Has it only been four days since I last posted? Seems like a month. If you ever have an oral surgeon tell you "We'll just put in a couple of dental implants - no problem", don't believe it! I've had a sore jaw all week, at times throbbing, but this too will pass.
My husband had left for the men's monthly breakfast at the church this morning.....he was teaching on 'With God all Things are Possible'.....or something like that. I was on the cell speaking to our daughter in L.A. and in comes our son with his little Cairn Terrier. He was going to go bowling with his Special Olympic friends, then on to work and didn't want her to be alone all day. We call her a Cairn Terrorist! What a little ragamuffin rascal, into everything....comes tearing through the door like a tornado and does about the same kind of damage! Well, not quite. She's our little grand dog, a gift from a cousin near Philly, and we are so crazy in love with her! She's so naughty, doesn't deserve all this love. Somehow, this is how I see God loving us, not that we deserve it, we're a little naughty, never-the-less, he's crazy in love with us!
Last post, we were talking about Joshua. I actually own a copy of the complete, unabridged works of Flavius Josephus (A.D. 32 -100), a prolific Jewish writer-historian. The book of Joshua is about how the Hebrews made war with the Canaanites, destroyed them, and divided their land among the tribes of Israel. Josephus wrote virtually the same information as we have in our Bible. It seems a little odd to me that authors, historians, philosophers, etc. like Josephus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and such are never 'vetted' in the way the Bible is. Only the Bible falls under such heavy scrutiny.....and that's a good thing. We want to know that it is a source of truth. The Greek word for truth is 'alethia' which means 'reality'.
In the last chapter of Joshua, 24, we see that all the leaders of Israel have gathered together and "presented themselves to God", vs. 1. I think a natural question would be, "How do you do that, present yourself to God?" We who believe do this very often. We come with an attitude of of praise and reverence (no matter where we are physically), giving thanks with an open heart and spiritual ears. O.K., the heart is a muscle, how do you 'open' it? We get so use to our Christian jargon that we forget how it sounds to others. How do you 'hear' spiritual truth? You can't.
If you are a believer, God's spirit lives in you...His Holy Spirit. I don't know how exactly that works, but I know this is what the Scripture says happens. It's a 'reality'. It's the Holy Spirit who enables you to 'come ' and receive the things of God, and hear 'spiritual truth'. The Lord gives, we receive.
Joshua gathered the Israelites for a final 'pep talk' reminding them of their history, and renewing a covenant that had been made. He talks of the years as slaves in Egypt and how the Lord rescued them by parting the Red Sea, the forty years in the desert with Moses, how their enemies were destroyed, the amazing victory of Jericho, acquired new land, all from the hand of God. Joshua took no credit. "It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt"...vs. 16. Remember, in Chapter 5, he saw Jesus Christ as the commander of the army and fell face down in reverence. Joshua always knew who was in charge!
He gives a very strong warning about worshipping 'foreign gods'. He tells them to 'throw away' the gods their forefathers worshipped and serve the one true God. He reminds them that God is a holy and jealous God, he will not allow the worship of a 'foreign god' (idol) without bringing disaster on you. First Commandment....'Thou shall have no other god's before you'.....
I find it interesting that Joshua warns, then makes this statement in 24:15, "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...." Do you know anyone who finds believing in the God of the Bible 'undesirable'? Sure you do, we all do. It may be a co-worker, neighbor, even your own parent or child. I believe we can adopt Joshua's trust in the Lord. There is nothing we can do or say that will make a difference; it's God alone who changes us and gives us a new heart and new spirit....Ezekiel 36:26. And then he made, what has become a favorite statement that many adopt as their own,"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord".
So relax, trust your heavenly Father. He has a flock of 'sheep' that belong to Him alone...no one will snatch them from His hand, and He will be faithful to bring each one into the fold, in His own time, in His own way. He is the way, the truth and the life.....John 14:6
I'm thinking of family we have back east who are in the midst of a huge snow storm; a friend, Glenna, who is teaching Romans at Sandy Cove near Baltimore, and praying for their safety and comfort. No power failures Lord, please! We can't avoid the storms of life, but we can learn to dance and sing in the rain and snow! The 'SON' will continue to shine!
More next week. Since it Valentines Day, seems appropriate to talk about 'love'.
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.