Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: April 2019 Page 1 of 7

A Firm Decision

May 1 – Today’s Readings – Joshua 22-24 and Psalms 121

What a powerful ending to the Book of Joshua – Verse 15 reads, “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” This is truly a pivotal portion of Scripture, not only because of its simplicity, but also because of the word “choose”. Throughout the ages, the answer for mankind’s ills has remained the same. We all have a choice to make when it comes to God’s gift of life – Jesus. Here’s how Mark 1:14-18 reads; “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Our eternal destiny is wrapped up in one simple choice – Jesus. Our earthly destiny too is often just as simple as the choices we make concerning our attitudes – concerning our friends – concerning our habits – concerning our obedience to the words “come follow”. God does everything when it comes to our salvation and sanctification. He provided Jesus, the Lamb of God – He pours his grace on us, giving us the call and desire to repent – He then baptizes us in the Holy Spirit so that we are free from sin and powerful against the enemy. The only thing required of us is our response – and who wouldn’t respond to a love like this? Yet some people chose to go the way of the world despite the wonderful news of the Kingdom of God. There is one simple after-thought that I want to share with you about “following Jesus”. This decision must be made every day – it is not a once in a lifetime or even a once a week thing. We will never become genuine unless our decision is a daily one.

The “gods” of this world lead us to slavery and defeat. There is no future for the godless. Only in Christ is our future made sure – only in Christ is our every-day life abundant.

For interest’s sake, re-read Vs. 31 of Chapter 24, “Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.” – (and after that everything fell apart!) It is crucial that we heed the admonition to teach our children the ways of God and to lead them to a genuine encounter with the master. Our Sunday school, our kids programs, good parenting, proper schooling – these are all critical factors in play for the upbringing of our children. However, the next generation must not derive their spirituality from experiences of their elders alone. Rather, each new generation must KNOW the Lord intimately, experientially, and daily.

Questions:

1. What spiritual strength can we glean from the faith of our forefathers?
2. Give an example of another spiritual leader from the pages of the Bible who did a good job of passing “the torch” to the next generation.

Allotted Inheritance

April 30 – Today’s Readings – Joshua 19-21 and Psalms 120

My meditation for today has to do with ‘allotted inheritance’. The Israelites had an inheritance to receive but they had to take the “promised land” as one united people not as individuals. For months and even years they pursued their goal, knowing the purposes of God. Remember this – God was judging the sin of the nations that lived in Canaan, and at the same time He was giving the land to Israel. As God gave the people victory, they walked into a divine inheritance – cities to dwell in – land to make a living from. This was to be the nation’s inheritance as promised to Abraham, but it was also to be a blessing to individual families.

The “allotment” of land and cities came by “casting lots”. Another way of saying this is that by “lottery”, God gave specific tracts of land to specific tribes. Each family – each individual then got an allotment from within the tribe’s parcel of land. Our “lot” in life also comes from the hand of God. He has determined that we should share in Kingdom blessings, because we are children of the kingdom. We become “entitled” to receive our portion from God – it is our allotment and our inheritance. It is clear in Scripture that the lion’s share of that inheritance comes after death when we get our heavenly reward, but we know God has a portion for you and I right here and now – and His plans for us are good. We know that our God is the author of all blessing – and that He indeed has blessing for us. Therefore we pray differently, we work differently, we save differently and we invest differently. In short we become optimists not pessimists. We see the glass as full and running over. Why? Because it is God’s heart to give us our inheritance – now as well as later.

Let’s take this to a much more spiritual level. The greatest blessing or inheritance God could ever give you is PEOPLE – the people God has placed in your life – people who need to get to know the Lord – people who need to be mentored in the things of God. This truly is an everlasting inheritance – it is an inheritance not only for us but also for God. His desire is that all nations would be saved – all nations would be part of His great family. Psalm 2:28 reads, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” God said to Abraham – “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)

Let’s begin to live in the full blessing of God – not only for our sake but for the sake of the glory of God and His heavenly kingdom.

Questions:

1. God has specific blessings for you. Tell of some blessings you have entered into.
2. Tell of blessings you know are there for you, but that you have not received yet.

The Word of God

April 29 – Today’s Readings – Psalms 119

In one way or another, almost every verse in this wonderful Psalm makes reference to the Word of God and how much we are in need of it. I counted 175 references to “The Word” in 176 verses – “Your commands – Your law – Your precepts – Your word – Your decrees – Your promises – Your statutes – Your righteous laws – Your righteous promise – The commands of God – The word of truth” – All of these descriptive words are used to describe one thing – THE HOLY SCRIPTURE.

The other fascinating thing to me is to see all of the blessings that will come to us if we make the principles of the Word of God a part of our lives. The Word keeps our walk pure – it brings blessing – it leads to no shame – it keeps us from sinning – it allows us to see wonderful things – it removes scorn and contempt from us – it gives us counsel – it preserves our life – it brings us strength – it keeps us from deceitful ways – it sets our hearts free – it brings direction – it keeps us from worthless things – it leads to salvation – it gives us hope – it brings comfort – it brings a hatred of sin – it brings grace – it leads us to good friendships – it brings knowledge and good judgment – it brings delight – it makes us wise and gives us insight and understanding – the Word “tastes” good – it is a lamp – a light for our paths – it brings us “heritage” – it teaches us the fear of God – it sustains us – it gives us discernment – it defends us – it brings great peace! PHEW! This is not an exhaustive list but it is amazing to find all these blessings in one Psalm. This one is worth some meditation!

These verses also make me think of so many others in Scripture – both Old and New Testament where we see God as a God of great blessing. In the Old Testament the blessings were almost always associated with an “if you do this” then “I’ll bless you” mentality. The people were commanded to keep the decrees of God and if they did they would be blessed. This makes perfect sense because when someone acts upon the principles in the Word of God – even if they are not a believer – they will be blessed. In the New Covenant, blessings follow us simply because we are “In Christ” – “In The Vine” – “A New Creation”. The Word is in us. Therefore walking according to the Word and keeping the precepts of the Word become second nature to us. It is very difficult for a Christian not to be blessed – it would be exhausting work to run away from God and His blessings. If a believer tries hard enough, he may be able to escape but eventually the love of God will ambush him. After all it’s the “goodness of God that leads us to repentance” but only the decisions of a person can keep him there.

Questions:

1. Tell of a passage of Scripture that has impacted your life in the last month.
2. Tell of a passage of Scripture that has been an anchor to you for a long time.

The “ITES” in our Lives

April 28 – Today’s Readings – Joshua 16-18 and Psalms 118

Following are three verses from the book of Joshua. We are New Testament people, so when reading these verses please keep in mind that all the enemy “ites” of the Old Testament symbolized “things” that stood between God’s people and His plan. Therefore, in our lives, “ites” are typically not external things but internal issues and sins we refuse to deal with and are tormented by.

Chapter 16:10 – “They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezar”
Chapter 17:12 – “Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in the region.”
Chapter 17:16 (in part) – “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots”
Let’s take a closer look at these verses. You remember, of course, that time and again the Israelites were challenged to take the whole land – to not leave any location unconquered – to do away with everything that was “of the world” and the enemies that would cause them to fall into sin.

Here is the reality of what happened. They took most of the land and did away with most of the enemies. Some were left. They thought that some were “too powerful”. Some had “iron chariots”. Some of the enemies were “determined”. Could Israel (with God’s help) have finished the job? Could they have completed the mission to be free from sin? Of course they could have – but sin has a way of hanging on like a “pet”. It seems at first like just a small sin or compromise, perhaps like a cute pet monkey that hangs on our neck and entertains you sometimes. News Flash! The pet monkey will soon be an 800 pound lowland gorilla and will dominate your world! Maybe your sin is like an iron chariot to you – very difficult to get rid of because you seem powerless to dominate it. The only solution is all-out warfare and victory by the Spirit of God! Not one iron chariot should be allowed to remain. Do you have a “Gezar” in your life? – Some issue that you don’t pay much attention to? When you try to get into the presence of God the Holy Spirit reminds you that Gezar is still there and you haven’t dealt with it yet. The secret of Spiritual warfare is this – As long as we are alive in this world but we are engaged in a CONTINUOUS battle against sin and deception that seeks to take hold and put us down. We must never let our guard down. As long as we have breath in our bodies we will be dealing with “ites”.

