Reading the Bible in Three Years

Joshua 8 (July 14)

                                                        Spirit of Victory

            “Do not fear or be dismayed;”

            If you love sports like me or even if you are just a simple spectator; you may have probably noticed how athletes or teams had to overcome many obstacles in their way to the championship.

            A true champion is imbued with a “spirit of victory.”  When any team is discouraged, they have begun to descend down the slippery slope of defeat.  I have watched good teams maintain their composure even when they are down, because they know that until the game is over there is always hope, however slim, for victory.

            Christians would do well to imitate these champions.  They never give up and keep doing their best until the last second expires.  It matters not the quality of the competition, or that they are losing by many points.  The champions always find a way to come from behind and win and this makes their victories even sweeter.

            Christians have the heart of a champion, for Jesus lives in our hearts.  But somehow many believers are defeated, discouraged and depressed.  When life is harmonious and peaceful we rejoice, but at the first sight of tribulation or opposition, we surrender and stop trying.

            If you are discouraged today, God is telling you:  “Do not fear or be dismayed.”  God is in control and He will help you through.  I understand how you feel, for I have dismayed and despaired on numerous occasions.  But I have also learned that in everything God is with me and he will make a champion out of me with his Spirit of victory. 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Joshua 7 (July 13)

                                                             Achan’s Curse

            “Israel has sinned:”

            The wall of Jericho fell; the city was conquered and burned to the ground, and all the cities in Canaan “melted” with the fear of the Lord of Israel. It was a great time to be alive in the camp of Israel.

            The next step was to conquer Ai.  This was such a small town, that Joshua sent a very small envoy to capture it.   Their confidence soon turned into cowardice, as the people of God ran for their lives in defeat.

            And what was the explanation that God gave to Joshua?  “Israel has sinned.”  Why did God generalize the guilt to include all of Israel, if Achan was the only perpetrator? 

            Israel was called to be a holy nation, a people dedicated to serve the “Holy One of Israel.”  This is also the high calling of the Christian church:  An assembly of former sinners, chosen to be God’s holy people, and united in a common bond through Jesus our Lord.

            That is why we rejoice (or should rejoice) in our brother’s triumphs.  His victory is also our victory, but his defeat, becomes our failure and demise.  It is as if we had sinned with him.

            Beloved, we must pray fervently for the purification of the Church.  To remain indifferent to sin is to bring upon our own churches “Achan’s curse.”  As a rotten egg spoils a beautiful omelet; a hidden, unconfessed sin, can ruin an otherwise precious congregation of true believers.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Joshua 5 (July 11)

                                                              Enemies?

            “Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?”

            When you gaze upon your fellow believers, what do you see?  Are they friends or enemies?  I believe that most Christians would answer “friends,” or at least that is what most of us want to believe.

            If this is true, then why are we experiencing so many divisions and lack of unity among believers in Christ?  While there is no reason for this deplorable condition, there are a few “excuses” for our Christian segregation.

            Some followers of Christ do not agree with how other believers praise the Lord, or with minute differences in biblical interpretation. It is extremely important to be united doctrinally, but this does not mean that we must agree on every small theological point to walk in love and unity.

            Other brothers and sisters are driven by a desire for power and control, and still others would not be happy even in a “perfect” church.

            Our brothers and sisters in Christ are not our enemies.  The devil is our adversary, and he delights every time there is conflict, dissension and division among true believers.  Our unity in Christ transcends all possible barriers, including nationality, ethnicity, denomination or any other thing that separates humans.

            Unity within diversity should characterize the Christian church.  We are one body who worships one Lord, through the same Spirit.  Therefore, next time you are tempted to despise your brother; be reminded that he is not your enemy, so learn to love him in the name of the Lord!

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Joshua 6 (July 12)

                                                               Walls

            “...and the wall...will fall down...”

            Who would have ever imagined the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 9, 1989, and that Germany would become a united nation once again? Who would have thought that the mighty “Iron Curtain” of the “former” Soviet Union, would be a thing of the past?

            In these modern times there are very few, if any, fortified cities.  International travel by jet planes and state of the art technology has “shrunk” the world.  Even communist and underdeveloped countries have access to the Internet and digital communication.

            Nevertheless, there are still many “walls” and barriers that divide humanity in our world.  Racial discrimination, for example, is practiced in every country and by every race under the sun.  Prejudice is a sin that exists in the heart of humans, regardless of their “color” or ethnicity.

            There is also social discrimination whereby the “haves,” reject the “have nots.”  Social classes will always exist, for even Jesus said that the poor will always be with us (John 12:8).  This is not an excuse to treat the wealthy differently from the poor.  To make differences of persons is simply a sin.

            The only one that can tear the walls of discrimination down is the Lord Jesus.  You might as well forget about political reforms, educational programs or social plans.  Only Jesus can transform the minds and hearts of lost sinners.  Only Jesus can make us transparent, color blind, and barrier-free Christians.

           

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Joshua 4 (July 10)

                                                          Good Questions

            “When your children ask...”

            Children are small creatures with an enormous amount of curiosity.  Little children especially, are very much interested in knowing everything.  They touch, smell, break, taste and ask...Oh, how they ask!

            Wise are the parents who take advantage of the many “teachable moments” during early childhood; when they are small, our children ask more questions by far, than when they grow older.  It is wise therefore, to listen to their questions and to give the best answer possible.

            Kids will ask all kinds of questions.  They want to know why we read the Bible and go to church services.  Children will also ask about the origin of babies (a tough one!); about their favorite animals; and many other inquiries.  Children can be as relentless, as crime detectives in the art of investigation.  Their questions often begin with, what, why, how, when and where?

            Their most important questions, however, are theological in nature.  What great opportunity is there for parents, relatives and teachers! A recent statistic declares that between eighty five to ninety percent of all Christian conversions come before a person’s eighteenth birthday.

            The next time a child (yours or not), asks you a question about God, or about any spiritual matters, stop, listen and answer with the truth.  Perhaps this will be your only opportunity to influence him or her to follow Christ, for when they grow up, they might never ask again.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter