Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Joshua

Joshua had BIG shoes to fill – Joshua 1:1-8

20140721-174625.jpg

Joshua had BIG shoes to fill – Joshua 1:1-8 – 07/12/2016

Today’s devotion looks at Joshua and we have all had the situation where we have had to follow someone who was influential, imagine you are following the guy that the LORD gave the tablets of the law to, the guy who followed the LORD into leading the exodus of people out of slavery in Egypt. Let us look at the commission of Joshua in the book of Joshua…

Joshua 1:1 (ESV) After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Those of you who know me will know I love the book of Joshua and also I have big feet and therefore BIG shoes. (US size 13) The book of Joshua has everything that you would want in a modern day novel; it has spy stories, epic battles spiritual lessons and reliance on God as well as the consequences for going against God. When my local Calvary Chapel in Porterville started studying Joshua on a Tuesday night I don’t think I missed many of the lessons such as my admiration for the book.

Moses was blessed that even despite his rebellion (Numbers 20) the LORD let him see the Promised Land, (Deuteronomy 34) he had been told prior that he would not set foot in it but he was blessed in that he was able to at least see the fruit of his labor prior to his death.

Just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses were given promises from God; Jacob was also made a promise from God. Can you imagine the comfort that is to Joshua because as stated at the top of the article, he had BIG shoes to fill? He was replacing the man who had led the children of Israel out from slavery in Egypt. The first thing that strikes me about this passage of scripture is that God keeps his promises, let is look at what God promised…

  • Arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. (V2-4) – God gave instruction to GO! When God directs your steps and has chosen you for a mission that he is allowing you to do then you best do it! This was no vague promise; he even told Joshua the area in which he was entitled to go. This may upset some who want to take away land from Israel but God drew the boundary long before many of these arguments were thought up.
  • No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. (V5) – Have you ever uttered the words “If my God is for me then who can be against me”? This is exactly what God was telling Joshua.
  • Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them (V6-7) – There is a difference between being strong and courageous in our own might and being strong in the LORD and He was telling him to be courageous but he was also saying that he had to do it according to the Law. He had to have no fear but lean on the LORD and his statutes.
  • This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (V8) – Lastly we have confirmation that the mighty leader with big shoes to fill had to be in the scriptures both day and night, they had to be a priority in that man’s life if he was going to lead God’s way. A good question to ask in application would be regardless of the extent of leadership you have been given, whether you are a Pastor, a small group leader, Sunday school or children’s leader, husband, or even a single man it is imperative that you are in the scriptures and it is a priority for you.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Advertisements

What’s in a family tree? Jesus in the book of Matthew

image

What’s in a family tree? Jesus in the book of Matthew – 11/25/2015

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

We read in this generational family tree that begins the part of the bible that we call the “New Testament” and also the group of books we call “The Gospels” and strictly speaking this was a “Jewish legal genealogy” as the 14th generation stops at the man who stepped in to be Jesus father. Mary’s betrothed husband Joseph. However the messiah qualified through both genealogies in the book of Luke (the genealogy of his mother Mary) and the book of Matthew.

If you read my “advent series” there are some additional readings that talk about some of the many prophecies that were fulfilled in these 17 verses, we read that he was the following…

•       The son of Abraham
•       Descendent of Isaac
•       Descendent of Jacob
•       Tribe of Judah
•       Heir to King David

All this was fulfilled in one man! Tremendous stuff! And Matthew was a man ordained by God to record this genealogy as he was a meticulous records keeper being a tax collector for the Roman Empire he knew how to keep official books as well as the ones where he would be running a personal profit and keep his Roman masters happy.

I find it wonderful that it was the man that we knew was a first-hand witness to the messiah and his works and teachings, he was an educated man as the Romans would not put a man who was not literate and fluent in the business language in charge of the money and he was prepared to follow Jesus and leave an account for us to have an understanding of some basic teachings of Christ.