Are we victors? – More than conquerors? – Set free from the power of sin? Absolutely – but never forget you must always be on guard and fighting the good fight of faith. You will win because of the power of the Spirit in you. Remember you have already won the war by the grace of Almighty God.

What is left then is “mop-up operations” – turfing out enemies as the Holy Spirit shines His light on them. God promised us the land and the land is ours – we tear down strongholds and build beautiful cities – we dig up rocky fields and harvest one hundred fold crops to feed the nations – we re-dig wells that have been plugged up and we water the earth – we make the deserts bloom and our vineyards produce lush crops. The conquest of the land is not only about dealing with the bad stuff – it’s about building all the good stuff that God has in mind for your life.

The Israelites did not get the victory over the whole land and subsequently, the land only prospered to the degree that they were able to win their battles. Let us not be weary in doing good – there is great reward in finishing the race well – there is a victor’s crown.

Questions:

1. Do you have any “ites” left in your territory? – Things you were suppose to have dealt with but you have neglected to put an end to?
2. Give an example (without using names) of a situation where the “ites” in a person’s life brought problems upon them.

The “Old Man”

April 27 – Today’s Readings – Joshua 13-15 and Psalms 117

The account of Caleb can certainly teach us many things. For our purposes today, I would like to focus on Caleb’s “get the job done” attitude. This was a man who, for the sake of the plan of God, was willing to endure great hardship. First off, when all of his friends were giving up and dying in the desert, Caleb hung in there. He had a purpose in his heart and he was energized by that purpose. It’s a wonderful thing that we human beings have the capacity to thrive only when we have people and purposes to live for. Our bodies are strengthened by the Spirit within us. When the Spirit of God assigns you projects to complete, your body “bucks up” and is strengthened. How many very frail people have “hung on” until after Christmas or until they have seen their loved ones before they finally go to heaven. It’s the Spirit within that does this.Even Jesus, when He realized that His work and mission were completed said, “It is finished”. Then He went to the Father, dismissing His body, and saying, “Into your hands I commit my Spirit”. Another aspect of this thought is that Jesus doesn’t want you and I to simply exist, He wants us to have “abundant life” and in order to be truly alive, you have to be close to Jesus – you have to be receiving your marching orders on a daily basis and you need to have a clear picture of how things should be. Your “targets” must be both large and small – small, because you need to be motivated on a daily basis and make every hour count. Energy for the day is what makes your life full and rich. The goal must also be HUGE – it must be so big that you can only accomplish it when God Himself is working through you. There is no way that Caleb, an 85-year-old man, could have taken on an army of giants if God had not been fighting with him. Scripture says that Joshua gave Caleb a portion in Judah—Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. This was granted him in accordance with the Lord’s command to him. From Hebron, Caleb drove out the three descendants of the “giants” of Anak – Sheshai, Ahiman and Talma. From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher. Here was Caleb, not quitting until he saw the promises of God fulfilled in his lifetime. He could not possibly have accomplished these exploits without the divine power of God enabling him. There is equally no chance of you and I “running the race” and “finishing the course” unless we are in Christ – in “The Vine”

Need new energy? Talk to Jesus and come to an understanding of His purposes for you. Then start living and moving in God’s direction for you – expecting that God can still do great things in your life despite the enemies you may be facing.

Questions:

1. Give an example of other people in Scripture who did “super-natural” things – things only the hand of God could help them do.
2. Give an example of a time when you felt God was helping you to do something that was bigger than you.

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