JOSHUA 5 – Are We There Yet?

05/12/2020 – Come Out, Cross, and Fight

Joshua 5:1 – “Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites before we crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.”

What a shame Israel didn’t know that. Ever since they arrived in this strange and hostile new land, they’ve lived in constant fear and uncertainty about the nations around them.  All the cities had huge walls.  The armies were large and well equipped. Israel had no idea that their enemies had given up before the battles even started. The Amorites and the Canaanites weren’t afraid of Israel, but they were scared to death of what Israel’s GOD was able to do. No god they believed in was able to do those things.

It’s a shame Christians don’t know the truth about how Satan feels and what he’s thinking. How tragic that Christians continue to struggle daily with doubt, anxiety, discouragement, and fear.  They don’t realize that Satan knows he’s not going to win.  He’s no match for the Lord God Almighty and he knows it.

Satan knows his time is short and, even though he knows he can’t win, he’s determined not to go down without a fight.  He wants to take down as many believers as he can. He may not be able to change the outcome, but he’s going to do everything he can to delay the inevitable.

Joshua 5:12 – The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year, they ate the produce of Canaan.”

How can we tell if we’re in the Promised Land? When can we expect to start living that abundant life? We’ll know we’re in the Promised Land when the manna stops. Every morning, for the past 40 years the Lord would drop the manna down from heaven and the people would gather it up and eat it. It didn’t taste very good, but it kept them alive.  It was a minimum amount of nourishment that required a minimum amount of effort.

But, one day, the Israelites went out and there was no manna on the ground. When we have surrendered our lives to Jesus and we’re totally consecrated to Him; when we’re ready to start living the quality of life the Lord has prepared for us to live; He will not spoon feed us anymore.  We become accountable; we become responsible for our own spiritual diets and nutritional health. We can’t complain about “not being fed.”

 Joshua 5:12b – “They ate the produce of Canaan.”  There is a delicious, nutritious feast of great food prepared for us at the banquet table of the Lord; everything from the milk to the meat and it’s all in God’s Word.  Look for it.  Find it.  Eat it and enjoy it.  It’s all prepared especially for us by the Holy Spirit.

OK, so we’ve passed through the Red Sea. We’ve crossed the Jordan River. Are we there yet? Can we finally relax and live life to its fullest? Not yet. There’s one more detail that has to be taken care of.

From the start, Israel had no choice.  If they wanted to stay alive, Israel HAD to come out of Egypt. They were in bondage. They were forced to make bricks without straw. They were starving. They were suffering. If they had not come out, they would have died there as slaves.

Like Israel, we have to COME OUT of our Egypt TO ESCAPE our bondage to sin and the power of sin over our lives. We have to come out of our Egypt to escape God’s judgment for our sin. We come out of Egypt when we repent. We have to be willing to accept the reality of our sin and repent.  We have to turn away from that sin and turn toward Jesus. We have to come out of that old life, or we’ll remain captive to it and will eventually die in our sin. We have to accept Christ as our Savior and trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of sin. (John 3:16)  

  After coming out of Egypt, Pharaoh and his entire army were coming after them to take them back to Egypt, back to their life of misery, hopelessness, and bondage.  They had to pass through the Red Sea to live and be free. (Exodus 14)

Do I have to pass through the Red Sea?  Absolutely! It’s part of the escape from Egypt. When Israel passed through the Red Sea, all their old enemies, including Pharaoh, were destroyed. They knew they would never be slaves there again.  The Red Sea is a type of baptism. It doesn’t save us but it publicly declares that our old life is dead, and, in Jesus, we have been made new.  We will never be the slaves of sin again.

Do I have to cross the Jordan River?  Not really, it’s not a matter of life or death.  If you’re saved, you can be sure that, by grace through faith, you’ll be in heaven someday. But you’ll continue to wander around aimlessly with little fruit to how for your efforts until you’re ready to cross your Jordan River.

            We cross our Jordan River when we decide to stand firm against the powerful circumstances in our lives that have become barriers; that have become obstacles; that have become excuses for not fully serving the Lord.  We consecrate ourselves in full surrender. We put Jesus first and we move forward.  We CROSS TO OBTAIN the life the Lord desires us to live.

  But before Israel can relax, settle down, and begin to enjoy their new home, they have to FIGHT TO POSSESS; to possess the new land they’ve been given. 

Some of life’s toughest battles are fought right after we decide to stand firm for Jesus.  But, if Jesus came that I might live a full, productive, and victorious life, if the Lord wants me to enjoy my life, if He wants me to live in peace and be at rest, if the Lord wants my life to have meaning and purpose, if He’s giving me these things, if these things are mine, why do I have to constantly be fighting some kind of battle to possess them?

 The land of Canaan was occupied by people who had been there a very long time.  They considered it to be their land and they were not about to move over or move out without putting up a fight.  This world is currently being ruled by what the Bible calls, “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Ephesians 6:12) It’s what we, as believers, commonly refer to as “spiritual warfare.”

Satan considers this to be his world.  He’s used to giving the orders and having his own way.  The principalities and powers that rule this world are not just going to roll over or move out without declaring all out spiritual warfare against anyone who tries to stand against them.

  When the Lord gives us joy, they keep trying to take it away.  When the Lord wants to heal us, they fight to keep us from receiving it.  They’ll lie to us and tell us that the Lord doesn’t want us to have these things.  They’ll keep saying He’s angry at us.  He’s given up on us.  We’ve failed Him.  We’ve disappointed Him.  We don’t have enough faith.  Life was better before we became Christians.  That old life really wasn’t that great, but it was safer.  It was quieter. 

Living the abundant life can be a real struggle, but the rewards are worth it.  Like Israel, we fight to possess a full, productive, and victorious life.

Next time, Lord willing, we’ll watch Israel begin fighting to possess their inheritance.  Love hearing from you.  I hope you’re finding these blogs to be helpful, meaningful, relevant, and worth the time spent reading them. If so, invite others to get In God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

JOSHUA 4 – Don’t Forget to Remember

05/05/2020 – Think, Look, and Remember

We just saw the nation of Israel cross the Jordan River in a surprising and miraculous way. Everyone is safe and everyone is dry but, before they moved on, there is still one little detail the Lord wants taken care of.

Joshua 4:1b-3: The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Choose twelve mem…one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan…and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight. While the priests are still standing in the River bed holding the Ark of the Covenant, the Lord tells Joshua to choose twelve men to go back to where the priests are standing, have each one pick up a large stone and carry it to the other side..

Joshua 4:6-7: to serve as a sign among you.  In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.  When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be A MEMORIAL to the people of Israel FOREVER.

  Israel was commended to observe the Passover every year. The Lord knows the importance of remembering.

Exodus 12:24-27: Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land the Lord will give you as He promised, observe this ceremony. And WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ASK YOU, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ tell them ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egyot and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians. 

 The Lord wanted Israel to remember their deliverance from Egypt. After that dramatic crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 13, Israel began celebrating the Passover in the Wilderness. (Numbers 9:5) He wanted every generation to know WHAT happened, HOW it happened and WHY it happened. He knew they would soon turn away from Him if they forgot it.  So, He commands them to observe the Passover meal every year. Don’t forget to remember it. 

            It was the Lord’s way of telling them, as you celebrate the Passover, THINK of where you were.  You were a slave and you had nothing to look forward to but death.

LOOK at where you are. You’re alive and you are free. You have hope and a future. You are no longer a slave. You are on your way to a new home and a new land.

 Now REMEMBER how you got here. It’s not a result of anything YOU did.  You never could have gotten yourselves out bondage in Egypt. GOD DID IT ALL FOR YOU. If He hadn’t, you would have died there

            Here, in Joshua 4, Israel has just crossed the Jordan River in a very dramatic, and miraculous way. He commanded them to carry twelve large stones out of the Jordan River and set up a lasting memorial because that is something else the Lord never wanted them to forget.

            Joshua 4:21-24: In the future, when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground….The Lord your God did to the Jordan what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.

 I want everyone of earth to know of my mighty power and I never want you to forget it. If you forget to remember, you will become unfaithful and that close, loving relationship I want us to have together will be destroyed.

THINK of where you were: wandering aimless in circles for forty years, never accomplishing anything and never getting anywhere, constantly grumbling and complaining.

 LOOK at where you are. This land is your land, the land the Lord promised Abraham He would give to you. You didn’t earn it and you don’t deserve it, but the Lord is giving it to you as a gift. The Lord did it FOR you.

REMEMBER how you got here. Just like Egypt, you could not get here on your own. None of this would be possible without the Lord your God. Tell your children and teach your children to tell THEIR children about the meaning of those twelve stones from the Jordan River.  Don’t forget to remember what those twelve stones represent.

Nothing destroys our close, intimate, personal relationship with the Lord faster than forgetfulness. When we’re facing a crisis, we cry out to the Lord for help.  In mercy, love, and grace He reaches out and delivers us.  Of course, we’re thankful when He does that, and we give Him joyful praise.

But as our situation improves and we’re no longer facing a crisis, we become increasingly focused on our daily routines. We get busy. We spend less time in prayer, less time in praise, and less time in His Word. In other words, we quickly forget. The Lord has commanded us to remember.  Because of our sinful, human nature, if we do not remember we will not remain faithful.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same wy, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

 Think of where you were:You were separate from Christ, excluded…foreigners…without hope and without God in the world.(Ephesians 2:12) You were a slave to sin. You were dead in sin, deserving nothing but the eternal wrath of God, and there was nothing you could do about it. You could not save yourself and nothing you tried to do could change God’s mind and make you acceptable to Him.

Look at where you are: But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have been brought near. (Ephesians 2:13a)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John3:1)

Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

We no longer stand in condemnation for sin. (Romans 8:1) Because of God’s grace, those who repent of their sin are forgiven and their sins are remembered no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

            REMEMBER how you got here. You who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! (Romans 5:-9)    Moses did not part the Red Sea. Joshua did not stop the waters of the Jordan River and WE did not do anything to make ourselves acceptable to a holy God. Jesus paid it all. All to Him we owe.

            For it by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.(Ephesians 2:8)   Eat the bread. Drink the cup and remember the one who died and rose again to save you and give you an abundant, everlasting life.

 DON’T EVER FORGET TO REMEMBER.  The Bible makes it very clear that the leading cause of unfaithfulness is forgetfulness.

Thanks for staying with this. Lord willing, we’ll be back next week to get In God’s Word with Pastor Buj. Love hearing your comments and questions.

JOSHUA 3 – Go and Stand

4/28/2020 – Crossing the Jordan River

            After forty years of aimless wandering, the nation of Israel is finally ready to enter the land God promised Abraham He would give them. But in order to enter that land, they have to cross the Jordan River. They have consecrated themselves. They are determined to do whatever the Lord says. They and God are finally on the same page.

            Joshua 3:9 – Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘COME HERE AND LISTEN to the Words of the Lord your God.’My sinful, human nature wants to do all the talking. It wants the Lord to come and listen to MY words; listen to my grumblings, my complaints, my excuses, and my fears.

            But in order for Israel to BE where the Lord wanted them to be, to HAVE what the Lord wanted them to have, and to DO what the Lord was telling them to do, they had to be willing to LISTEN to what the Lord wanted them to hear.  The only way they could cross that river was by faith and faith comes from hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

            The Jordan River was at flood stage. There was only one way to cross that river right now. There was only one way the Lord would bless, and it took a willingness to come…and listen to the words of the Lord. The redeemed nature, the renewed nature is thirsty to hear and is eager to go wherever the word of God is being spoken. If we’re not hearing the word of God where we’re going, we should be going somewhere else.

            Joshua 3:10 – This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly drive out (your enemies) before you. This will erase all your doubts. This will remove all sense of being able to do this on your own. This is something you’ll never be able to forget. You’ll know the Lord is with you and know you’re going to make it all the way.

            Joshua 3:11 – See the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.  Wherever the Lord is leading us, whatever difficult obstacle or impossible situation might be in front of us, we can have the assurance that the Lord our God is not only with us, but He has also gone ahead of us. He has made a way for us and He is waiting for us.

            Joshua 3:12-13: Now then, choose twelve men from the Tribes of Israel, … And as soon as the priests who carry the Ark of the Lord… set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing donstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap. WOW! Really? That’s exciting. I can’t wait to see that happen.

            But Joshua, where did you get that part about the waters being cut off and standing in a heap as soon as the priests step foot in the river? I can’t find where the Lord ever said that. In chapter 1, He said He was giving us the Land. He promised He would always be with us and would never leave us or forsake us.

            But I don’t see where He ever said anything about the water in the river. All He said was, Go and stand in the river. To me, that sounds like the priests are going to be standing under water and the rest of us are going to be in over our heads.  But Joshua believed the Lord was going to do “amazing things among” His people. (v.5)

                For the past forty years, Caleb and Joshua were both unshakably convinced that, regardless of how difficult or how impossible their situation seemed to be, they were going to live in that land because the Lord had promised to give it to them.

            The first time the ten spies came back and told Moses what they had found, eight of them began listing all the reasons why they shouldn’t go there. Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said,’WE SHOULD GO up and take possession of the land FOR WE CAN CERTAINLY DO IT.(Numbers 13:30)

            Now, forty years later, when Joshua gets to the bank of the Jordan River and sees how deep it is and how strong the current was, he must be thinking, “I know this is what the Lord wants us to do.  He’s promised to be with us and to go before us, so I’m not going to be afraid and I’m not going to worry about it. I don’t understand it, but somehow God will make a way.

            God has a plan.  He knows the end from the beginning. He sees the complete picture.  I don’t understand how or why, but I know we’re not going to die in that river.  It’s not all going to end in that river because I believe the power of God is greater than the power of that river and the grace of God is deeper than the depth of that river.  Somehow our God will make a way. Have you ever stared into the face of a frightening, seemingly hopeless, and impossible situation and said, “I don’t know HOW, but I know I CAN, because God WILL?”

            Joshua 3:14-15a: “So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them.  Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest.  The river is at flood stage but that doesn’t matter to the Lord.  All things are under His control. When the Lord is in charge, it doesn’t matter how deep it is or how impossible it looks.

            Joshua 3:15b-16: Yet as soon as the priests…reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.  It piled up in a heap a great distance away…while the water flowing down to the Sea of Arabah…was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Their feet never even got wet. Is that “amazing” enough for you?

            We have to be willing. We have to trust God enough to get INTO it before we can find out what He’s going to do ABOUT it. It’s not going to STOP until we STEP in it and discover that it’s not nearly as bad as we imagined or feared.

            My fearful, sinful nature looks at the future, sees what lies ahead, and says “What’s going to happen to me when I get into that river?” But Promised Land Faith says,” I can’t wait to see what the Ark of the Covenant is going to do to that river.”

            Joshua 3:17 – The priests…STOOD FIRM ON DRY GROUND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JORDAN.  Everyone who has repented of their sin and accepted Jesus as their Savior is like those priests who were carrying the Ark. God is present in us. We have this treasure in jars of clay. (2Corinthians 4:7)   His love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us, (Romans 5:5)

            His word is living in us.  His power is at work in us. Nothing can possibly stop us.  Nothing can harm us No mountain is unclimbable. No river is uncrossable. No battle is unwinnable because Jesus Christ is living in us. Wherever we go, whatever we may step into, we’re always carrying the presence of the Lord.

Consecrate yourself.  Disconnect yourself from everything that’s competing for your attention and devotion and attach yourself completely to Jesus and watch Him do amazing things in your life.

            Lord willing, we’ll meet here again next Tuesday. I’d love to hear your comments and questions.  Invite a friend to get In God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

Joshua 2 – Be Prepared

4/21/2020 – Preparing to cross the Jordan River

            Joshua 3:5 – Joshua told the people, ‘consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’Basically, CONSECRATE means to attach yourself to something. Disconnect yourself from everything else and attach yourself to one thing. The only way we can get to where we want to be is to disconnect ourselves from everything else and attach ourselves to the Lord. The only way our lives will ever have any real and lasting purpose or direction is to become “set apart” or to“consecrate” ourselves, attach ourselves completely to Him.

            If the Lord has no plans for my life, MY plans are pointless. If the Lord has no purpose for my life, my brief life on this earth is a complete waste of time. But if I can honestly say that the purpose of my life is to glorify the Lord as He fulfills His plans for me, I will never be held captive to anything. I will never be a victim. In Christ, I will always be free and victorious. I will overcome every obstacle. I will conquer every challenge because Jesus has overcome the world.

            When we are willing to detach ourselves from our own personal interests and selfish ambitions to seek first His Kingdom, when we are willing to consecrate ourselves and attach ourselves completely to Him,  when we can honestly say, For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,(Philippians 1:21) we will see the Lord do many “amazing things” every day of our lives.

Israel is following the Ark of the Covenant. Their attention is focused on the Word, the Grace, the Power, and the Presence of their God. They have consecrated themselves. They have abandoned all other gods, all other interests, and all other plans and attached themselves to the Lord alone. It’s taken forty years for them to get to this point but now they are ready to cross the Jordan River to enter that land the Lord promised Abraham He would give them.

            Joshua 3:6-8 “Joshua said to the priests, ‘Take up the Ark of the Covenant and pass on ahead of the people.’ So they took it up and went ahead of them. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘ Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests wh carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, GO AND STAND IN THE RIVER.

            Normally, standing in the Jordan River wasn’t much of a problem. Ordinarily, crossing the Jordan River was not a big  deal. They might have been forty years younger, but Joshua and Caleb both crossed that river when they first went to check out the land with the other spies,

            But at this particular time, according to 3:15, the Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest. The Jordan River was flooded. The water level was at its highest, and the current was the strongest. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that this was the worst possible time to be trying to cross that river.

But the Lord always seems to ask us to do something at the worst possible time, doesn’t He? He always seems to speak to us about things like “tithing” at the worst possible time, doesn’t He? The Lord never waits until we have a little extra income to speak to us about tithing. God speaks to us about giving more when we think we have the least to give. He speaks to us about giving Him the “first fruits” when we’re struggling to give Him the leftovers.

“This is the worst possible time to be crossing that river, Lord. It’s been forty years. Would it hurt to wait another week or so until the water level goes down a bit? It would make things a lot easier.”

I’ve noticed that I always want to wait until I think I can do it before I’m willing to try. I’m always ready to do something when it doesn’t take any faith to get it done. But the Lord always asks us to do something when we have to depend on Him completely in order to do it at all.

The Lord commanded Israel to take the Ark of the Covenant and go…stand in the river when the water was the deepest and the current was the strongest, when they had absolutely no hope of doing it by themselves.

            The Lord told Moses in Numbers 14:24,My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly. That “different spirit” the Lord was talking about is a spirit, it’s an attitude, a mind-set, a determination that’s eager to do whatever the Lord says and is eager to go wherever the Lord leads.

 Well, right now Joshua, the Lord is leading you into that river and telling you to stand there. The Lord is asking you to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense and is impossible for you to do without Him.

            After knowing what the Lord wants, that “different spirit” that brings us to where the Lord wants us to be and helps us live the life Jesus came for us to live, is eager to do whatever the Lord says,  Joshua 1:16 – Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go, so if you want us to cross this flooded river right now, that’s what we’re going to do.

            I may be afraid, but my desire to please the Lord is greater than my fear of doing what He wants me to do  My desire to please the Lord is greater than my fear of enduring what He’s asking me to go through. Is YOUR desire to please the Lord greater than your fear of doing what He’s asking you to do or enduring whatever He’s asking you to go through?

            When the Lord brings us to the edge of OUR Jordan River, it’s not just doctrine anymore. It’s not hypothetical anymore. It’s not just empty words now. When we get to the edge of our Jordan River, IT’S TIME TO LIVE OUT OUR FAITH. It’s time to back up our words with action instead of trying to justify our actions or excuse our inaction with a lot of eloquent words.

            That’s all the words we have time for this week. Lord willing, we’ll cross that river next Tuesday. Remember, I love hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments, please drop a reply. If these posts are helpful or meaningful for you, please encourage others to follow along and get “In God’s Word with Pastor Buj.”

Joshua – 1

4/14/2020 – Following the Ark of the Covenant           

We’re actually going to begin in Joshua 3, but I’d just like to get a running start in chapter 1.  

After wandering around in the wilderness for the past forty years, the nation of Israel is finally ready to enter the land the Lord promised Abraham He would give them. The Lord miraculously delivered Israel out of a life of misery and bondage under Pharaoh in Egypt. Their deliverance started with the Passover and culminated with the parting of the waters of the Red Sea. As dramatic as that was, it wasn’t enough to cause God’s people to trust Him completely and remain faithful to Him

            The Lord miraculously delivered US out of a life of bondage to sin that began when Jesus shed His blood on the cross and culminated when He rose from the dead so that whoever would believe on Him, would not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

            Unfortunately, like Israel, many Christians, after their salvation, never seem to progress very far in their spiritual development.  They often seem to be wandering in a kind of spiritual wilderness, going around in circles, never accomplishing very much, and living a life that is far below the “abundant” life the Lord intended us to live.

The only way for believers to break the cycle of aimless wandering is to reach the point of being willing to put our complete trust in God and determine that we will live for Him and be obedient to His Word regardless of our circumstances.

                  Joshua 1: 2 The Lord says to Joshua Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about ready to give them (the Israelites).By GRACE, Israel has been given a second chance but in order for them to break the cycle of aimless wandering and begin living in the land the Lord wanted to give them, they had to cross the Jordan River.

                  Get ready to cross the Jordan river.  Get ready to change. Get ready to leave the safe, predictable, routine you’ve gotten so comfortable with over the past 40 years. Get ready to go where you’ve never gone and do what you’ve never done as the Lord moves you to where He wants you to be, to the life He wants you to live and to the work He has for you to do.

                  Joshua 3:1 – Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan where they camped before crossing over.

                  Is there some kind of Jordan River running in front of YOU right now? There always seems to be some kind of barrier, some type of obstacle stopping us: some reason, some excuse, some form of fear or anxiety. Whatever it is, it keeps pulling us down and sweeping us away whenever we try to make a deeper commitment to the Lord. We just can’t seem to move beyond it. Hopefully, what we learn from this study will help us overcome that.

                  Joshua 3:2-3a: After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people.  These are commands. This is how the Lord says it must be done. We’ll never be able to accomplish this our own way. The only way we can do this is by believing and obeying God’s Word.

                  Joshua 3:3b – When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God…you are to move out from your positions and follow it.  It seems like everybody today is either chasing something, running away from something, hiding something, or following something. 

                  Some are chasing after material wealth or power. Others are pursuing pleasure, seeking attention, or longing for the approval of others. Some just follow their own instincts. They only trust themselves because they don’t trust anyone or anything else to lead them. They’re determined to make their own way through life. This current time of social distancing and lock-down should make all of us question if what we’re following can take us to where we want to go. Israel was commanded to follow the Ark of the Covenant.

                  Inside the Ark were the Ten Commandments. Those commandments that Moses received on Mt Sini represented the WORD of God that revealed the WILL of God and explained the REQUIRENMENTS of God for His people.

                  The Ark also contained a piece of manna, that heavenly bread that kept them alive during the forty years they were wandering. It represented the LOVE of God, the GRACE of God, and the FAITHFULNESS of God to provide for His children even though they showed themselves to be unworthy and ungrateful.

