Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Message to Joshua

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
“Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
~ Joshua 1:1-9

I. God gave Joshua some facts for life.
A. Moses was dead.
B. He, Joshua, was to be the new leader.

“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.” ~ Deuteronomy 34:9.

C. It is not God’s will that we live in the wilderness.
D. We can overcome.

“I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” ~ Joshua 1:5

II. God gave Joshua commands:
A. Be strong and of a good courage.
B. Observe the Law (the word of God).
1. Don’t let it depart from you.
2. Meditate in it day and night.
3. Follow its teaching.

III. God gave Joshua and the people promises for living in the Word.
A. They should be prosperous.
B. They should have good success.
C. That He would be with them

I asked Pallie Sue if I could share with you something that her dad wrote in the New Testament he gave her for her 17th birthday.

Words of wisdom from the word of God:
  • For peaceful assurance, read Psalm 91.
  • For instruction for action on all occasions, read I Timothy 2:8-15.
  • For guidance as to what to speak, read Psalm 19:14. (Make it your Motto!)
  • To know the will of God read, John 14:6.
  • As a pattern for your life read, John 14:6.
  • The secret for living above (overcoming) all the temptations of the enemy can be found in Matthew 4:4.
  • The secret to security: Psalm 119:11.
  • My heart’s longing for you is Matthew 5:48.
  • Find the value of your heritage in James 5:16-18.

God’s way for health:

  • Deuteronomy 28:58-62
  • Exodus 15:26
  • I Corinthians 3:16-20
  • James 5:14-16
  • II Timothy. 3:16-17

These are just a few examples of how the word of God works!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Lessons from Noah

I read something this week that I thought was good about the Ark and Noah!
  1. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
  2. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something really big.
  3. Don’t listen to critics. Do what has to be done.
  4. Build on high ground.
  5. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
  6. Two heads are better than one.
  7. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.
  8. If you can’t fight or flee -- float.
  9. Take care of your animals if they were the last ones on earth.
  10. Don’t forget that we’re all in the same boat.
  11. When the do-do gets really deep, don’t sit there and complain ?shovel!
  12. Stay below deck during the storm.
  13. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
  14. If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.
  15. Remember that the woodpeckers inside are often a bigger threat that the storm outside.
  16. No matter how bleak it looks, there’s always a rainbow on the other side.
Here are ten more things!
Top 10 Things Overheard on Noah's Ark

10. "Did anyone think about bringing a couple of umbrellas?"
9. "Hey, there are more than two flies in here!"
8. "Wasn’t someone supposed to put two shovels on board?"
7. "OK, who’s the wise-guy who brought the mosquitoes on board?"
6. "Help! I need some Pepto for the elephants, QUICK!"
5. "Don’t make me pull this ark over and come back there!"
4. "No, Ham, you cannot eat the pig!"
3. "And whatever you do, DO NOT pull this plug out."
2. "Nice Doggie!"
And the number one thing heard on Noah's Ark:
1. "Are we there yet?"
Those things are not what I want to talk about this morning but rather about what spiritual things we can learn from Mr. Noah!

The Lord commanded Noah to build a mammoth ark, one and a half football field long, 9 standard rooms high, on an extra wide house lot.

In seven days the animals voluntarily came to Noah -- seven of every kind of clean animal, and a pair of unclean animals, then the rain poured forty days non-stop, and the waters rose the next 150 days twenty feet over the mountains before going down the following 40 days, and finally, Noah, his wife, 3 sons and their wives got off the boat after another two weeks.

Why did God deliver Noah and his family? "Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (6:8). How does one do that? How are we to remain in God’s favor in an atheist society, before an antagonistic people, to an abominable world?

Noah was a man of inspiration, perspiration and aspiration. He was a righteous man who attempted to save others and he walked with God.

Lesson #1...
Inspire others by your inward world.
"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." -Genesis 6:8-9
Let me ask a question this morning. What is the difference between this world and Noah’s? How are we different? And what does this phrase in verse 5 mean?
"That every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."
After all, like Noah’s generation, violence, depravity and chaos are the order of the day. I think the difference is that not only were there wickedness and evil, but love and care were totally missing in Noah’s day. Our present world, corrupt as it is, still has some good qualities remaining. There are more good Christian people today who have found God’s grace. That sums up Noah’s generation. Not only were immorality and violence present, love and honor were absent, but remorse and correction were unlikely.

All negative, and no positive or redeeming quality. Every intention, thought and affection was corrupt. Noah was a shining light in the darkness, a shimmering star in the night, a single spark lit and aflame for God. It is not easy to maintain integrity, character and uprightness when people, the society, and even your family are surrounded, seduced and shaped by evil.

Three centuries ago, Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), who single-handedly influenced the Great Awakening, wrote a list of 70 resolutions over two years, in his own words, 'to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil to the end of my life.' He was then 19, exposed to temptation like other youngsters but was mature beyond his years. The revival would occur under this spiritual giant twelve years later.

Here are his 10 shortest resolutions:
  1. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
  2. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
  3. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
  4. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
  5. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
  6. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
  7. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  8. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
  9. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find to abate my assurance.
  10. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple truth.
So, be on your toes. Guard your heart, watch your steps, and check for error so that you may not fall from your secure position.

Lesson #2:
...Perspire toward an outward witness... outflow of God’s grace from within.

Noah’s great grandfather Enoch also walked with God, but Enoch was unsparing, he came to judge and convict.

Noah, on the other hand, had thick skin, an innocent mind and a heart of gold. He perspired to save the lost. Noah was the preacher of righteousness who attempted to save others. In other words He worked hard trying to warn and save others! He had seven family members to save, he preached as if his life depended on it and it did. He had room on board for others , so He tried to tell others what was going to happen. But they would not pay any attention to Him.

Working and witnessing go hand in hand.
A rich man, who was wasteful, drunk and good for nothing, died in a certain town and the entire community mourned his death. When his coffin was lowered the people wailed and cried loudly. In the recollection of the oldest inhabitant of the town no man departed with such sorrow.

The following day another rich man died. He was just the opposite of the first in character and living. He had practiced self denial and dined on practically nothing but dry bread and turnips. He had been pious all the days of his life and sat all the time studying religious books.
Nonetheless, no one except his own family mourned his death. His funeral passed almost unnoticed, and he was laid to rest in the presence of a handful.

A stranger who happened to be visiting in the town at that time, was filled with wonder, and asked, "Explain to me the riddle of this town’s strange behavior. It honors a reckless man, yet ignores a saint!"

One of the townsmen replied, "The rich man who was buried yesterday, although he was a lecher and a drunkard, was the leading benefactor of the town. He was easy-going and merry, and loved all the good things in life. Practically everybody in this town profited from him. He’d buy wine from one, chickens from another, geese from a third, and cheese from a fourth. And being kindhearted, he paid well. That’s why he is missed and we mourn after him. But what earthly use was the saint to anybody? He lived on bread and turnips and no one ever made a cent on him. Believe me, no one will miss him!"
Noah didn’t shut the world out, but in the end, he just couldn’t get them on the ark either. Do you know how many people he convinced? None, except his family. He painstakingly relayed God’s message, reasoned with them . But to no avail! Noah was the salt of the earth, the salvation of the world but also a sword to the unsaved.

He did all he could though he couldn’t convince them, correct or convert them, but he persuaded as many people possible, tried many methods, made some adjustments, and used up all His time.. That’s why he was called a preacher of righteousness.

Lesson #3...
Aspire for an upward walk.
"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." --Hebrews 11:7
Noah walked on earth with God, rode the storm with God, and landed on devastation with God.
"Whosoever walks toward God one cubit, God runs towards him twain." --Jewish proverb.
Mother Teresa gave an interview to Dan Rather, who asked, "What do you do when you pray?"
She said without hesitation, "I listen."
To which Dan Rather replied, "What does God do?"
Mother Teresa said, "He listens."
Strange way to communicate, isn’t it? Noah had the same experience. He walked was so close to God and God spoke to Noah, revealed to Noah His plans. He directed Noah about the ark, and into the ark , and out of the ark. Amazingly Noah patiently listened, consistently obeyed, worked speedily and said nothing!

A man of God who walks with God is one who fears God, obeys Him, and honors Him. Noah’s fear was not emotional, casual, or paralyzing, but holy, godly, and rational . He obeyed all that God had commanded him.. He did not do anything that would pain or grieve or displease God.

As soon as they landed, Noah unexpectedly honored God by building the first altar to the Lord. The altar would symbolize the starting, mending, and turning point of one’s relationship with God. Noah’s story was remarkable. In the end, everything was water, waste, wet and wild.
No one outside of God’s refuge survived.

But Noah seized the three greatest spiritual blessing one can have in life:
  • To belong to God.
  • To be with Him.
  • To believe in Him.
God was the leader, Noah the student, but they related to each other as friends Yes, our lives are meant to be occupied with love of God, ordered by the word of God, and offered to the use of God! To dwell on the things of God, to develop a meaningful relationship with God, and to devote ourselves completely to Him.

Are you totally given to God, guided by Him, and growing in Him? While we rejoice today that we will no longer be swept by the flood, we need to ask ourselves, will the fire of God consume you on the Judgment Day? Will you be left behind on earth or caught up in the air at the Lord rapture? Will you meet the Lord alone or bring others to Him?

It’s been said:
"Any dead fish can float downstream -- it takes a live one to swim against it."
Noah stood out like a sore thumb, stood up like a godly man, and stood firm in the midst of the corruption of men, collapse of culture, and condemnation of the world.

The Bible warns us:
  • Do not be Deceived...
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:7-8
  • Do not be Defiled...
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Matthew 15:18-19
A man reaps what he sows. A man’s heart is the measure of a man’s purity. Do not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.
  • Do not be dominated by sin because you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:6).
As long as we are in the ark we are safe! That’s Jesus Christ the Lord!