Matthew is seen as a “Jewish gospel” as it uses Jewish terms without explanation and refers to Jesus in many different Jewish ways and in the 2nd century it was the most quoted gospel of the three synoptic gospels by Christian leaders. Due to its Jewish roots it is in its natural place at the beginning of the New Testament and gives a good link between the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament. Matthew’s gospel is very much an evangelistic gospel to the Jewish people to show them that Jesus is their Messiah.

I am not going to go too deeply into the messianic claims of Jesus in relation to the points made above and if you wish extra clarification them please click on the bullet points that go into those claims a little bit further and as we come into the Advent season our minds naturally gravitate to questions such as “who was Jesus?” and “why was Jesus the messiah?” and I hope to provide some basic apologetics to help you answer these questions.

This genealogy is different in culture to most Jewish family history in that there are 4 women mentioned. Let’s look at those four women.

•       Tamar – Genesis 38:6-30 – Tamar was a widow to Er and such as the custom of the day his brother Onan refused to bear her a child, Judah promised and withheld his next son Shelah, knowing that she had no heirs she played a harlot by the street and enticed her father in law to lie with her in order to produce an heir, that heir became Perez and Zerah.

•       Rahab – Joshua 2, Joshua 6 – Rahab was a prostitute who lived on the city walls of Jericho who God saved her life and out of her life of sin by allowing her to help the children of Israel when they attacked the city of Jericho.

•       Ruth – Book of Ruth – A Moabite widow who despite a recommendation from her former mother in law Naomi to go back to her mother’s house she followed her home and eventually was redeemed by her kinsman redeemer Boaz.

•       Bathsheba – 2nd Samuel 11:2-12:24 – Matthew doesn’t call her by name but refers to her by the wife of her husband who was killed in battle, David sinned with Bathsheba, she lost that child and then had a second child by David who was the one mentioned in this family tree, the child grew up to become King Solomon.

3 out of 4 of them would not be described as “Proverbs 31” women huh? So next time you even attempt to say that “my sin is too much to keep me from God” or too much has happened in my life to be rescued by God then please remember these women and remember that they played a part in the history of the most important birth in the history of the planet. I love that about the Bible that it gives the “warts and all” history of its hero’s. It records the successes and failures and we can learn from this even today. God can use you; you just have to be willing to be used.

When we look at the history of earthly kings and queens we see a certain family lineage and certain families who have joined together in matrimony to keep a bloodline that is of a certain kingship or nobility. We do not see that in the history of the King of Kings, we have prostitutes, we have people who have deceived, we have had a child come from a couple whose first union was because of an affair and lastly we have had people who have mourned and been redeemed.

You are less than perfect, I am less than perfect and we can be adopted into the family and grafted into the natural branches. (Romans 11;1-36) and despite that fact that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) we do have an out to our sinful life by our own kinsman redeemer called Jesus Christ who died on a cross for our sins. We no longer have to continue in our sins because we have the opportunity to be in heaven due to Christ’s sacrifice.

Lastly Matthew tells us in verse 17 that Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph was the husband of Mary. Matthew was very careful to make note that Joseph was not Jesus biological father and despite the fact that he had included the genealogy of Joseph, he had done so in order to preserve the legal aspect that the Jewish scoffers and skeptics would be looking for in order to try to disprove the claims that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.

Which brings us back to the fact that it was God ordained that Matthew with his meticulous eye for detail and education background that he was the man ordained to bring us this gospel. God willing I pray that you will come back and read the next installment when we publish it.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

image

WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

Those crazy Canadians

If you ever get the chance or opportunity to go see the band “The City Harmonic” then I would advise that you please do, they are much more than four “Weird Canadians” (Their words and not mine) from Hamilton, a place that is as well known for its steel industry as it is it’s football team (Tigercats) and based on the testimony I heard last night this formed a big part of the history  of why they were touring North America with their “We Are” tour, and in the latest leg of this tour when last night they visited my home town in Exeter, CA.