                  Aaron’s rod was also in the Ark. It was the rod the Lord used to convince Pharaoh to release Israel from Egypt. It was the rod Moses used to part the waters of the Red Sea. It represented the awesome, mighty POWER of God, the power to save, to deliver and to protect His people.

                  The Ark of the Covenant with everything inside it, represented the presence of God among His people. It was Israel’s most precious and most sacred possession and they were commanded to follow it.

                  Joshua 3:4a- then you will know which way to go since you have never been this way before.   Do YOU know which way to go? Do you know where you’re going? Does it really matter which way you go? Are you concerned about the direction your life is headed? Are you sure you’re not lost? If you keep following what you’re following, are you sure it will take you to where you want to be?

                  The Bible says there’s a way that seems right, but it ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12)    Jesus said that the road that leads to life is very narrow, but the road that leads to death and destruction is very broad and that’s the road most people choose to walk on. (Matthew 7:13)

                  All roads do NOT lead to the same God. All religions are NOT worshipping the same God. If whatever we’re following or pursuing doesn’t bring us to Jesus, we’re headed in the wrong direction.  The path we’ve chosen to walk on is a dead end.

                  Joshua 3:4b – But keep a distance of about a thousand yards (about ten football fields) between you and the Ark.  At that distance, you couldn’t possibly see the Ark even if you were in the front row. You had to KNOW the Ark was there. You had to BELIEVE the Ark was there.  You had to REMEMBER the Ark was there.

                  When we’re facing hopeless and seemingly impossible situations, even though we can’t SEE Him, we have to KNOW the Lord is with us. We have to BELIEVE the Lord is with us and we have to REMEMBER the Lord is with us just as He promised He always would be.

                  but do not go near it.  Sin was the reason no one could get near the Ark. God is a holy God, perfectly clean and without flaws or defects. Sin causes a separation between God and anything that is unholy, imperfect, and defective, including you and me. We all have sinned. (Romans 3:23)

                  The Law required Israel to offer sacrifices for sin every day, but they were still not able to get near the Ark. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was allowed to get near the Ark to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people. But He had to do that every year.

                  But now, because of God’s grace, repentant believers no longer have to keep their distance. We have been invited to draw near to Him. When Jesus shed His blood on the cross for our sin, the veil of separation that made us keep our distance, was torn down so that all who are trusting in Him alone for forgiveness and salvation can approach the Throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.(Hebrews 4:16)

                  Got to stop here until next time. Would love to hear from you. Hope these studies are meaningful and helpful. Encourage someone you know to get into God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

Testing, Testing 4

04/07/2020

            When we left the disciples, they were in the middle of a lake and had been rowing for hours against the wind and the waves, frantically trying to cross the lake as Jesus had told them to do.   It was dark.  They were tired.  They hadn’t made much progress and they had very little to show for their efforts.  They might not have been thinking about Jesus, but Jesus was definitely thinking about THEM.

            Mark 6:48 – He (Jesus) saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them. Jesus had never left them out of His sight.  He didn’t just KNOW what was happening, He also SAW what was happening.  Jesus had gone up on a mountain to pray and one of the things He was paying for was THEM.

            Jesus has returned to the Father and is now at the right hand of God interceding for us.  (Romans 8:34)   He not only knows the things we’re struggling with; He also sees the things we’re struggling with and He’s praying that our faith will not fail. (Luke 22:31) “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”  Don’t let Satan tell you that your Savior has forgotten you. 

            Matthew 14:25 – During the fourth watch of the night,” (when everything is the darkest,) Jesus went out to them. He had not forgotten them.  He had not forsaken them.  He was there when they needed Him, and He will always be there for us as well.

            Matthew 14:26 – When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake they were TERRIFIED.  ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.  They had just seen Him a few hours ago.  They woke Him up because they thought they were going to die.  When He rebuked the wind and the waves, the water grew calm and the storm was over.  What kind of man IS this?  Even the winds and the waves obey Him,they declared.  (Matthew 8:27)

                Evidently the disciples still don’t know who He is because now they think He’s a ghost.

This is the same kind of problem all of His disciples, including you and I, seem to have.  WE THINK WE KNOW JESUS SO WELL BECAUSE WE’VE KNOW HIM SO LONG.

            We’ve been to Bible Studies.  We’ve heard sermons.  We’ve read our Bibles.  After a while we get to the point where we think we’ve got it all pretty well figured out. Over the course of time, our faith becomes neatly wrapped in a tight little package of what we believe and what we DON’T believe.  

Even though the Bible tells us that Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirrorand NOW we know in part; THEN we shall know fully, “we are still very confident that our knowledge of God is complete.  We’re going to be spending an eternity with Jesus and we will probably STILL never know all there is to know about Him.

 Everything we need to know about Jesus today is in the Bible.  But God’s Word should be teaching us something new about Jesus every day.  The Holy Spirit should be giving us a fresh understanding of something we already know or pointing out something we’ve never noticed or thought about before.

But we’ve got to remain teachable or we’ll start taking Jesus for granted.  When we start becoming a little too confident about what we believe and what we don’t believe, the Lord has a way of showing us, like those disciples on the lake, we don’t know what we think we know as well as we think we know it. 

            If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, if we’re diligently seeking the Lord will all our heart and soul, when we ask Him for bread, He won’t give us a stone.  If we ask Him for a fish, He won’t give us a snake. (Matthew 7:9)   In other words, if we approach the Word of God by faith, and prayerfully seek to know the truth, our Heavenly Father loves us too much to stand back and let us be deceived.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He will guide us to the truth that will set us free.

We DON’T know Jesus so well because we’ve known Him so long.  He will constantly surprise and amaze us.

Matthew 14:27 – Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.  Knowing that Jesus is with us, hearing Him say from His Word, It is I! should be all we need to give us courage and remove our fear.  Putting our faith in the Words He has spoken, should completely fill us with peace and strengthen us with hope.  The winds may still be blowing.  The waters may still be rough.  The storm may still be raging around us, our situation may not have changed, but when we hear Jesus declare, It is I,” faith will fill our minds with peace and put our hearts at rest.

Matthew 14:28 – If it is you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Where have I heard this before? (Oh yeah,)  Matthew 4:3 –  If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. 

IF it is you?  Jesus just said that it WAS.  Don’t you believe Him?  Don’t you trust His Word?  Jesus doesn’t have to prove who He is.   We accept Him by faith.  People like to talk about Peter’s faith right here.  But, personally, I don’t see it.  No statement of faith ever starts out with “If.”

It seems like, in every situation, in every relationship, in every church, there’s always someone who can’t sit back and patiently wait for the will of God to be done.  They always feel like they have to help move things along.  Jesus was walking toward them.  He was about to get into the boat to calm the storm.  There were eleven men in the boat who were willing to wait for Him to do that.

But it wasn’t happening fast enough for Peter.  Peter always has to be in control.  Peter is the one who thinks he has to fix everything.  Peter’s the one who thinks, “we just can’t sit here.  We have to DO something.  Let’s try this and see if it works.  Let’s try that and see if the Lord will bless it.  I’ll do whatever you ask me to do, Lord.  But please don’t ask me to do NOTHING!  Please don’t ask me to wait.

OK, Peter.  Let’s try it YOUR way.   Matthew 14:29-31 – Come, He said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  ‘You of little faith,’ He said,’why did you doubt?’  

Every time we impulsively do something to help the will of God move a little faster, our plans and our good intensions sink just as quickly as Peter did.

Matthew 14:32 – And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  As soon as they realized it was Jesus and let Him take over, they landed safely where Jesus wanted them to be.  They couldn’t have done it without Him and that’s exactly what this test, and EVERY test, was designed to teach them (and us).  We can’t do ANYTHING without Jesus.

Matthew 14:33 –  Those who were in the boat worshipped Him saying, ‘Truly you ARE the Son of God.”  We need to get to the place where we can worship Him and know that He is truly the Son of God BEFORE the wind calms down, before our situation changes, before our trial is over.  We need to place our confidence in Him from the very beginning and throughout the entire storm.

Next Tuesday, Lord willing, we’ll be on to something else.  I hope these posts have been helpful for you.  Please feel free to comment, reply, ask questions or make suggestions.  I’d love to hear from you.  Invite someone else to get into God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

Testing, Testing 3

3/31/2020

            Let’s take a look at another time when the disciples’ faith was being tested.  They’ve had some experience with testing so it should be easier for them this time, shouldn’t it?  They should know what to expect and what to do, shouldn’t they?  They couldn’t possibly make the same mistake again, could they?  Let’s look at Matthew 14.

            Jesus had just just fed a crowd of five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish.  They even had leftovers.  Is there anything this Man cannot do?  Matthew 14:22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, (of the lake.)

            Jesus told them to get into the boat and go on ahead of Him and they did it.  Once again, the disciples are in the center of God’s Will, acting in obedient faith.  Our faith always gets tested when we’re in the center of God’s Will acting in obedient faith.  If your faith is being tested right now, you can be confident that you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be and you’re doing what He’s called you to do.

Mathew 14:23 –while He dismissed the crowd.  There were always crowds of people following Jesus wherever He went.  Many, like Zacchaeus, were curious and just wanted to see Him.  Others were fascinated by the things He said.  Many followed Jesus because they wanted and needed something from Him, some kind of miracle.

Jesus was very patient and accommodating with the crowds and He let them follow for a while.  But eventually, every individual in the crowd had to make a decision about Jesus. 

Matthew 14:23 – After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.  When evening came, He was there alone.   Jesus turned to the crowd of uncommitted followers and said, “Go back.  Go home. Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:27)

Regardless of how long we’ve been going to church, at some point in our lives, ALL of us have to make a decision about Jesus.  Am I a sinner, or not?  Do I need a Savior, or not?   Is Jesus the only way to heaven, or not?  Then we have to be prepared to accept the consequences of our decision.  After we’ve made the decision, we must make a commitment to deny ourselves daily, take up our crosses and follow Him or we can expect to be dismissed someday too.

Jesus said to the crowd, “Go back.”  He said to His disciples, those who were putting their faith and trust In Him, “Go out – into the world and preach the Gospel.”  Then He said, “I’m going up, but I’ll join you later.” And that’s exactly where things stand today.  Either we go back as uncommitted spectators or go out into the world as repentant believers.  Jesus has gone up to be with the Father, but He’ll be joining His children again someday soon.

Matthew 14:24a – But the boat was already a considerable distance from land.  John, who was actually in the boat at the time, remembers that they had rowed three or three and a half miles with the wind blowing and the water getting very rough. (John 6:18-19)

Unlike their first test, the situation right now is not life-threatening.  They’re not afraid of dying.  But it IS very exhausting, stressful and extremely discouraging for them.  The water keeps getting rougher.  The wind keeps getting stronger.  It’s getting dark and they are tired.  Every time they row three strokes forward, they get pushed two strokes back.

            This time, their biggest problem is that Jesus is not in the boat.  He is not with them, physically, as He was before.  When our life is spinning out of control and we’re facing life-threatening situations – terminal illness, family crisis, job loss, marital collapse, etc, the first thing we do is look for Jesus.  We know He’s with us and we know He promised to always be there for us, but right now, He doesn’t seem to be paying much attention.  It almost seems like He’s asleep.

Their first test came on suddenly, without warning. But the situation the disciples are in this time built up slowly, over a period of time.  They’e concentrating on fixing the problem themselves. They’re so focused no doing what they normally do that they’re not even thinking about Jesus right now.

This test is not about fear, it’s about discouragement.  It’s about burn-out.  We don’t start looking for Jesus, we don’t start praying until we’ve reached the point of helplessness and were on the verge of quitting and giving up.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a great harvest if we do not give up.”   Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Satan is right there, heaping on the guilt and insecurity.  He keeps telling us that we’re not trying hard enough.  Our priorities are all messed up.  We’re not putting Jesus first.  The Lord is not pleased with us.  God can’t use us. 

We’re in the center of God’s Will, acting in obedient faith, and Satan is doing everything he can to get us to stop.  If Satan can’t bring the work of God’s Kingdom to a halt, he at least wants to slow it down as much as possible. Three strokes forward, two strokes back until we just don’t have the strength or the desire to do it any longer. 

The reason we’re so tired and discouraged is because we’ve been trying to do it in our own strength.  In the first test, we knew that Jesus HAD to help us because there was nothing else and no one else who could.  In this second test, we don’t recognize or admit that we need ANY help until we realize that we can’t do it and we’re ready to quit.

The testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  (James 1:3)   It’s one thing to endure something we endure suffering or fiery trials.  When we’re enduring something, it means we’re just sitting there taking whatever life or Satan may be throwing at us.  We just stop rowing and let the wind and the storm do whatever they want to with us because we know we’ll b victorious in the end.

            But perseverance in the midst of a trial means that we’re going to keep rowing regardless of how strong the wind and the waves may be.  We’ll be obedient to God’s Word even when we’re rowing against the current.

            It means we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing because we know the Lord has told us to do it.  We’ll stay in His Word and we’ll keep praying, praising and trusting Him until His Will has finally been done.

Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the Will of God, you will received what He promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

Well, my words are up for today.  We’ll finish this next week, Lord willing.  I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE any comments, questions, suggestions or feedback you might have.  Please feel free to reply, maybe even “like.”  If you believe this Word is needed today, please help me find ways to reach more people.

Testing, Testing 2

3/24/2020

              While travelling across a lake with Jesus, the disciples have encountered a storm so violent that even the experienced fisherman on the boat believe they’re all going to die.  We’re going to be looking at what Mark has to say about this today.

            Mark 4:36 – “There were also other boats … on the lake.  They were caught in the same storm, but Jesus was not in their boat.  Don’t you wonder how people manage to endure trials and handle adversity without having Jesus with them?

            As the storm continued to get worse, the disciples weren’t looking at Jesus and they weren’t worried about, or praying for, the other boats on the lake, the people without Jesus.  They were only thinking of themselves and how difficult their lives had become since they began to follow Him. 

            In Mark 4:37, Satan, “the father of lies,” (John 8:44) has convinced the disciples that they were all going to die in this storm because waves were breaking over the boat and it was nearly swamped.”  Now, in Mark 4:38 – the devil has them believing that, because Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion, He doesn’t really care about what’s happening to them.

Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?

The disciples are asking the one who emptied Himself of all His heavenly Glory, the one who had become flesh so He could endure the cross for them, the only one who could take the penalty for their sin, the only one who loved them enough to suffer excruciating agony so they would be spared the hell they deserved; they have the audacity to ask the “the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world,” if He cared.

Aren’t we guilty of doing the same thing when we’re going through a trial?  Don’t we tend to pray more often and more fervently when our lives are being swamped?  We may think we’re praying, but aren’t we actually trying to wake up Jesus and get Him to pay more attention to what’s happening to us?

“Jesus, Wake up.  I need You.  You promised to heal.  You promised to provide. Why aren’t you keeping your promises?  You said you’d always be there for me, but where are you now?  When we find ourselves panicking in prayer instead of praising Him with joy, we know we’ve been paying too much attention to the storm and have taken our eyes off Him.

Regardless of how dark the night or how violent the storm, no matter how difficult the struggle or how unbearable the trial, don’t EVER allow yourself to question or doubt these three absolute, eternal truths: 

1.  The Lord is always with you. (Matthew 28:20)

2.  Nothing can ever separate you from His love.  (Romans 8:38-39)  

3.  He cares for you.  (1Peter 5:7)

                Jesus is our example in all things.  He leads.  We follow.  He speaks.  We listen and obey.  If He’s not bothered by the storm, why are we?  This is when our faith is really needed.

            When we find ourselves being swamped by one violent storm after another, we need to be asking ourselves:  Do I believe what the Bible says or not?  Do I believe the Lord loves me or not?  Will I keep trusting Him or not?  Is there any other hope, any other answer, any other solution?  Is there any other way to be saved, any other Savior?

            In the middle of everything that was going on around him, Job declared, though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him. 

Jesus, – things don’t really good right now.  But could you move over a little?  I’d like to lie down and rest beside you until this storm is finally over.  You are my only source of comfort and strength.  Fill me with your peace that passes all human understanding.

            Mark 4:39 – He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

            Someday I’ll stand before the Lord and be held accountable for my life and the ministry that was given to me.  I’d rather be guilty of misguided faith.  I’d rather hear Jesus say, “Allen, you believed it with all your heart, but you misunderstood my word.  Your faith was misguided.”  I’d rather be accused of an incomplete faith.  “Yes, Allen I did say those things, but I said many other things that you failed to take into consideration.  Your faith was incomplete.”

            But the one thing I never want to hear Jesus say to me is what He said to those twelve disciples.

Mark 4:40 – Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?

Mark 4:41 –  “Who IS this? Even the wind and waves obey Him?

            The disciples had just learned something new about Jesus.  Every time our faith is tested, we learn something new about Jesus.  That’s why our faith is tested. That’s how we become mature and complete, not lacking anything.(Janes 1:4)  Their faith has just been tested and it’s a lesson learned, right?  The next time this happens, they’ll be ready for it, won’t they?  They won’t make that mistake again, will they?

            The problem is that no two tests are exactly the same.  There’s always a little twist to catch us off guard. There is always something else we need to learn.  There’s always something more we need to discover about Jesus.

            Next Tuesday, Lord willing we’ll look at another time when the disciples’ faith was being tested.  I hope you’re finding these posts worthwhile.  Why not encourage someone else to follow along with you?  I’m sure we all know someone who loves the Word of God. someone who is hungry to hear the Word of God or someone who needs to hear the Word of God.  Invite them to get into God’s Word with pastorbuj.com

            I welcome responses, comments, suggestions.  I’d love to hear from you.

