Cart before the horse

“The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.”  Joshua 9:14.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Joshua 9-11 and 1 Corinthians 6.

Have I given God control of my life?

Good way to find out is to examine my decision-making process.  Do I start things and then ask God to bless me?  That’s backwards for anyone supposedly controlled by God.

Joshua and the Israelites fell into this mistake when the Gibeonites came calling.  The result for the Israelites was that they signed an agreement with folks that they were supposed to destroy.

I live in a culture that prides itself on being able to make decisions.  Make the right choice after gathering facts.  Knowing what is best.  All that independent-thinking stuff.  But the Godly must NOT do things that way.  Why?  God can see the “big picture.”  We can’t.  We see through a glass darkly.  God knows what is best. We need to inquire of Him.

I claim to belong to God and I beg for His control of my life.  How then can I make decisions without interacting with God first?  When I plow ahead on my own, I am displaying a godless independence that leaves Him out.  I can’t do that!

“Lord, forgive me for making choices without Your involvement.  I do not know what I should be doing as well as You do.  I beg You for directions.  I beg You for wisdom.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Made any decisions lately without consulting God?  It’s a bad place to be.

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God, why are things going so badly?

“Go, consecrate the people.  Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel.  You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.’” Joshua 7:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Joshua 7-8, Psalm 69, and 1 Corinthians 5.

God is talking to Joshua in today’s verse.  The Israelites have just lost a battle that they expected to win.

Joshua wonders how this was possible and why God let it happen.  Joshua realizes that other nations will now feel able to attack and wipe out the Israelites.  He’s scared!

God explains that the orders He gave to the fighters were ignored by one of them.  The result? The soldiers fought without His help…….and lost.

The lesson is: Apart from God I can keep going but the results I will get will be my own.  In the Old Testament, those functioning apart from God met disastrous consequences. Think David, as an example.

I was in 1 Peter 3 at Bible study this morning.  In that chapter is a verse that tells me that if I am not doing what God wants me to do regarding my wife, my prayers will be hindered.

My life must be clean before God.  He will bless me if I do.  That doesn’t always mean that I will win the Super Bowl but it does mean that no matter what happens He is with me.  That is the greatest comfort there can be!

How often have I been like Peter in the courtyard, behaving in a way that says that God is not Someone I am connected to?  Too often.

Getting God’s blessing is simple: Interact with Him 24/7 to learn what He wants me to do and then do what He wants with my whole heart.

“Lord, some things are so obvious.  I want You to bless me.  I want to do what You want.  Both of those are within my reach if I will totally surrender to You.  I do that now.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Got anything hidden under your tent?  Achon did.

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God is awesome!

“’He did this so that all the people of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that they might always fear the Lord your God.’ Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.” Joshua 4:24 & Joshua 5:1.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Joshua 3-6 and 1 Corinthians 4.

Stories like this one are important.  Why?  Because they reveal our awesome God in action.

How easy to lose sight of what we have in Him.  A problem comes along, and we try to take it on apart from Him.  We forget His capabilities.

In today’s story, God dries up a river and allows 40,000 soldiers to cross it.

Note the reaction of the temporary residents of The Promised Land: They were scared stiff!

There are commands in the Old Testament that are not reconfirmed in the New Testament.  Those commands no longer apply.

BUT there are Old Testament stories of God in action that must be kept in mind these days when trouble is ahead.  Why? That OT God has lost none of His power.  There is nothing He can’t correct or accommodate.  He has our back!

“Lord, You are a great God.  There is none like You!  Thanks for the stories of You in action.  Thank You that You are still that God Who is always above the fray, in charge ‘til the end.  I trust You, Lord.  I love You, Lord.  Help me to rightly represent You the rest of this day.  Guide me, I beg.”

There is no “river” that God can’t get you across if He chooses to.


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They’ll get theirs’

“The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.” Psalm 37:12-13.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Joshua 1-2, Psalm 37, and 1 Corinthians 3.

I watched a little TV last night and I can tell you, as if you didn’t already know, there is a lot of evil in the world.

The enormous evils that appear to happen with such regularity give cause to ask: “Who is in charge?”

God is in charge, yet sin is rampant in the world.  When Adam sinned, he infected the rest of us.  There will be decay, there will be wrong things being done.

Yet evil will not win in the end.  God has promised that to those who believe in Him, and what He did, will have an after-life eternity with Him.

We live among those who hate God, underestimate God, or are amused by the thought of God.  They resist Him.  They ignore Him.  They blaspheme against Him.  And they will regret this on Judgment Day.

In their midst are plenty of evidences of God.  The experience of their lives informs them that none of life’s pleasures has permanency.  Everything is terminal except God.  He will be forever and ever.

If I grasp the severity of what separation from God will mean ultimately, I will strongly desire that those in my midst will not continue to be separated from Him.  I will fear for them.  I will intercede for their lives.  I will be willing to speak to them of their impending danger.

The wicked will indeed get theirs’ but I must do my part to lower the number of those facing an eternity in Hell.

“Lord, You are in charge.  I need You running every part of my life.  I want the sludge out.  I want the excuses removed.  I want to be filled with You.  I want an overflow that is You.  I want those in my midst to know You by my lifestyle and my words.  Prick my conscience when I am in error.  I want to get Your Way right.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Any in your family likely to be eternally separated from God?  Pray for God’s intervention in their lives.

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I can’t help myself

“I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” Deuteronomy 31:21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Deuteronomy 30-31, Psalm 40, and 1 Corinthians 1.

God knows all about us.

He knows that we are sinners.

We are more than capable of doing wrong, even those of us who are believers.

We just can’t escape it……or can we?

The fact that I am inclined to eat too much does NOT mean that I must do it.  There are safeguards that I can set up to prevent it.

The same with sin.  If there are areas in my life where I am sin-prone, then I must set up safeguards in those areas.

It never fails that the closer I am to God the closer I will be to getting His Will done.  Apart from Him I can do plenty of bad things!

God saw that the Israelites were prone to drift away from Him.  He knew their tendencies.  He also assured them that He loved them. Even if they disobeyed Him, and suffered the consequences, He would welcome them back when they repented.

And so it is with us.  We are going to sin, but He will still love us and wait for us to repent and seek restoration with Him.  What a God He is!

“Lord, forgive me for my waywardness.  How You can still love me is unconscionable.  I deserve nothing from You.  Yet You have promised to spare me from what I deserve.  What mercy!  You have promised to bring me to where You are eternally.  What grace!  I love You, Father.”

I must be 24/7 with Him.

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Good for all seasons

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Deuteronomy 28-29 and Galatians 6.

Believers do not have down time from doing good.

We are on this earth to rightly represent Him.

We must have our eyes/ears open to catch where we can serve Him.  Too often my head is down.  I’m thinking of what’s ahead in an agenda I’ve created.

God wants me to be flexible.  Be ready to represent Him in an instant, not of my own choosing.

Obviously, the closer I am to God the more likely I will be able to pull this off.

A good training ground is in the place where we live.  How well do I see the needs of those in my household?  How willing am I to stop what I’m doing and meet an in-house need?

I must not be helpful to get an earthly reward.  God is the Great Rewarder and He sees what goes on.  It is Him I must please because I am so in love with Him.

“Lord, forgive me for focusing on my own agenda and missing out on opportunities to serve You in Your Agenda.  Give me Your eyes and ears in my midst, I beg.  I love You, Lord,”

I must always be ready to serve Him.


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Got other gods in your life?

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Deuteronomy 25-27 and Galatians 5.

Certainly a worthy goal!

When I became a believer, my goal then was to do whatever God wanted me to do.  I was overwhelmed with love for Him for saving me from the consequence (Hell) that I deserved.

Sadly, there are times when I am not reaching that goal for my life.  I’m distracted.  I’m disturbed.  Any number of things are going on. I lose sight of Him.  I wander about unaware of Him.  That “crucified” thing isn’t happening.

But I know, that God doesn’t intend for me to live that way.  When I finally note slippage, I can opt to beg for His forgiveness and re-right myself with Him.

Tim Keller (“Galatians for you”) writes about the advent of counterfeit gods in writing about today’s verse.  He writes that we elevate “things” to the status of gods; things we have to have to be happy.  “Things” will NEVER bring lasting happiness.  That is only found in a relationship with God.

The counterfeit gods need to be identified: What are the things in my life that I must have to be happy?  If I find anything, then they are the counterfeit gods Tim Keller is writing about.

“Lord, You are the only true God.  There is none like You.  Reveal to me the counterfeit gods in my life.  Enable me to re-elevate You to Your rightful spot before them.  Thank You, Lord, for caring for me.  For giving me opportunities to learn about You.  I love You, Father.”

God is a jealous God.  I MUST remove all counterfeits.

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