Back to the Great Commission

There are not many bands that come through here (Small population of just over 10,000) so we have to give much kudos to Michael Guzman of the Church of God, Exeter for being able to make Exeter one of the stops on this great tour and for the band for making the tickets so affordable. On a personal level this confirmed so many things that God has been speaking to me that we should as Christians be working together for the glory of God and fulfilling Matthew 28 and going out and making preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ the number one priority. Michael was keen from the start that this be Exeter’s event and not a Church of God event and all of the relevant publicity spoke of “Churches together” and I find this great and I will explain the reasons why below.

Unified evangelism

The Gospel of Jesus should be brought forward in a unit as opposed to a pincer movement! I know that is Army terminology but there is an element of truth in the fact that there is “strength in numbers”. If that means further ecumenicalism then I would have to say to those who are scared of working with those outside of their particular flavor of Christianity the words of Christ himself when the disciples warned of someone who was doing the work of Christ in Jesus name but was not part of their particular group…

Luke 9:49 (ESV) John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

Reinvent the wheel?

People have issues in doing joint projects due to minor differences in theology. Here is tge thing, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, many churches will be doing similar things. Let us look at it from a non-Christian point of view; a non-Christian does not understand the subtle differences between Baptist theologies or they couldn’t pick a Lutheran out of a lineup or a Calvinist from a Catholic and all they know is that it is “Christian” in religion and in definition and they will not care what branch of Christianity that this viewpoint belongs to and will often times use something a denominational leader says as something to beat the whole of Christianity over.

Cheap as chips?

Let’s use an analogy that is a little fun but gets the point across well. Let us replace the denomination name with flavors of chips. So rather than stating I am a Baptist or Presbyterian, we will state I am Salt and Vinegar or I am Barbeque, which by definition are all potato chips but again they are different flavors. (A good question to ask would the “cult of potato chips be Cheetos or Funyins eaters?) Would we split over a chip flavor as easily as we split over a preferred order of service on a Sunday or in the case of Seventh Day Adventist the day of the week that you prefer to go to church?

Align with those on the same mission

At this point I would have to state that it is important to align ourselves with people who are on the same mission as us and not “join forces for the sake of joining forces if the ones you seek to align with are not on the same mission as you” and I have to confess that I am a big fan of the Apostle Paul, a man who started off his journey persecuting Christians to the point of death as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, then he had a blinding light and was brought to task by his Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) and then spent much of his written work appealing for unity in the body. A favorite writing of mine is as follows…

1st Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

You could say the same truth lies at the door of the modern Western church as it did when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. Bear with me for a second and you will see where I am going with this, replace the word “Paul”  or “Apollos” with your brand of church for example “I am a Methodist” or “I follow Calvin” and you will see how relevant this is to the modern day believer, we are instructed to be of the “same mind and judgment” and let us do that, let us preach the gospel straight from the pages of the word and let the Holy Spirit impact the lives of the people we touch. Let the revival start with me, with you the reader. Let us strengthen our homes, let us be like Joshua and let there not be a decision “As for me and my house WE WILL serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)

Families on and in mission

Here is where the gloves come off and we need to read the truth that we need to be families ON mission and families IN mission. Please know that we are not perfect and we will fail, we will sin, we will fall and we will fail but we will love! John 13:35 states that this “is how we will be identified as his disciples, by our love for one another” This could be as simple as having people over, this could be mentoring people in the word, this could just be as simple as doing your job to the best of your ability and being a Christian in the workplace in every transaction you do. There will be times where the mission of Christ is strong and there are times that you have to focus more on the family but we should be “working at it all to the Lord heartily and not to a human master” (Colossians 3:23) We have to use the skills that God has blessed us with and use it all to the glory of God. My wife is a gifted musician and leads our house in worship on a Sunday evening and I love that she has the heart to do so, I know that I am stronger when I am doing what I am called to do by the Lord, I have the gifts of encouragement, teaching and mentoring.

What about the concert?