Testing, Testing 1

3/17/2020

            James 1:2-4  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you might be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

            From the moment we accepted Christ as our Savior – our goal, and God’s plan for us, was to “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  (II Peter 3:18)  In order for that to happen, we can expect our faith to be tested.

            Our faith has to be tested in order for us to know if we even HAVE any faith.  I’m often ashamed and embarrassed after my faith has been tested and I discover how weak and shaky my faith really was.  My faith seems to be the strongest when YOU are the one whose faith is being tested.

            The poster child for the ultimate in faith testing has got to be Job.  Job 1:8 – “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job?  There is no one like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fear God and shuns evil.”

            Satan response was, “Of course he is.  He’s never been tested.”  Job 1:11-12 “But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.

            The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ “

            Satan may be behind the actual testing, but the Lord sets up the terms and conditions for the test.  Nothing is done without His permission and approval.  I’ve heard it said that the Lord will never give us more than we can handle.  But I believe God’s grace will help us handle whatever we’ve been given.

Fortunately, it’s always an open book test.  Regardless of how difficult it gets, we can always turn to the book, The Bible, to find the answers and solutions to whatever we may be facing.  Now in Matthew 8, we’re going to be looking at a couple of times when the faith of the twelve disciples was being tested.

            Matthew 8:23-24   “Then He (Jesus) got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.”  We always seem to get blind-sided by a test.  The test always comes “without warning;” a phone call, a shocking diagnosis, a sudden fall. 

These twelve disciples haven’t been following Jesus very long.  They’ve heard Him give the Sermon on the Mount.  They’ve seen Him perform some incredible healings, but they haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of discovering who Jesus is or what He’s capable of doing. 

            Right now, they find themselves in a life-threatening situation that came up “without warning.”  This is serious.  This is frightening.  They have every reason in the world to believe they’re all going to die.  This is not a large commercial fishing boat these men were sitting in.  These boats were only designed to hold about four or five at the most, in addition to the fish and all the gear.  This boat is seriously overloaded.

             (8:18) Jesus “gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.”  (8:23)  Jesus “got into the boat and the disciples followed Him.” In other words, the Bible is telling us that, right now, the disciples are in the center of God’s Will and they’re acting in obedient faith.  That’s why the Bible instructs us to “count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds.” 

Our faith only gets tested when we’re in the center of God’s Will, acting in obedient faith.  Job was “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil,” (Job 1:8) when his faith was tested.  If our faith is being tested, we must be doing something right.  The Lord made it unmistakably clear to Satan who it was that was actually in charge when He said, “On the man himself do not lay a finger.”(Job 1:12) 

Remember how excited we were when we first got saved.  We thought all our troubles were over because we had just surrendered our lives to Christ.  But soon we find out that we have cancer, or our spouse has cancer, or one of our children’s marriage is falling apart; we may lose our job, we might have to declare bankruptcy, even lose our house.  But LOOK!  JESUS IS IN THE BOAT!  Jesus is here with us.  We’re going to be OK.

Yes, I know Jesus is with me, but He doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to my situation right now.  Things keep getting worse and He’s not answering my prayers.  I cry out to Him but He’s not responding.  It’s almost like He’s ignoring me.  I don’t understand what’s going on right now.

The disciples made the same mistake most of us make when we’re facing a situation like that.  Jesus is in the boat and we know that Jesus is with us.  But we’re so worried about the storm, so consumed with what’s happening to us, that we’re focusing on the storm alone.  We’re concentrating on the trial, instead of looking at Jesus.  Satan pulls our attention away from Jesus and keeps us looking at how bad our situation keeps getting.

Matthew 8:25 – “The disciples went and woke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!’ “ You’re going to drown?  Really?  What makes you say that?  How do you know that?  Is that the only possible outcome?  How do you know how things are ultimately going to turn out?

Satan’s the one who gets us to think that way.  He’s a liar and the father of lies.  The disciples were listening to Satan’s lies and they were believing Satan’s lies.  They weren’t just believing Satan’s lies, they were repeating Satan’s lies. 

The storm keeps raging in our minds.  We take what we see, and we project it into the future.  Satan works through our imaginations.  He’s shows us a video of what he says we can expect in the future and he tells us how things are going to be.  But Satan doesn’t determine our future.  He doesn’t control the outcome.  Jesus does.

Jesus is the only one who determines and controls how things are going to turn out for us and He has determined that, in ALL things, we will be more than conquerors.  We will always have victory.  Because HE has overcome, by grace through our faith in Him, we will overcome as well.

It looks like my words are up.  We’ll be back to take another look at this next Tuesday, Lord willing.  JUST A REMINDER, I am giving away the e-book of “Why Did He Bother?” FREE TODAY  (3/17) ONLY.  Think about it.  Even Walmart can’t beat that price and you don’t even have to wait in line. If you already have the book, consider giving one (some) to a friend (friends) as a gift (gifts,)

FINALLY, those annoying and embarrassing wordpress ads are gone.   You’re welcome.

STRIVING TO IMPROVE

Since roughly half of those who have signed on are actually reading the blog, I am constantly searching for ways to improve my site, make it easier to maneuver and also to encourage others to come aboard. THIS IS WHAT I’VE LEARNED:

1. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I POST? The trend today is to post once a week.

2. HOW MANY WORDS? In informational/educational blogs like mine, THE CONTENT DETERMINES THE LENGTH. If the sentences are brief and the paragraphs are short, the blog can range from 1,200 – 2,000 words.

3. WHEN TO POST – One of the best days to post is TUESDAY

AS A RESULT – From now on I will be posting ONCE A WEEK, Lord willing every TUESDAY and I try to stay around 1,300-1,500 words I have also updated my home page and, hopefully, it will produce better fruit. TOMORROW, we’ll begin a new study from Matthew 8 – “Testing, Testing.” ARE YOU STILL WITH ME? Invite someone else to sign on,

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