Joshua 1-3

The rules change!

As we are reading the book of Joshua, let’s apply the principles to our Christian walk.

We crossed the Red Sea to get out of Egypt. (That’s when we got born again). We’ve been wandering in the wilderness. Now it’s time to take the promises for which Jesus paid the price.

The first chapter of Joshua should be referred to again and again. There are some powerful principles here.

Three times it says, “Be strong and courageous.” (vs. 6,7 and 9) “Do not tremble or be dismayed.” (9)

Why does the Lord keep saying that? Because there are giants in the land. The giants are still there, but this time the people have faith that they will be able to take them. He is charging them to keep that faith.

Do you have giants in your life? Is there sickness or poverty? Are your children or grandchildren rebellious? All of these items have been paid for by Jesus on the cross. But we have to take the land.

When they were in the wilderness, provision fell on them. Manna fell from heaven everyday. Their shoes and their clothes didn’t wear out for 40 years. But there was no variety – just enough to get by.

The Promised land is different. There is great variety and great provision, but it doesn’t fall on you. You have to go get it! You have to fight the giants who are trying to prevent you from attaining  God’s highest plans for you.

However, some of this mission seems similar. There is another river to cross – the Jordan. And the Ark of the Covenant (the presence of God) has to be there – in the middle of the stream for the water to stand up on each side and let us walk over.

It’s important to remember that we don’t fight the giants alone. Our God is with us, but we are the ones who stand up against the giants.

So what is our weaponry? The Word of God. “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 all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (1: 8).

As we believe and speak the Word of God, the giant demons of poverty and lack in any area have to flee. They may not go immediately, but as we continue, they will have to go.

Be strong and courageous!

Mark 16

He’s truly the God of a second chance. Peter had denied Jesus three times, just as the Master had said he would. He deserted His Lord in the darkest hour. What a disappointment!

So even though he deserted and is no longer a disciple, the angel by the tomb says, “tell His disciples – and Peter –  ‘He is going before you into Galilee; there He will see you, just as He said he would.'” Even though he denied Jesus, Peter is included. What mercy! God knows Peter’s heart.

Just wait! We are going to see some good things from Peter.

Right now let’s take a look at the charge given by Jesus after His resurrection. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” “And these signs shall follow those who have believed: in My name they shall cast out demons, speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not harm them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Jesus is speaking of an authority He is giving His followers to rise above the elements of the natural world. He had already demonstrated this authority as he walked the earth. He had even given it to His followers as he sent them out while he lived on the earth.

Now this is new. He is giving this authority to those “who believe,” after He leaves the earth. They are to operate with His delegated authority in His name. Mind boggling.

I remember when this first “clicked” with me. I had never been taught that we are to “speak with new tongues” or “lay hands on the sick.” But there it is. We can’t deny it.

Jesus paid the price for a higher life and a greater power than we can imagine. But these aren’t casual attributes; this life is to be pursued with passion.

Just for some clarity here. I am not saying for a moment that we are to be snake-handlers and poison-drinkers. Jesus is here speaking of the protection we have as we “go into all the world.” In Acts 28, we see this in action. Paul gets bit by a deadly viper and just “shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.”(Acts 28:5).

As we continue in our reading, much of what our Lord is saying will become clearer.

This is a tremendous life he has called us to!