Getting back to the concert, it was beautiful to see the great local choir made up from many local churches, great to hear of the pastors and leaders who met together to coordinate to help move the needle for Jesus in our small community and was great to see the three pastors who came up and prayed over the community that this not just be a concert but actually be a small part of an ongoing movement to spark revival in the City of Exeter and beyond. And that is my heart, like these Canadians I come from a “Steel town” in that beautiful land called Scotland and my first job was an apprentice welder in a place very close to the original Hamilton in Scotland. I recognized the place that they came from and the heart that they had to get the churches and the people of God together and get all of us Christians pointing in the same way as regards to evangelizing our local area. When Jesus stated the great commission and gave us the task to “go out unto the world and preach the gospel” there was no caveat that stated “only if they have the same eschatology or hermeneutics”. The music was wonderful and most definitely a joyful noise to our Lord. The words were impactful and certainly pierced any remaining hardness in my heart and swept away any inhibitions that I had about being on mission in my small town. I genuinely felt God speaking to me and it was a true oasis in the desert as it was a break from real life and a good opportunity to have that mountaintop experience and realign priorities that may have got messed up otherwise. The question I have is why are we not on that mountaintop more? Let us get back on point with what God is trying to do in our lives and be that blessing to others and let the Lord replenish us from that stream of endless living water.

What flavor of Christ are you?

I find it such a shame that we lead into conversations about our faith by stating our particular branch of Christianity (and example would be I am a Presbyterian) before we identify ourselves as Christians and because we have become so entrenched in our differences we do not even think that the church across the road may be willing to pull our resources and do a community outreach. We have to start thinking in terms of changed hearts as opposed trying to get people in the doors on a Sunday. These are words of lamentation and I am working through my own issues and my own baggage that I have self-loaded in this area.

Quantity or quality?

Personally if I was a pastor, I would rather have 40 committed, connected family like believers in my church than 400 folks who barely knew each other and do not operate in any small groups, individual ministry or mentoring in order to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” because that 40 who are reaching out and being missional, teaching the converts and then sending them out to witness to others will be much more efficient in the work of the ministry in the area where God has planted them. I love small groups, so much so that I have one in my house on a Sunday evening, we go between 3 and 17 dependent on what night it is. We follow the example of our Messiah Jesus who had a small group of 12 disciples which he invested in, he mentored for three years and sent them out to change the world, as his disciples we should do likewise.

Closing benediction

My prayer is that you read this and get excited to partner with me to change my small town; I would still like to partner with you if you live in a different town. My priority is revival in three places…

My home – I want to be like Joshua, my house will serve the Lord
My neighborhood – I want to be a light to my neighborhood and preach the gospel to whomever God sends my way
My town – Exeter is a lovely place but imagine Exeter on fire for Jesus? Wow what a thought and I want to be a good and faithful servant to the mission the Lord has given me.

Exeter is where I live now and I would go so far as to say it is my home town, Scotland will always be where I grew up but the Lord has given me Exeter as a mission field. I have no idea why I landed here except through God’s will but I know there are people who share my desire to make a change in my city.

One thing I know is that my Christian brothers and sisters in Exeter is that we are more similar than we are different, it is right that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters regardless of where they congregate on a Sunday, we all have the same Savior and WE ARE ONE. WE ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF JESUS and WE ARE EXETER.

I pray this was a blessing, an exhortation and I have no desire to lead a movement, simply be a motivator or facilitator in moving the needle towards helping my town find Jesus Christ. If you find this a blessing, like, share or comment on this article or feel free to publicize this on whatever social media platforms you use. I love you all and want to see my small city on fore for Jesus.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

image

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 12th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March twelfth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 23-24.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 11th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March eleventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 21-22.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 10th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March tenth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 18-20.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 9th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March ninth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 14-17.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 8th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March eighth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 11-13.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 7th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March seventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 8-10.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – March 6th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for March check out our March page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for March sixth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Joshua 5-7.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE