation for our success. Those who gave us no chance of victory – for them, our chances of winning are DoA (Dead On Arrival).

When we are down, when our chances of surviving are slim, when we are against all odds, battling against loneliness, the LORD is with us, just as He was with Isaac and Jacob. And, we may feel His presence uplifting us, we may be surrounded by His grace… but for the LORD, that’s not enough.

Dear friend of God, are you feeling down? Is everyone making fun of how your life has turned to? The LORD who is with us, YHWH Shammah, has a promise for you: Today, this very day, HE will begin to exalt you in their eyes.

Probably you don’t want to do anything with them. You desire to have a new beginning, some place where no one knows you. You want to start with a clean slate. But, the LORD YHWH Shammah is not going to let you go from this place in shame. You trusted in Him, you put your faith on Him and the LORD is going to reward your faith. Today. This very day. The LORD is going to make sure everyone, every single person who belittled you, who looked down upon you, who never gave a chance to you, to know that He is with you. And the LORD will do this by EXALTING YOU in their eyes. Today. This very day. The LORD Himself will begin to exalt you and He will not stop till they know and they confess that the LORD Almighty is with you. Amen.

Romans 3:23-24“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

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